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Thread: After the Dawn (IC)

  1. #21
    Operator Grave Moss
    Meeting Room
    March 8 -
    3:35 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    A hollow *tonk* rings out at the impact of the eraser and the blue haired operator. A long moment passes before Grave Moss's voice echoes out, muffled by her arms and the table.

    "Good~____Nnmphmorning~____Grave is____notasleep~"



    Lifting her head up, resting her chin on her folded arms sleepy red eyes never quite focus on Jordan properly as she gives her second briefing, but she at least is apparently taking in the information. She can't remember how many briefings like this she had been in before, they all blurred together in her head. It's okay, the in charge person always likes talking, and it gives her more time when she doesn't have to be doing anything so it's okay for her.

    "Ah~____Tea in the snow sounds nice~____Maybe we can~____have a nice break~"





    "After we finish~____the mission then~?____Nnnn~ "





    Grave Moss's head lulls to one side, wondering what kind of tea would be good in the snow? Maybe, she could take a nap in the snow too? That sounds pleasant.

    A long pause as the other operators chatter about this and that.


    The image up on the projector finally clicks in her head as the unit structure is revealed.

    "Nnnn~____Miss hot Sarah lady~?____Grave is going to be the leader~?"

    Rubies finally coming into focus, bearing their extreme confusion at this. She had never lead anyone before, everyone always kept running on ahead forward and dying. The job didn't sound hard though, just opening a door.

    "Miss grumpy~____Grapevine doctor looks older, so~____shouldn't they be in charge~?"
    Last edited by Plue; May 28th, 2022 at 11:24 PM.
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  2. #22
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:36 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    The compliment was a show of professional courtesy. Grapevine just tilted her head to the side and waited for Muelsyse to finish going through the motions and wind around to the point she wanted to make. No doubtit would be unpleasant. The woman from Rhine Lab had the advantage whether or not the Bolivarian troops were a surprise. Inter-office politics? She was distantly aware of the schism between Rhine Lab’s branches. No sense reading too far into it, though. Whatever the motive, it wasn’t relevant to her work.

    Ugh, that smile made the bones in her hands ache again. Saccharine and conspiratorial like an angel sneaking into a monastery for a glass of wine she was two years too young for. Escalation, was it? She’d provoked it, after all. Time for broad smiles and thinly veiled implications of horrific things, then.

    Ah.

    Rhine Lab, as always. Fetal and juvenile studies— observational or proactive? Ecology could gather the former through historical data or their consultation agreement with Rhodes Island or simply visiting any major settlement on Terra. The latter though? Companies had conducted trials to study the effects of Leithanian wine on expecting mothers. Siracusan cigarettes, prepackaged foods from Columbia, and a hundred other things. The field of Originium Arts research benefitted most from that brand of experimentation. Induced phenomena. On a scholastic level, it was uncomfortably similar to the more reprehensible elements of Lethanian witchcraft. Worse, arguably. The Leithanians at least had the courtesy not to call themselves doctors. Which was it then? Impossible to say, but if there was an Originium Arts branch, then yes, the risk of highly hazardous material was there.

    Familiar enough,” she replied, before looking to Handler Jordan. “Would it be possible to obtain a spare containment suit from your hazardous materials team? And a tarp. In the event of contaminated persons or materials, it would make it easier to transport them for extraction. Or treatment, provided I can find a suitable environment. I am aware that this is not a humanitarian operation, however, nor a part of Director Muelsyse's contract, so in the event it is used on outside personnel, my office will cover the bill."

    Certainly, if Sarah Jordan agreed, though it'd earn the Sankta another earful from the department head. Whatever. Right, that was her piece handled. Let the Blacksteel operators handle the military planning phase. For many of them, warfare was their area of expertise, after all. Winding up on the assault team? Just her luck, but it wasn’t too far from what she’d expected. If it’s where the injured would be, her knowledge would be the most useful there. The curious Liberi assigned to the infiltration team was pulling medic duty? Hm, well, it was always better to have more than one healer.

    The Savra, Santonia. Her question wasn’t unwarranted. Jessica Brinley had gone from ‘sweating bullets’ to just 'more than a little alarmed’, but the Sankta refrained from speaking on her behalf. That would just undermine the Feline’s qualifications. Operator Jessica had survived the Chernobog disaster several years ago, hadn't she? And she'd saved lives as a part of Rhodes Island. As a member of the medical team, that made her deserving of respect.

    Oh, the Pilosa who'd been called 'Grave Moss' had awoken in time to hear her assignment. She seemed reluctant. Also, 'grumpy'? Fair enough. Perhaps the blue-haired girl was good at picking up on things half-asleep or maybe was just her frank-but-formal manner of speech.

    I am a diagnostician, not a trained soldier. If you require counsel I will do what I can, but your experience is the greater asset between us. Keep me alive that I may do the same for you- though if I may be frank, it'll be easier for everyone if each of you avoids getting injured in the first place.

    She gave a mild shrug.

    A doctor should hope to be needed as infrequently as possible.
    Last edited by Egophobia; May 30th, 2022 at 02:22 PM.
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  3. #23
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Operator Asura
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:36 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Asura made mental notes of the questions and answers as they came in. So, they didn’t know which Bolivarian Army was. Well, she suspected the answer would be Dynasty, given the subject matter. Perhaps it was more likely that they’d face a lot more Casters than normal in this mission.

    But it was an assumption, and professionals didn’t assume, as to avoid the worst-case scenario of making an ass of oneself. Still, it was something to keep in mind.

    She also took note of the arrangements. She wasn’t satisfied with them. It wasn’t that she disliked Muelsyse, in fact they were similar enough to get along, or so Asura sensed based on the other’s behavior. But although the Lupo had participated and succeeded at missions related to target extraction, babysitting was not something she liked to do in the best of times, and in this mission in particular it’d be a real pain in the ass.

