Balcerzak

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About Balcerzak

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  1. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    Sena grunted in reply to Terry, at least he'd agreed to follow through with orders. Then she glanced back down at the communicator, no text back yet, had something come up? Well, no time to waste, slipping her gloves back on and making sure her helmet was once again firmly fastened, the rebel sniper revved up the engine of her Mark-III and kicked off the side of Deliverance jetting her way back in the direction of the recently concluded battle. When her communicator vibrated with an incoming call, Sena gave the small device a quick tap, transferring the communications link to her helmet, letting her much more comfortably talk and drive at the same time. It was Calina, and she sounded... well, not exactly short on breath, but maybe distracted? Her words came in short, easy to digest chunks, nothing too complicated. The hacker was certainly overthinking things, but it was almost like this was a string of afterthoughts? Though... she was just seeing Abby again for the first time in forever. Sena lowered her gaze as soon as that realization came to mind, regardless of the fact that there was no video link so it's not like anyone would see her do that... or that she might be at risk of seeing anything herself. It was just instinct. Awkward instinct. The content of the message was, well, not entirely dubious. In fact, considering what supposedly went on between this Jessica and Abigail, perhaps she should have anticipated something of that nature. But their plan had always really been to grab Abby and go. "T-Talk it over, huh..." How likely was it they could approach the negotiation from a position of strength? And while she appreciated being brought to the table for the discussion... it probably wasn't necessary for everyone to be present? Was it jealousy, pride, anxiety? Some part of her was still on edge Then again, she wasn't sure it was possible to every calm down and return to 'normal'. Not any more. Not without Robert. Squeezing the flight controls tightly, she tried to force out another reply, say something more. "T-That--" "Oh God, Sena, it's so good to hear your voice again," she was interrupted from the other side of the line. Abigail, taking Calina's invitation it seemed, excitedly rattling words off with rapid speed. Good to hear my voice? she doubted. Unlikely, the damn stutter. Surely it's just... I'm just, a hassle. The unfortunate choice of words had dug into an old wound, but it wasn't malicious or on purpose. She had to just... try to ignore it. "L-L-Likewise, captain." Then Sena fell silent. What should she say? "Q-Quite the chase you led us on, g-getting l-leads wasn't easy." Simple, matter of fact statements. She wanted to, was supposed to say more. She was sure of it. Right? Just this wasn't enough, didn't match up to what the reunion deserved. But she... couldn't bring herself to make any comments about welcoming back a dear sister, a precious member of the family. Not hot on the heels of-- "G-geh, stop, not while we're on call," a barely audible voice could be heard from the other end. A strange feeling of detachment washed over Sena. It was like, she should be angry about this, but her anger was still occupied, reserved for something else, indefinitely detained. Only a queer feeling of secondhand embarrassment arose in response. "I... uh, w-well..." an awkward pause. "S-See you soon." And she ended the call. Probably for the best, there was a hulk of a robot headed her way, she'd probably need to talk things out with that in a few seconds. Calina was practically beaming, clearly pleased with herself and the reactions she was eliciting. Abigail couldn't begrudge her that, and as the woman moved in on her pilot suit--like a chef eager to crack open a crab shell to get at the tasty meat inside--after having grabbed ahold of the zipper, Abby did a little wiggle to try to help her out with the process. But a momentary kibosh was put on any progress in that direction when the rebel's communicator lit up. Dropping the efforts at undressing her, Calina lifted it up and explained the caller, switching her focus a bit after giving one last kiss on the neck, this one more tender than the last, greedy one. With her girlfriend occupied, Abby would just have to do this herself then. She managed to get the zipper pulled down the center of the suit and shimmy her upper body out, black tanktop and bare shoulders exposed to the outside air, which hit the built up sweat from piloting and brought a pleasant chill, raising a few goose bumps. Expectations of more pleasant sensations to come raised a few more. But then, a bit suddenly, Calina held the device out to her, giving her a chance, no... more than just inviting, almost pressuring her to put in some words. Not that Abigail didn't have anything to say, or wasn't excited to speak with Sena and the others, not by any means, it was just... "Oh God, Sena, it's so good to hear your voice again," she got out in a rush. And it was true. Though the girl hadn't spoken much--and Abby had only heard most of it from a short distance away, as the conversation between Calina and her crossed the gap between them--it really did do her good to hear the younger woman's voice, It sounded much the same as it always did: a bit unsteady, and while sometimes frustrating--when she got stuck on a sound and couldn't move on, overall very soft, warm, and pleasant to listen to. Sena's reply came back, and it was about what she'd expected, up until it got to the point where it just... hung awkwardly. Abby planned on giving her all the time she needed, but a devilish move by Calina to try to slide the strap of her tank off and over the side of her shoulder caught her by surprise, and Abby sent a frenzied whisper of "G-geh, stop, not while we're on call," with accompanying slight glare back in her direction. There wasn't much more to the call though, whether Sena had picked up on things and decided to end it early, or for whatever other reason. The Deliverance and her crew would be arriving soon though, so there would be plenty of time to make up for it then in person. "Yeah, catch you shortly," Abby returned, though she suspected it was too late. Sounded like the line had been cut just before she got it out. Shaking her head and grinning, she cast her glance back to Calina. "Well, Cally, I hope you're happy," she laughed out half joking, half mocking phrase that she only really partly meant. "Sounds like..." a twist of her lip began to form into a frown. It sounded like the girl was taking things hard, but that was to be expected. Really felt like the wrong thing to actually say though, so Abby went in a bit of a different direction instead, "Sounds like we'll have some work cut out for us when they arrive."
