Phoenix

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About Phoenix

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    Preener, Percher, Purchaser
  • Birthday 12/31/1988

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    Male
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    Personal Growth, writing, fighter jets, women, philosophy, explosions, anime, etc.
  • Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada

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  • Favorite Fire Emblem Game
    Fates: Revelation

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  1. Sci-Fi RP Interest Check

    Thanks for letting me know about the link, Ursali. It should be working now. Also, we've got the minimum number of interested folks I wanted before going all in. There are still some parts of the system I'm working on, as well as getting past the GM Forge learning curve, so in the meantime, everyone who's going to be joining should get to the Discord server and get familiar with the setting. Follow Rothene, he knows the way XD
  2. Sci-Fi RP Interest Check

    So far so good, though Roxas you should visit the server when you've got the time. The link's in the first post. If we hold onto everyone we've got so far then one more person means it's full steam ahead.
  3. Sci-Fi RP Interest Check

    This is going up later than I planned, but definitely worth the extra polish. Like the title says, this is an interest check for Aeon, an RP I'll be starting relatively soon (2018-Don't quote me on that). I managed to get a lot of information written down since the big move, so you can find all the current details on this google site. Please take your time going through it. I'd like to start off with at least five players once everything is ready (myself not included), but a larger number is totally fine, so don't feel like you have to rush and read everything in one sitting. If you're interested in joining or have some questions, be sure to hop onto the HF Discord server. Just two more things. Aeon's battles will be hosted either on Roll20 or GM Forge. I'm leaning toward GM Forge, but it'll be tricky this early since I'm just starting out with it. Roll20's a backup option since I already know how to use it, and can make a passable character sheet and some macros if I hunker down for a few days. Lastly, there is a requirement for joining. If you're not going to be playing in any of the battles (noncom) then you won't need a Roll20 account or have to log into GM Forge, but I do want to be able to reach everyone through Discord. It's fast, smooth, and the notifications don't break on me. I can make an exception here and there, but in general everyone should be on the HF server. That's all for now. Thanks for reading.
  4. The fact that Brant didn't feel much when Abigail stormed out of the meeting started to bother him once Jessica got up and gave chase. He got the implication behind Jessica being monitored, and though he knew it was a serious problem in her personal relationships, Brant just couldn't bring himself to care like he should. He'd faced this issue himself, always being monitored. There was at least audio in most places. It was the norm, and he and Rosa were almost never truly alone. These two, this pairing ... they didn't have his sympathies on this one. And this was a problem they could have avoided completely with even one iota of patience, so Brant couldn't find the care and concern he was searching for. He did find that bitter fire inside, though. For once, he had the strength to keep it fully suppressed, but it was still there. So was that nagging little voice. The doctor thought on her patient as the topic took a slight turn. Without Nikolai constantly stirring things up, it was getting more and more difficult not to like him, or at least the idea of him, which was constantly changing shape into something more and more sympathetic. It hadn't even occurred to Megumi--recently--that the ANF might move Nikolai off of the Riese instead of treating him here. Tarquin, when he spoke up about the wounded gremlin, seemed more concerned with ensuring he was treated at the very least. For Megumi, that was never in doubt. If the Federation suits were thinking of just dumping him into a wheelchair and parking him on a sidewalk somewhere, the Riese's captain could give them an ultimatum the whole war might hinge on. Megumi would have insisted on continued treatment even if Tarquin hadn't, though not as a condition for staying on. All in all, she was sure she and the ANF had the Nikolai situation well in hand. The real question was whether he was accompanying them to the Arctic. Whether to mention that before Vance spoke up, though ... Brant meanwhile tried to focus on Chris as Tarquin voiced his concerns for Nikolai. It was that or argue with the little voice in his head trying to raze all the bridges and lose track of the signals he was sending out for his fellow TKs. Thinking on his beloved copilot immediately brought Brant back to some peculiar events that took place earlier in the day. The meeting with Firmia after the salvage operation hadn't been the nuclear event either of them were expecting. And what followed that brief meeting hadn't been expected, either. It was definitely worth it, though, chipping away at his conditioning and reassuring Chris at the same time. FALL IN!
