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File: Ashes of Rhysode 6.jpg (127 KB, 638x750)
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You let let out a breath as you step out of the elevator into Bay 04, your duffel bag bouncing against your spine in reaching over the slightly-raised gap. Around you, the maintenance and repair crew members of Outpost Station Jordan hustled and bustled as they went about doing their tasks, the public announcement system chatting up a log on the procedure for launch safety for what seems like the thirtieth time in the last twenty-four hours. Lifter mechs—smaller, construction and labour-focused exoskeletons—stack crates and cylinders to your right while drones fly around making sure that everything in the 300-foot tall room is in its proper place, its proper working order … and that the ship that it played host to was the same.

It wasn’t quite a Battlegroup, but everyone had to start somewhere.

This would be your new home for the foreseeable future: the Imperial Ambassador-Class Battle Barge, Yamato.

Tall, long … not quite a Battlegroup, as said, but more than enough to tell whatever planet you would be dropping on that there was no good news coming. It wasn’t quite shaped like a dagger; more like a slightly larger cruiser with a curved bow and an underside of gravitational pull-cues (What Spacers like you called them) for those pops into warp. Red and grey and some specs of gold, she is a majestic beast to look at. Captain Hacker would be in charge. You’d only met him once before in the last few weeks, and he’d only offered a handshake and a “thank you” before stepping out of the room with the pad and paper.

You hope that you’d get a warmer welcome this time, but you weren’t banking on it.

Navy-Aegis cooperation, indeed.

It’d been more than a month since your official appointment as Knight-Commander. The Princess’s endowment of the rank had been as formal a ceremony as you were getting, as soon after you found yourself immediately thrust into everything that you didn’t know about being in charge of a Named Squadron. You hadn’t even had the opportunity to tell Sanza or Emilio or even chat to Ryosuke of your appointment. You’d been so busy trying to keep the gang together and meeting with the anointed officers that if you weren’t eating or sleeping that you’d neglected to even tell them of the good news.

You wear a small smile staring at the bow of the ship, not sure if the ports there were built with practicality or just for show.

Can you believe it? Can you believe it?

‘Ryosuke, shut up.’

‘You can’t tell me you aren’t excited!’

You chuckle, turning on your heel to see your two friends, already clad in their flight suits.

‘BUDDY!’

Ryosuke practically tackles you. Thankfully, however, this time you’re able to receive him without much of a fuss.
>>
Oh boy here we go I've been waiting for this

I finally caught up after reading the past 5 quests, I'm still really bothered about how anons voted to run away during that one time
>>
‘Holy crud, I thought they killed you!’ he exclaims, drawing back and staring at you with wide eyes.

‘The Royal Escort is not an assassination unit, Ryosuke.’

‘That’s what they want you to think!’

You chortle as you step out of his embrace, before spying shaking head … and raising a hand for him to take. He does so, pulling you in for a surprising hug of his own—albeit one considerably more tepid that the one Ryosuke had put you in. He draws away soon after, turning a glance up at the titanic Yamato with an appreciative hum, setting his own duffel bag on the metal floor and taking a step towards the ship.

‘So this is the Yamato,’ Emilio lets out, impressed. ‘Big girl.’

COME ON, YOU TWO!

You’d know that voice anywhere. You turn around to see Sanza and Memphis, the former scowling and the latter … as stoic as ever. As your eyes met, however, you find yourself—again—almost tackled to the ground … only this time, you actually did stagger. Sanza’s embrace isn’t as crushing as Emilio’s … but she wasn’t aiming for your lungs or ribcage. Her arms were locked around the organs of your lower torso.

‘S-Sanza …’

‘WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?! DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW WORRIED EVERYONE WAS?’

‘Yes, mother …’

You peer at Memphis, who only gives a small nod of acknowledgement. You return it, if only barely. It’s not long before Sanza lets go, although it’s not without a half-chop to your sternum which almost has you on all fours. Taking a deep breath, you survey your friends and—

Reinweld.’

Right, that was the last name that you’d put on the list.

Maldante.

He was the only one dressed in his service uniform. Short sleeves, black shoes … and a distinct lack of a thick coat. Maldante throws you a look of surprise … and a small, respectful nod and bow, before turning his attentions back towards Reinweld. Sanza herself sets down her duffel bag and places her hands on her hips, curiously gazing at her surroundings, while Memphis curiously gazes at your person.

‘So it would seem that I was indeed being arrogant,’ Maldante starts. ‘Would I be safe in my assumption to follow that all of you are assigned here just as I am?’

Ryosuke scratches the back of his head, staring at the man. ‘Maldante? What are you doing here?’

‘I received an offer to join with the members of the 401st Named Chapter,’ Maldante replies, nodding. ‘Although, considering that they don’t have a name …’

‘They’re a recent addition to the roster,’ Memphis sounds, adjusting her glasses. ‘It takes a while for the database to update. I believe that they’re the first addition in the last twelve years.’

‘Who do you think our Knight-Commander’s going to be?’

You can’t help but smile at that.
>>
‘It’s probably an accomplished Lance Commander no doubt,’ Maldante says sagely. ‘A transfer sideways to give them their own chance at command after a considerable tenure of service. There is no shortage of capable Officers deserving of the title.’

You really smile at that.

Emilio chuckles, glancing at you. ‘You think they’re going to be anything like Wray?’

Now they were just teasing.

>‘Let’s hope so.’ (Cryptic)
>‘I’m honoured that you’d think that way.’ (Reveal yourself)
>Shrug in ignorance
>Write-In
>>
>>2524152
>>‘Let’s hope so.’ (Cryptic)
>>
>>2524152
>Shrug in ignorance
>Try to hide the smug grin
>Fail spectacularly
>>
>>2524152
>Shrug in ignorance

>>2524166
nah let's not give them too many hints.
>>
>>2524152
>‘Let’s hope so.’ (Cryptic)
>>
>>2524152
>>Shrug in ignorance
>>
>>2524152
>Shrug in ignorance
>>
File: Gerard.jpg (5 KB, 300x168)
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You really can’t help but play the role. You really can’t.

Let’s hope so.

‘Don’t worry, bud,’ Ryosuke chimes reassuringly, placing a hand on your shoulder, ‘I’m sure that he wouldn’t care that you’re … you know.

You give a quick nod, raising a hand to brush off his concerns; after all, you were quite sure that the Knight-Commander wasn’t that sort of person. Maldante gives your another nod, lifting his duffel bag and throws a—surprisingly—reassuring gesture of his own: a pat on the shoulder and a glance that tells something between sympathy and that he (sort of) had your back in this case. For someone that didn’t actually throw himself on the assigned chain of authority back then, it was … well, it was something. Sanza gives you another hug, following Maldante and Ryosuke in boarding the ship, while Emilio and Memphis began their own chatter about the possible Mechs that they’d be requisitioned on dock. Watching their retreating backs, you can’t help but think that you were missing—

‘Oh? You’re here?’

Not … what you were expecting.

Gerard?

You turn your gaze to see Gerard, clad in his formal wear, complete with cap and lines, two large duffel bags strapped to his shoulder. You hadn’t seen him since … Rhysode. Since the night before the planet burned. You knew he was one of the survivors—one of the tentative survivors—from the attack that had to be treated for the SEED Bomb detonations, but he hadn’t really crossed your mind since. When you parted way with him, he’d been … somewhat dismissive of you. Although, that could have easily been due to the fact that he was enjoying company of the feminine persuasion. There was a rule to things, there.

‘Nice to see … you alive,’ you begin, awkwardly gesturing towards him. Why was he here? As far as you knew, your invite didn’t include him; you weren’t even sure he was going to pull out of whatever the Cloud Strikes had done.

It was a rarity anyone did.

‘Should’ve expected that you’d be assigned, I guess,’ he lets out, a little heavily compared to what his usual tone was. ‘I heard about what happened on Rhysode. Must have been enough to get you on board, huh?’

‘I suppose,’ you continue tentatively, ‘are you, uh … supposed to meet with someone here?’

‘Actually … I was wondering if anyone could tell me where the Knight-Commander was,’ he answers, causing you to raise an eyebrow. ‘I heard that the 401st was a new Chapter and picking up new soldiers and … I’m here to push an appeal for a pilot spot.’

You cross your arms, your risen eyebrow only raising further with the reveal.

‘I’m looking to join,’ Gerard continues. ‘Would you … happen to know where I could find him?’
>>
>>2524391
>'You're speaking to him, actually.' (Reveal your post)
>'Wouldn't have a clue, really.' (Feign ignorance)
>'This is a little unorthodox an appeal, don't you think? How'd you even find out where to go?' (Question further)
>Write-In
>>
>>2524398
>'This is a little unorthodox an appeal, don't you think? How'd you even find out where to go?' (Question further)

Who the arrogant cunt we reveled of duty and told to fuck off?
>>
>>2524398
>'This is a little unorthodox an appeal, don't you think? How'd you even find out where to go?' (Question further)
>>
>>2524405
nah, that was Maldante
>>
>>2524408
Thanks boss, Fuck. I was hoping we got him killed.
>>
>>2524398
>>'This is a little unorthodox an appeal, don't you think? How'd you even find out where to go?' (Question further)
>>
>>2524411
beggars cant be choosers
we'll have to fix that shit somehow
>>
>>2524391
>I’m here to push an appeal for a pilot spot.’
>‘I’m looking to join,’ Gerard continues. ‘Would you … happen to know where I could find him?’
This looks like a good opportunity to me. What else do we know about him that might make him a suitable candidate? did he get any experience in the past that we know of? Not to dis him, but maybe ask him why he thinks the Knight-Commander would accept him other than him being a new potential pilot.

>'This is a little unorthodox an appeal, don't you think? How'd you even find out where to go?' (Question further)
>>
>>2524434
>This looks like a good opportunity to me. What else do we know about him that might make him a suitable candidate? did he get any experience in the past that we know of? Not to dis him, but maybe ask him why he thinks the Knight-Commander would accept him other than him being a new potential pilot.
The winning prompt will actually answer this question.
>>
>>2524434
Gerard was the 4th of the 4 "aces" of our graduating class.
>>
>>2524451
>Ashes of Rhysode VI
NO FUCKING WONDER I'M SO LOST! This is the Sixth installment of this quest! Fuck, now I need to go back and ready the other five.

>Gerard was the 4th of the 4 "aces" of our graduating class.
That sounds fairly impressive. With my limited knowledge I would guess he'd get a spot so long if hes not a cunt.
>>
>>2524451
Ryosuke isn't really an ace. He is, however, an exceptional combatant.
>>
File: Gerard.png (140 KB, 480x480)
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You get to the focal point of the matter.

‘This is a little unorthodox an appeal, don’t you think? How’d you even find out where to go?’

‘I asked around,’ Gerard answers, his shoulders drooping. ‘Not that it was that hard, of course … Rhysode burning, that … that had a lot mouths flapping, but when Princess Veilis announced that there’d be a new Chapter of the Aegis added to the roster, well … it was easier than following a trail of bread crumbs. I already had a few electives on administration and office command, so I knew who to talk to. It’s not hard science or technical when you’re actually educated on the subject.’

You can’t help but hold back the small chortle rumbling from your throat.

‘So it’s mail trail more than it’s a bread crumb trail, then?’

‘Gossip travels … and since the 401st is a brand new Chapter, I thought that they’d be more … receptive of those fresh out of the Academy than established Chapters,’ he explains further, ‘I mean no offence by this, but they took you on, right, so maybe I … could stand at least for a little bit of consideration?’

You’re not sure if he was being insulting or merely presumptuous with that statement, but Gerard hadn’t always been the most … socially-comfortable of your acquaintances. He was more Emilio’s speed, except without the occasional smart remarks to remind the surroundings that he was indeed a living-breathing human. On the plus side, he didn’t have anything against you for being from a Colony Fleet (although, outside of your landing on Rhysode, everyone had been pretty tolerant of you). On the other … you didn’t really know him outside of class.

‘I guess, but … you know my circumstances; how do you figure you’d stand out?’

He throws you a withering gaze.

‘I don’t mean offence by that, either,’ you elaborate, ‘but the Knight-Commander’s probably going to be asking you the same thing. And if you actually came down here looking for ‘em, you probably don’t have anything official to go by. So you’re gambling everything on one sentence and thirty seconds.’

‘How’s that your problem?’

And, of course, that was the other one.

‘It’s not,’ you continue neutrally, ‘but I’ve known you for years and I thought that I’d help you out here.’

‘I distinctly remember you getting a remedial grade during the Officers Primary.’

You count backwards from ten.

‘Then you can find the Knight-Commander all by your lonesome, then,’ you retort neutrally, crossing your arms.

‘Okay, look … I’m sorry, I … I’m … I apologize.

You nod.

‘It’s been … it’s been a rough few weeks and I … I thought that I could put a convincing case through, but … I didn’t know how to get to them and this was the only way I could. I’m sorry. You’re here to take my shit.’

‘So you don’t even have a formal …’

‘No, I … I don’t.’
>>
>>2524510
>'If you know standard procedure, then you'd know the Knight-Commander's not even going to look at your pad. You know how much of a breach from a norm it'd be, right?' (Remark)
>'Then tell me, Gerard, why is it so damned important for you to be part of the 401st? Why can't you wait in the reserves or get a transfer like everyone else? Why can't you accept that you might not even be 401st material?' (The Hard Questions)
>'Gerard ...' (Exasperated)
>'Man, you're a sad sack.' (Insult)
>'I can't help you. Maybe you can ask around, but I don't know where to find 'em.' (Lie)
>Write-In
>>
>>2524520
>'Then tell me, Gerard, why is it so damned important for you to be part of the 401st? Why can't you wait in the reserves or get a transfer like everyone else? Why can't you accept that you might not even be 401st material?' (The Hard Questions)
>>
>>2524520
>'Then tell me, Gerard, why is it so damned important for you to be part of the 401st? Why can't you wait in the reserves or get a transfer like everyone else? Why can't you accept that you might not even be 401st material?' (The Hard Questions)
>>
>>2524520
>>Write-In
>you have the qualification to transfer to a good amount of different units, yet you want into a recently formed unit?
>you want to pay the Alliance back for what they did to Rhysode dont you?
>>
>>2524529
>you have the qualification to transfer to a good amount of different units, yet you want into a recently formed unit?
It's a lot more complicated than that.
>>
>>2524520
>'Then tell me, Gerard, why is it so damned important for you to be part of the 401st? Why can't you wait in the reserves or get a transfer like everyone else? Why can't you accept that you might not even be 401st material?' (The Hard Questions)
and this>>2524529
>you want to pay the Alliance back for what they did to Rhysode dont you?
it sounds like something smart to say.
>>
>>2524520
>>2524544
>>
>>2524551
I mean this
>>
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‘Then tell me, Gerard,’ you press, taking an aggressive step forward. ‘Why is it so damned important for you to be part of the 401st? Why can’t you wait in the reserves or get a transfer like everyone else? Why can’t you accept that you might not even be 401st material?’

‘I—’

‘I was assigned on merit. They put me up to this post because they thought that it was something taking a chance on. I had to take on two Squadrons of Alliance Military Mechs as an Active Lance Commander before they even considered me being anything more than a techie on a logistics-focused unit. I had to have warhead dropping and a city burning around me in a cockpit with a piece of my own Hellion lodged above my stomach sac and my skin cooking from radiation. What makes you stand up harder than me, Gerard? What?

‘Because I want it more than you.

‘Why?’

He looks away. ‘Because I deserve to be as much a part of the offensive as you do. I don’t know if I’m a better pilot than you … or a better officer, but I want this so much more than you do. If I just took my career and … and just went about it normally, like nothing happened, and put it behind me, then I don’t even deserve to stand as a member of The Aegis. I joined to fight … and you’re fighting. If nothing else, I deserve to fall to my knees knowing my death made your mission a success.’

‘Gerard …’

He takes a step back, squaring his shoulders. You can see … some form of emotion behind his eyes. Sadness … anger, something that is a mix of the two, making him tremble and grit his teeth as tries to hold everything in check.

‘I’m not asking you for … for your help or to push my case forward. If I’m not material, I’ll accept it, but before that, I … I do believe that I’m at least meant to be afforded the chance to present my case.’

‘That’s it? You want to fight? Die for the Empire?’

‘I’m angry,’ he mutters quietly … and you take it in in silence as well. ‘I … couldn’t do a thing on Rhysode. I was asleep and between the sheets. And when I was heading to EVAC, they … they couldn’t hear me. So when you were doing the fighting, I …’

You close your eyes, letting out a sigh.

‘But being angry and not doing anything about it … it doesn’t change a thing. I want to fight. I have my dues to pay … more than you have to pay, from what I heard.’

Running a hand through your hair, another sigh escapes your throat.

Debts had weight.

It was something you were familiar with more than others.

>‘Welcome aboard.’ (Allow him on board)
>‘This better not be just because Maldante and Emilio are here.’ (Pointed remark)
>‘You are a sad sack.’ (Insult)
>‘You need psychiatric evaluation. You don’t need to be on board.’ (Deny him)
>Write-In
>>
>>2524618
>tell him to stick around and accept him

I just want this to be dragged on as long as possible
>>
>>2524618
>>‘Welcome aboard.’ (Allow him on board)
>we will not let what happened to Rhysode happen again or go unanswered
>>
>>2524618
>Ok, but you are going to be doing a lot of paperwork. As you pointed out I suck at it.
>>
>>2524618
>‘Welcome aboard.’ (Allow him on board)
I still don't know much about our levely cast of characters here, but Gerard seems like he can be a decent lad, if nudged to the right direction.
>>
File: Gerard again.jpg (145 KB, 1160x653)
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The clang and whine of machinery sounds around you as Gerard’s shoulders droop again. He chuckles, running a hand through his hair, throwing his gaze to the floor. You didn’t know Gerard that well. You’d been in a few groups with him, but … outside of some idle chatter over food, you didn’t know him. The counterpoint to that, however, was that you didn’t know Maldante at all and had deemed him worthy enough to endure the inevitable remarks that he’d send your way in regards to your conduct as a Knight-Commander. So, overall … outside of personal bias, you didn’t actually have anything that you could use to throw against him. The 401st was a new Chapter … and you’d brought people that you knew; people who you’d actually worked alongside or those that you’d seen put their actual hours in.

And whatever your opinion, you knew how good Gerard was saddled in a cockpit … or a simulation pod.

You gesture towards his bags.

‘Trying to get sympathy points … or are you just travelling prepared?’

‘It’s all I own,’ he reveals. ‘No sense leaving anything behind in the …’

‘Eventuality or the unlikelihood?’

He doesn’t answer.

‘I’m kidding,’ you clarify, chuckling. ‘You know … Emilio and Maldante are on board; I think it’d be a waste if the team didn’t have you to complete that particular connection.’

‘Does that mean you’ll—’

‘Welcome aboard.’

‘I, uh … shouldn’t I be talking to the Knight-Commander about this?’

‘Hm?’

‘No offence meant, but,’ he hesitates slightly, ‘well …’

>‘Don’t worry, I can guarantee you a hundred percent that I can convince him. And if I can’t … well, I’ll let you rename my callsign to Henhouse. Get on board.’ (Remain coy)
>‘You’re talking to him actually.’ (Reveal)
>‘You’re right. You should go look for him. He should be on the ship.’ (Cruel prank)
>Write-In
>>
>>2524675
>‘You’re talking to him actually.’ (Reveal)
>>
>>2524675
>>‘You’re talking to him actually.’ (Reveal)
>>
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>>2524675
>>‘You’re talking to him actually.’ (Reveal)
"Behold, it is your commanding officer."
>>
>>2524675
>‘Don’t worry, I can guarantee you a hundred percent that I can convince him. And if I can’t … well, I’ll let you rename my callsign to Henhouse. Get on board.’ (Remain coy)
HAHAHAHA THE FUCKER CAN'T PICK UP ON THE SUBTLE HINTS HAHAHA!!!!!!!
>>
>>2524675
>‘Don’t worry, I can guarantee you a hundred percent that I can convince him. And if I can’t … well, I’ll let you rename my callsign to Henhouse. Get on board.’ (Remain coy)
>>
>>2524695
It's a humiliating truth to come to terms too, to be honest. For a lot of people.

>THE LOGISTICS GUY?
>HIM?!
>THE GUY WHO LANDED ON REINWELD'S HEAD BECAUSE HE WAS TOO FAT?
>THE COLONY FLEET GUY WHO STUNK TO HIGH HELL?
>>
>>2524675
>>‘You’re talking to him actually.’ (Reveal)
REJOICE, YOUR REQUEST HAS BEEN GRANTED
>>
‘You’re talking to him, actually.’

What?

You chuckle, slightly tilting your head up in smug satisfaction.

No …

A smug smirk on your face, you make an affirmative sound, accompanying it with several nods of confirmation from your own person, gesturing towards the docked Yamato that lay dormant in its gravity-nest. Gerard shakes his head, raising his fingers to his temple, making a sort-of dying noise. Some kind of … last cry out of realization that he had somehow put his foot on a pedal of a vehicle that didn’t want to drive anywhere but into a ravine. After four years of adjusting yourself to his (mostly passive) demeanour … you had to admit it was nice to actually get one over Gerard Jetdom.

What?

He sounds like a broken sound loop, reverting and replaying the same line, over and over again. You place a well-meaning hand on his shoulder … but can’t keep the smug look off your face.

No,’ he whispers, staring at you in disbelief. There is a finality to his tone, one that you’re all-too-eager to jump on, but … there were limits to the span of your enjoyment now that you were his direct superior. ‘This … this is—how? You’re …’

He trails off, the dying noise making a return to the fore.

You give him another friendly pat on the shoulder.

‘Keep up, Jetdom.’

It really struck you how much he resembled a struck puppy.

It really did.

END INTERLUDE — OLD FRIENDS, NEW WORLD

/-/-/-/

PROCEED?

>YES
>NO
>>
>>2524815
>>YES
all aboard the train driven by an idiot
>>
>>2524815
>YES
THE POOR PUPPY
>>
If you guys are awake later, I'll be continuing at about 9 PM my time.
>>
>>2524815
>>YES

What time zone are you in, mechanic?
>>
>>2524971
I live in Malaysia, Player. Selangor, to be exact.
>>
>>2524980
Ah, so you'll be running in an hour, cool.

Must be nice living in an Asian country where gunpla prices aren't terribly overpriced like they are in the states.
>>
>>2524988
It is, if you can find a dealer that isn't trying to fleece you. Thing is, you trade in customer service for the price gap. I'm somewhat proud that my country has consistently had the world's top 5 GunPla diorama makers since the turn of the millennium.
>>
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To your credit, you keep the chuckles down all the way up to the third level. Gerard doesn’t say a word, although he does throw you the occasional glance. You can’t imagine how he felt, truly. All those years and the first person to break the rank hierarchy was a Colony Fleet Inhabitant that he’d consistently outscored on the simulators. For a ship barely larger than the Greyhound, the Yamato was almost a maze … and spacious. You actually felt as though you’d stepped back onto one of your own fleet’s ships. High ceilings, minimization of the stench of metal …

‘Sorry, sirs, excuse me!’

