Chapter 9: Seperated at Birth

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Chapter 9: Seperated at Birth

Post by Kokuten »

Two months after the Second battle of Saratar, The Hymn was finally completed. The crews of the sister ships, battle Hymn of the Republic, and Endeavour, Were able to mingle for this time, allowing the two crews to become great friends, and growing a bond that linked two battlegroups together more tightly than most units would have been, the cameradery of being on the two mightiest ships in the Terran navy, mixed with no small amount of pride and mild rivalry, was a sight to see, boosting Morale higher than it had been since the launch of the Hymn herself.

As things would Happen, The Ottyo that had been discovered by the Hymn's crew was able to contact his superiors, and a meeting had been arranged, at some seemingly random coordnates in the middle of an empty void of space, between several star systems, but nowhere near a sun.

Evelyn stood on the Bridge, the Ottyo representative next to her. The two could very easily watch the strange patterns formed by Fold travel, as observed by the Hymn's sensors, displayed on the Viewscreens. The Ottyo's usual escort, the intelligence officer known as Cibo Malinowsky, was nowhere to be found, as, by request of the lizard-like Mammalian bird-man-thing, He had been allowed to tag along with a squad of Marines, and she was assigned to make arrangements with the leaders of this group.

"So, Yotruyan. Do you know what it is that we are heading towards? Terrans have no information of what is at these coordinates, but I have a hunch that something important is there." The Gynoid saidAmicably to the Alien creature.

"So you're telling me that that weird lizard thing we found on Perennia is going to be coming with us?" Lieutenant Kai Nakamura asked Cibo, a bewlidered look on his face. "I mean, I know we were the ones that found him but, WHY? It's hard enough to fight effectively without something to distract us, and you say you're coming along too? Sometimes I just don't understand High Command..."

The blonde man grumbled, scruffling with his recently-cut hair. No longer nearly to his shoulders, the Captain had opted for a trim, and the stylist had been nice enough to remove the bangs which normally hid the now visible scar across the tall Terran's eye. He seemed to be somewhat annoyed, but knew there was nothing he could do about it and tried to get used to the idea.

The figure stood there for a moment, seemingly in thought. In actuality, his blood pressure was high, his second heart was doing the belly flop in his chest, and he was malnourished despite the large amounts of food he ate. Every feather on his raptor-like head rippled in a shiver as a wave of cold ran up his spine. The larger feathers forming his crest arranged themselves into a more decorative pattern, showing some sort of enigmatic emotion. "They did not mention what was there for security reasons, and officially, I don't know. But. This brain of mine is usually up to something." Yotruyan spoke. The Ottyo's voice was starting to gain some emotional inflection, slowly phasing out the flat and dull speech he used to have. His long mouth contorted slightly into a small smile modeled after the Terran facial expression; in the short time with them, he learned like a person possessed, and this smile was passable, almost mischievous. He leaned in closer to her to whisper in her ear. "It can't be a space station mistakable for a small moon though, I assure you." he joked, referencing an old Terran 'movie' from the late 20th century. "I think it is something nice. Something you'll like Shipmistress. That much I can tell. This is a surprise worth keeping I'm certain." This close, he could easily smell her every scent, the skin, sweat and fragrance from her shampoo in the hair, plus a little something else. It was most curious.

"Don't worry Lieutenant, I'll be keeping an eye on him personally. The last thing I want is for you and your boys and girls to do poorly on the job. After all." She spoke, leaning closer. "You guys are the best of the best. You never do poorly. Besides. If you do do poorly, I'm next up for dinner." Cibo playfully added on, "I don't want to be some lizard's dinner, and I don't want you to be a lizard's dinner either!" She stepped back for a moment and paced around for bit. "Look on the bright side, if something goes wrong, it's him that's going to be hogging all the attention." 'Yeah, and me along with the stupid thing.'

"Well, We shall see in about... three minutes, when we arrive at the coordinates." Evelyn returned, calmly, smiling at the creature. "Perhaps they will also give us a better idea of what to feed you, an undernourished representative does not really look too kindly on the UTR. You really should have been more vocal about needing a special diet." the Ship's avatar added, showing some concern for the strange creature, who was her Guest. "Perhaps I should tell you where your escort is, so you may join her again?" she offered.

"Just make sure that he knows what he's doing and stays out of our way. I don't mind him helping, but we're a trained unit that's practiced together, and suddenly adding another member of a different species and his intel Entourage could be distractive, if not disastrous." Kai seemed unabated by Cibo's words, and continued to seem put-off.

"Although I don't really have much choice, I want my Squad's input. on this." The Tall Marine turned from the Cibo and towards CIU 215, getting their attention and asking them "Hey, what do you guys think of Command adding the new Alien dude to our squad?"

Private Thind Class Kendrick Marcellus was quietly standing near the back of the group when Kai spoke. As the new guy to the group, Ken didn't want to be to assuming, and he wasn't good at introductions either. Resigning himself to quiet contemplation, the new squad medic started to run over the process of how to properly field dress a gunshot wound to the lower left portion of the abdomen.
In regards to the Lieutenant's question, Ken honestly wasn't thrilled(massive understatement) to have the alien going with the group. Hell, the only reason Marcus was still in the army up to this point was because he wanted to help the soldiers on the frontlines without actually being ON the frontlines; so one could imagine his lack of joy at his current assignment. He didn't speak up for the fact that he had a, for lack of a better word, phobia of anything that wasn't originally from Earth.

Yotruyan gave a chirpy "Chirroo." much like what a small finch would. The slight grin got a little larger. "Look bad? Oh no. It's a common enough occurrence with soldiers such as myself. There was nothing you could have done, even if I were to eat proper food." he spoke, claw pointing towards his armored chest. Over the black skeleton was an XXL Terran chest plate, painted to resemble the rest of the skeletal suit. From shoulder to hip was a bandoleer holding the cells for the Sugar, it being slung over his back alongside the MCR. "After regrowing two thirds of my intestinal track, the absorptive qualities of the lining began to ebb away. It is only a temporary measure, until soldiers such as myself get them restored or replaced. As for Cibo..."

Yotruyan looked up in thought and shuffled through the many different sensors and monitoring devices. Since coming aboard the Hymn, he had been getting more and more proficient in net-surfing as well, even though he was not authorized by his own government. 'And Evelyn may do so at a much faster pace than my own. Plus, she most likely used these to come to a conclusion on my condition. Very astute. She's special.' There. She was talking to Lieutenant Kai, one of the Terrans who found him. "I hope you don't mind me in 'here' one last time. Chances are, my superiors are going to throw a fit after I tell them I've been diving into a non-organic network without authorization. At the least, I'm taking precautions, unlike those poor, poor fools. Ah. There she is. I'm glad she is talking with someone. She worries me from time to time, but seems to be in a better mood as of late." On his way 'out' he gave Evelyn the feeling of a feather stroking her shoulder, as though he brushed by her on the way out. He was getting better. "Thank you, and farewell, mistress." He folded up the feathers on his head, and donned the smooth skull helmet. It sealed, and black feathers silently unfurled from the back in place of his natural ones, like dark flower petals unfurling. The two largest ones stood up and briefly formed a 'V' for victory.

"No offense Lieutenant, sir, but last time, he really, really hogged most of the Drath attention." 'Damned attention whore.' "And, do not make me remind you, he skinned a Moonie." She gave the blond officer a cheery smile. "I think he's going to do it again, and I don't think the Draths will be looking at little me or little you when he's standing on top of a cliff with a head and spine in his hand, roaring. Hmm. I think it's about time he did th...Ahh-Choo!" Cibo turned an sneezed away from Kai, rubbing her nose to get rid of the irritatingly ticklish sensation. Her icy blue eyes locked with Kai's again with a deadly glare. She spoke happily, "Geeze. Someone must be talking about me!" Her expression changed suddenly back into the previous happy-go-lucky from before; she went on, speaking cheerfully of the morbid and gory details of why Killy wouldn't be a problem.

Sehene was studying the various aspects of the room, despite its usual simplicity and resemblance to the rest of the ship. She noted Lieutenant Nakamura's new haircut, and pondered on his appearance for a moment, deciding that, yes, it did look better this way. His scar puzzled her, but she realized she was staring and attempted to distract herself with something else.

"I don't mind him joining us..." Sehene piped up in a somewhat subdued tone of voice; the others did not seem to enjoy the aliens company. "I think he is quite nice, and considering his technology and skill set, it would be an advantage to have him." She adjusted her sunglasses and looked around, attempting to gauge the responses of the others.

As per usual, Lieutenant Hendlow was standing on the side of the room opposite CIU 215's commanding officer, and smiling. There were going to be a couple new faces. They had the medic who'd joined up shortly after the last battle, Marcellus; then this intel officer, Malinowsky, and the... Ottyo? Sounded right in his head, but Garrett was wishing he could remember a name.

"Lighten up, Lieutenant. You've seen what that beast of a soldier can do. He skins them alive on the battlefield. Pretty ******** sick, if you ask me, but he seems intent on putting none but Drathonians under the knife. With that sort of obsession, I don't imagine we'll have anything to worry about. His irrepressible desire to murder every single lizard in the most horrible fashion possible will keep 'im true. Hell, he might even do most of the work for us. I'm with Sehene on this: he's an asset, not a liability.

"In all honesty, the only thing I'm worried about is the possibility of recurring nightmares from watching him do his thing." His arms were folded over his chest the entire time, and as he said this he rolled his shoulders, effectively hiding a slight shudder. To others it probably looked like a slightly unusual shrug; nothing really noteworthy.

In another time and place, Arcadia grinned, glad Pablo hadn't balked in the face of an inquisitive woman. He stood by what he said. That much she could appreciate. "And for stalwart defense against great pressure, the Terran Navy would like to award you with this." She grabbed Pablo by the chin to tilt it aside and leaned forward to give him a quick peck on the cheek.