  2. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    Terry sounded like he was falling apart at the seams, and Sena really had no excess of patience to deal with that right now. "If she s-s-says it's talking, it's t-talking. T-Trust..." Sena started, before a grimace twisted her face. Trusting was how Hilling had ended up dead. They were just supposed to have rendezvoused with the Riese, collected Abby, and been on their way. Calina hadn't said anything about pitched engagements with alien craft sporting advanced weaponry. Her fists curled into balls, and if her nails hadn't been nubs they would have easily cut into her skin. No, that wasn't Calina's fault. Painful though it was to admit. It didn't seem to be a setup from the captain, from Jessica either. It was just... life continuing its grand tradition of shitting all over everything Sena held dear. ...Why did the freighter need to pull up alongside, though? Now that Terry had planted a seed of doubt, the hacker couldn't help but wonder. There had to be a reason, she just couldn't think of it. She stopped getting ready to disembark, and considered her options. "I-I'll launch b-back out and v-vanguard. G-Get any unlikely f-f-friction resolved before D-Deliverance is in d-danger." Always one to multitask when possible, Sena fired off a quick text message while she finished conversing with Terry, who might have some final thing to chime in with still. We're otw. But why, though? Terry and some of the others are concerned. "Kyaah," came a slightly surprised squeak, that melted into a giggle after the initial jump scare wore off. "Straight for the jugular, huh?" Well, Calina always had been aggressive, this fit her to a T. Either way, her movements, her threat--no, promise--got Abigail's pulse to quicken, and her body to ache with anticipation. Reflexively rubbing her legs together slightly, not having all that much freedom of movement with Calina straddled atop her, Abby leaned into her hold, pushing herself away from the wall she'd been leaning up against, doing her best to grant as much free access as possible. With everything that had happened, Calina deserved at least this much. Maybe she'd fight for control of the flow another time, but, not now. Laughing again at the quip about the door, Abigail shook her head and chuckled. "I think everybody finished up or rushed off already, but even so, I can't imagine anyone who'd actually interrupt if they somehow ended up walking in. Do your worst."
  3. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    Jess smiled a little as the shared name snarl reared itself briefly for Makoto, but the young man seemed to quickly hit on a solution that worked for him. More or less, anyway, he still seemed a mite out of sorts as he explained his circumstances and tossed out a question of his own. "A little bit here and there," Jess confirmed, "What mother, proud of their son, wouldn't find ways to bring him up in conversation." Then she nodded and returned the salute. "Decided to give it a try, anyway. Helping out," came the slightly cautious answer. "I think it worked well enough to maybe make it a regular thing, what do you think, Tarquin?" Sena chewed her lip a little in frustration, but nothing Terry said was incorrect. Even at its current situation, nearly the worst imaginable, the battleship completely outclassed the little freighter the rebels brought to the table. Even so.. The rebel hacker shook her head, and simply responded. "Calina was v-v-v-v-vague as hell. Said she n-needed us there for 't-talks'." If talking failed, Sena simply had to hope what manner of electronic warfare she could manage to wage would be enough for her and the captain to make a close range escape, or at least open a window of opportunity for a rescue attempt, or... There were very few good cards left in the deck, but they had to try and make them come to the top of the deck as best they could. Anything less would be unthinkable. As Calina slid out of the flight suit, like a snake shedding skin, Abigail got her first good look at the horrible scar. And everything made sense. The cockpit on the news hadn't been doctored afterwards, no, that damage had been real. "God I put you through hell, didn't I? Nearly died for me there..." she murmured lowly, taken a little aback with shock to be honest. There was no resistance as Calina spun a slight half circle and mounted her, Abby was still in the process of taking everything in. But even if she hadn't been, that was a welcomed advance after their long separation. Slowly running her index and middle fingers up along the scar, she reached the elbow and turned the curve, continuing upward. After a bit farther, Abby gave Calina's bicep a gentle squeeze, and the muscle was just as firm and responsive as it had always been. Relieved that she wasn't trying to play the injury off as no big deal if it had in fact actually been some serious, permanent disability, Abigail let the tension leave her body and breathed out a sigh. When she felt her girlfriend of the past six years shift her weight slightly, she knew from experience what was coming next. Closing her eyes, Abigail waited for the approaching kiss, but when it didn't arrive after a few seconds, she opened them again. Calina had begun apologizing, during Abby's extended blink, and while she appreciated