You turn around to face what could only be one of the vessel’s officers. Thin-faced and gangly, he had about fifteen to twenty years on you, with scarred elbows and cheeks that betrayed a wealth of experience behind that easy-going exterior. He isn’t quite clad in uniform (you supposed everyone was still setting themselves up, so you couldn’t really hold that against him), with that white tee and the straps hanging from his pants … and that indicator of rank being the tags hanging from his neck that say that he is, indeed, a senior officer on board of the vessel, but you throw a salute up nonetheless. One that you find he … is rather clumsy in returning.

‘Yeah, you folks’re with that new Chapter we’re assigned, right? The … 401st?’

‘Yes,’ you answer formally, dipping into a bow. ‘Thank you for having us on board.’

‘Right, right, uh … do you guys, uh, happen to know where your Knight-Commander is? I’ve been looking for him, but the damn computers don’t have any of the imaging loaded up yet.’

You snort, crossing your arms over your chest.

‘Any reason you happen to be looking for him?’

You can feel the roll of eyes from your companion.

‘The Captain’s looking for him. He says he’s got a bunch of things to go over before launch.’

>‘I’ll go and see him myself. Do you mind telling me where I can find the Captain? Meantime, would you be able to please lead my subordinate to the Squadron domicile?’ (Leave Gerard to the Officer, find the Captain)
>‘Lead me to him.’ (Leave Gerard, go with the Officer)
>‘Can’t say I’ve seen him, sorry. You mind telling me where I can find the domicile?’ (Ignorance, go with Gerard)
>Write-In
>>
>>2525031
>‘I’ll go and see him myself. Do you mind telling me where I can find the Captain? Meantime, would you be able to please lead my subordinate to the Squadron domicile?’ (Leave Gerard to the Officer, find the Captain)
>>
>>2525031
>>‘I’ll go and see him myself. Do you mind telling me where I can find the Captain? Meantime, would you be able to please lead my subordinate to the Squadron domicile?’ (Leave Gerard to the Officer, find the Captain)
>>
>>2525011
I'd be proud too. You build kits too?

>>2525031
>>‘I’ll go and see him myself. Do you mind telling me where I can find the Captain? Meantime, would you be able to please lead my subordinate to the Squadron domicile?’ (Leave Gerard to the Officer, find the Captain)
>>
>>2525041
Used to. I love the new RG line, but I don't trust having my kits lying around anymore with my baby cousins running around. I think I lost about 12 kits to cousin-related accidents since 2008. What I build now I keep boxed under my bed. I'm waiting for a throwback kit; the new series don't inspire me in any way.
>>
>>2525044
Yeah, I feel you with losing kits due to small children. I have a little brother who destroyed a good number of my kits. Locking the room and placing kits on very high shelves or inside locked glass display cabinets tend to do the trick, at least for me anyway. Kinda sad that your kits are hidden and tucked away instead of being displayed.
Sorry, hope I'm not derailing thread with gunpla talk
>>
>>2525031
>>‘I’ll go and see him myself. Do you mind telling me where I can find the Captain? Meantime, would you be able to please lead my subordinate to the Squadron domicile?’ (Leave Gerard to the Officer, find the Captain)
>>
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‘I’ll go and see him myself,’ you state, nodding. ‘Thanks for telling me and, uh … would you mind telling me where I might be able to find the Captain?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘I’m sorry,’ you apologize, chortling and giving a small bow. ‘I’m the … Knight-Commander of the 401st.’

He scrunches his nose, a look of incredulity coming over his person as he leans back to … scrutinize your claim. He looks you up and down, as if trying to register your claims. While you did feel his gaze to be rather … intrusive, you couldn’t actually blame him for being suspicious either. You don’t think you’d believe your own posting as a Knight-Commander, if you were being honest. The last month had blitzed by in such a manner every waking day had you feeling as though the whole thing was some kind of haze dream that you were in, trapped in that—

No, no … not now. Not now.

‘I apologize, sir, I … I’m sorry, I didn’t think that The Aegis made them so young.’

‘It’s quite all right.’

He immediately takes a formal stance, puffing out his chest. Dishevelled as he looked, it was amazing what the squaring of the shoulders and the jutting of the chin did to his profile. He actually looked like someone who had seen the dirt and grime of the battlefield more times than you could probably count. The dipping curve of his top saw more scars peppered on his chest, barely concealed by the white fabric.

Comm Officer Hecate Trelawney,’ he introduces himself, ‘Honor to meet the Hero of Rhysode.’

You feel your cheeks heating up at the proclamation.

‘Would you mind telling me where I’ll be able to find the Captain?’

‘Oh, right, sorry, uh,’ he scratches the stubble on his chin, turning his head up to the ceiling. ‘Sorry, a little scatter-brained. The Chief Engineer’s gotten a little pissy that he’s had to share some space with your Mech Technician … been a little swamped trying to sort everyone’s places out … uh, right, I’m sorry, uh, sir, um … I’m not sure if he said to meet him on the Bridge—that’s right up Elevator Shaft One, right to the Operations Deck—or his Office. That’s another level up, on the Officers Domicile. Sorry, sir.’

‘No problem,’ you accommodate kindly, gesturing to your companion. ‘Would you mind guiding the Ensign to the Squadron Domicile?’

‘You sure that you can find your way around?’

You chuckle, ‘I lived on a ship for a good portion of my life. I don’t think I’ll get lost before we even leave dock.’

As the words leave your mouth … you close your eyes. Good job on that …

‘Oh, your parents were military too, huh?’

You neither confirm nor deny his assumption.

‘Comm Officer, if you would?’

‘Of course.’ He nods, gesturing to Gerard to follow.

You stretch your arms overhead, letting out a breath; you hope it isn’t about overdue forms.
>>
>>2525073
>[EXPLORE CURRENT FLOOR] (Level 3)
>Head to Elevator Shaft One
>>
>>2525073
>Head to Elevator Shaft One
>>
>>2525075
>Elevator Shaft One, right to the Operations Deck—or his Office.
>>
>>2525075
>>Head to Elevator Shaft One
>>
>>2525075
>>Head to Elevator Shaft One
>>
The elevator hisses open. Several members of the crew step out in the same unkempt state that Trelawney had been in, not even throwing you a glance as they walk walk past you and into the corridor.

>Officers Domicile
>Operations Deck
>Secondary Deck
[YOU ARE HERE]
>Level Two
>Level One
>>
>>2525107
>Operations Deck
>>
>>2525107
>>Operations Deck
>>
>>2525107
>>Operations Deck
>>
>>2525107
>Secondary Deck
>>
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The door hisses open, revealing a high ceiling and a corridor that was lined with members of the Yamato’s crew, actively chatting and discussing their own preparations prior to the launch. One the sides, you see several technicians doing last minute patchwork, replacing cables, checking the viability and level of operations available to each minor component. You glance around, spying several conference and ready rooms, their black doors shut but ready to be made for use should the need ever arise. There seems to be an upward slope to the level’s design … a certain sleekness that makes it feel more alien to you than the slightly-cramped lower floors, which were a mixture of corridors and offices and multi-purpose rooms and the like. It’s not hard to find the bridge. There isn’t even need for a door or a label. It’s a straight shot right to the end onto a raised level.

If the corridor looked busy to you, the bridge was activity incarnate. A large primary star map lay right in the middle of it all, flanked by two secondary navigation and triangulation references, the one on the left undergoing upgrades or updates, while the right was actually in use by the officers manning it … who appeared to be plotting a run of supplies. Port and starboard, officers lined the sides, running pre-launch checks of their own, manning consoles or stations and going over them with their fellow bridge officers. You let out a breath as you look around, finding yourself impressed by the level of organization going around. Even in this atmosphere, it felt like everyone had been designated, that no one was just standing around or tapping their fingers on the consoles for the sake of it.

You approach the star map, the host to a raised platform where … you find that two people were standing, undertaking what appeared to be a slightly heated discussion. One of them was a man with a large jaw and a red cap—both of them more noticeable than the thick blue formal coat that he wore, lined up right to his angles—with his arms crossed over a broad chest as he nodded rolled his eyes at the man across, who was the one doing most of the talking. He, too, had a cap … and a collar that went all the way up to his ears. He stood about an inch shorter than the other man, who, now you notice, was a person of considerable height himself. The former probably had an inch on you or so, while the latter appeared more … aged. You can’t make out their faces that well, however, as they appeared to be covered in shadow, thanks to the light from the primary star map.

The taller man raises his hands in exasperation, which … oddly, prompted a nod.

He makes his way down the raised platform and …

‘Ah, Knight-Commander! A pleasure to see you on board!’

He appeared to know you.

But … he wasn’t Captain Hacker. You don’t think that you’d … ever met him before.
>>
>>2525157
>'I'm sorry. I don't believe we've met before. You would be ...' (Honest)
>'Yes, you ... too ...' (Play along)
>'I'm sorry, I'm in a bit of a rush. Is Captain Hacker around?' (Brush him off)
>Write-In
>>
>>2525159
>'I'm sorry. I don't believe we've met before. You would be ...' (Honest)
>>
>>2525159
>'I'm sorry. I don't believe we've met before. You would be ...' (Honest)
>>
>>2525159
>(Honest)

Can't wait to tell Maldante that being Knight Commander is really giving us a bad case of dry dick.
>>
>>2525159
>'I'm sorry. I don't believe we've met before. You would be ...' (Honest)
>>
>>2525159
>>Write-In
Formal and honest, the guy clearly has seniority as well.
"I'm sorry Sir. I don't believe we've met before. Knight-Commander Reaver reporting."
>>
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Your brows slightly furrow as you glance at his noticeably beady eyes. His face wasn’t bony … but neither was it full. There was a strange … heroic quality to his features. Every contour, every line, even that faint scar from his cheek to his ear, told a tale. One of frightful odds and last stands … and that through it all, this man had stood firm. There is no age in his clouded gaze, no; he looks straight at you with the intensity of a concentrated beam, but at the same time, with the flair and conduct befitting a man in uniform. There is no affable bone about him, if you were being honest … but there was something majestic and—at the same time—gritty about him.

That he was a meant to be challenged, but at the same time, it was a battle that you knew you wouldn’t win.

He takes your hand, giving it a firm shake.

The grip tells you that at least three of the fingers on that hand were artificial.

‘I’m sorry,’ you apologize, shaking your head. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met before. You would be …’

He chortles, shaking his head.

‘You are correct that we haven’t met before,’ he indicates, ‘but I do know you. After all, it’s my job.’

‘Your … job?’

Commissar Kane,’ he introduces himself. ‘I will be your … well, I will be your Commissar.’

Your Commissar.

The man responsible for the evaluation of your career.

You can’t believe you’d forgotten that part of your new assignment.

At the back of your head, you can see Wray shaking his head in disapproval.

>‘I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t know.’ (Grovel)
>‘Forgive my familiarity, sir.’ (Grovel a little bit more)
>‘So you’re my … watchdog, are you?’ (Informal)
>‘I hope that I meet your standards, sir.’
>‘What were you discussing with … him?’ (Refer to the conversation he was locked in before)
>‘I’m sorry, but I’m in a terrible rush. Is Captain Hacker around?’
>>
>>2525214
>‘I hope that I meet your standards, sir.’
>>
>>2525214
>>‘I hope that I meet your standards, sir.’
>>
>>2525214
>>‘I hope that I meet your standards, sir.’
>>
>>2525214
>I hope that I meet your standards, sir.’
Nobody likes an ass kisser, but having a good professional relationship with the guy that makes sure we don't fuck up is a good idea.
>>
>>2525214
>"Forgive my familiarity, sir. May I note that you're looking particularly handsome today? Is there anything I can do for you? Do your boots need shining? I can use my tongue if that's your preference, my lord."

MAXIMUM GROVELING
NO HALF MEASURES
>>
>>2525214
>‘I hope that I meet your standards, sir.’
>>
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>>2525233
>>
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>>2525243
>Cain
>Wanting to be anywhere near the frontlines
>Ciaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium
>Wanting to do anything but sit on a bombardment fleet sipping Tannae as the Necron Tomb below gets nuked on assignment

My disgust knows no bounds, player.
>>
>>2525246
Excellent post, QM! Truly your writing skills are head and shoulders above the other lackwits on this board!
>>
>>2525246
Deal with it.
>>
>>2525246
>‘What were you discussing with … him?’ (Refer to the conversation he was locked in before)
>>
>>2525214
Goddammit, now I am bemoaning the lack of a new Ciaphas Cain book.
>>
>>2525276
There's a new one coming out soon if you didn't know.
https://www.warhammer-community.com/2018/04/25/brand-new-cover-art-revealed-apr25/
>>
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A Commissar.

You don’t know why that particular detail had stretched beyond your immediate recollection.

No Knight-Commander, no Chapter was allowed to run free. Every Battlegroup, every ship … had someone making sure that the Emperor’s will was carried out. Every action was made under scrutiny: for good, for evil … all ultimately for the glory made in the Emperor’s name. Commissars were once known as Adjudicators … but some hundreds of years back, perhaps even a thousand, the name had changed to be more “formal and friendly”, according to doctrine. They weren’t emissaries of the Emperor’s will. At least, not directly.

They weren’t so much an organization, either.

Commissars were attached to Battlegroups or Squadrons depending on their seniority. All of them had the same job: to make sure that you did yours and didn’t embarrass the Empire doing it. While they didn’t technically outrank you, Commissars were generally seen as the Emperor’s disciplinary rod. A leash to pull on those that went that stretch too far with their dealings. You’d never met a Commissar before; but Wray had lectured them as a sort of necessary evil. A reminder of responsibility and the bigger picture of what your conduct meant. They were hardly the agreeable sort, if you remembered your notes, but this man seemed … amicable enough.

Which set more than one warning klaxon off in your head.

‘Commissar Kane. I hope that I meet your standards, sir.’

‘You’re a lot younger than I expect from Knight-Commanders,’ he regales, ‘Not that there haven’t been exceptions, of course … but you are the youngest one on the current roster, so I suppose I could give you some rope on that.’

‘I … will abide by whatever standard that you wish to measure me to, sir,’ you reply, nodding and squaring your shoulders. ‘I don’t expect any less … or more from you, sir.’

He throws a kind smile.

‘I suppose you wouldn’t.’

Kane rubs his shoulders and grunts, taking a step back.

‘I trust that you have everything sorted out on your end?’

There was no way around it.

‘No,’ you confess, ‘not quite yet, Commissar.’

He raises an eyebrow, giving off a light hum.

‘Then what are you speaking to me for? Get to it, then!’

You throw up a salute; one that Kane returns with a formal nod, turning on his heel before … is strikes you.

‘Excuse me, sir, I’m sorry, but …’

‘Yes?’

‘I’m sorry, but … I’m looking for Captain Hacker,’ you blurt out, before steadying yourself once more. ‘Would you … happen to have seen him pass by or …’

He looks thoughtful for a moment, before raising a finger, and speaking, ‘I believe that he’s in his Office.’

‘His office.’

‘Yes,’ Kane replies. ‘It’s on the level up—the Officers Domicile.’

‘Thank you.’

He gives a curt nod, turning his back to you and going on his way.
>>
>>2525295
>Approach the Navigation Officer(?)
>Explore the Bridge further
>Approach the Officers going over the navigation references
>[HEAD TO THE ELEVATOR]
>Write-In
>>
>>2525299
>>[HEAD TO THE ELEVATOR]
>>
>>2525295
>[HEAD TO THE ELEVATOR]

Jesus is this a MUD? Go to the office
>>
>>2525299
>[HEAD TO THE ELEVATOR]
>elevator music
https://m.youtube.com/watch?t=2196s&v=1sruEnQ9HkU
>>
>>2525299
>Elevator
>>
>>2525299
>[HEAD TO THE ELEVATOR]
>>
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The doors open as it stops on your level. You step into it, a destination already in mind.

>Officers Domicile
>Operations Deck [YOU ARE HERE]
>Secondary Deck
>Level Three
>Level Two
>Level One
>>
>>2525314
>Officers Domicile
>>
>>2525314
>Officers Domicile
>>
>>2525314
>Officers Domicile
>>
>>2525314
>Officers Domicile
>>
INVALID AUTHORIZATION LEVEL

You try it again.

INVALID AUTHORIZATION LEVEL

Great.

Just … perfect.

The Comm Officer appeared to have forgotten to tell you that that the Officers Domicile was accessible to officers only. You, the Knight-Commander, hadn’t been given your access yet. Which … now that you thought about it, was probably what this whole thing was about, really (although the absurdity of being up in an officer to talk about accessibility while the subject at hand was locked out of it did strike you). Regardless, for now, it looked like you were going to have to find an Officer who did have access. There were quite a few on the Bridge. Perhaps you could try there.

>Officers Domicile
>Operations Deck [YOU ARE HERE]
>Secondary Deck
>Level Three
>Level Two
>Level One
>Exit Elevator
>>
>>2525338
>Operations Deck [YOU ARE HERE]
Go tell the commissar and ask for help.
>>
>>2525338
>Operations Deck [YOU ARE HERE]
>>
>>2525338
>Operations Deck [YOU ARE HERE]
get to the commissar
>>
>>2525338
Maybe find the Comm Officer instead and get him to let you in. Can't look good to keep asking our evaluator for help.
>>
You step out of the Elevator and back onto the Operations Deck, glancing around to see if the Commissar was still around. He wasn’t. You don’t know where he could be. None of the rooms seemed to have been labelled with his name … and you doubt that he would be using them, anyway. You take long, quick strides towards the bridge, finding it the same hive of activity it had been from before. The man that you believe to be the Navigation Officer is still upon the raised platform, going over the star map and scanning system after system, while the other technical officers went about the same tasks that they had been going over when you’d departed before. Everyone was still as engrossed in their work, it would seem.

But maybe one of them could help you.

>Approach the Navigation Officer (?)
>Explore the Bridge further
>Approach the Officers going over the navigation references
>[HEAD TO THE ELEVATOR]
>Write-In
>>
>>2525338
>>Exit Elevator
wait isn't this the correct option instead of hitting the button for the floor we're on
>>
>>2525374
>Approach the Navigation Officer (?)
>>
>>2525375
I can read into player actions 40 percent of the time. I think what they meant was to exit the elevator.
>>
>>2525374
>>Explore the Bridge further
>>
>>2525374
>>Explore the Bridge further
>>
>>2525374
>Approach the Navigation Officer (?)
>>
>>2525374
>>Approach the Navigation Officer (?)
>>
You needed some form of access to the Officers Domicile. As much as you didn’t want to bother the man going over the star map (and knowing just what the weight of his responsibilities were), you didn’t see anyone else who was more approachable with your plight. As you step onto the platform, you see him passing over several systems, grumbling as he linked systems and points, only for the screen to throw an error back in his face, furthering his consternation. If the systems were anything to judge, he wasn’t so much plotting as much as he was trying to revise the updates that you had no doubt the ship had been fitted with, docking in Jordan. The barge was young; at least, that’s what you believed she was, judging by the relatively new architecture. Either that, or she was a throwback model … despite the plating said otherwise. She couldn’t be more than two-hundred years old at best, which made her top of the line by modern standards.

‘Why is it every single friggin’ type I have to go over this damn thing, I gotta go all the way back to the stinking Rims and realign everything from scratch? Damn thing’s confused, that’s what it is … thinks it’s stuck back in Old Man Henderson’s day, that’s what it thinks. No doubt about it. Tell them to memorize ten thousand friggin’ systems by heart, I tell you; lucky I’m not friggin’ senile already …’

You didn’t want to interrupt his rambling.

You’d seen Charters go berserk at a misplaced letter on a word on entry.

‘Sir?’

But perhaps he—

‘In the Emperor’s name,’ he growls, not even bothering to turn to look at you, ‘if this is about the ware patch … and anything but no, I swear, I will rip your lungs and liver out and throw them into the mineral converter.’

‘Sorry, sir, but … I don’t know anything about a ware patch.’

The first thing you notice about him is his pointed nose … along with the other angular properties of his features. He was considerably older than you were, carrying himself in a manner that reminded you more of a stern tutor. His ears were pointed and his brows were thick, the jaw attached to his person duller than your Commissar’s but possessing a blunt, harsh quality of its own. He didn’t have many lines or scars on his face, but his expression, nonetheless, told you that he was a person of precision, directness and that any time wasted of his was another mine to step on.

‘Oh? You’re not one of the technicians … ah, you must be part of that Squadron we’re picking up. Something I can—’

He halts his words, turning his attention back to the star map.

Patches! They keep putting patches!

You raise a hand to get his attention again, but …

>‘Maybe I can help.’ (NAVIGATION NUT)
>‘I’m here to ask if you could give me access to the Officers’ Domicile.’ (Ask for permission)
>‘It’s, uh … nice to meet you.’ (Leave)
>Write-In
>>
>>2525433
>Listen I was looking for someone to give me Permission to get into Officer's Domicile so I can talk to the captain at his request. That said I do know something Navigation, can I take a look at it while you're getting everything cleared up?
>>
>>2525433
>>‘Maybe I can help.’ (NAVIGATION NUT)
>>
>>2525433
>Maybe I can help.
>>
>>2525433
>‘Maybe I can help.’ (NAVIGATION NUT)
>>
>>2525433
>‘Maybe I can help.’ (NAVIGATION NUT)

Got to level up that navigation nut!
>>
>>2525433
>Maybe I can HURT
>>
>>2525433
>>‘Maybe I can help.’ (NAVIGATION NUT)
>>
>>2525433
>‘Maybe I can help.’ (NAVIGATION NUT)
>>
I didn't run yesterday due to the fact that I was preparing the sheets up for your missions and the like. I'll be back in business in ... less than an hour.
>>
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‘Maybe I can help.’

‘You got experience running these things?’

‘No,’ you state truthfully, before donning a knowing half-grin and jabbing your thumb in the direction of the holographic display, ‘but I know that Yolstein’s and Sodom’s beacons aren’t meant to criss-cross unless you’re willing to tear apart about fifty travel-friendly systems in between.’

His nostrils immediately flare; you can tell he is indignant at the jibe … but he subsequently follows it up by taking a step back, gesturing to the console. You mumble an apology and give a nod of thanks, placing your hands on the console and bringing up the navigation base. Every star map had one. The “wrap and fold” of gravity that accounted for warp technology had to utilize it or the supercomputers couldn’t compile and finish the calculations. It’s why tachyon clusters were developed thousands of years ago; like friction before flame, everything had a process. So you build on the [i[navigation base, every jumping point a mere second and a half to realign; point to point, memory by memory. Even the you of fourteen standard years could have done this. After all, when your livelihood depended upon making sure those jumping points were accurate to the trillionth decimal, you couldn’t afford to be stingy with the details.

It was rare, but you remember the legends of blind warps and crews somehow ending up in the second layer of a dying star.

