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Into The Fire Act Four - Deliverence

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This will be my last post in this thread and will give you guys enough to do to keep you going while Im in the states. When it's here, read it, read it again, then read it a third time. Make absolutely sure you know where you are going next and only post in the appropriate thread. You'll understand soon enough.

Edit :

Sorry gang, Im a bit behind with my packing and havent had time to get things posted. I'll make sure I get a few moments to do so once Im in the USA, so just hang tight a little bit longer.

[ 05-07-2001: Message edited by: Blades ]

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Maddox:"Smith don't touch."

A security team of three walks in with a Medic. The lead security guard is carrying a drawn weapon. the other two are shifting nervously with their hands on their own weapons. The medic looks supprisingly calm, with a scar running down the left side of his face. The lead guard is burly, with red hair, a clean shaven face, and emerald green eyes. The other two look similar. One with a beard and the other with a moustache. Wait a minute. Last time I checked UCV vessels didn't allow their crew to run around with facial hair. I wonder if it is a trap. I need to send a signal to my ship, and tell it to wipe the memory core. I don't know which is worse. These guys working for their captain and having orders to take me prisoner, or these guys being intruders and wanting their hands on that memory core on my ship, Maddox thought. Oh well, I'll just go with the flow.

Guard One: "Drop your personal sidearm Maddox, you're not a captain anymore."

Maddox: "Hey, what ever you say, Sparky."


I think I'll let you finish this out. I feel that I would take over your job if I decided if these guards are intruders or not. If not then i'll just say they are mean and my character is paranoid. So what will it be Captain, Paranoid or sane?

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NP Blades my man! ^_- Luv ya! Have fun! It's much colder on our continent! Say hi to Rattler when you're in Flordia...He's down there right?

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Transport bay

The medic calmly walked towards the pair still standing resolutely where they appeared, seeming to not hear the stern command of the security officer.

"Your sidearm, drop it...please. It is merely a precaution. You'll get it back if things check out."

The med officer placed a small mask over the face of Maddox's face, then turned towards the other officer seeming to think he's a monkey, and tried to get one over his face as well.

"It's enriched air. It'll help."

The four then led their guests to the med bay, which seemed a little understaffed. There Jo waited, a pleasent smile on her face, welcome after the irresolute grimace of the chief of security.

"Sorry to be abrupt, but we're a little busy right now. I have a few questions I'd like to ask."

The Vesperon waited as the med officer ran a few scans. "No severe injuries, at least, none life threaening. A couple sprains, a small cut here or there, ..." He paused as he pulled a small fragment from Maddox's back, over his kidneys. "A bone splinter here and there, not yours I presume?"

He showed the centimeter long bone fragment to Maddox from the end of a pair of forceps.

"Any deeper, and it would have pierced a kidney. Stuff's sharp as glass when it shatters."

Clearing her throat, Jo began asking questions.

"What happened to cause so much damage to your ship?"

pause for answer

"Where were you going?"


"Where you from?


"Now give me the truth"

Jo always asked these same questions. The last one often rattled people that were actually lying. Make them think that she knows they're lying. Her expressions were practiced to look gnuine to all but most observant of people. (It even worked on her husband on more than one occasion)




After speaking with the man for several more minutes, he decided to retire to his quarters to get some much needed rest.

"I guess Whether the line works or not, I'll be seeing you around." He extended his hand in an offer to shake.

--(Whether the shake is accepted or not)--

Caine then turned, and left the Galley.

His steps quickly took him to his 'guest' quarters, and was surprised to see a man standing outside the door, holding a rifle. The man nodded as Caine entered, making him feel edgy.

The instant he closed the door, he heard a 'click' from outside his door. He knew it was locked. "Dammit, Just because I'm a merc doesn't mean I should be treated like one." He mumbled under his breath.


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BCFreak13 - you need to get your facts straight. To wit: Caine is located on the GCV-McKendrick, Maddox (your character) is located on the UCV Leo. BTW - Blasters are not part of the BC Universe.

IOW - your character and Caine's will most likely not cross paths for many moons, if ever, in this yarn. You are stuck on the UCV Leo until further notice. Ya know what is real funny the UCV Leo may or may not be involved with the rest of this yarn. Go figure


[ 05-11-2001: Message edited by: Gallion ]

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"You're the boss."

Maddox drops his sidearm, and kicks it over to the medic. He then proceeds to follow the medic and the guards. They lead him down to the Medibay. They then proceed to treat him for a few hours and they replace his robotic hand. He then goes to the bridge to find out that Caine is not currently on board. He then asks the First Officer a question.

"By the way, when will I be able to contact Galcom HQ for a new cruiser? I would really appreciate it."

(Waits for a response)


Is that better Gallion?

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It's been a while - excuse me if I'm a bit rusty...


17:24 hrs, 1st May, 3008

Earth Command Facility, Location: Restricted

Ventilation Accessways

"Come one, we've got to get out of here," whispered Stryde as they crawled along the access way. Scholar was behind him, and Akira behind them both.

"How long do we have" wheezed the insurgent, and Scholar grinned.

"Stryde blew out their secuity system, and I left a little surprise for them back in my cell. By the time they recover from that, we'll be long gone from this place."

Akira, too breathless to smile, weakened from the days of torture, managed a tiny grunt of laughter. "What did you...do?" he wheezed out again.

"They made the mistake of giving me real utensils - metal ones. I pulled up an electrical line from the floor and short circuited it into the bed. The first Commie to touch that is going to get an awful shock."

Akira grunted again. Scholar turned around to look at Stryde, the young operative looking bak at him, the star-shaped tattoo over his left eye making it disappear into a pit of shadow. "How far do we have to go through these access ways?" Scholar asked.

"Another kilometer or so. Your partner's cell is along the way. Then we'll need to grab a shuttle and try and blast clear. Hopefully they haven't discovered the shuttle I left for us."

Scholar nodded. "Hopefully".

They had resumed their crawling for only a few seconds before an energy blast tore through the access-way. The three escapees were blasted backwards, and below them, they heard the sound of EarthCOM marines. Once voice sounded above the rest.

"Give it up. You won't escape."

"Damn," swore Scholar, before he spat through the smoking rent in the access way before them. "**** you, commie!"

A laugh sounded from the room below.

"Not in this lifetime. You've been a thorn in our side too long, 'Scholar'. I was hoping you'd see sense - perhaps things could have been different. Looks like you're no better than that scum you're crawling with."

From behind him, Scholar heard a quiet sussurration of indrawn breath as Akira composed himself. When he spoke, his voice was strong and clear.

"Earth Command! This action is unsanctioned. I demand you release me at once!"

Scholar looked behind him incredulously. this was no time for demands! He looked deep into Akira's eyes, trying to fathom what the Insurgent was planning, and then saw, in his hands, the tiny bolts that he had been gradually undoing.

One remained, anchoring his section of the access way against the roof. Scholar could see it shifting and shearing as the weight of Akira slowly wrenched it free from it's socket and the access way began to imperceptibly tilt downwards.