the sentiment, somehow hearing the words just felt... wrong, awkward. Shaking her head a little, Abigail almost snorted. "Please. Let's neither of us pretend that if the situation were reversed I wouldn't have been an absolute cunt myself. I'd prepared for a bit of raging bitch. Still wasn't easy, but," she smiled slightly, "You could have been so much worse." Lowering her right hand to Calina's waist, Abigail pulled inward, scootching her along the top of her thighs, drawing their bodies closer. At the same time, she wrapped her left up behind her, taking hold of the back of her skull, burying her fingers in her hair, and holding her neck in place as she leaned in to kiss the series of small scars up along the slight arc they traced on her neck, until reaching one on her chin, where she finally rested her lips awhile. Breaking contact after a few lingering moments, Abby began, "Thank you for..." then stopped, grunting a "Nnnnhmmmhm," denying and amending her previous words. "Thank you." That was much better.
  4. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    Okay, this was starting to get a little infuriating. Like, sure, maybe there was some justification for it, but that still didn't make having one's lover insulted and called trashy slurs feel anything but agitating. As Abigail was opening her mouth to berate Calina for the constant 'tin cans' and 'toasters', a sudden uncomfortable flash of introspection caught her dead short. This is exactly what I sound like, isn't it? People feel this same way, when I'm dismissing and degrading Hannah, don't they? No, maybe it's not so bad as all that. I'm only getting upset because of special circumstance, because of my close attachment to her, right? Without a special bond... hmmm... Actually, does that maybe make it worse? The thoughts were starting to go in a dangerous direction, so Abigail decided to just bail on any more heavy thinking. Putting her back to the wall, she slid down, like Calina had, joining her on the floor. Man, despite the irritation, it really was nice to have her back. Slipping out of her pilot gloves, Abby decided it'd be even nicer to hold her hand, and so she reached out with her right one to take her rebel's girlfriend's left, seeking to liberate it from its own glove. That's when things got interesting. "Jesus, Cally. What happened to you?" Starting at just above the wrist, rather than the smooth skin of a forearm--only interrupted by the soft, thin, natural strands of bodyhair--what Abby had brushed up against, after pushing up Calina's sleeve to start to work her hand free, was a crackly mess of scarring. Sena had just made it back to the Deliverance, and was preparing to board the freighter, then soon after intending to disembark from her Mark III and make her way to the helm. If it became necessary to pull up next to the wounded Riese to help get Calina and Abigail back from whatever they were doing, then things would need to be put into place to get that done. While there was still some time left, as far as the deadline she'd given Calina, nothing would be hurt by it, if things were already prepared in advance, right? Even if they ended up not being needed. That, and if she kept busy, maybe it would help keep her mind from wandering. Maybe. The buzz of her communicator snapped her out of her current thoughts, and she answered to hear a familiar voice, with a few vague and brief instructions. This was fine. It had basically been her gameplan without being told, after all. "Un-Understood," she replied back, sounding a little weary and lifeless. One can only operate at 120% platinum mad for so long without it taking its toll, and Sena had stretched herself well past those limits. But the day wasn't over yet, there was still work to be done. Well, Terry had left the battle first and must already be docked, so passing along the message would buy a little extra time. She should have thought of that herself, honestly. Well, if the best time had been a few minutes ago, the second best time was now. "Terry, c-come in," Sena switched frequencies. "N-Need you to start getting things fired up, we're g-going back, and not j-just the suits this t-time."
  5. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    In contrast to Calina, Abigail had anticipated Jess's comments and request. When turned to for her input, and confirmation that the captain was really serious, she quickly nodded. "Wait'll you get to hear the full version instead of just the Bluff's notes, I think you'll be a lot less surprised why she's feeling this way. And to be honest, I support her on this." As much a shame as having to give up a battleship like the Riese was, especially with how it'd apparently been designed with Jess's unique circumstances in mind, there was no way they could keep it and not risk reprisal. But getting out of the ANF was healthier for her, for them all, so it was a simple fact of the matter, the only real choice to make. "There may be a few bumps at first, but I think once the others get to know her, she'll settle in fine. And she can handle the switch from mostly giving orders, expecting always to be obeyed, to having work along under you and I, on a more level playing field with the rest of the guys," Abby confidently proclaimed, before turning to prompt additional agreement. "Can't you, Jess?"