  5. Return of the Emblem: Chat

    NOTICE: This is really late but I've been hammering away at a lot of different things while on this hiatus. Anyway, since the RP's very close to dead, I'm going to be making some changes in the next few weeks. The plan is to give this one more shot with a rework to the plot and a cleaner start. If it sticks, awesome. If it doesn't, I'll be officially calling this one. For those staying, some things to know ahead of time are that I'll be TSing at least one month from where the topics are now, and starting at Chapter 16 (though it's going to feel an awful lot like Chapter 1). I won't be doing any retros related to this particular skip, so I suggest treating it as part of a backstory (along with previous events) and asking questions. I'll answer what I can and get back to you on the rest. For those going, any characters without writers will be handled on a case by case basis, but mostly just moved out of the way. Killing them isn't the default option, right now. If you'd prefer that or something else for your character, please specify ASAP (either in this thread or on Discord), because I'll be dealing with that in the TS summary once I get started on it. What's happening to the plot: By this point, Freyya will have finished her own gate system, and instant travel between Weyland's Estate, Rusoyev Manor, and Kurosaki Inn will be established. The Valcyn and Sanctuary teams will also be dissolved since this will be a war effort now and not a scramble to warn the nations. Some of my PCs will be taking on NPC roles to help change the plot's focus to smaller/more local parts of the Fallen Incursion. They may help out occasionally if the RP gets some momentum going again, but characters like Amon and Raquel are mostly going to be handing out plot tickets starting out. There won't be anymore changes to the combat system until after the first battle. Up to date builds will still be legal. I'll post more information as I settle on some things, but that should do it for now. If you're staying, thank you kindly. If you're going, please get back to me on your character preferences. If you're new, please sit tight. More info's coming.
  6. All things considered, Apotheosis and the Sacarians formed the most fragile of alliances. The real question Sasha felt needed asking was why ally with Apotheosis in the first place? The answer seemed rather obvious: The Sacarians couldn't take out the ANF and the EU by themselves ... not without spoiling their prize, at least. And with that simple bit of reasoning, it seemed clear to this Russian that not only were the Sacarians beatable, but wouldn't last a few months longer than Apotheosis without a major shift in diplomacy. He'd been about to bring some of this up when the subject shifted from Apoloco and the Precarians to preparations and separations for the final battle. Apotheosis was a little crazy but they weren't plain stupid. Apparently Australia had just the tech to take the fight to their doorstep, and Vera skipped the fight at Central to personally nip that problem in the bud. It was impossible to tell at this point whether that had been the right move on her part. The Luna showing up in the battle at ANF HQ could have spelled disaster for the Riese and Avalon crews, or simply been another mark. It was all circumstance. Next came the topic of who was staying and who was going. As for Sasha, he was an Alkaev pilot. He hadn't trained to fight a war specifically, but he'd been trained to shrug at the prospect of his own death ... and he often did. Risking life and limb was just how he made ends meet. Add to it that he actually liked his employer and colleagues, and it was no question. Then add onto that Cheryl, that sweet curvaceous lady, and the only thing stopping Sasha from laughing at this oddly kind gesture was common courtesy. Instead, he grinned knowingly to Doctor Hart. Vance wasn't just giving Jessica the option of leaving after the war, he was giving the rest of them the option to leave right now. Brant was surprised to say the least. Even if he didn't have people here he wanted to protect, he still wanted to do what he could to stop Apotheosis. One machine, and one good pilot could often make all the difference. "Going to finish what we started," Brant put in, making sure it was clear he was staying, even though it was obvious to anyone that knew anything about him. Doctor Amparo wasn't even sure if Vance's little 'opt out' applied to her. She was quite literally the only medical doctor the ship had, and was likely to ever have in the course of this war. Granted, she could be replaced with a doctor from the base if she did suddenly disappear, but it was still a bad idea to suddenly drop everything. Megumi had expected that if she did raise her hand and try to opt out, Vance or someone else would either make her an offer, or just stare her down. It honestly sounded like an option geared toward the pilots. Just the same, she wasn't thrilled with the idea of going down with the ship in the event of the unforeseen ... and yet ... that was the risk she was taking. It wasn't too difficult to justify. The crew of the Riese, as well as its captain, were getting stronger, not weaker, smarter, not dumber. That was something to trust in and try to foster as much as humanly possible. "I like my job for the most part," Megumi said, indicating her willingness--necessary or otherwise--to stay on for the final mission. ... and also she wanted to see what it was like for Jessica to be plugged into the ship. It sounded like an interesting concept.