It takes about ten minutes, but you’re confident that you have the primary and secondary jump points rightly-coordinated. You step back, dusting off your hands as though you’d just been on a farm, smiling proudly at your handiwork. The Navigation Officer (Or the man you believe to be the Navigation Officer) steps back in to take a closer look.

‘That should do it,’ you declare, taking pride in your work.

The man goes over the visuals, turning cluster and system over … before letting out a breath.

‘Damn,’ he laughs softly, ‘that’s some fine work. Should hold us through until the next damned patch screwing everything up for us.’

‘I hope so,’ you joke, ‘I’d hate for a malfunction in the middle of a warp fold. I’ve kind of grown accustomed to, you know … being alive.’

‘Aren’t we all?’ he snorts, rubbing the back of his neck and turning to face you again. ‘Deck Officer Sagara Pentecost. Been on this barge for eighteen years. You sure you’re not my new tech wizard? Not that the job needs much, anyway … just a few kicks and flicks to keep us on course.’

‘No.’ You share in his humour. ‘I don’t think I am.’

‘How’re you so good with these things anyway? Usually takes about double the time for me to sort it out.’
>>
>>2530160
>'I'm from a Colony Fleet. It's kind of basic knowledge for me.' (BACKGROUND: COLONY FLEET INHABITANT)
>'I'm just used to being around star maps.' (Vague)
>'Just tried my luck like everyone else.' (Divert)
>'I'd like to talk about that with you one day, but I'm kind of in a hurry right now.' (Urgent)
>Write-In
>>
>>2530160
>'I'd like to talk about that with you one day, but I'm kind of in a hurry right now.' (Urgent)
>>
>>2530167
>>'I'm just used to being around star maps.' (Vague)
>also, can you grant me access to the Officers domicile? the Captain wants to talk to me but my authorization hasnt gotten into the system yet
>>
>>2530167
Supporting >>2530177
>>
>>2530167
>>2530177
this
>>
>>2530167
>>'I'd like to talk about that with you one day, but I'm kind of in a hurry right now.' (Urgent)
>>2530177
>>also, can you grant me access to the Officers domicile? the Captain wants to talk to me but my authorization hasnt gotten into the system yet
>>
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You shrug.

‘I’m just used to being around star maps,’ you reply. ‘I mean, it’d hit my pride personally if I wasn’t able to pin those points together. I’m a little obsessive about that and, uh …’

You scratch your cheek. You suppose that now is as good a time as any; you had garnered a good first impression and you had a Deck Officer who probably had access. You could ask one simple question, one favour.

‘Sir, would you be able to give me access to the Officers’ Domicile?’

His wrinkles instantly deepen at your query.

‘The Officers’ Domicile? What for?

‘Comm Officer … Trelawney, I think? He said that the Captain wanted to see me?’

Pentecost crosses his arms, his previously-friendly demeanour replaced by a frown of suspicion.

‘And why would he want to see you?

>‘I’m the new Knight-Commander, sir.’ (Reveal your position)
>‘None of your business.’ (Snarl)
>‘I don’t know. Comm Officer Trelawney only said he wanted to.’ (Clueless)
>‘You know what? Forget it. Have a good day, sir.’ (Leave his company)
>Write-In
>>
>>2530299
>>‘I’m the new Knight-Commander, sir.’ (Reveal your position)
>>
>>2530299
>>‘I’m the new Knight-Commander, sir.’ (Reveal your position)
>>
>>2530299
>>‘I’m the new Knight-Commander, sir.’ (Reveal your position)
Do we get a cool but ridiculously impractical helmet and mask to make it easier for Officers to recognize us?
>>
>>2530299
>>‘I’m the new Knight-Commander, sir.’ (Reveal your position)
>>
>>2530323
You have your tags.

They're just in your pocket.
>>
>>2530299
>‘I’m the new Knight-Commander, sir.’ (Reveal your position)
>>
>>2530351
No one will ever recognize that slightly pudgy kid as a Knight-Commander but everyone will know of that "douchebag Ace pilot with the stupid helmet"
>>
>>2530392
Formerly pudgy. Savik (and your friends) saw to that.
>>
I’m the new Knight-Commander, Deck Officer,’ you reveal. ‘GAIA-0401, call sign: Reaver.’

His eyes widen, but otherwise, every semblance of professionalism is kept. He looks you up and down, the wide eyes now narrowing into slits as he scrutinizes your appearance. You didn’t look any different from any Ensign looking to get his big score on his first day … not that there was any discernible (save for the emblems, of course, but those were on the way) difference in uniform for Aegis members, except for the Star Marshall. Except for the hat. You hadn’t received your hat just yet. There was apparently a waiting list due to a recent wave of Knight-Commander headwear going missing all over Imperial space. You didn’t even know that there were theft issues about until around a standard week and a half ago.

‘Very well,’ he declares curtly. ‘Come with me.’

You jog up next to him, straightening yourself a little bit more.

‘You’re a lot younger than I thought you’d be,’ he commentates, right as you move past a trio of staff members that throw up salutes before splitting to get out of your way. ‘So either we’re really desperate or what you pulled on Rhysode was nothing short of a damned miracle. Dumpster fire, that. Dirty business.’

The both of you arrive at the elevator doors, the big blue 01 shimmering in the light.

‘So did you really took down five Mechs on your lonesome? Just asking out of … curiosity.’

>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>‘You could say that.’ (Vague)
>‘Didn’t amount to much, anyway.’ (Bitter)
>Write-In
>>
>>2530430
>>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>>
>>2530430
>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>>
>>2530430
>>‘You could say that.’ (Vague)
>>
>>2530430
>>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>and through it all I was piloting a partially decommissioned Helllion with only a Heat ace.
>>
>>2530444
I strongly advise against being the young dickhead officer who brags about his achievements if you want any other military figure to have a modicum of respect for you.
>>
>>2530430
>>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>>
>>2530430

>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>>
>>2530430
>>Write-In
"Mostly dumb blind luck there, I had a lot of help from the local militia. It could easily have been me crushed to death under one of Kerensky's hangar or incinerated by the Alliance."
>>
>>2530430
>>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>>
>>2530452
Being vague is more likely to do that. By being honest, we actually credit the tank squadron for their part in our victories. This is likely to give Pentecost the idea that we will give the ship credit for any assistance they give, be it bombardments, escort fighters or extractions.
>>
>>2530430
>>‘Two, maybe three Squadrons. Eliminated three, disabled two with the help of a tank company. Third Squadron we took down, I had an active Lance.’ (Honest)
>>
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‘Two, maybe three Squadrons.’

The doors opening, you proceed to step inside. Pentecost presents his credentials—in this case, an access card with the Navy’s emblem emblazoned with a character displaying rank—to the panel as he taps the button on the module, which turns from red to blue upon the apparent familiarity of the object. As the elevator whines back into life, you find him turning his attentions back to you once more, as if he was actually … interested in further elaboration.

You decide to humour him.

‘I eliminated three mechs breaking out of Kerensky,’ you reveal further, stepping out as the doors slid open with a ding, Pentecost right beside you. Even with his eyes turning to the front, you can tell his ears were still perched upon your tale. ‘Took out another two with the help of a tank company and an escort fighter … and we cleared out Rhysode Alpha after that. That one I needed a full active Lance. I can hardly take full credit over the circumstances I was put into.’

The Officers Domicile was … spacious compared to the decks below. It didn’t have the ceiling of the Operations Deck; it didn’t even have a third of its width, but what it had? A lack of congestion. There weren’t many bodies walking these tidy halls … save for you two and the man at the end of the corridor that you could only surmise to be one of the ship’s janitors, cleaning up whatever stain had been left behind. It takes you a while to realize that it was a three-point apartment corridor design; two ends for work and one end for quarters, with faint lights and lines to guide the way.

‘I count eight mechs,’ he states, accompanied by a low whistle, right as you walk down what you had surmised to be one of the fancier parts of the ship. ‘That’s a shit-fire if I ever heard one, Knight-Commander.’

You snort, shaking your head. ‘It was.’

‘Did they really drop a warhead and a cloud strike?

‘They dropped a warhead,’ you confirm, nodding uncomfortably. You didn’t like the reminder of being skewered and baking in the corpse of a Hellion. You were lucky enough to get out of that without any sort of mental trauma. ‘I was out by the time the cloud strikes came, though. Woke up several standard days later on an observation outpost in a neighbouring system.’

‘For a Republic, they’re not very people friendly, are they?’

‘Responsibilities are usually only due to the ones you’re beholden to,’ you quip, shaking your head. ‘To those that have no conscious, the appearance of adherence matters more to the entity than an actual compliance by a wide standard … and only then, only when it applies.’

Pentecost bursts into laughter, right as you stop in front of a heavy-looking door.

‘You’re definitely Aegis educated, if nothing else.’

He holds out a hand.

‘Honor to have you, Knight-Commander.’

>Shake it
>Don’t take it
>Write-In
>>
>>2530543
>>Shake it
>>
>>2530543
>>Shake it
>>
>>2530543
>Shake it
>>
>>2530543
>Shake it
>>
>>2530543
>>Shake it
>>
>>2530543
>>Shake it
>>
>>2530543
>>Shake it
>>
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You take his right, giving it a firm grip—one that he returns earnestly.

Exchanging acknowledging nods, the Deck Officer then turns his gaze to the panel by the door.

Deck Officer: Pentecost, Sagara. Lock Priority: wattlebird.’

The doors his open.

It’s everything you imagined a man of the Imperial Navy would have his room like. Achievements, consoles, stacks of pads on one side and an active projector display on the other, accompanying the rather ornate carpet, spread along the length of the floor. That thing must have cost as much as the operation system updates running … or probably as much as one of the engine interfaces, if you were feeling generous in your assumption. A model of a ship that wasn’t the Yamato was laid out right behind the grey desk that served as his workstation, along with a series of monitors that displayed everything from current reports to data compilations, all being streamed and fed through what you could only surmise to be the Captain’s own personal (or professional) entry point. It all looked busy … and at the same time, neat. It was a leg up to workplaces that you were exposed to; even your former Administrator’s.

None of those, however, catch your attention as much as the Captain’s two current guests.

‘Senpai!’

You had been wondering where Rosaria had disappeared to since you’d given her permission to scout ahead.

But it had never broken the niggling intensity of the thought of where Morrigan Fisher—who was stoically sitting in that chair in front of the Captain’s desk—had been the last month.

Said former Instructor stands up in salute, but otherwise, keeps her silence.

Knight-Commander,’ Captain Hacker sounds, bringing you back to reality.

Not knowing what to do, you fall back on your professionalism, throwing up a salute of your own.

‘Thank you, Deck Officer.’

The doors hiss shut as you step inside the office. Pentecost doesn’t follow you, leaving you to the mercy of the captain’s presence … and the burning questions that simmered in your brain with every glance at the woman that hadn’t said so much a word since she’d departed from the outpost.

>Write-In
>>
>>2530623
Go greet the Captain I guess. We can talk to Rosaria and Fisher later.
>>
>>2530623
>Nod to Rosaria and Fisher then get back to the Captain. "You asked for me? The elevators are not quite up to date."
>>
>>2530637
supporting
>>
>>2530637
going for this too
>>
>>2530637
supportin
>>
>>2530637
Supporting.
>>
>>2530637
Supporting this.
>>
>>2530637
Same
>>
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As much as you actually want to divulge Fisher’s absolute guts on her whereabouts, you had the stinking suspicion that that would be answered anyway. That, and you were in the office of Taymence Hacker, who would be playing host to you and your Chapter for the foreseeable future … and not paying him the respect he was indeed due would be getting off on a foot that you rather wouldn’t. You take a few steps forward, standing between the chairs of your seated (Morrigan) and one standing (Rosaria) members and throwing your chest up, squaring your shoulders and peering to the top of the Captain’s hat.

‘You requested to see me, sir?’

‘I did.’ He nods.

Taymence Hacker … was young. For his post, anyway. He had wide shoulders and a firm gut, a goatee and moustache combination that bristled with energy and a taciturn gaze that emphasized workmanship and methodology over name and prestige. Meeting the Captain before, there’d only been two, perhaps three sentences exchanged. You’re unsure if this was his first command, but you didn’t have it in you disrespect him by questioning … not after he had been so courteous in refraining from questioning your own lack of experience. You’d only held the post for two months, after all. He held about an inch on you; his body was suited more to that of a brawler than it was a someone in command … which only added to the factor of his intimidation.

He didn’t seem a cruel man, however.

But you didn’t want to assume too much.

‘And I was going to meet you on the bridge,’ he continues, clarifying his lack of presence. ‘But I see that you were able to find your own way up here, anyway. Which means that I will either have to beef up security or shoot someone.’

‘Sir?’

Morrigan laughs.

‘It’s a joke,’ Hacker clarifies, shaking his head and throwing a smile. ‘You’re young … lighten up a bit. Although, after what happened on Rhysode, I can probably understand why you’re still a little on edge. I was supposed to leave this for you, but it slipped my mind … and I couldn’t find any of your Chapter’s registrations updated, so …’

ACQUIRED: AUTHORIZATION LEVEL (G – EXCEPTION) – YAMATO
ACQUIRED: PERSONAL QUARTERS PASS (KNIGHT-COMMANDER)
ACQUIRED: ON-BOARD COMMUNICATOR, OFFICER FREQUENCY LOCKED


‘Thank you, Captain.’

‘Now,’ he continues, throwing Rosaria an unamused glare … for some reason or other. ‘To the next matter at hand, this young woman was found at one of the connector modules tapping through the lock-key recognition hardware.’

Rosaria’s cheeks turn red, but otherwise she says nothing in her defence.

‘She claims to be from your Chapter, but the only piece of identification that has on her person … is a civilian referral,’ Hacker raises her tag for all to see. ‘Is she who she claims to be, Knight-Commander?’
>>
>>2530761
>'She is a civilian attache, Captain. She's also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers.' (Confirm)
>'She is my ward and a civilian. She's not meant to be here in any operational capacity whatsoever.' (Confirm her innocence, leave her behind)
>'Never seen her before in my life.' (Lie)
>Write-In
>>
>>2530767
>>'She is a civilian attache, Captain. She's also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers.' (Confirm)
>>
>>2530767
>'She is a civilian attache, Captain. She's also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers.' (Confirm)
>>
>>2530767
>>'She is a civilian attache, Captain. She's also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers.' (Confirm)
>>
>>2530767
>>'She is a civilian attache, Captain. She's also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers.' (Confirm)
>>
>>2530761
>>'She is a civilian attache, Captain. She's also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers.' (Confirm)
>>
>>2530767
>'She is a civilian attache, Captain. She's also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers.' (Confirm)
>>
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‘She is a civilian attache, Captain,’ you confirm, nodding. ‘She’s also a ward apprenticed to one of my Officers. Memphis, to be specific.’

He raises an eyebrow, surveying her with increasing scrutiny. ‘Is there a reason that there is a civilian attachment to your Chapter, Commander? If I may look up a reference, it’s almost an impossibility for a Chapter to consider any civilians or private citizens as part of their composition. Wouldn’t there be a barrier in place to ensure that the only ones that you pick up would be the best of the best available?’

‘Technically, yes,’ you agree, nodding—both to the Captain and to Rosaria—before straightening yourself once more. ‘However, Rosaria was also scheduled to begin her apprenticeship under the late Instructor Fisk. He … was one of the casualties in the attack.’

‘How does that explain her attachment to your Chapter?’

‘In the crisis, she performed admirably,’ you state clearly, concisely … confidently. ‘Without her intervention, none of us would be standing here by now. However, with the … administration as it is, the recognition of her designation as an apprentice and an unofficial student of The Aegis was unable to be compiled. I took her in as my ward and my Engineering Officer agreed to take her on in Fisk’s place. The paperwork hasn’t come through yet, but … since our names aren’t even on the roster yet, I believe that for now, my word as her guarantor will suffice?’

You wear a nervous smile, hoping that he did.

As Captain, he had every right to throw her off her ship. Especially as she was merely a civilian and not so much a professional soldier.

He frowns, stroking his goatee … before nodding.

‘It will,’ he finally announces, much to your release. ‘I apologize for my harshness, Miss Spirance.’

‘Oh, no! It … It’s quite all right,’ Rosaria squeaks, dropping into a bow. ‘It was my fault. I … should have asked before poking through the modules, but … it’s amazing, really! I never thought that the Empire could actually retrofit software and hardware when it came to ships!’

‘I wouldn’t say that it’s revolutionary, but praise is always welcome.’

Rosaria turns her head down, scratching her cheek.

‘However, next time … perhaps you could have a senior Officer accompany you, instead of just wandering about?’

Y-Yes, Captain, sir!

He waves her off, prompting her to sit down (albeit not without one final squeak).

‘Now, to the other matter … I understand that you are short one,’ he pauses, throwing a glance to one of the displays on his desk, ‘Executive Coordination Officer.’

‘Yes, sir,’ you declare. ‘I was told that they’d get back to me on the topic by … the next week. There’s a lot to sort out there.’
>>
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‘I know.’ The Captain nods again. ‘Which is why Lieutenant Commander Fisher is here to offer her services to you. She is a former member of a Named Squadron herself, I believe … I think that given the circumstances, it would be more more beneficial to all the parties concerned to at least consider her offer. Or we can wait the week you were promised, if you don’t think that she’s … up to the standard that you have set for you and your Squadron.’

He hands you a pad.

You glance at it, but you don’t really look at the contents.

You don’t need to.

Fisher does a terrible job of hiding her smirk.

‘Knight-Commander?’

>‘I’ll have to decline.’ (Reject)
>‘Well, we do have a … shortage. Better to fill it up now than to wait for the pushers.’ (Accept)
>‘And why would the Lieutenant Commander deem a new Chapter be worthy of her time?’ (Question)
>Write-In
>>
>>2530880
>>‘Well, we do have a … shortage. Better to fill it up now than to wait for the pushers.’ (Accept)
might as well
>>
>>2530880
>>‘Well, we do have a … shortage. Better to fill it up now than to wait for the pushers.’ (Accept)
>>
>>2530880
>>‘Well, we do have a … shortage. Better to fill it up now than to wait for the pushers.’ (Accept)
never question why a woman wants things
>>
>>2530880
>>‘Well, we do have a … shortage. Better to fill it up now than to wait for the pushers.’ (Accept)
>>
>>2530880
>‘Well, we do have a … shortage. Better to fill it up now than to wait for the pushers.’ (Accept)
>I'm going to need to seriously memorize the regulations on fraternization between officers in the same squadron.
>>
>>2530891
We have a magic mech?
>>
‘Well, we do have a shortage,’ you concede, nodding to the Captain. ‘Better to fill it up now than to wait for the pushers to come through.’

‘The roster should be uploaded onto the database before we leave the dock … I’ve assigned your Chief Medical Specialist. I believe you requested a practical capacity for another member of The Aegis with that assignment? A Doctor … Urale?’

‘She’s not a Doctor yet,’ you chuckle, ‘but yes, I did.’

‘Well, I had to rifle through some rosters, but … I was able to pick someone out. Doctor Princeton Holmes should be on the prep floor if you want to see him. His office is right next to the infirmary.’

‘Thank you again, Captain.’

He holds out his hand. You don’t hesitate to take it, meeting his firm grip with your own.

‘We’ll be launching in a few hours,’ he states, drawing back his hand. ‘I believe that should suffice for you and your Squadron to get your bearings?’

‘More than enough, sir.’

It wasn’t, but … you didn’t feel like being negative before you’d even had your first drop.

‘Good,’ Hacker finishes up. ‘That’s all from me. Knight-Commander; Lieutenant Commander.’

The both of you throw up salutes, turning your backs and exiting into the corridor, Rosaria right behind you. To tell the truth, you had felt a little … off-balance since you’d entered that office. As if someone had been shifting the carpet or playing with the gravity panels all along the floor and bulkhead in some attempt to give you nausea. But … no, it was neither of that, really. It was nothing so complicated, nothing so … indirect.

Reporting for duty, Knight=Commander.

Morrigan Fisher throws a coy smile as you muster all your annoyance into one glare, the door shutting behind you with a soft hiss and a loud thud and beep.

She definitely had some explaining to do.

END INTERLUDE – PLAYING WITH THE BIG BOYS NOW

/-/-/-/-/

PROCEED?
>YES
>NO
>>
>>2530974
Yes
>>
>>2530974
Y
>>
>>2530974
>>YES
>>
>>2530974
>>YES
>>
>>2530974
>>YES
>>
>>2530976
>>2530977
>>2530978
>>2530983
For those guys wondering, the "yes" will give you extra scenes with you talking with Fisher, while the "no" skips right to you reaching the Dropship Chamber.
>>
>>2530974
>>YES
as one of my old animays said "Information is Ammunition"
>>
>>2530974
>>YES
>>2531002
That's not anime though.
>>
>>2531006
i know
>>
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A restrained groan expels itself from your person as the doors shut. You follow it up with a sharp intake of breath and a subsequent sigh as you raise your gaze to the ceiling, finding your cheeks tightening with every centimetre the elevator descends. Fisher and Rosaria flank your sides, the both of them humming independent tunes in soft volumes, uncaring for the harmony or tempo. To your right is Rosaria, who had been pretty much following you around acclimatizing herself to her new life as your subordinate and a subject of the Imperial doctrine … and to your left is Morrigan Fisher, who had left without so much as a spoken word to you.

‘Oh, what is it, Knight-Commander?’

The latter’s teasing tone catches your attention … and you immediately meet her gaze—playful and feigning innocence—with a glare that betrayed every emotion that you’d bottled up in the last thirty-four days.

The beep sounds, and the three of you step out.

You, more verbally than metaphorically.

>Write-In
>>
>>2534485
>How are your sisters?
>>
>>2534485
So what happened?
>>
>>2534485
>How've you been?
>>
>>2534488
supportin
>guess it took a while to get them settled somewhere?
>>
‘How are your sisters doing?’

For some reason, or other, you receive a flat stare in return for the query.

‘What?’

‘First time we see each other in a month and that’s what you’re asking?’

>‘Maybe if you didn’t leave without a word maybe I’d lead in with something more personal.’ (Sarcastic)
>‘They’re civilians. You’re a soldier. Priorities matter in the hierarchy.’ (Stoic)
>‘Well?’ (Press)
>‘You start and end a sentence with “sir”.’ (Stern)
>‘Forget I asked.’ (Angry, dismissive)
>Write-In
>>
>>2534591
>‘Maybe if you didn’t leave without a word maybe I’d lead in with something more personal.’ (Sarcastic)
>>
>>2534591
>>‘Maybe if you didn’t leave without a word maybe I’d lead in with something more personal.’ (Sarcastic)
>>
>>2534591
>I missed you too sweet cheeks
>>
>>2534591
>Figured that'd throw you off. So what got you running off without a good bye?
>>
>>2534591
Supporting? >>2534622
>>
>>2534596
>>2534600

>>2534622
>>2534625
Flipping the coin.
>>
‘Maybe if you didn’t leave without a word,’ you reply crisply, taking a faster pace, ‘maybe, I’d lead in with something more personal.’