"What are you doing? whispered Scholar. Akira merely smiled, before replying.

"Go. Get your partner and go. Just - come back for me." Akira looked down at his arms - at the livid weals from his torturing that were already becoing scars - and took a deep shuddering breath. "I don't know how much longer I can hold out."

Stryde interrupted. "If you let them have you now, they'll put you in their maximum security. You won't get another opportuity."

"No choice," replied Akira. "It's either me, or all of us. I want it to be me."

Scholar himself took a deep breath, before nodding. "I'm sorry, Akira. We will come back for you."

Akira smiled, weakly, the pain clear in his eyes. "Find Insurgent One. Tell him that the Raven's wings have been clipped, but not yet broken."

Scholar nodded. "Not yet broken. I understand."

Akira shook his head slowly. "You may never understand, my friend. Now, get ready."

Stryde had been watching the rest of the exchange wordlessly. He turned and crouched, ready to bridge the hole that had been blasted in front of them, As Akira grunted and levered the last screw out of it's mooring.

"So what is it to be," shouted the Earth Command officer from below them. "If you give yourselves up, I may be lenient..." he tempted. Scholar spat again, and Akira merely smiled.

"You may have my body, but you will never unlock my soul," Akira called out, his voice carrying over the squad below them, before he ripped the final screw free and the section of access way tilted, sending him hurtling towards the floor. Scholar and Stryde were already on the move, scrambling along the access way, but Scholar winced when the heard the thump as the Insurgent hit the ground, and he felt the sting of unbidden tears as he heard the first hoots and jeers, and the thud of boots impacting on flesh.

"Animals..." he hissed from clenched teeth.

Stryde simply nodded. "They are. That's what we've trained them to be. Now keep moving. Otherwise Akira's display of chivalry will mean naught."


11:25 hrs, 19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S Vulture

Troop Quarters 2

"All personnel, General Quarters1 Prepare to repel boarders!" the atonal klaxon reached every corner of the ship. The troop quarters, where the off-duty mercs had been relaxing, exploded into a hive of activity, the inhabitants goaded into action.

Scholar rolled off the bunk and landed in a crouch. His sidearm was already strapped into the holster by his side, and he pulled it free, switched it on, and checked the charge. The Streigel GC-4 was his weapon of choice. Heavy, but with the abillity to carry an extra plasma charge, and the ability to switch barrel inserts for different functions. Scholar usually carried it with a three function insert - blast, stun, and the L-Tazer. The laser guided electrical discharge option was his weapon of choice - it was non-lethal against adults, usually knocked them out for a few hours, but was powerful enough to melt and burst armour, making it an ideal all-round weapon. Only drawback was that it lit up on threat scanners like a proverbial chrstmas tree.

It was just beginning to hum when the first gammulan squad broke in. Scholar rolled behind a bulkhead, peeked around, and let loose several tazer blasts. The streams of electrical energy - like constrained lightning bolts - arced at each target, causing chunks of battle armour to flare up and burst, and the Gammulans underneath to go into convulsions, before lying deathly still. A flurry of return fire from Gammulan rifles caused him to duck behind the bulkhead, and he could feel the heat beginning to radiate through it.

Occasional Gammulan grunts punctuated the screaming of the mercenaries as they were cut down. Few of them had real military training, and against a Gammulan boarding party, they were in deep trouble. Suddenly he heard a shout of "Grenade!" and he pulled back behind the bulkhead. The sudden flurry of shouts in Gammulan was cut off by the blast of the grenade, and Scholar felt the wash of superheated air reach him behind his bulkhead cover. A scream from a mercenary, then silence.

Scholar counted to five. Still no sound. Cautiously, he stood, and sidearm ready, he circled around the bulkhead.

And found himself face to face with a Gammulan warrior.

The Gammulan was wounded, and that probably saved Scholar's life, because before the creature could raise it's rifle, Scholar whipped the Streigel up and pulled the trigger at point blank range. He felt his hair stand on edge, the electrical discharge was so close, and the harsh, razor-edged sound of the L-Tazer firing filled his ears. The Gammulan convulsed, and was thrown backwards, his armour smoking where the discharge had ablated a hole the size of a human fist.

Scholar took a deep breath, before surveying the room. Gammulans had never been in the game plan. At least, not the one he'd been given. Murphy be damned, he thought viciously. All of the other mercenaries that had been in their quarters were dead. A flick of his thumb, and the gun barrel whirred as it engaged the blaster mehcanism. He flipped up the visor of each Gammualm helmet in turn with a pointed toe, and fired a blast point blank into the temple of each.

Never leave an enemy in a position to cut you off.

The Gammulan squad dead, he checked his weapon - still 80% charge, and he had a few more plasma charges on him. He pressed a tiny clasp on the cloak that surrounded him, and it faded to a dirty grey colour, the ship suit underneath doing the same. He reached behind his neck and pulled a tiny combat eyepiece into place, before sighting along the gun. He was ready, and the sound of further combat was already echoing along the corridors. He loped off to join the fray.


This nexy post occurs at an unspecified time after Blades' discussion with Akuma, and seeing he hasn't posted yet, I'll let him time-stamp it himself. Just to keep him on his toes.


19th May, 3008


Passageway, Personnel Quarters

"Ms. Minako," he spoke quietly. She spun around, staring at the dark figure who had crept up on her noiselessly, before replying.

"Who the hell are you?" she asked, her voice low. She couldn't make out his face - his head was hidden under a hood - only the hint of a short beard was visible. But she thought he smiled.

"I go by many names, Ms. Minako. I find them unimportant."

"Well, it's important to me. Who are you?"

The dark figure nodded. "The name that seems to fit the most at the moment is...Scholar."

He reached up and pushed his hood back. The face underneath was old and weathered, short cropped hair beginning to grey, a short beard kept trimmed. The eyes were the eyes of a warrior, hard and cold and alert.

Akuma looked him over. He turned slightly, and as he did, she caught a flash of metal from the holster at his hip. So he was armed. She was alone in the corridor. She had a wrist laser with her, and the man before her was large. Chances were she was more agile. If he tried to jump her, she could -

Before she could finish the thought, he had turned and began walking away from her. Startled, she hurried to catch up.

"I thought you wanted to talk to me?" she asked him. She saw him grin as he continued walking. He reached into a pocket on his black ship-suit and pulled out a datatab. As he did so, his cloak was pushed further aside, and she got a closer look at the weapon he wore. It was slightly longer, but less tall, than the standard BMP-9 pistol that GalCOM and Earth Command used.

"You're one of the mercenaries, aren't you?" she asked him. He smiled once more, and nodded. She continued. "What's on this 'tab?" she asked. He stopped and turned to her.

"When the time comes, Blades will know what to do with it. It's best that I don't carry it. I am already a...target of opportunity, where we are going."

Akuma was puzzled and confused. A complete stranger, hooded and cloaked, was giving talking to her in the middle of a GalCOM ship. Suddenly she was afraid.