  7. "Question," Sasha chimed in, his curiosity getting the better of him, "Alriana here worked for the Sacarians specifically, right? Not Apotheosis?" He was pretty sure it was the Sacarians. There was no point in the surly servals killing Apotheosis' most important mole, though ... not unless this really was the end game and it was time to put the pieces away. That, or the two groups were running at cross purposes. Given Apotheosis' opening speech a while back, and the Sacarians making a land grab at Earth, that certainly seemed likely. "If they didn't tell her what she was getting into before they sent her here, then they either didn't know or they had something else in mind." Brant was leaning toward the former thinking about it. It seemed strange at first, but there was no reason Apotheosis and the Sacarians couldn't be bogged down by the same kinds of communication problems the Riese crew had. It had just cost them dearly, this time. As for Elaine's concerns, he trusted that Jessica had things under control, now. It was strange that Vance was offering to let her go after the war. Maybe Brant wouldn't have wound up stuck in this organization if things had played out like he originally thought they would.
  8. The meeting room was more crowded than usual, Brant noticed, but that wasn't the biggest thing on his mind, right now. He had to have a very minor argument with Firmia for the Alkaev to let him come over here with Hannah and Sasha. She seemed convinced that the only thing waiting for him over here was pain, especially if he had to share a room with Jessica and Abigail at the same time. Firmia was at least partially correct; Brant did not want to be in the room when both were present. One or the other was enough. Still, having so many other people here went a long way toward drowning out that pestering voice in his head. Sitting next to Chris also gave him a sort of beacon to focus on if anything regarding those two came out. Oh, right. These aliens probably knew their language, at least to some degree, if they were sitting in on this meeting. If not, Brant expected someone nearby to do a quick translating job for him. Either way, being part of the Avalon's crew wasn't going to ruin customs. "One thing if no one minds," Brant perked up, "Welcome to the team, you two." He hadn't caught their names unfortunately, but gave both Alriana and Vvi a friendly wave. He wasn't quite as upbeat as usual, but Brant wasn't the only one that looked a little tired from today. The nap certainly helped, but he wasn't just fatigued. Sasha was glad he came, but refused to take a seat at the meeting table, again. Same as before, he was just a guest, and unlike last time, they could use the spare seats. Instead, he stuck close to Cheryl while trying not to laugh at her antics with Alriana. At this point she might as well adopt the stygusian for how attached she was getting. As for the meeting itself, Jessica turning out to be an android was still amusing, and Sasha felt it was safe to start joking about it back on the Avalon, since the Riese's captain seemed to be acclimating fairly well. No 'too soon's after this exceptionally smooth debriefing. After all, last time he was in this meeting room, she'd been stuttering and arguing with her subordinates, and that was before Rosa called. Now nearly double the number of participants, include the ANF's military commander, and toss in a few aliens for good measure, and Jessica was just rolling with it. If this wasn't improvement, nothing was. Megumi was tired, but she sat in on the meeting too, instead of streaming audio to the infirmary. It had been a long day, and it wasn't quite over, yet. She still had tests to run, but thankfully she hadn't needed a tissue sample directly from Alriana's freshly healed body. It turned out that the stygusian's fight with Tiffany and the Riese's automated defenses had produced adequate samples out in the first deck's hallway. Convenient ...! The doctor decided to just focus on Alriana today and let Vvi rest before running tests on her. Given her morphology, she ought to be just fine on the Riese until Megumi learned more about her. Without the lumbering tail to deal with, she might be better adapted than Alriana. It was difficult to say for certain this early into things. For now, all she needed to worry about was whatever Commander Vance had for them.
  9. Take your pick, Megumi thought to herself as she shrugged at Aliza and Vvi. Her thoughts were nearly quoted by Olivia, but there were so many available due to the ship's size that it seemed like their guest wanted permission. Well, she had it, and the Hollow Man hadn't shown up yet, so any bed that looked free likely was. "I take it you'd like some space between you," Megumi guessed, eyeing Vvi and Alriana in turn. Then she indicated a bed three units over from Alriana's and in a different row across the way. That was comfortably out of range of Alriana's tail, at least.