‘You’re saying that as though I have a choice in the matter,’ Fisher replies, her tone equally crisp. ‘Reassignment and limbo aren’t things that you can just shrug off and not answer. When the reply comes in, the choices aren’t maybe I’ll drop by his quarters for a few minutes and then leave or maybe I can try and get some contact details up. You answer; you get things sorted out. I don’t have the luxury of being my own sole responsibility.’

The words sting.

They don’t stop you, however.

You quicken the pace, eager to reach the Hull Levels as quickly as possible.

‘My responsibilities are to my family and to my work,’ she continues, the three of you manoeuvring past a few staff members walking in the opposite direction. ‘I’m sorry that you don’t factor into the immediacy of the call, but that’s the truth.’

You snort, straightening your collar … and feeling the creeping sense of anger coming over you.

‘Nice to know where I’m filed in that cabinet.’

She hisses out a noise, clicking her tongue in quick succession. The both of you come to a halt, facing one another with disdain. You were—you are—angry. Fisher hadn’t so much as put in a word through Memphis or sent you something that told you of the why or the where. You had been worried. For the last month, you’d wondered if everything that you’d given to each other that night was even real; that Fisher had … for some magical reason saw you as a chance worth taking. For you, with this essentially your first semblance of a proper relationship, it was …

You’re not sure if it meant the same to her as it did to you.

Or maybe you were just being presumptuous that Morrigan Fisher would value as anything more than the letter of her word. Coming from a Colony Fleet, getting fleeced on a deal wasn’t an occurrence you weren’t already expecting, even in the most intimate of transaction. It was just how living as an outsider in Imperial Space worked.

‘The day that red tape becomes an optional extra, I’ll be happy to perform The Imperial Responsibility* on my own schedule. I—the both of us, everyone—has a role and a duty to fulfil here. Out of all my students, you should be the one aware of that fact above all else. We’re soldiers; we’re beholden to the people!’

‘That doesn’t excuse you just … up and leaving! You couldn’t even leave a note for Memphis?!

‘If there was a galactic crisis and you were called away to carry out your duties,’ she emphasizes her reference in tone, before scoffing ‘what would you do Knight-Commander? Knock on my door and give me a kiss goodbye?'

*You know what it is. Drop it.
>>
>>2534934
>'You damn right I would.' (Serious)
>'You're right. This ... I apologize, Lieutenant Commander. I missed the mark on priorities.' (Concede)
>'Whatever.' (Scoff)
>'You know what? You're right. Maybe this should just stay professional.' (Break it off)
>Stay silent and fume the rest of the way
>Write-In
>>
>>2534955
>I'd have at least had the courtesy to send a message via communicator or a note.
but
>'You know what? You're right. Maybe this should just stay professional.' (Break it off)
>>
>>2534955
>>'You're right. This ... I apologize, Lieutenant Commander. I missed the mark on priorities.' (Concede)
know when to give and when to push
>>
>>2534955
>'You're right. This ... I apologize, Lieutenant Commander. I missed the mark on priorities.' (Concede)
>>
>>2534955
>'You're right. This ... I apologize, Lieutenant Commander. I missed the mark on priorities.' (Concede)
>>
>>2534969
>>2534970
>>2534982
Great job making it worse guys.
>>
>>2534955
>'You damn right I would.' (Serious)
>>
>>2534960
Supporting this.
We're clearly not meant to be.
>>
>>2534955
>>'You damn right I would.' (Serious)
>>
>>2534955
>>'You damn right I would.' (Serious)
>>
>>2534955
>>'You damn right I would.' (Serious)
>>
>>2534955
>>'You damn right I would.' (Serious)
>>
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You sigh, turning your eyes up to the ceiling and letting out a breath. There was no use to this.

Not in that sense, but prolonging the conflict didn’t have anything for you to gain. Fisher was … no, perhaps it was presumptuous of you to believe that the matter would be so easily handled. You were the pup here—and she was the grown she-wolf, with the scars and the notches to prove her mettle more than you did. No, prolonging it wouldn’t do at all. You’d brought her on as a staff member … and you would have to draw on that experience if you so much as wished to further your chances of lengthening your state of approval with the Commissar. There were battles that you could fight and win, but like everything else … there are those not worth fighting at all.

This was one such conflict.

You put your emotion aside. You shouldn’t have brought that up before so much as suiting yourself up for your first drop.

‘You’re right, this … I apologize, Lieutenant Commander.’

That seems to relax her … somewhat. Rosaria, more than likely still clueless as to the topic of the conversation, looks at you, then to Fisher, then back again, as if trying to make sense of it on her own.

‘I missed the mark on our priorities,’ you state, rubbing the back of your neck, your shoulders slumping as you don’t meet her her eyes. ‘We’re … soldiers. We’re beholden to our duties … what we’re meant to do. Not what we want to do or … to wish for things to operate at our convenience. It isn’t … if we wanted anything else, we would’ve signed up for regular voluntary service. I am at fault for assuming that your responsibilities would … diverge. It’s selfish.’

‘I,’ she pauses, sounding hesitant, at a loss of words herself. There is, however, a distinct quality of … disappointment to it. As if she had expected more … or different. ‘I … apologize for my lack of respect for your station, sir. I didn’t … act befitting that of my station, if you would …’

‘No, no.’ You raise your hands. ‘I … respect your station and your position. I would like you to continue at your post. I didn’t … come in here expecting everyone to blindly agree with everything that I have to say.’

‘Of course, sir,’ Fisher replies, dipping her head into a respectful bow. ‘I will endeavour to do my best.’

The three of you stay in silence, walking down the long length of the corridor to the Hull Level Elevator, taking it down to the parallel levels (to the primary decks) above the Dropship Chamber.

This would be your theatre of operations, for the most part.

>DROP-SHIP CHAMBER EXPRESS LIFT
>MEDICAL OFFICE
>COMMISSAR’S (OBSERVATION AND RECORDS)
>PILOT QUARTERS
>YOUR OFFICE
>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE
>SQUADRON BRIEFING ROOM
>Re-Enter MAIN ELEVATOR [08]
>>
>>2535183
>MEDICAL OFFICE
>>
>>2535183
Just a reminder in case you guys forget: you visit Medical Office to move on with the plot.
>>
>>2535183
>YOUR OFFICE
Might as well see our workspace.
>>
>>2535183
>>YOUR OFFICE
lets go take a peek
>>
>>2535183
>>YOUR OFFICE
>>
>>2535183
>YOUR OFFICE
>>
>>2535183
>YOUR OFFICE
>>
>>2535183
>>YOUR OFFICE
>>
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You enter your Office, finding it … bare. A table, a chair in a corner, some cabinets and displays that looked like they hadn’t been turned on in eons. They appeared to still be well-maintained, however.

‘Many Knight-Commanders put a more personal touch on their workspace,’ Fisher comments, crossing her arms and giving the place an uncharacteristically approving nod.

Personal touch?

To your surprise, it’s not you that asks the question, but Rosaria.

‘Posters, musical instruments, artefacts of old, mementoes of their home-world … I believe there was a rumour from hundreds of years back that some of them even had poles for their slave girls. Chains and restraining bolts and everything …’

S-Slave girls?

‘She’s joking, Rosaria,’ you say, throwing Fisher a flat gaze.

‘Well,’ Fisher chuckles, ‘I don’t think the Knight-Commander would fall into such petty indulgences on the job. He’s much too one-track to consider such frivolities.’

‘Oh,’ Rosaria sighs, touching the side of her neck.

You’re not sure if it’s from relief or … disappointment.

>‘So, I’m here … whenever I’m not in a Mech or in my quarters upstairs.’ (State the obvious)
>‘What can I bring and put up here? Anything I want?’ (Query)
>EXIT ROOM
>Write-In
>>
>>2535324
>>‘So, I’m here … whenever I’m not in a Mech or in my quarters upstairs.’ (State the obvious)
>>
>>2535324
>‘What can I bring and put up here? Anything I want?’ (Query)
>>
>>2535324
>‘What can I bring and put up here? Anything I want?’ (Query)
>>
>>2535324
>So what should I put up?
>>
>>2535324
>>‘What can I bring and put up here? Anything I want?’ (Query)
>>
You spare the place a glance. There was a lot of floor space here. If you had to make a comparison, you would say that it was at least the size of the cooking area back on the Colony Fleet. The table was set more towards the wall opposing the entrance than it was to the middle … and it was built into it, so you couldn’t move it as you pleased, either. The metal panels on the floor seemed to be installed firmly enough, so you didn’t have to worry about any amputated digits, but … all in all …

It was a big place, really. You were so used to sharing quarters that having something all to yourself of this magnitude was …

A little overwhelming, you supposed.

‘What can I put up in here? Anything I want?’

‘You have free reign here as you do with your quarters,’ Fisher states matter-of-factly, placing her hands behind her back and reverting to her old professional self. ‘If there’s anything that you want to put up and show off, this is the place to put it. Knight-Commanders usually like to display trophies of sorts to their peers and subordinates, so those are one of the things that you could set up. Anything to build up your reputation, however you wish to spread it. Commemorative physical image captures, tributes, you can put anything you wish up. Although … most Knight-Commanders choose to keep their workplace professional and organized, regardless of their inclinations.’

>‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’ (BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE)
>‘Right, thanks.’ (Ask about something else)
>EXIT ROOM
>>
>>2535505
>>‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’ (BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE)
>>
>>2535505
>‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’ (BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE)
>>
>>2535505
>>‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’ (BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE)
>>
>>2535505
>>‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’ (BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE)
>>
>>2535505
>>‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’ (BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE)
>>
>>2535505
>>‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’ (BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE)
>>
‘I have a banner … could I put it up here?’

Fisher stares at you, incredulous.

You have a banner?

‘Yeah,’ you reply, pulling it out from one of the pockets of your suit, ‘from back on Rhysode. I negotiated surrender and they gave me this and a Mech that Wray jacked right after. Could I put this up?’

‘If you want … of course,’ she continues neutrally, a slight stammer in both her step and wording. ‘Put it anywhere you want.’

You move to do so.

YOU HAVE DECORATED YOUR OFFICE WITH – BANNER: 199TH ASSAULT SQUADRON, CALBERTE

Fisher lets out a noise as the three of you step back to admire the first—and hopefully not the last—of Squadron Banners, set on your wall. It … wasn’t that fancy. In fact, it looked downright tiny compared to the huge amounts of space that it felt company to. There was nothing … ornate or unique about it; it was as you had observed before: simple, tidy … and no wasted decorations. Just a recoloured Alliance Military logo at the top and the Squadron Designation. It wasn’t a Named Squadron … but considering the rarity of Named Squadrons in the Alliance Military, you couldn’t very well complain. It was something.

Something to build on.

‘Well,’ Fisher starts, throwing you a mischievous look as she gestures to the newly-placed piece of fabric on the wall. ‘If nothing else, this’ll help you strike up conversation in bars.’

>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>‘Probably.’
>‘What do you think, Rosaria?’
>EXIT ROOM
>>
>>2535621
>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>>
>>2535621
>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>>
>>2535621
>Write in
>shame i couldnt get the banner from Ulthers squad we fought in the city
>then again we didnt fight him directly
>>
>>2535621
Also, for some reason the last option didn't copy paste:

>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>‘Probably.’
>‘What do you think, Rosaria?’
>EXIT ROOM
>Write-In
>>
>>2535621
>>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>>
>>2535621

>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>>
>>2535621
>‘Probably.’
but
>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>>
>>2535641
>>‘I think I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’
>>
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You chuckle, throwing her a warm, amused glance.

‘I think … I’ll settle for a Lieutenant Commander who’s not afraid to tug on the leash.’

She strikes you in the arm before turning away, coughing into a closed fist.

M-Moron …

>Write-In
>‘So this is more of a trophy room than it is an office, huh? Feels like it, really …’
>‘So I just fill out forms and just make sure everyone’s doing their work?’
>EXIT ROOM
>>
>>2535700
>>‘So this is more of a trophy room than it is an office, huh? Feels like it, really …’
>might've have gotten 2 flags instead of one if we had decided to fight Ulther
>>
>>2535700
>I really need to read up on the fraternization regulations.
>>
>>2535706
You mean the Devil Squadron Commander? Uther?
>>
>>2535711
haha, no, just no
>>
>>2535711
aye, forgot how to spell his name
>>
>>2535709
[BY DECREE OF THE EMPEROR]
>Yes, you can do it, no one is stopping you from doing it.
>I get it. I'm human too, you know.
>So you can do whatever
>Just
>Keep it down
>Keep it sensible
>Keep it professional
>And abstain when it comes to the reviews if you are involved and are the superior
>Also, not in the Mechs
>Ever
>EVER
>>
>>2535700
>‘So I just fill out forms and just make sure everyone’s doing their work?’

>>2535726
>Also, not in the Mechs
>Ever
>EVER

We're SO going to do it in a Mech. And on a Mech. And while being surrounded by Mechs, while their cameras are turned on, so that we can say that they were watching us.

Really, they should be glad that we won't cross the biggest line in the sand: Doing it with a Mech.
>>
>>2535700
>>‘So I just fill out forms and just make sure everyone’s doing their work?’
>>
>>2535700
>I think you're cute too.
>>2535700
>EXIT ROOM
>>
File: Smol Fisher.jpg (16 KB, 222x222)
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‘So I just fill out forms … and just make sure everyone’s doing their job?’

‘That’s the gist of your responsibilities,’ Fisher confirms, having regained her composure at the drop of your query. Any excuse for her to retain her dignity after that brief fall, really. ‘Most of the time, you’ll be here negotiating the terms of your operationas your Executive Coordination Officer, I filter through the details on any assignments within whatever system we’re in, but you’ll have to finalize the terms. I can’t represent you in that capacity … and most Supervisors and Governors would rather deal with a Knight-Commander than they do anyone else.’

‘Even the Captain?’

‘Most Captains actually stray away from the politics of the drop involved,’ Fisher declares … albeit not without a sense of exasperation to her tone. ‘Captain Hacker is probably operating around the same habits, so unless you really require his help in specification’—you can actually hear the crack of the whip with her words—‘it’s best to just talk to him when it comes to internal dealings about the ship. The exception to the rule, of course, is when we enter space combat … and that’s when you can choose to co-Command the operation or leave it up to him. Most Knight-Commanders defer to the Navy when it comes to space or orbital warfare, but to each their own.’

‘And that doesn’t involve politics?’

You take a slightly accusatory tone with the implication.

‘Spaceways don’t have Governors or Supervisors complaining to them about the what and what-nots … and the ODF is under law to obey Naval authority once they enter the command hierarchy.’

‘A little confusing,’ you comment, frowning. You didn’t have any sort of trouble in terms of mounting a defence on Rhysode … at least for the most part.

‘If that’s hard to remember, the golden rule to go by is that if it involves solid ground, it’s all you. If it’s not on solid ground, you can march up to Hacker’s office and argue why you should be in charge instead of him.’

You raise a hand, not willing to argue.

You got the point.

‘Basically, The Aegis takes requests from any worlds wishing the presence of a Squadron … and as per our responsibilities, it is our solemn duty to fulfil them,’ Fisher continues nonchalantly. ‘Defensive assignments, hunting marauders and malcontents, you’ll be given a range of missions to fulfil. Since the 401st is up and coming, I’ve taken the liberty to actually review some Rim Worlds that the higher-ups have sent us. You can talk to me if you ever need any second opinions on assignments … I consider that my responsibility, too.

‘Duly noted, Lieutenant Commander.’

>EXIT ROOM
>Write-In
>>
>>2535899
>>EXIT ROOM
lets go explore some more
>>
>>2535899
>EXIT ROOM
>>
>>2535899
>>EXIT ROOM
>>
>>2535899
>>EXIT ROOM
>>
The three of you exit your office, the door hissing shut as you find yourself back in the main corridor.

>DROP-SHIP CHAMBER EXPRESS LIFT
>MEDICAL OFFICE
>COMMISSAR’S (OBSERVATION AND RECORDS)
>PILOT QUARTERS
>YOUR OFFICE
>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE
>SQUADRON BRIEFING ROOM
>MAIN ELEVATOR [08]
>>
>>2535926
>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>>
>>2535926
>>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>>
>>2535926
>MEDICAL OFFICE
Most of the rooms are going to be empty right now.
>>
>>2535926
>>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>>
>>2535926
>>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>>
>>2535926
>PILOT QUARTERS
>>
You arrive in front of the Executive Coordination Officer’s—Fisher’s—Office.

‘I’m right here, sir.’

You feel your cheeks heat up with embarrassment as you turn to face her.

‘I’m not quite open for business yet,’ she adds with a hint of amusement, ‘but if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to field them.’

>‘So I get your responsibilities, right? That you’re a sort of mix of a mission control and a secretary?’
>‘Do you have any assignments for me?’
>‘You used to be a pilot … wouldn’t you like to put yourself in that cockpit again instead of sitting around in there?’
>‘Uh, sorry … nothing.’
>Write-In
>>
>>2536077
>‘You used to be a pilot … wouldn’t you like to put yourself in that cockpit again instead of sitting around in there?’
>>
>>2536077
>>‘So I get your responsibilities, right? That you’re a sort of mix of a mission control and a secretary?’
>>
>>2536077
>I think I have a fair idea, but what exactly does your position entail?
>>
>>2536077
"Just getting to know my way around"

>‘So I get your responsibilities, right? That you’re a sort of mix of a mission control and a secretary?’
>>
>>2536081
this
>>
‘So, I … get your responsibilities,’ you begin tentatively, ‘so that makes you a sort of mix between mission control and a secretary?’

‘It’s right there in the name,’ Fisher answers neutrally. Rosaria takes her place beside you, her interest apparently piqued by this particular topic. ‘I’m not so much either. The general scope of my job is to make sure everyone is able to do theirs. Just like how the Chief Engineer makes sure your Mechs working, my job is to coordinate the affairs to ensure that the interruption and chaos is at a minimum.’

‘Doesn’t that make for,’ Rosaria sounds, raising her hand, ‘quite a large net to cast on what’s at hand.’

Fisher laughs, placing a hand on her chest.

‘It does, yes.’

‘I thought the Commissar was meant to make sure that everyone was doing their work according to doctrine?’

Fisher rolls her eyes, replying, ‘He’s meant to grade and communicate The Aegis’s and the Empire’s measure of approval with the Squadron. Yours in particular, Knight-Commander. That being said, he does have veto power if The Grand Hall or a Star Marshal sees fit to place the authority, but that’s a rarity. Getting back to what I do, is coordinate operations and requests, internal or external. In terms of workload, it is definitely the biggest one among the Officers assigned. My scope covers pretty much a finger in every point of reference, Navy or Aegis.’

‘So,’ Rosaria crosses her arms, ‘that means you have more work to do than … Sen—I mean, the Knight-Commander?’

‘It depends on how big the Squadron gets.’ Fisher nods. ‘Not in terms of size, but in terms of assignment scope. Many Named Squadrons rarely break what I call the Crisis Threshold. That’s saved for perhaps ten, maybe twenty … but at the same time, news travels. A Knight-Commander soloing five Mechs in an operation? That’ll hit a few ears. We won’t be hearing anything right away, but we will be getting some assignments. That much I can guarantee.’

You give an understanding nod.

‘So we’re essentially … border patrol.’

‘It’s a more complicated than just one term,’ she continues. ‘Think of the Chapter as an all-purpose warfare deployment of sorts. It’s a big deal for us to get called on at all, and most of the time getting a Chapter raining down on any malcontents or malcontents are usually enough to get them to just throw up a surrender, but … well, there are hotshots trying to make a name for themselves. Every day, every week.’

‘And that’s when we don’t play nice anymore.’

‘My, my,’ Fisher giggles, holding a hand to her mouth as she smirks behind her digits, ‘I see that you’re acclimatizing to your new post quite well, sir.
>>
>>2536203
>‘Do you have any assignments for me?’
>‘You used to be a pilot … wouldn’t you like to put yourself in that cockpit again instead of sitting around here?’
>‘That’ll be all.’
>Write-In
>>
>>2536207
>‘You used to be a pilot … wouldn’t you like to put yourself in that cockpit again instead of sitting around here?’
>>
>>2536203
>‘That’ll be all.’
let's head to medical
>>
>>2536207
>>‘That’ll be all.’
>>
>>2536207
>>‘That’ll be all.’
lets head to engineering next
>>
‘Right, I guess … that’ll be all.’

She nods.

>DROP-SHIP CHAMBER EXPRESS LIFT
>MEDICAL OFFICE
>COMMISSAR’S (OBSERVATION AND RECORDS)
>PILOT QUARTERS
>YOUR OFFICE
>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE
>SQUADRON BRIEFING ROOM
>MAIN ELEVATOR [08]
>>
>>2536239
>>CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE
always get to know your engineers
>>
>>2536239
>>MEDICAL OFFICE
>>
>>2536239
>MEDICAL OFFICE
>>
>>2536239
>MEDICAL OFFICE
>>
>>2536239
>>CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE
Do we actually know what kind of mechs we'll be piloting yet? Old gold Hellions, the new piranhas, or something else entirely?
>>
>>2536457
>Do we actually know what kind of mechs we'll be piloting yet? Old gold Hellions, the new piranhas, or something else entirely?

Nope but that is likely to be part of the scene after we meet the Medical Officer.
>>
>>2536457
>>2536655
We don't have a hat either, Maybe we'll get a stupid looking helmet and mask combo instead
>>
>>2536457
I'd say likely something new, the hellions were 80 year old models meant more for training, the piranhas are experimental and are a hybrid environment mech whrn we'll be almost exclusively on the ground, so odds are they'll either just give us the current model of mech used by imperial chapters or we may get something a bit more special for our achievements made on Rhysode. Though I could be wrong, it's all just speculation.
>>
>>2536703
As the GM, I'd like to point out that this kind of thing is the first step to being a mother complex lolicon.
>>
>>2536822
As long as Sanza doesn't die we shouldn't go that far.
>>
>>2536822
And chronic backstabbing disorder, not to mention the tendency to go into longwinded monologues.
>>
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>>2536748
Maybe a close combat variant of the Hellion, called a Hellhound, and in blue?
>>
>>2536239
>>CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE
>>
>>2536928
Since we have jump jets, the Flight Type is the only answer.
>>
>>2536248
>>2536457
>>2537037

>>2536303
>>2536314
>>2536428
Flippety flip.
>>
File: Hello.jpg (19 KB, 640x352)
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The door to the Chief Medical Specialist/Officer opens without so much as a raise of your hand.

Inside, you spy two people already engaged in conversation.

One was Sanza.

The other …

‘Every medical call is a bad call until it works. Then it becomes revolutionary. Then they forget. Then some idiot tries it again and files the patent and suddenly you find yourself owing the world for something you did in the first place.’

