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About Phoenix

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

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

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  • Favorite Fire Emblem Game
    Fates: Revelation

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  1. Bennet was going? She could at least help get Christina into the SIEG tank, first ... "Tambre come and help me transfer her into the tank. Christina, patching up these wounds is going to be a little intense so I'm going to have to put you under for a while." Normally she wouldn't bother stating the obvious so seriously, but ... well ... no matter what Megumi did, if the Riese was taken out here, Christina wouldn't ever realize what had happened. Maybe that would make her one of the lucky ones, but Megumi didn't think so. It was terrifying to be put to sleep and not know whether or not you'd ever wake up again. With her group closing in on the Luna along with the Artemis, Firmia was hopeful they could down that monster once and for all. There was always the chance it would simply teleport from the field again. If that happened this time, Firmia had no doubt the next time they encountered Vera, the cyborg would be waiting for them at Apotheosis' base. That was the last thing they needed. Anyone they could kill off here and now wouldn't be around to confront them in the final battle. Somehow, they had to pin the Luna down and destroy it. To the Alkaev's surprise, Chris yelled at Vera in the middle of this whole mess. She also smacked the Luna with a funnel, but that was a footnote compared to what was actually said. The threats, the righteous fury, the promise of overwhelming retribution, it all hit very close to home. Chris' idea of justice was clearly 'an eye for an eye' with a bit of salt for flavor, but it still wasn't that far removed from Firmia. The Alkaev simply felt that the best way to protect her loved ones was to make the notion of harming them so unwise, so stupidly dangerous for the offender and everyone around them, that no one would even consider it, and might even set someone straight for mentioning it. That kind of thing involved building up a reputation like Dima's, unfortunately. While not a kindred spirit, Firmia definitely understood Chris' feelings in this one instance. "Avalon," Brant radioed the bridge, "We're all engaging! Let'em have it!" Time to converge and crush that fake samurai. Firmia thrust out her hand toward the Luna and grit her teeth! "FIRE!!!" This was eerily familiar. Chris knew enough about Apotheosis' personnel to really rattle them when she wanted to. They wouldn't always be able to pull that off, but for now, the best way to take Vera down was to throw her off balance. Smashing funnels into the Luna's head wasn't a bad move, either ... "Heh, I'm going to ask Sasha about high explosives when we get back. One of these days, a funnel needs to blow up in someone's face when you hit them with it." Just then, Kim came through and delivered some shocking news about Christina. She hadn't been killed, after all. If she'd made it to the infirmary, then Brant wasn't worried. Despite how depressed Doctor Amparo was, she wasn't going to let that affect her work in a crisis. That didn't make Brant any less angry with Avery, of course. He'd kill her on the spot if she were unlucky enough to run into him, but right now, the only way to overcome this ambush was to stay as level headed as possible, and hit their objectives hard and fast. "Thanks, Kim. We really needed to hear that. The doctor's got this, but she'll have an easier time if we keep the Riese intact, so let's do it." "Avalon, we're all engaging! Let'em have it!" Brant casts Strike, Snipe, transforms the Regalia, moves to 22,25 and attacks the Luna with the Hyper Beam Rifle! Avalon supports with Dual Beam Cannons! Firmia casts Alert and has Marcia attack the Luna with the Avalon's Dual Beam Cannons!
  2. "She's doing surprisingly well, actually," Megumi replied, thinking to some of the other injuries she'd treated as a combat medic. When you've kept someone alive with two holes in their chest, having to deal with just one hole in that area was significantly easier. That said, time to properly address the leg situation. After that they could place her in the SIEG tank and then barring any freakish complications, she ought to be in the clear. Megumi made a mental note to pass on the news to the bridge for a tactical morale boost when Olivia's suggested blood donor came up. They not only had the same blood type; they had the same blood in all but origin. As a clone herself, Megumi knew the theoretical benefits of that sort of arrangement, though the idea of sharing blood with Michelle as well as her own sisters was about as unappealing to her as it got. With Sarah and Ellen, though ... it was one of the little things that brought them a bit closer together. As for doing the same sort of thing here, they had some synthetic blood for emergencies like these, but transfusions were inherently risky. The clones were essentially the same person with different minds and experiences, so Olivia's suggestion of using Nina for the transfusion had the doctor's support. The chances of something going wrong were as low as they could be. Megumi wasn't certain they needed to do a transfusion yet, hence having Valerie keep an eye on the patient's vitals, but once she was stable, a hemoglobin level check would let them know. "Alright, Tambre, get Nina up here. I don't think she was assigned to any of the mobile suits, so she should be around here somewhere." Glancing at Olivia again, the doctor said, "Hold her steady for me. This one's not a through and through so there're at least fragments inside I need to get out." Megumi was pleasantly surprised to find the bullet in tact. It was deformed from the impact, but having to only dislodge one piece saved them a great deal of time, and Megumi was able