  10. And just like that, Megumi's desire to take samples was gone. After all, if all she was going to find in Alriana's recent diet were things like chicken and fish, she might as well take samples from anyone else. That would be safer ... The doctor sighed at the latest information, almost sad to not have much left to investigate on that front. It seemed just as well, since Makoto checked in over the comms. The feed from the console had hinted as much, but it was good to hear Makoto had gotten away from the Regina more or less unscathed ... that attack would have killed anyone else outright. "That's good to hear, Makoto." Megumi glanced at Alriana and then Mai as she thought about what she would say next. That was when Aliza entered the infirmary with yet another alien. With that, the doctor nearly forgot that she had originally planned on using Makoto as a trial run on not spilling secrets to her civilian sisters. What she meant to say turned into, "There's two of them, now? I'm not an exobiologist ... erm, anyway, everyone on the ship is fine as far as I know, your mother included. You may want to visit each other in the cafeteria, though. We're going to be busy in the infirmary for at least a few more hours." The new girl, Ms. Four Eyes as Megumi's mind kept begging her to make official, didn't seem to want to deal with this situation for her own reasons. Did she and Alriana know each other? Well, as long as no eye beams or plasma grenades were whipped out over it, it might actually be an interesting story ...
  11. Alriana's answer was somewhat helpful; Megumi was at least sure she wouldn't keel over from whatever Cheryl wound up bringing back. Still, the doctor was even more inclined to get some samples, now. "I just want to make sure that you get enough of what your body needs ... and that we don't give you anything toxic." She needed some good tissue samples for other tests, too. She hadn't worked out how to get them, yet ... this needle thing was just plain stupid ... but either way it was going to be a long day. "You don't have to worry about not eating," Megumi offered, "There's more than enough to go around and even if there wasn't, Cheryl wouldn't let you go without." That and the Riese crew never failed. Good news for Alriana should she choose to join them. Megumi noticed it just then, that faint smile that kept sneaking up on her whenever certain things came up. She reined it in so quickly she looked like a bad memory had just hit her. "If it's alright, I'd like to take some samples from around your teeth to see what kinds of things you normally eat." Megumi had to ask regardless, making gestures with her hands as if she was picking things out of her own teeth, but it was mainly a way of buying herself time to figure out what was going on. Sure, Alriana was amusing when she wasn't tearing up the place, but that shouldn't be enough to break down the doctor's professional mien. Maybe this was just too much fun for her now that the imminent danger was gone ...
  12. On the one hand, being held captive on a Sacarian ship for so long that it was basically her home was just sad. But, on the other hand, it meant these stygusians were at least on par with humans in terms of adaptability. Megumi suspected Alriana would be alright in the Riese's environment more long term, without any special needs beyond hydration, nutrient intake, and whatever other activities were necessary for her overall health. This was a gift of sorts, good news taped up in lousy wrapping paper. Olivia chimed in to try and clarify things, and she was right, Megumi was trying to learn more about Alriana's home world specifically. If she could get by just fine in a Sacarian cage though, then it wasn't as pressing a matter as the doctor feared it would be. Still every little detail helped. There might be some crucial difference that could affect this adorable iguana's long term health. Based on what they had seen of the race so far, stygusians weren't biological pushovers by any means. Perhaps socially vulnerable, but that was another matter ... another amusing matter~ Alriana went on to confirm the medical staff's worries that she was indeed a Sacarian pet, kept and raised by them, and probably meant only for combat operations like this one. "Well," Megumi nearly smiled again, "I'm glad to know our enemies are as dumb as we were when it comes to slavery. I'm sure we'll be taking advantage of that in the future. Okay, Alriana, next question. I know Cheryl left to get you something, but when was the last time you ate? What do the Sacarians usually feed you?" Megumi was expecting even more detailed downers with a question like that, but was also considering getting an actual sample. She didn't really want to go swabbing around Alriana's almost comically menacing teeth for those samples, but it would be the easiest way to figure out what was actually part of the infiltrator's diet. She could work from there, but could only hope the Sacarians liked the idea of a physically healthy combat unit, and not just a functional one. Things were still chaotic below, and on top of that, there was now more than one source of anger emanating from the crew's quarters, now. Just one would have been fine; it could be someone throwing a temper tantrum. Two or more was a