He’s … tall; gangly. He has hair that looks like it hasn’t been combed since the day he was born, an old code tattoo visible on the side of his neck that looked like several dots and lines. His face is bony, his eyes bugging out of the skull-like outline of his visage. Skin slightly pasty and in possession of a pronounced nose to go with a flat snout decorated by an equally-unkempt stubble, you wouldn’t have guessed that this man would be one of your exclusive officers instead of a civilian without the tell-tale tags hanging from the pocket of his suit … which was also unkempt. To you, he looks like a club musician more than the post he’d been designated. In fact, his style of clothing looks like a fusion of contemporary sensibilities and just not caring which way they were stretched.

He turns to face you, cocking an eyebrow.

So this was … Princeton Holmes.

‘If it isn’t Herr Kommandant!’ he exclaims.

Old words.

‘Boy, they’re making them young nowadays!’ he exclaims—although you’re able to pick it up as more of a jibe than it is a declaration of being impressed at the feat. ‘How many wheels did they have to turn to turn you up and out of that factory?’

‘I beg your pardon.’

‘Oh, don’t beg,’ he chortles, tilting his head left, then right. ‘It’s unbecoming. You’re supposed to look at guys like me with that one eye … where’s that monocle? I’m sure it belongs on your eye.’

‘I don’t own one.’

‘You should. Gives you that distinguished flair. The kind of thing that tells you that you’re the biggest dick in the room.’

That, you’re definitely sure is an insult.

‘Relax,’ he follows up, walking away and pulling a box out from under one of the examination beds. ‘I’m just messing with you. It’s always the case with you pilots: get all the girls, all the glory and none of the jokes.’

You open your mouth to retort, only to be startled by a floating skull.

A drone.

‘He’s just running a bio-scan,’ Holmes elaborates, not turning to face you. ‘Thanks for the budget increase, by the way. So many new toys to try out.’

A loud clattering sound hits your ears as the man curses loudly. He’d apparently dropped a … cutting beam.

You turn to Sanza, looking for an answer. She only shrugs in return.

>Talk to Sanza
>Approach Holmes
>Write-In
>>
>>2537353
>Approach Holmes
>Cozy place you've got here.
>>
>>2537353
>>Approach Holmes
>>
>>2537353
>>Approach Holmes
Give a nod to Sanza, but we're here to talk to Holmes
>>
>>2537353
>Approach Holmes
>Give it to me straight, Doc, did my radiation bath give me super powers?
>>
>>2537400
Ha! This.
>>
>>2537400
Supporting.
>>
As Rosaria gives you a shrug of her own and Fisher … her usual flippant smirk, you decide to orientate yourself with your Chief Medical Officer and Specialist. Who, you notice, made a whining sound every shift on his heel: it tells you that he was an amputee and in possession of a replacement limb. The whining sounds tell you that he’d either gone a long bout without the adequate maintenance (Not that you could call it maintenance, really; it was just making sure the wires got occasionally loose to accommodate muscle simulation changes in movement) but you had the stinking suspicion that, given his rather messy state, he’d left it there on purpose.

‘Doctor?’

‘Yes, Herr Kommandant?

You frown.

>‘What does Herr Kommandant … what does that mean?’
>‘One of your legs, they’re …’
>‘Thank you for putting your name up in accepting a mentor capacity. Not a lot of doctors would’ve left their post like you did … especially not while pulling duty for a Squadron at the same time.’
>‘So, it’s just you? Where’s the rest of the staff?’
>‘It’s a pleasure to have you on board. Here’s hoping to smooth journeys.’
>Write-In
>>
>>2537447
>>‘It’s a pleasure to have you on board. Here’s hoping to smooth journeys.’
add in "Unlike that leg of yours"
>>
>>2537447
>‘Thank you for putting your name up in accepting a mentor capacity. Not a lot of doctors would’ve left their post like you did … especially not while pulling duty for a Squadron at the same time.’
>>
>>2537447
>>‘Thank you for putting your name up in accepting a mentor capacity. Not a lot of doctors would’ve left their post like you did … especially not while pulling duty for a Squadron at the same time.’
>‘It’s a pleasure to have you on board. Here’s hoping to smooth journeys.’
>>
>>2537447
>‘Thank you for putting your name up in accepting a mentor capacity. Not a lot of doctors would’ve left their post like you did … especially not while pulling duty for a Squadron at the same time.’
>>
‘Thank you for putting your name up in … accepting a mentor capacity,’ you start, showing your gratitude. ‘Not a lot of doctors would’ve left their post like you did … especially not while pulling duty for a Squadron at the same time.’

‘Always nice to be thanked,’ Holmes starts, ‘better for gratitude to be shown through action over words, though.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘I heard about what happened on Rhysode,’ he continues, a little more blunt than you were comfortable with … although his solemn tone does make it slightly easier to digest. ‘Warhead drop … cloud strikes. Read up on what you did on the ground. Compelling stuff; I heard a deal’s in the works to bring it to about fifty systems. You should see a cut of the profits, I think. If the Trade Houses don’t cut you up doing it.’

‘What are you—’

‘Bleeding for hours, cooking in a command pod and screaming for help … and this is what it gets you.’

>‘You didn’t join up with me because you think I’m someone worth it. You think I’m a time bomb.’ (Answer)
>‘And I didn’t think that they’d be sending me a mouth, either. Yet here we are.’ (Retort)
>‘What’s your point?’ (Annoyed)
>Write-In
>>
>>2537519
>‘You didn’t join up with me because you think I’m someone worth it. You think I’m a time bomb.’ (Answer)
Honestly the fighting was worse, I passed out after toggling my distress beacon, so no screaming no cooking. The bleeding sucked though.
>>
>>2537519
>(Retort)
>>
>>2537519
>>‘You didn’t join up with me because you think I’m someone worth it. You think I’m a time bomb.’ (Answer)
>>
>>2537519
>>‘You didn’t join up with me because you think I’m someone worth it. You think I’m a time bomb.’ (Answer)
>>
>>2537519
>‘You didn’t join up with me because you think I’m someone worth it. You think I’m a time bomb.’ (Answer)
>>
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‘You didn’t join up with me because you think I’m someone worth it,’ you state bluntly. ‘You think that I’m a ticking time bomb.’

‘One of the things that I’ve been very vocal about throughout my considerable career is the fact that the glorification of violence does nothing but perpetuate unnecessary aggressiveness in the psyche of the impressionable.’

‘And now you’re calling me an easily-influence idiot.’

‘Not you,’ Holmes replies curtly, finally turning to face you. ‘I’m just saying putting someone who hasn’t even reached his own state of emotional maturity at the front of a delicate of operation—likely just out of the gates and doped on dreams and notions that everything’s going to be like he thought it’d be. Your circumstances, however, are unique. They’re right out of a romantic revenge novel. Man’s home burns, everything he knew gone … and replaced with a pointed arrow and all the repression of a chained dog.’

‘Sensei—’

Sanza’s attempt at intervention is cut off by the man’s raised palm.

‘Hang on a second,’ he cuts off. ‘Everyone lies … mostly to themselves. That everything’s fine, everything’s sorted out and that the sense of chaos and order are just what they think they’re living their lives by. Then they get angry; they become irrational. For humans, we don’t really hit that stride to tell that lie well enough that we start believing it without a doubt before we’re … thirty-seven, forty standard years? You’re twenty-two, you’re young. You have everything boiling at the front so it’s harder to tell yourself something convincing enough to believe outside of what other people tell you.’

You shift uncomfortably, meeting his neutral stare.

‘And?’

‘That’s what I’m here for.’

His words are simple.

‘No one gets out of that without bringing something with them that they’re not willing to face just yet. Especially not kids like you who step out thinking that everything’s going hunky-dory … until it isn’t. I don’t doubt your credentials or that you pulled off one of the most awesome campfire stories known to recent human history—I’m going to need an autograph, by the way—but I do have doubt on the fact that you’re in any way ready for this job any more than she’—he gestures towards Sanza—‘is ready to operate on mutated cell operation with a rusty screw and a can opener in the next hour.’

You don’t know why, but … for some reason having him say it just felt calming.

At the same time, irritating.

‘So you’re taking it on yourself to pull babysitting duty?’

He wears a forced, mocking frown. ‘You say it like that, it makes it sound that I don’t trust you to do your job?’

‘You just did.’

‘I do,’ he clarifies, raising a finger. ‘I just think that you’re going to need more than one sounding board and the waxing lyrical to stay sane and/or healthy.’

>Write-In
>>
>>2537610
>'Thanks. Now let me see your legs. If you are going to be watching my mind and body together I'll keep your legs in shape.'
>>
>>2537657
ill support this
i cannot think of a good response
>>
>>2537657
Supporting
>>
>>2537657
Supporting this. It's much better than what I was writing up.
>>
>>2537657
>watching
That should be keeping.
>>
‘Thanks … I suppose,’ you reply, not knowing what else to say. You want me to have a look at your leg?’

He looks down.

‘No,’ he states firmly, going back to his work. ‘And if you’ve got everything sorted, I think you should introduce yourself to your Squadron. Not nice keeping secrets from your friends, Knight-Commander.’

The amusement in his voice almost garners a smirk from your person.

Until you realized that there was one particular person who you hadn’t told … but had found out anyway.

Sanza crosses her arms as she regards you with narrowed eyes, the veins in her neck almost popping.

‘No,’ Holmes repeats, practically cackling as the drone followed him to the other side of the room. ‘Not nice at all.’

>‘I was honestly planning for it to be a surprise.’ (Reveal your intention)
>‘I …. couldn’t contact you! And I was busy! There!’ (Make excuses)
>‘Come on, this isn’t the worst thing I’ve kept from you.’ (Smug)
>Stay silent, leave
>Write-In
>>
>>2537695
>‘I was honestly planning for it to be a surprise.’ (Reveal your intention)
>>
>>2537695
>Stay silent, leave
Some battles should not be fought
>>
>>2537695
>>‘I was honestly planning for it to be a surprise.’ (Reveal your intention)
>>
>>2537695
>>‘I was honestly planning for it to be a surprise.’ (Reveal your intention)
>>
>>2537695
>>‘I was honestly planning for it to be a surprise.’ (Reveal your intention)
>>
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Out of sheer reflex, you raise your hands, taking a step back. To your right, you spy Rosaria sighing in exasperation. A common reaction when the topic of your friends came up in the month you’d spent rooming with her. Rosaria had warned you that some things weren’t meant to be kept under wraps for so extended a period … but you actually had an excuse: you were much too busy to track down your friends one by one. You were up to your ears in bureaucratic nonsense and trying to manoeuvre the treacherous waters of tentative administrative approval.

Not telling Sanza the moment she showed up, however … that was definitely on you.

Ryosuke and Emilio were fine.

Sanza?

No, she didn’t take it that well. She never did.

‘I was honestly planning for it to be a surprise,’ you argue weakly, keeping your hands up to intercept any oncoming blows. She seems … content keeping her glower, however.

Sanza opens her mouth to say something … before closing it and taking a deep breath.

You can hear Fisher’s amused snicker to your side, watching you trying to defuse a bomb that would splatter you across the hallway without so much as a thought. Sanza didn’t have a temper problem. In fact, she’d always made her annoyance known in a way that actually came across as words that had been borne out of worry than they were out of sheer displeasure.

She’d turned her head at your antics with the other two often enough that the claim actually had support.

‘And just when were you planning to … surprise me … with this nugget of knowledge, Knight-Commander, sir?’

You can tell just how much she’d strained herself trying to keep that last part of her sentence civil.

The smile, however, is just frightening.

>‘I just thought it’d be some fun surprising you guys.’
>‘It’s not as if I wanted to keep it from you since the start … but I couldn’t even contact you. I didn’t know where to find or mail you until yesterday! And by then, you were already on-board!’
>‘Hey, it’s as surprising to me as it is to you … at least, it was. A month ago.’
>Write-In
>>
>>2537821
just smile back
>>
>>2537821
>‘It’s not as if I wanted to keep it from you since the start … but I couldn’t even contact you. I didn’t know where to find or mail you until yesterday! And by then, you were already on-board!’
>>
>>2537821
>"I was gonna spring it when everyone was gathered in the same room sometime."
>Cower before her motherly anger
>>
>>2537842
supportin
>>
>>2537821
>>‘It’s not as if I wanted to keep it from you since the start … but I couldn’t even contact you. I didn’t know where to find or mail you until yesterday! And by then, you were already on-board!’
>>
>>2537821
>>‘It’s not as if I wanted to keep it from you since the start … but I couldn’t even contact you. I didn’t know where to find or mail you until yesterday! And by then, you were already on-board!’
>>
You wear your brightest, most innocent smile.

It doesn’t fool anyone, of course, but …

It was better to die trying than fading.

‘I was planning to spring it at the briefing later … guess you … found out early?’

‘The thing about keeping secrets is that you have to plan for the eventuality of the reveal,’ Holmes quips from his spot, watching the events unfold with more-than-likely amused eyes. ‘As in, you tell the people that do know not to tell the ones that don’t. Elementary, really.’

‘Not now, Doc,’ you return, exasperated … but thankful. His comment had cut through the tenseness of the situation, somewhat; where you couldn’t before, now you could at least attempt a proper reply. ‘It wouldn’t have made sense for me to pretend that I wasn’t in charge for the duration of our postings … I just thought about having a little fun with it, is all. I mean, I … I didn’t mean to keep it from you. I just …’

Sanza bites her lips, looking away.

‘So you … pulled strings to bring Doctor Holmes here?’

‘No,’ you reply honestly, ‘I … well, it was hard getting you guys around. I asked Captain Hacker if he was able to accommodate an Aegis CMS that actually could take the workload. It was kind of a roll of the dice, but I’m glad that the Captain was able to pull through. I mean, you … wanted to find tenure on a ship right? Doctor Holmes is … pretty good?’

‘I am flattered by your commendation, Knight-Commander,’ Holmes quips, his attentions now on the floating drone.

Sanza’s shoulders tense and … relax. She appears, at least, to accept your explanation.

‘So, that briefing … that would be just about now, wouldn’t it?’

>‘Now? Now’s … now’s good!’ (Agree)
>‘Come on, let me have a little more fun …’ (Try to convince her)
>‘We’ll be going through Exit Routines soon … it’d be irresponsible to delay.’ (Professional)
>Write-In
>>
>>2537946
>‘Now? Now’s … now’s good!’ (Agree)
>>
>>2537946
>>‘Now? Now’s … now’s good!’ (Agree)
>>
>>2537946
>‘We’ll be going through Exit Routines soon … it’d be irresponsible to delay.’ (Professional)
>>
>>2537946
>>‘Now? Now’s … now’s good!’ (Agree)
>>
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‘Now?’

She narrows her eyes further.

‘Now’s good!’

To your right, Rosaria and Fisher roll their eyes.

Some Knight-Commander you turned out to be.

INTERLUDE END – MEET THE NEW GANG, SAME AS THE OLD GANG
>>
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‘Are you nervous, Sen—Knight Commander?’

You turn to your sole remaining companion, throwing her a reassuring smile as the elevator continued its descent. It had been about fifteen minutes since Fisher and Sanza had gone ahead to organize the first assembly … and with Holmes spoiling the potentially dramatic reveal of your rank by informing Sanza of your post, you stand here with a scowl in your heart and a mind plagued with inadequacies. It’d only been on a whim, but … now that you’d actually had your party pooped by Sanza, you feel yourself a little bit more understanding of what Ryosuke had gone through in the years you had known him.

Cooking in a claustrophobic chamber should have entitled you to some tomfoolery.

‘I …’

>‘No, not really. Just want to get this over and done with.’ (Pragmatic)
>‘I just really wanted to see their faces, you know?’ (Sigh)
>‘A little, I guess.’ (Confess)
>‘You can keep calling me Senpai, you know?’ (Casual)
>Write-In
>>
>>2540191
>‘A little, I guess.’ (Confess)
>‘You can keep calling me Senpai, you know?’ (Casual)
>>
>>2540191
>>‘I just really wanted to see their faces, you know?’ (Sigh)
>you dont have to change how you call me
>>
>>2540191
>‘I just really wanted to see their faces, you know?’ (Sigh)
>>
>>2540191
>>‘A little, I guess.’ (Confess)
>>‘You can keep calling me Senpai, you know?’ (Casual)
>>
>>2540198
this
>kouhai intensifies
>>
>>2540191
>‘A little, I guess.’ (Confess)
>>
>>2540191
>>‘I just really wanted to see their faces, you know?’ (Sigh)
>>
>>2540191
>>‘I just really wanted to see their faces, you know?’ (Sigh)

>>‘You can keep calling me Senpai, you know?’ (Casual)
>>
Running a session in a bit if you guys are alive. Happy Monday to those in the States.
>>
‘I just really wanted to see their faces, you?’ you sigh, slumping your shoulders. ‘I want to see them go “You’re the Knight-Commander?”’.

For emphasis, you raise your palms and take a step back, staring up at an imaginary horror. Rosaria giggles into a fist, throwing you a sympathetic look.

‘You really think that they’d be that surprised?’

‘Being a Knight-Commander’s kind of a big deal,’ you declare with an unwarranted huff, straightening yourself out. ‘It’s kind of the climax of your career as a mech war—pilot. I mean … a lot of stories, cartoons, movies, they’re about the journey of the hero actually getting it at the end, so this is …’

You trail off, biting your lip in uncertainty.

‘Anti-climactic?’

You sigh again.

>‘No, well … yes. It’s great, but I always kind of saw it as a recognition of merit. I still have my doubts on whether I can actually do a good job.’ (Doubt, Realistic)
>‘No, but it’s a little too fast for me to take in, I guess.’ (Jitters)
>‘A little. If this was a cartoon, people would be asking why it’d be so top-heavy.’ (Muse)
>‘I’m just rambling. Let’s do this.’ (Confident)
>Stay Silent
>Write-In
>>
>>2540917
>‘No, well … yes. It’s great, but I always kind of saw it as a recognition of merit. I still have my doubts on whether I can actually do a good job.’ (Doubt, Realistic)
>>
>>2540917
>A little. If this was a cartoon, people would be asking why it’d be so top-heavy.’ (Muse)
>>
>>2540917
>>‘No, well … yes. It’s great, but I always kind of saw it as a recognition of merit. I still have my doubts on whether I can actually do a good job.’ (Doubt, Realistic)
>>
>>2540917
>>‘No, well … yes. It’s great, but I always kind of saw it as a recognition of merit. I still have my doubts on whether I can actually do a good job.’ (Doubt, Realistic)
>>
>>2540917
>>‘A little. If this was a cartoon, people would be asking why it’d be so top-heavy.’ (Muse)
>>
‘No,’ you answer hurriedly … before backtracking with a sigh, ‘Well, yes, but I always kind of saw it as a recognition of merit. I still have doubts on whether I can actually do a good job.’

To your surprise, the only thing that you hear in return was … a giggle. You’d lived with Rosaria—well, boarded alongside her—for the last few weeks; and while you’re not so confident as to say that you could recite all of her quirks by heart, it felt a little out of character for her to actually show amusement of any sort in the act of your imparting your (admittedly minor) angst on the topic of your—relatively recent—promotion. It wasn’t easy getting used to the fact you’d effectively leapfrogged above people who were probably more deserving of the title of Knight-Commander than you were.

Your credentials aside, you hadn’t so much as seen a single drop.

‘Seriously?’

‘No, Sen—sir. No, I,’ she pauses throwing an apologetic smile, sounding more at ease than she had previously been. The dull ping tells you you’d be coming up—down—at your stop soon. ‘I just think that you’re … overthinking it, maybe just a little?’

The next smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes, but … the message is easy enough to get across.

‘These are your friends, right? You’ve known them all your life. They trusted you back then … nothing’ll change now.’

‘You say that, but …’

Rosaria giggles into her hand again, continuing, ‘The difference between a good leader and a bad one isn’t success or failure … it’s how much they’re willing to take responsibility.’ She grins widely. ‘See? You’re already on the right track! Nothing to worry about!’

You stare at her.

That was … oddly simplistic of her.

>Write-In
>>
>>2541019
>True, they are my brothers in battle all 4 of them.
>>
>>2541019
I just want to make sure I do right by them, but you are right that I'm probably overthinking it. I'll just have to do my best.
>>
>>2541074
Supporting this
>>
>>2541019
Supporting >>2541074
>>
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‘I guess I’m just worried if I’ll do right by them,’ you confess, ‘but I am probably just overthinking it.’

‘Right.’

Right,’ you huff, stretching upwards in a gesture that pumped you up psychologically more than it had any bearing on your physical well-being. ‘I’ll just have to give it my all … do my best and all the stuff that teachers tell their children before they step out and realize that life is politics and making sure that your head doesn’t stand tall enough to get decapitated.’

‘Senpai, you’ve really been watching too much of the entertainment stream.’

You give her a pat on the back, stepping out onto the receiving platform of the Dropship Chamber.

It would surprise many people to realize that an Ambassador-Class Battle Barge served mostly as a hangar. Beyond the forty or so fighters at the head of the Battle Barge that served as interceptors and advanced scouts, the whole purpose of the craft was to serve as a sort of “base” for you. That doesn’t stop you humming in awe at the V-shaped wings of the KKZ-06 Peregrine, one of the most reliable ships to ever make it off the line in the last hundred or so years. The chamber itself is impressive. Some hundred feet of space and a little more wiggle room to accommodate—and compensate—the rumble of the engine flow … to which your experienced ears recognized was going through the impulse distribution and gravity checks. It wouldn’t be more than a standard hour before they’d be up …

The platform connected itself to a control deck—three of them, actually—hanging like nests of an exotic insect, four chamber-exclusive elevators that were connected to the lower floor and several secondary catwalks that stretched all along the length and height of the chamber, which, very well, could have been a sports stadium all by itself … and a half. There were three separate bridges; one leading to one of the aforementioned elevators (with another lower platform leading somewhere you couldn’t quite see), another to what appeared to be an open check panel—occupied by a party of technicians arguing about wire length—and the last one right around the express elevator.

Whoa.

Six Hellion Mechs stood, their cockpits open and their spines fastened to the pillar through tubes, bolts, latches and hooks, their shoulders slumped and their eyes dull. The maintenance crew drilled and whined their work, harnesses and straps keeping them from sliding down the curves of the sleeping titans.

Compared to how it was on Rhysode … this place was busy.

‘I was about to go looking for you.’

You’re shaken from your reverie by Emilio.

He’d apparently gotten Sanza’s message.

‘Emi—’

‘The Knight-Commander’s apparently on board.'

‘He … is?’

‘Yeah, called a meeting.’ He nods. ‘Sanza said he’d be down here’—he glances behind—‘any minute now.’
>>
>>2541187
>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>'Emilio, I'm the Knight-Commander.' (Reveal yourself to him)
>'Really? Did she ... say anything else?'
>Write-In
>>
>>2541187
>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>>
>>2541193
>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>>
>>2541193
>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>>
>>2541193
>>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>>
>>2541187
>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>>
>>2541193
>>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>>
>>2541193
>'Did she now?' (Play along)
>>
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It’s hard to keep the smirk down.