  6. Aeon - The Odyssey

    Linus's Sicarius was built off the bones of an Excel Defenser base, and they were good strong bones, bringing versatile and sustained DPS to the team. The focus on offense was somewhat ironic, coming as it did from a bot with 'defense' in the name, but that just made him appreciate it more, a grin sliding across his face every time he remembered the little idiosyncrasy. Now was one such time. "Sicarius en route," he called out as his craft cleared the catapult. They still had half a minute till reaching the hatch, so there wasn't much concern about the small side banter the pilots were getting into for the moment, but he had to hope they'd buckle down and take things seriously once they entered the colony proper. This was a try out, after all. "Alright, let's do our best to remember each other's strengths and leverage them appropriately once we get into the thick of things," was a dutiful 'team leader' thing to call out as they hurtled toward the figurative starting line. But, hell, they still were essentially just killing time, so Linus decided to let loose a little himself, go out on a bit of a limb and enjoy a verbal potshot of his own, "Looks like we've got someone who excels at standing out. I'm sure we can find some way to turn that into a positive."
  7. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    The left corner of Abby's mouth curled up slightly, the reassurance from Calina enough to draw out an almost guilty half-smile. She was still loved. Shit was just... messy right now. There was still a chance, a good chance even, maybe. Nothing was irreparably fucked yet. The visible relief that knowledge brought to her face was clear as day. "I know," Abigail sighed softly. "It's not very responsible of me. It's not fair, and kissing you won't magically fix everything. I know, I know all that. But, I still, I had to. I've missed you. Can you blame me?" She didn't even need to wait for a response to that reflexive ending to realize it was a mistake. Abby flinched all on her own. Of course Calina could. Not only that, she had been. And rightly so. The rebel leader deserved all that blame, and probably heaps more where that came from. "I'm sorry," she apologized, her tone more muted than it had been immediately before. As Calina proceeded to explain her current dilemma, stuck with an unhealthy dose of righteous anger, unconsciously summoned, but now untethered, with no target or direction. Just... emotional poison, filling her up, spilling over, with nowhere to go. That was... awful. And Abigail was responsible. Her lips tightened, drew back a little, instinct yelling at her to bare fangs at the enemy. But when the root of the problem lay on the other side of a mirror, there was nowhere for her aggression to go either, and her expression fizzled, and died. All she was left with was empathy for Calina's plight, and no way to change it. "That, that sucks, so much. I wish I hadn't put you through all this pain." The only small glimmer of good in this whole situation was Jess. It could have been so much worse. The less confident, more insecure Jess from roughly a week ago might have tried fighting, claiming Abby as territory, begun fending off the old rival come home to roost. But the kind and composed Jess of today had already defused enough of this ticking time bomb situation that even Calina was finding it impossible to truly hate her. That was... more than Abby could have ever really asked for. Maybe more than she deserved. Recalling the worries the woman had expressed in past conversations, it only underscored Abby's appreciation for this other wonderful woman she'd found, for how blessed she was. For this path of love and selflessness the captain was willing to take on her behalf. And even as she reflected such, along came yet another example, as a friendly hand--palm firmly placed against her shoulder--pushed Abigail closer to where the defeated woman had retreated, slumping up against the wall. Then after helping them close that distance, Jess gathered both their hands in hers, squeezing warmly, sealing them together. It wasn't possible for Abby to imagine anything further she could ask of her, as far as helping to heal this rift she'd played a part in forming. Calina's no-nonsense proclamation that she couldn't love Jess wasn't surprising... shouldn't have been, but Abigail still found herself taken slightly aback to hear it so soon and so plainly. Her heart skipped a beat in her chest, and time slowed a few moments before resuming its normal pace. No, that's right. It's the natural response, what was I hoping to hear? Caught up in this introspection, Calina's question took her off-guard, simple though it was. "Uh, eh? Ahhh, do? Well, you know I've got no love for the feds, so... after we finish paying back Apoth and their shitty cats, mmmyeah. Making off into the sunset on the Deliverance would really be fitting, wouldn't it?" The matter of the future had briefly come up in some of their talks, but even still, Abby found herself turning to look at Jess after answering, but the sight of a disappointed frown beginning to form on Calina's face stopped her short. "Oh, I'm an idiot. You mean right now, don't you. God." She cringed a little for being so dense. "Yeah, no... It's been too long, I gotta go see how everyone's doing. How the old girl herself is holding up. She didn't take reentry too badly, did she?"