to fill the ballistic cavity in inside a minute. "And we're ready." "Should I bring us in?" Tonya asked, looking back at Firmia in the captain's chair, "We're a bit far out right now"--admittedly as intended--"... also there's a duel or something between us and the Riese." Firmia winced at the Artemis and the Luna. The Heion Riese was staring down a bunch of Praxes and the Ceres, and the Avalon crew was far out of position. It wasn't all bad, but they had to move right now if they were going to seize any sort of advantage for their side. The Alkaev's immediate thoughts were to focus down the Luna before it had a chance to destroy or heavily damage the Artemis. They would need all the firepower they could get to force back the Sacarians, after all. No one had time for this dueling nonsense today. "Alright move us closer to the Riese but don't put us right next to the ship or obstruct Jessica's line of fire. We need to be far enough out of the way to react if they spread out or call in more units. Marcia, charge up our cannons and target the Luna. We're going to destroy it right here and now or at least force it to retreat while we move in to help the Riese." All the while, Firmia couldn't help but wonder if they could actually pull this off in their current situation. She realized that if they couldn't, they had no business attacking Apotheosis' main base, and she personally had no business trying to affect any meaningful change in the world. "Riese pilots, this is Captain Alkaev. We're moving to flank the Sacarians and we're bringing the Artemis back with us. Hold on until we're close enough to help." Her bird's eye view of the battlefield on her tablet was just plain irritating. It was hard to tell what the Sacarians intended with the Ceres, if anything, but that unit was surrounded. Jessica hadn't been able to prevent them from escaping the ship itself, but they still had a chance to rectify that mistake and all the ones leading up to it. Firmia had some reservations about trying while they were still mostly on defense, but the Riese pilots had managed some reckless--and more importantly similar--maneuvers in the past. They could do it if they were quick enough. "See if you can knock out the Ceres before it escapes, but don't risk the Riese to do it. Jessica will help like always, but she's got her hands full, so hurry." "Kim, it's Firmia. We need you fighting the Sacarians so use any opening you can to destroy the Luna and then fall in. We have to end this before they start focusing on the Riese. Avalon MS teams," Firmia switched over to her crew's main channel, "This is an order! Take out the Luna! Don't hold anything back! Marcia, fire at will!" Brant could only hope Christina was alright ... or even alive. It just didn't seem likely unless she'd gotten very lucky. It seemed like no matter how well they performed in this battle, there was a tragedy ready and waiting for them when the dust settled. Come on, Megumi ... work your doctor magic ... As for something to shoot ... "You wanted to rip Avery a new one, right? Then let's--" Brant paused when Firmia's transmission came through. "Avalon MS teams, this is an order! Take out the Luna! Don't hold anything back!" They were focusing on the Luna, first? Brant supposed with how far out they were, it would be stupid to just rush into the main event and hope the Artemis managed by itself. Seung-Min shouldn't have to fight alone, again ... "Okay, we know exactly where to aim ..." And apparently so did the Avalon's drones. They were all taking off from the Avalon's hull and flying steadily toward the Artemis in a loose formation.
  3. "You did a good job getting her to us as quickly as you did," Megumi offered what praise she could before Buck bolted. She doubted anyone would be feeling better about all of this until Christina was up and walking around, again. Even then, they still had some traitorous moles to deal with. On close examination, it looked like Christina may have been lungshot; she never would have woken up again if she'd been hit anywhere worse. Since she was the only patient to worry about right now, the doctor decided to focus on prepping her patient for the waiting SIEG tank. One of the advantages of not having to do any triage was that she could perform a more advanced surgery to completely erase those gunshot wounds instead of just closing them up. There was something quite sinister about all of this. Megumi couldn't help but frown as she mentally assembled a picture of what had happened to Christina. A gunshot wound to the back that would leave her in this condition? Another shot to the leg? If Avery had been in a position to kill Christina, why didn't she just do it? It wasn't a question of poor aim if she'd gotten the jump on this perpetual damsel in distress. Did she want her victim to suffer and die like this? The Avery they knew was definitely a ruse, and she was definitely gone, replaced by someone downright despicable. "This is going to be pretty uncomfortable, so brace yourself," Megumi warned, preparing to apply that fast acting hemostatic foam to the chest wound, first in the front, and then in the back. That was when the Riese made a hard landing in the water, though it felt more like they'd been parked over a large bomb that just went off. The doctor didn't know if they'd collided with something or been hit with a powerful attack, at first. She also couldn't focus on it, right now. First, the foam. Fortunately for Christina, the type Megumi was using would partially numb the wounds as well, providing some minor relief. After that, she would check the leg wound more closely and repeat the procedure. First she made sure there weren't any obvious fragments or the like inside the chest wound. "Captain, please get a handle on things up there ... alright, Bennet, help me get her onto her good side. Tambre, keep an eye on her vitals and let me know if she needs a transfusion." They weren't that slow, but the patient had already