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Thread: After the Dawn (IC)

  1. #1
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    After the Dawn (IC)

    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    tap, tap

    Eleven people had been waiting in that meeting room for 22 minutes.

    tap, tap

    For 12 minutes, Senior Handler Sarah Jordan had been tapping her finger on the table, slowly getting faster as time passed.

    tap, tap

    For 10 minutes, Security Officer Jeremy Masters had been growing more and more nervous, proportional to Jordan’s mounting frustration.

    tap, tap

    For 5 minutes, Sniper Operator Jessica Brinley had been visibly sweating as the room seemingly increased in temperature from warm, to very warm, to hot…

    tap, tap

    As for the other eight, well, they probably had their own opinions on the matter.

    tap, tap

    “More than twenty minutes. For your own emergency meeting. Honestly.”

    The handler muttered under her breath, but not quiet enough that her subordinates couldn’t hear. Whether out of respect or something else, no one else had broken the silence yet, after all.

    tap, tap, tap

    So, until the client arrived or someone built up the nerve or impatience to say something, the group was stuck there. Waiting.

    tap, tap, tap

    Masters was a bit luckier than the rest. He was just there to watch the door. Once the client did finally arrive, he would be able to step outside and take a breather. The field operators, meanwhile, still had the actual meeting to sit through. And who knew how long that might take?

    tap, tap, tap

    The whole mission was set up on short notice, just the night before, and the operators still had only the most basic information. A Catastrophe had struck Rocky Mountain, a mobile tourist city in Northwest Columbia. The client wanted something or other retrieved from the city. A team of mostly-Infected was hastily assembled for a next-day meeting, and then got stuck waiting in the meeting room for 20 minutes.

    …tap.

    Jordan finally stopped, and let out a weary sigh. Maybe her finger was getting sore.

    “Should we just start without her, or is she not showing at all…?”

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  2. #2
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Operator Nuriel
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Meeting Room

    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship



    "..."

    A Sankta with long silver hair is seated peacefully, her hands graciously resting on her lap. With that pose and the straight posture she's been maintaining for the past twenty minutes, one could easily think that she was posing for a painting -- but that was not the case. She was just very conscious on how she sits. Wherever it is because she was trained to do so early on, or because someone made a remark about it at some point in her life, who knows.


    "..."

    She looks around, observing the room which somehow managed to remain silent till now. The crew certainly is colorful this time, that she does not doubt, but being a PMC based in Columbia often meant that colorful should be the norm, rather than an exception. Granted, it wasn't like she was a very 'normal' person herself. Her outfit, resembling a more stylized version of a nun's habit sans the coif and veil, certainly stood out from what most people would wear... and as a Sankta it was easy to be noticed amidst the more 'common' inhabitants of Terra. Even then... she isn't a normal Sankta, is she? No crystal wings, halo broken in sword-like bits...

    ...it is better to address these things only when they come up, rather than muse about them, and so far, non one had asked anything... or even said a thing. Madam Jordan and Miss Jessica had eventually broken the silence though, which had lasted for an incredible twenty minutes. A lot of the faces in the room didn't seem like the patient type... she'd have expected someone to have said something already when it was past 5 minutes. Maybe someone had done so already, who knows, she had been reading her book while waiting. The trusty, bible-like book, which she always turned to for some inspiration and guidance.

    After all, 'She' was no longer here to guide her. How many years had it been since then?

    Salutem Pavidos, mea requies est.

    "Something may perhaps have befallen the client?" she asks, joining her voice of concern to Jessica's. "Or would you wager that it is something that has more to do with... punctuality?"

    Her inquiry perhaps sought answers not only from Sarah herself, but from her future coworkers as well. What were their takes on all this... was it fury? Understanding? Indifference? What kind of people was she going to be paired with?

    Her cold eyes scan her surroundings and await for the silence to be fully lifted, for the... ice to be 'broken'.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; May 22nd, 2022 at 11:03 AM.

  3. #3
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six pinetree's Avatar
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    Operator Santonia
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    tap, tap, tap

    Huh, it's getting hot here. Weather should be cooling-off a bit back home. This time of the year we'd be preparing for the storms...

    ...tap.

    The sudden end of a sound Santonia didn't realize she was hearing brought her back to reality, and one look at Senior Handler Jordan told her all she needed to know about the currently rising temperature. To make matters worse, the Feline had just finished saying something, but she missed it.
    The Savra remembered where she was and tried to sit straight without getting anyone's attention. A meaningless effort, since she had laid her feet up on the desk for at least 10 minutes, leaning so far back on her chair that she needed her tail as support to not fall back.

    Seems like she'd spaced out even earlier than that.

    Everyone seemed either tense, tired or annoyed... Well, those who had readeable expressions at least. How long has it even been? Did the meeting end already? Was the situation that bad?, she thought. She didn't even remember the name of most of the coworkers here.
    Realizing she had spent all the time playing with the tip of her tail — for long enough that her glove was now coated with a thin layer of translucent goo — she wiped the mucus off on her leg ...and immediately regret it.
    Well that's gonna itch for the rest of the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Nuriel View Post
    "Something may perhaps have befallen the client? Or would you wager that it is something that has more to do with... punctuality?"
    Sick, so we were just wasting time. Good save, girly.
    "Why are we even waiting? Boss, you know the deets, don't you? Just lay it out so we can move on."

    The real client was probably not showing up anyway. Retrieving whatever from some Catastrophe hellhole ASAP? Those are the orders of a rich nutso who thinks his stuff is worth their lives. The one who was late was most likely some middle manager-type who probably knew less about the situation than Sarah anyway. Santonia had enough of dealing with spokesmen for a lifetime.
    It didn't seem like Jordan had made up her mind yet, though.

    "Well, choice's yours. I gotta warn though, if after all this wait I still have to sit through another hour of meeting before we finally leave for this ""emergency"" mission, I might die of boredom or try to get high on my own tail goo. Neither one's gonna be pretty."
    Last edited by pinetree; May 21st, 2022 at 12:06 PM.

  4. #4
    Operator Grave Moss
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Grave Moss gives no appearance of being disturbed by the unexpected wait. Neither the increasing tension in the room or the steady tap tapping bothers the Sargon operator as she maintains her standard decorum.

    Arms folded on the table, head face down as she... conserves her energy for the coming mission. Long years of experience let her settle back into the standard 'Hurry up and wait' that all militaries run on.

    A faint aura of cold air can be felt by anyone nearby.
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  5. #5
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    The tall sankta looked up from the medical dossier she’d requisitioned upon arriving at the Blacksteel landship less than two hours ago. Emergency meeting or not, she was the current medical liaison between Rhodes Island and Blacksteel Worldwide, which meant that she’d given the requisite five minutes of politeness before concluding that the meeting was delayed and busied herself with her notes.