  8. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    Abigail gave Jess a bit of a suffering look, shook her head and refuted a portion of her claim. "We already went over this, remember. You're human. Your mind, personality, everything you... absolutely human. Your... body's just a little different than most of us." Then she had to turn back and address Calina, whose barbs were uncannily on point. No, it was hard to even face her right now. Abby ended up shifting her gaze slightly aside, looking past the rebel at the line of lockers. She could feel her cheeks heating up, going beet red. "Look, it's complicated. And it's part of the reason I absolutely can't just toss her aside like you'd want me to. The ANF did her completely rotten, hid everything from her. Nobody knew. Nobody. Would it have made a difference if I'd known from the start," she started rhetorically, then paused. Probably, came an intense pang of guilt, inner demons whispering the reply she didn't want to hear. You're a bit of a shitter yourself, you know? Shaking her head, brushing the foul voices off, she continued. "Doesn't matter, because that's not how it happened." "So yeah, I get the surprise, I get the upset. I get the disbelief, the 'this can't be happening', the anger, the fear, the pain. But for the love of God, can't you stop attacking her? If you have to sound off on someone, dammit, pick a better target. It wasn't her fault. I don't think she'd have been able to seduce her way out of a paper bag. I'm the one who pushed her up against the wall," Abby said while grabbing Calina by the shoulders and doing the same, "Kissed her, and asked her to love me." Her actions continued to echo her words, as she went in for a violent crush of lips, then softly whispered 'Please. Please, still love me.' Tears began slowly welling up and starting to drip from the corners of her eyes. Pushing back away, their faces again at arms' length, Abigail continued. "If you're too upset right now, need to work it all off, we've got a gym just down the way, we can put on some gloves and you can beat the shit out of me until you feel better, can think clearer, and we can start to really talk. But just keeping going like this, senselessly lashing out without knowing any of the reasons, without even trying to find out... what are you hoping to accomplish? It feels like rather than trying to win me back you're more interested in pushing me away? That can't be what you want, it's not what anybody wants!"
  9. Aeon - The Odyssey

    Well, that had been every bit as grueling an experience at the cafe as feared, but there really hadn't been two ways about it. Maybe if Linus had more time to prepare... though for a last minute surprise, it could have gone so much worse. The situation at the arcade was more of the same. With advance notice, the could have booked a section, rather than being forced to scatter and hunt for open terminals. The suggestion to try to persuade a localized chunk of the arcade populace to cede their seats in 'the interest of a greater spectacle' had seemed dubious at best, so Linus was glad that it seemed the streamer girl had taken hold of an idea tangential to that, to try to just organize crowd and hype around the megasim Motherloader had somehow managed to get his hands on. Loathe though he was to give that headache any praise, some was certainly deserved for that feat. Hitomi was the obvious person to place in it, after the first thrust into the spotlight, she'd just have to ride out all of them today, and unsurprisingly a number of the fans called in by the catgirl were content to crowd around the unmatched views provided by watching that, though a dedicated gaggle also surrounded the normal sim that applicant had settled into as well. After making sure everybody else involved in the tryouts had acquired a space, Linus settled in to his own, and decided it was time to kick things off. While certainly gearing people up to a peak of excitement, it was obvious to him that Hitomi was waiting on his call to officially get the ball rolling. Fair enough. The discussion along the way had been to toss in to some campaign, whet the appetite for the new content releasing imminently by reliving some of the old. Which scenario to choose though... It only took a few moments thought. While the colony mission wasn't bleeding edge by any means, in terms of recency, it remained one of the most popular, and challenging, with long term appeal. A number of other scenarios offered some serious competition, the grand space battle within the asteroid belt coming to immediate mind, he really felt that the blend of options and objectives that the colony offered edged it ahead. "All right, everyone, your enthusiasm is commendable and understandable," he acknowledged, leading the team tryouts along mentally. "This one'll be a challenge. Rise up. We're taking things to the colony!" Then he input the commands in his terminal, setting the system link in motion and initiating the transfer from the holding pen people had been loading into, into the actual scenario proper.