And then she was off to take that shower she so desperately needed without word. She liked to keep the boys guessing, and they'd definitely be up in arms over what she'd just done, but to her it meant nothing more than another silly ploy. There was only one man that she was even slightly interested in, but he was uninterested and pursuing a past successful relation. Thus was the love life of a Pilot on the Hymn. In the meantime, she contemplated the ironies of the statement "attempting to rekindle a past successful relationship."

A month after that time and place, Arcadia found herself in the mess, nursing a cup of coffee in one hand and holding up a LitTablet in the other. She was currently reading Foundation, an age-old sci-fi piece by the Grand Master himself: Isaac Asimov. Things were much quieter, and had given her the time for rest and relaxation she desired. However, a month of inactivity on the Hymn was a bit much for her. She was considering going for a swim soon, to relieve some pent up tension in her muscles.

Lieutenant Nakamura sighed. "I guess you're all right, and there's really nothing I can do about it. Still, I am worried about what he'll do if we run out of enemies..." Kai shook his head before looking abck up at Cibo. "So when't he getting here? We get out of Hyperspace in a couple minutes, and our squad is acting as bodyguards for the Liason. He should be with us for that."

Evelyn watched as the Ottyo walked off of the bridge and toward where he had been tasked with being. The creature was an odd one to say the least, but quite intriguing and very interesting. Evelyn was rather fond of his 'contacts' with her over the net, knowing that no Terrans could do the same to her, and so the brief moments seemed a bit special to her. "Prepare to return to normal space!" she called to the bridge crew after a few minutes. "Keep weapons on standby but power down the Solaris, we don't want to look threatening. The Endeavour will be doing the same thing, so we want to try to look as unopposing as the two largest ships in our fleet possibly can."

The Ship made that almost imperceptable transition, and the viewscreens showed a picture of space as it were. to the Starboard the Endeavour could be seen, navigation lights blinking a pattern in the endless dark ocean of space. Sensors would soon show a small planetoid, simply wandering with no set path, and no sun. They traced large amounts of carbon and ferrous materials, as well as many other useful compunds. In orbit of this Planemo, however, was a small group of four ships, one frigate-sized and three Corvette-sized escorts. Evelyn Hailed them.

"This is the UTR Battle Hymn of the Republic, I am Admiral Evelyn. Would I be speaking to the Ottyo party?" Her words, though they were heard in Terran by the bridge crew, were translated into Ottyo, thanks to Killy's efforts, and were sent along with a software package that could help translate between the two groups more easily, also Courtesy of the Inquisitor.

"Yes, I should be here with you for this." a voice in Kai's and Cibo's ear spoke. Cibo turned, and saw Killy some distance away and coming closer. She became visibly irked, but restrained herself to just a slightly unpleasant face and voice.
"What. What was that just now?" Yotruyan continued to close in with the two, and kept on talking,
"Practicing my voice projection. It is very useful, especially with Drathonians." When he was finally beside the two Terrans, he laid an armored hand on their shoulders. "How are you two? And Marcus?" the Ottyo asked.

An image on standard United Terran Republic frequencies appeared from the Frigate, depicting an Ottyo sitting in a floating throne of some sort. It wore a Nerve Skeleton similar to Yotruyan's but it was quickly apparent his or her suit was more up to date. Several vines with faintly glowing pinpricks of light were coming down the ceiling, and most likely plugged into this individual's suit. This Ottyo was much older in appearance than Yotruyan as well, with the longest feathers on his head easily two feet long, and swirled with age, giving the impression of blond, bouncy curls falling to the shoulders in bushy bunches. It opened his mouth.

"Principality of Chaion, Alchemist's Stone" the Ottyo spoke in Terran, with a slow and raspy, yet commanding voice. This one was male. He went on, occasionally stressing the wrong parts of words; a moroseness could be heard in his voice. "I am Boblki*****. Shipmaster of this vessel, and the Inquisitor with whom you'll do most of the negotiations with." The Shipmaster-Inquisitor's name was nigh incomprehensible to any Terran, almost humorously so. He leaned his head towards the side, as if listening to someone whisper in his hearing membrane, and nodded. "Excuse my name. Please, Shipmistress Evelyn, call me Bob."

Evelyn smiled back at the representative, listening to him. "Ah, Thank you, Bob." She began "I was wondering why we were being brought to such a remote point of the galaxy, but I see that you have found a large stockpile of resources. Shall I guess that you currently do not have the numbers to utilise such a find?" The Gynoid stated her observations based on what Killy had told her and the fact that Terrans had not come into contact with the Ottyo before, despite their extensive travels and exploration of the Galaxy. "If this is the case, What is your proposition?"

As before, even though the Terrans heard Evelyn speaking in Terran, the Ottyo ship would recieve the Admiral's replies in Ottyo. Granted a bit rough Ottyo.

The Endeavour's squadrons had been launched lazily, forming a protective screen around the two Terran ships, With GS-E hanging close around the Hymn. Close enough for personal communicator range.

"So, Steven. Fancy us getting assigned to the same misson. It's a shame your squadron is stuck inside while we get to fly." Rhiannon teased in a voice message, hopefully getting his attention to get a live conversation going.

Kai looked over the Ottyo soldier, and nearly laughed. As outlandish as Killy looked in his own armor, wearing a couple sets of Terran Savior armor over his own was a highly amusing sight. As was the mix of Terran weapons and the alien's own. This nearly got the images of the alien's savagery out of Kai's head, and helped him remember that the Ottyo weren't quite as evil as the Drathonians, and decidedly more civil.

"So you already know you've been assigned to tag along with my unit, Correct?" Kai asked the creature, Adjusting his own uniform and feeling slightly better that he looked what he considered 'good' in it.

From almost a completely random direction, all the vessels in the area would suddenly recieve the sensor signature of a couple of ships in Hyperspace. Probably not Ottyo, they were definitely not Terran. As a Precautionary measure, the Endeavour rotated towards the signatures and charged up all weapons systems. Soon, the contacts were pulled out of hyperspace, and their delayed reactions and odd angle of travel showed they had been unexpectedly pulled out of their journey by the Planemo's gravity well.

The Red hulls quickly identified them as Drathonian, and the Endeavour wasted no time in firing upon them, but some sort of anti-miracle gave some drathonian pilot the clarity to pull out of the way of the shots just in time. Unfortunately for them, it was into the Planemo's thin atmosphere. A Ball of glowing fire engulfed the Ship, but it was obvious it would survive the trip down mostly intact.

"Excuse us, I think we need to do something about this." Evelyn notified Bob quickly, as the alert klaxons in the Hymn began blaring. The Hymn's and Endeavour's marine CO's would recieve emergency orders to go down to the planet, as sensors showed lifesigns down there, which hadn't been before. The two captains knew that the only weapons they had that could penetrate the atmosphere usefully were the Solaris, and they did not want to do that much damage to the precious resources of this Planemo.

Kai's Personal communicator beeped, and he read the message quickly. "Looks like we get to go now. Come on, Let's get ready!" The lieutenant called to his men, and quickly rushed out of the room, while ordering the armory to put the squad's combat gear on a Caballero so they could put it on on their way down to the planet.

The yellow curls and feathers gently moved in solace as the red fleets arrived. "And I was hoping to put my hard earned Terran to practice. Then these buffoons had to show up." Bob shrugged. He rapidly chirped, whistled, screeched and growled out orders; suddenly the background of the circular room he was in changed, as several shields were erected around the Ottyo frigate's bridge. The chatter of unseen subordinates could be heard under the faint hum of something large powering up. "Please pardon our actions; you most likely guessed it my fellow Shipmaster, but we cannot let them escape. Yes. We do not even have the numbers to make use of these resources. But more importantly, it must not be used by the likes of them." A powerful interdiction field emanated from the space black ship, trapping everyone in the system for the time being.

"Yes Kai-Lieutenant, very much so." Yotruyan replied. Before he could say anything else, the Kai-Lieutenant's attention was caught by a communication device on his body. Yotruyan lifted his head a little, and turned it towards the disturbance.
"What's up Killy? Worried about tagging al - " Cibo was cut off as the armored alien suddenly raised a finger up into the air, essentially telling her to shut up. The Intelligence Officer opened her mouth to protest, but again, the Ottyo stopped her, his helmet-plate's sensor feathers moving about.
"Interdiction field. Old model science vessel judging by the frequency. They're here."
"What? That's bull! And who's they?!"
"The Reds. Lets go." The Inquisitor grabbed the Intelligence Officer by the hand and lead her away, only to stop and go back for Sehene as well, pulling them both into a shuttle like a pair of unruly children. Needless to say, Cibo was playing out the role of 'unruly child' well.

Kendrick tried to picture the alien skinning a Drathonian alive just as Lieutenant Hendlow had said, but then shuddered at the thought and dismissed it from his mind. Just so long as he doesn't try and skin one of us, that would be as much a nightmare for me as it would be for the injured party, he thought to himself.
When Lieutenant Nakamura gave the word to head out, Ken followed along obediently as the squad hurried along to get their equipment and start the mission. In the back of his mind, the new medic was starting to feel anxious, not so much out of fear of impending doom, but more out of a nagging worry that he wont fit in with 215's standards.