lost quite a lot of blood, so it might prove necessary. They were out of time. Firmia could feel it, and judging by Jessica's transmission, the Luna was going to have a good deal to do with it. When Hannah requested orders, Firmia quickly replied, "We're back on defense. Keep them from attacking the Riese and look for an opening to force them back." Their only chance of turning this around was to wait for the enemy to make a mistake. All of these attacks they were throwing out just weren't amounting to much ... As if that wasn't bad enough, Firmia's calm was completely eradicated by what happened next. "Hello, humans," Firmia heard the voice not from the comms but from much closer to home, "I'm going to give the lot of you one chance to surrender, and return my pet to me. Any resistance will be met with your swift, and unpleasant death. Do I make myself clear?" Fury. That was the emotion that began to well up in Firmia as the Sacarians made their demands. Between the sudden but inevitable betrayals aboard the Riese and this foreign feline forcing his way into her mind, she was at wit's end. She couldn't see beyond the next three minutes anymore, and her one thought was on the killing stroke. How to do it, how to finally skin one of these animals and string up their carcass for the rest of their kind to tremble at. How? Jessica spoke for the group and rejected the offer to surrender, naturally. "Prepare to die then, foolish humans." Fury ... Because the Avalon's T-Link was still active, the six drones that were operational were thoroughly confused, aiming their compact beam rifles toward the enemy group and then quickly lowering them, again, and again, and again. They received combined 'attack' and 'standby' commands continuously as Firmia furiously pondered their options with her full and murderous intent behind each and every thought. A couple of them even transformed to try and fly over to battle and then just as quickly changed back and landed. It was a confused mess of AIs all trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. All of the Avalon's active funnels were similarly affected, and being directly controlled by the Alkaev's intentions, they rattled violently in their docks on the outer hull of the ship. The situation in the hangar was even worse, with all of the standby funnels starting to shake themselves loose from their racks. A few of them flew through the hangar like projectiles and crashed into equipment and bulkheads, forcing Sasha and the mechanics to find cover. The shaking from the funnels docked near the bridge sent small tremors throughout the front of the ship. That, along with a very uncomfortable feeling in her own head caused Tonya to scan the bridge. At first, she thought the Sacarians were shaking the ship up as a warning, but she quickly realized that all the T-Linked equipment on board was reacting to Firmia, at least everything they had bothered to leave turned on. It probably wouldn't work, but Tonya tried to help Firmia calm down. "Captain, we need you coordinating the Riese's defense. Try to stay focused, alright?" If Firmia was suffering from the same headache she was, Tonya couldn't blame her for being in such a bad mood. Pretty much nothing was going right at the moment, and she had to pilot the ship like this on top of that? These space cats could go straight to hell. "Show me how ..." Firmia murmured to herself, her eyes wild and taking in everything around her, "... how to break them." "Breaking them is fine but let's try to survive too, alright?" Tonya forced a smile. "Captain, what's going on up there?" That was Sasha's voice on the ship's main channel, "The funnels were going crazy. I had to use an override command to shut them all down." "Don't worry about it, Sasha," Tonya answered him, "We're sorting things out on our end. Shutting them off was the right call so you should be fine, now." "Still a pretty big mess," Sasha noted bitterly, "They were loose when I sent the command so now we've got a couple dozen of them just rolling around the hangar." "I'll keep the maneuvers gentle," Tonya promised, and closed the channel. "The Riese just touched down, Captain. That's one way to put it ..." "Have to focus ..." Brant couldn't decide what was worse, having the Sacarians showing up, seeing the Artemis get taken off the front lines yet again, or watching helplessly as the Riese crash landed in the ocean just seconds later. There were plenty of other terrible things happening right now, of course. The probability that Christina had been murdered by Avery was just too high for any kind of optimism, and Brant could feel the shifts in both Firmia's and Chris' auras. Their respective berserk buttons had been pressed and pressed hard. There was also some panic inside the Avalon that Brant thought might be due to hearing the Sacarians' demands, but it felt even more urgent than that. Even the Avalon's drones were acting strange, like they couldn't make up their minds on whether or not to join the battle. Was Firmia losing control of the T-Link on top of everything else going on? "I guess our target's still the Ceres, but we can't let the reinforcements surround us," Brant said, mostly to himself as the Regalia's funnels sprang to life. Toolkit, not a coffin. Time to see if they could take out enough enemies to force a retreat. While it would be better from a strategic perspective to wipe them out here, Brant didn't feel they were in a position to commit to that kind of attrition battle. If they lost the Riese, the ANF wouldn't be able to press forward to land the finishing blow on Apotheosis. The Avalon couldn't carry all of the mobile suits that would be left behind even if they did survive the battle ... and if they lost the Avalon ... well, someone had to keep their rage at bay, so best not to dwell on that. For now, the Avalon wasn't likely to take much concentrated fire, so they had a chance to turn this situation around if they protected the Riese.