    Not that she doubted that Shady Lady was combat capable for one second. These kinds of people usually had a backup if they were willing to jump into the fire. Alas, she doubted Muelsyse would reveal her capabilities and their nature until a suitably dramatic moment and she’d been warned repeatedly to not badger clients.

    Well, no matter. Their client wasn’t the real issue, rather…

    “Oh dear…” Asura muttered to herself as she looked at Nuriel’s expression. Her fellow Siracusans weren’t an issue per se: sure, they were weird, but she was accustomed to BSW being crewed exclusively by weirdos. Hell, she was one of the bigger weirdos around herself.

    But she didn’t like what she saw in Sword Angel’s expression. Here was someone with reservations about her orders, or that at least had left quite a lot unsaid. What that was, she couldn’t tell, she wasn’t a mind-reader after all, and she’d have had a hard time pinpointing what caused her to arrive to such conclusions.

    If it had been someone else, there’d have been enough concerns here to speak up. Asura doubted she was the only one who noticed the many questions left bouncing, or that doubted very much that Muelsyse was as lacking in knowledge as she appeared to be. Or that hadn’t suspected a link between a sudden catastrophe, active originium (and wasn’t that one hell of a bad memory?) and an Originium Arts lab in the city.

    Her superiors must have at least made some connections and probably had more information than she did to come to certain conclusions. If they were willing to get their hand inside this brewing political shitstorm, Miss Shady sure must be paying the big bucks. But that didn’t really matter to her.

    In Asura’s case, the bigger the challenge, the more excited she grew.

    Well, let’s hope they can get going already and not have to wait for Sting to get replaced by a less sexual-harassment inclined operator. And hopefully they wouldn’t lose him in the first whorehouse they passed by. Although speaking of him…

    “Mind giving me the address of that bar later, Mr. Sting?” She asked idly. Would be nice to know what ‘home’ was supposed to taste like. It had been so long ago, after all.
    Last edited by RacingeR; May 30th, 2022 at 11:47 PM.


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  4. #24
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "Miss Jordan, I... 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..."

    "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."
    Jordan didn't reply when Sting doubled down, simply marking something else on her paper. But she was a bit surprised when he tripled down.

    "Three in one meeting, Sting? Are we trying for some sort of company record today?"


    Quote Originally Posted by Santonia
    "Hey, uh... Proritizing experience makes sense, but can this Jessica chick really lead a squad? Girl's barely holding it together as it is."
    Jessica deflated a bit at being called out so directly, her ears flattening down against her hair.

    "Oh... you heard about my reputation, didn't you..." The feline shook her head and turned to face Santonia directly. "It's okay. I spent a few years with Rhodes Island, in places like Ursus, Yan, and Victoria. This isn't my first time dealing with a Catastrophe, or leading a squad, or even fighting an army. I know what I'm doing."

    ...her drooping ears and tail didn't exactly inspire, but her words sounded confident enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitro
    "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."
    "The survey team made note of a lake about two kilometers east of Rocky Mountain. That is the planned landing point. You can get your bearings after you land and make your way towards the city together before splitting up. I would prefer something further away, but-" The handler glanced at a certain Defender seated in the room. "-it's not reasonable to ask operators with heavy equipment to walk so far in deep snow, especially those unused to cold climates. Blacksteel doesn't have any vehicles that are stealthy, snow-worthy, and able to carry a Heavy Defender."

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriel
    "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."
    "Hey, don't call me Madam when I'm right here. And going on the mission with you!" Muelsyse pouted a bit, but it sounded like she wasn't really offended. "The lab isn't mine, but the researchers there aren't going to turn down a Section Director. It's the Bolivarians we should be worried about."

    Quote Originally Posted by Grave Moss
    "Nnnn~____Miss hot Sarah lady~?____Grave is going to be the leader~? Miss grumpy~____Grapevine doctor looks older, so~____shouldn't they be in charge~?"
    A bemused look came over Jordan's face after Moss's first statement, and for half a second she wondered if she would have to write up a second operator. She know about the Pilosa's unusual circumstances, though, and mentally filed it under "poor wording". Meanwhile, Grapevine gave her own response.

    "I can't promise everything, Grapevine, but I can file a request and see what all is available. I have no intention of sending you into a Catastrophe zone without protective equipment."

    After that, the conversation in the room began turning to non-work-related matters. Satisfied, the handler began packing up.

    "I think we've covered everything we have to cover. Some personnel and equipment are still on the way from HQ, so meet up in the vehicle bay at 7 AM tomorrow. The rest of the day is yours. Prepare yourselves, get some extra rest, whatever you think will help most. I'll leave these documents here for your perusal, and if anyone has further questions or concerns I'll be in my office until 6." Projector turned off, papers organized, laptop under her arm. Muelsyse too closed her briefcase with too many locks, leaving the entry permissions and photo on the table. "Do you need an escort to your room, Director?"

    "Ah, no thanks. Security told me where to go after our little mishap, heh. I think I'll have a little look around the ship, if that's okay~?"

    One look at Sarah's face was enough to tell it really wasn't okay, but as a client and guest Muelsyse was allowed to roam a good portion of the landship, so...

    "Of course, Director. Don't get into any trouble now. I'll see you all tomorrow morning."

    Sarah left the room first, while Muelsyse gave the room a quick salute before following.


    3:40 PM

    For once, Jessica was the first out of her seat, hurrying over to the stack of documents left on the table.

    "I'll have a look through these. There might be a map of Rocky Mountain, or a list of addresses, or something along those lines..."