    And they were her notes. Urgency be damned, Blacksteel hadn’t bothered to furnish her with a copy of the records of the mission’s participants. Only a list of their general practices and mission support structure. Military, through and through, snappishly written and not even a tenth of the information she’d have asked for.

    The Rhodes Island badge fastened to her vest swayed as she glanced at the ones who’d been quickest to respond to Jordan. The diminutive sankta she recognized, a previous patient at Rhodes Island, and a savra who… hm. Make a note to ask one of the savra or archosauria medics about scale irritation and mucus. No visible inflammation, though, and the mucus hadn’t melted a hole in the woman’s bag, so there was that. And the pilosa was unconscious, to which her coworkers seemed wholly unconcerned. Normal behavior, then. Meanwhile, Jessica Brinley, the dark-haired feline to Sarah Jordan's periphery, was visibly sweating from the spillover of her superior's frustration.

    Grapevine spoke plainly, her voice calm and dreary.

    "The air in here is getting stale. Someone should open a door."

    Rather than contemplate the whereabouts of Blacksteel's client, they'd be better off reviewing what the company already knew. Tourist destinations were practically required to be monitored by the Catastrophe Messenger network, though some relied on their own meteorological institutes. Short-notice or not, there had to be some sort of infrastructure in place for this sort of thing. Even in the event of total communications collapse, there were usually at least a handful external observers. Even in a winter clime like Rocky Mountain's last known location.
    Last edited by Egophobia; May 28th, 2022 at 04:00 AM.
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  6. #6
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Sarah didn't concern herself with responding to the first Sankta, instead opting to put on a pair of glasses and leaf through a moderate stack of papers on the table. Was she double checking her notes, or was it triple checking by this point? When other operators began probing at her directly, though, she set the documents back on the table and flipped open a laptop instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Santonia
    Why are we even waiting? Boss, you know the deets, don't you? Just lay it out so we can move on.
    "Yes, I have everything right here. Either on paper or the computer." There was a projector in the room, but the handler hadn't even turned it on yet. "No doubt the client will have some more details to add when she gets here, though. I was hoping to avoid needing to brief the room twice..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Grapevine
    The air in here is getting stale. Someone should open a door.
    "-oh? Is it?" Sarah frowned a bit in response, clearly with no idea of the effect she was having on the room. But she took a glance at the room's only window all the same.

    "Looks like it isn't raining. Shouldn't be any harm in it. Jeremy, can you step outside so I can start the briefing?"

    The man at the door didn't say a word, but he was gone in a flash. The open window might help the atmosphere, but it wouldn't work faster than getting out of the room yourself. Jordan meanwhile stood up to open the window herself, and then pulled a remote out of some pocket to start the projector.

    "Basic rundown first. Hopefully our missing lady will get here before we finish with the simple stuff.

    The first image displayed on the projector screen was that of a mobile city in a field of snow. The city was raised higher above its treads than the average mobile city.

    "Rocky Mountain. On the smaller side for a nomadic city, but very rich for the size. The place is a tourist destination, mostly. It keeps to the northern reaches of Columbia near Sami and the mountains. The biggest company there is called Rocky Mountaineering, and they deal in winter activities like skiing and guided mountain climbing. It's snowy there for most of the year, and even in summer they get people from further south going to the mountains to escape the heat for a few weeks."

    The second image was a simple map of Columbia, with a red X visible to the far northwest.

    "Right now, the city is sitting pretty close to the contested border. Other mobile cities don't go that far west, so there isn't too much communication between Rocky Mountain and the nearest town. Six or seven days ago, it was hit with a Catastrophe."

    The third image was a document of some sort. Before any of the operators had a chance to read in-depth, she flipped through several more similar pages. They all had the official stamp of a Catastrophe Messenger clearly visible.

    "Rocky Mountain's own Catastrophe report is about a month out of date, but I also looked at more recent reports from the closest towns and military bases. They all say the same thing; nothing. Four different Catastrophe Messengers all claim no sign of danger. The news didn't come from any of them, it came from the client herself. A high ranking executive of Rhine Lab."

    Jordan set the remote down on the meeting table, and picked a few sheets of paper out of her stack instead. She placed them in the center of the table, where everyone could see the Blacksteel Worldwide stationery.

    "Naturally, this seemed pretty suspicious. I had a scouting party sent to scope out the area first, confirm Rhine's claims, see what shape the city was in. They returned yesterday with the report. Rocky Mountain was immobile, the town's power appeared to be shut down, and they found several large pits in the snow that appeared to have melted and refrozen to form a crater of ice. They had a closer look at one and found a lump of active originium in the middle."

    You didn't need to be a scientist or a Catastrophe Messenger to understand that. Even the most clueless layman knew full well where active Originium came from.
    Last edited by Elyrin; May 21st, 2022 at 10:21 PM.
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  7. #7
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Operator Vitro
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship



    Vitro idly whittled his fingers as he and the rest waited for their client's arrival. The rising heat bothered him not, nor did the awkward silence from said wait; the wastelands were unforgiving in their climate and solitude, so this was retroactively a familiar territory.

    That said, he was not necessarily accepting of the impasse either. Wishing to pipe up about the heat and lackluster information was there, but the Senior Handler's visible (not to mention tangible) frustration quashed those desires before being put to action. Thankfully the Savra's (Santonia) and Sankta's (Which was it, Grapevine?) requests have put both issues to rest. None will have to suffer the ails of heatstroke for today -- though it won't be hard to procure the remedy in-person, best not exhaust his supply before the mission even begins.

    Proceeding with the essential reminder was mostly everything Vitro knew from scanning the initial documentation. With the added information of the presiding company, much of the present information thus far was par of the course. Nevertheless, the Support Operator listened intently - - no harm in making clear what was known…

    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Handler Jordan
    "Right now, the city is sitting pretty close to the contested border. Other mobile cities don't go that far west, so there isn't too much communication between Rocky Mountain and the nearest town. Six or seven days ago, it was hit with a Catastrophe."



    "Huuu..."

    The Liberi perked up at the mention of 'Catastrophe.' Of course, of course, the reason why he so readily accepted the job the night prior. And why much of the personnel assembled were classified as Infected under the dossier. The nature of such sites carries an inherent danger few would dare tread, Oripathy risk notwithstanding. And what better way to deal with such matters than sending those already afflicted?

    And with one an expert in navigating such landscapes? All the better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Handler Jordan
    "Rocky Mountain was immobile, the town's power appeared to be shut down, and they found several large pits in the snow that appeared to have melted and refrozen to form a crater of ice. They had a closer look at one and found a lump of active originium in the middle."