"I'm warning you, I have connections in high places. If you're planning anything -"

He cut her off again. "You are wise to be cautious, Ms. Minako, but rest assured I have too much respect for your Uncle Rattler to be any threat to you."

Akuma gasped. "You know Rattler?!" she cried out. She thought his smile grew sadder this time as he replied.

"In a former life, perhaps."

She looked at him, more closely. "Hey...don't I know you?" she queried him. His face looked familiar...as if she'd seen a picture of it somewhere. He shook his head.

"Somehow, Ms. Minako, I doubt it. I don't think we exactly share the same drinking establishment, if you get my drift."

He turned to walk away again, but Akuma reached out and touched his shoulder to stop him. He stiffened, one hand reaching down reflexively for his weapon, and she flinched. Before the action was complete, however, he stopped himself, and turned around.

"Was there something else, Ms. Minako?" he asked her, almost sarcastically. She nodded.

"I was told that the mercenaries on this trip were neutral - they were hired to keep the troops in line. So how did you become involved in the mission itself?" she asked suspiciously.

"Good question, Ms. Minako. Suffice to say that, promises made in war are not forgotten. This journey is one that will save a soul. Those are the kind of missions I look out for."

The answer left her little the wiser, but as he turned and walked away, she knew he would tell her no more. He rounder a coridoor, and was gone.


"Blades? It's...Akuma."

On the viewscreen of the datapad in front of her, she saw Blades look at her, his eyes brightening. "Akuma - what can I do for you?"

She sighed. "I've just had the strangest encounter. One of the mercenaries. Said his name was Scholar. He gave me a datatab that he said was important - said that at the time, you'd know what to do with it."

Blades looked perplexed. "One of the mercenaries?"

Akuma nodded. "I thought it was strange, too."

Blades swore. "All we need now is for one of them to develop a side game. What's on the datatab?"

"I've tried accessing it. the contents are encrypted," replied Akuma, almost testily. She hated being given puzzles she couln't unravel herself.

"Squirt it over to me, then, and I'll put the comms officer onto decrypting it," replied Blades. "Was there anything else, Akuma?" he asked her, almost gently.

she shook her head sadly. "Blades - this mercenary - he sounded like he knew me. And Rattler. He said he knew Rattler. And he looked familiar."

Blades raised one eyebrow. "He's definitely playing games, then, Akuma. I did a full bioscan - DNA and retinal - on every merc we hired for this trip. I can't exactly say they were clean, but none of them had any kind of link with either the Insurgents or[/] GalCOM. I'll check my files on this 'Scholar' and see what Idig up."

Akuma nodded. "Thanks Blades. I'd better go."

Blades starte to speak. "Akuma -" he began, but sighing, Akuma reached down and cut the commlink.

She couldn'tshake the feeling that she had known Scholar. It nagged her.


Just to throw a spanner in the works. Blades, you have mail. Sorry if I have taken liberties with any characters, but I am wont to do that. I don't think I've done anything that directly interferes with the plot. I authorise either Blades, Gallion, or Rattler, to use may character in further posts as they see fit, as I won't have time to post regularly - and I have briefed Blades on his background.

I guess I'm back in the saddle!

[ 05-14-2001: Message edited by: DeSylva ]

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Damn, it's good to see you back again, DeSylva! Time for my catch-up post

For the record, this is only a partial catch-up. I'll post the rest of it if I'm allowed. Blades, could let me know on that when you get back?


11:40 hrs, 19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S. Vulture

Medical Bay

“I should be going… sir.”

I turned to see Akuma walking away from the table.

Jamont spoke up, “Mr. Foss, sorry I have no med training so I’ll head over to the cargo bay to help the ensign out!”

I nodded to Jamont, then looked over at Akuma.

She murmured something to Jamont, then slumped down into a chair. Couldn’t say I blamed her. She looked exhausted.

My thoughts on the matter were proven right as she said, “Hrm...Maybe on second thought I'll just rest here for a moment..." She looked up at me. "If that's okay, sir?"

I still needed people, but it was obvious that she was in over her head. She wouldn’t be much help. I nodded reluctantly and headed over to the next patient.

Shortly after Jamont left, another new face announced his presence. Commander Nova was able to move several people and help a few others with various injuries.

Unfortunately, his help was short lived. After dealing with a minor wound on his arm, he was already prepared to call it a day. He ignored my objections. We needed more people, but that didn’t seem to matter one bit to him.

“I need some sleep. Besides, I’m no COMmie. I ain’t takin’ orders from you!”

He turned to leave, mumbling something under his breath. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was trying to figure out just how he knew that I was in GalCom. I wasn’t wearing the uniform. No tags, rank, or ID. My hair and eyes were different. Maybe he had a photographic memory or something.

Crybaby. Try doing 30+ hours without sleep, then having this mess land in your lap, lad. This sucks!

I didn’t waste time dwelling. There were people who needed my help. I started tending to another patient. Without working equipment, I knew there was no way to save him. That didn’t stop me from trying.

Along the way, I heard orders being called out near the entrance to the medibay. They weren’t my orders, but they were certainly in line.

I was wishing for the one instrument that would save the man’s life when it landed in my hand. I looked down, utterly dumbfounded as to how it had gotten there. Then, my eyes drifted up, following the hand, up the arm, into the eyes of someone who had to know what she was doing. About time, too.

“I’m Cathy, mind if I join in?”

The war to save lives had just shifted odds back to our side. Fresh medical supplies were being unpacked, and as I looked around, a fresh sense of hope spurred my medical crew into action.

My medical crew? Since when I start thinking of these people as my medical crew? I wondered. The only explanation was the oldest one in the book: Once a doctor, always a doctor…

16:07 hrs, 19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S Vulture

Medical Bay

The emergency was over. We’d lost a lot of patients, even with the extra aid. There just wasn’t enough equipment and hands to save everyone. There was a small office to one side, away from the main area. I should have gone to help those in the cargo bay, but my legs had other ideas. I just couldn’t move.

One of the MA’s looked over at me, concern all over his face. Without waiting for permission, he came in and sealed the wound that I’d taken outside the medical bay a few hours earlier. It only took a few seconds, but I felt a lot better when it was done. “Sir, you should get some sleep.” He said, standing.

“Thank you, I’m all right. I’ll take care of it. Could you work on Blades for a while, please? Get him back on his feet. I know he isn’t the worst case, but he is needed on the bridge. Also, could you send Mrs. Minako in, as well?”

“Yes, sir.” He said, then left.

A few seconds later, a very distressed Akuma walked into the office.

“You wanted to see me?” She asked.

“Yes. We need to have a chat. Take a seat.” I said simply.

She sat down across from the desk. I took out the nametag that normally took up residence on my uniform.

“May I see your hands, please?” I asked casually.

She immediately stiffened. “My… My hands?”

“Yes.” I said flatly. “Those two things on the ends of your arms with the fingers on them. I’d like to see them if you don’t mind.”

“Actually, I do.” She said. She clenched her hands tightly, seeming to withdraw into herself.

“Ah. Okay, then.” I said. Without delay, I threw the nametag straight at her.