  10. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    Oops, slipping into some jargon that the boy was not familiar with had dropped the clarity of Jess's comment a bit. An easy enough fix. "Ah, E-7. That just means," a slightly sheepish smile as she had to explain herself, "The seventh enlisted pay grade. Basically wanted to work up the promotion ladder till I hit Master Sergeant. Seemed like a good enough goal," she clarified as they descended the elevator into the hangar. His must be a curious case indeed if he wasn't really familiar with rank or pay, yet still expected to fight like a regular soldier day in and day out. And the boy really didn't look any older the more she saw of him. But that really wasn't her place to butt into. "Not every road needs to mapped out ahead of time," Jess agreed. "Many people find something along the way on a fork in the path they hadn't considered." But though she said that, it still really felt for her, personally, if she didn't have a goal in sight, that being adrift in the waters of fate and just vaguely floating toward the future would feel incredibly dizzying. It was part of why the disaster had hit her so hard, upending everything as it had. After settling the Aria into its docking location, Tarquin led the pair to exit the craft, and pointed out a bit of an oddity down below. Jess struggled to come up with a decent suggestion to excuse or explain what was going on, what with the unfamiliar craft and pilots in residence in the hangar, and even the boy didn't sound entirely convinced of the theory he floated. Luckily, it seemed she didn't have to, as a distraction swiftly imposed itself upon them. Curious though the other goings on were, nothing seemed to be imminently dangerous, so the recovering pilot was willing to delay the investigation a little and deal with the hand that had been dealt them instead. The new arrival was certainly doing a bit of boasting, but--if she remembered, or properly pieced together from the comments, which which of their underwater allies this had been--it wasn't baseless or crass. When he finally seemed to register her presence, she raised her hand and gave a brief wave, scarcely more than a twist of the wrist... which thankfully no longer hurt. "...Makoto... Makoto? That would, that would make you Mai's son then? Call me Jess, please. I spoke some with your mother, while I was recovering." That should be good enough for now, while she figured out if she was turning into some third wheel here and should let the boys on their own, or if it didn't matter either way if she stuck around and joined the conversation. Ginger, huh. Calina's first words were pretty dismissive, and she only went on from there to try to provoke a heated response out of her. It was hard, but Abby bit her lip and didn't take the bait. People... should be allowed to lash out when they're hurting. Right? She grunted, before finally adding simply, "There's a lot more to her than what you see on the surface. Don't just write her off," A shrug punctuated the warning as they prepared to lower down, but Calina edged her out, making a grab for first descent, and hitting the ground running after that. Well that meant no leisurely ride down for her. Abigail took things a little faster and a little looser than normal, landing with bent knees to absorb the shock, and jogging on over as--sure enough--somebody had taken aback by something they hadn't counted on, and was calling out to her for help. It almost looked cute. No. It actually really was cute. The smaller, slighter woman having wrapped up the other in a tight hug she couldn't slink out of. It wasn't even a bear hug, just a nice, firm, 'Welcome home' hug. It was enough to make one laugh a little. Hopefully that didn't heat up Abby's hot water situation any further. "Coming, coming, don't worry. It's fine," she called back before finally arriving within arms' reach. "Ha, Calina please, she's not trynna kill you or anything, just, haaaa." A bit of sigh here as Abigail tried to figure out how to start working the diplomacy. "Jess, thank you, but can you let her go now?" Dammit, why'd this have to be so tense. More than anything she just wanted to fool around and go 'where's my hug', but... she forced a smile and nodded. "Managed to it back in one piece, but only thanks to some swift thinking by Calina here." Then again, her and her men's plight had also been what prompted Abby's foolish charge too, so... it was kind of like everything had just come out in the wash. "Looks like the Riese is still holding together?" Uggg, nope, this whole fake, forced small talk, just wasn't quite sitting right. It's not that anything she'd said or asked wasn't true, or that it was unimportant, but it was woefully obvious in skirting the main point, baldly ignoring the elephant in the hangar. Grabbing both of the other women by the hands, Abigail started tugging, intending to drag them off to the pilots' changing room, where they could be a little more out of sight of the rest of the crew. Normally she might not mind so many eyes watching her, but right now...