    Vitro muttered to himself, quietly yet still audible to those near him.

    "Huhuu...Not geothermal, no… Meteorological, then. A greater area of elements not of Terra, but to see its effect on such environs…"

    The intensity behind Vitro's gaze cannot be mistaken, even hidden behind tinted lenses. Needless to say that whatever is disclosed afterward has the Operator's undivided attention. Though having a fair share of questions of his own, he decided it was best to hear from the client herself, regardless of suspect omissions.
    Last edited by SleepMode; May 22nd, 2022 at 07:04 PM.
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  8. #8
    [DA YO intensifies] arkturus's Avatar
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    Operator Valravn
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    The young Liberi spun in her chair with an annoyed expression on her face. They had waited way too long in this stuffy room for this meeting to start and their handler's constant tapping was driving her up the wall. She was glad that their intimidating commander eventually broke the silence or else she would have screamed into the table and probably earned herself a sharp reprimand. If their absent client ever showed up, she would certainly give them a piece of her mind.

    Still, she was glad to finally be assigned to her first mission in a while. So when the debrief started Valravn brought her foot to the floor and the chair came to a stop. Although she made no attempt to correct her sitting posture as she listened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Jordan
    "Naturally, this seemed pretty suspicious. I had a scouting party sent to scope out the area first, confirm Rhine's claims, see what shape the city was in. They returned yesterday with the report. Rocky Mountain was immobile, the town's power appeared to be shut down, and they found several large pits in the snow that appeared to have melted and refrozen to form a crater of ice. They had a closer look at one and found a lump of active originium in the middle."
    "Hmm, that does seem pretty sus." She perked up in her chair.



    "So, did the scouting team find any survivors? It's still peak season. Don't tell me they all disappeared without a trace."


    This whole situation smelled strongly of foul play. This is what her instincts told her. Who knew what sort of clandestine groups operated in such remote areas?

    "Also if this is Rhine Lab's discovery, why come to us? Is our client not high ranking enough to have their own team?"
    <Airen> I play hetero every once in awhile
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    [12:21.40] that might be a top tier post[12:21.45] frantic[12:21.47] post of the month, even[12:21.48] this right here[12:21.49] is MC [12:21.56] johnny has nothing on this dude[12:22.00] he's the MC of the nisio half[12:22.12] so wait[12:22.15] [ ] is, after all, my rival character[12:22.16] am i the gag heroine[12:22.20] yes

  9. #9
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Operator Asura
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    If Asura was affected by the long wait, she was not showing it at all. She lounged quite comfortably on her chair, looking for all the world uncaring and relaxed, if perhaps not as much as the one operator who had literally fallen asleep during the briefing.

    No, perhaps she wasn’t quite as patient as she looked like. Around five minutes ago, as the temperature inside the room had started to soar, the pink Lupo had picked up a pencil, and balanced it upright on the tip of one of her fingers. Each minute that passed, she added another pencil, balancing it on the tip of yet another finger.

    It was quite clear from the way she entertained herself with these trivial tricks that she was quite bored.

    Finally, the silence was interrupted, as the squad’s handler got tired for waiting, and other members of the impromptu squad pressed for the briefing to start.

    Asura remained silent, her fingers still maintaining her improvised toys’ equilibrium without the use of Arts as she listened, making a mental note of every detail she considered important. Ever the professional, no matter how much she looked like a slacker at the moment.

    However, after Jordan had revealed a few more details, and listening to Valravn’s questions, Asura let the pencils fall from her hand. The objects floated on the air, and soon enough they were resting neatly on the table, as golden eyes peered curiously at the team’s handler.

    “To add to my fellow Operator’s questions… has the scouting team found evidence of foul play? And, am I correct to assume we expect to face hostiles during the retrieval?” She asked after a moment.

    The basis of her second question was rather clear. No matter how you put it, this squad had too many members for just a ‘mere’ retrieval mission. It’d be one thing if it was in the middle of a Catastrophe, but said disaster had already happened. If it was just retrieving an item from the city just sending a cell of infected Operators would be enough.

    Of course, the situation was quite suspicious by what they knew already, but this squad would’ve represented quite the firepower even in Asura’s former workplace. The BSW was a mercenary company, too, and the more members they mobilized in a mission, the higher the costs, and the less they’d earn from the contract.

    All seemed to indicate that some sort of opposition was to be expected, hence her rather pragmatic question, that didn’t quite hide an edge of interest. Perhaps this time she would find the kind of target she preferred to take on, and given the number of people present, she was quite hopeful in that regard.
    Last edited by RacingeR; May 28th, 2022 at 01:05 AM.


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  10. #10
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Jordan paused for a few moments, allowing the squad to process the first batch of information and ask any relevant questions. Satisfied there would be no further queries, she began doling out her answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Vitro
    "Huhuu...Not geothermal, no… Meteorological, then. A greater area of elements not of Terra, but to see its effect on such environs…"
    "Most likely, yes. The survey team guessed a lightning storm. The craters might bring to mind a meteorite shower, but a meteor Catastrophe large enough to halt a mobile city would do extensive damage to the town itself and the surrounding area. I should note, however, that the survey team were neither Catastrophe Messengers nor meteorologists, and were merely making an educated guess and not an expert's theory."

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Valravn
    "Also if this is Rhine Lab's discovery, why come to us? Is our client not high ranking enough to have their own team?"
    "I'm afraid the client didn't say, and I didn't ask. I'm not overly familiar with Rhine Lab's policies or politics, but as a general rule we try not to delve too deeply in a client's business unless it's immediately relevant to the mission. As for the matter of survivors, the survey team found no townsfolk outside the city, but when they tried getting in-"

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Asura
    “To add to my fellow Operator’s questions… has the scouting team found evidence of foul play? And, am I correct to assume we expect to face hostiles during the retrieval?”
    Jordan closed her eyes for a moment, clear on her face that she would like nothing more than a chance to fall asleep on the table and stop worrying, like Moss had already done.

    "Yes. It's too early to say how these things are connected, but the survey team most definitely found evidence of foul play. Nine operators is far too many for what was originally a simple retrieval mission."

    The handler lifted the remote for the projector again, but before she could press the button to move to the next slide, a loud bing sounded from her computer and gave her a start.

    "Wha- Oh, seriously, who is sending me messages during a briefing?" Surprise quickly turned to frustration as the feline's mood was soured even further, only to return to surprise as she looked at the screen. "Ah. False alarm. Looks like our client had some sort of misunderstanding with security? She's finally on the way now, should be here any minute."