Had she not reacted, it would have hit her between the eyes. Surprisingly, her reaction time was lightning fast, even with the sedative.

Clearly, she wasn’t expecting my reaction time to be on par with hers. She didn’t have time to pull her hand away before I grabbed hold.

I studied the faint scar tissue, even as she tried to pull away. I kept my voice as casual as if I were assessing a simple bruise.

“Common mistakes for someone who hasn’t been through proper medical training.”

“What are you talking about?” She asked, anger in her voice, still pulling against my grip.

I let go of her wrist and sat back casually, resting my hands behind my head. The wound in my chest still hurt, but not nearly as much as it had earlier. I managed to keep the pain hidden. “I mean that you deliberately did that to yourself. I don’t know how, and I don’t care how. I already know why, though.”

She didn’t say anything, so I continued. “Read the name.”

Puzzled, she opened her hand. “It’s Foss. I know your name. What about it?”

I smiled slightly. My response came in the form of another object, tossed from behind my head. It arced over to land square in her palm.

She looked down at the Galcom Commander’s insignia. She continued to stare for a few seconds, then looked back to the nametag. Back to the insignia. Back to the tag. She’d done a triple-take on each one before her eyes finally widened with realization. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it the funniest thing to happen in a long time. It was all I could do not to snicker.

“Com… Commander Foss?”

“That’s right, Commander Minako.”

“What are you doing here?” She asked, trying not to sound worried, and failing miserably.

“Saving lives, and by that I mean more than just the lives on this ship.” I answered. “I’m also here to evaluate your physical and mental fitness for duty.”

“I’ve already been cleared. Karl said that…”

I interrupted her. “Fleet Commander Savage asked me to have you ready for action before things went south. I’m late on that promise, but I will get you ready regardless. I know why you injured yourself. Like I said, I don’t care how it happened. Those scars are not on your medical records, so they happened after you left. I suspect it was before you even got aboard this ship. For whatever reason, you’ve been hiding their existence from people. No one on this staff would have left scar tissue like that.”

“How do you know?” She shot back defensively. “You don’t know what they’re capable of…”

“Commander, I just spent the better part of the last seven hours putting people back together with their help! I know exactly what they’re capable of!”

She looked away for a moment, defiance still on her face. “Well, you still don’t know why this happened. How do you know it wasn’t an accident?”

“Because I was there when Fleet Commander Savage was less than ten seconds away from destroying your ship and everyone on board. I know the events that transpired before, during, and after that incident. I know that you tried to kill yourself, and that you’re fighting off wave after wave of depression due to the mess you’ve gotten everyone into.”

“So then it is my fault.”

“Yes, Commander Minako, it is your fault. But that’s only because you won’t allow yourself to see it any other way!”

“How would you know what it’s like? You’ve never been in this kind of situation!”

“I have been in the same situation. If you don’t believe me, then I’ll remind you that we’re all in ‘this kind of situation’ right now!”

She stared blankly at me. I took out a small disc, a recording made eight years ago. Without a word, I popped it into the reader and turned the terminal display towards her.

Staring at Akuma was a young brunette with loose curls that fell around her shoulders. Crystal blue eyes seemed to look straight through the young Commander. I’d seen the same expression hundreds of times before.

Then the image spoke. “Hi there, Davie. If you’re seeing this message, it means that I’m dead. I carried this message because I knew you would come after me. But at the same time, I knew that I wouldn’t be getting out of there alive. I know I told you that I was just snooping along the border. The truth is, I was asked by an outside source to check out a military installation on Gamma 2 in the Gammula system. I am sorry that I couldn’t make it back with you, but you have to understand that I did it for a reason. There is the very real danger that the Gammulans will attack Sol again. This time, it won’t be for some obscure reason surrounded in mystery. It will be for domination. Whatever they were after, they now consider us a threat, and you know what that means.”

Her face still held that astonishing determination behind it. She was a transport captain, but she could have been a great Commander.

“Listen, Davie. I don’t know what happened out there, but you have got to go on. I know you’re hurting inside, but you have to let me go. Otherwise, you will follow me. I don’t want that, my friend. You’ve always been like a brother to me. Let me protect you in the afterlife. If you join me anytime soon, I’ll boot your sorry ass right back onto that ship where you belong. Always remember, David Eugene Foss, that in order to value peace, you must truly understand the hardships and costs of war. Goodbye, my friend. May you find the wisdom in my death that I could not teach you in my life.”

I paused the playback just before it would have ended. The woman’s face was frozen there, staring with the same intensity, straight through Akuma. Akuma stared at the screen for a few seconds, then looked up at me as I spoke up.

“Her name was Janice Errintha. She died eight years ago saving my life. Twenty-eight people lost their lives when I made the decision to try and save hers. My ship was docked for four weeks while they tried to repair the damage.”

Then I looked straight into her eyes. “That was my first mission as a Commander in Galcom. I didn’t follow orders either, and twenty-nine people died. You have no idea how lucky you are that you didn’t spark a battle in Jupiter’s skies a week ago.”

She sat there for a moment. I stood up, walking over to the office door and closing it. Then, I went back and sat down across from her. “Let me tell you about my first day in Galcom.”

I didn’t wait for her to respond. “It was aboard the Kev’s Star, a ship that was decommissioned just a few months ago. At the time, I’d just graduated, and the Kev’s Star had already been out far longer than she should have been.

“She was rotated back to Earth for minor repairs and upgrades to old systems. Various members of the medical staff had been promoted or reassigned. That left us, the Academy graduates, to fill the gaps. I was a cocky, headstrong teenager. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.”

Current time…

God, what a nightmare the past few hours have been! A ship blowing up around me, a junior Commander to educate and whip into shape. A nights sleep that is way overdue, and still a ways away from what I can tell.

I just found out that Donaldson was critically injured in the evacuation. She’d closed off a section on deck three to isolate just before the section she was in decompressed. They’re still not sure if she’ll make it. The section she closed prevented the Medical Bay from decompressing, providing those crucial seconds we needed for transport. Everyone in that room owes her their life. I just hope there’s a chance to repay the favor.

I won’t even mention the small and not-so-small outbursts from supposedly trained officers. I can understand their hesitance to trust Savage, but there are limits to acceptable behavior as a result of such feelings.

That’s not to say that I don’t trust him. Far from it. Granted things haven’t exactly gone according to plan, but everyone is blaming Blades and Rattler. It’s getting ridiculous. They seem to have forgotten what will happen if Akira isn’t rescued. They also seem to have forgotten that only yesterday, they were nose-to-nose with Gammulans, most of them being unarmed at the time. The only good sign was the absence of firefights after the Gamms were neutralized. Figures. It takes an immediate mutual crisis to promote any kind of cooperation. As soon as that’s resolved, it’s back to the cold war.

I’ll probably be court-martialed for even thinking this, but personally, I kind of like Rattler. I don’t agree with his cause, mind you, but he’s got a sense of honor that few people in this cold war have. If he gives his word on something, it can be trusted. That was the case during the First Gamm War eight years ago, and it remains the case today. I’d never met the man face-to-face before this mission. Up until a few days ago, I’d known him by reputation only. I’m beginning to understand why he is such an effective leader.

