[Aside] Unfound Destiny

A story of humanity coming back from the brink of extinction at the hands of a reptilians race of purifiers, and becoming the dominant force in the galaxy. Now, decades later, forces behind the scenes plunge the hard-won peace into civil war.
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Aside] Unfound Destiny

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

Xiangjie was pleased there would be no more surprises. No more surprises meant he could get to work, and there was a certain joy in the menial task of organization. And being named the executive for the expedition? A true pleasure.

He needed a second, a security team, and a handful of neuro-junkies. The first one was easy, but he needed his hands free. A busy man didn't carry his tools manually. He rubbed two fingers together near his belt. A small black cord unwound itself from the belt in sync with the circular motions of his fingers. He looped the handle of Forge through the waiting end. A few more hand gestures strapped the tool tight to his thigh. It was incredible how quickly nanotech and tools had become mundane to him in light of his work. The gestures barely registered to him as an afterthought.

So, first: Sheba Zaitsev. He brought up his left hand, closed it, then flung his fingers out straight. From the small metal insert along the ridge of his thumb came a 2D image roughly six-by-six inches. Subvocally, he instructed his PDA to call Sheba. She answered on the second ring, punctual as always.

Where Uso preferred to have all his gadgets integrated, Sheba was the type of woman that preferred to have her needs served by a swarm of bots. Her personal assistant was a spherical anti-grav bot she charmingly named Spoke. Spoke was floating ahead of the biochemical engineer as she dried herself with a towel, respectfully obscuring everything below her naked collarbone. "Boss?"

He smiled. Sheba was like him in a few very important ways that he greatly appreciated. For starters, she was bold. "Sheba, last minute expedition."

"And you need someone fast and unafraid," she interjected before bending down out of view.

His smile spread. "Yes. Remember the wild needle hunt Briggs has been dragging on?"

She sighed as she came back into view and began buttoning up a shirt. "You seem rather excited. I'm confused."

"She found it. It's broadcasting signal near Hetra. We're going."

At this, Sheba finally gave the camera her full attention. Her eyes were an unnaturally bright and icy blue. Many members of the IB team had visible biomods, which seemed especially common among people in their field. Probably just a hazard of the career field: as soon as you understood the limitations of the body and limitless potential of modern tech, it was hard not to experiment.

"Now I'm excited." Despite her words, her tone was deadpan and her face neutral. Another thing he enjoyed about her: her humor was dry as a desert. "So, what's the plan? Should I bring them all?"

"All the charged ones," Xiangjie affirmed, referring to their charged mana crystals.

She looked away to focus on some mental math. "Sure, Boss. Be there in thirty." Then she hung up. Her brevity and professionalism were the last two things he greatly appreciated about her.

And what timing! Uso's call ended just as he entered S Building. Immediately he frowned. There was a musk to this building, like ozone, leather, and sweat. The smell of fighters. Disgusting.

"Dr. Xiangjie!" He turned toward the voice to see Sergeant Hayes jogging toward him. "Doctor! I heard there was an expedition running up! My team and I are ready to go."

"Excellent," Uso replied in the most dismissive tone he could muster. "Have you seen Sergeant Lilja Korhonen? I've need to speak with her." The dejection and anger that welled up in Hayes' eyes was immediate and intense.

But he was a professional and stymied his personal emotions. He tapped his personal comm. "Sergeant Korhonen to West Entry, your presence is requested." Then, off comms. "Is there anything else I can help you with, doctor?"

"No, thank you." Hayes turned on his heels and marched away, his steps even heavier and more brutish than usual. "Actually, wait. Sergeant Hayes, do you still hold the top spot with the sugar?"

Hayes swelled up. "I hold first with all rifles we qualify and top three in all sidearms as of yesterday."

Uso smiled. "Congratulations! I'll see you around, Sergeant."

Hayes departed indignantly and Korhonen swept in to fill the void. "Doctor...?"

"Xiangjie Uso. I'm executive for the latest expedition, BLE-08327, and we're in need of a security team. Get your team, get your gear, and meet us on the Spark of Brilliance." He turned to leave, but was predictably halted. It was pleasant when people were this dependable.

"Dr. Uso, I--"

"Dr. Xiangjie. It's Sinitic, family name goes first."

"Apologies, Dr. Xiangjie. I don't understand. I just saw you talking to Sergeant Hayes, literally the best team."

"Right. They are established. You are not. Trial by fire, Sergeant Korhonen. Good?"

"No, no we're not. You're not making any sense."

"I-" he gestured to himself with hands pressed together, then gestured toward her, "-chose your team. I'm afraid I can't be much clearer."

"Why?" She demanded, almost angry.

"Because your career fascinates me. Enlisted during the Aftermath. Did some hunting. Found a bit more than you were ready for, lost a lot of friends. Right so far?" She nodded dumbly. "Didn't like that, so you earned a commission. Started leading. Kept losing people, though. You can't control everything. Lost steam, lost sight of the goal." Uso simulated looking down the scope of a small firearm, then turned it toward her. "So you sought meaning, but you know... you're just not good at much else. So you start fighting for the future. Less danger, less death, still satisfying. On par?"

Another silent nod, but the expression on her face was curious instead of angry and confused. Uso frowned and shook his head. "Don't be surprised. You're at the Briggs Laboratory, speaking to a man hefting two PhDs before forty and rubbing shoulders with Nobel and galactic laureates. I do my research. Meticulously." He paused long enough to be confident she was on the same page, then continued. "Good. The Spark. Your team. Thirty minutes. Be there."

Then he turned away and sighed. He still had to round up the droid dorks.
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Re: [Aside] Unfound Destiny

Post by Kai »

Destiny couldn't help but chuckle at Pollie's outburst, knowing full well that in her youth she didn't have the luxury of complaining about sharing a room with someone. In fact, she had more often than not shared a barracks with a dozen or more Marines or Scouts, and any sort of complaint was usually buried by the fact that you had a bed and food, which could both be scares whether on Surandan growing up, or on one of the besieged colonies that had been ravaged by war. This of course was a fact she was quite thankful for. The Former Valhalla, or rather the Spark of Brilliance, still bore marks from those days, despite the conversion crew's best efforts to hide things during its renovation and reconfiguration to a science vessel.

"You should probably be a bit nicer to Wort. I wouldn't want him to get upset and break something... or someone.." The director shook her head in amusement before getting back to captain Stormkirk, whom had been rudely cut off by the Kepari's outburst. "I appreciate all that you've done to keep her going, Captain, and I'll have to give Jordai a gift for giving up his quarters once we're back. and I won't forget you as well, either. However, we do seem to be missing one crucial crew member and the team I had asked him to assemble..." The redhead craned around, trying to see if Xiangjie Uso was anywhere to be found, but he seemed to be running rather late.
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