Very hard.

You don’t miss Rosaria’s slight scowl at your pouncing of said opportunity … and you didn’t even have to say a word.

‘Did she, now?’

Emilio rolls his eyes, gesturing for you to follow. You’d asked Sanza to help organize a pre-launch briefing … but hadn’t expected her to actually keep the secret for your grand unveiling. Your feet feel like feathers on the wind; you could feel them practically soaring with every step you took beside your friend, making your way to the central supporting platform that stood in the middle of the inactive Mechs, where the rest of the pilots stood, holding animated discussions of their own. Ryosuke was in a crouch by the monitor, scowling at the floor; Sanza had her arms crossed as she leaned against the railing, her back to you … and Maldante and Gerard were next to each other, not saying a word.

It was an icier reception than you’d expected.

Officer on deck!’ Ryosuke howls, clicking his heels and standing to attention.

The rest follow.

But …

No, it wasn’t for you.

You turn around. Behind you marched the Commissar and your Executive Coordination Officer, their cloaks impressively billowing as they strode upon the catwalk, rapidly closing the distance between them and the central platform. To your right, Emilio squares his shoulders and puffs his chest, placing his hand behind his back and throwing an urgent glare for you to follow. Fisher’s heels click and clang loudly as the distance shortens, prompting your friend to start nodding to you in order to follow his example. A worried friend, trying to prevent another from the punishment of insubordination and disrespect towards a superior.

The irony was almost delicious.

Rosaria’s disapproving shake of the head, thankfully, doesn’t weigh too heavily on you by the time Kane steps onto the platform, his beady eyes surveying the steady troop—of which two were throwing you wary, tired looks of their own. The resulting compound of their lack of amusement has you rubbing a shoulder and taking a step forward … one that has Emilio almost hissing … and Maldante rolling his eyes and groaning.

What are you do—

‘So this is the new Squadron,’ the Commissar announces loudly, throwing a gaze of scrutiny around the room … an immediately causing everyone tighten their stances (save for you and Sanza). ‘Rhysode’s last …’

‘Rhysode’s best,’ you correct him, nodding insistently. The Commissar raises an eyebrow … and Ryosuke lets out a whine as Emilio follows his lead, his face instantly turning ashen as he takes your presumed tone of insubordination to heart, his form faltering in tandem.

Kane wears an apologetic smile.

‘But of course, Knight-Commander.

WHAT?!

Oh, that was so worth it.

So, so, worth it.
>>
>>2541379
>'At ease, eyes front.' (Address your Squadron, Professional)
>'Surprise!' (Playful)
>'Commissar, I believe you should take the floor first.'
>'Officer Fisher, if you would?' (Have Fisher take the floor first)
>Write-In
>>
>>2541380
>At Ease
>>
>>2541380
So what does allowing Kane or Fisher to go first do?
>>
>>2541386
Fisher talks about where you're headed and what your objectives are. Kane talks about what he expects in pure Imperial terms. You take the floor first in an attempt to refocus attention and remind them why they're here and all that jazz. Basically it's semantic that MIGHT or might NOT curry favor with them.
>>
>>2541380
>>'At ease, eyes front.' (Address your Squadron, Professional)
>>
>>2541380
>'At ease, eyes front.' (Address your Squadron, Professional)
>>
>>2541380
>'At ease, eyes front.' (Address your Squadron, Professional)
the fun is over
>>
>>2541380
>'At ease, eyes front.' (Address your Squadron, Professional)
>>
>>2541380
>>'At ease, eyes front.' (Address your Squadron, Professional)
>>
>>2541380
>>'At ease, eyes front.' (Address your Squadron, Professional)
>>
At ease. Eyes front.

The unified shuffling of four years of practice hits your ears. None of them second guess the command. None of them hesitate, not even Maldante. You survey the forms of your four pilots, none of their eyes daring to meet you. Sanza’s gaze is the only one that’s even with her viewing field, but even she doesn’t undermine your authority. For a while, the only discernible sound to your ear is the whirring of machinery and the squeak of tightening bolts as you exercise your own opportunity to throw your scrutinizing, judging gaze.

Then you start talking.

‘Welcome to the 401st; I am the Knight-Commander for this Chapter,’ you start.

>‘That’s it.’ (Step back, introduce Fisher)
>‘That’s it.’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>‘This isn’t a simulation or a trial run. This is the real deal. You’re fully-fledged pilots.’ (Edged)
>‘I don’t have many rules: watch each other’s backs, respect your mechs and superiors … and fight smart.’ (Pragmatic)
>‘Now … how many of you regret transferring in?’ (Casual)
>‘Whatever you thought stepping into this or reading your offer? Throw it out. This is my gig.’ (Self-centred)
>Write-In
>>
>>2541520
>>‘I don’t have many rules: watch each other’s backs, respect your mechs and superiors … and fight smart.’ (Pragmatic)
>>
>>2541520
>Congratulations, you made it. You are all actual pilots now, not Simulation jockeys or cadets. Now the hard part starts. My rules are simple, take care of each of other, take care of your mech, and respect your superiors. That's all."
>>
>>2541541
Supporting.
>>
What do you guys want to name the chapter? I'm leaning heavily into a title drop and calling it Ashes of Rhysode.

>>2541520
>We all made it this far. We're in this together, let us make sure that it stays that way. I don’t have many rules: watch each other’s backs, respect your mechs and superiors … and fight smart.
>>
>>2541552
Phoenix Squadron

From the Ashes we Rise.
>>
>>2541520
>>‘I don’t have many rules: watch each other’s backs, respect your mechs and superiors … and fight smart.’ (Pragmatic)
>>
>>2541520
>>‘I don’t have many rules: watch each other’s backs, respect your mechs and superiors … and fight smart.’ (Pragmatic)
>>
>>2541520
> pragmatic
>introduce kane
>>
>>2541558
Which are a perfect name and unit slogan.
>>
>>2541520
>>‘I don’t have many rules: watch each other’s backs, respect your mechs and superiors … and fight smart.’ (Pragmatic)
>>
>>2541558
>>2541603
The name is already decided, dude.
>>
>>2541616
that's fine. Other guy just asked.
>>
>>2541520
I could get behind >>2541541
>>
You decide to keep it simple.

‘I don’t have many rules: watch each other’s backs; respect your mechs and superiors … and fight smart. I’ve … worked with you for the last four years; enough to gauge that each and every one of you is someone I’d rather have on my side than on the stands. But don’t mistake my familiarity for leniency. Break any of those rules and you’ll be back on the reserves or serving logistics as an apprentice technician. You have my word on that.’

Your gaze hovers briefly over the four of them.

‘Do you understand me, Squadron?’

YES, KNIGHT-COMMANDER, SIR!

You step back, satisfied.

>‘That’s it.’ (Step back, introduce Fisher)
>‘That’s it.’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>‘Any questions?’
>Write-In
>>
>>2541701
>‘Any questions?’
>>
>>2541701
>>‘That’s it.’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>>
>>2541701
>‘Any questions?’
>>
>>2541701
>‘Any questions?’
>>
>>2541701
>>‘That’s it.’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>>
>>2541701
>‘Any questions?’
>>
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‘Any questions?’

Maldante—of course—raises his hand.

‘Yes?’

‘Can we … expect preliminary assignments of Secondary and Tertiary Lance Commanders to be delegated prior to launch or will we be evaluated as per our performance during missions?’

Secondary and Tertiary Lance Commanders. In essence, your Field Lieutenant and your Backup Officer. The ones that would be in command in the event that you weren’t out there on the field or incapacitated in a combat situation. You’d given it quite a bit of thought … but Maldante did have a point on the topic of your evaluation. You weren’t quite sure whether you wanted to delegate the ranks right now or wait a few missions or assignments before giving them out. On one hand, having your Secondary and Tertiary Lance Commanders delegated right now would put a semblance of order … but waiting a few missions would give you a better grasp of how they led in your stead. It wasn’t about Mech skill or experience either. You needed to know that the ones that you gave Active Lance Commander to were ones that you could entrust the lives of the rest of the Squadron to.

You’d ridden with Emilio and Ryosuke … but there was also the fear that giving either of them rank would cause a rift with the others. You didn’t want to play favourites here.

‘To answer your question …’

>‘I’ll be delegating them now.’ (Delegate now)
>‘I’ll be dropping with you on the next few missions. Anyone wishing to show me their chops can show me then.’ (Delegate later)
>Write-In
>>
>>2541870
>‘I’ll be dropping with you on the next few missions. Anyone wishing to show me their chops can show me then.’ (Delegate later)
>>
>>2541870
>>‘I’ll be dropping with you on the next few missions. Anyone wishing to show me their chops can show me then.’ (Delegate later)
>>
>>2541870
>‘I’ll be dropping with you on the next few missions. Anyone wishing to show me their chops can show me then.’ (Delegate later)
>>
>>2541870
>‘I’ll be dropping with you on the next few missions. Anyone wishing to show me their chops can show me then.’ (Delegate later)
>>
>>2541870
>‘I’ll be dropping with you on the next few missions. Anyone wishing to show me their chops can show me then.’ (Delegate later)
>>
‘I’ll be dropping with you on the next few missions,’ you state clearly, looking over the four present. ‘Anyone wishing to show their chops can show them then. Anything else?’

‘No, Knight-Commander.

>‘That’s it, then. Officer Fisher?’ (Step back, introduce Fisher)
>‘That’s it, then. Commissar, if you will?’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>Write-In
>>
>>2541947
>‘That’s it, then. Commissar, if you will?’ (Step back, introduce Kane)

They already know Fisher
>>
>>2541947
>‘That’s it, then. Commissar, if you will?’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>>
>>2541947
>‘That’s it, then. Commissar, if you will?’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>>
>>2541947
>>‘That’s it, then. Commissar, if you will?’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>>
>>2541947
>>‘That’s it, then. Commissar, if you will?’ (Step back, introduce Kane)
>>
‘That’s it, then.’ You nod, gesturing to the floor. ‘Commissar Kane, if you’d kindly take the floor?’

The Commissar nods, taking several step forwards as you take a few back.

‘Thank you, Knight-Commander.’

The man juts out his already-pronounced chin, his beady eyes evaluating your men. He takes a breath in … and gives one out, repeating it for every two or three steps, his hands folded behind him and the smacking of his lips echoing in his continued—but otherwise silent—pacing. His manner reminds you of Wray, somewhat … more specifically to Wray on his first day of breaking in the first batch of newcomers. On the third lap, he tips his hat and takes a step back, squaring his shoulders and stiffening his form, finally having gathered enough to speak.

‘I know that most of you think that your Knight-Commander is not adequate for the task or his post,’ he starts, causing you to almost grimace. ‘As of this moment I would like to ask you to stop trying to do my job.’

You blink as he growls the last part out.

‘Scrutiny of your superior … is my domain; his performance and coincidentally, yours, tie together. A good command is led by a sense of hierarchy and knowing one’s role and place. You may not like where you are; that is absolutely human and thus, passable. None of us like where we are. We do not enjoy having the heel of others we think are incompetent or impetuous leading what we believe ourselves to be superior. You let that get out of hand; you let that component blurt out in any manner that disturbs the harmony of the operation at hand … congratulations, you have allowed your ego to take over your judgement and are now a liability and can expect a transfer to some zero-grav outpost.’

Gerard shifts uncomfortably, bumping into Emilio before straightening himself.

‘I am Commissar Abraham Kane. Emphasis on the first word of my title. I am to make sure that you do not disrupt or shame the Empire … as much I am here to make sure that your superior performs to the specifications to which he is given his rank. Nothing is absolute, nothing is concrete … save for the Will and Mercy of the Emperor. I will not interfere with your operations, but know that I will be watching.’

You see Ryosuke let out a small sigh.

‘Also,’ he continues, ‘if any of you think that I function in any manner similar to a complaint department, I will personally strike you off the roster myself. My time is precious … and your Knight-Commander is right there. Do your job, perform your duties … and perhaps you will find yourself standing in his place.’

Now it was your turn to shift uncomfortably.

He follows his comment up with a bright smile.

‘Let’s keep the turnover rate moderate, shall we?’
>>
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None of them dare to answer the rhetoric.

‘Very well. Morrigan, if you will?

Morrigan?

Abraham,’ she acknowledges, taking a step forward. ‘I think that these are just semantics, but … I’m Lieutenant Commander Morrigan Fisher, and I’ll be your Execution Coordination Officer for the foreseeable future. What that means if that there’s anything internal or external that requirements a filter of judgement on the administrative side, that’ll be my jurisdiction. On that note … I’d like to tell each and every one of your our first prospective systems runs.’

You don’t miss the flash of excitement in Ryosuke’s eyes.

‘As we’re a new Chapter, our first assignments should be ones of a supporting or a supplementary nature. Demonstrations, non-violent pacification, negotiations, maybe a little parade … so the expected conflict intensity is minimal.’

‘Conflict intensity, ma’am?’

To your surprise, it’s Maldante who raises his hand.

‘It’s an old term,’ she elaborates, placing her hands on her hips. ‘It means the hostilities aren’t expected to be anything that’ll put a mech of a pilot out of commission. The Aegis is a machine of war; I won’t hide that truth from you like some third-rate core-world cartoon. But at the same time, we’re not going to just drop on any world or city brandishing our guns like some goons and grunts in a single sex dormitory. There’s some arithmetic involved, but usually, if the expected conflict intensity is minimal, the smart thing to do isn’t to drop in to escalate it.’

‘Escalate?’

If there’s a rebel faction on a Border World that’s just complaining about subsidiaries on their food stock and import/export, the generally smart thing to do wouldn’t be to send a whole Battlegroup with armed Mechs down with a pacification objective, would it? You’d be getting everyone pissed off and giving the Border Worlds an avenue to channel just how much they’re pissed off.’

To your further surprise, all four let out noises of clarity.

‘Eh,’ Ryosuke shrugs. ‘Economic sanctions work at a good enough rate anyway.

The whole chamber goes silent at Ryosuke’s words.

‘W-What? I read up, too!’

‘So what you’re saying is that … we could potentially get called to an assignment and not drop in our Mechs at all?’

‘No,’ Fisher clarifies. ‘The Mechs are as much a part of you as they are your uniform. But sending a fully-armed Chapter down running a peacekeeping interference is only going to get the opposite effect. At the same time …’

She raises her artificial hand, giving the palm a gentle rub.

You never know what you’re going to get.

Sanza spares Fisher a quick glance, but otherwise keeps her silence.

It looked like it was up to you to close up.
>>
>>2543485
>‘Some of the most worthwhile victories are won without firing a shot.’ (+PROTECTOR)
>‘Another body’s just a little more mortar anyway!’ (+WARMONGER)
>‘It’s all about making the most while expanding the least. Kid math.’ (+TACTICIAN)
>‘We do what we do because we are chosen. That is why we are here.’ (+SOLDIER)
>‘Dismissed.’
>Write-In
>>
>>2543488
>‘Some of the most worthwhile victories are won without firing a shot.’ (+PROTECTOR)
>>
>>2543488
>>‘Some of the most worthwhile victories are won without firing a shot.’ (+PROTECTOR)
>>
>>2543488
>‘Some of the most worthwhile victories are won without firing a shot.’ (+PROTECTOR)
>>
>>2543488
>>‘Some of the most worthwhile victories are won without firing a shot.’ (+PROTECTOR)
>>
>>2543488
>>‘Some of the most worthwhile victories are won without firing a shot.’ (+PROTECTOR)
THE EMPEROR PROTECTS, THUS SO MUST WE.
>>
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‘Some of the most worthwhile victories … are won without firing a single shot.’

‘Wise words, Knight-Commander,’ the Commissar sounds, voicing his support of the opinion. ‘Let’s hope your actions back up that sentiment.’

You keep an eye on the Commissar, but otherwise say nothing. Whatever the difference in rank was … this was the man that would make or break your career. You didn’t know whether to trust him in the context of a personal notion, peer to peer … but you did know that he would most definitely be carrying out his responsibilities, whether he liked you or not. He takes his place beside you, throwing a smile that wasn’t so much arrogant as it was one born out of curiosity. Kane grunts in what you choose to take as satisfaction, the previous upturn of his lips morphing into one that you aren’t sure was one of assurance … or mockery.

You choose not to assume either.

‘His record speaks for itself, I believe,’ Fisher announces softly … and confidently, taking her place beside you with a tip of her hat. ‘Plus, the worst that he can do is die. Then you can just sort out a few trading cards for the children to buy up, can’t you?’

‘I suppose,’ he concedes, making a face. ‘Win-win, either way.’

That, you’re not sure how to feel about.

Knight-Commander.

You look up to see … Gerard, who had stepped out of the line, a faint—but otherwise determined—glimmer in his eyes. There is an uncertainty in his form, his stance; an instinctual fear, perhaps, of being kicked off the ship without even seeing the inside of a Mech for sounding out at a tone that would get him a slap from a more haughty Chapter leader.

‘Yes, Ensign?’ you try your best to sound neutrally, throwing a nod; a prompt for him to speak.

‘We’re a Named Squadron … do we … uh … have a name yet?’

‘Yeah, we do,’ you start. ‘This Chapter … is forged in regret. In memory of the helplessness that is burned in our memories and the echoes of the ones that we couldn’t save. Rhysode will never be forgotten. The spirits of our friends, rivals, peers, mentors and the innocents that were lost carry on in us. In this Chapter. Do not be a tool to your fury and hate. They will be your tools. Just like the hundreds, the thousands that came before us, we are the instruments of Imperial Justice and the protector to its people, whether they believe it or not. We will not scatter their remains to the void of oblivion. It is in their memory that we act … and it is on our backs that we will carry that regret: and through our service, we carry our redemption. In the Emperor’s name … and by his will.’

You throw a gaze to the now-glowing eye of the still Hellion, as if it was daring you to finish your words.

We are the Ashes of Rhysode.
>>
SAVE GAME?
>YES
>NO
>>
>>2543580
>YES
>>
>>2543580
>>YES
>>
>>2543580
>YES
>>
>>2543580
>>YES
Cue orchestral music
>>
>>2543580
>
>>
>>2543606
>>2543579
>Ashes of Rhysode.

Que credits.
>>
Is it weird I find Kane to be a humming experience?
>>
>>2543580
>>YES
>>
>>2543728
Nah, I find his appearance to be pretty spot on to Ciaphas Cain's outward personality. When he gave support for having a victory without fighting, I could practivally feel his inner dialogue go "And hopefully I won't have to be dragged into constant danger by an overly aggressive Junior Officer." or something to that effect.
>>
>>2543921
I have to agree, despite not technically being the same character, QM does a really good job writing him.
>>
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You stop in front of the elevator, wondering where you should go now. The ship would be leaving Jordan in a bit. You’re not quite sure when they would be, but … soon, you suppose. You’d taken the last forty or so minutes getting to know the technicians and engineers running maintenance on the ships, and with careful manoeuvring to keep your origins a secret, you’d found a form rapport with the “lower dregs” of the hierarchy, which, according to some of the more experienced hands, meant something. Many Knight-Commanders were apparently—while not cruel—ignorant of the legwork behind keeping a Hellion or Lancelot well-oiled.

Memphis—who had chosen to forego your briefing—was also rather appreciative of the fact.

Back to the present, however, you supposed that you could go back to the bridge now, but …

You think you still had some time to wander around.

If only a little.

>DROP-SHIP CHAMBER EXPRESS LIFT
>MEDICAL OFFICE
>COMMISSAR’S (OBSERVATION AND RECORDS)
>PILOT QUARTERS
>YOUR OFFICE
>EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR’S OFFICE
>CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE
>SQUADRON BRIEFING ROOM
>MAIN ELEVATOR [08]
>>
>>2544202
>PILOT QUARTERS
>>
>>2544202
>PILOT QUARTERS
>>
>>2544202
What would going to the dropship lift do?
>>
>>2544221
Likely take us to look at the dropship.
>>
>>2544224
Oh, that's where you came from. Everyone else has gone back to their quarters.
>>
The Pilot Quarters were, in essence, their own mini-wing on the level, away from the prying eyes of the offices but not so far that you had to jog and take a lift. Each pilot had their own personal quarters (and your own being on the levels above in the Officer’s Domicile), but each corridor had a bathroom (showers, sink and toilets) that they had to share; all maintained and cleaned by the brave men and women that were assigned for janitorial duty … which included everyone on the level save for you and the Commissar.

It was regulation that you stay out of the decision-making process.

A rule that you were all too keen to abide by.

When it came to skipping cleaning duty, things could get messy.

>EMILIO’S QUARTERS
>SANZA’S QUARTERS
>LUCION’S QUARTERS
>GERARD’S QUARTERS
>ROSARIA’S QUARTERS
>RYOSUKE’S QUARTERS
>>
>>2544299
>SANZA’S QUARTERS
>>
You arrive in front of Sanza’s door. It didn’t seem to be currently locked. The indicator was green.

>Announce your presence
>Barge in
>Write-In
>>
>>2544310
>>Announce your presence
>>
>>2544310
>>Announce your presence
>>
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The doors are thick … but your voice could probably carry on through. After all, the public announcement system was outside. The most that they would do is dull it a little.

Sanza, you decent?’

Silence.

As soon as you turn around, however, the door hisses open, revealing the less-than-tidy form of one of your few female friends. Her shirt had been hurriedly buttoned and her skirt was loosely hanging by its hook, as if she had (and probably did) just donned them on after discarding them. She was bent over, her hair in a state that you could only qualify as unkempt, hanging from the doorway with an annoyed scowl etched upon her face, as if you had pulled her from a matter that was a more immediate concern than her own (in)direct superior knocking on the door for an audience. To her credit, however, at the meeting of your gazes, she stammers herself into a stand, throwing a clumsy salute as her bare feet shuffled against the set panels.

Knight-Commander, how may I be of service?’

You don’t miss the slight iciness of the intonation.

>‘Sanza … you know me too well to go through that show.’ (Request a more casual atmosphere)
>‘May I come in, Cadet?’
>Write-In
>>
>>2544570
>‘Sanza … you know me too well to go through that show.’ (Request a more casual atmosphere)
>>
>>2544570
>‘Sanza … you know me too well to go through that show.’ (Request a more casual atmosphere)
>>
>>2544570
>>‘Sanza … you know me too well to go through that show.’ (Request a more casual atmosphere)
>>
>>2544570
>>‘Sanza … you know me too well to go through that show.’ (Request a more casual atmosphere)
>>
I really want to make a rule of thumb with our squad: In my Office formal, in their quaters area casual.
>>
>>2544587
that seems fair.
>>
It was a little hypocritical of you, but …

‘Sanza,’ you start, ‘you know me too well to go through that show.’