Steven, at the encouragement of his squad and Command, was grudgingly taking some R&R in order to, as Command put it, recuperate from “traumatic events.” Which as far as Steven was concerned this was just a nice way of saying that they didn't think Steven was in a stable state of mind, and therefore a hazard. He hated being grounded; ever since he became a pilot he began to consider being taking off active duty to be the same as being thrown into a prison cell. Even though Command had assured him that he would be placed back on active status before the next mission, Steven gritted his teeth through the whole talk.
Fred had taken over temporary command as Green Leader, and Dan had been moved into the Green Two slot. This put Steven's mind at ease a bit, but Dan on the other hand protested in favor of him staying in his brother's pairing and having Arcadia moved up from Three to Two. He withdrew his protest after Steven drove the point home that this was only a temporary deal and would change before anything major went down.
So in the Captain's vast amount of free time he resigned himself to haunting the corridors of the Hymn, loitering in the mess hall, and soliciting the hangar engineers to see if there was any work they needed help with. Steven was almost bored to the point of smashing his head against his desk until blood came out his ears simply because it would give him something to do.
But despite how much he complained about his boredom, Steven past month had not actually been a complete snoozefest. Green Squadron had only scrambled two times, which had been for completely mundane reasons, so Steven was able to spend time among friends most of the time. Steven, much to the amusement of his squad and the other bar patrons, had indeed had a drink or two with Fred; the night ended with Steven singing karaoke of Come Sail Away by Styx, of this Steven has very little memory of. He was also using the time to catch up on reading many of the books he kept in his room.
Now, Steven was strolling down the corridor that led to the mess hall, having just woken up from an “afternoon” nap the pilot was now hunting for some coffee. As he strode down the hallway his comm buzzed indicating a message, it was Rhiannon. Steven completed the link and started the live chat.
“Hey Rhiannon. Yeah, small universe, eh?” Steven greeted, “Not only is Green Squadron inside today but I am also on R&R until Command deems that I am “mentally stable” again. I've forgotten how boring it can be to have nothing to do.
“So yeah, we haven't had much of a chance to catch up yet, so how have you been these past few years?”

Lieutenant Hendlow was practically bouncing down the corridors on the way to the Caballero. Once inside and armed adequately, he took note of Kendrick. He was been a nervous little greenhorn, and it was bugging Garrett like hell, so he made to alleviate the situation.

"Hey, lighten up, Kenny. We don't get shot that much in the two-fifteen. Look a little less grim for the other rookies, wouldja? Gonna give 'em the creeps if you go around tending injuries looking like that."

Arcadia's highlight of the passing weeks was the suggestion that she be promoted: even though it would have been a temporary upgrade, Pilot Langdon was glad to know her skills were acknowledged and appreciated amongst her squad mates.

That, however, had absolutely nothing to do with what she was currently doing, which was sitting on the nose of her ship with a cup of coffee while she watched the many pilots and engineers go about their business. It was a peaceful thing to her, and always managed to alight a small smile on her face.

Kai watched as 215's Caballero filled up simultaneously with gear and squad 215 itself. When he was satisfied that everyone and all their gear was on, he ordered everyone to get ready, because they only had about three minutes until the shuttle hit the atmosphere and it would be too rough for them to get ready anymore.

Kai went about putting his own gear on, the Savior, starting with the legs and going up, then his backpack, complete with BR-0, and survival kit. he strapped on a bandolier of energy packs, then his belt, which held his holstered L/P-50, and his combat knife, as well as a couple of frag grenades and a flash-bang. He then put his helmet on and sealed it, starting the rebreather system that kept the helmet oxygenated for a few seconds to test it before shutting it off to conserve it. Last of all, he picked up his Sugar rifle and checked his communications, which revealed the battle orders.

The Lieutenant relayed these orders to his squad, and the alien. "Alright. We have two, fairly simple objectives. Kill as many lizards as we can, preferably all of them, and infiltrate the wreckage, destroying any and all communications gear we can find. Hendlow has some special orders, You're to asses the easiest and safest way to break down the wreckage, we'll need the resources is holds." And with that, the Lieutenant paused to wait for the tell-tale rumble that was the shuttle hitting the atmosphere.

The second and last ship in the Drathonian group was not nearly as 'lucky' as the first, having taken a very hard blow by the Solaris, it was now being pounded into scrap by the two ships' turbolasers, and soon became nothing more than rubble that would probably burn up as it hit the planemo's atmoshpere.

Luckily, no communications faster than radio had been sent out, and any help was decades away at that speed, for the lizards.

"You never really were what I'd consider 'mentally stable' " Rhiannon tesed, sighing in relief that she didn't have anything to do, and the big ships had taken care of it.

"I was assigned a desk job for a while, but managed to get myself transferred to R&D. I was actually the first person to fly a scimitar, and now i'm the first person to fly this prototype." she told him proudly. "Command deemed that I had the skills to lead, and to be in an elite squadron, and now here I am, you alter-ego of the Endeavour."

Adrian rechecked the seals on his armour and then hefted his Sugar. The rifle had a good weight to it, despite the fact it wasn't even really a specialized sniper rifle. But, with a healthy dose of trained marksmanship that little deficiency could be overlooked.
Satisfied with his equipment, the older marine looked around him. He had opted to stay quiet when he had joined his newly-assigned squad. The long period of solitude he had as of recently had left a slight rust on his inter-unit communications and general friendliness. Anyway, the sniper felt much more confident now that he had reviewed his memories of previous engagements and even of his basic training lessons.
The Officer in charge, a Lieutenant with a name he hadn't thought to remember, seemed to be of quality and, after Adrian had heard his straight forward explanation of the situation, he found that he also seemed to be very likeable.
Though scanning around the room, his eyes locked on the foreign element in the unit, the alien who he heard addressed as “Killy” worried him a bit.
The Sniper, hoping that the Officer was done speaking for his moment, tried to make eye contact with the, correction his, Lieutenant. He coughed slightly, trying to get attention.
“Sir, this Op seems simple – but there are some unknowns that concern me.” Shifting his eyes towards Killy, Adrian continued. “Can either you or our attache give us a summary of his, ah, abilities in combat. I feel it would go smoother if we know what kind of support he can offer, and more importantly what we can give if he finds himself in a tight spot.”

Cibo was to the right of Killy, and to the alien's right was Sehene, whom he'd dragged into the Caballero along with Cibo in such a degrading manner; some of them looked like they were going to bust a side open from laughing. She glared at him. 'God damn it! I bet I looked like a whiny little kid being dragged away by a parent!' When the Marine named 'Adrian' addressed her charge's abilities, she turned to look at him with her pretty face, and dark, sunken eyes. "Why don't you ask him yourself?" she asked kindly. Her face said otherwise, holding a hint of that special something that dared people to do dangerous things.

"How you holding up?" Marcus asked over the Terran communications network.
"Well enough, though I'm concerned I may have somehow offended Cibo. Those facial twists you do are strangely blunt in expressing. Right now, we're checking over our gear. Can you call back later?" Yotruyan replied. It was strange. The Terran seemed particularly interesting in his well being. 'Why? Even if I am the temporary representative, he is paying much attention to me. Why not the others? I do not see him conversing with some of the people serving under him as much as myself or Evelyn, though, she is Shipmistress, it is...disconcerting.' Yotruyan sat there, tail folded under and between his legs while checking over the MC-R; he wasn't worried a bit about the Terran Sugar. 'I'll have to get rid of this piece of s**t soon.' Cibo mentioned asking him directly for some reason, and he went back to his memory to find out what it was the young Terran wanted. 'Ah. Yes.' He turned his head slightly towards him as he was revealing the innards of the living gun, stretching out a piece like one would old cooked gristle. "I can snipe, scout, set up improvised traps, ambushes, and fight them head on, though not as well as I should, considering I don't have my old gear. I can also run distraction; since we've been running sabotage and espionage on the Drathonians, we've become especially hated amongst them, and are most often called 'Demons'. Any more questions?" the Ottyo asked. The voice was slowly gaining more sophistication, and that last bit sounded playfully annoyed, cocking his head to the side for emphasis.

'Bob' relaxed in his chair as the enemy group was being smashed to bits. "Shipmistress, if you do not mind, I will be sending down some of my own soldiers." he spoke, over stressing 'sending' and under-stressing 'own'. "They will cover the areas that your own people do not."

“Thank you Sir, but that is a sufficient for me. I always do prefer my information straight from the horse's mouth.” Adrian stated politely, giving Killy a stiff nod along with his thanks.
Then, switching his attention to Cibo he matched her look with a feral smile. “Ah – I actually assumed I was speaking to our foreign attache. I had assumed my terminology was more politic than simply calling him 'alien'. Well, besides that, I do hope you perform as proficiently as he will Miss, it is always sad to see a minder be out performed.” His voice had been much more rigidly polite than the words he shared with the Ottyo and his challenging smile was still plastered on his face as he finished. The sniper stepped back and calmly began to go over his equipment once again.

Ken was slightly startled both by Lieutenant Hendlow's sudden appearance and by his level of energy. “Uh, sorry about that Lieutenant. I'm just a bit anxious for this first mission. I mean, I don't want to go disappointing you guys, now do I?” he responded, doing his best to sound casual. “I'll do my best, Sir.” As he continued on with the group he did what he could to not let his anxieties show.
When they started gathering their gear, Ken went about as well collecting equipment. He donned his body armor, grabbed his rifle, and rounded up his specialized medical equipment and put it all in his pack. He had all he needed, but was slightly saddened by the lack of a shotgun. “All ready, lets do this,” he mumbled to himself.
As he waited with the squad he ran over the procedure for mending a ruptured artery to pass time.

“Hmm, this coming from the woman who had an irrational fear of men until our second year at the Academy,” Steven responded to Rhiannon's quip. “And it sounds like you have had a pretty good thing going these past few years, that's good. I on the other hand have led a much humbler existence here aboard the Hymn. I can fill in the exciting details over some drinks sometime."

Fred walked casually into the hangar of the Hymn, stopped, and to and over exaggerated deep breath. “Ah, I never get tired of the smell of acetylene torches and grease,” Fred announced as he began once more to stroll over towards Green Squadron's block.
As he drew near he observed his temporary subordinates going about running routine checks on their ships. Aside from one or two pilots most of the pilots in their cockpits. He noted the closest, Arcadia, and deviated a bit from his course in order to exchange pleasantries.
“Afternoon Arcadia, how're ya doing today?” he asked giving a slight wave as he got closer.