    The operators had the rest of the afternoon and evening to themselves. What to do, what to do...


    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship
    Not the main Blacksteel Headquarters, but more of a forward operating base. It has all the facilities necessary for both administrative work and military deployments. Offices, meeting rooms, private rooms for the full-fledged field operators(like you), barracks for the lower-ranked field agents, a cafeteria and break room for socializing, an armory and vehicle bay for equipment, and so on.

    With no ongoing large-scale operations, the ship is currently sitting in central Columbia, docked at the mobile city of Liberty: the city where the Columbian Independence Declaration was signed by the leaders of several mobile cities, and the place Blacksteel HQ is located. It's one of the largest cities in Columbia, with pretty much any luxury you could imagine found somewhere in those streets... as long as you can afford it, anyway.
    Last edited by Elyrin; May 30th, 2022 at 04:48 PM.
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  5. #25
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:37 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Rhodes Island remembers, Operator Jessica.” She frowned but left it at that. Derailing the meeting any further would only make things worse. There was a time and a place for that conversation— this was still, technically, a debriefing, and Sarah Jordan needed to keep things moving along. Thankfully, the senior officer was amenable to her request for extra equipment. Good. To her understanding, requisitioning additional materiel tended to be difficult in the military; the ease with which Rhodes Island’s medical team could petition for more supplies was a comparative outlier. The trouble there was that they were always running out of something or other.

    Free reign within reason, huh? Well, time to go requisition documents and supplies on her own, then. And no, she wasn’t going to tail Muelsyse. There were better things to do than spend the day being suspicious of every innocuous thing the woman from Rhine Lab got up to. Besides, not ten seconds after the woman gave a salute just dripping with artificial sweetener and left the room, the ache in the Sankta’s fingers subsided.

    Psychogenic pain bought on by proximity to Rhine Lab personnel. Wonderful. What an oddly specific mania to bring up to the department head when she got back to the landship; add some zest to their next argument.

    Right, first though… the Sankta sighed and collected her paperwork before rising to join Jessica Brinley by the mission files.

    Operator Jessica, a moment of your time.” She paused. “I suppose it’s ‘Senior Operator Brinley’ now, isn’t it? You are no longer part of my register, and Blacksteel has its own medical staff, but all the same, I would ask of your health since leaving Rhodes Island.

    She made an effort to relax her posture, just a little bit. Better to err on the side of ‘dreary’ rather than ‘stern’, or whatever her usual demeanor came across as.

    I am sure the instructors would be glad to hear that you are well.
    Last edited by Egophobia; May 30th, 2022 at 08:44 PM.
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  6. #26
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine

    "... thanks, Grapevine. I'd, uh, appreciate if you just stuck with Jessica, though."

    The girl relaxed a little bit now that she was talking to a (somewhat) familiar face. She had never been good with meetings before. Or large groups. Or a lot of other things, for that matter.

    "Has it really been that long? Just a few months, right?" She tilted her head a bit and scratched an ear, trying to remember the exact date she left Rhodes Island. "I've been doing pretty good. This is my first big mission since coming back to Blacksteel, actually. I haven't had any assignments nearly as bad as Chernobog."

    Jessica turned back to the stack of papers on the table, flipping through the ones Jordan had already covered in the briefing.

    "I've been wondering... maybe I should send a letter to Miss Dobermann? I had a lot of help from a lot of people, but she was always so insistent on working with me, even on the worst days. I know everyone else mostly thought of her as a hardass, but she was always calm when I was training with her. Trying to figure out what to say is a little hard, though."

    Muelsyse's entry permissions, Catastrophe reports, assorted pictures of snow... from a glance, nothing the feline had looked at so far was anything new.

    "Would it be appropriate to send her a thank-you gift...?"
    Last edited by Elyrin; June 1st, 2022 at 05:25 AM.
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  7. #27
    Operator Grave Moss
    Meeting Room
    March 8 -
    3:
    36 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    I am a diagnostician, not a trained soldier.
    The blue haired operators head turns slowly to the... not doctor? Crimson eyes blinking languidly as she stares in, contemplation perhaps?

    A small book with a bright orange cover is withdrawn as she starts to thumb through the pages, stopping near the beginning on a page. Someone with keen eyes might make out the black lettering on the front of 'Meriam-Webster'.

    A slight tilt of her head to the side, whatever she found in her book apparently not helping her greatly as she instead tips her head back to peer at the ceiling in search of answers. Or perhaps fallen asleep again.

    Operator Grave Moss
    Meeting Room
    March 8 -
    3:
    40 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    If she's going to be the leader then, she should make sure that she doesn't make any mistakes.

    "Grave Moss will follow~
    ____Miss shakey Jessica~____open the doors~____find Miss frosty Nuriel~"

    She trails off double checking her orders with Sarah as she notices that she isn't standing at the front any more. Seeing just the feline operator looking through the information that was left behind while talking with her new squad's... she's just going to keep calling them doctor in their head for now.

    Eyes sweeping around trying to see where she had misplaced her.

    "Ah~?
    ____Grave didn't fall asleep~____this time though~"
    Last edited by Plue; June 3rd, 2022 at 01:26 AM.
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  8. #28
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Operator Nuriel
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:35 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Nuriel tries to support herself by grabbing on to the nearby table to get up, but an unexpected pain she hasn't felt in a long while invades her arm, then spreads into the rest of her body. She does not wince, nor does she make any noise however -- the sankta merely stands her ground and glares at herself angrily... at her body which feels as if it's been cut wide open. What she has just thought of, from everything that has happened to everything that is going to happen... it appears to have called back a pain that she is quite familiar with. It has been haunting her for the past five years after all. This wasn't really some physical strain which was causing this, was it? It was indeed more of a... phantom pain.

