Chapter 6, Shore leave 2; Conquered Sands.

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Chapter 6, Shore leave 2; Conquered Sands.

Post by Kai » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:26 pm

Two days after the Artemis battle, The Hymn finally recalled it's marines and Pilots, and all were allowed to return for a little R&R. The Battle Hymn's Battle group had been bolstered by the RIgel, PRocyon, and Achernar Battlegroups, a small armada that the Drathonians knew they could not afford to assault without Demonix, which was still stuck around Terra IV with Warp troubles. For now, The Hymn's soldiers were taking it easy, and replacements were being shuttled in, taken for the moment from the three other battle groups, as the Battle Hymn was the only ship actively engaging in ground campaigns at the moment.

There were several places the Hymn's marines could go; They could stay aboard their ship, being lazy in either their private rooms for the officers, or their barracks for the Enlisted men. They could go into the Drydocks That the hymn was now docked to, the large hole in it's side being repaired. A couple of bars had been found in more or less working order, with their stocks of 'Vintage' Alcohol intact, since Drathonians couldn't hold alchohol for the life of them (The woes of being a reptile). And finally, there was the shuttle ride back to the planet, if you wanted to see the bombed out forests and smell the leftover stench of battle.

For CIU 215, However, they were Currently shoved in a briefing room, with their captain at the head, He had something to say to them, relayed through him from high command.

For the Replacement soldiers and crewmembers, they were just arriving in the hangar bays, offloaded, with duffles in hand, to find out what their new assignments were. Luckily for them, it was shoreleave for them too, so that particular activity could be avoided for a while.

Garrett looked up from his seat at the table to Captain Nakamura. "I've noticed a trend recently: although we happen to be the same rank, I'm often treated as a lesser commander than yourself. I don't even know what this is about, Nakamura. So perhaps you could fill me in."

After several hours of doing nothing, Arcadia finally got her wish to return to the Battle Hymn. On board, she was given shore leave, but she had other more pressing matters to attend to; namely, she had to get another Scimitar registered to her. That was another two hours should have preferred to spend elsewhere, but it had to be taken care of. Afterward, she headed toward the barracks, took a quick shower as she had been trained to do, and then collapsed on her bunk in a tank top and shorts. Sleep came quickly.

Arcadia would be awoken not long after, somewhat rudely, by a couple of medical officers and the ships doctors, They had received orders to check up on her, and were here to bring her to the med bay. It wasn't that long of a walk, luckily for her. And after a quick physical to make sure she was okay, the Pilot was allowed to go back to sleep, just, in the med bay this time.

Kai Laughed to Garrett, responding "They probably want you here to look after me or something, I am still technically a Kid, I suppose." He said, Handing Garret a sealed envelope. "However, I'm sure your orders might hold something fun for you, It did for me; Lieutenant Hendlow. Personally, I think we should just keep saying Captain, It Sounds Better." Kai Then Handed out similar sealed envelopes to the rest of the squad, all of which read ORDERS in bold print on one side.

He then stood back up at the front of the meeting room, announcing "Welcome to Shock Squad 215. You are now all permanently assigned to this unit. You can also Open your orders Now. I'll take a round of questions if anybody wants, and then We're dismissed to shore leave."

Jack opened up his envelope with little relish, reading over the brief message quickly. He snorted belligerently. "You'd think with the number of body parts I've sacrificed for them, and the number of Drathonians I've beaten senseless, that I wouldn't still be a goddamn PRIVATE. Oh boy. FIRST class. Does this mean I get my own P3C to use as a shield?" He gave Garrett a congratulatory pat on the back before heading for the door.

Raji looked at her squad status on her data pad. Physical and emotional stresses? What had Arcadia gotten herself into...? Emma's reprimand was to be expected; a neurotic little child shouldn't have been flying combat missions in the first place. Raji supposed she would check in at the infirmary later. Right now, she could use a hot shower and a long nap. She did just that.

"Here's a question. Anybody notice how we're given a pretty tough assignment and then just promoted for doing it? Like, we didn't do much of anything special or beyond, did we? That was our task from the beginning."

"Oh, and now we're all stuck with each other, so I can bother the ever-loving crap out of you guys more." Thomas was extremely cheerful about this, but only for a split second. "I heard talk of a bar. Is it worth anything in any way?"

"It's called 'Battlefield promotions' And it's necessary when we do something. I think we got promoted because no one in our squad Died" Kai responded to Thomas, somewhat Ignoring Jack's rantings before he walked out the door. "And I heard everything in one of the bars is all vintage, aged to perfection for at least 14 years, if you're into the high class stuff. It's free for anyone who participated in the battle though. The other bar is just being stocked with stuff from the Hymn, but it has nicer taps than we do, it my be worth something." Kai informed Thomas, Knowing that he himself couldn't drink, and not really caring.

A raven haired, blue eyed Intelligence Agent moved forward and stepped into the hanger bay of the Terra Class ship, the Battle Hymn. Strangely, everyone nearby seemed to stay away from this pretty newcomer. The unpleasantness of Cibo Malinowski's personality could be felt even by the most idiotic of Drathonians. She firmly believed the Battle Hymn was just another publicity tool the Old Farts came up with to bolster cannon fodder moral, at least, until now. The ship was massive compared to the Mars-class ships in the flotilla around it; the fabled Solaris cannons were integrated directly into the hull, and the whole thing bristled with turrets. At the same time, it was smaller than the Drathonian Drake-Class ships she occasionally infiltrated. These rudimentary, first hand observations injected a little doubt into her previous conceptions of the ship. Cibo thought to herself, "Its not so bad...but I'm definitely going to get lost." These musings brought to her attention the orders she had in her uniform's pocket;

"Private Second Class Cibo Malinowski, You are hereby ordered to report to the Terra-class Battlecruiser "Battle Hymn". Further orders will be received upon your arrival. "

She frowned and said to herself, "What the hell does it mean by 'Further orders will be received upon your arrival'? &%$#-tacularly specific orders from command indeed." At that, she sat down on her duffel bag; Cibo decided if anyone was going to meet her and give 'Further orders', that person had better do so soon. Otherwise, she was going to storm off with duffel in hand, and simply get lost. The only thing that impressed her so far concerning the Battle Hymn, was it's size.

The person Cibo was looking for arrived in the form of an NCO of nondescript stature and description, sporting brown hair and the contemporary green jacket of the UTR. He came up to the group exiting the shuttle, Giving Cibe a sideways glance, no small amount of fear in his eyes as she seemed to be frothing with some sort of rage or hatred or something. Taking a breath and looking away from the intelligence officer, he annonced "Today is your lucky day, Shoreleave just started. You are free to roam about the ship after you have placed your belongings in your Billets. All Enlisted personnel from this shuttle are assigned to Barrack E-24 on Deck 32, two decks up from here and at the end of the hallway to the right. NCO's and officers need to check with me for your personal billets."

"Lieutenant?" He sighed, despite the congratulations. "I was perfectly happy without them threatening to give me a squad. Thanks to above for not taking away the Demolitions Department." Because I'd kill if they ever even thought of such a thing. "Well, looks like I'll be making sure you don't make too much of a mess for awhile longer, Lieutenant." Garrett stood and looked around at those still in the room. "I'm headed for some of that vintage alcohol I heard so much about. All those in Shock Squad 215 requesting liquid refreshment, follow me. We're going in." Then he flashed his signature smirk and was out the door, regardless of whether or not anyone chose to join him.

Arcadia groaned when she was removed from the bunk, but otherwise made no complaint. She understood the bureaucratic system that the medics were required to obey, and besides she loved the med bay cots and would choose them over the bunks any day; if anything, it was an upgrade being taken to the med bay. By the time she arrived, however, she no longer felt the fatigue. When they wouldn't let her go, she asked why. The answer was infuriating. "Emotional stresses!? Try mental stress you crackpots. I flew into a firefight without a shield generator because some rook engy didn't install it properly, then Drathonians shred the ship to pieces. I parachute out only to be dropped right on my ass the last ten feet. Then I got to go play commando with a bunch of crackpot Marines for the next six hours. Oh, and did I mention Drathonians were shooting at us!? On top of that, I got a front row seat to the untimely execution of two men, and discovered a whole new goddamn species that we didn't know existed! Yes, I had to deal with a little stress, but do you know what really relieves stress? Exercise and rest. I've done my resting, now I need my exercise." Despite her most vehement and logical arguments, they refused to let Arcadia go, and she finally made an attempt to sleep.

The nurses were so grateful the moment she slipped into unconsciousness.

Slowly the transport shuttles where arriving and docking with the Hymn full of newcomers, fresh meat. The doors hissed open and out poured the newbies. Frank Lumes walked out, his duffel bag hanging off his shoulder. He moved away from the others and took a look at his surroundings. Frank did not seem confused or overwhelmed by the Hymn's size. He seemed like a stark contrast to some of the other privates. A short while after learning of his transfer, Frank had read and memorized the specifications. He already knew of it's immense size before even coming within viewing distance of the Hymn. That being said, it still was hard for him not to be impressed. He felt humbled to be working on flag ship of the UTR.

"I can't wait to get started. All I have to do is wait around until the orders drop out of no where. How boring is that?"

Frank looked about a bit more, started pacing about. Very anxious indeed. "It didn't say anything about waiting here, but where would I go if I went. Decisions..." It wouldn't be very soon until Frank looked like he was about to explode with anticipation. Frank finally realized what he was doing and stopped. He set his duffel bag on the ground and took a few deep breaths...

Luckily for Frank, he didn't have to wait about much longer. He listened in as the man briefed everyone. For a second Frank was relieved, but after the NCO announced that shore leave just started, he felt a bit disappointed. That meant more downtime for him. Regardless, he took off immediately for the barracks, not wasting a second. Unfortunately, Frank left his duffel bag on the ground in his haste.

Dante chuckled as he read his orders. “Wow, it took me 2 years to make P2C and only two months to make P1C.” He got up and walked over to the door where Garrett went. “Hey Cap... Lieutenant Headlow, I'll come too. I might even be able to send a bottle or two to the TRS Chaos.” Dante walked next to Garrett. Dante could hold his liquor quite well. Being on a ship when fresh booze came along, you could rarely get out of a drink or two. He knew the rules of booze: 1. Wine is to get buzzed and taste. 2. Beer is to drink or a period of time and enjoy the smooth flavor. 3. Hard liquor is to get drunk and the faint of heart should try wine or beer first.

Cibo started to follow the others who looked like they knew their way around; she had never even bothered to read much about the specifications of the Battle Hymn because it had little to do with her life or work. Now that it was practically her home, she regretted not grabbing a map. At the very least, others were obsessed about this 'glory hog' as Cibo called it; she easily shadowed them instead. As Cibo moved with the crowd, her foot caught on something. Instead of falling on her face, Cibo shifted her weight, and went into a graceful pirouette that then shifted back into a sudden standing posture; she almost reached into a pocket for...something, but corrected herself. With an adamant expression, she bore her eyes into the culprit; a duffel bag a careless person left behind. If it were a person, it would have withered and died. The people around her walked by like a school of fish avoiding a rock in the water. A very scary rock. Cibo decided to pick the bag up, and went right back to where she would have been if it were not for the obstacle. The clever fingers of an intelligence agent combed the insides with lightning speed; the owner was one 'Frank Lumes'. She moved along and looked forward, examining name tags. Her eyes darted from tag to tag, instantly filling in the letters she couldn't see; Nguyen, Ionesco, Lumes. There! A man with clean cut hair, brown and light brown. Light skin, and a blemish here, and maybe there. With both duffel bags slung over her frame, she followed him like an ancient submarine would to a ship of the days gone by.