    Relieved that the meeting was about to start for real, Jordan took one last look around the room, her eyes pausing on the Pilosa face-down on the table. And then the Entoma, face up and covered by some sort of brochure or magazine, who had just begun to snore.

    "Can someone wake those two up, please. I didn't think they were actually sleeping..."

    __________________________________________________


    3:35 PM

    Fortunately, there was just enough time for the room to cool off, the squad to make themselves presentable, and for Jordan to run through the early part of the briefing again for the benefit of the less attentive operators. The knock on the door came right when the handler was reorganizing her paperwork.

    "Sarah Jordan here. Come in."

    "Right. Sorry, sorry!"

    The door opened, and the mystery client from Rhine Lab made her appearance at last.



    The Liberi(?) woman hurried to the front end of the meeting table, briefcase in hand.

    "Aaah, I can't believe I misplaced my ID after flying all the way here. That was a painful hour with security." She set to unlocking her overly-complicated suitcase, then after a few seconds realized she may have worded something a little poorly. "Uh, mentally painful. Not physically."

    "...well, team, here is the client for today's mission. Director Muelsyse, head of Rhine Lab's Ecological division." Sarah, meanwhile, decided to push forward with business instead of worrying any more about what had already happened. "I already gave the squad the basic rundown, Miss Muelsyse. If you could be so kind to inform them of the mission's details?"

    "Oh, of course! All the better if you explained the situation already. My part shouldn't take too long." Muelsyse withdrew a photo and a few manila envelopes from her briefcase, tossing them onto the table for the operators to see. "Long story short, there's a Rhine Lab facility in Rocky Mountain, and I'm in urgent need of a number of reports and documents from them. I was originally planning to pick them up myself, but, you know, Catastrophe. Rhine would rather wait the problem out and send somebody over after the government aid teams clear the place up, but who knows how many weeks that'll take?"

    The director leaned over the table, and tapped the picture she had set down.

    "This lovely lady here is Evelyn Manning. Researcher. She's the one I was going to pick up the reports from. Can't promise she'll still be at the lab, but it's probably safer than her house during the aftermath of a Catastrophe? Rhine buildings are built pretty tough. Those envelopes are your entrance permissions, all signed by me. Find somebody, tell them the Director sent you, and hand those over. You should pretty much have the run of the facility.
    "

    Muelsyse looked through her briefcase again, but it wasn't long before she finished and closed it, seemingly satisfied.

    "Well, I trust Miss Jordan here informed you about the town and the general situation, so that should be all. I don't have any more to add. but... I do have a question."
    The director looked up from her papers for the first time and cast her eyes around the room. Her mood deteriorated rather quickly, to say the least. "I'm pretty sure I said in my request that this should be a straightforward delivery-pickup mission. This is the team, right? Nine people?"

    Having realized what the room full of operators already knew, Muelsyse steeled herself for the bad news sure to come shortly.

    "That's right, Miss Muelsyse. For a mission like this I would normally send three operators, maybe four if I wanted to add a Catastrophe specialist. Unfortunately, in the course of scoping out Rocky Mountain, my scouting team ran into a few severe complications." Jordan raised the remote and clicked the button she had dreaded clicking for some time now, and the projector changed to a new image once more. This last picture displayed - in somewhat low resolution - the lowered entry ramp to a mobile city. A number of vehicles were parked at the bottom of the ramp. A few trucks, a few jeeps, and... what looked like some sort of tank, or an armoured personnel carrier?

    "I know the image quality isn't the best, but the survey team assured me 'in absolute confidence' that these vehicles belong to the Bolivarian Army."
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  11. #11
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six pinetree's Avatar
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    Santonia had been a part of Black Steel for a while now, and while she knew that it wasn't uncommon for a mercenary group such as theirs to come into conflict with armies, going up against the Bolivarian military so close to the border still seemed a bit much. Her first instinct was to complain or bail on the job.
    Fortunately, their client was a cheery scientist and not a corporate bootlicker like she was expecting, so she was in quite a good mood.

    "Fucking shit, mate. This hellhole just got way worse."

    Looking around at the group they had gathered, it didn't seem like Jordan was planning on a stealth mission. The collection of weirdos in the room made her sure of that. She might be able to pass off as a regular tourist, maybe some of the others could too, but then you had a chick with a halo made of swords, another with an eerily dark one, Valravn with her huge claw, and the sleeping beauty over there — who Santonia was pretty sure she had seen coming out of a power-armor looking thing earlier today.

    "So we go in, punch some army dogs, get the docs and then we're out? Sounds cheery." She leaned over the table and grabbed the photo of the liberi scientist to get a better look, then spun it on her fingers to show Muelsyse. "What about Miss Eve? Now that you know Bolivar got their paws all over the city, are we getting her out along with the info?"

  12. #12
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    Sting was still in the middle of rubbing the drowsiness out of his eyes when the client had arrived at the meeting room. Waiting for the client had been such a dull affair that he had started reading some of the Blacksteel Wordwide pamphlets lying around in the room to pass the time. Unfortunately those were even more boring than just sitting around doing nothing and so he had ended up falling asleep whilst using them as a convenient eye shield cover, so honestly who was really to blame for him having dozed off like that?

    Well at least the client was easy on the eyes and came off as more amicable than the usual, so he'd forgive her. Speaking of appearances, Sting had to admit that the motley crew of Blacksteel operatives assembled here were, now that he had actually bothered to take a good look of them, a bunch of...weirdos. There was no two ways about it, they were pretty weird. Some a little less than others and some a looooot more...like the kid with the freaky claws or the pudgy guy in the mask. Especially the pudgy guy in the mask.

    Putting the matter of the team aside, then there was the mission they were being sent on. To say that everything about it was "highly suspicious" was putting it lightly, to say the least. What was the client's rush to get these documents anyways, unless they were really important and if they were why risk sending anyone other than your own people? Certainly, Blacksteel had a sterling reputation for its work, but that still seemed like a risk that one of the top executives in one of the top companies in Columbia wouldn't normally be willing to take.

    Eh, whatever.

    With that simple thought, Sting dismissed those troublesome queries. At the end of the day, this Miss Muelsyse was their employer, while the team were her employees. So at the end of the day, they just had to get the specified envelopes to her, with whatever corporate chicanery accompanying it something they'd have to wade through as it came along. All the extra risk just meant a bigger payday when all was said and done. Besides...

    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Muelsyse
    "This lovely lady here is Evelyn Manning. Researcher. She's the one I was going to pick up the reports from. Can't promise she'll still be at the lab, but it's probably safer than her house during the aftermath of a Catastrophe? Rhine buildings are built pretty tough. Those envelopes are your entrance permissions, all signed by me. Find somebody, tell them the Director sent you, and hand those over. You should pretty much have the run of the facility."
    Sting's eyes darted to the photograph that was laid on the table, before letting out a sharp wolf whistle.