    Memories are a powerful thing, and Nuriel is quite aware of that. She knows that even though the feeling of a thousand blades stabbing her seems most real, it is all in her head... all just a bad nightmare. Yet if this keeps going on... can she really do it? Fulfill the task Sarah Jordan and Blacksteel gave her? Her inner thoughts screamed at her to delegate that position to one of her squadmates, but Nuriel never did so. What was it that drove her to make things different this time? Was it because enough time had passed, and she had mustered the courage to face her fears?

    Nuriel had no idea, but she wasn't going to back out of this -- the sankta was determined to see it through. Clenching her fist and taking a deep breath, she walks towards where Jessica and Grapevine are at. Nuriel had overheard the feline's musings and figured that it wouldn't be bad if she followed Jessica's train of thought. After all, going in blind would be stupidity of the first order. She feels the old wounds hidden below her clothes still clawing at her as she approaches the other sankta and feline, but it's nothing she can't ignore, and besides, it would be rude of her to not say hello. She is acquainted with these two to a certain degree after all.




    "Hello. I also came to see if I can find anything useful concerning Rocky Mountain and its layout. Fancy meeting the two of you here, it's... been a while. If you even remember me that is."

  9. #29
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:37 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Jordan
    "Three in one meeting, Sting? Are we trying for some sort of company record today?"
    Sting lifted his shoulders and hands up in a shrug, quizzically tilting his head at Sarah in response to her question.

    "You know as they say, if at first you don't succeed..."

    Although perhaps at this point it was time for him to cut his losses and give it up. He didn't quite like the look of whatever it was Sarah was writing down there, it could be a pay cut or even worse...what of those stupid training courses they kept sending him on! Honestly, he already knew how to do his job, there really wasn't any need to waste company resources on those useless things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    “Mind giving me the address of that bar later, Mr. Sting?”
    "Not a problem." Sting responded, as he tore off a piece of paper from one of the official looking documents and quickly scribbled down the name of the place, "And here I was worried I was the only one here that still remembered how to have a good time."

    Once he had finished writing, he folded the piece of paper in two before sliding it across the table in the direction of the wolfgirl.

    Right then, since my invitation was so coldly ignored, I might as well take a trip into Liberty while I can...

    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario
    March 8 - 4:34 PM
    Liberty

    And here he was again.

    L’Antiquario, that Siracusan-style bar he had been talking about back at base. 'Twas a quaint little den, that was an almost perfect replica of the types of places one would find in Siracusa. This didn't only include décor and drink, but clientele as well. Suffice it to say it would have been a strange sight were this place not full of Lupo and Vulpo patrons, as it often was. Not that Sting could blame them, he knew just as well as any other than for all the Columbian luxuries that Liberty had to offer, it couldn't hope to scratch that itch one felt when reminiscing of home.

    Entering the establishment, he bee-lined straight towards the main bar, taking a seat which the Entoma had long designed as his. There had been some disagreements about that in the past, sure. Disagreements which some would go as far as to describe as violent, but that issue had been long sorted out now.

    "Yo, it's me," Sting said with an all too casual tone, whilst tapping the table to get the bartender's attention, "Fix me up with the usual, would ya?"

    Now some would say that going out and having drinks right before the day of a crucial mission could be considered irresponsible. And they were probably right, but then again they also weren't here to steer their poor comrades away from such temptations. Not that Sting needed any such aid, he was the paragon of self-control after all...or at least knew when it was time to tap out.
    Last edited by Zagrin; May 31st, 2022 at 06:00 PM.

  10. #30
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six pinetree's Avatar
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    Operator Santonia
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:37 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    Jessica's attitude still didn't inspire much confidence, but the girl had enough backbone to at least list her accomplishments, so Santonia didn't see any reason to press the issue as Sarah ended the meeting.

    The savra leaned back once again and closed her eyes. She was a day away from fighting an army for the sake of some Columbian corp. Probably risk her life in the process. Maybe lose it.
    She tried but... no, don't really care.
    Santonia quickly turned her attention to the others. Her soon-to-be leader was looking around confused while Grapevine and Nuriel joined the scaredy cat in analyzing the docs, just looking at their expressions told her they weren't going to get along. Specially Grapevine. Chick has a single thing on her mind and didn't leave space for anything else.
    She was interested in some of the others though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asura View Post
    “Mind giving me the address of that bar later, Mr. Sting?”
    Quote Originally Posted by Sting View Post
    "Not a problem." Sting responded, as he tore off a piece of paper from one of the official looking documents and quickly scribbled down the name of the place, "And here I was worried I was the only one here that still remembered how to have a good time."
    Oh, now that sounds good.

    The entoma left before she could say anything, so she quickly went around the table towards the lupo, stood besides her and gestured towards the paper.
    "Asura, right? How about we hit this place later?" Santonia let the paper fall back in front of the pink wolf and looked around the room for her other teammates. "Hey Valravn, we're gonna have a teambuilding thing later today! You free?"

    She wasn't going to go around to each of the others to invite them, they could invite themselves if they wanted. That said... She turned to the blue-haired pilosa, who was ready to fall asleep again.
    "I wonder if we should drag Moss along when we go?"
    Last edited by pinetree; June 1st, 2022 at 12:07 AM.

  11. #31
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario

    "Well, if it isn't Mister Yamamoto, here to rush me while I'm on break."



    The enormous Lupo bartender glanced over his shoulder, unconcerned with his latest visitor. There didn't seem to be any other employees around, but then, there weren't too many customers either.

    "Tell ya what. While I finish my smoke, you tell me what you're doing here at this time a day. Thought you said before you had a respectable job somewhere. They really let you off this early?"