Steven sat in his room with his feet up on the desk with nothing in particular to do. He went over the message he had received not too long ago. He was being promoted to a captain, and that meant that Steven was just one rank below his father’s rank. Steven was getting closer to his father’s level. This was not just a matter of pride but also of distress, for Steven still felt horribly inferior when he compared himself to his father and he still felt that he wasn’t making any progress.
After a few more minutes mulling it over, Steven finally slid the datapad back into his pocket and swung his legs off of the desk. He knew enough to know that sulking leads to nowhere, so he decided to do what he always did when he felt down; go to the hanger. It was as he was leaving his room though that he remembered hearing that Arcadia and Emma along with Robert and Sean were being admitted to the med bay. Being the good squadron leader that he is, Steven decided to instead visit his subordinates to make sure they were doing well. Changing his course he casually made his way towards the med bay.
A few minutes later he arrived at his destination. The med bay looked like it always did after a hard fought battle. Busy. Steven walked in and pulled one of the orderlies off to the side. “I am Corpor…Captain Kerning, leader of Green Squadron. I am here to check in on some of my pilots who were admitted here,” he said to her in a purposeful tone.
“Of course, Sir. The pilots are in the west wing as usual,” the young woman said quickly before hurrying back to work.
Steven then made his way inconspicuously through the med bay doing his best to stay out of the way of the doctors. Eventually he made it to the west wing, which looked exactly like the rest of the med bay except it was filled with pilots, and began to look around for his men from the rest. He found Sean, Green 12, first spent a few minutes speaking with him and parted wishing him a speedy recovery. Next, he found Robert, Green 8, his brother Dan, Green 7, was there keeping Rob company. Steven sat down and had a conversation with them before heading off again.
The next person he found was Arcadia, whom was resting at the moment. Steven pulled a chair next to the bed and sat down. “Psst, Arcadia. You awake?” Steven said after a few minutes of waiting. After a few more moments of waiting he began to move the cot a little by nudging it with his leg.

Kai, Lieutennant Nakamura now, shook his head and smiled a little as his second and a few from his squad left. He sat down at the desk in the briefing room, waiting to see what the res of his soldiers had to say. Once they all left, He planned to make his way to his quarters and do something like sleep, read, or play video games. Nothing like goofing off on shoreleave.

***

Emma remained in the Med bay, smiling wistfully. Truthfully, she was furiious at herself for snapping like that, but she would never let it show. Being taken off active duty stung a little, but at least she wasn't court martialled; if her parents got wind of that she'd rather go fly solo against that Demonix thing some of the older pilots had spoken of. Emma lay back and closed her eyes, these beds were definitely better than the ones at the academy, they were new, and actually had stuffing in them still. Of course, the lower gravity within the Hymn compared to that high-grav planet may have had something to do with it. Regardless, Emma would try to make the best of her 'impoundment' as she liked to call it. Maybe she could ask if the Med bay had some board games later.

***
Evelyn Didn't know what to do with herself. High command had told her to give the crew shoreleave before the next mission, and her 'parents', The Engineers that had created her body and programming had sent a notice asking her to try and interact, saying it was important for research. She didn't really feel much like it, being more comfortable hooked up to the ship's computer, but there wasn't much she could do with her home on low alert and being repaired. It seemed life was tough being the only sentient computer in existence. Making sure the bridge crew were performing what little functions they could do at the moment satisfactorily, the ASIAN Android removed herself from the bridge and walked down to deck E-24 on deck 32, Meeting the new arrivals seemed smart, and it could be a good way to 'break the ice' as her human counterparts would say.

Thomas stood up. "Hey, P1C is hard to get without having some crazy action and some crazy teammates," he told Dante, stretching. "And you certainly have quite a bit of both."

"I'm with you, too, though, Lieutenant Hendlow," Thomas told him, a dry note of joke in his voice. "It's true, Captain sounds better. Oh well. What can yah do about it?" He had no signature quirk or movement or much of anything, besides blotting out the sun for smaller persons around him. If he had ever thought about it, then he had probably come to the conclusion that that was more than enough for anyone to ask.

Garrett smirked at the engy and continued walking. TRS Chaos, huh? Some frigate you used to work on?" Garrett was feeling a little social now that his body had been given the promise of alcohol, and he really didn't know Dante other than his name and his basic skill set. Hell, alcohol was the best way to get to know him for what he was.

The pilot grumbled, eyes still closed. "First you want tests, then you want me to sleep, now you want me awake. Make up your... Oh, Corporal." Having opened her eyes mid-sentence, she realized the error of her speech. "Excuse me, Corporal: the nurses have been giving me a hard time. Won't let me leave even though I'm perfectly healthy." Then she realized she was rambling, and Kerning must have awoken her for a specific reason. "What's going on, sir?"

Dante walked pace in pace with Garrett. “Well some would call it my first ship; however, I would call them my family. Hell, The first thing I remember was their sick bay and a bunch of people watching over me.” A small smirk touched his lips as he spoke. “A week after the Drathonians attack no less. My da...” A slight pause enter the conversation before Dante continued. “foster dad is a great pilot and an even greater leader.”

Jack quickly found his way back to his barracks and picked up a particularly depressing book off his footlocker. He stepped out into the hall, wondering where to go. Pattel's Pub was down the hall, but it was always crowded. Making up his mind, he headed to the main hangar. Several minutes later, he was shoving his way past crowds of incoming newcomers coming off transport shuttles. After a quick flag down of a NCO, Jack found the shuttle he was looking for, and was soon on his way down to the planet surface.

He came down in the main staging area that his squad had been at before the assault on the Artemis. It was much less crowded now; most of the soldiers there were engineers on their way to the Jupiter-class. There were still pockets of Drathonians hiding about, so anyone leaving the base had to be armed. Book in one hand, sugar rifle in the other, Jack strode up a grassy knoll and into the woods. The sun was high in the sky when he finally stopped and sat beneath a tree to read.

Raji awoke from her brief nap, checking the time. It hadn't been long, but she decided to get up and about, anyway. Wearing a wife beater and her BDU pants, she headed off to the med bay. Inquiring with a nurse, she soon found herself in the west wing. It wasn't long before she came upon Arcadia and *Steven* speaking. She felt a bit of a compulsive twinge at seeing *Steven*, but she approached nonetheless. "Good morning, Arcadia, Captain," she said a bit curtly, nodding at each of them respectively. "I was wondering what all the fuss was about, getting restricted to the medical bay," she said, a bit amused at the notion. "Is everything alright?"

"Good afternoon Raji. As for your health, they just want to make sure you aren't mentally scarred because of being shot down, or something like that. Emma, Robert, and Sean are receiving similar treatment, you more so because you became a marine for a day. Same thing happened to me on one of my last missions." Steven replied.

Frank walked fast, purposely keeping him ahead of everyone else with the sole purpose of... getting in the elevator before it starts getting crowded. A crowded elevator is never a fun place to be. He turned his head and looked back at the crowd. He noticed something rather strange. "Well that is weird. That woman is carrying two duffel bags. Wait..."

Frank stopped walking and he checked his shoulder, where his bag used to before he set it down. "Gah, I must have left it back in the hangar. But thankfully this woman looks like she has stumbled upon it... Probably looking for me."

Frank took a few steps forward and stood as though at attention, staring straight at her. Frank waited until she came up to him to address her. "Excuse me mam, would one of those bags happen to belong to a Frank?" He said politely tone. He carried himself in what he believed to be proper manner, always making sure he always says the right thing.

Cibo spoke with a hint of serpent's tongue in her voice, "Oh relax, of course it's your bag, Mr. Frank Lumes." Cibo grinned. "I nearly tripped over it, and nearly stabbed someone." She said jokingly. She continued to smile and show her straight white teeth, however, her eyes did not smile with her lips. Deeper inside, she was thinking quite hard. What kind of person would acclimate themselves to a new class of ship, yet be forgetful enough to leave behind one's duffel? Apparently, it was this Frank Lumes...Lumes. Like a lumen? Like light? Her eyes quickly scanned his entire body and found something on his clothing that surprised her, "Weapons specialist? Like with all the rifles and grenades and stuff? I thought you might'a been some sort of engineer or bridge crew; it looked like you knew your way around, compared to everyone else." Cibo spoke. She continued on, her expression and voice more mild and sweet, "I was hoping you'd be able to show me around, you won't believe this, but I hardly know a thing about this ship!"

"So why the hell are you on the Hymn? Sounds like a safer place to me. Don't see why you'd ever want a transfer." Of course, Garrett would have never been capable of living on such a ship, never seeing action or getting to use dangerous and/or flammable materials. He would hate any sort of environment that wasn't constantly pushing him to the limit and testing his ability to survive. That's what Lieutenant Hendlow was: a survivor. He'd survived the annihilation of Los Angeles, he'd survived the trials of the Anarchists, he'd survived their demise, and now he would survive this war... or he might finally have met his greatest challenge and die the way he'd always imagined: guns blazing, bombs exploding, taking twenty of those scaly bastards with him. That would be the way to go.

She gave a nod to Raji. "Nice to see you're alright." Then her gaze shifted back to Steven. "Sorry, I haven't had a chance to check my 'pad. Captain, can you get me the hell out of here? I might just have to put a few nurses in intensive care if they keep me here much longer. Respectfully, sir." Arcadia usually wasn't one to anger, but she had things she needed to; namely, she needed to care for her new ship. It had to be recolored, diagnostics needed to be run, and she'd like to give it a test run before the next battle if possible. That was a lot to do, and as always she never knew how long she had to do all of those things.

Dante laughed as Garrett asked him. “This is safer when the shit hits the fan. At least if I was in a regular mechanic it would be. I guess I was sent here was because I am suppose to have a damn high IQ. That and being one of the top engineers in the republic might have moved them to send me to the most technologically advance ship built yet. I thought I would be stuck working on the ship. I wounder why I was sent in a combat unit even with a message stating that I was to be protected.” He chuckled a little. “On a similar note, why are you on the hymn.”

Sehene grinned and opened the envelope with a movement that looked oddly similar to a twitch, and smiled, letting out a small "Yay..." at the promotion. Yeah, it wasn't much, but she was higher level than before, and it felt good. She paused and pushed her sunglasses up her nose, "So everyone's leaving to drink?" She emphasized the last word with a tinge of distaste, surely they had something better to do? She didn't mind a drink once in awhile, but it was shore leave! And The Hymn was so gigantic!

"Not Everyone." Kai responded, shifting a little in his chair to get more comfortable. "I myself was going to just kinda goof off on the hymn for the duration, You're welcome to join me" the Newly-promoted lieutennant offered, a friendly smile on his face. It might be a good idea to get to know some of the non-marine personnel assigned to his unit, so this would be one way to do that.

Garrett laughed at Dante, truly believing that to be one of the most inane questions to ever ask him. "In case you haven't noticed, Privy, I provide a very valuable service. I open doors that you can't hack. I make new doors where none exist. I can defend vital areas without risking human lives. I can clear a room without ever firing a bullet. Hell, I have the freedom to choose kill, maim, or stun without worrying where to put a bullet. And trust me, there are always more applications for what I've got up here," he tapped his temple with his left pointer finger, "Just needs the right situation and a little tinkering."

"I will see what I can do for you, I mean you aren't physically debilitated in any way, and we are on shore leave so there will be little to no stress. Even if you do show signs of being incapable of piloting to the best of your ability, I will pull rank and have you sit on the sidelines." Steven said as he reclined back in his chair. "I would also have to see about doing the same for Emma, as she is in roughly the same condition as you are."

Clarissa sat in her seat wondering what to do with her time. On the one hand, she wanted to spend time with Steven, but she also felt that this was as good of time as any to attempt to befriend the marines she would be working with from now on. To her dismay, her practical side said that her time was best spent getting know the people she would be trusting her life with rather than with the one she would be spending her life with. "Excuse me lieutennant, would you mind if I joined you as well?" Clarissa asked in her usual proper tone.

Kai looked at the sniper for a moment before answering her "Sure, Why not. I'll even be a gentleman and let the two of you decide what to do" He said, taking his feet off the desk and stretching distractedly. Seeing as everyone else had left it was just him, the intelligence officer, and the sniper anyway. "So, What have you? We could take a tour of the ship, we could check out some of the recreation rooms, We could go to my quarters and play old-school video games, There's lots to do." he offered, figuring he'd let someone else in his squad make decisions for a change.