    "Geez, is Rinne lab filled with belle donne, or is it just you two? Because you know if it's the former...well you wouldn't happen to have any job openings at the moment?"

    Crass and unprofessional, as per usual. However, before he could continue on making an embarrassment of the company, his attention shifted to the projector and the image of the various vehicles that was now displayed. They were military, according to the boss lady, and Bolivarian which more likely than not meant they were hostiles they would have to deal with. Somehow, considering how bizarre this scenario already seems to be, this...didn't seem that unsurprising. Besides...this meant an even bigger payday, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Santonia
    "What about Miss Eve? Now that you know Bolivar got their paws all over the city, are we getting her out along with the info?"
    Ah good call, lizard girl. Although with how cutthroat Columbia can be, she may just ask that we 'take care' of her instead. Hope not, but eh...job's a job, waste as it is.
    Last edited by Zagrin; May 27th, 2022 at 09:09 PM.

  13. #13
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:35 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    The dreary Sankta let out a quiet sigh. Of course the client was Rhine Lab.

    Spectacular.

    She tallied the number of problems she had with the briefing. Rhine Lab relying on mercenaries instead of their own security division or the Columbian government, the fact that Bolivar had apparently mobilized quicker than Columbia had, and the client. Division Head Muelsyse was cheerful, attractive, and so nakedly untrustworthy that it made her fingers ache. The way she spoke made it worse- inviting the ethical question of whether or not the researcher mattered half as much her files. It didn’t matter if the answer was “Oh, of course” or “Rhine Lab has its own evacuation protocols, so please focus on getting yourselves in and out of the Area of Operations as quickly as possible.” The emotion of the answer could be spun in any direction to paint the company as having held the higher ground all along.

    She didn't hold it against the woman. It was simply how Rhine Lab was.

    Director Muelsyse,” she spoke calmly, waiting until the Liberi woman had taken a moment to process the Savra's questioning and the Entoma's flirtations. “With consideration to your contract with Blacksteel as well as Rhodes Island’s working relationship with both of your companies, I can understand if you need to be vague, but as the acting medic for these operators, there is something I am compelled to ask— were there any hazardous materials housed in the Rocky Mountain facility which may have been disturbed by the Catastrophe?

    The Liberi’s dress was thoroughly Rhine Lab. All flat planes and long rectangles. Purposeful right-angles that muddied the lines between ‘doctor’ and ‘engineer’ because of course they would. Rhine Lab was a manufacturer that liked to pretend it was a medical research group, or a robotics company, or a historical society; whatever it took to secure more funding.

    She gestured to the projector screen.

    I am not a combat Operator, nor am I equipped to handle something on the scale of, for example, a Bolivarian caster accidentally igniting a canister of liquefied Originium with their Arts in the middle of a border dispute. Not without the forewarning to request the necessary materials from Blacksteel's hazardous materials unit, at least.
    Last edited by Egophobia; August 1st, 2022 at 06:19 PM.
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  14. #14
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Operator Asura
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:22 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Asura's only action so far had been, when prompted by Jordan's comment, to link to an eraser and float it up into the air. Someone else had already taken over the task of wakening the dormant Entoma, so she focused on the Pilosa, and launched the eraser towards her. Doing this without harming both objects involved in this exchange required some finesse, but the Lupo pulled it off. As far as ways of waking people up went, it was probably a really bad one. So why did she do it? Probably just because she found it funny. The Pilosa was a tough one either way. Bet she'd barely notice what actually woke her up!

    Or something like that. It was hard to tell when it came to Asura. Most people chose to not question it after a while of being exposed to her.

    Afterwards, she remained attentively silent as she listened to the preceedings, focusing on Muelsyse when she made her entrance. There were enough suspicious points there to point out, but it wasn't none of Asura's business, even if she was tempted to poke fun at some of them. You didn't do that to a client. Her bosses had been quite clear about that the last five times.

    However, she perked up when she saw the last image the boss shared with them, and her somewhat placid mood picked up rather noticeably. "My, my, and here I thought the Bolivarians were far too busy killing each other to be much of a bother. But seriously, Miss Jordan, 'Bolivarian Army'... that doesn't narrow it down all that much. Do we know which of the three is it?" She asked cheerily. Inside, she was already considering how to deal with a Bolivarian tank. Would be difficult, unless they could use the city at fullest extent. The upside was that it was not a difficult target to hit, and she wondered if she'd be able to pierce through armor that thick. An interesting challenge, for sure.

    Either way, the quantity of firepower they had concentrated made a lot of sense now, if they were going to go against... how many? A full platoon? Perhaps a lot more. She doubted the scouting team was able to make sure of their numbers.

    "Seems like whatever you guys got going in your labs, you got all kinds of interest." Oh whoops, you aren't supposed to go like that with clients. Well, to hell with it. She returned her glance to the researcher. "Anyone else going to show up for the party? That's going to be pretty relevant to us soldiers."

    For Asura it was rather clear that the one thing that would attract such attention in a city like that would be the Rhine laboratory itself. Nothing else of worth for a foreign army to show up there, as far as they knew. Again, though, whatever they had there wasn't their business, for now. Although, that brought up another point, and she blurted it out before she could stop herself as she looked at the handler. "Thought that Columbia would get rather touchy about foreign armies poking on their territory. Sovereign violations and whatnot, all that fun stuff."

    Yet another odd point, really. One of many, but at least they could be quite sure of their mission now.


    quotes
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  15. #15
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Operator Nuriel
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:35 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship



    The client had finally arrived, and something did happen to her, though it was merely a bureaucratic blunder instead of something more dire.

    Nuriel quietly listened as everyone shared their opinions and misgivings surrounding the situation. Her eyes were closed, but unlike those who were asleep, it was obvious that she was focusing on taking in the information being shared by Sarah and Muelsyse. Her choosing to shut her eyes was most likely to not be distracted by the various shows on nonchalance or insubordination around her. It's not like she wasn't used to people being rather light-hearted and irreverent even in briefings as important as this one, but she'd rather not test her own patience for now. Nuriel was someone who preferred to not joke around, especially when lives were at stake.

    A bit of a 'cold' woman indeed, though she had always been chided for taking things so seriously by 'her', and since then, the Sankta had tried her best to be a bit more lighthearted, but it wasn't the easiest of things when all you can think of most of the time is those you've lost. Still, she had been told, that though she had lost many, there were still those that she had yet to save... and it was the reason she was here, to save people. And pay her oripathy treatment bills, since you can't save people if you don't save yourself...