    The burly man leaned against the counter as he took a drag, and you could hear the wood creak slightly beneath his weight.

    Luca Torrio
    The usual bartender at L’Antiquario. The owner is his younger brother. Even on his days off, he could usually be found at the bar during open hours. Outsiders might expect a bar like this one to have a rowdy clientele, but as long as Luca was there, the rules were followed.
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  12. #32
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario
    March 8 - 4:36 PM
    Liberty


    Quote Originally Posted by Luca Torrio
    "Tell ya what. While I finish my smoke, you tell me what you're doing here at this time a day. Thought you said before you had a respectable job somewhere. They really let you off this early?"
    Sting swiveled on his chair, leaning his back against the the counter as he fished out a Siracusan cigar and lighter from his pockets.

    "I appreciate the concern, Mister Torrio, but don't you worry, I'm still travelling the path of the straight and narrow," Sting responded as he started working his lighter, a familiar scratching noise coming from it as the flame failed to show itself, "Nah, I didn't lose my job or anything like that. In fact I'm heading out of Columbia tomorrow for what looks to be a big one. So big that my boss, you know the one that can't take a joke, literally told the bunch of us to get a ton of rest, or do whatever it was that we thought would help us most to get ready for tomorrow. So I figured what better place to spend my time then here, wouldn't you agree?"

    With one final click, the flame was ignited and Sting carefully began to light his cigar, rotating it carefully so as to not singe it. Finally satisfied, he blew it a little before finally taking a draw and then letting loose a puff of smoke into the air.

    "Ahh, nothing like the taste of home," Sting said with a satisfied expression and placed his cigar box on the table, "You want a try of one of these once you're done with that one?"

  13. #33
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
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    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Only a few months,” she confirmed, nodding. “But the well-being of former patients is still my concern, and doubly so the ones who choose to remain in the military. I’m glad that you are doing well and urge you to keep it that way.

    She tilted her head at the girl’s musings.

    It seems a good instinct to act upon. It is the instruction team’s responsibility to be critical in order to give their trainees the best odds of survival. You were already a qualified Operator prior to your arrival, however, so rather than survival, it sounds to me like Instructor Dobermann had high hopes for your future and ensure you were given the proper tools for it.

    The pale Sankta let out a breath and shook her head once.

    Or to word it more like a human— yes, it’d do the both of you some good. Overthinking what to put into a letter is normal, but looking forward to communications is an experience that people should strive towards.

    Her own communicative hangups notwithstanding.

    As Jessica flipped through the documents on the table, the Sankta eyed the ones that looked most like boarding papers. No sense looking over those. Just because they'd been signed off on by Muelsyse didn't mean they'd hold some obvious hint at an ulterior motive. Better to deal with what tangibles she could find before entertaining the possibility of unpleasant surprises.

    May I review the pages you’re finished with? I did not arrive equipped for a Catastrophe relief mission. Surprises notwithstanding, familiarizing myself with the situation as of a month ago could help me to recognize inconsistencies upon our arrival.

    She noticed three things as she spoke. Not so much from the papers; movements in the room around her. The Pilosa’s response was…. hm. Right, she’d use clearer terminology next time. For the sake of the mission, ‘doctor’ would do. All the same, she’d need to have a look at the blue-haired woman’s record sooner rather than later. Something about her exhaustion was off. Then there were the Operators who seemed determined to get drunk and party the night before a deployment. She’d seen it before, but it was nonetheless tiring to witness. At the very least, it reinforced the fact that Blacksteel was not nearly as regimented as the Union Army. Only the Liberi, Vitro, had yet to move. And then there was…

    Operator Nuriel,” she nodded to the smaller Sankta.

    A trauma case from the months following the Chernobog incident. The medical department had been overflowing with cases at the time, with the handful of Sankta and Laterano-born Liberi assigned directly to her. Sarah Jordan and Blacksteel had to know of the girl’s condition, so this leadership role was either a sign that Nuriel had improved or a trial-by-fire, as the term went. Or a complete oversight, but Grapevine was resigned to at least give Blacksteel some credit. They were, on paper, a meritocracy, and one that Rhodes Island had worked with in the past.

    This goes for you as well; even if you are no longer a part of my registry, you were at one time. If there is something about your health which concerns you, send word to my office and I will respond as soon as I am able. There's never shame in asking for a second opinion."
    Last edited by Egophobia; July 19th, 2022 at 07:17 AM.
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  14. #34
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "Nah, I didn't lose my job or anything like that. In fact I'm heading out of Columbia tomorrow for what looks to be a big one. So big that my boss, you know the one that can't take a joke, literally told the bunch of us to get a ton of rest, or do whatever it was that we thought would help us most to get ready for tomorrow. So I figured what better place to spend my time then here, wouldn't you agree?"
    "Uh huh. Being a seasoned expert and all, you already finished your preparations the day before. So you figured you may as well fuck around here for the evening. Makes sense."

    The Lupo's eyes swept across the lounge as he took another drag of his nearly-finished cigarette. There were only a handful of patrons scattered around the tables, either alone or in pairs. But not a single one was worth noting, besides the two conversing at the main bar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "You want a try of one of these once you're done with that one?"
    "Mmm." One last puff, and the remains of Luca's cigarette was gone. He grabbed an ashtray from behind the bar somewhere and put out the butt, before grabbing one of the offered cigars. "Sure, I'll take one for the road. Been tryin' to cut back a little. The cheap shit's been getting even shittier lately, and not any cheaper."

    Shoving the smoke into his own box, he turned away from the bar and started digging through the liquors behind him. The man could make drinks fine, but he always forgot which shelf everything was on. After a minute of grumbling to himself, he found what he was looking for and started mixing.