Cibo watched as Killy spoke with an annoyed whine, "I'm not a horse." before turning his head away slightly in what the Intelligence Officer took to be an indignant expression. She felt like bursting out in laughter at seeing it's displeasure.
"Keep it up Adrian, I might like you yet." she replied with a mischievous grin. The form fitting suit she wore suddenly attempted to blend into the ship's interior, as though by a flick of emotion. 'And that's working, good.' She then turned her attention back to the alien next to her, who was now intently staring at the medic named 'Ken'. She noted how he was green, and how he mumbled to himself. For that moment, both Cibo and Killy stared at Ken in unison. 'Now, what is Killy thinking?'

Ken snapped out of his mental run through of medical procedures long enough to see the alien, Killy, staring at him. The medic quickly looked away and tried to distract himself again. To no avail, Ken looked back towards the alien again. It was still staring at him. Now he was starting to feel slightly nervous, and he hadn't even noticed Cibo looking at him as well. “Well, obviously the higher ups wouldn't have sent it with us if they felt it was a threat. This could be a chance to branch out and try and get over my aversion to aliens,” he rationalized in his mind.
He gathered up his courage, and after getting enough confidence he turned to the alien and tried to speak. He failed this attempt and turned away quickly again. After another minute of getting his courage again, he turned once more towards Killy.
“Um, is there something you, uh, need?,” Ken said with marginal stuttering. “I, well, noticed you, um, staring. So, uh, need something?” The timid medic, who first could not look directly at the alien, now found himself to timid to look away.

There was still no response from the Ottyo in the ship. In fact, he still was 'looking' at Ken with a hazy eyed intent. 'Wait. His eyes are hazy. What's going on?' Cibo leaned closer, bringing her face mere inches from Killy's. And still he didn't move. 'Oh god, he better not be dead! I don't want to be demoted again!!! Please don't be dead!' Desperate with fear, she quietly spoke like a scared child, "Umm. Killy? Are you...ok?" By now, a few people were looking over at the strange scene of the squad's attached Psycho-b***h worrying over the Alien. She quailed. "K-Killy?" Then screamed. "KILLY!" And then the haze on the Ottyo's eyes drew back as he gave out a honk of surprise.
"WAAARK!" He looked at Cibo. "What?" he asked, annoyed.
"What? What?! That's all you have to say? I thought you were dead and all, with those hazed over eyes and not responding and stuff." She replied angrily. "Its not like I was worried about you. I just don't want another demotion..." The Ottyo gave a growling purr, as he thought.
"Must have been my nictating membranes. I guess I felt asleep with them and forgot to close my eyes." Cibo swore that if he was human, he'd have had a grin on his face. "So. Did you people need me for something? I remember I was watching him." He pointed with his snout to Ken, "Pack his things. And then I dozed off." Cibo's face struggled to decide whether to be glad, or outright furious, eyebrows and mouth twitching.

'What's this about her demotion?' Yotruyan wondered.

Sehene would have giggled at Killys hurried attempts to drag her and Cibo along, but upon seeing Cibo's expression quickly looked away and attempted to hide her smile; so far she was not on her bad side, and she did not really want to be.

She managed to organize herself and get all her gear on and ready after the trip to the caballero, and nodded as Kai gave orders, "Yes Sir." she called to him, although noticing she seemed to be the only one still using such formalities, but force of habit she supposed. She began checking over her weapons, fiddling around with them and such, while listening in on the conversation. The rooky seemed nervous, and she grinned at his awkwardness.
She paused in her fiddling, also becoming worried at Killys strange state, and was relieved that he was just 'sleeping', although puzzled, and she grinned to herself again at the sheer absurdity of the situation, returning to her weapon.

She caught a glimpse of Cibo's facial expression and couldn't help but burst into laughter.

Arcadia instinctively raised her mug in acknowledgment. "Well enough for a day free of combat," she answered mildly before taking another few gulps of coffee. "And you?" It was all mild pleasantries; Pilot Langdon was willing to work alongside Fred, and even converse in a pleasant tone, but she personally did not like him. That aside, there was a time to be cordial and a time to be frank; this was the former.

Unlike Sehene, Garrett was unamused by Intelligence Officer Cibo Malinowsky; quite to the contrary, her behavior grated on his nerves like aluminum in a garbage disposal. The more he was around her, the more he simply wanted to strangle her unconscious. If she would simply stop talking, he could get along just fine, but she had to run her mouth. ALL. THE. ********. TIME.

So he tried to refocus, go elsewhere. He reached for his usual stash of cigarettes, and found it devoid of anything even remotely reminiscent of a plastic-wrapped paper carton stuffed full of the colloquial "death sticks." A heavy and demure sigh made its way out his nostrils. Lieutenant Hendlow threw himself back in the nearest seat and continued to watch the others with his most neutral expression.

Which is to say, he was irritated and it was clearly displayed on his face.

As the shuttle hit the atmosphere, there was a mild jolt while the artificial gravity adjusted to compensate for the bouncing, but the craft still rather obviously shook from the turbulence. The temperature in the compartment rose, almost imperceptibly, as minute amounts of the heat generated by the friction of the air on the Caballero's hull, as it descended into the madness that was the Carbon Planemo. Before long, the ship changed to the Planet's gravity, which was slightly weaker, closer to .75 G than the 1 G most Terrans were used to, but it was only a helpful thing. They could hear the engines turn over from Void operations to atmospheric, and it was obvious from the movements felt by the squad that they were travelling rather quickly, in search of a place to land.

"Are you guys ready?" Kai asked, looking at the helmeted figures of his Squad. "I want to open this tub up as soon as she touches down, you got that?" he said, over the Squad comm, which Killy was also linked to.

"It wasn't my fault, and you certainly didn't help" Rhiannon rebuked, with a smile that Steven could not see. The fact that they battle in space was over so quickly eased the pilot's mind quite a bit. "What kind of drinks? Are you trying to get me back?" the fighter pilot teased.

As the Caballero skimmed the ground, looking for a flat, level place to land near the drathonian ship, it's occupants could feel the effects of the Pilot's maneuvering. Small noises outside gave the impression that the pilot was dodging more than just outcroppings, however, and many of the soldiers held their breath. Kai set his helmet to rebreather mode, and remotely did the same to his squad so that they too would be safe in case something happened, or in case someone forgot when he opened the door.

The Shuttle Jostled, as if it had hit something, taking the feet out from under the less-ready soldiers, a couple falling to their behinds, a few of the lighter ones actually tapping the roof with their helmets. Suddenly, everything decided it hated Squad 215, and the front end of the shuttle parted with the back end, rather violently. The back end then began to cartwheel, and alternating views of the dark ground and the dark night-like sky quickly became overrated as several soldiers whished they had somewhere to vomit.

Before long, it impacted with the ground, breaking once more into two pieces, splitting the squad contained within into two groups. The halves abruptly came to a skidding halt, about half a kilometer from the Drathonian ship, and about the same distance from one another.

Kai Nakamura shook his head and inspected himself as he looked back towards the wreckage he had just been flung from. The Saviour Combat Armor he was wearing had done its job, keeping the marine lieutenant from being killed before he could even fight. Taking stock of the situation, he called out to those Nearest him over the radio. Killy, Hendlow, Malinowski, Gorefowl, and Mortego were in his half of the shuttle. Kai wasted no time "Form up on me! Take stock of injuries and supplies while I contact the other half of the squad!"

Cibo stumbled out of the wreckage, followed by her charge. She turned around to say something or other, but instead ended up pitching forward. Before her contents could fully come out, the Ottyo put a hand over her helmet and turned her the other way. With a fully transparent faceplate, all her facial features were visible, and considering what she was about to do, he didn't want to see it. He said three words, "Not at me." Cibo's face soured as he said so, instinctively trying to spit at his boot, only making her helmet all the more messy. After that little fiasco on the shuttle, plus the near death experience and the puke filled helmet, she wasn't much for words, especially when her stomach was still doing the flop.
"Just get over to Kai, damnit." Her stealth suit automatically changed into a black digital camouflage pattern to fit the lifeless, carbon rich terrain, her visor automatically struggling to clear the thick sludge off the inside. As her feet crunched over the jagged ground, she looked up, and spotted what looked like a meteor shower. Except it was all falling on top of the crashed frigate. "What the hell?!" she spat again. Again, she made it worse.
"Just some friends. Nothing to worry about."
"Bull. Say it already you alien jerk."
"Orbital drop pods. We don't like the anti air they're putting up."
"Great. Just great. More of you. You know I don't like you that much right?"
"...I like me..." The alien muttered. Cibo opened a com channel to Kai,
"Lieutenant, my...'friend' here says we got some assistance landing on top, over." Her tone dour.

Adrian was thrown forward as the ship crashed, well at least the half he was in, into the ground. Crashing into the opposite wall the Sniper was thankful for the protection his helmet provided. Straightening up, the marine trotted out of the ruined transport.
Once outside, he saw that the Alien and it's minder seemed to be fine, well uninjured at least. As Kai's orders came through, he walked over to the officer. Putting on a weak smile he spoke up, "Little rough of a landing Sir. The 215 always going to be this exciting?"

When they hit a bit of turbulence, Garrett latched onto the handholds at either side of his seat. When the ship split and start cartwheeling like a pair of drunken acrobats in an Asian circus, well there wasn't much he could do about that. When he lost his grip, momentum sent him tumbling up the wall and crashing against the roof, only to be 'lifted' up off the ceiling and come sailing back down to the floor. He began scrabbling for purchase, but found none and went hurtling into the night via the freshly rent orifice in the transport's hull. Well ********, the Lieutenant thought. This might be it.

Luckily, it wasn't. Hurtling toward the surface at twenty miles an hour wasn't the best way to make a landing, but it didn't kill him. He came down on an inclined surface which sent him rolling down into less than friendly (or smooth) loose rock. "Sweet Sally, that ******** hurt," he grumbled across the com. Pain was all over, so it was difficult to tell what hurt the most. As he tried to push himself to his feet, he realized what was wrong. "Oh ******** me!" he shouted as his left arm gave out, the shoulder dislocated. "Um... I think I'll be a little while," he mumbled, rolling over and sitting up. His breathing was coming in heavy, but his suit was secure, so he'd be alright. "Dislocated shoulder... I think. I'm not a doctor, but it hurts. I'll save you the colorful description... for now."