But despite his abilities, I know it will take more than just him to keep his people in line, and it’ll take more than Blades to keep the Galcom personnel in line. It’s fairly certain that they need another reminder of just what it is that they’re here to do. Akuma was right. They had to see past their differences in order to make this work. She’d given that speech to a room full of Galcom and Insurgent officers.

The problem was that she’d given that speech to the wrong people. She should have given it to the two people in charge of this mission. Granted, the rest of the group needed to learn to see past differences and focus on the common goal, but such behavior is set by example. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Rattler and Blades still had reservations about each other.

They weren’t providing a very good example.

Now the question is, what the hell can be done about it?


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Jo refused to let the man out of the med bay untill he answered her questions. He tried to leave several times before finally giving up.

"By the way, when will I be able to contact Galcom HQ for a new cruiser? I would really appreciate it."

"Answer my questions first, and I'll take you to a starbase as soon as we're able."

Jo wouldn't let the man change the subject. She then crossed her arms.

"Under our current situation, I'm afraid using comms is out of the question."


Jo will refuse to let you leave the med-bay until you answer her questions.

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"I hit a LRT-15 transport, I didn't catch the name though. I was on my way to GalCOM to get my ship serviced. I am from Earth, the United States to be precise so now will you take me to a star station?"


There you go. and yes I am telling you the truth.

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20th May, 3008



Zeke shook the hand of the friendly Merc and watched as walked out the door. He sat there, sipping his drink for a couple minutes. Military types were coming in and out of there steady, which wasn't a surprise considering this ship had a few extra personnel besides the regular crew.

One group of marines were drinking and yelling happily about some stupid thing one of the other marines did a while back. Two medics seemed to be discussing something quietly over a half decent dinner. An engineer sat by himself with his drink, looking as if he had just received some really bad news. A large man walked in, he had the stride of a proud commander. The man sat at the bar, ordering a drink and then scanned the room, pausing temporarily on Zeke, as if he were trying to place the face.

Taking out a small computer Zeke quickly acessed Galcom official records using a security code he had stolen from someone not long ago. He replaced the picture of the merc he had IDed, Frank LeBlanc, with his own picture and then changed a couple of the stats to match his description. Next he modified his bionic eye so it would fool any sensors into thinking he was Frank LeBlanc. He knew some old hacking experience would come in handy sooner or later.

Warning klaxxons sounded suddenly causing the marines to stumble out of the room, heading for the weapons locker. The two medics stood and headed for the medibay in case there were casualties. Zeke and the Commander left about the same time and both headed for the turbolift. The only one who didn't leave was the lonely engineer who didn't seem to notice the klaxxons at all.

"Deck three," Zeke said and waited for the Commander to say where he was going, but he didn't.

"Got somewhere to be?" the Commander asked Zeke.

"I'm hoping the action is on deck three. It seems like a good spot for some action to take place."

The man nodded passively and they both exited the turbolift as the doors opened. Zeke was starting to get annoyed with this man and began to wonder if he was going to follow him all the way to engineering. Eventually they reached a sealed security door with a large hole in it.

"Looks like you were right."

"I hope you have something to fight with," Zeke replied pulling out the dual sidearms he had managed to snatch off of an injured merc before they had been transported here. He scanned the area for infrared signatures, four faint signals up ahead.

As they approached the signatures there was a loud thud on the wall beside them. Zeke could now make out three bodies on the ground, probably unconscious and one standing, pointing at the wall with something in his hands, probably a rifle. Another loud thud in the same spot and Zeke knew that Jet had been taken.

"Are you coming or not?" the Commander yelled to him, following a group of marines into the battle area. Zeke ignored him and went straight to engineering to see if he could find Jet's program.


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Deck three, main corridor.

Jo stepped aside silently, shock registering slightly on her face at the ship's description. It had to be the vulture, it was the only thing that fit. She then turned and left the bay, slowly leading the man to some guest quarters. With those questions answerd, a great deal more appeared. Why did they attack the transport? Do they know where it's going? Do they know it's mission? Do they even know it was destroyed, and the crew transferred to another ship?

It seemed that Jo and Caine stepped into both sides of something big. Thankfully, mercs don't take sides often.

As they walked towards the lifts, Jo introduced herself.

"My name is Jo Shtann, I am the first officer of the Leo. The commander is currently on a mission, so if you have any questions, I'm the one you ask."

She chose her words carefully, trying to avoid letting on that Caine was with the crew of the late vulture, having been sucked into their little operation, whatever it was.

"Why did you attack the um... LRT-15 was it? Were they carrying contraband or something?"

The doors to the lift opened smoothly, and she stepped in, waiting for Maddox to follow.


GCV Mckendrick

Personal quarters.

Klaxons suddenly went off, startling Caine slightly as he tried to rest on the plin bed. They only lasted a few minutes before turning off, but by that time he was wide awake again. Standing, he went to the door and tried the door for the tenth time, and it was still locked. Frustrated, he went over to a vid screen, and tried to see if the communication's officers would at least allow their 'guests' to scan the news nets.

(I'm presuming that a few channels will be allowed. If not, than I'll fix this section later )

After a little scanning, Caine found that even the viewable broadcast channels were restricted to only a few. Among them was GNN. Bored, he decided to catch the tail end of a special report they had. It talked about some bombing at a station, and the subsequent dissapearance of two ships.

When the vulture was mentioned, Caine gave the broadcast his full attention. But there was little else said. At the very end, they showed a clip of a ship firing missiles on a beat-up transport, and it's subsequent destruction.

Terror and mayhem hit close to home today.

[ - GNN ‘vid viewer queue changes from Connie to a TacOps viewer PoV zoomed to the S.S. Vulture, just minutes before its destruction. -]

[ - The view zooms out from the Vulture and centers on a Megeron Class Carrier, the UCV Leo. It appears that the UCV Leo launches several missiles at the S.S. Vulture,

[ - The TacOps PoV zooms out some, showing the flight path of the missiles launched by the Leo towards the Vulture. - ]

[ - The TacOps PoV zooms in towards the Vulture. It appears that the missiles reach the Vulture milliseconds before the Vulture explodes - ]

[ - GNN ‘vid viewer changes back to the GNN anchor desk and Connie ... -]

Caine turned the vid-screen off, and a slow smirk appeared on his face. Then it broadened into a smile. Within moments, he was laughing.


Has the intrepid commander snapped? Or is there something funny about being framed, again? Tune in next time and see.....

[ 05-21-2001: Message edited by: Caine ]

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Where'd everyone go? I'm lonely now.


GCV Mckendrick

Guest quarters

Caine hurt from laughing so hard, but it was careless the mistake the newsmen made. For starters, the LEO was a Nightstar carrier, not a Megeron. secondly, if anyone ever did get a hold of th ship, they would find a full compliment of missiles, not one missing.