    "Alright, one Negroni for the professional." Luca slid the slightly orange cocktail across the counter and had a seat with a drink of his own. "So. Not like you to be so generous with your stash. We in a good mood today, or looking for something?"


    Operators Grapevine and Nuriel
    Meeting Room

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapevine
    Or to word it more like a human— yes, it’d do the both of you some good. Overthinking what to put into a letter is normal, but looking forward to communications is an experience that people should strive towards.
    "Yeah, you're right. I'll keep trying. I'll think of something eventually, probably." Jessica paused in her search to stretch a bit and stare vaguely off into the distance. "Too bad Rocky Mountain is in trouble. It would have been a decent place to pick up a souvenir or two, actually..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapevine
    May I review the pages you’re finished with? My original understanding was that this was to be a Catastrophe relief mission. Surprises notwithstanding, familiarizing myself with the situation as of a month ago could help me to recognize inconsistencies upon our arrival.
    "Oh, sure. Here you go. I don't think you'll find anything useful, though. Did the survey team really need to take so many pictures of the landscape?"

    Sure enough, there were a frankly excessive number of photos of pretty much nothing. Blacksteel did have a reputation for being thorough and professional, but still. Besides the photos, there were the Catastrophe Messenger reports, but those were almost equally useless. Then the entry permissions from Muelsyse.

    The bearer of this letter is to be given access to the Rocky Mountain Research Facility, for the purpose of speaking with Doctor Evelyn Manning. It shall not be necessary for them to provide the reason for their visit, nor answer any inquiries made by staff...

    The writing was straightforward, clinical, and gave a definite sense of arrogance. Even if she was a director, it was hard to imagine the facility staff being happy about some random mercenaries showing up at their door with carte blanche to do pretty much whatever they felt like. Her signature, barely legible despite the neatness of the rest of the letter, and a Rhine Lab stamp covered the bottom of the paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriel
    "Hello. I also came to see if I can find anything useful concerning Rocky Mountain and its layout. Fancy meeting the two of you here, it's... been a while. If you even remember me that is."
    "Um. Sorry, Miss Nuriel, but I can't say I remember you at all..." Jessica looked back down at the documents arranged before her rather than try to maintain eye contact. She probably would have failed, anyway. "Oh, here we go. A list of companies operating in Rocky Mountain."

    A bit of excitement tinged the feline's voice as she picked up the next sheet of paper.

    "Rhine Lab, Rocky Mountaineering, Rocky Mountain Tours, Rocky Roadside Hotels, Rocky Mountain Eatery... Rocky Mountain Hospital? That's a lot of- wait, are these all the same guys? Does one company basically own the whole town?"

    A glance at the paper would show that, yes, somewhere around 75% of the names on the list were Rocky Something-or-other. But one other R stood out among the sea of Rockys.

    "Hey, there's a Rhodes Island office too. No address, though."
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  15. #35
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Operator Asura
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    March 8 - 3:36 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    “Why, thanks!” Asura replied as Sting passed her the address. She wasn’t exactly thinking of going tonight, but perhaps after the mission. Or so she’d been planning, until the lizard slid right in and invited her to hang out.

    The Lupo tilted her head quizzically. She wasn’t accustomed to people wanting to get close to her. Well, there were some people like that, but a lot of her fellow operators ended up frustrated and giving up. After all, she only did what her whim told her to do.

    Did her whim told her to go to the bar tonight? Not really, but on the other hand, it would be worth to get to know her team, and tomorrow’s mission looked like it was going to be a real pain in the ass. So there was worth in going. Plus, a bar was a good place to people-watch, as long as she managed to keep drunks from hitting on her at least. And being in a group might help with that.

    “Sure~”
    She replied after a few seconds of thinking. “Don’t see why not. Just don’t expect me to drink all that much, ‘kay?”

    She was a surprisingly good drinker, for someone her size and weight. It was a genetic thing, she suspected, her blood father was able to polish entire bottles of the strong stuff without much issue. This said she wasn’t about to risk a hangover tomorrow either. She was a professional, she had standards.

    “Hey, Ms. Moss~! Sorry about the eraser earlier! Wanna hang out with us? We're going to a bar.”
    She directly asked the Pilosa when she heard Santonia’s last comment. “And you, Mr. Vitro? Wanna come with?”

    She wondered what was behind the Liberi’s mask. And it might be useful to get him here, that way he’d learn more about someone she was 100% sure to have to work with.
    Last edited by RacingeR; June 3rd, 2022 at 10:46 PM.


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  16. #36
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Operator Nuriel
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    March 8 - 3:35 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship




    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica
    "Um. Sorry, Miss Nuriel, but I can't say I remember you at all..."
    "Oh, it was quite a while ago, and I was dressed in white, yellow and red... a bit different from what I look now. Don't sweat it, I even had a mask so you probably never saw my face proper. I'm just glad to see you are doing well."

    Perhaps it was better this way. There was no need to stir wounds of the past, especially if if such a thing was unsolicited. It did not escape Nuriel's attention how ironcally the tables had turned: Jessica was now the confident squad leader while Nuriel was a shambling mess of emotions. Well, as confident as one could call the feline -- she still had signs of uncertainty and shyness, but she was a far cry from the emotional wreck Nuriel had witnessed five years ago.

    Nuriel turns to the other Sankta who had also been conversing with Jessica, and had just answered Nuriel's greeting. She sounded exactly like how Nuriel remembered her -- extremely professional, as if she had become one with her job, and perhaps, let her job take over her. Or maybe it was just the very formal way of speaking. It was a bit of a contrast to the other medics from Rhodes Island. She recalls that one sarkaz woman eyeing her with a very scary pair of eyes... as if she was about to do something unspeakable to Nuriel. There were also some other staff members that were quite excitable.