standoff, or perhaps even a heated argument, depending on whose wrath was aimed where. All Brant was completely sure of was that Jessica was one of the angry ones. Maybe the other was Abigail? A part of him was hopeful in that, and another part dreaded the thought. There was a good chance it was actually someone else; a few people had taken off for the elevators not too long ago, including Admiral Alphonse of all people, so there were quite a few possibilities if that was where he and others had been headed. The possibilities kept on growing as Jessica's anger gave way more and more to fear. "Are you really going to wait around for things to calm down?" Firmia came back over the Regalia's comms. "What are you going to do if something does happen? Get back out of the Regalia and rush over? For what?" She had a point, Brant admitted, but some people, himself included, just had to watch the meteor coming down. This was as clear a picture as he was going to be able to get. And if Abigail was down there, then this was probably the moment that would determine exactly which way things would go. It felt incredibly masochistic to be trying to feel the situation out, because for Brant, it was already over. This was just the context, a degrading eulogy. Abigail would likely conclude all of Brant's failures today, proving one of two things to him once and for all. She would prove that he was a worthless man for being overwhelmed by his pain, or she would prove that his choice, the most important one he'd made to that point, was completely wrong. Brant already suspected the latter, merely because being with Jessica would have meant leaving the Regalia for someone else to pilot, remaining on the Riese more or less permanently, parting ways with the Avalon when the war ended, likely never forgiving Rosa or helping Tonya in the process, never having so much as an inclination to help Chris, and never lifting a finger to address his own weakness. It went back to his discussion with Sasha, about this agape love he was trying to incorporate into his life. Brant could only speculate, but with the way things had played out, he never could have had such a discussion, or come to do the things he was doing if he hadn't been brought so low, so quickly. The price for it all was just too high. The Alkaev-Abrams Continuum
  13. "You're welcome, Ensign." Megumi mirrored the salute, mostly out of habit. From the looks of things Alriana wouldn't be too much trouble. The doctor was picking up worrisome hints of a war like culture, which was only solidifying her mental image of the male blue bloods. As long as Alriana herself didn't get it in her head that she should challenge any of the infirmary staff members to a sparring match, Megumi wasn't going to waste energy fretting over things like that. When it came to strength, the doctor only needed to be strong enough to lug around her firearm of choice, whether it be a simple sidearm, or a portable railgun. Now then ... "Alriana," Megumi approached, figuring now was as good a time as any to gather more information. "What can you tell me about your ... home?" She meant to say something along the lines of 'natural environment,' but she was getting a better grasp of Alriana's language skills and didn't want to use any big words or ambiguous terms. There was also the distinct possibility that Alriana was her society's equivalent of a 'city girl,' and not born and raised in a natural environment. She may have been stuck on a Sacarian ship most of her life for all the doctor knew. Regardless, she had to start somewhere, and hopefully figure out the key differences between Earth, and wherever Alriana was from. Tarquin clearly wanted to have his cake and eat it, too; judging others from a distance and discouraging any attempts at a mutual understanding. Oddly enough it was similar to the approach Firmia took with people, only coming from the other side. The fewer people that were close to her--the fewer people she had to safeguard--the easier life was for her. Unfortunately, stuffing everyone into her ship was, at best, only a momentary fix. As for trying to explain the Alkaev's motives to Tarquin, Brant was feeling ... discouraged. In some ways, Firmia's past was even more messed up than his own, and yet all Tarquin wanted to see was a girl playing with her dolls. If first impressions were all that mattered to the young marksman, then his mind had been made up days ago. What could Brant say to even begin chipping away at such a lazily drawn conclusion? "You know," Brant winced faintly, "... someone like you, who's also been controlled your whole life, could help us show her a better balance to doing things. Or ..." he shrugged, recalling Rosa's various confessions in the weeks before all hell broke loose, "you could just focus on all the Ninas out there and ignore your fellow Tarquins." That wasn't the chisel he was looking for, Brant thought to himself, but the two teenagers did have some things in common: Both were highly judgmental. Both were too young to be involved in a war. Both were jerked around by conniving old men. Both overreacted when protecting things. And both were depressing to think about for any length of time. Chris decided to settle the Nina matter herself and wanted Brant to relay her decision to