***

The group headed to the Bar in the Drydocks would soon come accross a small but noticeable stream of personnel headed towards one of the auxiliary airlocks. The airlock in question was open and, through the people walking back and forth, one could see a docking arm had attached to the door, allowing people to cross over to the Drydocks. The door, however, now had a line going towards it, and was sectioned off with a small rope barrier, a couple of marines guarding it somewhat fiercely from any soldier who looked remotely like bridge crew. Upon arriving at the rope, the group would be asked, rather obnoxiously by a Marine bigger even than Thomas, what they wanted. His rank patch read P1C, and his fellow sported Captain's bars.

Garrett was still smirking, being his naturally calm and lighthearted self. He pointed beyond the two. "I'm headed to get a drink, and this here's my designated driver because I'm a responsible kinda fellow." As he spoke those words, he ran a rugged hand forcefully through Sol's hair, making his head bob a bit. Despite his light and friendly tone, the Lieutenant figured these guys were going to make him pull rank just enjoy himself. For a moment he considered just striking the big guy in the throat and pummeling his little buddy instead, but decided against it. He hadn't even purchased a drink yet, so there was no excuse for disorderly conduct. Would've been fun though, stir up a little trouble...


The big Marine returned Garrett's smirk, puffing up at the smaller man and asking "Give us a good reason to let you little guys in." Accompanied by the proper fist smacked into his other hand. Rubbing the two extremeties together, He tapped his Captain Buddies' shoulder "Hey, Fred, Help talk some sense inta these guys." after realizing his little show of bravado wouldn't work. Fred turned towards them, showing off a nice, fairly fresh wound on his face, obviously from a graze by a laser weapon. "Yeah, What gives you guys the reight to come on through?" He added, mimicking his subordinate and making sure his Captain's bars were visible.

His gaze shifted from a friendly one to a threatening one. He was not going to put up with this schoolyard bullshit. "You're shitting me, right? Threatening a senior officer and barring him from his own shore leave? Are you sure you want to f&#* with me? I was a member of CIU 215, the team that spearheaded the recovery of the Jupiter-class ship on the planet's surface. I have twenty confirmed kills from the last battle alone, and I was the first to discover a new enemy species. I'm head of the Demolitions Department, I'm always armed, and I'm a Lieutenant." He held up the fatigue jacket he had been carrying over his shoulder, displaying the Lieutenant patch. "So this is how it works: You step out of the way politely, I pull rank and you move out of the way, or I have you both put in the brig for impeding the work of a superior officer. Pick one, I'm not fussy."

Dante kept him mouth shut as he watched Garrett hammer the two men without lifting a finger. I'm starting to like him more and more. He's a lifesaver, smartass, and can deal with two dicks without getting court marshaled. What else can he do? Drink his weight in whiskey and not pass out? His amazement or amusement didn't show: just an annoyed look on his face.

Sehene smiled, had to start somewhere at 'making friends'. She grinned at this last thought, the felt like the kid in a schoolyard, the one who asked the others to 'be friends'. "Which would you two rather do? I personally would do anything, except maybe the tour of the ship. Bulkheads and weaponry can get tiring after awhile. We should do something that helps us forget..." She looked from one to the other, not sure who would speak first.

"Uhh... Shit" was all the response Fred could manage before going into a little private discussion with his buddy. After a few furtive looks and quite a bit of whispering, Fred turned back to them, an angry look on his face. "Fine. You can go, but you better not pull any shit or I'll see about gettin' you demoted, ya hear? Zus and I here are in charge a security for this section a' the station, So anything goes wrong and we're pinnin' it on you. Mister Lieutennant. Begrudgingly, the two men held back the rope and let the Marines from SS 215 through, before quickly closing it again, to the groans of a large number of bridge crew whom had wanted to get to the bar. A few, outraged, just left for Pattel's on the Hymn, sure the lines were long there, too, but at least they MOVED.

Dante walked in and continued the conversation as if nothing had ever happened: “I guess that was the wrong question to ask.” He rubbed the back of his head, “You know our jobs have a lot in common with each other. We need to be smart, work with dangerous material, and are placed to support our squard.” As Dante got up to the bar he asked the bartender what he had.

Kai turned to Clarissa, Looking at the Sniper. It seemed the choice was up to her and so, He waited, wondering what she felt like doing.

Frank stood and listened quietly, smiling faintly as she went on. "Thank you again.". He sounded a bit nervous. "I can show you around the ship. I know it very well. See, a weapon specialist is not what most people think. A weapon specialist works with starship weapons, like the Solaris cannons. It's kind of like being both an engineer and bridge crew." Frank's voice brightened when he started talking about starship weapons.
"It takes many years of training in starship weapon logistics and maintenance to become one. It's not so much demanding physically, but mentally. I guess that is why there are not to many weapon specialists." Frank scratched his hair a little and looked down at the ground.
"I could go on forever, but I am sure you just want to know where the 'racks are."

"I was actually feeling partial to getting a drink and get to know the people I would be serving with. But then again the lieutennant is underage, so anywhere you marines hang out and socialize is just fine by me," Clarissa said looking back at Kai. "Um, I am sorry that doesn't really help narrow down our choices does it?"

Kai chuckled, Standing up and pushing his chair in. "I guess you guys can just follow me. We can get something to drink from one of the Vendies near the Galley then head to my quarters, I have some puzzle games that should let us forget about war, This one ancient one called Tetris really amuses me at times" The Lieutennant said, walking out the door in the direction of the elevators, The Galley was a couple floors up, and then his quarters several more from there.

To speak to another person that likely knew little or nothing about her...It made Cibo happy again. Very obviously; she was not as happy as she used to be, but happy nonetheless. She sounded happy, and was even starting to look happy; for a moment, people were suddenly not repelled by her presence. After all the things Cibo had been through and done, perhaps starting over again was a good thing; "Oh, it's no big deal. Nobody got hurt or lost an eyeball or anything at all!" she spoke honestly. Exited, her happy rambling continued, "Yeah; I'd like to go to drop off my stuff at the barracks and then maybe look around. Hell, I'd like something to drink! Oh, silly me; I forgot to introduce myself. My name's Cibo Malinowski!" suddenly, her voice turned dark and serious again, "You haven't heard of me, have you?"

Clarissa followed swiftly after Kai. "I apologize if this is putting a burden on you Sir," she said as she came up beside him. All the while she wondered to herself what Steven was doing right now. From that she also realized that she had never actually been able to sit down and talk with Steven alone. It was odd how she felt so attached to him and yet she didn't even know what he did for fun. She also hoped that her time would be well spent so that she did not regret not choosing to spend time with Steven.

Garrett didn't continue walking, however. No, instead he turned around and faced the two grudging soldiers, beaming death straight from his irises. "I understand the need for security around a bar when it's chock full of Marines, but I don't see why you have to keep all of those men and women who just fought through one of the most epic planetside battles in the history of Terra out of the bar when all they want is a little R&R. Maybe you could explain that to me as well." These men had outright verbally challenged him, whether they knew it or not, and pushed Garrett to the brink of his breaking point. He was about to have both of them removed from their post so that the job could be done properly by soldiers that weren't in the job to make others miserable.

Oh, he was so very, very close to decking both of them...

Arcadia sighed. "Please be a dear and do just that because I'd really not like to waste shore leave on a med bay cot, staring at fluorescent lights until I go blind, sir."

"Not at all" Kai responded, looking back at Clarissa just before stepping into the lift. "It's been a while since i've just hung out with people. It's always something military going on, So a break will be real nice." He chuckled a little, waiting for the two women to follow him in the elevator before pressing the appropriate button.

***

"Well, SIR" Fred replied, accentuating the 'Sir' "These are all Deck hands, They didn't do shit in the ground battle, so they don't get the good stuff" While what he said was mostly true, Fred was holding back that everyonbe was Allowed through, it was just that those whom hadn't participated in the battle had to pay. Fred thought he was doing them a favor by not letting them in to waste money, but he was really annoying some of the crew, many of whome were officianados.

***

Before the weapon specialist could answer, the Elavator that Frank and Cibo were on stupped, depositing them on the proper floor. Near the end of the hallway to their right could be seen a Mostly average (beside some 'gifts') Woman, with brown hair and bright blue eyes that almost seemed to be glowing. She sported an Admiral's uniform, although the manner in which she carried herself was not much like one would expect from an admiral. In any case, She perked up a little at the sight of the new crewmembers, as if excited.

"I will sure do my best, but some of these medtechs could make a drathonian's grandfather tuck tail," Steven said as he stood up from the chair. "Okay, the chief-of-staff here usually hangs out in the back..."
He searched around for a few minutes before finding who he was looking for. The head doctor was a tall, thin old woman who looked as if she had just tasted something bitter.
"Excuse me," Steven said as he walked up her.
"Yes, what can I...Ah, if it isn't Mister Kerning. What do you need?" she said with a scowl.
"Um, oh yeah. I wanted to speak with you about some of my men who are in here. P3C Emma Thompson and P1C Arcadia Langdon. The two of them are physically healthy and are only in here to monitor their stress levels. Well, seeing as how we are currently on shore leave, I believe that it would be sufficiant if I watch them." Steven said trying hard to sound sure of himself.
"Very well." she replied in a monotonous tone.
"But you see...wait, they can go?"
"That is what I said, correct."
"That is it?"
"Yes. Now if you would mind not wasting anymore of my time, I can go get the release forms and get back to work."
With that she walked off towards the medtechs' workstations that acted as an office.
"Sign these." she said in a sour tone.
Steven quickly signed the sheets that said that Steven, as CO of the two pilots, was pulling them out of the medbay.
Steven wasted no time walking back to Arcadia's cot, desperate to get away from that old woman.
"You and Emma are clear to leave. So instead of being stuck in here, I will be the one evaluating your mental stability," Steven told Arcadia as he sat back down in his chair

From her bed in the Med bay, Emma could hear talking that sounded like some of her squadronmates, but she wasn't entirely sure. It didn't matter; she was probably stuck here for a while anyway. She wasn't suprised no one had come to visit her, she'd only been on the ship long enough to meet her commander before being sent into combat. The young girl Stretched where she lay, a few joints popping a little as she did so. This wasn't so bad, and maybe she'd be closer to the Average age of a soldier by the time she got off Psych leave, all the better since it would mean she's less likely to snap again.

Steven had just reclined back in his chair when he sat up straight again and snapped his fingers. "I gotta go get Emma, I will meet up with you guys as soon as I find her," he said as he stood up once more. Once again he began searching the rows for Emma. It wasn't long before he located her, and even as he walked up to her he found himself wondering once more what the galaxy was coming to when it made children not even out of puberty yet fight a war. He found himself wishing anew for the end of this war, but he brushed the thought away as he reached the bed and pulled up a chair next to it.
"How ya doing kid?" he asked as he tried to get comfortable.

"Thank the stars," Arcadia muttered, standing up to stretch. "I'm headed to the hangar, sir; they've assigned me a new ship, and it needs my final touches. Only thing worse than an ugly man is an ugly ship. If you need me, you know where to find me." She smirked and then headed for the door, giving a small wave.

In the hangar, she found a very bored looking officer and figured him to be in charge. She was correct, and the man was able to point out which standard-gray Scimitar was hers. She acquired paint paraphernalia. Soon after she was atop the fighter applying the base layer of black paint, a coffee cup resting nearby, simmering.

"I know for a fact everyone in that line is on shore leave, which means everyone is allowed in here. So don't start feeding me your lies, and do not start trying to feed me that attitude. I don't give a damn whether or not you like or job or you like me, you do your job and you obey orders like a Marine should!" He pointed at the line. "You start letting people through or I'll find a proper replacement to run the security around here."

Sehene stood up and followed, adjusting her shirt before focusing on smiling politely at those walking past, and shuffling herself into the lift next to the other two.