    She turns to her fellow Sankta and says:

    "... but you on the other hand, did end up taking care of me when I was a mess. I must say, it is pleasant seeing a fellow sankta. It reminds me of 'home', even if I am quite certain that we both have our own grievances with Laterano."

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapevine
    "Operator Nuriel, this goes for you as well; even if you are no longer a part of my registry, you were at one time. If there is something about your health which concerns you, send word to my office and I will respond as soon as I am able. There's never shame in asking for a second opinion.""
    "Some things have changed... but some things have stayed the same. You should be able to easily access my dossier, it will probably tell you more than I can."

    "I never did say say thank you. Granted when I had been discharged I was mostly focused on coming to terms with everything that had happened. I still am, truth to be told, but at least now I can pretend to be a functioning member of society... somewhat. I would like to properly convey my thanks to you and the others which helped me recover from..."

    Nuriel's speech freezes as she searches for words that she never finds. Eventually, she settles on something that she can only call 'most unsatisfactory'.

    "... well you know from what I recovered."

    She quickly tries to divert the others attention from her hiccup however, especially when Jessica appears to have made an interesting find.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica
    "Rhine Lab, Rocky Mountaineering, Rocky Mountain Tours, Rocky Roadside Hotels, Rocky Mountain Eatery... Rocky Mountain Hospital? That's a lot of- wait, are these all the same guys? Does one company basically own the whole town?" "Hey, there's a Rhodes Island office too. No address, though."

    "Hmm? An office? Perhaps your presence here isn't so coincidental Miss Grapevine. I must say, I have a lot of reservations about this mission, and by the sounds of it our client herself may have some issues with the branch of Rhine Lab we are dealing with here... judging on the information she leaked to you. These experiments sound... utterly abhorrent."


    Nuriel grimaces in disgust, and can be clearly seen clenching her fist in anger. She is no stranger to horrible practices, especially those against infected, and hearing of an experiment as terrible as this one sparks a fire which burned at the brightest many years ago... a fire which spurned her into doing many things in the name of the Infected and 'Justice'.

    Nuriel had been overwhelmed by the reveal that she was going to be a squad leader, but now that she had time to reflect on everything that had been mentioned in the briefing, perhaps that finally, Nuriel could focus on what truly mattered, and unknowingly find something to pull her through this PTSD-triggering situation. Indeed, the director's revelation of what was occurring inside the facility, could well be why she found the strength to not say no. Some could say it was a sign of growth that she was trying to figure out a way to both carry out her mission successfully and... 'investigate' whatever was going on inside Rocky Mountain legally... or well in a legal as possible way.

    Oh no, she is starting to regress into her former Reunion-self. Nuriel should probably knock that off before the other two think she's reverting into an extremist again.

    "I should focus more on looking for a map and some diagrams of the landship's maintenance shafts. I will look at some of the other documents you aren't using for now."
    Last edited by Ayakashi; June 2nd, 2022 at 05:51 PM.

  17. #37
    Operator Grave Moss
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    The tall operator's eyes start to close, just a little nap here wouldn't...

    Grave Moss will be squad leader
    Just a quick close of her eyes perhaps?

    Grave Moss will be squad leader
    She... she really was tired of burying people.

    The other two leaders seem to be looking over some of the paper pieces that Miss Hot Sarah had left behind. Perhaps there was something in there that was actually important? Maybe there was a map there she could plan...
    Plan...
    Plan... ...
    Plan... ... ...

    “Hey, Ms. Moss~! Sorry about the eraser earlier! Wanna hang out with us? We're going to a bar.”
    The pink haired Lupo startles her out of her broken mental loop.

    "Miss chipper~____Asura, did you~____want it back~?" Holding out the eraser than she had apparently zalaked away after being bonked in the head by. Of things that had been thrown at her it was on the remarkably smaller side, and she didn't seem to hold any animosity towards the operator for throwing it at her.

    A mental loop later she shakes her head. Bars? Weren't those places where they had the nasty water that cost a lot? Well, that might still be more enjoyable than what she was about to do.

    "Ah~____No~____Grave need to~____plan~?"

    With these words said her expression takes upon a fairly grim look. She's had calmer expressions when advancing on a firing line of operators before. Slowly, as she is in all things, rising to her full height and plodding towards the group of three standing by the projector.

    It's a bit crowded up there, but Miss shaky Jessica is short enough that she is able to loom over her from behind and peer down at the amassed papers without any issue.

    The pictures of snow lighten her expression.
    Last edited by Plue; June 3rd, 2022 at 01:06 PM.
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  18. #38
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario
    March 8 - 4:39 PM
    Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Uh huh. Being a seasoned expert and all, you already finished your preparations the day before. So you figured you may as well fuck around here for the evening. Makes sense."
    "Yeah...yeah! That's about it." Sting said with a somewhat nervous chuckle, whilst taking another draw from his cigar. Too much of a draw it seemed, as he started coughing up smoke like some sort of amateur. What the Lupo had said wasn't entirely inaccurate...or accurate, but he wasn't going to correct him on that. Spinning on his chair, Sting once again faced the bar, waiting in quite anticipation for the reason he had come here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Alright, one Negroni for the professional. So. Not like you to be so generous with your stash. We in a good mood today, or looking for something?"
    Stretching his arm out, the Entoma caught the glass of alcohol as it slid to him and lifted it up, quietly admiring the cocktail mix that had been prepared.

    "Good mood? I don't know if I'd say that, after all I was shot down by two fine dames that I'd invited to join me at this fine establishment of yours." Sting said, whilst taking another puff of his cigar, "Rejection is always something of a bitter pill to swallow, but you know as the saying goes there's always more fish in the sea..."