She drops a salute, her stoic, professional gaze now replaced by a glare cold enough to fit her previous tone. Sanza does, however, relent, stepping aside and allowing you into her quarters. The door hisses shut … and you take the opportunity to have a look around. As expected, it was quite bare … but at the same time, spacious. There wasn’t much that Sanza had decorated the room with. Her change of clothes—a mix of casual attire and issued uniforms—laid on the bed, which was about the same size as the ones back in the Academy. The room was obviously smaller, with a lower ceiling, but there was a database console and a contact module installed for emergency, two screens that gave a readout of the ship’s chart and other basic (localized, of course) information channels. The walls had a counter, the cabinets and cupboards built in as both lockers and practical storage compartments … along with what appeared to be raise platforms installed in the vein of a counter to place whatever things its occupant wished to leave out in the open rather than stow away, perfect for workbench work. You wonder if you had something like that in your quarters, too …

‘So?’

You turn around to see your Sanza’s scowling features, her nostrils slightly flared and her arms crossed, staring at you expectantly.

‘What does the Knight-Commander want with me?’

The tone is sarcastic … but at the same time, comforting.

>‘You don’t have to address me as Knight-Commander when we’re alone, you know?’ (Joke)
>‘Look, thanks for, uh … letting me have my day.’ (Thank her for playing along with the surprise)
>‘Just making sure that you’re all right is all.’ (Placate)
>‘I just came here to see how you were doing … you don’t have to be so … anal about it.’ (Annoyed)
>Write-In
>>
>>2544646

>‘You don’t have to address me as Knight-Commander when we’re alone, you know?’ (Joke)

>WHAT DOESN'T HE WANT WITH HIS BEST MOM.
>>
>>2544646
>You're angry about me not telling you guys, I get it. But after the visit I was running around barely treading water trying to get all this set up, and after everyone just sorta assumed, I decided it'd be funny to play along. I did not mean anything malicious by it. Thanks for playing along Sanza. Now is there anything else we need to clear the air about?
>>
>>2544646
>>‘Look, thanks for, uh … letting me have my day.’ (Thank her for playing along with the surprise)
>you're still angry about that arent you?
>>
>>2544646
>Just checking to make sure you're ok
>Thanks for letting me surprise the others
>>
>>2544660
I have no idea what you're asking me here.
>>
>>2544668
Was joke, she was the one we said was the mom of the group yes?
>>
>>2544674
She acts like your mom. But she's also one of the LIs.
>>
>>2544677
Ah, Got you. The hidden part was making reference to her acting like our mother. Just ignore it I fucked up it seems.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d4)

>>2544660
>>2544663
>>2544664
>>2544667
Dice time
>>
>>2544660
>>2544674
>>2544684
way to make it worse dude
>>
‘You don’t have to address me as Knight-Commander when we’re alone, you know?’

She wears a sickeningly sweet—and sarcastic smile—clapping as her eyes narrowed into slits. You take a step back, feeling as though you’d wandered into the den of a Yaggoth Moon Serpent, but otherwise keeping your silence. Her fingers intertwining and coiling parallel to the position of her head, she proceeds to tilt it, wearing a frightening mask of serenity that concealed a raging beast of retribution behind.

‘And you had no obligation to so much as try to tell us you hadn’t been tried and executed as a scapegoat of the devastation of a planet!

You narrow your eyes, feeling your annoyance building up now.

>‘It wasn’t as if I had a choice! Do you know how hard it was trying to even convince the administration?’ (Annoyed)
>‘You don’t get to talk about that.’ (Take it personally)
>‘Sanza, I didn’t come here to argue with you. If you’re angry at me and that makes you happy, I can take it. But if you’re just trying to get a rise out of me, I’m gone.’ (Deflect)
>‘I thought we were past that.’ (Diplomatic)
>Write-In
>>
>>2544720
>If I was executed they'd have made a show about it. Scapegoats do no good if they are not super visible. I know you know that too. So instead of doing the whole beat around the bush and try to make me guess where I drew your ire, you just outright say it and save us a lot of time and headaches? Because up until my visit to medbay you were not near this upset.
>>
>>2544720
I'll back this >>2544733
>>
>>2544733
supportin
best to get it all out into the open
>>
>>2544733
Supporting
>>
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‘They would have made a show about it if they were going to blame me for anything on Rhysode,’ you counter, rounding on her as you find your own irritation beginning to surface. ‘So if you could afford to be direct with me, I think I’d appreciate it … or else I’ll just be on my way out. I didn’t come in here to get lashed at for something I didn’t do on purpose!

Sanza bares her fangs, the sweet—yet fake—disposition all but gone, replaced by a contorted scowl as she bent over, raising a finger and jabbing it in your direction. Her wrinkles multiplied by the nano-second … and for a moment you realize that perhaps you should have tried to bide your time instead of being confrontational or direct about it. Too late, however, as her wide maw tells you of the onslaught that you—unconsciously—find your very bones bracing themselves against.

And still your mouth manages to outdo itself.

‘I mean, I know you’re just beating around the bush,’ you snort, crossing your arms, ‘you weren’t nearly this upset talking to me when we were with Doctor Holmes.’

‘Good grief—is there anything at all in that big … lump of half-functioning organs that can comprehend the fact that for a whole month, I was waiting for the news of your execution and that the closest thing I got to an answer was Ryosuke and Emilio buying me lunch and listing every single potential, horrifying outcome?

‘Huh?’

She takes a deep breath.

‘This is the first time I’ve talked to you in a month,’ Sanza imparts crisply. ‘For that month I worried about you. I didn’t know what happened to you. Ryosuke and Emilio … when they weren’t there I wondered what you could’ve done wrong. Wray … he didn’t tell anyone anything. He probably … he probably couldn’t being a Star Marshal. I couldn’t sleep sometimes, thinking if I was there to stop them from taking you away and …’

Her breathing is ragged, her form barely held together as she shuffled herself closer to her bed.

‘And when I saw your name on the carbon copy … I was so happy and … angry and confused and … and when I saw you with Ryosuke and Emilio out there I just wanted to … ki—kick your butt into the vacuum. And you … you acted like you were never gone. You just … laughed with everyone. Like nothing happened. You didn’t bother to contact us. It was like … I thought that …’

She pauses.

‘No, that would be my fault, wouldn’t it? I guess I should be saying thank you that you called on us at all.’

Sanza wears a cruel smile, looking away.

‘Congratulations, Knight-Commander. I always you knew you’d make it one day.’

It’s dull, distant … a formality more than it is born out of sincerity.

And you don’t know how to respond.

>Write-In
>>
>>2544893
>Hug her. 'I'm sorry.'
>>
>>2544893
Sanza I am sorry, after the meeting I literally had all my time taken up trying tog et this all set up and even then it was not fully done. I was still missing an Executive Coordination officer and a full roster. Paperwork and bureaucratic hell so I could make sure all of you guys, and Maldante could join me. I wasn't trying to leave you out or make you worry, I was trying to get this set up. I am sorry calling you never occurred to my think head, but it was not out of malice, and had I spare second to myself for the past month I'd have thought to call. I am sorry that when the guys all acted fine I assumed you were too.
>>
>>2544893
Sure lets do this >>2544923
>>
>>2544923
>>2544905
Supporting these, they don't seem mutually exclusive.
>>
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‘Sanza, I … look,’ you sigh, rubbing your shoulder as you consider your next words, ‘I didn’t mean to … ignore you the last month.’

There was no point in trying to keep it long.

So you do what all red-blooded Colony Fleet men did: you cut the fat and just pray that everything fit.

It was how you’d survived the thousands of years out there, after all.

‘Everything just,’ you pause again, considering your words. “Busy” seemed to be an understatement when it came to describing your workload; you’d practically alternated between a room, your temporary quarters (wherever they were) and the shovelling of merciful rations that Rosaria had been able to pick up and drop off before making it back to her own quarters. ‘It’s been hard for me, too; it wasn’t as if I just lazed around for a month. When I saw your name and everyone else’s, I had to make my own calls. I couldn’t keep asking Wray for leniency, even with him as Star Marshal. Getting an assignment, making the approvals go through for the Chapter … there was a lot of work. A lot of the red tape involved me bringing on so many recent graduates … which, of course, compounded the fact that the Officers wouldn’t join what was effectively looking more like a kindergarten than an actual fighting force. Stations, offices, more offices … I had it tough too, you know? And trying to establish contact with you guys isn’t easy when you’re just a Knight-Commander.’

Sanza looks up, frowning. ‘What?’

‘I was busy,’ you sum up, damning all your previous words in the process. ‘Very busy. But I did what I could to keep us all together, you know? I know that … you told me, right? It was something that you had to start getting used to? I didn’t choose to mope around about it. Not when I had the chance to change that. It’s a little bit … unorthodox, and I mean, it was a lot harder to pull off than I thought, but … I did what I could to keep us together. I … I guess I thought that you’d … understand that much.’

‘You could’ve at least—’

‘Sanza, the only statuses on your IDs were PENDING and ACTIVE. You won’t believe how many talking heads that I had to … convince to carry on this. I practically risked the Princess’s word trying to pull on this stick, so …’

You give her your most sincere gaze.

You bet it all on what you only knew from the weekly drama stream that you and your family tuned into without fail. If it had any worth then, it would work its magic now.

‘A little faith? Please?’

She pauses, open her mouths … before sighing.

‘Fine,’ she answers icily. ‘You … didn’t toss us off on purpose, I get that.’

You nod.

‘So is there a reason Fisher is here?’

You inwardly groan.

>Write-In
>>
>>2545132
No one had said yes to her position, and suddenly I get called up to the ship captain's office, her sitting there offering. I was not going to turn away someone I know is competent when I am already having a hard time filling the slot.
>>
>>2545132
>She was a complete surprise. She ambushed me in Captain Hacker's office.
>>
>>2545132
this>>2545144
>>
>>2545132
Supporting >>2545144
>>
Calling the session as it's voting time in my nation.
>>
>>2544893
I have a confession to make...

I absolutely hate Sanza.
>>
>>2545575
ok, may I ask why?
>>
>>2545575
Honestly I'm not to keen on her either.
>>
>>2545575
why?
id be pissed at a friend too if they got escorted by royal guards and vanished for a month only to pop back up without a care in the world
>>
>>2546374
No, no, I can get why she comes off as irritating. There's a REASON "Gregory friggin' House" is her mentor. Imagine her as a younger Lisa Cuddy/Thirteen fusion with the arrogance of a med school grad.
>>
>>2545660
>>2546374
>>2546378

No my main hatred really started with her just seaming to be a real big time waster when first meeting her. I understand that the OP wanted to introduce this character, but literally the time was her being introduced to the party nothing happened except an entire thread of just boring exposition while waiting for the interesting events to move the story along to happen. Add on to the fact that when she was first introduced she basically fit into the "damaged" girl archetype and basically felt like the OP was saying "Alright guys, here is the designated waifu for the quest." And because of this designated waifu status, she must hog all the screen time.

I was actually happy for the graduation because it meant that we wouldn't have to see her anymore. I was slightly disappointed with her reintroduction, but what really got me to hate her was the after the nuking, she was basically forced on to us with that whole situation. Now I know some might say, "But we were given a choice!", but that choice really wasn't one, it was more like, "Sure you can choose not to bring her with you.... if you want to be a really horrible person, do you want to be a really horrible person?"

She was someone who survived a horrible situation by not trusting others and trying to get by on her own to the best of her capabilities. That's what we here, but honestly what most we have seen from her is just her flaunting her "damaged self" and latching onto the nearest person to her. Literally she tried her hardest to avoid any type of sex while she was on the ship as breeding stock, and then with our interaction with her, her thought was, "Sure, let me enter this hotel room with this guy and let me reward him with sex." It felt as though the author wanted to just add an H scene in, and not the character's actual personality.

But overall, this character kinda personifies the problem I have with this quest. Although there are interesting points to the story, it is filled out in between with a lot of boring passive exposition, and the part from meeting her to after the party basically felt like filler where nothing of value was really gained and could just be skipped (except for that one part about the lore with the colony ships and her backstory, that was at least somewhat interesting).
>>
>>2546291
ditto... Even robothighs, as bitchy as she is, has reasons and fluffy kouhai is better.

inb4 we have been chosen by delicious brown Princess to donate genetic material to the Imperial line.
>>
>>2546635
Wait, are you mistaking Rosaria for Sanza?
>>
>>2546640
....Oh shit....
>>
>>2546640
>>2546641
...Yes... Just take that entire rant and apply it to Sanza.
>>
>>2546644
Sanza = Medic
Rosaria = Kouhai / Latest edition to gang
>>
>>2546644
>>2546652
Fuck... I am horrible with names.
>>
>>2546652
>>2546655
>>2546644

Ok, just to square everything out, Sanza I am ok with, it is Rosaria I hate.
>>
>>2546635
>But overall, this character kinda personifies the problem I have with this quest. Although there are interesting points to the story, it is filled out in between with a lot of boring passive exposition, and the part from meeting her to after the party basically felt like filler where nothing of value was really gained and could just be skipped (except for that one part about the lore with the colony ships and her backstory, that was at least somewhat interesting).
Same. Jesus fuck it was slow as hell, lotta boring exposition without any real relevance to the story or characters.
>>
>>2546657
See I'm the other way around, Rosaria I'm okay with but it's Sanza I can't stand, because every single scene she's in she's basically nagging us.
>>
>>2546635
Ah, criticism noted bro. I'll take it to heart.
>>
>>2546635
>She was someone who survived a horrible situation by not trusting others and trying to get by on her own to the best of her capabilities. That's what we here, but honestly what most we have seen from her is just her flaunting her "damaged self" and latching onto the nearest person to her. Literally she tried her hardest to avoid any type of sex while she was on the ship as breeding stock, and then with our interaction with her, her thought was, "Sure, let me enter this hotel room with this guy and let me reward him with sex." It felt as though the author wanted to just add an H scene in, and not the character's actual personality.

Just to address, you guys actually did the right choice NOT having sex with her. And how she stayed "pure" is something worth investigating, considering she's seen as prime stock.
>>
>>2546837
Criticism noted, mate. I'll take it to heart.
>>
>>2546901
It has a penis. Don't it?
>>
>>2546635
>>2546837
Agreed. It's also really weird how she just laid her whole traumatic life bare like that after knowing us for a couple of hours. It was too forced, if you had a life even half as shitty as hers you'd need years with a therapist before even saying hello

Half of the first thread I gave up and just skimmed to find the important bits. There are better ways to explain your setting than pausing any and all action to have a droning inner monologue. It's been four years and he can't even brush his damn teeth without thinking about how different brushing your teeth is when you're on a space ship. Shit dude

>>2546904
Can you tell me why we move around like playing a blobber or an old text adventure? At first I thought you were giving yourself time to write in advance but that crap with the elevator was a ridiculous waste of time. We wanted to go to the Officer's Domicile, we asked people where it was and then we wasted time just so you could lock the door and make us walk around some more. If you're going to force us to look for colored keycards like we're playing Doom at least have something written up in advance
>>
>>2546954
Obsidian Entertainment, I am not. Unfortunately OR fortunately.
>>
>>2546958
Nah. It's just the first thing to jump too. Imma need to think about this, thanks boss.
>>
>>2546955
>Can you tell me why we move around like playing a blobber or an old text adventure?
Because that's what I style my Quests after.
>>
Also, sorry, but I'm kind of here right now. I'll get back to you guys in a bit.

>>>/pol/171000444
>>
Running in t-minus 10 minutes.
>>
‘I didn’t shortlist her, if that’s what you’re implying,’ you grunt defensively, raising your hands for emphasis. ‘I didn’t even know she was here … or active. Last I heard from her was that she was in limbo and out of my hands. Just because I’m a Knight-Commander doesn’t mean I have total dictation over the who and the what that she brings along. She came on board. I was supposed to pick up an ECO at one of our stops and fill the stop-gap until then … I’m not exactly in the position to say no to a competent officer.’

‘But she’s—’

You decide to affirm her position here.

‘A competent and experienced pilot and the only one in the office who’s been in an official operations capacity,’ you interrupt, your intonation leaving no room for argument. ‘Whatever your differences with her, you’re going to have to settle them or keep them bottled up. I don’t care how you do it.’

‘I,’ she pauses, biting the inside of her cheer. ‘Fine, I … I’m sorry for questioning your judgement.’

You sigh, rubbing your temples as you considered her shifting form. You really didn’t want to … antagonize her, but you couldn’t well let your calls as the leader of the Chapter be questioned so casually, either. Whether or not Sanza approved wasn’t your concern—but what she had to say about it, and her intonation … was. Is.

There were limits.

You had to enforce them.

Even if it was with Sanza.

>‘So, what were you and Holmes talking about before I came along?’
>‘You ready to tell me the rest of your story with Fisher yet?’
>‘What were you up to in the month I was incognito?’
>‘How’re you getting used to your quarters? Everything in order?’
>‘Right, I just came here to check on you. See ya.’ (Leave)
>Write-In
>>
>>2547319
>‘What were you up to in the month I was incognito?’
>‘How’re you getting used to your quarters? Everything in order?’
>And before you ask if I was eating right during that time I’ll go ahead and say no, because it was either eat poorly or not at all.
>>
>>2547319
>>‘What were you up to in the month I was incognito?’
>>
>>2547319
>>‘What were you up to in the month I was incognito?’
>>
>>2547332
I'll support this.
>>
>>2547332
Supporting this
>>
‘What were you up to in the month I was incognito?’

Sanza lets out a sigh, walking over to her bed and seating herself on the edge.

‘Well, they only let us stay for about … three? Four standard days, after you up and disappeared,’ she starts, rubbing her shoulder. ‘The bunch of us entered a pending status … but none of us had anywhere to go. Emilio decided to cave in and, well … he kind of brought us to one of his family’s moons for the next few days. Until everything was sorted out.’

You blink in surprise. Emilio did?

‘He did?’

‘Jealous?’

She grins widely, waiting for your response.

>‘Of course! Emilio doesn’t even whisper his family’s name without so much as a grumble.’ (Enthusiastic)
>‘Surprised. Emilio usually doesn’t even bother to mention his family … never mind actually refer to their resources.’ (Curious)
>‘Only because you probably had the seven-star treatment. I was stuck trying to track anyone who wanted to join us down.’ (Grumble)
>‘Just a little, I guess.’ (Nonchalant)
>Write-In
>>
>>2547358
>>‘Surprised. Emilio usually doesn’t even bother to mention his family … never mind actually refer to their resources.’ (Curious)
>>
>>2547358
>>‘Surprised. Emilio usually doesn’t even bother to mention his family … never mind actually refer to their resources.’ (Curious)
>>
>>2547358
>Of course! Emilio doesn’t even whisper his family’s name without so much as a grumble.’ (Enthusiastic)
>>
>>2547358
>‘Surprised. Emilio usually doesn’t even bother to mention his family … never mind actually refer to their resources.’ (Curious)
>>
>>2547358
>>‘Surprised. Emilio usually doesn’t even bother to mention his family … never mind actually refer to their resources.’ (Curious)
>>
‘Surprised,’ you correct her, nodding and crossing your arms. ‘Emilio usually doesn’t even bother to mention his family … never mind actually refer to his resources.’

‘We were in a bit of a fix,’ Sanza confesses, letting out another heavy sigh. ‘After you were gone, I was effectively off the system and re-registered as a civilian, which meant that I didn’t have any of the usual … benefits anymore. Not that it would’ve lasted, anyway … that outpost didn’t seem keen on having to take care of any of us after Wray came and went, but my status returning to civilian finally gave them an excuse to kick me out. Memphis did what she could, but … anything that’d go through would take some time. I didn’t want to cause any trouble, but … well, I kinda … I was kinda broke.’

She seems embarrassed saying it, wryly smiling as she stares at the panels.

‘Emilio called in one of the nearby systems right after that,’ Sanza continues, ‘one of the moons of … Quebecal, I think? That’s the world it was orbiting. Forest moon, quite old … and private. Ryosuke wasn’t going to say no to something free, of course …’

You shake your head from one side to the other. No, Ryosuke wasn’t the type to turn things down when handed over. Especially not the hospitality of a Trade House Scion.

‘No one called any of you out on desertion?’ You joke.

‘Even if we were … I don’t think any administrator’s got it in them to call out someone from a Trade House.

>‘Yeah, it was an emergency, anyway … he couldn’t just drop you on any world.’ (Understanding)
>‘Still … that kind of thing? They should’ve been more thorough. Just because Emilio came to the rescue doesn’t mean they did you right.’ (Discipline)
>‘Seven star treatment and a scion showing hospitality. Wish I was there to see it.’ (Casual)
>‘Go on …’
>Write-In
>>
>>2547410
Oh, wait. I forgot your background AGAIN.

Amendment

>‘Yeah, it was an emergency, anyway … he couldn’t just drop you on any world.’ (Understanding)
>‘Still … that kind of thing? They should’ve been more thorough. Just because Emilio came to the rescue doesn’t mean they did you right.’ (Discipline)
>‘Seven star treatment and a scion showing hospitality. Wish I was there to see it.’ (Casual)
>'Quebecal ... whoa. Haven't seen that place in a while.' (COLONY FLEET INHABITANT)
>‘Go on …’
>Write-In
>>
>>2547413
>'Quebecal ... whoa. Haven't seen that place in a while.' (COLONY FLEET INHABITANT)
>>
>>2547413
>Quebecal ... whoa. Haven't seen that place in a while.' (COLONY FLEET INHABITANT)
>>
>>2547413
>>'Quebecal ... whoa. Haven't seen that place in a while.' (COLONY FLEET INHABITANT)
>>
>>2547413
>‘Still … that kind of thing? They should’ve been more thorough. Just because Emilio came to the rescue doesn’t mean they did you right.’ (Discipline)

>'Quebecal ... whoa. Haven't seen that place in a while.' (COLONY FLEET INHABITANT)
>>
File: Friend Girl.jpg (29 KB, 225x350)
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29 KB JPG
‘Quebecal? Whoa,’ you chuckle, rubbing the back of your neck. You remember that place. ‘Haven’t seen that place in a while.’

‘You’ve been?’

‘Yeah, it’s in the Second Bagel-Dawes System, isn’t it? We passed the System twice when I was younger … the Administrator then used to get the kids to the Habitat Unit to get a good view. Gas giants are always something that the kids liked … even me. I know that there are only about … what? Five inhabitable worlds on that, but I didn’t know that Emilio actually had stock on one of them. The Second Bagel-Dawes System’s mostly known for its trade crossroads … should’ve known that a Trade House would set up shop there.’

‘You really know your stuff, don’t you?’

‘When you’ve been up there for as long as I have, a lot of things stick. You didn’t do any shopping there?’

She cocks an eyebrow in your direction, prompting you to make a quick backtrack.

Right, right.

‘Emilio bought me some clothes, if you’re asking,’ Sanza answers, ‘and because his family owns quite a few … ventures in the area, I was able to restock on my clothing … a little. I feel a little bad for getting him to drop his crowns on me, though. I didn’t have a choice, but … I couldn’t very well get myself on a shuttle proper either. At least the bunch of us were in one place.’