  11. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    It never felt good, hearing someone you love tell you they despised you. But Abigail's tongue felt thick and sluggish inside her mouth, and she couldn't quite retort as she'd perhaps like to. Despite having dreaded this outcome since its possibility became apparent, there wasn't much that advance preparation had managed to mitigate. Now that the high of life-or-death combat with the enemy had worn off, she was mostly feeling slightly queasy, like a death row inmate awaiting an impending execution. At least there was something, though. When Jess's voice came in over the radio... just, everything about the way the captain was handling her end of the situation was a real healthy measure of relief to Abby. She tried to imagine a more supportive presence, and couldn't. Maybe things would degrade along the way later, but for now at least, the rebel felt a little more comfortable knowing she wasn't about to be beset by anger on all sides. And not only was Jess's consideration for her, but Abigail felt the genuine care that was expressed for Calina's wellbeing as well. There was a chance. Unfortunately the words seemed to have the opposite effect on her other lover, resulting in grumbles about the unbelievable baseless confidence of that woman. Those weren't the words she used, but Abby could imagine it rephrased as such, with bitter inflection, all too easily. And then came more terse words and curt tone from Calina, treating her almost like she would a stranger, when they should have been on the most familiar terms. That too, cut Abby like a knife. But could she protest it? No, not really. Not in good conscience. At least it was tempered, somewhat. At least Calina could still speak of love, still be glad of the bond they shared. Abigail would have to be extra careful to make sure not to break that. "I... The last thing I want is to hurt anyone." It was a bit of weak reply, and she felt it keenly. Could she actually promise there would be no regrets, though? Abby certainly wanted to. "I haven't given up on us. I won't. You can take that to the bank. I..." Abby paused and bit her lip, then rephrased her thought slightly. "If you end up regretting... I'll be as surprised and disappointed as you." Sena's call interrupted their conversation, and maybe it was for the best, but damn if Abigail's heart didn't go out to the younger girl. Poor thing just could not catch any breaks in life it seemed. The timeframe their sniper laid out was a little ambitious, Abby thought, but well, who knew? There was a bit of awkward silence, then some attempt at small talk, as Calina inquired after the Riese's operating mechanisms, but since she stumbled on the answer herself, that didn't leave Abigail with much to do but nod, and make a bit of a half smile. "Yeah, it's uh, something all right. Getting used to the scale of this was quite an adjustment, compared to home," Calina's reactions to the Riese were only natural, and Abby made sure to affirm that. Then came the million dollar question. "Right, well... Jessica is the captain here, and she's dressed the part. Hat and everything," Abigail pointed as well, though it really would have been hard to miss her. Speaking of the hat, there was quite the marked contrast from some earlier times, when the captain almost seemed to use it to hide. These days Jess had grown quite a bit more confident, and wore it with the full pride and dignity of the command. It was a good look on her, and Abby felt proud herself, even though there wasn't really much reason why she should. Just one of those things, perhaps. People like to show off their girlfriends looking their best. Curious though, as to who Calina had assumed to be woman responsible for 'stealing her away', Abby turned in the direction she seemed to be looking. By the sniper bot? Hmm... who was that again? Abigail hadn't spent much time with them at all... oh, no, that was the girl that had been in the infirmary on one of her visits to Nikolai. Bit of a sad story that one, but she was deploying again already? Who knew! "No, not that one, that's uh..." Crap what was her name? "She's newish; we followed a distress call and rescued her, haven't really spoken much yet."
  12. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    No. No no no no no. The enemy leader, murderer of her beloved, was winking away. Sena rapidly discharged her rifle, firing all remaining rounds, most aimed directly where the foe had been, but she angled a couple into the air above and one into the water below, in case the machine was just using some extremely advanced EM--or worse, multi-spectral--camouflage. No hit mark feedback, either audio of visual. It had gotten away, and while many would rejoice in the disappearance of an overwhelming threat, Sena could not. She couldn't even relax normally, though she could feel her facial muscles complaining from the unnatural strain she'd been putting them through, with the near constant contorted expressions of anger and grief since their arrival. Part of her wanted to collapse, to just... fall into the ocean and let the waves wash over her. Why bother with anything anymore? They'd retrieved Abigail yes... but that was not worth the cost. Was there enough left for her? Yes. Sena wasn't done, not yet any way. A cold fire still burned within her. "Calina, returning to the ship, making sure Terry and the others made it, then waiting for you," she radioed. Still no stutter? This felt like a record, but the moment she actively noticed was the instant her 'progress' completely dissolved. "D-D-Don't t-take too long. F-fifteen minutes..." Hopefully they wouldn't need to attack the Riese directly, but if something did go wrong, with whatever Abby and Calina were planning... Well, there was no way this day would be a complete loss, Sena would have to try. Thorvald watched the retreat of the unknown model carefully, and escorted along the other one, the one that Abby seemed to have escaped to after her Heracles was destroyed. He hadn't caught all of the details on that, swept up as he'd been defending the Riese, but just enough to not have to panic at the loss of a friendly signature. Opening a line to Jess, who no longer was likely to be entirely swamped, now was as good a time as any to update her on the situation. "Captain, a couple things. First, we've got one of the third party craft seeking to enter the hangar here, just a heads up. Seems they rescued Abigail, probably just dropping her off, but maybe there's more to it. Second, and more troublesome... I got a message from Astin, during the battle. Didn't want to cause a greater panic in the middle of everything, but now that it's over..." He relayed what he'd been told, a hint of disappointment clearly present in his voice, that he hadn't been able to rescue the sergeant from the traitor before they'd vanished. "Finally, I'm gonna keep patrolling the area for now. Help out on scrap retrieval here and there like I promised earlier, but we also don't know the full story on these... Mk IIIs, and there are at least 3 unaccounted for. If something goes wrong with the one, or if they just change their mind for any other reason and come back looking for a fight, well, I know I'd feel better with the Odin out here buying time for the others to redeploy, especially when we're just floating dead in the water like this." Tarquin apologized for 'recklessness', but all told, they'd made it through rather miraculously, and given the general chaos, it was hard to fault the boy for the damage they had taken. ...Especially when it could have been so much worse, when instead of the friendly alien comrade, it could have been them targeted by the... Jess shuddered a little, despite herself. The Aria's main pilot hadn't specifically commented on her reply to his question, but maybe he'd just been intending to keep her talking, help her from freezing up? He'd definitely noticed that she'd been struggling, not that she'd tried to make it obvious, but any trained soldier could easily have picked up on it. A small smile slid across her face. This kid, too kind for his own good, she thought briefly, before shaking her head and resolving not to weigh him down, if in the future they sortied as a pair again together. "It's all right," she reassured. "Given how much worse things could have gone, anyone would say you did an admirable job. Of course, myself included." Indulging herself in the apparent peace and quiet of victory, Jess allowed herself a small stretch to loosen up before continuing. "We've got enough energy and the thrusters are still responding perfectly, transferring control back to you. Do the honors and take us in."