Kai looked at Gorefowl, who formed up on him, as well as Mortego, whom had been coming towards him but instead changed course and made his way towards Hendlow to check up on the man. The Lieutenant had just finished giving instructions to the other half of 215, whom hadn't done quite as well, and Kai counted two KIA from the initial hit and two more casualties from the crash itself. The remainder of those had been saved by landing in some large, shallow pond of some liquid that they thankfully could not smell.

Kai looked up at the other shuttles undergoing similar bombardment, but not exploding as theirs had, as well as watching the Ottyo troopers dropping on the enemy ship. "Roger that, Malinowski." Kai replied to the intelligence officer, before calling up Hendlow. "Old man! my HUD's telling me you need some TLC. Think you're up to the fight?"

"Who's Sally? I don't recall a Sally on this Terran squad." Killy asked.
"God damn it, would you shut up?" Cibo snapped. With the bitter, sour smell in her helmet and mouth, the Intelligence Officer was irritated, to say the least. She was about to spit again, but stopped herself just in time, eventually forcing herself to swallow it with an audible gulp.
"Nervous?" The alien asked. She ignored him, and checked her BRO, and sure it was in working order, started to move forward as the squad's point.
"Cibo and Killy here, on point, awaiting further orders sir." she spoke over the comm. As soon as she finished, she promptly went over to the alien with her, and stomped on his tail as hard as she could. "Hell no." She answered him. "You said you were good on recon or something? I want to see it...after we get orders of course."
"Of course." Cibo had the sinking feeling he was 'smiling', or the Ottyo equivilant. She watched his faceless helmet's feathers twitch in excitement, for all she knew.

Waiting by Kai's side Adrian checked his Sugar, it was in working order. Pulling the rifle up he looked through the scope and scanned the area, the enemy didn't seem to be on the move yet. Catching a close up of Cibo and Killy, Adrian watched the Intelligence Agent stomp on the Ottyo's tail.
Letting out a quiet chuckle he lowered the rifle. "Well, they seem to be just fine." Turning towards Kai again, the marine relaxed and waited for orders.

"Oh ********," he grumbled some more, leaning forward. His right hand- the one attached to his good arm- went to his forehead. Mortego was moseying on over about that time, one curious eyebrow quirked. "How are you holding up, Lieutenant?" he inquired. Lieutenent Hendlow shook his head. "Hurt all over. Think I mighta busted a rib too. I don't know." He dropped onto his back.

The medic sat on his heels next to Garrett. "Alright. Just a few quick checks. He drew a small scanning device from his pouch. "Just lay as you are." Hendlow merely grunted, and Mortego went about his business. The verdict? "You've got a cracked rib and dislocated shoulder. Maybe a few other minor scuffs. No big deal. You're just going to be very uncomfortable."

"No s**t," was the Lieutenant's simple response. Mortego aided the Lieutenant in his efforts to stand before giving him some drugs- in the proper dosage this time. Then they made their way back to the group. At long last, Garrett answered the commander. "I'm good, Lieu-Kai," the demolitions expert answered in a strained voice.

"You don't sound too good..." the young lieutenant said in a worried tone, but he just furrowed his brow and opened a channel to the immediate half of his squad. " Our objective, as you know, is to kill as many as we can, as well as destroy all the communications equipment we come across, with Subspace and other FTL types coming first." The tall man motioned toward the ship, of which they were a short distance away, the large hulk of it looming above them, it would have cast quite the shadow if the Planemo had a sun.

"We gotta get over there, and find a way in. Hendlow, that's your job, in case we can't find a door. For now, we will have Killy and Malinowsky in the front, as they seem to have volunteered. Me next, with Mortego and Hendlow, and finally Gorefowl. You girls got that? Let's move out." and without further ado, Kai began to plod off toward the red behemoth.

"Wait, what? Volunteered?!" Cibo squawked in horror. She looked at the alien, half questioning, half accusing; he merely shrugged.
"I'm only out here because you're out here." he quickly added. Cibo's mind started to race as she desperately tried to rationalize how she ended up walking point with that...thing.
'I-I't was an accident! Just me going about old routines! It's not my it?' she thought to hserself. "Lets go." Cibo spoke quietly. They kept on advancing, Killy blending into the curves and serrated edges of terrain, and Cibo herself trying to do the same, partially distracted. She fainlty heard Killy talking over the raido. Except he wasn't talking in anything she recognized. 'God damned birdspeak.' When they started to get near, a tug on the belt pulled Cibo out of her private hell, and back into the pitch black one that she found herself in now. Killy pointed; they were only 30 meters away from the hulk, and the rest of the squad was a good 150 behind them.
"Cibo. Tell them." he half whined impatiently. "Right, right. Cibo here, about 30 meters away from the hull. Umm." She popped her head out of cover carefully, and looked around before going on, "Looks clear. No guards or anything sir."

Taking his position as rear guard, Adrian walked after the rest of the Squad. When Cibo and Killy reported a possible entry position, that was with the applications of a generous amount of explosives of course, he went on the alert. Bringing his rifle up the Sniper focused in on the ship wall, searching for Drathonians.

Mortego at last let go of Hendlow upon the Lieutenant's request. The drugs were starting to settle in, and the pain was seeping away. He was smiling again, the slightly crooked smile he carried when he was feeling up in the world. But at the mention of a building without any doors, he sighed. "********. Um, guys... we need to detour. I lost my satchel of goodies." He scratched the back of his head. "Pretty sure it went out the door with me when I fell out the ship." Oops.

Kai stopped dead in his tracks for a moment, before looking around at himself and the faint outlines of those around him. His Helmet soon adjusted and those outlines became more clear, showing him exactly where his squad was. He had registered what Cibo had said, but Hendlow's statement shocked him. "Ummmm.. Everyone, Check for grenades, or any of the small charges in your belts, If anyone has an APE-7, please give it to Hendlow."

Kai checked himself, feeling a little like a retard. He had one on his person, but just one wouldn't be enough. The Lieutenant handed over his 'goods' to his XO, and then continued forward. "Malinowski, Killy, stay where you are till we regroup, and then we'll try to find a way inside. We need to hurry."

"Yes sir. Holding position." Cibo spoke over the comm. She then shook her head to shake loose the drying puke on her visor. Some of it did fall off in crusts, but much more stayed on. "So. You have any bright ideas?" she asked with a large helping of sarcasm.
"If you Terrans weren't terrible climbers, I'm sure we could have gone up a level or so and found an intact airlock or two." He paused, head looking about in thought. "But I'm sure there's at least one mangled one down here where you can simply stroll in." He added on. Cibo sighed heavily, and took a deep breath, finally oblivious to the rancid odor in her helmet.
"You're starting to sound like a Drathonian with all that talk of 'physical superiority' and s**t, you know that?" Cibo watched as he darted around to face her. She had hit a nerve. She smiled. "Lieutenant, the Inquisitor suggests we try finding pre-existing enterences into the ship, such as an intact airlock that we may not be able to climb to, or an exposed hallway. Advise." She knew, absolutely knew, that he wouldn't do a thing when she was talking over the radio to the Lieutenant. And Cibo was right.

Checking his pack Adrian found the sinlge explosive charge he had grabbed just in case things got bad. "Lieutenat, I'm handing over a second charge, no grenades though." Moving forward he handed the APE-7 to the XO.

"Look, look, just give me a few minutes. I'll find it. Can't be too far." He waved his hands in a manner that was usually exercised to encourage those around you to calm down. "I've got this, just a minute." He turned around and headed in the direction of his point of impact, his eyes to the ground. Searching... Searching... He began repeating the word over and over again in his head. He was so zoned with the drugs, he ended up finding his bag by tripping over it. He stumbled a few steps, then turned, and smiled when he recognized its faint outline against the jagged rocks. However, there was another problem.

When he picked it up, a plastic explosive fell out from a hole the size of two fists side-by-side. "Whoops," he muttered whilst bending down to pick it up, and tuck it away. He did a quick sealing job on the hole with some adhesive from another explosive while walking back to the group. "We're good!" he declared, throwing the satchel's straps over his right shoulder. "Show me where you need me!"

Kai raised an eyebrow as Hendlow took his sweet time right after he had told everyone to hurry. He shook his head, then turned back to the wreckage. It was big, and tall, and square, the flat surface bowed out a little near where part of the ship had sunk into the ground. above that was smooth hull, broken in places by very melted AA turrets, but a few of those had survived to shoot at the incoming shuttles and orbitally dropped soldiers. A few marine Scimitars made their way into the atmosphere, and the subsquent explosions silenced the guns.

"Well, looks like the easiest way in is to make our own hole. I don't see any airlocks, at least not any visible, operational ones. there's a ring of plates about two meters off the ground that might be one though..." the lieutenant noted crunching his way forward towards the enemy craft, that was disturbingly quiet. Normally the lizards would be staunchly defending from every hole they found, but the infrequent explosions of breeching charges told a different story.

She tensed as she watched Killy flex in anger, perhaps wanting to strangle her or something. Eventually, he settled down. Both Cibo and Killy watched Hendlow go about and pick up the high explosives, or, more accurately, Cibo watched Killy watch Hendlow do all that. The alien shook it's head a little in disapproval, most likely towards the treatment of the breaching charges. 'I guess some gestures and stuff don't change, aliens or not.' she thought. She walked along the length of the thick hull, noting how sturdy the construction seemed to her. Of course, she wasn't a shipwright, but some things were obvious; this ship was tough. "So Mr. Yotruyan, what do you think?"
"A piece of crap covered in a thick shell. Absolutely disgusting. And the same goes for the technology inside. Whoever made the core, basic components were sloppy." Cibo nodded to this, but then she started thinking like she always did. 'Wait a second. Drathonian tech is mostly copies and knockoffs of what we that means....' She looked at the alien again. Cibo had a hard time figuring out what he was feeling, but so far, her instincts were right on the money.
"You jerk!" The Ottyo started to make a strange noise. It simply had to be laughing at her. He pointed over to a spot on the hull. "Kai's probably right about that being a...former airlock. Best bet to breech there. If not, and we can't get in, I'll see what I can do." The strange laughter equivalent he had simply haunted Cibo.