Frank continued carrying about in the same manner. Seemingly unaffected at her attempts at humor. In fact, he completely missed the part about people loosing eyeballs, taking that seriously. He doesn't get around much. "No, I haven't heard of you. Should I have?" Frank looked pretty oblivious. In reality though, he had no reason to in his line of work.

When Cibo was an Intelligence Agent Captain, she heard rumors and stories about keeping the Battle Hymn's ASIAN unit a secret. Cibo had even seen cost and 'human resource' estimates for keeping the thing under wraps from the Drathonians. She even heard rumors of Intelligence Agents being sent into Republic ship wreaks to destroy pinups of the 'ASIAN' unit. Whether or not the rumors were true or if It was kept a secret from the lizard scum, she didn't know. Despite this, Cibo heard enough to know It was likely going to be a nightmare for any Intel. Agent. First of all, It was known to be a know-it-all at times. Second...in truth, there was no second reason. For any person who's sole purpose was to obtain and protect information, It would likely be a handful, to say the least, to deal with. Would it belittle all the hard work Intel. Agent's die for and claim it had already guessed as much? Or would it keep it's mouth shut concerning secrets? Cibo heard people telling each other that It acted like any other 20 year old girl; did that mean it blathered and gossiped? Or was It the responsible type? Either way, Cibo knew this was all conjecture, rumor and story; what mattered was that It had quirky blue eyes and a special size that Cibo occasionally envied deep down and especially in certain circumstances. A person that fit all the criteria was standing right in front of them in an Admiral's uniform. Worst yet; It knew. It simply KNEW everything about Cibo...or did It even bother to know? If It decided to peel back all the protective layers that being a private and starting over on a new ship afforded, than what was the point in continuing to work hard and believing she could be a Captain again? It looked at them all and perked up; "Did It come, just to do this to me?" Cibo thought. Apparently, the sudden return of Cibo's dark mood at the previous sentence at Frank was merely a foreshadowing. "No." she whispered to herself, not really hearing what Frank had said. If It was going to tear Cibo's heart apart, even after all the humiliation she had endured....she was going to face it head on.

"Atten-Shun! Admirlal on deck!" she spoke.

Frank wasn't paying that much attention. He was facing the other way, and did not bother turning around even when the elevator arrived at their floor. It wasn't until Chibo noted that an admiral was standing there, did Frank stand at attention. He quickly stood at attention, facing in the wrong direction for a moment before turning around to face the Admiral.

Rather than continue arguing, Fred decided to make his life easier for the moment, and decided "Yannow what? F*** it, Just let em through, though I doubt any of 'em can afford the stuff, It's only free to marines, so these guys gotta pay out the wazoo. I WAS trying to save 'em from that but someone had to be mister hero. Fine." He then removed the rope, before asking "Go through in an orderly fashion or the CS grenades start flying, ya hear?" He stepped aside and weathered many angry looks from the people in the line, after finally getting to go through.

***

"At Ease, You're on leave" Evelyn responded to Cibo's sudden announcement that the Avatar/Admiral was there. She turned more towards the group and bowed "I actually wanted to join you on leave, and Associate with the crew." She finished, looking thoughtful, as she had just realized that she would stand out unless she had something other than an admiral's uniform on, but the ASIAN unit had no clothes other than her several admiral's uniforms.

***

"Hm? Me? I'm doing fine, This bed is rather comfy" the young Pilot responded, turning her head to Steven and cracking an eye or two open to look at him "What are you doing here? Aren't you mad at me, I did disobey a direct order. Never would have thought I could the way I always listened to my brother" She smiled at him, looking none too bathered regardless.

***

The elevator dinged, dropping them off at the neares mess hall within the Hymn, Where there was a row of vending machines outside the door. He went up to one and entered a few digits, and out dropped a few Orange Sodas "If you girl's want anything, now's the time to get it. My Quarters are on the opposide side of the ship and four floors up"

"Hmm..." Sehene paused, and settled on a regular Soda, grinning and popping it open with a fizz.

Raji silently leaned against the wall until Arcadia left. She was a little surprised at herself for not saying a damn thing. At a loss for having anything to do, she headed off for her quarters. Coming up a lift with a crowd of other transfers, she stepped out to find herself face-to-face with the admiral of the fleet. Shit damn! The girl looked more like she was in a cosplay than the military. Her age definitely suggested the former, and so did her bust. But, hey, if she was the admiral of the flagship battlegroup of the entire Terran Armada, she must've had more than just looks to get her there. The crowd kind of stood in silent confusion for a moment, which Raji used to step forward. "You're more than welcome to join me, ma'am," she said, giving a bit of a bow for lack of anything else to do.

---

And Jack was off in his angst corner reading his emo book, desperately wishing a Drathonian would wander by for him to brutally mutilate.

"*sigh* That is one of the things I am here to talk to you about. First things first though, you can save your excuses and your explainations, I don't want to hear them. I am only mad at the choice you made, not you personally. Emma, that move of yours could of gotten you killed, and I have lost to many good pilots to go losing a...a child." Steven said as he leaned forward in his chair. He let out another heavy sigh. "Now, I have arranged so that you can leave medbay whenever you like. You are still on a temporary leave of absense mind you, but it will be me keeping an eye on you instead of these medtechs. So putting this matter aside for a moment, you are still a member of my squadron and I will do everything I can to get you flying again A.S.A.P."

Evelyn returned the bow, Databases telling that several old earth cultures used bowing as a sign of respect. "Thank you. Anyone else care to join us? I need to find something fun to do, but I don't really know what fun is aside from destroying Drathonians" She looked about the rest of the group, mostly wide-eyed at the admiral, and focused on Cibo, the only one who had actually realized just who Evelyn was.

***

"Well," Emma started, Slowly sitting up and stretching a little, blinking at Steven a few times "It seemed right at the time, and I DID end up downing several enemies that might have shot at Arcadia's descent. But I do know I disobeyed, and I'll take the consequences. I figure I'm too young anyway and I know I'm a good enough pilot to be an asset when i'm a bit older" She shrugged, not looking at all upset. She still had a kind of smile, though it was small. The maturity gained from growing up constantly on the run showed in her eyes, but her emotions would say otherwise. She was a Loose cannon when she snapped, but Snapping didn't happen very often, although occasional bouts of childishness and hyperactivity did assault the girl's psyche from time to time.

Dante looked at the bartender and asked for a scotch on the rocks and a straight whiskey for Garrett. The Bartender asked for this rank and unit and Dante gave the information easily. The bartender laughed and said, “It's rare for an engineer to be out in combat. How many you kill?” Dante replied, “A dozen or so. They didn't have me fight a lot but more for hacking this ship and getting the drinks. Reclaiming terran tech might have been a side goal.” The bartender gave a laugh and said, ”Well I thank you for fighting for the alcohol. I'll get you your drinks in a minute.” Dante watched as Garrett continued hammering on the doormen. The bartender came back and put two drinks down and asked, “What is up with him?” Dante replied, “They pissed him off.” He looked over and saw the drinks next to him. “Thank you.”

"And that is just where I am coming from. You are good, could be better, but the point is you are still young. And it is exactly that reason that I want to make sure you have the opprotunity to show me and everyone else in this navy what you can really do. You can still be an ace pilot, and I would never be able to forgive myself if you got injured, or worse, while under my command." Steven replied solemnly. "You remind me alot of myself when I was in flight school, except that I wasn't as hyper active. And I wouldn't be half the pilot I am today if not for the steady and guiding hands of my teachers. So if need be I will pay it forward by doing the same for you."

What the A.S.I.A.N. unit said completely disarmed Cibo. It admitted It knew little of being human. Not knowing what was fun; that lack of...humanity made this unit potentially dangerous to the utmost in potency. What if It decided cutting up people was fun? What if It did just that, just like Cibo did? That thought sent shivers down Cibo's spine, yet....On the other hand, It was trying to remedy this problem. Plus, this unit did say that killing Drathonians was fun. All this, and Cibo's previous sentiments about It washed and swirled about in her mind; It looked straight at Cibo and both their piercing blue eyes connected. "What will you to to me? To us? We're practically in your hands..." she thought. Next Cibo asked, "What would you do sis?" She quickly made up her mind; "I'm definitely in. What about you Frank? You game?" she spoke, and gently nudged him with her elbow. This time, she decided to take a leap of faith; either way, what happened to Cibo was in It's hands, and there was nothing Cibo could do. Without moving her lips, Cibo subvocalized; "I'm not sure what's fun anymore..."

"So I'll trust you wont crush me. I'll trust you. This time."

Garrett smirked at the small personal victory. "Let them decide what is and isn't worth their hard-earned money, soldier." Then he returned to Dante's side at the counter and found a bottle of whiskey awaiting his attention. The smirk spread to a grin. "You seem to know my taste a little too well, but unfortunately I'm not in the mood for whiskey. I'm feeling a rum and coke at the moment." And when the tender came by, he asked for just that. When it arrived, he took two large gulps.

"If you're ever looking to get thrashed really fast without choking on the taste of whiskey or everclear, mix your alcohol with an energy drink. Shoots it straight to your blood stream quick as an arrow." He smirked. "I only tell you this because you don't look like much of a drinker. Am I right? You a lightweight?"

Dante smirked at the comment as a small chuckled escaped his lips. “Lightweight? I've been drinking since thirteen. I've out drank guys bigger then Thomas; however, I didn't know about the energy drink. Thanks for the tip. As for the whiskey, you don't look like someone who likes fruity drinks. Not many choices after you take that out.” Dante took a gulp of his scotch. “Oh. I got word that the papers are finalized. You are the official discoverer of the Sandfrogs congrats. I don't think frizzards would have been a good name for the little bastards.”

"Mm. I don't see that happening any time soon, engy." He tucked the whiskey bottle in his jacket and took a gulp from his rum and coke. "Save that for later." He sighed. "Really? I was hoping otherwise, because if some kid comes running up to me, shouting about how I'm some great explorer, I will deck him."

Dante laughed and said, “I guess in his defense he didn't drink much at all.” He grinned as Garrett threaten every person avid in animal biology and took another glup. “Don't worry you'll be decking old men before you will kids. Besides, it takes a few years for stuff like that to catch on. Someone's got to watch there environment and what not, get close, and not get killed. Then he'll thank you in a long speech after his research is published.”

"All I'm saying is that the only way you're ever drinking my hefty ass under the table is if I put a bullet to my head before you pass out, and I'm not one for suicide; except for my work. Handling those compounds is always a risky business." He smirked. "Perhaps I am a tad suicidal." The glass was empty and he tapped it on the counter twice. "S'pose it depends on how you look at it. Thanks." He gave a nod of acknowledgment to the bartender and took a sip of the freshly poured soda-alcohol mixture. "Just putting it out there. You don't f#&* with demos. We're badasses by nature, and any one of my boys could put you on the floor before you knew a fight had started. Comes with the territory. If you ever get bored of your little devices, by all means let me know. I'm always looking for fresh meat willing to risk its own backside." As he spoke, he would break between every sentence or other to take a drink.

Evelyn's eyes lit up (literally as well as figuratively, the fact that people wanted to do things with her excited the ASIAN, making her Cybernetic eyes run at a higher performance level momentarily) Her face perked up a little bit, and, while slightly exagerrated (A small slip in coding that was to minor to need manual fixing) it managed to show her emotions well. Something inside the Avatar's head clicked as well, she noted that the emotions really did work and that their effects were beneficial, at least in this case. "What would you like to do? I can get us permission to do just about anything on the ship, if you need." Evelyn continued smiling, glad that she could be of some use other than killing.

***
"Well, i'm only hyperactive some of the time" Emma said, seemingly egnoring the difficult issues while actually taking them all in. She knew that by keeping good spirits she could keep away stress, lonliness, and despair. So she always had hope, and now was one of those times her hope had paid off. "Why are you so worried about me?" she asked, suddenly, after a few moments of silence. the last person who truly worried about her was her brother, years ago.