He suddenly sobered when he realised that most of the enforcement officers out in space didn't really bother checking for things like that, exept perhaps scanning the debris of the ship once it was 'subdued'. That, combined with an already two year old warrant for treason, going awol from training, etc... would make life difficult for his ship. Especially if they atre really going to the lion's den. If his ship is discovered there, they all were in for a world of hurt.

"I need to contact my ship." He mumbled to himself as he climbed into the small bed, and commanded the lights off.


UCV LEO, Turbo lift

around deck two

Jo continued conversationally as she shared the lift with the men she rescued.

"How important is it that you catch the vulture?"

The lift slowed, and the doors opened to the second deck. Jo continued talking as she exited.

"Perhaps, for a price, we could catch it for you. That is, if you know where it's heading."

She then led the pair to a room that looked comfortable, if a little spartan.

"In either case, you can buzz me on the comm. I need to get back to my duties."

She then left the two men, and headed back to the bridge. She was going on her sixteenth hour on shift, and wanted to end it. Once she entered, she went over to Huber's station. The man was fortunate enough to have gotten sleep in the past day, so he was still at his post when she got there, but he was due to go off soon as well.

"Huber, I want you to monitor and record ALL outgoing signals. Have your replacement do the same. The pair are hiding a fair bit from us, and I hope to find out what."


Communications are unrestricted, exept for priority channels of course.

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Indeed...When are you going to post the big story Blades? We're all waiting for you!

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Perhaps this would be a good time for Foss to catch up... IF he ever get's around to it, LOL

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Sorry gang, but Im sure you can appreciate how busy I am right now. I got more on my plate than a fat man at an 'All You Can Eat' buffet. I'll be doing a major post as and when I get a spare hour or two to do so.

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You Suffolk people. *lol* Crazy English...Okay Blades I totally understand...Hope you still love me! Mwah!j

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You Suffolk people. *lol* Crazy English...Okay Blades I totally understand...Hope you still love me!

Not if you keep talkin like that I wont! Anyway, heres a token effort to tide you over for the evening.


So much had happened in the last few hours, Savage was almost unable to catalogue and arrange the different disasters that had befallen the mission in chronological order. The most recent of these disasters was still firmly imbedded in his mind.

The Android – Jet – had almost killed him. Very nearly squeezed the life from his broken body, ended what had been (At least, for the most part) a miserable, if briefly interesting life.

No, that was harsh. He had had anything but an uninteresting life. Sure, almost everything he had ever attempted in his junior years had ended in utter failure, and true, most of the moments where he could have made something of himself had been squandered pointlessly, but there were a few shining examples of brilliance where he had distinguished himself in the field of human achievement.

Luck, of course, had been the main protagonist. Both good and bad in fact.


Getting slaughtered one evening with friends in Geneva and getting engaged to that creature from the black lagoon.


Cheating on the GalCom entrance exam and escaping the vile clutches of the beast woman from hell.


Spending 12 years chained to an administrative desk in the bowels of GalCom HQ.


Being dishonest enough to embezzle enough of GalComs hard earned cash guarantee a life of comfort and joy.


Blowing it all on beer, hookers and bribes.


Getting it into his head that life as an administrator was somehow less than exciting.


Growing a brain and concocting an ingenious (Although recklessly insane) plan to elevate himself to a position of real authority.

Of course, it had gone on like this for a good long while. On the way there was blackmail, torture, a whole suite of accidents, broken hearts and grudges, but despite everything, there was also a sense of real achievement, friendship and loyalty – things accidently aquired through dumb luck than real ability.

Still, in latter years he had begun to take things more seriously. Make the effort to live up to the expectations of his peers, improve himself in his endevours – become a man.

Being promoted to Fleet Commander has a habit of doing that too you, whether you liked it or not. It looked like Karl Savage had grown up after all, even if it had taken the better part of his 45 years.

“You sure that containment field will hold him?” said Savage to the merc guarding the brig.

“Sure im sure, sir. Even if he managed to bend those bars, the field you had me erect would fry every circuit in his body if he came into contact with it. Nothing short of a complete power failure would let that field down.”

Savage nodded. “Good. Just to be sure, I want a 24 hour watch on him. You know, just in case.”

The merc nodded and Savage turned to leave.

His next destination was the bridge. He wanted to get up there and see how Reynolds was getting on with decoding the datatab that Akuma had mysteriously obtained. He hoped that his chief of communications had something for him, even if it was just enough to confirm (Or favourably support) his theory as to the identity of the ‘Mystery Man’.

He hadn’t bothered to order yet another ship wide search for another intruder – the chaos it had caused last time almost sparked off a mutiny, and he was getting tired of worrying about stowaways. Finding and identifying both Jet and Insurgent Commander Chavik on board was more than enough for one day. He didn’t care any more about other outsiders. Chances were there were more of them lurking about somewhere. It was probably less likely that there weren’t any more hidden somewhere onboard ship. Either way, he was no longer bothered.

He just reminded himself to look surprised next time one cropped up from the woodwork.

“Status on the tab, Mr Reynolds?” said Savage as he entered the bridge.

Reynolds looked up from his station. “Getting there, sir. The encryption is incredible, extremely difficult to understand, but after you decipher a few common elements, rather simple to unlock.”


“That’s the idea.” Said Savage. “Our mystery guest wanted me to read it, after all, but only wanted a handful of people capable of decoding it.”

Reynolds frowned. “If they wanted you to read it, why make the code so difficult to decipher?”

Savage smirked. “The code itself is the message, Reynolds, not the data contained within. He’s telling me who he is without making it obvious. Very clever.”

And very, very confusing.

Being a fleet commander gives you certain access to information that the everyday, run of the mill GalCom officer isn’t privy too. Being a sneaky bastard Fleet Commander with a penchant for sneakiness, double dealing and a handly ability to push the right peoples buttons allows you access to certain information that even TacOps commanders are not privy too. As such, he knew a thing or two about a thing or two. One of those things being the make up of this code, and the fact that only two people were known by the powers that be to be able to write a message in it.

But that was the problem.

One of them was their target, Insurgent Commander Akira, and the other was a dead man.

“Very curious.”

Savage walked to the edge of the bridge, and turned into the McKendricks plush ready room. Two guards stood aside as the fleet commander walked in, never taking their eyes off the man that they guarded.

“I was wondering when you were going to make an appearance.” Said the man in front of him.

Savage smiled. “It’s been a long day.”

A moment passed, then Savage gestured to the guards either side of him. Reluctantly, they lowered their weapons and stepped out and onto the bridge, leaving the two men alone.

“Feeling brave?” asked the man.

Savage shrugged. “Fealing nauseous. Aside from that, im not too sure of anything at the moment.”

Savage stepped around the centre table, closing on his companion. “Except one thing.” He added.

The man folder his arms and raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

Savage stopped, leaned down on the table with his palms stretched out and started into the mans face.

“And what would that be?” asked Insurgent Commander Chavik.

Savage smiled. “You’re help.”


Over to you Chav. You wanna volunteer some toys to bring to the party?