‘So I assume that because you failed to mention it, Emilio’s getaway probably has an anti-magnetic tachyon relay?’

‘How’d you—’

‘Spacer, remember?’

Sanza rolls her eyes. ‘He does. Lot of good it did us, though … only thing we could get over the system relays was news and keeping The Aegis informed on our whereabouts. His family was apparently all too happy to cover for us, but … well, Emilio drew a few lines.’

‘A Quebacal moon, though? Must’ve been an experience.’

‘Perpetual dusk isn’t my thing,’ Sanza chuckles, tucking a hair behind her ear. ‘But judging by the way you say it, I probably clocked in on something that you didn’t.’

‘I never outgrew viewing gas giants,’ you confess, chortling as you recalled your youth. ‘Outside of cartoons and the occasional serial we can in range of, there wasn’t much that kids on a Colony Fleet could keep busy with. Luckily, it wasn’t something that The Administrators grew out of either. Getting on a shuttle, going on a viewing deck … or just lying in the grass when it passes you by … we used to key in the systems that we passed by, put a little tick of a what we saw … and sometimes they’d even turn off the lights and gravity, let us have a good look. Pressed up against the barrier, looking out to the other side …’

‘Sounds like it’s something.’

‘It’s something that you get an acquired taste for … nothing, well, special to you, I guess.’

She raises an eyebrow.

‘Sorry. Spacer habits.’

‘Do you miss it?'
>>
>>2547472
>'Yeah, but ... what do they say? Put childish things away?'
>'Doesn't really matter.'
>'I never really outgrew it, but, well, that's another life. I'm ... well I have responsibilities now.'
>'Let's talk about something else.'
>Write-In
>>
>>2547479
>>'I never really outgrew it, but, well, that's another life. I'm ... well I have responsibilities now.'
>>
>>2547479
>Sometimes.
>>
>>2547479
>>'I never really outgrew it, but, well, that's another life. I'm ... well I have responsibilities now.'
>>
>>2547479
>'I never really outgrew it, but, well, that's another life. I'm ... well I have responsibilities now.'
>>
>>2547479
>Yeah, but ... what do they say? Put childish things away?'
>>
>>2547479
>>'I never really outgrew it, but, well, that's another life. I'm ... well I have responsibilities now.'
>>
‘I never really outgrew it, but,’ you pause, ‘well, that’s another life. I’m … well, I have responsibilities now.’

‘Oh?’

‘I’m a Knight-Commander now,’ you reaffirm, your voice taking a soft, steady tone as you turned your gaze up to the ceiling. ‘I need to keep myself on that edge, you know? Viewing gas giants is fun, but, uh … well, I think that it’s something that I’m going to have to learn to be without now. I mean … I went by without it for the last four years; not like it’s something that I’m going to relapse on like a habit.’

‘Of course,’ she nods, ‘so you just watched gas giants as your fleet passed by?’

‘Something like that,’ you confirm, nodding, ‘and the Administrators would just try to make it fun for us … turn off the lights, the gravity modules, try to get everything dim and set for us to have a good look, then we’d plot the next system and see if we’ll be able to pass it by. You just log it. It’s something like starship spotting, but you kind of log the terms on your own. You write it all down and you keep track of where you were going. Then you show off to your friends who didn’t get to see it. It was a little mean when you showed off to a lower deck family, though … you’re a jerk for pointing that out too often.’

‘I see,’ she nods. ‘So you just … scribble notes and take pictures?’

‘Of course it’s boring if you say it like that.’

Sanza chuckles, but otherwise says nothing. In response, you give a roll of your eyes.

Girls. They just didn’t get things sometimes.

>‘So, what were you and Holmes talking about before I came along?’
>‘You ready to tell me the rest of your story with Fisher yet?’
>‘How’re you getting used to your quarters? Everything in order?’
>‘Right, I just came here to check on you. See ya.’ (Leave)
>Write-In
>>
>>2547555
>‘How’re you getting used to your quarters? Everything in order?’
>>
>>2547555
>>‘Right, I just came here to check on you. See ya.’ (Leave)
>>
>>2547555
>>‘How’re you getting used to your quarters? Everything in order?’
>>
>>2547555
>>‘How’re you getting used to your quarters? Everything in order?’
>>
‘How’re you getting used to your quarters? Everything in order?’

‘Everything’s fine, but … do you mind if I ask you one thing?’

‘Sure.’

‘In the event that I … want to bring a civilian aboard, am I allowed to or do I have to do so on my own pass or do I have to go through the hoops and rings because I’m a civilian attachment on the technical side? I’m not a pilot by definition … and I’m definitely not going to be an Aegis Graduate for at least another three years.’

You rub your chin.

That was tricky.

>‘I think you should be all right bringing anyone aboard with the usual slips, I guess?’
>‘You’re part of the Chapter … technically. On paper, though, you’re Doctor Holmes’s responsibility.’
>‘Just run it by me if you think that there’s something you’re unsure of. If I think it’s fine, I’ll sign off on your visitors.’
>‘You know what? To keep it safe, I think you should go and see the Captain.’
>‘I think that, for the best, you don’t bring anyone aboard. You can meet up with them off the ship, though.’
>‘What? I’m not enough for you?’ (Flirt)
>Write-In
>>
>>2547615
>>‘You’re part of the Chapter … technically. On paper, though, you’re Doctor Holmes’s responsibility.’
>>
>>2547615
>This isn't about a short term visitor is it? It is more long term right?
>>
>>2547615
>You're part of the chapter, but on paper you're doc's responsibility. IF it's a big issue just get me to sign off on em.
>>
>>2547615
>‘You’re part of the Chapter … technically. On paper, though, you’re Doctor Holmes’s responsibility.’
>>
I'm pretty certain Sanza may have done something with Emilio on that moon.
>>
>>2547615
>>‘Just run it by me if you think that there’s something you’re unsure of. If I think it’s fine, I’ll sign off on your visitors.’
>>2547648
what happens on Quebecal, stays on Quebecal
>>
‘You’re a part of the Chapter … technically, at least,’ you start, nodding knowingly, ‘but on paper, you’re Dr Holmes’s responsibility. If there’s anything that’s going to go, it’ll have to go through him.’

‘Right,’ she sighs, rubbing the back of her neck. ‘Gotcha.

>‘So, what were you and Holmes talking about before I came along?’
>‘You ready to tell me the rest of your story with Fisher yet?’
>‘Right, I just came here to check on you. See ya.’ (Leave)
>Write-In
>>
>>2547683
>>‘So, what were you and Holmes talking about before I came along?’
>>
>>2547683
>(Leave)
>>
>>2547685
>>2547687
Flip!
>>
>>2547683
>>‘Right, I just came here to check on you. See ya.’ (Leave)
>>
‘Right, then … I just came here to check on you. I’ll be seeing you later.’

‘Hey!’

You turn around with the hiss of the open door, finding Sanza on her feet and looking … oddly hesitant.

‘If you feel like it’s just getting to you and you need someone to talk to, I … my door’s always open.’

You can only say one thing to that. ‘Be seeing you, Sanza.’

The door hisses shut … and you find yourself in an empty corridor once more.

>EMILIO’S QUARTERS
>SANZA’S QUARTERS
>LUCION’S QUARTERS
>GERARD’S QUARTERS
>ROSARIA’S QUARTERS
>RYOSUKE’S QUARTERS
>Go back to the junction
>>
>>2547719
>>RYOSUKE’S QUARTERS
>>
>>2547719
>Ryosuke's Quarters.
>>
>>2547719
>LUCIONS QUARTERS

GOT A REAL BAD CASE OF DRY DICK HERE MALDANTE
>>
>>2547658
>what happens on Quebecal, stays on Quebecal
Until we need to deal with a package they ordered from there.
>>
You arrive at the door of your most vocal friend. It didn’t escape you that this would be the first time that you would have a one-on-one with him as his official, direct superior … but more than that, as a Knight-Commander. Even when you’d just met, Ryosuke had been an absolute fanboy of all things Mech-related. Even more so than you. The both of you had gone back on forth on a myriad of topics: if the Starjammers were the most successful Squadron out there; if a Hellion was worth more on the battlefield than a Crusher; if you could, indeed, cut through a blade with an axe set at the right oscillation … and what trading cards would hit Rhysode.

As the reality had set in and with workload after workload providing a reminder of what your purpose was against what you wished it to be, you’d lost your drive and enthusiasm for the finer details of service. Ryosuke, however, only had it push him to greater heights. He may not have been an exceptional student of warfare like Gerard, Emilio or Maldante … but he was still someone you wanted on your side instead of on the sides. That you’d attained the rank before he so much as sniffed a post, however …

You don’t know how he took it. He hadn’t said a word.

‘Ryosuke, you there?’

No answer.

‘Ryosuke?’

That was odd. You were quite sure he was in; the indicator was red, after all.

>Try again
>Leave
>Barge in
>Write-In
>>
>>2547858
>Try again
>>
You give the thing a hard knock, calling him out again.

There seems to some shuffling on the other side of the door … that is, if your ears were screwed on right, but the result was otherwise the same. No Ryosuke.

>Barge in
>Wait
>Leave
>Try again
>Write-In
>>
>>2547916
>Wait
>>
>>2547916
>Wait
>>
Someone pointed out that the characters don't speak with enough slang and sound "too smart" and "proper". I will take this to heart and apply it. But if I hear complaints on this from the complainer in question in regards to the changes, I will end the Quest. One thing I can't stand is when people want me to make a change and then back off on it. I'll make the change here and now, but if someone backs off on it, that's it. Just saying.
>>
>>2547985
Roll how you want to take this quest, not how 1 out of X-amount want it. No reason to randomly threaten to end the quest for those who didn't do shit and enjoy it.
>>
>>2547985
MECH, stop threatening to end the quest because of one guy.

You did this with Digimon Monster Hunter, lost your shit because of one anon instead of just continuing on. Stop losing your shit so easily.
>>
>>2548018
I'm still human. One of my peeves is addressing a change and then have the people complain about the change. I get annoyed too. It happened 5, 6 times with Shipgirl Commander and if it happens here, I am just going to snap. Every time someone complained about a certain "style" or "mechanic", I addressed it and someone rolled their eyes. I don't need someone snapping at my shoulders. I think I've tolerated enough steering. I'm going to put more effort at trying to put a more "humanistic, accented, way of talking". If I get a fucking complaint that the English unintelligible, you know who to blame.
>>
You wait.

One …

Two …

The doors hiss open, revealing your friend, still clad in his pilot suit and fit as can be. Ryosuke was smiling … oddly. It seemed a little dishonest, a little distracting. A full view of his teeth, a little crooked but otherwise pristine. He leaned against the doorway, his body much too stiff for it to be a casual gesture.

He honestly looked like he wanted to keep you in that corridor.

If you were one to reach that far, of course.

Yo, man, sup!’ he greets, throwing a casual salute … and almost sliding down the doorway.

>‘”Yo, man, sup?”’ (Imitate his casual tone)
>‘Uh … you all right? I heard some noises in there.’ (Concern)
>‘There a reason you took so long answering the door?’ (Curious)
>‘You mean “Good day, Knight-Commander, sir”.’ (Correct his insubordination)
>Write-In
>>
>>2548100
>You smuggled a pet on board didn't you?
>>
>>2548105
Supporting this - something's up,we might as well be direct
>>
>>2548105
>what did you smuggle in now
>>
You tilt your head back, peering over his shoulder. He doesn’t even make an attempt to block your view.

‘Do you … have a pet in there?’

‘A pet?’ he frowns, stepping back and staring into the room. ‘What?’

He turns back to stare at you, his brows furrowing in confusion. You get a glimpse of his room. He didn’t appear to be … hiding anything. In fact, he wasn’t even unpacked. The room looked the same as Sanza’s: decent floor space, a work desk and a pair of screens that gave a readout of the ship. Your friend’s two bags were still on the floor, zipped up and stacked one on top of the other. There was no mess. It was as clean as Sanza’s—cleaner, even.

‘Uh … you wanna come in, bud?’

>‘No, just … just checking how you were doing.’
>‘What was that noise? Could’ve sworn I heard some shuffling.’
>‘Sure.’
>‘I’d appreciate it if you’d respect my position, Ensign.’
>Write-In
>>
>>2548153
>Sure
>>
>>2548153
>‘Sure.’
>>
Looks like the Squadron is getting a mascot.
>>
File: Ryosuke2.png (1.27 MB, 1280x959)
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1.27 MB PNG
‘Sure.’

He steps aside, allowing you into his quarters, the door closing behind you with that familiar hiss. He really hadn’t even begun to unpack yet.

‘Hey, uh …’

‘Hm?’

You turn around to face your friend, his hands in his pockets and his shoulders slightly raised in a manner that you likened to a teenager pussyfooting his entry into an adult theatre. It was rare for you to see Ryosuke so … hesitant, really, especially without women around for him to try and pick out from the bunch. The odd thing about his hesitancy, though, was that it seemed without a hint of nervousness. More tongue-tied than fearful.

Knight-Commander, right, that’s … that’s something, huh?’

‘Oh, that’s …’

You shift in place yourself, not quite knowing how to reply to that. Ryosuke had always been spontaneous and fiery and you’d been … while not passive, you couldn’t exactly contest him in that field. Ryosuke was a star, burning and gleaming bright even when you didn’t want him to shine. His passion for his prospective career was second to none; as he’d remind you and Emilio and Sanza, declaring himself to be the man who would pierce the threshold with his own might. A puffed chest, a grin and a friendly arm or insult, Ryosuke Kikitai would forge forward towards his dream of being …

You.

He wanted to be where you were right now.

‘Congrats, huh?’ he chuckles, wearing a lop-sided half-grin. ‘Got there before I did.’

>‘You don’t seem … happy about it.’ (Address his apparently displeasure)
>‘Thanks, it means a lot coming from you.’ (Appreciate his acknowledgement)
>‘This isn’t a prize, Ryosuke. It’s a responsibility.’ (Communicate the gravity of the situation and post)
>‘You can start your appreciation by addressing me by rank.’ (Bring him back down)
>Write-In
>>
>>2548229
>‘Thanks, it means a lot coming from you.’ (Appreciate his acknowledgement)
>>
>>2548229
>>‘Thanks, it means a lot coming from you.’ (Appreciate his acknowledgement)
>though this isnt the way i had wanted to earn the title
>>
>>2548229
>>‘Thanks, it means a lot coming from you.’ (Appreciate his acknowledgement)
>though this isnt the way i had wanted to earn the title
>>
>>2548229
>‘Thanks, it means a lot coming from you.’ (Appreciate his acknowledgement)
>though this isnt the way i had wanted to earn the title
>>
>>2548244
This
>>
You know that he’s not totally honest with that smile and statement, but …

‘Thanks … means a lot coming from you.’

You didn’t want to boil his resentment. If there was any, of course. You didn’t want to be presumptuous with that, but something told you that rubbing your leapfrog promotion all over his face would be one of the biggest prick moves of your career … even fifty years down the road (barring any potential war crimes). The both of you shift uncomfortably in place, taking the roles of two complete strangers, unable to move or find words to follow up. Ryosuke’s eyes look directly at you, neither expectant nor enthusiastic, that lit fire that was usually there not quite gone, but flickering in the wind and threatening to be put out.

‘I, uh,’ you throw your biggest smile as you fumble for wards, scratching the back of your head in trying to string them together in your initiative, ‘I gotta say, though, it ain’t how I would’ve packed me up, either.’

‘Y-Yeah,’ he replies, before making a gesture towards you. ‘You, uh … you wouldn’t be the first guy I would’ve picked out myself, hah?’

‘I guess,’ you shrug, wearing a slight grimace and shrugging.

You’re not sure if it changes the atmosphere at all … but trying was better than doing nothing.

‘So, uh, what can I … do ya for, man?’

>‘What were you doing before I came in? I know that the door isn’t that soundproof.’
>‘Sanza told me Emilio let you stay at his place. Must’ve been nice.’
>‘Just checking to see how you were doing.’
>‘I thought you’d be more psyched up, finally being a Chapter Pilot.’
>‘Uh, nothing, just thought that I’d drop by and get the formalities outta the way. See ya!’
>Write-In
>>
>>2549137
>>‘Sanza told me Emilio let you stay at his place. Must’ve been nice.’
>>
‘Sanza told me that Emilio let you stay at his place. Must’ve been nice.’

He shrugs. ‘It was okay,’ Ryosuke replies, ‘if you like that kind of thing I guess. Not a lot to do … and it was awkward doing anything alone. Emilio was around, ‘a course, but, well, only for about two-three day stretches before he had to get back off-world again. Family business or somethin’ … and the servant girls there were all these old ladies in white that didn’t know any sense of privacy. They were very nice, though. Man, you could literally ask for anythin’ and they’d cook you up a bunch. Could’a used the heads-up when it came to havin’ a bath, though … they get everywhere!’

You laugh, clutching your sides. Emilio probably would have servants attending to his every need in that manner.

‘I have a hard time imagining Emilio being open to having his own ass shined up, if you know what I’m saying.’

Ryosuke snorts, throwing up his nose.

‘Eh, he probably would … but I don’t think he’d say no to his own fiancée doing it if she asked. That’s just me, though, heh.

You blink.

That was new.

Fiancee?

Ryosuke smacks his forehead, letting out a groan.

‘Ah, crud … can ya not tell him I told ya? He’d friggin’ kill me if he found out I told you, of all people.’

>‘Was she pretty?’ (Inquire further)
>‘Tell me what?’ (Play along, drop the topic)
>‘This is some saucy gossip. No wonder he didn’t so much as stare at another girl.’ (Scandalous)
>‘What do you mean “me, of all people?”’
>Write-In
>>
>>2549167
>>‘This is some saucy gossip. No wonder he didn’t so much as stare at another girl.’ (Scandalous)
i am intrigued
>>
>>2549167
>‘This is some saucy gossip. No wonder he didn’t so much as stare at another girl.’ (Scandalous)

ara ara
>>
‘My, my,’ you snicker, raising an eyebrow. This was honestly something that you hadn’t expected; although, it did explain just why Emilio was a little … distant when it came to women. ‘This is some saucy gossip. No wonder he didn’t so much as stare at another girl.’

‘Aw, come on, man,’ he groans, running a hand down his face. ‘Don’t friggin’ push it …’

‘Come on, it’s Emilio that we’re talking about here.’ You grin, unable to keep the utter curiosity from translating into euphoria as Ryosuke mumbled and ground his teeth at your prodding. ‘You honestly expect to be any less curious dropping that nugget on me?’

‘It wasn’t on purpose,’ Ryosuke returns, huffing, ‘but I think that you should let this one slide … he kept it from us for a reason, I think.’

‘And you know what that reason is, I measure?’

‘No,’ Ryosuke counters, sounding uncharacteristically annoyed and … agitated. ‘I do know that there are some things you gotta just drop, right? Emilio’s business is his business … and it’s not like he ain’t gonna keep being our buddy just because he’s not tellin’ us everything, right?’

‘He told you, though,’ you counter pointedly.

‘I wasn’t meant to find out,’ he lets out exasperatedly, ‘but I’m askin’ ‘n telin’ ya, you wanna play with Emilio Reinweld’s business, you better be sure it’s something ya gotta get into. You’re the Knight-Commander and all that, but … people got things that they want to deal on their own. Even if they don’t wanna. Maybe he’ll tell ya yourself one day, but …’

He trails off, leaving you to pick up where he doesn’t lead.

>‘When did you get so mature?’
>‘All right, all right, I won’t push it. Still surprising, though.’
>‘Was she hot?’
>Stay Silent
>Write-In
>>
>>2549222
>>‘All right, all right, I won’t push it. Still surprising, though.’
>>
‘All right, all right, I won’t push it.’ You yield to his request, albeit not without a small bite of amusement. ‘Still surprising, though.’

Neither of you say a word.

‘Hey—’

‘Come on, man …’

I didn’t even say anything yet!

>‘So, what were you doing before I cam along? I know that the door isn’t that soundproof.’
>‘You coping all right?’
>‘You don’t look too psyched up. Thought you’d be posting self-shots of yourself in a Mech at this point.’
>‘Anyway, thanks for the chat. See ya in a bit.’ (Leave)
>Write-In
>>
>>2549261
>>‘So, what were you doing before I came along? I know that the door isn’t that soundproof.’
>>
>>2549261
>>‘So, what were you doing before I cam along? I know that the door isn’t that soundproof.’
>>
‘So, what were you doing when I was knocking on the door? I know the door isn’t that soundproof.’

Ryosuke’s eyes bug out—slightly—as he attempts to gather himself. He shifts in place, his heels squeaking against the floor panels as he appeared to try to think up an excuse, his body language telling you more than any words could. He’d never been good at hiding things (except when it came to his theft of your rations, you supposed) but right now he looked as though he was trying to actively avoid the topic—the subject—of your choice. He hadn’t even been evasive with Emilio’s secret, preferring to just wash his hands and redirect over keeping it from even touching the topic.

‘Eh? Nothing, just … stuff. Sleeping. Yeah …

Sleeping?

You glance at his bed. It didn’t look like it was so much as rested on.

He was hiding something.

>‘What are you hiding?’ (Pry)
>‘Ryosuke, if it’s anything illegal, I swear …’ (Warn him)
>‘As your Knight-Commander, Ensign …’ (Exercise your authority)
>‘Oh, all right, then.’ (Leave it at that)
>Write-In
>>
>>2549278
>‘Ryosuke, if it’s anything illegal, I swear …’ (Warn him (jokingly tho))
>>
>>2549278
>>‘What are you hiding?’ (Pry)
>>
>>2549280
>>2549291
Flipping a coin. Coin flipped.
>>
You take a warning tone, fixing him with a glare of disapproval as you take a step forward. If he wasn’t going to be frank, the least you could do to reply was to assert the guidelines. You didn’t want to needle him to the point that you’d jeopardise your friendship with a show of authority, but … you had responsibilities now. And being part of a Squadron meant that he had obligations, too.

‘Ryosuke, if it’s anything illegal, I swear …’

He rolls his eyes at the insinuation, clicking his tongue and turning his gaze to a corner of the room.

‘It wasn’t anything illegal.’

You snap your fingers, accusingly pointing it in his direction. ‘So you were doing something!’

‘Y-Yeah? What about it?’

‘What about it? What could be so—’

Realization comes late.

But it does come.

Oh.

Oh.

You hadn’t … considered that.

>‘Oh.’ (Realization, embarrassment, excuse yourself)
>‘Right. Kinda … forgot. My fault.’ (Apologize)
>‘Couldn’t wait until we even entered warp?’ (Sarcastic)
>Write-In
>>
>>2549303
>‘Oh.’ (Realization, embarrassment, excuse yourself)
oh
>>
>>2549303
>‘Right. Kinda … forgot. My fault.’ (Apologize)
>>
>>2549303
>‘Right. Kinda … forgot. My fault.’ (Apologize)
>>
>>2549303
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuvsoZLE3WE
>>