For a couple of moments it seemed to Frank that he was getting the orders he was waiting for. Sadly for him, it was not so. Instead the admiral wanted to well, hang out. 'Why would an admiral want to chill with some fresh meat?' Frank stood there just staring blankly at the admiral. 'Jeeze, she looks like something you would see on a calendar. In fact, haven't I seen her on a calendar? Eh, I can't remember. Regardless it's extremely hard to beleive that some one this young is an admiral.'

Chibo managed to grab Frank's attention by nudging him. "Oh what?" He had to think for a second. "Uh, I guess so. I am not really a fun person to be around, but if you want to..."

Raji's eyes gave a hint of a malevolent twinkle at the word 'anything.' There were so many possibilities, she couldn't even begin to think of what to do. Of course, Raji being her #^$@& self, she thought of the straightforward question. "Can we see how huge your quarters are?" she said with a look of feigned innocence.

Dante tried to take another gulp of his scotch but to no avail. He double tapped to bar to get another. While waiting Garrett gave an offer, whether serious or not, that intrigued Dante. “Well I don't doubt you on your department's skill in a brawl. After seeing you in combat, it wouldn't surprise me that there would be a lot more like you in the demo department; However, I like your offer and I must say I may take you up on that.“ Dante's drink arrived and noticed that the bartender was slowing as more of the bridge crew were ordering. “Thanks,” Dante said to the bartender. He took a sip of it and then continued, “I like the idea and working in a field similar to my own. It would be a nice experience, plus, if you go down, then someone would be able to blow shit up in your stead.” Dante took another sip larger then the last. “That is if you don't use everything up trying to take as many lizards as possible.”

"Why? I guess my biggest reason is that the very thought of a sixteen year old having to fight a war is just, well, wrong. That and I am the type of leader who thinks of his squad as a family thus deaths weigh heavily on my mind, and I can't begin to imagine how I would feel if I lost anyone around your age." Steven said with a heavy sigh as he slouched in his chair.

Garrett chuckled. "Although if you do end up in my department, and by that I mean primarily working with explosives, then you'd definitely be transferred to another squad, and that's not particularly something I'd suggest. However, if you want a little training on the side, I always have free time when we're back on the ship. Leading a department like mine means very little paperwork or busy time. It's quite relaxing." He finished off the second glass and gave another double-tap as the tender passed. When their eyes met, he said, "When you get a chance."

Simply put, Cibo's mind flipped from angry and paranoid, to something else.

It's eyes lit up, and she heard Frank speak, and replied quickly. "I guess I'll take that as a 'yes' then." And the next thing she knew, the A.S.I.A.N. unit's words settled in, "Oh! Anything admiral? Sounds great!" Cibo spoke sweetly, and then said in a well meaning tone, "Actually, no offense, but I'm not entirely sure it's a good idea to say 'anything' and I'd rather not find out a marine's definition of 'anything' anytime soon." she poked. "Lets just stay legit, and sit down, grab a few drinks and stuff." Cibo mused on, "Eh...you have any idea where us noobs can get a drink? I'm sure Frank here knows, but you probably know better than all of us!"

Then, from happy and bubbly, to something else again.

"I was a captain once, and I've heard rumors....but how old is she? Anything, she says?" she thought, keeping her emotions and musings from showing. "Who in the right mind give's the &$%@ing flagship over to someone this naive?!" she shouted out in her head. "Hold on...she said 'Just About Anything', not Anything..."

And her mind flipped yet again...

"Hey! You probably already know this, but I'm Cibo, and this is Frank!" she cheerily declared.

Dante looked into his scotch for a second, Sorry but i wouldn't like that. My jobs too good for me to up and quit. “Hey, I'm not planing to join your division, just learn more about it.” Dante's head went up and a small smirk on his face. “Besides I don't think command would want someone they 'invited' to partake in the advance engineering school to go run off and join a department that would more then likely kill me.” Dante laughed as he drank the rest of his scotch and ordered another. “Still I'm jealous. I've played lead when the normal head was in sickbay. The work I can stand, it's all the god damn paperwork. You know the lead engineer has the most paperwork besides the admiral? We got to set budgets reports and part requests, full reports on who smashed this and who dented that. Then you get some dumbass who can't read a simple manual and needs to get reprimanded for not following orders.” Dante's drink arrived and he took a hardy gulp of it. “Sorry for the rant. Got a little over myself.”

Garrett just shrugged and smirked. "Not a big deal. Life's a bitch, so we like to bitch about it." And then his third glass was empty. He didn't bother asking for a refill; he'd let the man behind the counter fill it when he had time now that the room was starting to get really crowded.

"Yeah, drinks..." Raji muttered in reply to Cibo, "That sounds fine, too..." She paused, looking at the other woman with a bit of contempt before continuing. "The good bars are dock-side. Of course, it being nearly noon, the marines have probably drunk the place dry." The bitter tone was somewhat due to the impression that Cibo was some stupid meatsack marine.

Evelyn simply stood by and watched the interactions, cataloguing what everyone did and seeing which behaviors would suit her needs best, she noted strange looks in the eyess of the other women; as if they were afraid or hated something, or so some datafiles would lead the ASIAN unit to believe. When they mentioned drinks, and the fact that drinks had probably run dry, Evelyn Tapped into the Hymn's data networks, through the cables to the station, and located an unused stock of hard drinks. " I know where we can get some drinks" She said, bouncing a little (To the joy of all nearby males) And turning on her heel, looking backwards expectantly at the group of people. Several of the new crew had already left, interested only in getting some extra shuteye.

***

"Heh. You should have seen me before. In case you didn't know, I grew up on an occupied planet, living in the wilderness. The military is Tame compared to that life." Emma said, sticking her tongue out and making a face at Steven, probably just making him think she was less mature than she actually was. A few seconds later, however, she toned it down, and the melancholy in her voice was obvious as he muttered "I know what it's like to lose family. Imagine Being seven and holdign your brother in your arms, completely unable to help him as his life drains away." Emma managed to hold herself together, but when she looked back up to Steven, the tears on the edges of her eyes were obvious. "That's why I want to fight, now, as soon as I can, To make sure nobody else has to feel my pain. The pain that nobody is supposed to know about, because I'm happy right?" Emma smiled, bright as the sun, but her tears weren't hidden. Still, she kept her cool.

***

Seeing that the women had gotten what they wanted, Kai next made his way to his quarters, and, opening his doors, let the women in first. Strewn about the ground were a number of plastic boxes and strangely shaped objects that were the controllers. He pressed a button on what seemed to be a black picture and a screen popped up, it was currently Blue and read "No Signal." Kai fumbled around for a few moments, grabbing up a large number of cable ends "So, What kind of video games do you ladies Prefer?" he asked, waving the bundle in a way that was supposedly enticing.

Steven let out another one of his heavy sighs that seemed to be coming more frequently now-a-days. He then reached into the pocket on the inside of his jacket and produced a faded green handkerchief and handed it to Emma. "That seems to be a common trend as of late. Young recruits taking it upon themselves to single-handedly save the galaxy from further oppression. *Laugh* It almost makes me feel selfish when I think that my family died during peacetime when I was very young." he said calmly. Another sigh. "Your dedication is admirable, but it is also foolish. Now don't get me wrong, I am not telling you to give up, in fact quite the opposite. What I do want you to realize though is that no single person is able to rid the galaxy of pain, and you will do nothing but work yourself to death trying to accomplish it and if you ask me that is a blatant waste of your potential."

"Well actually..." Frank started talking though his voice started trailing off and getting quieter as he progressed. "I don't really like alcohol. It clouds your judgment. Also drunk people are obnoxious."

He looked up and his volume returned momentarily. "Any way, the marines just came back from combat and are on shore leave. All the marines have probably drank everything. Marines on shore leave are already obnoxious enough, could you imagine all of them drunk?" While all Frank said was true, what he was also trying to hide is that ten year old girls could possibly hold their liquor better than him, and most people don't like him drunk...

"It's not that I don't enjoy your company, or that of the admiral's, it's just that this doesn't seem like fun."

"But, but!" Cibo stuttered and stepped a little closer to Frank. "I like marines! They've always helped me out lots and they're always fun to joke with and blow stuff up with! It'll be fun Hank!" and at that, she drew her breath in sharply and covered her mouth. As her eyes just started to tear, she spoke, "Excuse me, I gotta put my stuff away." and scurried into the woman's barracks. Cibo picked out an empty bunk in an instant, and as begun to stuff her bag away, her mind flipped like a coin. "Why? I haven't remembered my brother Hank for a long time, and now..." she moped. Slowly, like a hand reaching down and gently turning a dice to another side, another chain of thought started,
"Because. Because Frank's a lot like bro. He didn't like to drink either; he was...reserved, but still talked sometimes and went with his friends and I came with him too. And then I met Him." As her forehead rested against the cool metal wall, her features shielded by silvering raven hair, Cibo sweetly smiled. Then, a fist came down on the table and shook the dice over; she was angry and sullen again.

Evelyn was confused when Cibo suddenly bolted, this was something she had no experience with; She didn't have much in the way of memories, being all of a month and a half old, she couldn't connect things, she couldn't be affected now by something that had hppened to her in the past. It was totally alien territory. And while Evelyn could connect the dots, seeing as she had all the official dots within easy access, She did not know what the connections meant really. This distressed Evelyn slightly, So she shunted it away for a moment and looked at Frank "Ummm...." She said, sounding a bit uncertain "What do you like to do?" She asked, sounding nervous. She knew the answer to the question, obviously, but felt it might be useful to get it from the source, hear it from his perspective.

***

Near the Hymn, The Saratar station suddenly recieved it's second 'Patient' since being retaken by the Terrans; An extremely battle damaged Pluto-class missile boat that had previously been pitch black, but was now covered in colors ranging from black to Terran Grey to an odd Green and even several Blood Red panels that were obviously Drathonian in origin. A docking arm extented to it's dorsal Airlock after it had been place on the floor with a thud (That could be felt by anyone on the station) And soon was being evacuated and worked on. A Small group of battered looking people, mostly in officer's uniforms, were ushered through the station and accross walkway inot the Battle Hymn's Medical bay. A very bored looking Humanoid with sky blue hair and odd looking eyes followed the group, obvious sounds of strained servomotors heard with each step. Placed in the med bay, this group was soon being fussily looked over by the Medical crew, as they were currently the most urgent cases to be placed in the Hymn's Med bay. Most of them tried fighting back, refusing medical attention for some strange reason. All the figures wore black variants of the Terran Uniform, with a Ship's patch reading "Cobalt Sky" on their sleeves.

***

Emma took the handkerchief, with a quick "Thank You" but only held it, opting rather to wipe her eyes out with her wrists; she didn't want to mess up what appeared to be something of some form of importance to her CO. "What do I do then?" She asked, fully composed now.

Franks mind was wandering, vexed on his own thoughts completely missing almost everything Cibo was saying. He didn't even notice when she left.
'Jeez, they are really putting me on the spot here. I would love to hang around, but I feel I have more important things to do here. I should just tell the admiral that I am busy.'

Frank was surprised, and caught off guard when Evelyn spoke directly to Frank. "Um... Well you see mam, I just got here. I really just want to settle in a bit, and maybe possible start getting ready to do my job. But that is not to say that I would not enjoy your company. It's just that I want to get settled in..."
Frank sounded very sincere and nervous at the same time. It made him seem very awkward, which he is. "Again, I am very sorry, but I want to settle in. I think I am going to go now." With that said, Frank nervously retreated to the males barracks and looked for an empty bunk. The second he found one he just sat his bag on the bed and stared at it for a little. He didn't really have anything to unpack...

"I could go back now... I think I will stay here though." Frank sat on the bed right next to where he set the bag.

Steven somply sat in his chair thinking for a few moments. "One of my old mentors back when I was at the academy, he was a good man and I pray every night that he is resting in peace. Well he once told me this: It is not the enigines of your fighter that will get you off this ground and into space, but instead it will be the inspiration that makes you flip the ignition switch. And that is all he said on the matter before telling me to hop into the cockpit of my very first Delta Dagger. From what I gathered he was telling me that I am the only who could tell myself why to fly." Steven said looking of towards the far wall of the medbay. After a moments pause he continued. "As such, only you can decide what will drive you; whether it be a goal, a memory, or maybe even spite. All I can do is do my best to support you and the rest of Green Squadron so long as I am able.