  4. Aeon - The Odyssey

    Up next was Ezekiel Fuller. Neither of the monikers Sable nor Sirius rung any bells for Hitomi on their own, but the 'Sable Order' sounded vaguely familiar. When it came to the professional teams, she actually cared enough to pay attention to any names or feats that stood out, and she preferred watching gaming broadcasts to other shows. Still, that exposed her to hundreds of different teams and few of them stood out without ridiculous gimmicks. "I'm Hitomi Moto. BB works just fine though--" minus any of Motherloader's cheeky tweaks--"Co-founder of Team Odyssey." She had to admit that when Ezekiel mentioned his experience as a team lead, it made her slightly nervous again; she thought back to the message Motherloader had sent Odyssey and how 'obnoxious team leady' it read. Although she was a co-founder of the team, Hitomi didn't consider herself much of a leader in practice. Linus had the luxury of actually calling shots since he could fight at any range, but Hitomi was always focused on getting enemy attention. She decided then and there to give their platinum ranked hopeful the benefit of the doubt, especially since he didn't stop at the team lead part. He'd also mentioned team management, which was potentially obnoxious but different from an actual command position, and PR, which might come in handy ... Hitomi doubted her father could keep getting away with shamelessly promoting his daughter's team. And then there were the team assets. Hitomi could only smile apologetically at first. "Our first season was a little rough and our play time was low, so we only placed gold, but things will be infinitely better this year." The fact that higher ranked players were even lining up in this cafe was enough assurance for her, but even without a lot of interested players, Hitomi planned to improve to the point where Team Odyssey could qualify for and win the championship this year. A tall order, but if the team was willing to shoot that high, then anyone standing in the way was in trouble. "What kind of assets do you have?"
  5. There was the unlucky patient Megumi had been waiting for. Christina was going to wind up in a SIEG tank however this first phase turned out, but the doctor needed to stabilize her, first. Remove the projectiles too, if they hadn't passed clean through. Thankfully, they were ready to go, the doctor even having gotten out of her coat and donning a mask and gloves for these 'damage control' surgeries she was about to perform. "Over here," Megumi indicated the closest bed available and tried to get a good look at the wounds while they brought her over. What the doctor noticed first was that Christina was at least partially awake, still. This should be 'fun' ... "We have to stop running into each other like this," Megumi groaned at Christina. "I need you two," she eyed Makoto and Caroline, "to tell me everything you can. How much blood has she lost, has she been conscious this whole time, how's her breathing, etcetera." "Dammit, destroy the Ceres! Hurry!" Firmia couldn't stand the fact that the Riese's oldest machine was enduring all of this. Apparently they had been upgrading their escape vehicle in secret. Firmia couldn't help but imagine how much more annoying it would be if something like an assault tank equipped with oversized floaties was pulling the same stunt. The Alkaev did feel completely vindicated now, however. The way she'd conducted herself aboard the Riese had been harsh at times, but hindsight was her friend, and she was definitely going to take advantage of this disastrous learning experience. Despite being right not to trust Avery, FIrmia couldn't shake the feeling that they were running out of time to take down the traitor(s), and that had her on the edge of her seat, right now. "Should we try the main guns?" Tonya asked, shrugging from the helm. Oh so tempting, but ... "The mobile suits have to bring the Ceres down," Firmia sighed, "There's too much risk of friendly fire if we start shooting from over here ... and no, I'm not having everyone get clear for us--" not that they would-- "That's just the kind of opening the Ceres needs to break away. We just have to hope they can handle this ..." "I'll keep us at this range until the Riese lands then." Once the Regalia was off the catapult and able to take in the surrounding battlefield, it became clear that at least one of the moles was already escaping. "Whoa ..." From a single glance it seemed like whatever damage done to the Riese crew had been severe. "Christina ..." Between the fact that the Artemis was going completely berserk and Brant not being able to sense Seung-Min's copilot, it was obvious that Christina was incapacitated ... or worse. Something else that was bothering him was the fact that the Ceres was the machine Avery had chosen to use to escape from the ANF in. Had Astin really not noticed what was going on? Maybe, but it felt more likely to Brant that Astin was the other mole. Everything they had ever done and said in front of him suddenly had to be reframed, and it was really disappointing to think about. "See if you can get a hold of your sisters, but be ready with the funnels. We're going to help them out," Brant said, arming the Regalia's hyper beam rifle. The Ceres was shrugging off way more than usual, so Brant doubted they would accomplish much, but until the situation changed, their primary objective was the capture or destruction of the Ceres. Well, according to Firmia, it was strictly a destruction target, but the situation could still change at the drop of a hat.