    Using his free hand to remove the cigar from his mouth, Sting took a sip of the Negroni. It had a strong bitter taste to it, one which resonated with his words, but there was also something else to it. A sweet, citrusy flavor that brought a perfect balance to the drink, and in turn put a smile on his face.

    "I'm sure one of these days I'll get lucky, maybe even find that one soulmate I've always been searching for? Ah, but we ain't here to talk about my love life!" He paused to take another sip, before resuming and getting to the matter of the bartender's question, "Am I looking for something? Not particularly, but hey, if you're offering...you wouldn't happen to know how things are going back home in good ol' Siracusa? Columbia is great and all, but I do sure miss the place, y'know?"
    Last edited by Zagrin; June 6th, 2022 at 03:44 PM.

  19. #39
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario

    Luca calmly sipped his drink while the Entoma took a roundabout path of answering the question. He was well accustomed to hearing about the love lives of every other man to pass through the bar, so this was just another day. Just nod along, give the occasional "uh-huh" or "yep" and wait for the important stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "Am I looking for something? But hey, if you're offering...you wouldn't happen to know how things are going back home in good ol' Siracusa? Columbia is great and all, but I do sure miss the place, y'know?"
    "Ah, back home. Pretty common topic recently." The bartender's eyes narrowed as he tapped the rim of his glass a few times. "Haven't been there myself in a bit, so all I've got is secondhand information. From trustworthy sources, mind you, but I've never met a man who was a hundred percent trustworthy."

    The man took a good swig of his reddish drink before continuing, and a deep frown took over his features.

    "What news I hear isn't good. Not quite bad enough to call 'bad', but getting there, if you understand my meaning." He scooted a bit closer to the bar, leaned forward, and hushed his voice somewhat. Not likely to stop a determined listener, but enough to deter any casual eavesdroppers. "Associates from different cities getting in each others' business. Payments going missing. Property burgled. A sworn brother here and there getting jumped by unfamiliar faces. No family is openly going after each other, but your average petty thug wouldn't dare target a made man. If some upstart were getting a little ahead of themselves, well, they'd be dealt with pretty quick."

    Luca shook his head sadly, and gave his half-empty glass a pitying look.

    "Been seeing a lot more new faces recently, too. People are catching on, figuring it's only a matter of time before something big happens. Getting out while they can."
    Last edited by Elyrin; June 4th, 2022 at 08:06 PM.
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  20. #40
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
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    March 8 - 3:43 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Not ‘probably’. You will.

    The Sankta doctor’s tone was more matter-of-fact than admonishing, and she nodded once more to the Feline. Good, the young woman already looked better for having something more positive to mull over. Confidence in herself as a soldier was one thing, but as a person- a chance to hear it from the people she’d gotten close to over the past few years would be good for her. Grapevine didn’t doubt that in time, both Rhodes Island and Blacksteel would be able to strike ‘insecurity’ from Jessica Brinley’s profile.

    Much less encouraging, however, were the documents Blacksteel’s survey team had collected. Not that there was anything wrong with them. More like there was nothing amid the mundane reports to suggest the city’s current state of affairs. Oh well. At the very least, it helped reinforce her understanding of the environments Rocky Mountain operated it. Coupled with Rocky Mountain’s identity as a wealthy Columbian tourist town, it gave her an idea of the sort of medical supplies would’ve been on-hand when the Catastrophe struck.

    And ugh, Muelsyse’s letter. Probably for the best, then, that the Liberi researcher was accompanying them. A letter like that invited all sorts of complications for the deliverer.

    A Rhodes Island office, though? The head of the medical department hadn’t mentioned that.

    Strange. An informal clinic, maybe. I’ll have to ask the Liberty branch. Would you be able to direct me there?

    Considering the difficulty of purchasing property in a company town, a temporary or mobile facility wasn’t implausible. It brooked further investigation. What of the infected there? Rocky Mountain was an affluent town and a popular travel destination- on both accounts, it had an image to uphold. Which then? A spotless resort town without any Infected to trouble its valued guests, or a model of progressive Columbia, where the Infected were tolerated and afforded treatment from known providers like Rhodes Island and Rhine Lab? Was their office unlisted by oversight, or had that been a requirement?

    No sense engaging in conspiratorial thinking with her own suspicions. Someone at the Liberty branch should be able to answer her questions. Regardless of its immediate relevance to the Blacksteel contract, her office's function was to provide consultation and relief, and coordinating with local medical offices fell under that purview.

    There are pieces of Laterano worth being nostalgic for, despite the rot.” she replied to Nuriel. Both of them were barred from their homeland, but it shouldn't be contradictory to harbor affections for parts of it. “Or so I believe. But trauma takes time. 'Pretend' in moderation and stop when you need to breathe. Better to find your footing than worrying about where to advance.” The younger Sankta had chosen to remain a soldier, despite her condition, which didn’t do her any favors on either front. Grapevine had seen it before, though. That was just how some of them worked through things. Finished with the documents Jessica had passed along, she turned them over to Nuriel. Ah, and here was Grave Moss. An affection for snow? Hm.

    Operator Grave Moss, here,” she said, stepping back and gesturing to the spot beside Nuriel. “I’ve seen all I will from these pictures. Better you have as much time with them as you need.

    The three were leaders of their respective cells for this operation, after all, plus she didn’t want Jessica Brinley to feel crowded.

    And for ease of communication, you can consider me your doctor. My usual work involves coordinating however many schools of medicine it takes to ensure a patient’s safety, so I am prone to speaking in specifics. Going forward, feel free to ask me for simpler wording at any time.
    Last edited by Egophobia; July 19th, 2022 at 07:18 AM.
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