Adrian watched the XO stumble about with his crudely patched satchel. The Sniper was honestly not too sure of the impression he was getting from the Squad. The Lieutenant seemed to be competent and the medic had so far done his job when required. But, when you paired Hendlow with both Cibo and the alien - it started to seem more like a comedy troupe than a military unit.
Overall there was a distinct lack of urgency, but that could just be due to the lack of combat so far or the fact that their landing was...rattling to say the least. Hoping that one of those was the case, Adrian got in closer to the breeching site, still holding the rear but able to enter quickly if the need to arose.

"Done deal," came the speedy response of the demolitions expert. As soon as he knew where he was needed, he jogged on over- perhaps not the best idea when one was hauling around a satchel of explosives over his shoulder. He was like this galaxy's Santa, if Santa had made a wrong turn on his way to deliver a fresh batch of toys (toys designed to kill hostile lizards & destroy heavily armored structures, that is) to all the oh-so-adorable Ottyo children. Yeah, it was just like that.

Once at the designated location, he grasped the lip of the hatch's entryway with the arm that had been dislocated not fifteen minutes ago, and began to haul himself up. His body wasn't going to have any of that, though, and his grip was lost; Lieutenant Hendlow only barely managed to catch himself, adding the dry comment, "Whoops. Won't be doing that again." He grinned to himself like he was the friggin' Cheshire Cat telling a joke the attendants of Mad Hatter's Tea Party couldn't comprehend. Once he was sitting on the little precipice jutting out from the armored door, he rummaged for the strongest explosives, slapped them onto the door's seal, and dropped to the ground. "To either side, ladies 'n gents. It's gonna be big one." He walked to the door's relative left, following the curvature of the ship some twenty paces.

"Remote detonation in 3... 2..." BOOM!

"Oops." In his current drug-induced state, his thumb had been a tad twitchy, causing a premature detonation. 'Twas a good thing Garrett made sure everyone was clear before he started the countdown. "I'm- I'm really sorry if I startled anyone. That was a complete accident."

The two seemed to be simply steaming at each other; Cibo looked like she was going to hiss, and Killy seemed to be looking down on her. The Ottyo was the first to speak over Lieutenant Hendlow's explosives retrieval. "First. Don't ever. Ever, compare me to those monsters." Cibo's face seemed to light up in savage delight upon hearing his angry voice. He went on, his tone different, "And second. Please don't touch my tail. Honestly, I didn't know you were like that, but please keep your hands and feet to yourself." The alien's body language and tone made him both look and sound uneasy. Cibo's mouth dropped.
"Huh? I don't...I'm not following." she stated, shaking her head. The two moved off to the side as Garrett planted the breaching charges. The Lieutenant got ready to count down.
"You're so perverse Cibo." The explosion's pressure slapped them much like the way the Intelligence Officer's mind was slapped. "We're on point, MOVE!" She simply didn't have time to think as she stormed the newly created 'entrance' in the downed ship. The area they entered into was empty, or at least was empty for now. The alien reported back to the Terrans. "Clear for now Kai-Lieutenant. I'm guessing it's because the other Ottyo started top down, rather than your bottom up." Cibo swept her BRO across the spaces, and asked herself miserably, 'What...what did I do?' And then she realized something. She was in front of the armored alien, not behind him.
"Hey! Why aren't you in front of me?" she whispered urgently.
"Because I don't trust you to be behind me anymore!" Killy hissed back. For her, it was confirmed.
'I'm feeling sick...'

Sehene was beginning to get herself in a more combat oriented mood, and nodded grimly at Lieutenant Kai’s orders, ”Yes Sir.”. She was attempting to prepare herself for a rough landing, when she got much more than she was prepared for.

She felt as if she were frozen in place for a moment as the ship was wrenched apart, and then she was thrown into a fellow 215 member with the first jolt, and back against a far wall as the ship careened into the ground, only to witness the man she had just been thrown into impaled on a former piece of siding. She heard his scream, and the sound of the metal forcing its’ way through his suit, but could barely take notice as the ship was tearing apart before her eyes.
She felt sure impact with the ground would kill her, but miraculously she landed in some sort of thick dark liquid. She relaxed with a moan, her ribs and shoulder blades feeling extremely bruised, but somehow she was alive, and she thanked her suit for the event. She turned onto her hands and knees and shook her head, rubbing some of the dark stuff off her helmet with one gloved hand, before trying to look around to find her fellows. She moaned in pain, and reached one hand up the her aching head, God...what a terrible crash...

She remembered the soldier she had seen, and frantically checked her right, where she saw chunks of metal and smoking wires and then left, to which she saw his still form, with ribbons of metal coming up out of his ruined suit. She sloshed to him and her helmet registered him as one ‘Michael Donnel’. She didn’t need to check his life signs to know that he wasn’t alive, no-one could survive an injury like that. She gingerly touched the shards of his chest plate, how fast were we going? To completely destroy one of these? She closed her eyes and the oft seen image of her father flashed beneath her lids.

Ken was spared major injury from the crash thanks getting pushed into the corner of the transport and kept there by the bodies of two other marines. However, when the transport split and started tumbling he and the other marines were thrown from the vessel and they landed in a pond of sorts filled with what Ken could only begin to describe as motor oil. It was upon his landing in the shallow pond that he landed on his outstretched arms.
Ken simply laid in the pond of sludge for a little bit as he worked his way through the mental shock and the pain that was now shooting up his arms. Snapping himself out of his daze he stood up. The medic began to shake off the sludge from his upper body, and then began to look around. One of the marines that had fallen with him had begun wading through waist high muck towards another marine that was starting to sink into the muck a bit. Just my luck to do a dive into the shallow end of the pool, he thought to himself. “Are any of you hurt badly?” he asked the marines who were in the pond with him. When there was no response he simply began to help others get out of the sludge.
When Lieutenant Kai call over the comes for everyone to form up Ken was finally out of the pond and wiping off the slippery grime from his suit. As Lieutenant Garrett was already being helped by the other medic Ken went directly over and fell in line with Kai.
As the group moved on the young medic found himself slightly disappointed at the level of professionalism he was seeing. Mostly with Garrett and how he was handling the delicate explosives, but with the fact that nobody was really doing anything about it. When the Kai asked for everyone to check for usable explosives Ken didn't bother as he knew all he had were medical supplies and colored and plain white smoke grenades. His impression of the squad was not boosted with the subsequent premature detonation.
That could have seriously hurt somebody, Ken fumed to himself as Lieutenant Garrett's nonchalant attitude started to grate on his nerves. It had been a while since Ken had actually been annoyed with somebody, much less angry at them. “This is going to be a long deployment,” he said to himself as he followed the others into the breach.

“Well, you sure can't blame it on me! You know, like you did for the whole first year I knew you,” Steven countered. “As for the drinks, just some coffee or something. You don't need to be so presumptuous, I just think it would be nice to catch up with an old friend. It is not like I am hoping to make out with you when you're drunk.”

Fred noted the body language of his wingman. It would have been easier to scale the Berlin Wall than it would be to cross the gap that was Arcadia's disdain for him. So with a heavy sigh the Irishman turned and walked over towards his fighter and hoisted himself up. As he became lost in thought he found himself remembering the days before Captain Steven joined Green Squadron.
It was a lot quieter back then, but also much more boring. He could still remember the day Steven joined. There was a lot of hype over him for reasons he hadn't cared to find out. This was back when Fred was still more marine than he was pilot, so for the new guy to not only receive such a welcome but also be moved all the way up to the Third seat didn't sit well with him. Not to mention the fact that the kid was starting out as a Lance Corporal when he himself had to put his life at risk countless times just to make Private 1st Class made him even more angry.
“So what!” he had said loudly to his CO, “Just because the kid has a famous dad and good grades don't mean ya can give him so much credit! Every man here had to work for our status, including you! Why are we letting him just walk in and take stuff?” Fred never had his questions answered since the CO just ignored him and walked off.
Over the next few months however, Fred began to respect Steven. Not because of any of his honors, and at the time he certainly wasn't the best pilot in the fleet. No, it was because unknown to Fred Steven had overheard the Irishman's rant, and so in the coming months did his best to earn his respect through sheer determination. Long story short, Steven made it to the 2nd seat in the squad, and after the former CO retired to bridge crew Steven became leader of Green Squadron.
Fred chuckled a little as he recalled how much both he and Steven had grown up over the years. He also suddenly found himself wondering how his alien drinking buddy was doing.

Kai followed the first few people into the newly made hole into the enemy ship, which just happened to open into a hallway. it was obvious that there had been an airlock here at some point, but it had been taken out for unknown reasons. One thing the marines would note was that the hallways seemed to be larger than average hallways, big enough to fit a battle tank through. Luckily, none were in sight, and Kai ordered the small group forward towards a glowing sector nearby. It appeared to be the light from a console of some sort, where they could get information about the ship's layout.

"Killy, Cibo, since you're on point, I want you to clear out that room up ahead without damaging the electronics inside, if possible" the Lieutenant ordered. Inside, the two would find a couple of badly injured drathonians, one barely awake, the other unconscious. Around them lay the broken bodies of what appeared to be small, dog-sized lizards, probably Killy's first ever contact with Draconi. The damage to them was abviously blunt force trauma from being thrown around during the rough landing.