Garrett wasn't really in the mood to keep waiting for refills, so he chugged his next glass then stood up with a deep breath and then a small groan. "Alright, well this place is too busy for my liking; Me and this lovely bottle of whiskey are headed up to find something more interesting; maybe the hangar or back to the explosives testing corridor. Welcome to join me." As he walked, he seemed to have something of a swagger instead of the typical stagger most people suffered while intoxicated. There was a gentle sway to his entire body as he walked that you seemed to sense more than actually see. As he walked out the doorway, he raised an arm and shouted, "Enjoy!" A chorus of shouts replied joyously, and Garrett was pretty sure he heard someone fall off their chair. He chuckled to himself at the thought and headed up the elevators.

Wandering the halls, the Demoman came across Evelyn and a quickly retreating Frank. Unfortunately for the slightly more boisterous Lieutenant, the Admiral's back was to him, so when he came up and put an arm around her shoulders, he didn't recognize her and his eyes were following the distant figure of Frank.

"It's okay, my lady friend," he muttered. "If the mister walking away can't handle it, I can take care of you this fine evening." He was smirking when he moved his gaze toward her. It was when he saw her face that he recognized her. Well ain't life a bitch? He laughed and let go of the Admiral. "I'm sorry, ma'am, I didn't recognize. No offense, right?" He had his hands up to other side, a gesture of harmlessness, still smirking. "But the offer still stands, if you like." What little part of Hendlow's brain was functioning logically was praying that shore leave and alcohol would be enough to have the Admiral excuse his behavior. However, the Lieutenant didn't really hear much from that bit of his mind because the other 96% was chuckling like a fool and hoping she'd say yes. It'd certainly make shore leave that much more interesting.

Dante was finishing his third scotch and Garrett got ready to take his leave. Dante said, “Sure I'll catch up in a minute.” He asked the bartender for an bottle of wine and placed a 20 on the table as a tip. The bartender saw this and delivered the bottle quick. As he attemped to open it Dante shook his head and rose from the bar. He could here Garrett's “Enjoy” as he turned around and tucked the bottle under his jacket right after looking at the label. Nice, Bartender gave me a 50 year old wine. This would be great to ship to Chaos

Dante saw the Garrett as he turned the corner and walked as he was as normal as he could. Unlike Garrett, Dante had a good portion brain working well and almost died as he saw Garrett hitting on the admiral. Oh god. Maybe I should have tried to stop him but this is just going to be a great show. Maybe some coffee would help him after the court-marshal. Oh well I hope he knows what he's doing

Emma just kinda giggled, Beaming at Steven and poking him "You're silly. What are we gonna do now though? You said something about having to watch me; I'm sure you don't want to just sit here for however long shoreleave is." The young girl then stood up, planting her hands on her hips and hovering over her CO. "Well?"

***

Evelyn watched, puzzled as Frank walked away, only seeing Raji left, before she noted two figures walking towards her, several Meters apart. Quickly getting a camera feed, she Identified the nearer figure as one she had met before, One Lieutennant Hendlow. She remained still, not threatened by him, though she could sense the alcohol in his blood, he was inebriated, just barely. After his coming-ons (Which the Avatar didn't understand) and then apologies, She turned to the lieutennant and answered, with a slight bounce and a smile "No Problem, Lieutennant, I was actually just looking for something to do. I Heard that there was another ship in the docking bay getting repaired. I would like to see it, I've been inside the Battle Hymn too long." She smiled at the Demo Expert again, not noticing the Innuendo in his words.

Steven sat back in the seat and put his right arm over the back of his seat. "As for that, yes it is going to be me keeping an eye on you instead of these medtechs, you know, just to make sure you aren't too stressed out. Unfortunatly, you are still on a temporary leave of absence, and since there is little I can do personally about changing that your scimitar is locked in storage. As such you are unable to work on your fighter or practice, and since the higher ups get ancy in their pantsy about soldiers on leave doing anything related to work they wouldn't want you helping me work on my scimitar." Steven said in an obviously lighter tone than before. "It would really be fair to make you sit out and watch. I know! How about we take advantage of this shore leave, get Green Squadron together, and have some good ol' team bonding."

He smiled back, a smile that only graced his features every so often. He didn't think much of the new ship in the docking bay she mentioned, but then again he wasn't concerned about anything in this state of mind. "Well, alright. I've nothing better to do." Because she had seemed unfazed and quite comfortable with his actions, Hendlow draped an arm over her shoulders again and pointed down the hall. "To the docking bay." Then he glanced over his shoulder momentarily. "Are you coming, engy?"

Raji shot a billion angry daggers of DOOOM at the c*(&face that was moving in on her admiral. It was kind of like that 'bitch get off my man' look that black chicks make, only... not. She made sure the only one who got a face-full of it was Garrett. She immediately switched back to a wide, friendly smile. The admiral seemed more impossibly easy than she could imagine. "That sounds like a wonderful idea, Admiral," she said, standing on the other side of Evelyn, as she placed her arm furtively around the girl's waist, bringing her hand to rest just on the edge of her @$$.

"Ooh, Yay!" Evelyn said, leading the two (maybe three) out of the massive battleship and into a nearby docking bay of the enormous orbital drydocks. She didn't understand half of what was going on between Garrett, herself, and Raji, definitely missing any meaning in the placement of Raji's hand.

In the docking bay, the group would be greeted with the (from their perspective) imposing hulk of a heavily damaged Missile boat. Numerous sections of hull plating were warped and melted, many sporting large holes. There was a huge gash in one side of the ship, and the other sported an equally enormous hole, in the top and out the bottom. Currently, it was a beehive of activity, as personnel worked to repair it, Parts and armor plating beginning to show up inside the bay as they worked. Summarily, one of Garrett's men from the demolitions department showed up, looking somewhat concerned "Sir, we have a little bit of a problem that might need your attention, There's several sections where foreign hull plating was attached to the ship, and it needs removal, but the torches don't seem to be working. Any suggestions?"

***

"Sounds like a plan sir!" Emma said, looking somewhat excited. she really hadn't met anybody yet, so this seemed a proper way to do so; in a casual setting.

Cibo laid in her bed, and fought tooth and nail to banish those detestable thoughts; back to the bed. It wasn't the most comfortable of course, but it was by far better than what the Drathonians gave her when she was in their company. On the other hand, it was by far more boring; she didn't get to snoop, steal or slit throats. It had been about two months since she last took anything...special. And she was almost due for the final drug check. "I can't be impatient...not now. Especially not now!" Cibo thought. She got up, and made sure everything she had was tucked away or locked up; she didn't want anyone to find out anything more about her job, or at least, not yet. Shortly after leaving the woman's barracks, she got lost. Cibo ended up embarrassingly asking for directions every few minutes as she made her way to the medical bay of the ship. "I can't imagine what it's going to be like on a ship bigger than this...ok, maybe I can, but still!" she thought again. Shortly after she arrived at the medbay, they administered the drug test, and checked the results; the person that gave the test gave her a thumbs up. It was certain now, she was all clear.

"Now what?"

"In that case I will leave you alone to get ready and we can meet up in the hanger," Steven said as he stood up and stretched. With a quick 'see ya later' he left the med bay and proceeded to the Hymn's hangar. While he was walking it occurred to him that the rest of his pilots may not all be in the hangar, since it was shore leave. He snapped his fingers a minute later as he remembered that he could send messages on his datapad, kind of like how command was giving orders now but aimed at one group of individuals. Pleased with himself, Steven pulled out the datapad and stared at it for a bit, and he remembered that he had very little experience using the device. So he spent the remainder of his walk trying to figure out how to send messages. When he was almost to the hangar he finally figured out how to send a message.
"CAPTAIN KERNING to GREEN SQUADRON: I AM CALLING A MEETING THAT SHALL BEGIN ONCE EVERYONE (physically able to) SHOWS UP. MEETING SHALL BE HELD AT THE GREEN SQUADRON STAGING AREA IN THE HANGAR." Steven typed, and after searching a little longer he managed to find out how to send it to everyone in Green Squadron. He clicked 'SEND' as he walked through the doors into the hangar. Looking down towards the other end of the cavernous bay he found Green Squadron's area, and, to Steven's delight, many of his pilots already there working on their fighter; Steven saw Green Two, Three, Six, and Ten.
"Good, half of them are already here," Steven thought as he made his way over to the rest of his group.

Frank sat up in his bed for a while. 'Well, what do I do now? I am here with no orders. That doesn't mean I can't find something for me to do.' Frank took a deep breath and relaxed a bit. He unzipped his bag and looked through his stuff. All he had was a few uniforms and a pair of civilian clothes.

'That's right, I still need to pick up my equipment. There are several places on the Hymn where my stuff would be. I should start looking now, I can't think of anything better.' Frank stood up and headed out in search of his new gear.

Raji flinched a bit as her pocket started vibrating. She pulled out her data pad with her free hand, looking at the urgent-looking message sent in ALL CAPS. Rolling her eyes, she figured if it was work it could wait until after shore leave. She tapped her reply out with her thumb.

"PFC Sedhik - Indisposed."

As she pocketed the pad, she looked up at the scarred hunk of metal before her. It was a miracle the missile boat was still in (mostly) one piece. The computer core and energy drive must have been the only parts of the ship that hadn't been turned to swiss cheese. "This ship looks like it tried taking Saratar by itself," she intoned.
--
Aurelia spunked into the repair bay of the ship she'd been reassigned to. Or, rather, what was left of it. An irritated grimace darkened her face. Hardly a week on the bridge of the flagship of the armada, and she'd already been dumped off as the com officer of the sorriest little ship she'd ever seen. I wonder whose toes I managed to step on to deserve this. Looking about, she was surprised to see the Admiral standing nearby. "Oh, hello, ma'am!" she said with sudden cheerfulness, wondering in the back of her head why the Indian chick next to Evelyn was shooting her such an acid stare.

Garrett's smirk slowly faded as he began thinking it over. He hadn't yet eroded his logical thinking, but it was definitely being sluggish. Finally, he sighed, realizing there was no way for him to decide if he didn't go have a look. "Well, it seems I can no longer join you on this little escapade, Admiral." He took his arm off Evelyn's shoulders; his gaze was solemn now. "Goodbye, Private." He gave a half-salute to Raji before turning to the Corporal Demolitions Expert. "Show me the foreign plating."

Arcadia had already finished the recoloring and recalibration of her ship by the time Captain Kerning arrived. She was sitting on the nose, heels tucked against her butt, and lounging back against the cockpit window when the message came in. She quickly deleted it, seeing as she was already where she needed to be. In her left hand was that mug of coffee, and it had been refilled recently so that it still eschewed the usual wisp of steam. She took another sip, and as she did so noticed the newly promoted Captain strolling toward the staging area. When he was finally within range, she called out quietly, "Congratulations Captain." It was stated in perhaps a somber or solemn tone; some could confuse it for sarcasm or a satirical tone, and others were certain to be unsure, but she meant it in all honesty. It was an honor to achieve Captain status, especially aboard the Flag Ship of the Terran Space Corps; the cruiser which also happened to be the most active of its class in the entire fleet at the time.

"Goodbye, Lieutennant" Evelyn said before returning Aurelia's introduction with a smile and a nod, waving her over to the small group before answering Raji. "According to logs, this ship was harrassing shipping in the Drathons home space lanes, and was set upon by Twelve Raptor-class ships. I'm suprised the crew wasn't killed. they must be very.. what was it called? Ah! yes, Lucky!" she said, smiling, happy that they had survived. In the logs, Evelyn noticed something else which she had kept to herself; this ship had it's own Avatar, a primitive version of the same technology Evelyn herself was based off of. The Admiral made a note to check on it herself, later.