    ...but back to saving people. It is Nuriel's obligation to ask:

    "The mission is to recover these documents, but what about the people inside the facility and... the city in general? I know we aren't a search-and-rescue team nor some humanitarian NGO, but I presume if we look at it from a corporate point of view such additional activities would provide an incentive for... further rewards, wouldn't they? Perhaps restoring power to the city and figuring out why it shut down might make the mission even easier."

    More money is always a good motivator to get people to help. The world runs on money after all, it is something everyone learns one way or the other, no matter how crass, cruel and unpleasant it is.

    Yet... is it really worth it to save these people from a cooperation that most likely performs shady research on civilians? Nuriel is quite familiar with the reputation of Columbian companies such as Rhine, but the matter stands, they are one of the few organizations in existence that can help cure Oripathy... thus there must be 'good' people in there right? Nuriel is not a foreigner to the reality, that an organization's general ethics does not represent all of its member's ideals, nor does a single member reflect the organization's working as a whole. It is much more complex than that... and due to what has happened before, who is she to judge these people she knew nothing about, before meeting them in person?

    Still, there is a question about the other elephant in the room:

    "The Bolivarian troops... has any attempt been made to contact them and clarify their intentions? Should we deal with them in a non-lethal manner? Or should we just assume that they are hostiles and... not pull our punches?"

    There were still so many things that were nagging the back of her mind, but these were seemingly the most important details Nuriel wanted to know.

    Besides, asking wherever a Rhine Lab accident was actually the cause of this entire 'unannounced Catastrophe' would probably be a bit too direct. She would keep that subject for when the client isn't here...

    Salutem pavidos, mea judicium est.

  16. #16
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    After Jordan delivered the news, Muelsyse pulled up the nearest chair and promptly collapsed into it. Whatever she had been expecting, it clearly wasn't that.

    "Seriously? Is a Catastrophe not already the worst case scenario? Columbia-Bolivar relations are crap on a good day, but this is a straight-up act of war."

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Santonia
    So we go in, punch some army dogs, get the docs and then we're out? Sounds cheery.
    "That's the gist of it, Santonia. Ideally with a minimal amount of punching, but-" Jordan crossed her arms and turned to have a look at the projector screen. "-six trucks. Are they carrying men, or equipment, or are they empty to load something up for transport? How many people in that armoured vehicle? The city's entry ramp is lowered; are these the bulk of Bolivar's troops or just a small rearguard while the main force is in the city? There could be a hundred men in this group here, and potentially hundreds more in Rocky Mountain. I am not prepared to send a full assault force large enough to liberate an occupied city."

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Santonia
    What about Miss Eve? Now that you know Bolivar got their paws all over the city, are we getting her out along with the info?
    "Hmm." Maybe it was a little concerning that Muelsyse didn't respond immediately. "Honestly, that depends on the state of the city? Logically, you might think 'oh, she definitely needs to get out of there!'. But like I said before, Rhine infrastructure is tough. If the facility went on lockdown, then even Bolivar- no. Wait. If they're on lockdown, you won't even be able to get in. Damn."

    More complications, it would seem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Sting
    Geez, is Rhine lab filled with belle donne, or is it just you two? Because you know if it's the former...well you wouldn't happen to have any job openings at the moment?
    Muelsyse didn't even bother to say anything, just responding with a 'really?' sort of expression, while Jordan gave an unamused 'hmph'.

    "Maybe you should watch what you say in a room full of Blacksteel women, Sting. Particularly me."

    She quickly scribbled something down on a sheet of paper. Planning to write you up for that statement, probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Grapevine
    Director Muelsyse. With consideration to your contract with Blacksteel as well as Rhodes Island’s working relationship with both of your companies, I can understand if you need to be vague, but as the acting medic for these operators, there is something I am compelled to ask— were there any hazardous materials housed in the Rocky Mountain facility which may have been disturbed by the Catastrophe?
    "Rhodes Island, huh? Not surprising Blacksteel would pull you out. Specialist like you should do a lot better than some random medic."

    The deflection couldn't be more obvious. Almost insultingly so. Muelsyse pinched the bridge of her nose and stared at the table, and for a moment it was impossible to tell if she would answer the question or not. After a few seconds, tough, she gave an exaggerated shrug and continued.

    "Fine. This is no time for being coy, I'll just be straight with you: I have no idea what's going on at this facility. Evelyn is one of mine from Ecological, but the site director and pretty much all of the researchers are from the Originium Arts section. Evelyn sent a letter saying she had something important for me. Too sensitive to send via Messenger. Weird, but not unheard of. Then the Catastrophe screwed my vacation plans so I had to contact the professionals instead."

    After that, the director stared Grapevine straight in the eye and gave her a mischievous grin.

    "I can tell you two things, though. first, the bad news: if the lab is on lockdown, and it probably is, you guys will need me to come along. They wouldn't even open the door to look at your credentials. Second, maybe good news. I don't know what they're doing at Rocky Mountain, but I do know Evelyn's field of study."

    She followed up the grin with a wink, and...

    "The effects of Oripathy on the early development of fetuses and children. Sound familiar, Miss Rhodes Island?"

    Jordan's eyes narrowed at the other woman's rather suspicious response, but for the time being, there were further questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Asura
    "But seriously, Miss Jordan, 'Bolivarian Army'... that doesn't narrow it down all that much. Do we know which of the three is it?"
    "Negative, sorry. We can probably rule out the Coalition, since they get a lot of help from Columbia, but the survey team couldn't find any identifying features that would mark the vehicles as Dynasty or Resistance troops. They didn't dare get any closer."

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Asura
    "Anyone else going to show up for the party? That's going to be pretty relevant to us soldiers."
    "Come on, I didn't even know about the Bolivarians." Muelsyse shook her head, disappointed. "If this was supposed to be a party, nobody told me."

    Quote Originally Posted by Operator Nuriel
    "The mission is to recover these documents, but what about the people inside the facility and... the city in general? I know we aren't a search-and-rescue team nor some humanitarian NGO, but I presume if we look at it from a corporate point of view such additional activities would provide an incentive for... further rewards, wouldn't they? Perhaps restoring power to the city and figuring out why it shut down might make the mission even easier."
    "We can't be completely sure without examining the site, but we are currently acting under the assumption that the Catastrophe caused the power outage. Perhaps the Bolivarians shut down power manually and it wouldn't be too hard to restore, but I don't have the resources available to send proper aid to the city. I'm treating both as outside the mission parameters. As for the Bolivarian forces: assume them to be enemy combatants unless you're given a very good reason not to. I won't order you to kill them. But they are troops from a hostile foreign nation, sitting inside Columbian territory with military vehicles."