  13. Hey, welcome back, friend.

  14. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    "Oh come the fuck on," Abby grumbled, as Calina pushed her away and took the controls. "Like, just listen to yourself? Yes, I know. You saved my life, kept me from dying, homeless and alone up in the colonies, and countless other times. You helped mold me into who I am today, I absolutely get that. I appreciate it. I love you for it!" Her voice had been rising in volume and pitch, peaking at this point, then she shook her head and started again fresh, in her regular register. "And maybe if this had just been some dumb one night stand, no strings attached, just some drunken fucking... if that had been true, then what you're suggesting, just leaving without a second glance back, that might actually be a valid answer." Abigail heaved a sigh, clearly frustrated and not sure how to fix it. "But it wasn't that, as you've realized by now, as much as it hurts. And with that in mind, can you really look me in the eye and tell me that knowing I'd just up and abandon someone I'd started having serious feelings for wouldn't just eat away at things? Soak into what we have like acid, corrode it from within until it's so brittle it collapses? Yeah, I know, the timeframe involved here doesn't hold a candle to our six years together, but can you honestly tell me it wouldn't keep you up at night, wondering if there's something somewhere out there that might make me turn on you just as coldly too? I'd have done it once before at that point, what'd stop me doing it again? Betrayal's a cancer, and yeah I fucked up and planted it, but damn... trying to just wish it away like this... that'll only make it worse, it ain't the answer." Angrily kicking her discarded helmet, sending it skittering across the cockpit floor, she slumped back into her seat, resting her head in her hands. "Jesus, are you even hearing what you're saying right now? Shoot me and bring me back by force? That was your first choice plan to sweep everything under the rug? ...Thanks, I guess, for compromising and not going through with it, but damn..." Bringing her arm up across her face, hiding in in her elbow, Abby whimpered, almost sobbed. "I don't know what to do. I don't! I can only see paths I can't bring myself to tread, and it's making me sick."
  15. Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

    Calina reciprocated, a good sign, but shortly after promising not to lose each other again, the other shoe did drop. Abigail blinked a couple times and silently nodded in response to the question of whether they really were going to land on the Riese, and the upset that caused was self-evident. As the accusations came quickly forth, they stung, like the slap to the face she expected would follow along soon enough, and she couldn't help but avert her gaze and look to the side. "Look, I, the evidence was... and, well, you guys, I mean at least you had to know..." Had to know I was alive? How? Abby caught herself. It was wishful thinking at best, to try to claim their situations were actually that different. What did her crew actually really know. Her heart stopped beating for a moment, and she mumbled barely audibly. "You were still looking at least, Sena was... the email... so you hadn't found anything conclus--" Oh god no. Weak. What an unbelievably cowardly way to try to hide from responsibility. Ashamed at herself for even trying, Abigail cut herself off mid-excuse, grit her teeth, and turned back to look Calina in the eye. A deep breath, gotta just own up to it. "I guess I'm just kind of an idiot? I was weak, alone, nobody to help me. I caved to a crazy captain showing more kindness than I ever expected. Certainly not from feddies. I'm, just... the worst, aren't I?" Abby went in for another hug, leaning her head over the other woman's shoulder, and lowered her voice, speaking softly. "I fucked up bad, and it's gotta hurt like hell, doesn't it? I'm sorry. I'm really sorry." She choked, then paused. Abigail knew she couldn't stop there, though, she had to finish. "But... it's, not just something I can snap my fingers and undo. I've gotta... we've gotta try to live with this, work something out. Find an answer, hopefully one that hurts everybody the least."