Firmia. Of course Brant didn't have to relay one word because Firmia heard it all firsthand. "Guess you caught all of that ..." So Brant would have to come back to pick her up later. He wasn't having someone else do it, that was for certain. "I did," Firmia replied, "and ... I'm washing my hands of all of this. Thorvald can go back to whatever he was supposed to be doing before this. We can handle the salvage on our own." Brant heard another heavy sigh on the other end of the call. "Let me know once you're back in the air." The channel closed from Firmia's end. Brant didn't wait until he was airborne to try and get Firmia back on the line. He'd only strapped himself in and got the Regalia standing upright. As soon as he turned on the T-Link, he realized that something was off on the deck just below him. It may have seemed awkward for the Regalia to continue standing in place, but Brant was more concerned with the various emotions all clustered together down in the crew's quarters. Once he was sure it wasn't anything dangerous ... Even that didn't delay Brant in calling Firmia back. In case this took a while, he wanted her to know what he was doing. "I haven't left yet, but we've got some privacy, now." Brant already knew that was what she really wanted, and maybe he could get her to talk while he felt out the situation below. "No one's in the cockpit with you?" "Chris is outside with Nina," Brant winced. If she didn't want Chris to hear either then this was probably personal. "Well then ... I appreciate what you're trying to do for me, but please don't. It's better if I don't have any contact with the Riese's pilots between battles. Senior officers is more than enough." Brant gritted his teeth at that. "You're isolating yourself too much. If I honestly thought you and Tarquin would become friends, I'd just shut up, sit back, and let it happen. I'm just trying to make it easier for us to all keep working together ... so crap like this doesn't happen again. ... there's nothing worse than misunderstandings." "As long as the misunderstandings stay on the grunt level, and just on Jessica's side of things, then it should be fine. That ship still has a mole problem. Anyway, that's not what I wanted to talk to you about ..." Brant sighed. "What did you want to talk about, then? I'm too tired to try and get you to open up to the crew right now." He also couldn't think of any way to address the mole issue. That was actually a legitimate concern, even if Firmia was using it like a bludgeon to fend off all 'unnecessary' relations. "... take off, first," Firmia said, her tone oddly pleading. "Any particular reason I need to be in the air, first?" Brant asked, cocking an eyebrow. There was a brief pause. "I promise I'll explain afterward. For now, just launch and go meet up with Tonya. She'll be waiting by the Rhea. I don't want to take any chances moving it, so you're both going to fly it back together." "... alright, but give me one more minute ... it feels like there's some drama happening down in the third deck and I don't want to take off right in the middle of it. I'm pretty sure Jess is down there." "Just another day on the Heion Riese," Firmia bit out, "Please hurry."
  14. Alriana was certainly talkative when she wanted to be. The topic for now seemed to be fighting well. A great choice to follow up a mildly embarrassing defeat. Nothing crazy was happening now, and the pilots were back, so calling Makoto while Alriana and Tristan got reacquainted seemed good. Megumi also wanted to do a practice run of sorts. At some point today she was going to call her sisters and tell them about this harrowing experience of hers. She would have to leave out the details about the alien--such as the fact that she was indeed an alien, lest she risk royally pissing off her employers by giving out potentially classified information to civilians. Makoto would make a good test case to see if she could dance around said details until the big debriefing. "Makoto?" Megumi tried contacting him directly since all the pilot feeds had already cut, "It's Doctor Amparo." She hadn't noticed Alriana's tail quietly slithering over to Tristan's leg until after she'd tried calling Makoto. It was admittedly a worrisome move on Alriana's part, but there wasn't enough evidence of an impending attack for her to make any move to stop it, though she wanted to. The body language hadn't changed, and Alriana seemed almost oblivious to it. The doctor would likely hear a yelp from Tristan soon, but she decided to focus on giving Makoto the overdue report. Firmia grimaced at first, knowing just how annoying a situation like this was when one was on the receiving end. She personally had no intention of putting Carlos in the ground but she didn't have any say in what the ANF did, nor did she have any legal authority to work with. At best she could try to negotiate if they wanted Carlos' head. Not that she had much in the way of motivation to help the man. His plight was definitely reaching her, though. And what was this about Bismarck? An inside job? It wasn't quite intel, but that would change if she could get more out of him. It would probably be better to build some rapport first, no small task, even in his sorry state. Now, where to- "Hey, Firmia." ... Brant? That was definitely