    "You're not getting any extra incentives from me, either. Sorry, but Rhine already declined to send their own aid and they're not footing the bill. I'm using my own money for this."

    The room fell quiet for a minute. Some questions had been answered, only to be replaced by more questions. If anything the meeting mainly served to highlight how little the team knew. Once again, Sarah was the one to break the silence.

    "Well, as you have no doubt surmised, Blacksteel does not have the information to develop an appropriate response. The enemy forces, their goals, the current situation in Rocky Mountain, all unknown. But we can't just sit back, either. This lack of intel is the reason I put together such a varied group."

    Jordan clicked her remote once again to move to the next slide on the projector. This time, it showed a headshot of all the operators present, divided into groups.

    "The situation is likely to change in the field, and your plan of action is up to your own discretion. But here's the initial outline."

    She tapped at the first group, with Nuriel at the top.

    "One squad will be charged with the mission objective: reaching the facility and locating Doctor Manning. Mobile cities always have maintenance entrances in the undercarriage, so you should be able to find some stairs or a ladder somewhere to enter the city. Operators Sting and Asura, being noted infiltration specialists, are clear choices. They will be aided by Vitro, medical supporter. The infiltration team will be aiming to avoid direct combat where possible, so a full-blown Medic operator should be unnecessary. Nuriel will be squad leader. She has the most experience working in a team setting, and her Arts can assist in navigation through the city as well as combat if it can't be avoided. Finally, if Director Muelsyse needs to be on site, she will naturally be travelling with the infiltration team."

    Next up, the second group, mostly consisting of question marks for whatever reason.

    "Jessica."

    "Y-yes?!" The quiet sniper shot up in her chair, saying her first words for the entire briefing. Some people had probably forgotten she was even there.

    "The second squad is yours. Most of the main operators will be entering the city, so your team will be made up of standard Blacksteel field agents. Your target will be the city's main entrance. Scope the place out, and if the situation allows, breach the city. By force, if needed. Your goal is to secure the city entrance to get some level of control over the area."

    "Understood. We won't let you down, Miss Jordan."

    Only one group remained, this one with Grave Moss at the top.

    "The final squad is the assault team. For the initial stage of the mission, you are to assist Jessica at Rocky Mountain's main entrance. If you're successful, break off from the rest and enter the city yourselves. Your objective is the most likely to change according to the situation; engaging with enemy forces, investigating the city, or linking up with the infiltration team are all valid possibilities. If you are unable to breach the city in the first place, withdraw and follow the infiltration team. No need to have you all sipping tea in the snow outside. The main combat operators will be on the assault team: Grave Moss will be squad leader, as she has by far the most experience in military operations. Santonia and Valravn will provide close- and long-range offense, and Grapevine will be on hand as the assault team is the most likely to engage in open combat."

    Jordan took a moment to cast her eyes around the room, her gaze lingering a bit longer on the designated squad leaders, as well as the client for this highly unusual mission.

    "Remember, killing the Bolivarians is not the mission. Treat them as an obstacle to the goal, and find some way to deal with the obstacle. The greatest victories are won without loosing a single arrow... and there is a chance, however slim, that these troops simply rushed from the border to provide Catastrophe relief. now, if there are any further questions for either myself or Muelsyse?"
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  17. #17
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    March 8 - 3:35 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Jordan
    "Maybe you should watch what you say in a room full of Blacksteel women, Sting. Particularly me."
    Sting had been unfazed by the client's response, usually these things went fifty-fifty and he'd just lost the luck of the draw this time. No, what had him taken aback was the interjection by his superior, Sarah Jordan.

    "Miss Jordan, I..." Sting's voice trailed off as a look of realization at what he had just done dawned on his face, "I hadn't taken you for the jealous type! Don't worry though, you're pretty good-lookin' yourself, let nobody tell you otherwise! I just figured those kinds of relationships between management and grunts were ruled out, but I mean if that's how you feel..."

    Sting was now rubbing his chin in contemplation, with a stupid grin on his face. He had taken Sarah's subtle threat, and reframed it from that of an irritated superior to that of an envious admirer. It couldn't be said for certain whether he was actually that full of himself so as to honestly misunderstand it to such a degree, or if he was doing it simply to get a rise out of her. Either way the end result would likely be the same...but that would be a problem for later! For now he would bring his attention back to the meeting.

    Just more details regarding the mission.

    Client would be coming with them now. Alright, potentially some babysitting duties there considering the whole catastrophe aftermath coupled with it potentially becoming a warzone as well.

    The client's contact was the only one from her department while everybody else there was from another. That seemed kind of strange, but then again corporations do as they tend to do.

    The client pretty much admitting that the company experiments on babies and children with Oripathy. On that one, even Sting had to raise an eyebrow. Certainly the way it was worded meant they probably went and found kids that had contracted the disease, maybe gave them some medication with the studies and...yeah, no, this is Columbia, it's experimenting on children. Not that the morality of their actions meant the company was going to go and decline the job, but...

    Little to no info on the invading army. A given.

    No extra pay for the troubles they'd be encountering...wait, no extra pay? Either she was already paying more than enough or the company didn't know when it was getting stiffed.

    As for the job itself, it seemed simple enough, all things considered. Composition of the infiltration team was also sensible, he had at least some passing knowledge about the capabilities of his new teammates and so agreed with the general make up. Client would be coming with them though, hopefully that wouldn't cause any problems...but then he wasn't in charge, so he'd just let their illustrious squad leader handle that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Jordan
    Now, if there are any further questions for either myself or Muelsyse?"
    She would regret asking that.

    "Uh sure, so either of you up for drinks after this? I know this nice little Siracusan-style bar in downtown Columbia that's got the best Campari this side of Terra."
    Last edited by Zagrin; May 28th, 2022 at 11:45 AM.

  18. #18
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six pinetree's Avatar
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    So she doesn't care about the lives of anyone in there, huh? Santonia questioned Muelsyse about their contact to probe her on that front anyway, but her colleague's inquieries only made it more obvious.
    That said...

    She was used to being the one getting into trouble due to her attitude. Being brash, being disrespectful, that's what she arrived at after the whole ordeal with Rim Billiton. It's who she decided to be, to deny how her own people had gone out... So now, sitting there while the temperature of the room rose again, she realized.

    The savra was stunned. I'm really not as brash as I thought. Maybe I'm getting old.