***

Pretty soon, Frank would come accross a room that stated "Engineering" as it's function. Underneath the bold sign, was a smaller one citing which department of the engineering section it contained. Through sheer dumb luck (or perhaps unconscious memory of the ship's layout) he had stumbled upon the Starship weapons department, exactly where he would need to go if he had an assignment. at the moment, however, there was a paper stuck to the door stating "Specialists who volunteer to help work on the [Cobalt Sky] will recieve a bonus in their next paycheck. come inside to ask for assignments"

***

Emma's pants vibrated a bit, and the girl (whom had been napping on the Med bay's bed again by now) jumped up, grabbing at the angry object and looking at the message. reading it, she giggled; the Captain was terrible at this, obviously. She got up and walked to the hangar, hoping they would let her in. she figured they should since it was authorized by her commanding officer.

***

Almost without warning, two Men, wearing black variants of the standard Terran uniform, came up to Cibo, one grabbing each arm. "Come with us please, Miss Malinowski" they said, not giving any other explanation and leading the probably confused and suprised woman away, and eventually to a meeting room, where she was put in a chair. In front of her was another chair, turned to face away from the front of the room. "So, Malinowski. I'm sure you've been wondering why you were placed on this ship..." it said, with a slight drawl. the voice was female, and had obvious southern origins, but beyond that could not really be identified.

***

The corporal nodded, beckoning Garrett to follow him, Soon, the pair was ascending a ladder to the upper portion of the ship's hull, and before long, they were standing by a large red patch, obviously of Drathonian orign "This one, sir. It's fused with the hull plating in a really wierd way, probably a side affect of Hyperspace. Whatever it is, the holes we cut with the torches close up in a manner of seconds. we managed to attach it to a crane to lift it off, but unless we can cut all the edges at once, it's futile."

"Son of a...well, okay." she said to the two men. Intelligence. she sighed mentally, and shrugged within. The dark sides of life just couldn't be helped; they needed every soul they could get nowadays. In moments she found herself in a meeting room. Even for Intelligence Agents, this definitely wasn't standard procedure; something big was up. A southern woman's voice from the turned around chair asked her something, and Cibo replied obediently, politely, "Yes ma'am."

"You're kidding me, right Corporal? This is fused together." He slapped the foreign metal twice. His mood was quickly souring as he stood gazing at the slab of excess hull. I was going to enjoy a lovely evening with two rather pretty ladies and now this bullshit. He put one hand to his head, trying to think. With his other he punched the metal, sending a shot of pain halfway up his forearm, but he made no reaction. Slowly, he lowered both arms and folded them over his chest. Then he took a deep breath. "Have you tried using any of the lock pastes? Nevermind, if you haven't it won't matter. Too slow." He looked over the length of the fusion, trying to identify weak spots or loose sections, but there weren't any! "Damn it, do you need it removed? If anything, it'll reinforce hull strength along this section. I don't even think attempting to remove it is worth the effort." Despite the question and his suggestion, he knew what the response would be. "I'll be back in three hours. If there aren't eight men armed with torches here when I get back, I'm going to make sure that you end up with some janitorial duty that involves climbing into the waste storage facilities on your hands and knees naked. Do I make myself clear?"

Dante looked at Garrett and then the admiral. You know this can't end well. I should get out of here before she realizes that Garrett is hitting on her. She doesn't know me so we may be able to start over when I'm sober. Dante said, “You know I got things I got to do so I'll catch you later. Tell me when your free for a lesson.” Dante turned to the admiral and saluted: “Ma'am.” With that he left. Dante walked to rec room and sat down to write a letter.

To: Captain John Weller
Location: T.R.S. Chaos
Subject: Thank You
Message: Hey Dad. I Would have waited to message you but there is a lot that has happened since we went our separate ways. I saw my first piece of action, promoted, and was put in a shock squad. Interesting eh? Well they all kinda go hand in hand. While on the transport I was given my first orders: To report for further orders. I was given one of those new guns that they had us train with in the academy and told to find my squad leader on planet side. For a while I couldn’t find him. I wasn't in any danger. I was just to hack the ship we raided. Because of that I was promoted to P1C and placed in shock squad 215. Anyways I'll be sending a little gift. Remember to share.

Your son,
P1C Dante Sol

Dante sealed the letter in an envelope and went to the mail room. When he arrived he asked the P3C that was in charge to package and ship a bottle of wine he had gotten at the bar with his letter. The P3C was going a little slowly and Dante stood in line waiting for the total shipping fee. When he had gotten a charge of $5.63, he paid with six dollars and told the P3C to keep the change. By this time he had gone down to a borderline drunk and decided to try to walk it off until he was at a buzz.

Not too much later, a very revealed Frank found the Weapon Specialists department. 'I had a feeling that it might be in engineering. Glad it was my first stop, I could have been wandering around for a while.'

Frank approached the door and was about to open it when he spotted the letter on the door. He took a step back and read it carefully. 'The Cobalt Sky? Isn't that a Pluto class vessel? I can't remember the last time I have seen one of those. No matter, this job is exactly what I have been looking for.'
Frank opened the door and walked in, a huge grin planted firmly on his face.

Steven gave Arcadia an appreciative nod as he strode into the staging area. He approached his own fighter at an enegetic pace and made there moments later. Passing the ladder he grabbed onto one of the wings of the fighter and hoisted himself up. Leaving his legs hanging over the edge he positioned himself so as to better watch his squad. After a bit more time passed and some more of the squad had arrived Steven took note of the good mood he was in. It was interesting considering how sullen he had been in, but that was in the past and he mentally swept the thought away.
The time came, a few minutes later, when Steven decided that he could get started. He boosted himself up and away from the fighter and landed softly on one foot. He walked to the center of the group of fighters before starting.
"I am grateful that you all decided to come to the meeting, and pleased even more at the fact that four of you were already here working on your fighters. Anyways, to get to the point, I called this meeting for a few reasons. Mainly because I have not yet had the chance to properly introduce the three new pilots who joined our squadron recently, and I also wanted a chance to properly thank all of you for the courage you all showed during our last mission," Steven said in a strong voice.

Emma soon made her own way into the hangar bay, Unaccosted by theAuthorities as she went. She finally managed to make it to the group, and just sort of wandered in, beaming, and sat down in a manner so as to not draw attention away from the captain.

***

"Volunteer?" a gruff voice greeted Frank. It's source was a larger man, wearing a tank top and sporting hairy arms and a cigar (despite the sign mere feet from him, saying 'no smoking') He was behind a counter, and behind him were racks upon racks of tools, gear, datapads, computers, scanners, everything an engineer or weapons specialist could ever want. All frank had to do was ask for what he needed.

***

"Well, You've been placed here to watch the commander, as well as to help coordinate intelligence" The drawl continued, chair still turned away. "We just need you to act as a sort of personal assistant to her for now, keep tabs on her, make sure her decisions mirror those of high command. She's supposed to develop a personality of her own, but we don't want it getting out of hand, you see?" She paused for a moment, perhaps for Cibo to respond. "You will be required to file all your reports in hardcopy; Don't want our little commander to find out. Bring them to this office, once a week, and we hope everything goes smoothly."

***

"Well sir," the corporal tried to explain "This metal is weaker than the Duratanium armor, and we need to get underneath to repair the frame section" He scratched the back of his head "It's also showing some really weird properties, such as the join between this unknown alloy and the Duratanium has become mildly radioactive, and the self-healing issue is a weird bit. In any case, I'll try to get a team of people up here as soon as possible" And with that, the man left Garret, giving the Lieutennant time to inspect the anomaly himself, in more detail.

One of Cibo's eyes winced slightly at the orders. Simply put, she was to babysit this...thing they created. Were the old geezers who built it so incompetent they failed to create a fail-safe? Either way, Cibo knew she had a job to do, and whining like a spoiled little B!@$# wasn't going to help. Her voice shifted into the icy tone of business, "Yes ma'am. I will become her personal assistant and oversee her work." she spoke, making sure to use the word 'her' in speech. "I need to inquire a few details in order for me to carry out my work. I hope I'm not asking too much; we all know there's no place for an officer that asks too much." Cibo paused briefly, perhaps waiting for an answer, and continued, "What would be considered 'out of hand' by High-Comm? And if she does get, as you say, 'out of hand' what are my orders, Ma'am?"

Steven glanced sideways as Emma arrived and sat down. Grinning slightly he noted that everyone except for those in medbay, and one indisposed Raji, had arrived. Clearing his throat he continued speaking. ”Okay, now that we have most everyone here I can move on. For starters, I want to properly introduce the three, two at the moment I guess, new pilots who have come to join Green Squadron. So everybody, I would like to introduce PFC Arcadia Langdon(*he gestures towards Arcadia*), and PTC Emma Thompson(*he gestures towards Emma*), and PFC Raji Sedhik who was unable to show up.
Moving on, I have not yet had the chance to congratulate all of you for your outstanding performance on our last mission. Each and everyone of you made me proud to say that I am your commander. Without you guys I have no doubt in my mind that this offensive would not have ended as well as it did.”
”Nonsense, it wouldn't have ended well if not for some quick thinking on your part, Sir.” Thomas, Green Nine, interrupted. Tom was rocking back and forth as he sat on the wing of his fighter wearing his usual silly grin.
”That may very well be, but what good do strategies do if they fall on the ears of a group of untrained greenhorns? A commander is only as competent as the subordinates who follow him. So do not think otherwise, this victory belongs to the lot of you. Now, anyone else have anything they would like to add?” Steven continued.

Frank was taken by surprise by the man behind the counter.

"Why yes, but first..." Frank stopped speaking for a few moments and examined the room. His eyes first swept over the equipment racks. Everything he needed was here for sure. His eyes then moved over a bit. A sign on the wall caught his attention, it was a no smoking sign and it was probably there for a good reason. The sign brought to Frank's attention the cigar smoke which in turn brought his eyes back to the large man with the cigar.

Frank was about to tell the man that he shouldn't be smoking in this room, but Frank held his tongue. There were more important things that had to be accomplished.
"But first I want some equipment. I need the basic tools of course: An assortment of screwdrivers, some open socket wrenches, a pipe wrench, a drill with assortment of bits, an acetylene welding torch, a fuel tank for the torch, a welding helmet, a large tool box, a tool belt, measuring tape, a small hammer, a rubber mallet, and a pair of thick leather gloves. If you have a back pack to carry some of this stuff in I would really appreciate it." Frank paused for a second.
"Most importantly I need the S.S.W.D.D. It should have my name on it. It should have been set aside for a Frank Lumes."

"uuhhh" the Cigar-chomping man said, turning around and looking for the gear Frank had requested. finding a box with a packaged that had the name "Frank Lumes" written on it, he remembered getting all the gear ready earlier in preparation for the new guy. grabbing the medium-sized box, he hefted it up, placing it on the counter "Here ya go. Everything you need will be in here, just sign this release form and take this timecard" he said, producing said sheets of paper.

***

"Out of hand means if she starts getting too dangerous, or if she gets reckless. It ESPECIALLY means if she starts deliberately doing anything to get Terrans killed, got it sug?" the voice said. "for now I want you to go to the Repair bay of the Station and find her; she should be there watching the Pluto-class get repaired. I will say that she is rather curious for a robot."

***

Emma perked up when Steven mentioned her, smiling and blushing a little, it was hard to believe that she was more than 10 or 12. she listened intently, wondering why he was still proud of her even though she had ignored a direct order. It wasn't something she would question, however, and simply sat there, before suddenly asking "What was the purpose of gethering us all together, exactly, Captain?"

***

Before long, a group of about 15 men with blowtorches came to the fused panel and attempted to cut it off. their efforts were unsuccessful, the cuts simply closing up within seconds of being made, no matter how quickly they tried to cut. Inside, there were a number of structural engineers and technicians trying to figure out what to do with it. finally, they simply went up to Garrett and said "Sir, we need to blow the panel off, or it isn't going to come off. Collateral damage is fine, considering the shape the ship is in, so make sure it's pretty looking."