his voice coming out of her tablet ... "We're not done over here yet, but something came up." Firmia grimaced. Their five minutes was just about up now that she thought about it. And if something came up, then ... "Urgh ... I need to step out for one moment." Heading back out into the hallway, Firmia mentally braced herself for whatever this latest batch of nonsense was going to be. "... elaborate, please." Tarquin's outburst was a little sudden, and surprisingly cutting. What had Brant done to him? What had Firmia done to him for that matter? When and how had her decisions hurt him? Bad first impressions, maybe? Wasn't she risking her life and her livelihood over this war just like him and everyone else? In some ways she was going above and beyond, taking a leadership role she had no way to prepare herself for, and putting everything she held dear right on the front lines, personnel and resources alike. Tarquin seemed awfully hung up on this business of following orders. Maybe it was because of his own troubles, but that was just how the military worked. As long as the Avalon was functioning in the same capacity, it would need a similar command structure. Nobody had to like it, that was simply the way it was. Maybe this was about Liebenwalde. Knowing that man was a traitor couldn't have been easy to cope with. Any authority figure may have seemed like a ticking time bomb with thoughts of his professor floating around in there. Still, going after Firmia like she was some sort of slave driver ... had he even exchanged more than a few words with her, or just was he simply judging from a safe distance in keeping with his combat style? "Is that how you really feel about her? About me? The people working under her? You think we're just her toys?" Brant wasn't even going to start on the solution testing bit; Tarquin was treading some extremely toxic waters there without even realizing it. He could sense the younger pilot's irritation and wondered how long he'd felt this way. This was a bad way to address that grievance, regardless of when it started. "You really don't understand ... bringing her back to the Avalon was our idea, not Firmia's," Brant said, determined to make that point understood if nothing else. There was one other thing ... something bothering him on so many levels he would never put it all into words here and now. "... I don't like having to work for an 'Alkaev' after everything I've been through ... but it's just a name. She's her own person, and I know that from experience. Everyone that transferred with her to the Avalon knows it. Call her selfish all you want, Tarquin, but at least point me to someone who isn't selfish before trying to make that anthill into a mountain. Firmia's honoring her agreement to work with the ANF to beat Apotheosis. That should be enough for you, even with her side projects. And if that's not enough then talk to her ... figure out what's really going on." Thorvald meanwhile was suggesting a compromise. Given how reluctant Firmia was to even make an attempt at bringing the clone back, Brant doubted this would end well if he had to contact her and let her know they were staying for overtime. Right ... use the Odin to help out with the salvage operation while Chris stayed on the Riese to keep an eye on her latest sibling. Thorvald seemed pretty sure Firmia would go for it. Brant was less certain; the young Alkaev was always willing to pass up a good opportunity if she was frustrated and doing so would spare her more. Then there was Carlos, whom she probably wanted time to interrogate, right now ... There was no way this was going to end well, but with how he was feeling now, Brant was having a harder time actually caring, anymore. Best to just get this over with. "Hey, Firmia," he radioed her, making sure anything she said could be heard by Thorvald, and as a consequence, anyone else within earshot. No need to waste time playing middleman if it came to that. "We're not done over here yet, but something came up." "... elaborate, please." "The ... you called her Nina, right?" Wrong name, honestly. Now Brant couldn't do Chris and Tina jokes. "They're not going to let us take her back with us, at least not in the time you gave us. Thorvald's offering a compromise, though. He'll help us with the salvage while Chris stays here with Nina. After that he'll see what Jess wants to do." Brant thought that's what Thorvald meant, but he wasn't completely certain. He also had some reservations about leaving Chris here, even temporarily. He'd have to come back and pick her up, with or without Nina. He'd have to come back to this ... crowded ... unwelcoming hangar. "That's your idea of a compromise?" Firmia sounded anything but impressed. "His," Brant grinned bitterly at his wrist comm. Riese-Avalon relations were probably going to be strained by the end of this little episode. Firmia sighed heavily. It was a long pause on her end before she finally said, "What do you think?" Normally Brant might have at least tried to phrase himself a little better, but Firmia caught him by surprise asking him for his opinion, again. It was getting more and more common. "... I just wanna get the hell out of here. It's your call, Captain." "My- ... erm ..." Maybe the captain bit had caught her off guard. Oh well ...