[ 05-30-2001: Message edited by: Blades ]

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20th May, 3008


Detention Hold

Jet sat on the floor in the small room, there wasn't much else he could do until he could properly repair his motor circuitry. His neck, arms and eyes were constantly twitching and his mind was warped, seeking something to grab ahold of, something familar.

He looked at the merc who was guarding him, the weapon he was carrying looked just like an old weapon he used to use until he lost it in a battle. Trying to remember this battle brought up nothing so he tried to remember what was so great about this gun.

"I hope your having as much fun as I am," Jet said suddenly and then cracked up laughing. A grin arose on the merc's face, evn though he didn't even know what was so funny. Apparently neither did Jet but whatever it was, it was hilarious, he couldn't stop laughing.

After about 5 minutes of this the merc began to become annoyed and was about to lose his temper when Jet stopped entirely and was serious again.

"Your stance makes you look like you have back problems or something," Jet spoke up again. The merc seemed confused and slowly straightened his stance more, but Jet wasn't even talking to him. Jet was infact talking to someone that was not even there.

"Excuses, excuses, you really should see someone about that back." Jet went on to this imaginary person. He infact had a very good conversation with this person for a good 15 minutes before the man realized he was late for supper and had to leave. Silence again.

The only movement was the merc going and sitting down and a rat who was secretly admiring the mercs boots, wondering what secrets it may hide inside.


[ 05-31-2001: Message edited by: Commander Zeke Stone ]

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Blades, here's hoping I kept your character true.


Commander Chavik looked at the man who had recently had him knocked out cold. "How can you be sure of that?" Blades deadpanned him. "Ok," Chavik continued, "But I'm not real thrilled after being drug up here like so much baggage." Blades continued to stare. Chavik stared back for a minute before continuing. "Why do you need more baggage Blades? "Blades winced inwardly at the stab. The only outward sign was a twitch of his left temple. Chavik thought about pressing on but decided against it. "Besides, what would you have me do? I'm only a stockboy after all."

Blades stared at the man incredulously. Then he began to laugh. The absurdity of the statement and all the tension that he had been through recently finally snapped something inside him. He laughed until his side hurt.

The guards outside the door gave each other a look wondering what could be so funny when interrogating a prisoner. They shrugged and decided against checking in. The man had had nothing on him.

"Commander Chavik," said Blades, "You are much more than a stock boy. You have been on Orion on at least three separate occasions..."

"About eight," interrupted Chavik.

A look of annoyance crossed Blades face but he continued, "... and are suspected of sending at least fifteen other agents." Chavik looked at the ceiling while ticking of on his fingers. He made a deep thought pouty face and waggled his head from side to in an about right gesture before looking back at Blades with a blank look. "If you are a stock boy I am still a file clerk."

"Aren't you?" asked Chavik.

Blades began to get angry and then realized Chavik was more than a little correct. As correct as calling himself stockboy when he was factually so much more. I do probably do a lot of things the same way I used to, just adapted to the position, he thought. The man had some strange analogies but was basically correct. Blades smiled slightly and inclined his head towards Chavik. "Ok, you're a stock boy. But you have the keys to the warehouse. I need those keys."

During the course of the conversation Chavik had wandered over to the terminal in the ready room . As Blades made his last statement Chavik stopped and looked at him. He had his measure now. Not too bad of a sort after all. Chavik couldn't help but remember an ancient story about Earth's First World War. One where the enemies would climb out of the trenches and play cards at night before going back to killing each other the next day. "May I?" asked Chavik, gesturing towards the terminal.

"What did you have in mind?" asked Blades, suddenly wary.

"You wanted the keys to the warehouse, this is the key. Of course the main warehouse is several systems away but I do have a little cache out there."

"Communications are blocked for security reasons, I'm sure you realize that. "

"What security level did you use?"Blades gave him a blank look while trying to think of what exactly he had told Reynolds. Chavik just smiled and said, "Watch." Chavik then did the strangest thing Blades had ever seen. Chavik peered over the terminal as if he were wearing bifocals. He smiled when he apparently found what he was looking for. He then pinched his thumb and middle finger together as if he were about to perform yoga but extended his first, fourth, and pinkie finger like he was trying to be hyper correct while drinking a glass of tea. He tapped the hotspot and made a clicking noise with his tongue while he did it. Another screen appeared and Chavik perused this one as well. He found his hotspot and tapped that with the same gesture and noise.

"You won't get anywhere, I had everything locked down tight." Blades said without much conviction. Chavik looked entirley too comfortable while working on the terminal. "You cannot send a message out. It would jeopardize the mission."

"Not going to," said Chavik. He had stopped the clucking noise much to Blades relief but was concentrating hard now.

"Well what then?" asked Blades.

"I'm trying to modify an existing signal. Now hush. It's tricky right here and I don't want to screw up. Now hush please."

Blades got angrily quiet while Chavik worked. He was sure he had everything locked down. But Chavik appeared to be making progress. Still, Blades was sure. Almost."You cannot modify anything," said Blades with some heat. "I had Reynolds make sure of that."

"No you didn't," Chavik said while placing his wristcomm on the terminal and tapped one last hotspot.

"What did you do?!?" Blades cried as he rushed over to the terminal.

"Forced diagnostics."

"That won't do a thing," said Blades with a sigh of releif.

"Oh?" asked Chavik. "How do you think Galcom modifies the TTD on hulks for cadet target practice?"

Blades paled. "What have you done?"

Blades looked like he was about to have a heart attack as klaxons began sounding. Chavik picked up his wrist comm and smiled. Blades rushed to the bridge. "Three ships coming out of hyperspace, dead astern" the tactical officer informed.

"Scramble the interceptors," yelled Blades.

"They are shuttles sir," informed the tactical officer.

Neena had investigated as well, "Karl, they appear to be in a holding pattern. Like they are escorting us."

Blades turned around to see Chavik standig in the doorway grinning. Chavik looke dback at Blades. It appeared he wanted to hit him.


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Just a quick note. It's also a placeholder for my next post. Akuma will be unable to post until Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Just a heads up.

I'll post later today.

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Officer's quarters

Jo woke up a couple hours before she was due on shift, and instinctively rolled over to lay her arm across Caine. It fell on a bare section of bed. Opening her eyes, the memories of the last day and a half flooded back to her, and she hit the bed in frustration.

Sighing inwardly, she got up and prepared to go on shift. When she walked onto the bridge, her duty officer stood, and saluted.

"Any news?"

"No ma'am, our guests haven't even tried to send out a message yet. We've had to cloak several times to avoid the earthcom patrolls, but so far it hasn't been too bad. But we'll have to enter a constant cloak soon. We're nearing earth. We'll be at the moon in about four hours, and still no sign of Caine."

Jo dismissed the oficer once his report concluded. She then sat at her chair, and resumed her brooding.


just letting you guys know I'm still around, and waiting for sumpthin' ta happen

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“Smart.” Admitted Savage out loud to Insurgent Commander Chavik. “Very smart. I’ve seen some clever methods of hiding small craft from sensors in my time, come up with a couple of them myself, but that takes the biscuit. Just how long have you Insurgents been using that method to sneak cargo past us?”