    Or maybe she was just saner, because these people openly questioning the shadiest aspects of the mission to the client's face sure seemed nuts to her. Good luck to the team who'd have to bring the shady lady along.
    Oh, and that was another thing to brighten up her mood. She wouldn't have to deal with the mutant babies or whatever the hell this Catastrophe had unleashed from the lab, at least not initially. They also got the medic, good news for Santonia, just in case I knock myself out with my own music.
    Though her squad would have to go along with the timid feline who she had — once again — forgotten was coming with them. She didn't seem competent enough to fight, let alone lead a team.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Jordan
    Now, if there are any further questions for either myself or Muelsyse?"
    She was about to say something when bee man decided to speak up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "Uh sure, so either of you up for drinks after this? I know this nice little Siracusan-style bar in downtown Columbia that's got the best Campari this side of Terra."
    Santonia let a laugh escape her lips and prayed for the soul of the poor drongo, before turning to Jordan again.

    "Hey, uh... Proritizing experience makes sense, but can this Jessica chick really lead a squad? Girl's barely holding it together as it is."
    Last edited by pinetree; May 28th, 2022 at 12:40 PM.

  19. #19
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Operator Vitro
    March 8 - 3:35 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship



    Ah. Rhine Labs. A well-respected institute for its plethora of fields and studies. A name Vitro's briefly acquainted with. It was one such place he considered joining after graduation before complications led to his current employment. He did receive an invitation two years prior from the Labs themselves -- not just from its Scientific Investigation section but also that of Originium Arts Research. Embarrassingly, preoccupation with his work and responsibilities as Operator has repeatedly pushed addressing said invitations into the backlines.

    Upon meeting one of its Directors in person and hearing her answers to both Sanktas' questions, the Support Operator started having second thoughts. Priority on data than personnel, unwillingness to supply aid, and the nature of the target's research… Granted, one bad apple does not necessarily contaminate the basket whole – but the fact the study was continued without resistance does put the administration under severe scrutiny.

    Note to self: Properly retract and dispose of the invitations once the operation is through. Preferably via incineration. Polite rejection optional.

    As with the further briefing and plan of entry. All seemed within reason -- with abysmal propensity for combat, it was natural to place him as part of infiltration. Shame, he would have liked to converse with the Sankta Medic; those under Rhodes Island tend to have good repute and expertise, and it would be nice seeing an unfamiliar face. Vitro glanced over to the Entoma and Lupo. Judging from vocal inflection and background, both seem to be of Siracusan-related. Ahh, some semblence of home. Not even an academic like him is except from nostalgia. Would make for a viable topic of discussion in the future. Probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Handler Jordan
    "Now, if there are any further questions for either myself or Muelsyse?"

    Vitro raised a finger after Specialist Sting's, err, invitation and Guard Santonia's remark. Better ask now or be drowned out by the rest.

    "...A couple, if you may." Clearing his throat, Operator Vitro continued.

    "First, regarding deployment. As Bolivar's warhounds currently occupy the city, dropping nearby is impossible. So how far would we be from the city perimeters? Depending on the distance, it would be prudent to first navigate the hazardous environs together before splitting to our respective responsibilities, huu."

    Seasoned and geared they may be, Catastrophe Sites are severe hazards for a good reason. Active Originium notwithstanding, the hostile north is no stranger to wildlife; and to think any of the resilient fauna mutated by it…

    "And another matter:"

    Now facing their client, Vitro posed his next inquiry. While the Bolivian Army is a troubling presence in the Catastrophe zone and whatever unknowns lurking about, one more vector remains…

    "While I admit to having little knowledge of Rhine Labs' workings beyond the basics, the lack of direct aid may pose an issue for us. Because of this, I fear there may be a non-zero chance of the site's personnel being, huu…" Vitro paused, considering the proper wording. "Uncooperative with our specified extraction. If that were to happen, then…"



    "How should we proceed?"
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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  20. #20
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Operator Nuriel
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    Nuriel listens to the plan attentively, noting down all the instructions that Sarah Jordan is going through for the briefing... but... something subtle happens to her as they start discussing the assignment of tasks and squads. It wasn't notable at first, as if she hadn't registered the words properly, or perhaps... couldn't, but as she saw the images on screen and Sarah's words continued to filter in, the realization hit Nuriel that she had been given the task of leading a team.

    It was then that she held her breath for a worrying amount of time, though perhaps it was hard to notice since she was a very quiet person in general. She didn't move, as if she was frozen in place, and a cursory glance would only give the impression that she was still looking at the projector screen very intently... but if one looked closely, they would realize that the sankta was lost somewhere inside her own world.

    Can I lead them?

    What if I make a mistake, like back then?

    It was my mistake, and yet I am the only one left.

    What would she think, if she was still here?

    If only...

    The image of someone very important flashes before her eyes. A female cautus dressed in blinding white, as cold... no, colder than the winter of Ursus itself. Nuriel reaches for that familiar figure, the freezing temperature around this ephemeral figure warmer than anything else. As she approaches, emerging from the snowstorm are more familiar figures, flanking the cautus. She only sees their silhouette, but that is all she needs to recognize them.
    Nuriel reaches out to it, to that distant dream, that distant memory... a place that she once called home.

    ...


    ...but it will forever remain a memory.

    The image shatters, the world of ice that she once called home disappears and she returns to the meeting room... just in time to ask if there are any questions. Nuriel has nothing to ask nor say -- the questions she has, only she herself can answer them. She will need to go for a walk once this meeting is dismissed, and set herself straight for the upcoming trial at hand.

    Expergiscimini, salutem agnus.

    Yet, going silently away when she has been appointed a squad leader wouldn't fill her squad mates with confidence, that she understands... and she has some things to say about her squad's medical specialist's comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitro
    "While I admit to having little knowledge of Rhine Labs' workings beyond the basics, the lack of direct aid may pose an issue for us. Because of this, I fear there may be a non-zero chance of the site's personnel being, huu…" Vitro paused, considering the proper wording. "Uncooperative with our specified extraction. If that were to happen, then…"
    "Madam Muelsyse pointed out that we should have paperwork that would give us the full access to the facility... and the cooperation of the personnel present. As long as we do not, and there should be no need to uh... mention that none of Rhine Lab's higher ups have arranged for a proper rescue mission... all should be fine. We might even butter up the situation and add the prospect of an extraction team to ensure their honest cooperation, if required."

    Yet that is not saving them, is it? Of course it isn't, it is blatantly lying and leaving people to die. Nuriel knows very well what that means, and some may spot the glimmer of light and determination in her eyes which betray that there is a lot left unsaid behind the words she uttered -- that if she can arrange for people to be out of harm's way, she will. 'Leave no one behind, and minimize casualties...' that is how she has done things ever since she left Laterano.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; May 28th, 2022 at 02:41 PM.

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