  15. Alriana apparently got Megumi's meaning, so there wasn't any need to try for a better explanation. Instead, she got to watch while Alriana complimented Tristan. She called him strong. Not strong enough to tough out a headache, though. Megumi would have gone with quick thinking, herself. "Tristan may be strong," Megumi said, handing off the Tylenol, "but as you can see, stress is stronger," she said, her tone the only thing giving away the playful jab. Mai meanwhile seemed surprised by Alriana's gender. "Doesn't she look like a female?" Megumi asked. She was in full agreement with Cheryl on that one, though to be completely honest, in that moment the doctor wasn't quite sure why that was the case. She squinted briefly at Alriana, looking for subtle indicators. Megumi quickly concluded that it was the lizard girl's relatively long hair, the pitch of her voice, and her slightly bottom loaded musculature that had her buying it. She could only wonder what the males looked like. The first and last mental image that came to mind was a taller, stubbier, bearded creature that would have been too strong and aggressive for just the bridge staff to hold down. As for helping, Mai was certainly well enough to play nurse, even if she didn't have the experience. Megumi considered it while the woman pestered Tristan about the pilots. That reminded her, she'd need to report to Makoto sometime before the debriefing like she said she would. She wondered if he would be annoyed with the stupidly late news. Either way, as long as he wasn't getting distracted from his own battles by things he couldn't change, the shady doctor felt no guilt whatsoever~ Charity? Yeah, not likely, Firmia mused. She shook her head, keeping up with the androids and Carlos as they approached the infirmary. "Closure ... I guess." Firmia did not like how somber she sounded, but she couldn't help it. She felt ... sad. Not angry. Just plain sad. Changing the subject was about all she could do to keep up appearances. "I also want information, but I'm not going to kill you. On that note ... if the ANF asks me to hand you over to them, I'm going to have to eventually, and they may want to execute you. Anything you can tell me beforehand might keep you alive. I'm not sure, but it's something to consider." Brant sighed as Thorvald stopped the two clones. So close, too ... a few meters from the Regalia's feet, even. Brant didn't like the idea of just waiting up here and not at least trying to back Chris up somehow, so that was no longer an option. Without really judging the height, he pushed off the edge of the Regalia's hatch and silently dropped the twenty feet or so to the hangar floor. It was a rough landing, but Brant absorbed it easily and slowly pulled himself backup to his full height. "It's not that we don't trust you," he said to Thorvald, "Firmia didn't give us a lot of time to get her ... in fact, I think we've only got a couple minutes left. That's why we're in a hurry. Anyway, don't you think the Riese has her hands full, right now? With everything going on here I doubt Doctor Amparo's going to have time to give her a full examination. Our doctor's a lot less busy." A thought suddenly occurred to him, but Brant hadn't even finished processing it before his mouth started moving on its own, again. "Firmia has a way to treat her. I can't promise anything but right now that's our best option." Brant had almost no idea what he was talking about, mentioning Firmia's treatment, but there were two important realizations that caused him to bring it up before knowing for certain whether or not it was true. The first was the mental conditioning Dima had originally planned for him and his older brother. That wasn't a practice run he was subjecting them to, the technique was well developed. The second was the Alkaev journal ... the one Firmia had just stolen from Dima, yesterday. If the research he and his minions did to come up with that conditioning plan was now in Firmia's hands, then there may be enough in there to try and treat this latest clone, minus the torture. It was a long shot to be sure, but maybe the bluff would help him and Chris out of this mess. If anyone wanted to check with Firmia about the treatment, she would probably just blow them off. Brant wasn't sure if that would help or hurt matters, but it probably wouldn't give the bluff away ... and who knows? Maybe they could treat the clone with that research data, assuming it existed.