  6. Rachel agreed to the doctor's plan and then got to it. That was around the time Abigail barged into the infirmary ready to blow away the Riese's former head mechanic ... or anyone else that made a wrong move. She'd calmed down and rightly assessed the situation by the time Megumi stood up to say anything. The doctor had been about to suggest Abigail stick around momentarily, but Olivia reminded them both that the pilots were supposed to be getting ready to launch. Megumi had forgotten about that in the sudden rush to save Christina. The Artemis probably wasn't going anywhere for the moment ... "I know the infirmary seems like an easy target, but as long as I get a slight warning, we can hold the fort here," Megumi assured Abigail, "I'm more worried about the hanger and the mobile suits, actually. If you're launching with the others please be careful." The head mechanic on the Riese was one of the traitors after all, which meant ... well, it meant all sorts of bogus was potentially coming down the pike. A mole was one thing, but the woman coordinating all of the mechanics and overseeing a project or two of her own? What a kick in the shins. Speaking of kicks, a small warning beeped from the doctor's console. All she could see at first when she glanced back at it was that the Artemis was sending pilot data to the infirmary. Was Seung-Min preparing to take off? Without her copilot? Didn't she need Christina for something involving the T-Link? Moreover, if there was one suit Megumi expected to go up in flames the moment someone put the keys in the ignition so to speak, it was the Artemis ... or maybe it was being stolen? Seriously what in the hell was going on right now? Three minutes was certainly better than two. Firmia almost thought she could actually think of a way out of this Luna and moles mess in that time frame. Unfortunately, she had some hefty jobs of her own, right now. Keep the Avalon from being shot down. Protect the Riese. Keep her own crew under control. Coordinate the Riese pilots. She had no idea how that last one was going to go, but the first three were paramount. As much as Firmia wanted to inquire about the pilots and how to get them to listen to an irritable seventeen year old, she just couldn't bring herself to do so. If Jessica could hunker down and focus on keeping things running on her end, Firmia could do the same on hers. "Alright. We'll take care of things out here." Galatea was lodging her usual complaints, but Firmia was fairly used to them by now. "I believe in you, Galatea. If you're feeling overworked though, have Jessica and Stephanie link up in the processor suite and take some of the load off. That's one of the benefits of us not having to hunt down any moles on our own ship." Firmia hoped to keep it that way. Coincidentally, they did have an Apotheosis lieutenant on board, though he was secure in the brig--and bored as all get out, Firmia imagined. The ANF had never asked her to hand Carlos over, and Firmia wasn't offering, so there he stayed. Just as well, being honest with herself, if the Alkaev was going to learn how to truly forgive people without just killing them off, Carlos wasn't a bad place to start. She pitied the man for the situation he'd wound up in despite him being responsible for many of the names on the memorial wall, and that definitely helped address some of the anger. It was an odd purpose for keeping a prisoner like him around, but it wasn't a bad one. Firmia did not want to turn into a murderous psychopath like some of her ancestors. Hannah wasted no time in moving over to the launch lift opposite the one the Regalia was taking, and heading out. It looked like the Mantle would be the last one out today. It was a shame they couldn't really chat about Hannah's experience with the Reign; between Chris' concerns and the intel Firmia and Galatea were passing on, the situation seemed pretty bad. The Regalia's T-Link wasn't giving him a clear enough picture from here. He knew he should be cautious, and maybe a tad worried right now, but he really didn't know to what degree. The two ships were so far removed from one another that nothing really felt real until he was physically present there. Chris couldn't tell what was going on either, but the mere fact that she wasn't gung ho like usual made Brant wonder if his future sisters-in-law were in danger. "The Regalia's our toolkit, not our coffin. We'll be alright. Let's just make sure the Riese and the people on it are, too." By then they were facing the end of the catapult and the door had opened for them. Rather than just hearing about it, they were about to get an eyeful of the Riese's situation from the outside.