"The reason, you ask?" Steven said with a rather vacant look on his face. A second or two past before Steven focused again. "The main reason I wanted to have this meeting is just as I said before. I wanted to congratulate all of you for your good work, and also to try and spend a little time together as a group in a non-hostile environment. You know, get to know the people you are trusting your life to.
I mean, aside from Fred here(*he gestures towards Fred*) who has been flying with me since I first started as pilot myself, I barely know anything about any of you except for maybe your first name. Who knows, maybe spending some time getting to know each other, and working together on a project in a more casual setting might increase our overall performance when in the cockpit." Steven said as he slowly looked at the different members of his squadron.
"Is this the part where we go around in a circle and share interesting facts about ourselves?" Fred said calmly from his seat off to the side of the staging area.
"That thought had crossed my mind, but I am guessing that that would make everyone lose what respect they have for me," Steven replied with a chuckle. "But seriously though, maily what I am getting at is that I want us to start familiarizing ourselves with one another, ya know, make friends with your squadmates."
"And how might we go about doing that, Sir?" Pablo, Green Ten asked.
"Well, once I stop talking and we go back to work, go and talk with somebody you don't really know. Break the ice. Oh! and just a reminder, we are on shore leave, and as much as I admire your dedication to your scimitar, you don't need my permission to take a break.
Unless anyone else has anything to add, you may go about your business. Green Squadron is dismissed." Steven said in as official sounding of voice he could manage. He turned moved over to his scimitar and watched as the pilots gave a few rather confused looks before either going back to work, or breaking off and simply talking. Steven smiled inwardly, but wondered if he was doing this right. After all, he had no clue how to get a team to bond and make friends.
After a few more moments of watching he started walking over where Emma and Arcadia were sitting.
"How did I do?" he asked the two of them, giving both a warm smile in turn.

Peachy, Captain," was Arcadia's answer, with no real discernible tone to her voice. There was no desire in Langdon to make friends with her squadmates, at least not yet. Steven and Raji were the only two that interested her slightly, but she was rather irritated by Raji's blunt hatred of men; it was thick-headed and downright dumb. It could lead to... bad decisions in the field. But that was unimportant right now, so she pushed it all from her mind and hopped off the nose of her freshly painted Scimitar. The coffee mug was in her hand--empty--and she intended to refill it.

"Right. Pretty..." Garrett sighed. "All of you stay here. I want you four," he pointed them all out, "to make sure people get clear of this section of the bay. If anyone other than this sixteen are injured, it's on you four."

He left without awaiting confirmation, expecting action to be taken. He returned a solid 20 minutes later with a duffel over his shoulder. Once back on the ship he made sure all 15 were there. "Alright, this is how it goes: you make incisions in the hull along the border of the alien alloy. Then I plant my goods, and we tear off the rest."

"I see," Raji replied, "I hadn't realized we had ships on the offensive besides the Hymn." Raji gave a curt glare at Aurelia as she approached.

Aurelia had caught the Admiral's report about the ship as she came to her side, and she looked up at the vessel with a bit more respect than previously. "Luck aside, they must have a crack crew. A Mars couldn't even handle a dozen Raptors on its own, never mind one of these little relics." Aurelia began to reconsider her new assignment. Perhaps her new crew was a bit more than she could have expected.

"Yes ma'am. It's understood. I will proceed at once to the Admiral's side and begin the operation." Cibo replied crisply. When it finally became appropriate, she got up, gave a salute which went unseen, and left the room she was never in. The two men in black never really picked Cibo up, and it was very likely that there was never a high ranking Intelligence officer on record aboard the 'Battle Hymn'. Regardless of these conditions, Cibo had orders that were as good as from the mouths of High Command, despite the fact they came out of an electronic nowhere. She would follow the ordfers down to the last D@#^ed letter, regardless of how she felt. And oh, how she felt! For the first time since her demotions, a most horrendous hatred and tingle of defeat laced her mind. "I can't believe they're doing this to me." she thought. "Being under command of that...machine was worse enough, but now I'm literally under it's thumb! They want me to suffer, don't they? DON'T THEY?!" This last thought brought along horror, and doused her hateful fire quickly. Her mood soon reflected in how she carried herself. As Cibo walked the halls of the 'Battle Hymn', she was no longer feared by many of those who walked by; it was something that had not happened in a very long time indeed. She asked directions, and got them, but...they just weren't spat out with the startling efficiency she was used to. Cibo soon found the Admiral, "Evelyn, was it?" she recalled from her briefing. Unseen and unnoticed, Cibo floated over and presented herself, "Admiral. I have been issued orders to act as your adjutant and personal assistant!"

The intense fire no longer mixed with her, and instead was replaced by a glum mood. Cibo was simply no longer a shade that haunted the halls. For now, she was going to be just another person. Just another unnoticed ghost.

As Arcadia went off to refill her mug a small light turned on in Steven's head telling him that he was overdue for his next cup of coffee. "Hm, coffee sounds pretty good right about now," he said to no one in particular. He stood where he was staring of into the distance with a vacant look in his eyes, and a moment later his eyes refocused and he began walking in the direction of coffee.
"Hey Arcadia, hold up a second," Steven said as he soon caught up with her. "I could go for a cup of coffee as well, so I hope you don't mind if I tag along."

***

Back in the hangar the pilots of Green Squadron continued to have conversations amongst themselves. In one of the groups Aaron, Green Eleven, and Pablo, Green Ten, were laughing as they shared stories with each other. Out of the corner of his eye Aaron noticed Steven talking with two of the new pilots, one of which soon went off somewhere and Steven followed soon after.
"So, what do you think of the new pilots?" Pablo asked Aaron.
"Looks like the captain has the hots for that Arcadia," Aaron replied.
"What are you talking about. She is pretty much the polar opposite of Steven."
"Hey opposites attract, man."
"I still don't think so."
"Eh, we'll see. That Raji chick is kinda a you-know-what though, you've got to admit that." Aaron said changing the topic a bit.
"She is a little frightening. Then there is Emma. Hopefully her skill makes up for her lack of experience." Pablo added.
"Yeah, and speaking of Emma, she is alone now. Perfect chance for me to go fine tune my skills. Watch and learn, amigo," Aaron jeered. He then quickly straightened his hair and walked over towards Emma; Pablo stayed where he was laughing quietly.
"Hey there, you're Emma right? My name is Aaron, I am Green Eleven. How do you like flying with my squadron so far?" Aaron asked Emma as he got close to her.

Arcadia didn't glance at Steven until he was in stride with her. "Not at all, sir." In the mess, there was coffee and decaf; the Scimitar pilot opted for the former--black. Sugar and any other sort of additives ruined the taste, in her opinion. Once her cup was full, she took a sip, and it was the perfect temperature: just a little cooler than scalding on her tongue.

Garrett watched as the men cut an outline around the foreign plating. He set his charges along that perforation, except for the top. Once the team was clear, he hit the button. Boom! the chunk of hull bent upward and outward like a ballerina's skirt. He ordered the team to get a crane to hold the piece of unusable hull while the men with torches cut off the remainder. Had he blown all of it at once, Garrett could have done a lot of collateral damage both to the ship and to the Hymn.

Frank pulled the box of equipment a bit closer to him. Tipping the box carefully he examined the contents of box making sure everything he needed was in it. Frank gave a slight nod then set the box down. Frank slid the release forms over and read them over quickly. He took the pen that was sitting on the counter and carefully signed his name on the dotted lines.

"Thank you." Frank said picking up the time card and stuffing it in his pocket.
"Now, about the volunteer work on the Cobalt Sky. I am interested in picking up the job."

Evelyn smiled at the two women "Why thank you, Cibo, It might be nice to have an assistant, especially one with such a skillset as yours." she said, before turning to Aurelia "They are currently the only crew rated for solo missions within 100,000 lightyears of Drathos, so your assumption is correct, Miss Braxis" the Gynoid replied.

***

"O' course ya are. The 'Sky is currently outside the Hymn here, in the next bay over. You can actually see the Hymn's nose out the door, so i've heard" he muttered, pulling out a communicator and tapping a few commands in, sending a small map to Frank's own.

***

Emma grinned at the man who was talking to her "It seems fun, definitely not as difficult as I had expected, though it is more stress than the simulators had been." She looked down at the floor a moment, scraping her foot around in a small circle, her hands clasped behind her back "I managed to get myself taken off duty for a while" she muttered, though she didn't sound that downtrodden.

Aurelia frowned a bit, looking somewhat off into space. "But one has to wonder if it's because they're just that good, or because everyone else is just that bad..." Aurelia wasn't the type to be negative, not by a long shot, but the gap in skill between the Sky and the entire rest of the fleet definitely couldn't be purely because of the former...

Raji, meanwhile, was biting her lip so hard that a rather discreet drip of blood trickled down her chin. She was trying considerably hard to force a polite smile and stand there quietly. Considerably hard. The edge of her lip twitched and quavered, the muscle not used to holding the unfamiliar position.

"Hah! That's what she said!" Hank hollered at her. Cibo couldn't help but ask hesitantly, timidly,
"Who's she?"
__________________

The concussion made Cibo close her eyes out of instinct, otherwise, she just stood there, absorbing in what the Admiral said. To be honest, Cibo's despair could get worse; instead, the information on that particularly patchy looking ship was interesting, and her mind's coin flipped over again.
"No offense to anyone when I say this, but if we're all lucky, It'll be both. I honestly hope we're all that good, and the Drathonians that bad. Besides, we should never underestimate ourselves when pushed to the brink! We've come this far, haven't we?" Her outward professional seriousness practically evaporated in favor of optimism. Still, she couldn't help but notice that women from before....Cibo looked everyone over again, and noticed that one particular person was bleeding down the chin. She had to be biting herself; just a smidgen of course.
"Who's she? Could she be even more insane than me? Who's she?" Cibo thought. As soon as she thought that, she couldn't help but face-palm herself mentally; the uniform's bits usually told all.

"Great, I will get on that right away." Frank gathered his stuff in his arms and backed away from the counter.
"Thank you for your time, really." After that Frank headed for the door, but he couldn't help but to give some advice before he left the room. "IT would be wise not to smoke around flammable or explosive materials. Just saying." With that said, Frank was off.

Frank headed down a few random halls looking for one that was empty. He eventually found refuge next to a janitorial supply closet. He checked to make sure that the hallway was clear before putting all of his things on the ground. He wanted to make sure no one was there to bother him during this special moment. Frank bent over and removed the smaller box from the rest of equipment and opened it. He struggled a bit with the tape at first, but it wasn't to long before he made short work of that. Inside the box was one brand new S.S.W.D.D, a data pad for aid in the diagnostic and repair of star ship weaponry.

Frank eyes lit up when he saw the device. He has been waiting for this for quite a while. He quickly installed the battery and turned on the device. The screen flashed on and greeted Frank. It already had is information on it. A few seconds later it prompted Frank to wear the earpiece which he did. A friendly female voice greeted him, because the sound was feed through the earpiece, only Frank could hear it.

'Hello and welcome to the Star Ship Weapons Diagnostic Device. I am Stacy, your assistant.' Frank replied himself saying, "Hello." back to it in a very up-beat tone.
Frank checked through his messages on the device, as it also acts as a personal data pad. He checked the map and put the S.S.W.D.D in his shirt pocket and picked up his stuff. Stacy guided Frank to the Cobalt Sky by voice command.

Two weeks passed, both much too long and much tooshort a time, the crews thought. Sure, sitting around and enjoying yourselves, worry-free was nice, but the soldiers itched for their battle stations, wanting badly to help in the war. Soon, they would get their chance. All of the Battle Hymn's crew and personnel were recalled, all casualties accounted for, all injuries healed, and everything cleared up. All seemed normal again, as the ship bustled with activity, ready to depart.

Two days previous, the Pluto-class "Cobalt Sky" had completed its repairs, picking up their newly assigned comms specialist and heading out on a new mission, somewhere where no one really knew they were going, which was all well, as the Drathonians finding out where they were would be very bad.

In any case, it looked to be a good day for the crew of the Hymn.

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