Chavik smirked. “Long enough.”

Savage nodded. “That’s what I thought. Ties in really well with Rattlers admission of your current tactical strength.”

Chavik stepped forward. “When you work in the shadows, you become accustomed to moving in them.”

“Well,” started Savage, putting the datapad down on the briefing rooms table and looking over the first paragraph. “you wont be using that method any more. Not after today.”

“There is no need.” Said Chavik. “We have other methods if need be, and it was only going to be a matter of time before someone noticed it. You might be able to buy yourself another promotion with this little gem.”

Savage glared at Chavik. “Cute.”

Before Savage had a chance to retaliate to the slur against him, Chavik stepped up close the Orion Fleets Commander and pressed on the advance button on the datapad. He skipped a few early pages, passing mundane items and stopped when things became more interesting.

As Savage read through the manifest, he found himself staring at items of technology that he had only heard whispers about in hushed corridors, in classified reports or from the wreckage of downed Syrion ships.

It was both a wonderfully enlightening and scary revelation.

“What do you think?” asked Chavik after a few moments.

Savage shook his head. “How did you get all this?”

Chavik smirked. “Trade secret. Suffice to say, we have our own R&D division, and for the right money, we can buy certain info that we have been able to utilise.”

Savage continued to read down the manifest, then stopped when he saw something that made his blood run cold.

Savage turned to face the Insurgent Commander. “How the hell did yo-“

Savage blinked. Looked to his left, then to his right. He quickly spun around, desperately searching.

Chavik was gone.

For the longest moment, Savage just stood there, his brain attempting to fathom what his eyes told him. It seemed inconceivable that the Insurgency had access to this level of technology, especially considering that even Earthcom R&D techs that had first developed the tech had not been able to completely overcome certain limitations in it’s use. From what Savage was seeing, or rather wasn’t seeing, it was obvious that the Insurgency had accomplished what Earthcom could not.

A fully working stealth suit.

“Impressed?” came a disembodied voice from somewhere behind him.

Savage whirled, his eyes searching again for the source.

To his left, a slight distortion against the side wall. The framed distinguished service plaque signed by the Supreme Commander himself seemed for a fraction to be slightly out of place with the rest of the wall. Savage stepped up to where the distortion was, and held out a hand to investigate.

“Not quite.” Came the disembodied voice again, directly behind him.

Savage whirled as the hairs on the back of his neck stood erect and a dreadful shiver descended his spine. Involunterily he lashed out, his hands colliding with something soft just in front of him and then watched as a chair spun out, as if brushed aside by a strong gust or the invisible hand of god.

An audible ‘Ooomph’ came from the floor in front of his, then another distortion in the empty space in front of him. A moment later, the distortion grew, then finally abated altogether as Commander Chavik appeared rather indignant in front of him.

“Neat.” Said Savage, leaning forward and offering Chavik a hand.

For a moment Chavik paused, as if unwilling to accept the hand of a man he called enemy, but then took it and was hoisted to his feet by the fleet commander.

“Never thought I’d see the day when someone actually got one of these things to work properly.”

“You’d be surprised what you can accomplish when you need to. But it’s not quite perfect. Not yet.”

Savage nodded. “The original Earthcom versions couldn’t become completely transparent. There was a visible distortion in the area surrounding the suits occupant at all times.”

“That’s right.” Said Chavik. “We’ve been able to modify the suit to become more effective at concealing the wearer. The distortion now only occurs during movement. If you remain completely still, you may as well not be there.”

“And how, if I may ask, did you accomplish this?”

Chavik frowned. “Im not going to tell you how we did it, but I will tell you that there is a price for near invisibility.”

Savage pondered for a moment. “You increased the stealth field energy output, but lowered the radiation shield to counter the frequency distortion.”

Chavik raised an eyebrow. “I see you’ve been keeping up with developments. I wasn’t aware that lowly fleet commanders had access to this kind of intel.”

Savage glared at Chavik. “Im not your average lowly fleet commander.”

Chavik smiled. “No, I don’t suppose you are. So tell me Savage, just what is the drawback of using this suit knowing what you do?”

Savage answered immediately. “Increased exposure to a stronger stealth field with a lower radiation shield would result in rapid cellular damage. The wearer would suffer extreme radiation poisoning, manifesting itself as cell disruption. Eventually, the cohesive bonds between every cell in the body would break down, resulting in a rather painful and indignant end as a bucket of goop on the floor. Messy.”

“Well, not 100% accurate, but close enough.”

“I take it the effects would be culmative?”

Chavik nodded. “It tends to vary from one individual to another, but personal cloaking like this will lead to eventual cell disruption after a culmative exposure of two or more hours. We are attempting to develop a treatment for this, but it could be years away – if at all possible.”

Savage frowned. “Two hours. Not very long.”

Chavik stepped up to him once again. “Long enough for this mission.”

Savage looked back at the datapad and checked the manfest. “It says here, you’ve got four of these experimental suits on those shuttles. Five including the one you are wearing.”

Chavik nodded. “A small team could get inside interrogation facility and extract Akira. We could rendevous with the strike team at security and then transport out of there before they have time to mount a serious resistance. With luck, we can be in and out of there in ten minutes.”

Savage nodded. “These suits may well be the miracle we need to pull this off. We may yet get out of this alive after all.”

Chavik sighed. “The suits make it easier, but unless security is taken and those transport inhibitors taken down, we aint going nowhere.”

For a moment, both men remained silent, pondering the mission ahead and wondering where the fates would take them this day. Finally, Savage took in a deep breath, slowly blew it out and faced Chavik one more time.

“Ok Chavik, you will lead the recovery operation. Pick your team, and have them assemble in cargo bay one for the briefing. I’ll have those shuttles picked up and ready for you.”

Chavik nodded. “Ok. Meet me there in an hour. We’ll be ready.”

Without another word, Chavik stepped past Savage and out of the briefing room. Immediately, the two guards standing outside moved to intercept him, but a wave of a hand from the fleet commander dismissed them.

Savage followed a moment later, just in time to see the Insurgent exit the bridge and head off to god knows where. He looked at Neena Polovoski sitting in the command chair, and then over to Reynolds at communications.

“Did the meeting go well?” asked Neena.

Savage smiled. “We may yet get out of this alive.”

Neena pulled a face. “Ah, that was the original plan, wasn’t it Karl?”

“Well, yes, but up until now, I didn’t think it was actually going to be possible.”

Neena shook her head. “Nice. Thanks for the heads up.”

“Your welcome.”


Chav, it’s over to you now. Pick your team and have them meet in the cargo bay. I’ll send you an email detailing the assigment details, and I’ll leave it to you to formulate a plan.

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Guest Mikel



Nimitz sits alone in a corner of the bar, making notes on his (recently acquired) PDA.

His mind keeps going over what happened over this entire mission. Sighing, he turns off his PDA and just sits and thinks, keeping a eye over all the activity going on. A few minutes later, he stands up and leaves the bar, heading for his bunk...


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