  7. Having received Rachel's message just after Jessica's, Megumi was definitely dubious about heading down. There were more than enough elevators, but that was actually the problem. If she headed down and didn't catch the group moving Christina up to the infirmary, she would have wasted the trip and not even arrive back at the infirmary until after they did. It might have been worth the risk if Christina wasn't the only one that had been shot, but that wasn't information she could confirm just yet, so she turned and headed back into the infirmary. "Rachel, this is Doctor Amparo," Megumi spoke into the comm on her desk once she arrived, "We still need you down there; do a full sweep of the area after they head up. There might be other casualties we don't know about, so please be thorough." An android on each deck meant they might still be able to catch Avery, but Megumi couldn't be sure given how things were playing out so far. If the moles had an escape plan, they were running out of time to head them off ... "They're bringing Christina to us and I don't want to run around in circles," Megumi informed Olivia and Valerie, "so we'll focus on setting up here." Megumi considered having either Olivia or Valerie get on the comms and try to use the androids to track down and deliver anymore casualties to the infirmary, but decided to spare both the potential frustration that came with playing dispatch. So Jessica's only idea on such short notice was to sacrifice the shields for buoyancy ... essentially, and even that would only buy the engineers enough time to diagnose the problem. Since it was internal sabotage, Firmia doubted her drones could assist with the repairs. She'd also need hundreds to even begin holding the ship up on the surface and they currently only had six that were fully operational. The Avalon could operate underwater and try to give the Riese enough of a push for Jessica to safely divert more power, but not only would the Avalon's main guns be severely weakened and heavily obscured down there, the Riese would only have real protection from the mobile suits back on the surface, which Firmia doubted would be enough all in all. Ultimately they'd likely lose both ships that way, with the Riese's sudden plunge damaging the Avalon and dragging it down to crush depth before Tonya could free them. So the drones and the Avalon as direct assistance just weren't viable. Firmia sighed. With no good alternatives coming to mind, they were going with Jessica's plan. "Galatea, you're getting all of this, right? Keep the MS teams and the hangar informed of all of this. Any medium's fine." She went to the ship's open channel just long enough to give the crew the go ahead. "All MS teams, the situation is now critical. Launch immediately, set up a defensive perimeter, and wait for further orders." Returning to her direct line with Jessica, she said, "So, two minutes until everything starts falling apart. I'll figure something out by then ... but ... this isn't something you can make up for. We're in this situation because of the 'old' Captain Gefalscht, so blame her for all of this. The new Captain Gefalscht just needs to worry about fixing this mess and making sure it doesn't happen again. By the way, Jessica ... don't let the moles escape. The most I could do is send our drones after them, but they aren't combat ready." The Alkaev wanted to address the Riese pilots too, given what Jessica had told her, but decided to wait until at least a few of them were in the field. The Regalia team had barely had time to suit up before they were ordered to launch. It was kind of sad that their peace streak was finally over. It seemed like they were back to being ambushed by Apotheosis. Another thing that might take some getting used to was seeing the Reign outfitted for combat, and knowing that Hannah and Galatea were at the controls. Brant had some ideas when the news reached him, but actually seeing how AIs could handle that machine would be something else completely. He just hoped they didn't lean too heavily on their experience with the Mantle. Likewise, Brant hoped Bonner and Lynx would handle the machine well. It was the slowest of the AMS units, so it was also the most user friendly, but if they got pinned down by enemy fire, that would work against them. Lynx was also stuck without a T-Link for a couple more days and could only do regular ... copilot stuff. A shame, really. Brant got the Regalia moving from its dock the very second the hatch closed, not wanting to hold up the Reign a moment longer than necessary. Since all the AMS units were docked in their usual places, Hannah and Galatea would be the last ones out more or less every time there was a full sortie. Not ideal but the Reign had been acting as a salvage unit until recently, and there was no reason to change positions with the Mantle simply due to launch order. They would just have to be quick or let the Reign squeeze through to the launch lift ahead of them depending on the situation. "Merlin to the bridge, we're heading out now. Don't wait too long for that update, okay? Not sure what we're dealing with today ..." "The Riese is in the middle of an emergency landing due to sabotage," Firmia muttered back to the Regalia and the other Avalon MS, "the Luna is probably coming too, so be ready."
  8. So it was M Day. The M stood for Mole, obviously. No one else would be in a position to shoot Christina. Why was she always the one to wind up ...? Not important right this moment, Megumi decided, calling over to her minions as she checked over her pistol. "Christina is down; gunshot. Get everything here ready, including a SIEG tank, just in case. Buck, if you can't move her easily then stay put for now and put pressure on her wounds. I'll be there soon." They really ought to use one of the androids for this, even though it'd be a bit of a rough ride. It'd be a fast ride and that was the whole idea. There was one other thing. If Buck and Christina stayed put then they were less likely to run into their attacker again. Megumi always carried a firearm, but since she was heading that way, she wanted to be prepared in case she ran into any hostiles. Hopefully she'd find the android Jessica had assigned to the area and be able to use her to haul Christina back to the infirmary. Firmia appreciated being updated. She did not appreciate being put on hold. Not one to waste time, less occupied of the captains took a moment to set a few things in motion on her own vessel. "All MS teams prepare for immediate launch. I repeat, ALL MS teams prepare for immediate launch." She wished she was joking, but chances were that today, for the first time since Great Lake Base, the Regalia, Mantle, and Reign would all be fighting together. Without even checking her feed, Firmia also sent a mental command to the drones back in the hangar, and they began racing toward the launch lifts. All they had to do was standby in case Firmia needed them to race out into the field and retrieve something, but they had to get into position ahead of the mobile suits, otherwise they would muddy up the launches and slow everything down. When Jessica came back on the line, she had some actual news ... most of it bad. They were out of time to identify and detain the other moles, and apparently one of them had the Riese coming down out here over the water? Definitely Avery, then. Firmia's other suspect was Thorvald, due to how vulnerable his family was, and how easily any potential Apotheosis operatives in the ANF command structure could reach them. If not him then probably one of the outcast types, but that intel was on the way, so Firmia didn't have to figure any of that out on her own, now. What interested the Avalon's captain more was the Riese's lack of shielding. Had the ship been thoroughly sabotaged or was Jessica doing something complicated involving the shields? Firmia had the beginnings of an idea for helping the Riese expedite its repairs, but it was almost too much for her in the moment, hearing Jessica's sudden plea to protect the Riese. It was like something out of a dream, almost surreal, though not a situation the Alkaev really longed for. Yes, she did want Jessica's leniency to finally get her into trouble ... but this ... something about the real thing just felt off to Firmia. Just as well that all she could feel in herself right now was urgency and irritation. That meant she could do her part without any inner conflict. "Alright, calm down and focus on the Riese. We'll keep the MS teams organized and protect the ship. I need all the information you can forward, though." If Jessica was putting her on hold, then she probably wasn't one with the Riese just yet and could probably only handle so much brain work. Having some other minds focused on this could only improve and increase their options in response to this sudden but inevitable betrayal.