Command of the second half of 215 had fallen on Rutthinger's shoulders, since Donnel had bitten it during the crash. Silently, the man had taken the responsibility, and now, he spoke to his 'unit' "Allright boys, we've got to get in there. Kwon, you're on point. Marcellus, and I will make up the middle, and Sehene will have the rear. Understood?" The man stoicly rummaged through his backpack for a moment, before pulling out a breeching charge. "Once we get there, we'll make our own way in and rendezvous with the rest of the squad when fate allows."

Kwon nodded and began to head off, his eyes sharp on the scene ahead, making sure nobody fired on the group of marines. The other two, Guttemeier and Peterson, were too badly injured to continue, 'the tank' being unconscious, and the other man left as a guard until backup could retrieve them.

"Coffe sounds nice" the female squadron lead commented, taking a moment to order a couple of her fighters to make sure the wreckage didn't have any more dangerous spines hiding under its thick hide. "You'll have to fill me in on it later, however, duty calls." and with that, Rhiannon shut off the link, her fighter blasting off to descend into the thin atmosphere of the planemo after her subordinates.

"Roger, roger." the Ottyo sounded off to Kai. However, when he and Cibo were at the sealed door, he spoke again. "I'm going in first; come in behind me. And no inappropriate touching." Inside, Cibo was outright furious at, at doing something like that. Even if it was by accident, she didn't deserve this indignity, did she? 'Why me? Why ME?!' she thought. The airtight door quickly opened at her insistence, and the two piled in, at the same order the Ottyo suggested. The Ottyo stormed in, clearing the area of imminent threats, then quickly kicked over and prodded the bodies one by one with his Sugar until he found two survivors. One was barely conscious, the other out cold. He told her so.

"%$*ers! Eat *&@$ and die!" Cibo quickly ran in and started pummeling the barely conscious survivor to death, aided by the Alkane rich atmosphere rushing into the room, it was easy. She stomped hard on the neck of the unconscious one until it's chest stopped moving. Like a machine, Cibo then went over and started to hack into the mainframe. "Here's the deck layout Kai. I'm uploading it to our suits." she spoke, dejected.

"I would have just snapped their necks. I don't know, say, something bothering you?" Hearing that from Killy, the Intelligence Agent turned on him, and made as if to punch him in the face, but stopped. Killy stood there and simply looked at her with that faceless helmet as the upload went by. The alien shook his head. "For a species with such incredibly active sexual drives, you're very uncomfortable with jokes about it. Aren't you?"

"W-what?!" Cibo cried out suddenly gagging on her own breath.The Ottyo simply shrugged and replied,

"They used to make jokes like this at me all the time. The squad of Inquisitors I used to work with..."

"Well? Why now?" Cibo snapped. She pressed on, seeing that it was the alien's turn to be uncomfortable. Killy shifted uneasily. "Out with it." she hissed. The alien was definitely uncomfortable! 'I got you now! I can see it. Taste it! I'm going to make you squirm like you made me. Suffer, damn you!' Being one of the few Terrans that could successfully order around aliens with sheer intimidation helped, but there was something else at work in the Ottyo's mind. He relented.

"If I had to guess, I suppose I made those jokes because I miss them." He looked away from her, and towards the pile of smaller Draconi, prodding them with his feet. He went on, sad, "Yes. That analysis is accurate. I do miss the 67th Inquisitorial Shrikes. I miss them very much." The revelation was like a punch in the gut for her.

'He...he feels lonely? No, no! You were supposed to, to...why do I feel like the monster here?' The Ottyo 'locked eyes' with her again.

"I spoke earlier in an attempt at mutual entertainment, but failed. I apologize for my ineptitude concerning your culture."

Cibo turned away from the alien and kicked the bulkhead. She felt like a monster.

Adrian welcomed the slightly slower pace of guarding the rear. Of course, the sniper would never admit he wasn't younger than he would like to be, but still it was nice to not have to run around so frantically at the front.
Especially when your demolitions man seems to have a...tendency for prematurely activating his charges. Adrian thought as he walked through the blast hole that Hendlow had left in the side of the enemy ship. The first thing he heard was a stream of profanity, followed by a quick drum beat of dull, meaty smacks.
As the layout began to upload to his suit, Adrian ignored it. Moving up to the room with the dead Drathonians in it, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Even after breaching the enemy ship those two still seemed to be going at it. Though by the end of the conversation the Intelligence Office seemed to be almost ashamed; though still just as angry, one of the already abused bulkheads stood monument to that as it had acquired a fresh dent.
Looking around and seeing no enemies and no new orders about how to precede from the Lieutenant, Adrian called out to Cibo, “Hey, Minder shouldn't you get to know our Ottyo friend better later?” The sniper pronounced “Ottyo” tentatively, the word was new to him. “Would hate to see you get too distracted and die before you even get a chance to display your combat skills.” Suddenly how large that dent on the bulkhead was really bloomed into Adrians mind, not sure if his words had been a good idea or not he stood his ground and smiled.

Once inside, the second round of apologies from the Lieutenant began. "Again, sorry about that. I'm a little... shaky with the drugs for my injury. It was an accident, and one I plan on making up to you all." He sighed, though it didn't register over the com. "I'll keep watch for the other half of the squad," he informed the others. Then he took a squat at the new 'doorway' he'd made, sitting on his heels while he gazed outward, scanning for movement.

It was one thing for Fred to realize Arcadia's true demeanor and give up, but it was another entirely for him to ignore her question, and she was more than a little perturbed by his decision to do so. She took an aggravated deep breath before downing the rest of her coffee. That man could stir up quite the storm if he didn't simply learn to play along.

Red lights on red metal. Red, scaly bodies on the red floor. A black skeletal figure doused in red looked at Adrian. Cibo, in her form fitting camouflage suit, was also red. Both her face and her suit were red, though, it could be debated if it was the lights that were making her face red enough to fit with the Eidolon's tints and patterns. She scowled at Adrian, and finally gave an angry "Hmph!" noise. "Like I'd die so easy after being through all this!" she reproachfully replied. "I've seen men twice heavily armored as myself go down like an old man with a duratanium tipped boot-kick to the balls." Cibo did a little march right up to Adrian, and poked his chestplate at each word, "You. Be. Careful."

Yotruyan scanned the areas that the Drathonians could come out of at any time while she ranted. The Ottyo growled and tried to yank both Terrans into cover. "Do your arguing from behind something sturdy. Have the decency to do that like I have had and keep us from dragging one more riddled body back. It is common courtesy!"

All the bickering was beginning to wear on Lieutenant Hendlow's drug-frayed nerves, bringing him back around to his proper mind- albeit with some grumpy fallout. When he spoke, his tone was no longer soft and airy as it had been after his initial reception of painkillers. It was gruff, angry, and most certainly sincere. "Malinowski, Gorefowl, if you ******** don't cut the ******** cross-chatter, I'll come in there myself and put a bullet in each of you. We are in hostile territory, and shouldn't bear repeating. You're soldiers, now ******** act like it!"

He gave a sigh. "Nakamura, no enemies in the open, and seems like Rutthinger has control of the situation on that end. We should get moving before I get antsy and start practicing on the dummies in the other room." If anything could be said for these painkillers, it was that they did a very good job of amplifying the user's emotions, especially with Garrett's peaceful high now ruined by these childish Terrans.

As Hendlow's voice cracked out like a whip, all resistance to Killy's tug flew from Adrian's body. As the XO said he was a soldier, and as one the sniper had found the rule of 'If you ever find yourself between someone else's iron sights, get out.' extremely useful.
Settling himself into the cover the alien had pulled into him, Adrian turned his head and cracked a smile. When he spoke to Killy his voice was only a whisper, an attempt to hopefully escape his Officer's ire. “Just in time with that pull of yours, looks like we didn't hold his attention long. I think Lieutenant Hendlow might have swapped out his tongue for an artillery piece, he damn well sounded like one.” The marine sniper paused, all of a sudden giving Killy an amused look. “Y'kow, when I asked for your abilities all that you stated had to do with offense, you need some rounding out. Go ahead and add “guardian” to that list, I've never seen a more timely removal of someone's a** from the fire.”
Patting his rifle Adrian looked around, still no Drathonians had appeared, and the nothing new had come down the com-channel. Finding that staying in cover seemed the most comfortable thing to do at the moment Adrian settled back in, giving Killy a nod as he did so. “Hopefully we got orders coming, then we can work on that list of yours.” Remembering Cibo he gestured towards her.“Her's too; like I said earlier bad to see a minder out-shined by too much.”

Suddenly, Kai spoke up. "Allright you retards, cut the chatter, I've located the Comm stations in this sector of the ship" It seems his silence was because he had turned off his helmet comm and focused on finding what he needed to do their job. "Good news is, they're close. Bad news is, we have to go through a barracks to get there, as well as an armory." The Lieutenant sent everyone the proper map showing them where they needed to go.

"Okay everybody, we're attacking the Barracks first, then the armory, Let's move out!" and with that, the blond man, well, moved out. Terran combat boots clomped down the hallway before the marine came to a corner where he slowed down to be quieter. He quickly detached a camera from his Sugar, and gingerly snuck it around the corner. Sure enough, there were Lizards there, a bunch of small, sickly looking Draconi being forced to distribute gas masks to the Drathonians as they slowly died, the larger creatures not even caring about the livlihood of their enslaved brother race. These enemies were much more lucid, and appeared to be forming up squads to counterattack the marines being sent into the ship.

"Well, I found them. Really bad news is: they're lucid, and they have guns, and there's quite a few outside, not to mention probably more in the barracks themselves."

Rutthinger's squad soon made their way to the crashed ship, and the subsequent explosions booming through the ship signalled their near-immediate entrance. Booms such as this had been going on since the first group of marines landed, and the sheer amount of holes in the side of the ship were taking their toll on its structure. With each new explosion, the ship creaked and rocked, metal bending under the stress of an ever greater load on an ever smaller amount of supports.