  9. The Kids Are Alright (Part 2/2 3) Bigger Better Bonds A call? From someone other than Cheryl? It was Buck from the look of things. Megumi's first and only guess was a medical emergency in the hangar area. There were a lot of ways someone's day could get ruined down there due to carelessness on someone's part. She hoped it was something else, but ... "Doctor Amparo here. Is someone hurt, Buck?" Firmia normally wouldn't be wearing her SKIN suit on the bridge outside of a combat situation, but when the call from the Riese came, she was in the middle of some testing with the mechanics and some of the activated drones. She was essentially testing commands sent through the T-Link to the drones. Rather than controlling them directly like funnels, she would send orders of varying complexity and let the drones figure out the optimal way to handle any given task. Firmia tried not to laugh whenever one of the drones bumped into something or lost its balance. Rather than a complete program, Brant had opted for something similar to a learning program for these AIs. They would continue to make silly errors starting out, but something about it was endearing. More importantly, they had a shared database here on the ship. No two drones would make the same error, and no unique error would ever be made twice. There were six completed drones, and so there were six avenues of learning for the collective. Galatea was also able to upload anything specific they would need to avoid any 'fatal' errors in judgment. All in all, the program was coming along swiftly, and Firmia at least felt comfortable sending them out as a salvage team. The young captain let her tablet lie face up in her lap as she activated the comm at her seat. "Thank you, Flores." She connected and hoped it was nothing serious, yet. Firmia rather enjoyed running these T-Link tests, and would like to get back to it as soon if she could. "Captain Alkaev here ..." Firmia mentally crossed her fingers, but she doubted the situation was still normal. It almost couldn't be if the bridge was being contacted directly ...
  10. Was wearing them fine? Brant didn't mind, but would Abigail be fine with her wearing those? Or did it not even matter if that's what she wanted to do? Probably better not to worry about it. "Thanks for accepting them," Brant said, offering a classic thumbs up.
  11. A little less crippling responsibility and hindering from Apotheosis ... Yeah, Apotheosis' involvement really took a lot out of Jessica 1.0, but she was an angel compared to 2.0. Brant wouldn't complain about the latest iteration if things were going to remain manageable like this. 3.0 might actually be their best chance of helping Firmia through her emotional rut. At the very least she had a decent sense of humor. If she and Firmia could ever just get to talking that might help a great deal. "Hahah. Anything in your power, huh? This should be a piece of cake, then." Brant offered her the box, "Just take this. It's yours." While the contents of the box may have been made with Jessica in mind, they had been completely altered with Chris in mind. After all, Brant wasn't giving out any other rings ... not engagement rings, anyway. Earrings were the best he could come up with for an alternative. Not ideal, but about the same amount of materials were involved. "Doesn't really matter what you do with them. Put them in a drawer somewhere, throw them away, give them to Abby and watch her throw them away, frame them. As long as you take them. Parting with those and everything wrapped up in them is just something I need to do, now."
  12. "No," Brant shook his head, "What I'm asking you to do wouldn't start right this minute, definitely not before I've had a chance to talk with her. I just know she's going to try to chase you off if the insults aren't enough, and if you give up then this could wind up being worse than pointless. Either way, in person is always better. Just ... let me lay some groundwork, first. You two may agree that it's okay for her to hate you, but I don't." Had Jessica really changed that much? She was obviously a little braver and more focused, now. But compared to the first time? That change had nearly been the end of him, so perhaps there was a little bias there, a hope that she wouldn't change so quickly that it wound up biting him, somehow. It was admittedly useless to feel that way now, though. As far as Brant was concerned, his relationship with Jessica couldn't possibly get any better or any worse than this. They were either on speaking terms or they weren't, and total separation could only free them both up for the people closer to them. At least the distance wasn't inherently negative. Maybe. "I actually preferred stuttering Jess if I'm being perfectly honest. She was on her way ... just needed a little more time. A little less crippling responsibility. No offense," Brant grinned an apology. "Speaking of her," Brant paused to venture into the jacket he'd been carrying with him, and managed to fish out a relatively flat, elongated box, "I actually need a favor from you, too."
  13. Happy birthday, bird! :D

  14. Aeon - The Odyssey

    "It's funny," Hitomi grinned at Monika, "we never had a dedicated melee person-" stealthy or otherwise, "so this could be really effective." As Odyssey's diversion expert and all around nuisance, BB considered high damage units her patrons. Few players even had the presence of mind to hunt for cloaked units when they were already under fire from a visible target. Those that did were easy pickings, even for BB's footloose tank build. "If you're interested, you should definitely come with us to the arcade, Keizerin. We can just brute force our way out of gold this time if Linus doesn't have to do all the oneshotting~" Motherloader, thinking he'd been the first 'in line' due to his earlier message, and thinking he was practically already on the team due to ... something, scowled only half seriously at Linus when he got called out, again. Feeling a little responsible for not being able to shake the guy off, Hitomi decided to try something. "Motherloader, I need a favor from you, actually ... and it's a big one so you can't say no." "A big one?" "Yes! Find the best arcade nearby and get things ready for us. You don't have to reserve a bunch of spots but try and get enough spots for a full team. There isn't anything you could do right now that's bigger or more important than that." Well, it sounded true, at least. Hitomi really couldn't think of anything better for the guy to do, and at least this way he wouldn't be stepping on their toes every five seconds, and could still be useful. "Huh ... yeah, that's a good idea," Motherloader agreed. "Think I'll warm up too, while I wait for you guys to catch up. Alright, leave everything to me." "Thank you~" Once Motherloader had gotten up and left, Hitomi sighed. "... sorry again, Linus. I had no idea he'd track me down in the crowd. But yeah, we'll handle things like you said. I'll start off things off and you feel them out some more. Then later we'll have some fun at the arcade." Now then, back to business. "Alright Kei, you should find the clips you like the most and show them to Linus really quick. I stopped paying attention to solo stuff a few centuries ago, but he might recognize something or even just get some good formation ideas." As simple as cloak and dagger was, Battlenet knew how to come up with team objectives that made kill mongers uneasy, so it couldn't hurt to try and plan ahead a little.
  15. "No, it's not fine," Brant scowled briefly. Being referred to indirectly wasn't pleasant, nor did it fully encompass the Firmia issue, but only the latter was worth focusing on. "Firmia's struggling with being a captain, too. She even made the opposite choice you did, Jess. She's-- ... well ... we're all taking on a huge responsibility after the war ends. The problem is the stronger our group gets, the easier it is for Firmia to rely on things Dima taught her, and he's a murderer." Brant's concerns were too much to go over in their entirety, so he tried to limit himself to the foreseeable future as best he could. "Look ... I'll pass along that message for you this time, Jess, but ... don't just sit back and hope things magically work themselves out on our end. They won't. She needs to see the difference between the Jessica in her head and the real one she's working with. Not just one time, either. She needs to keep seeing it, again and again. "I don't know if she can forgive you; I'm not sure if Alkaevs even come with that feature. But I do know that she can't do it from a distance. She hates the 'Captain Jessica Gefalscht' in her head, but that's the one she's always stuck dealing with. That's why I'm asking you to leave your comfort zone for now and help her. She wants to make a better world, but chances are the murderer that raised her wants the same thing. It is not okay for her to have unresolved issues influencing all of her decisions." Eyeing Jessica somberly, Brant thought back to the very end of their relationship, that final moment when she conquered her stutter and shouted down Rosa. Brant glanced down the hall toward the meeting room doorway briefly as he replayed what he heard a few times. He wished it had been the old man on the screen instead of her, especially considering that her threat ended long ago. What had always struck him about the situation was Jessica's inclusion of Firmia in her outburst, which felt just as odd to him in hindsight as it had in the moment. At the time, and for some time afterward, it helped assure Brant that he and his friend were in good hands, that Jessica would watch over them like a hawk as they made new lives for themselves outside of Russia. To this day, nothing could have been further from the truth. Hannah wound up fulfilling the role Jessica established as she matured, while Jessica herself moved further and further away. The only things she seemed to know about them or their lives were the details tied to Brant's explanations. Some curiosity tempted him to not mention his daughters and nephew, just to see how long that kind of information would naturally elude her. Come to think of it, Firmia remembered that day in the meeting room, too. It was never a minor event for her when she brought it up, either. That day had been the start of her brief stay aboard the Riese, where she'd picked up every grievance she had with Jessica and with the ANF. Brant made a mental note to ask her more about it when he went to see her. "I know you're busy, but please don't sit this one out, too."