"Anybody with explosives; I need you to throw them down the hall on my command, and everyone else, cover them, and start giving suppresive fire on the enemies so the people who threw explosives can get their guns again and charge. Am I clear?" Lieutenant Nakamura ordered, shouldering his sugar and pulling out the two grenades held on his belt. As the squad waited behind him, He counted out " One... Two... THREE!" And charged, hoping the squad was behind him and following his orders.

“Aha!” Adrian got up as the happy exclamation left his mouth. Upon receiving the orders about the explosives he took out his one charge, looked at it for a second, and then pressed it into Killy's hand. “I told you we could work on your list. This one will just be for general use, combat explosives.”
Before the alien could even think about protesting, the marine sniper ran off after his commanding officer. Switching his Sugar to semi-auto as he moved, Adrian hoped Killy wouldn't get angry and refuse to be a make-shift grenadier. After all, I will be more useful on suppressive fire duty., Adrian thought. Or at least I hope so – dammit all if I've gotten rusty.
Turning the corner after Kai, Adrian immediately dropped to one knee, steadying his rifle and clenching his teeth as he got a bead on his first target. Aiming for the head he pulled the trigger four times in rapid succesion, a slight delay was followed by a fifth pull to account for the last shot missing.

The Ottyo growled for a moment before tossing the explosive device towards the group of Drathonians with one hand. He flicked his wrist, sending it hurtling downrange alongside the other thrown charges. With a boom, the enemy was partially obscured by the blast. They couldn't tell how many were even wounded or killed, but Killy and Cibo already knew where they were going to aim. The two were behind cover on opposite sides of the hallway, and immediately set up a crossfire, their weapons' fire aimed at targets opposite of themselves, the blaster bolts forming an 'X' as they crossed one another, hence the term. Killy hated the toy like gun he was using despite it's stopping power. On the other hand, Cibo was having a blast just holding the Bro's trigger down and hosing them with fire.

She smiled.

When the bombs went off, there was no sun shining. The clouds of smoke, though not mushroom, lacked any kind of silver lining for the Drathonians whom were engulfed in the blasts. Many outright died, many were thrown about, and many scattered, wether under their own power or compelled by the pressure wave caused by several localized antimatter explosions.

The hall itself, and the walls, the door jamb, everything turned into one large sphere, at the bottom of which was a brown muddy pulp of what used to be Drathonians. Bones and twisted bits of metal that used to be weapons stuck out from the shallow, grotesque pool.

The room, whose door had travaled a meter or two over, was soon exposed as angry lizards beat through the weakened walls, pointing weapons out at the terrans whom had assaulted them. Adrian's efforts were not in vain, as the first one to show up was quickly taken down by his short burst of fire; but more lizards were coming.

The exchange of fire grew intense as Kai gingerly rounded the corner a second time, his gun blazing as he fired covering fire to keep enemy heads down "Go Go Go!" he called to his team, ordering them to charge. the changed dynamic of the hallway made it possible to take cover on the wall opposite of their corner, and possibly throw another grenade or APE-7 into the barracks room and end the firefight sooner.

Once all the other explosives had detonated, Lieutenant Hendlow came around the corner, BRO sputtering in one hand while the other hurled a pair of anti-matter charges toward the Drathonians' rear lines. He was aware his team was advancing and made sure to account for it in his throw.

His face was grimly set, both hands now gripping the gun in a manner that said I'd rather be breaking necks and snapping jaws. Instead, he kept to suppressive fire with the BRO, taking cover whenever the lizards realized he was back up.

Hendlow's Bombs worked to great effect, clearing the entrance to the barracks even more, and allowing the Squad to advance a bit more, this time making it all the way to the opening so they could fire in. Kai Dove across the gap, taking advantage of the dazed enemies to move to the other side of the wall, gaining another firing angle on the enemy.

"Keep your fire up! Don't stop shooting until they are all dead!" the Lieutenant ordered, firing at the enemy himself, his Sugar suddenly stopping its fire due to a dead battery. He dropped the old Battery and quickly switched one out from his belt, getting ready to fire again.

Now they could see within the barracks. It was a large room, maybe 20 meters long by ten meters wide, with racks of hammocks, most of which were either ripped and empty or just plain empty. The poles holding them up were now being used as cover by the Drathonians, as well as their boxes of personal belongings.

There appeared to be about ten conscious individuals actively fighting back against the Terran intruders. Most wore face masks but a few did not have any, and seemed to be doing a lot worse than the others. At the back of the room was an open door, where two Drathonians could be seen taking cover, and the Squad's HUD's highlighted an unseen third who seemed to be attempting to make a call.

The crumbling edges of the walls provided plenty of cover for the Squad, but limited the number of people whom could fire at once. The caved-in floor provided a small amount of Defilade that a couple people could take cover in, if they didn't mind getting in the pool of blood and gore.

Cibo quickly leaped and rolled across the doorway to allow more people to come in and fill the shooting spaces. The Intelligence Officer stuck her Bro over the cover and blind fired at the general source of the red bolts, and quickly ducked down to asses the information Kai put up on her heads up display. She glanced at Killy who was taking cover in the crater, shoveling up the larger bits of gore and viscera to use as makeshift sandbags against the plasma bolts. 'He doesn't have a link with our Squad HUD, does he?' She screwed up her face and barked at him, "Killy, you idiot! Link up with our data network and kill that Drath on the comm!" The Ottyo perked up and inserted a booster canister into the Sugar before quickly popping out of cover and snapping off a shot with the anti-material mode; the lance of plasma sliced through cover, and blew off the red alien's head. A 5 inch wide hole left behind gave away the general location of the target. Enemy fire forced the Ottyo from rising again, vaporizing the makeshift cover he erected.

"You're very welcome Cibo." Killy replied. "Adrian! I marked the area; take the shot and kill the console!"

Adrian calmly switched out his battery and switched his Sugar into sniper mode as Killy yelled his instructions. Taking a deep breathe the marine sniper visualized the hole the alien had made in front of the communications console. After hurriedly reviewing his memory the older soldier cracked a big smile.
Popping out of cover, Adrian had the console directly in his sights, but what else was their forced a stream of air through his clenched teeth, creating a hissing sound. Another Drathonian was already trying to access the network. Then, the marine realized he had the perfect angle of fire to do his job and one-up Killy in his field.
All of a sudden a much more savage smile than originally was on Adrian's face. Lining up his shot with expert precision while being threatened by enemy fire the sniper held his breathe – then fired. The high powered shot blasted through the terminal, destroying it, then continued upward, shearing through the face of the Drathonian who had been attempting to access the comm link.
Staying up to watch the enemy body topple to the floor, Adrian quickly realized the enemy fire was getting a little too intense. Ducking back behind cover he threw a grin at Killy, “I'm not too sure your ready to add 'Sniper' to your list yet!”

Men can only spend so much time sitting around with each other comparing who is better. Also, in this case specifically, the Red Squadron could only spend so much time sitting around with Siberia quietly and contentedly watching them ramble on. It wasn't that their officer wasn't friendly he was just too silent, he never joined in on the conversations unless he was directly spoken to and even when that was done he would quickly drop out.
Yet, the distance that was between them and their officer wasn't the only reason Red Squadron's attention had begun to wander. Another group of pilots wasn't far off in the hangar and they had quite the tempting air about them. Because, while the gravel-like voice of your wingman was a great thing to hear when you needed to know who had your back it wasn't exactly what you wanted to wake up to in the morning. The other Squadron on the other hand was definitely not all male. Even though they all knew of what little success Ruze had had with the prestigious Green Squadron earlier they all knew they had to try – for the memory of their dead squad mate it was their duty to test the waters.
It was the ever persistent, and never successful, Germany who spearheaded the move. Poland rose and followed the sauntering pilot, knowing that if nothing happened it would at least be amusing to see Germany shot down again. And if things did go bad – well he was the squadron's Second and it was his job to straighten whoever started it, Red or Green, out. As if Poland's addition to the fledgling away group had signaled the “A-Okay” the others began to stand and join the precession.
And at the head of this precession was Germany. The pilot's long and lazy gait took him, somehow, quickly to the other Squadron's perimeter. He took long looks at each of the Squadron's Scimitars, and out of the corner of his eyes made much more intent observations of all of Green Squadron's female pilots. “Well, well – you seem to have quite the balanced squad here.” Germany stated to no one particular, but the leer on his face made it quite clear who he wanted his audience to be.
Poland came up behind his squad mate, he seemed almost regretful and tried to open his mouth to speak. A hand grabbed the Second's shoulder, and seeing that it was Siberia he closed his mouth. As he took a position in front of his squad Siberia gave Germany a long look, and then turned it on the other prospective troublemakers of his group.
The Red Squadron leader gave a curt nod to all of the gathered Green Squadron pilots, and after quickly passing his gaze by them all he turned his attention to Fred. Throwing the large man an informal and friendly salute, Siberia smiled. “Corporal Jan Denisov, Red Squadron Lead. As my man said you have quite a balanced Squadron; it's good to you.”

Arcadia was hiding a smile behind her coffee mug; she'd been watching the Red Squadron on and off- had noticed some of them looking this way. When a couple of them sauntered over, she almost burst out laughing at the stern Corporal marching forward to intervene. So serious.

Thankfully she was skilled at hiding behind her smile behind a coffee mug and hand; it came from years of practice. When she finally lowered it, the smile had settled into something much quainter and friendly. After the briefest of thoughts, she answered, "Depends on how you mean."

Men could be so silly sometimes, they practically begged to be teased. Especially this Corporal Janisov fellow, carrying himself like a zombie made of stone. If theress emotion to be found there, it could only be negative, she remarked to herself.

Ruze made his way over just a few steps behind Red Leader, and stood with his arms crossed over his chest and an amused grin. I recognize this bunch... From the infirmary.

From behind Siberia, he gave a small wave to Arcadia.

The smile dropped from Arcadia's face, and almost became a frown- would have if not for all those years back home when the slightest change in expression could set off another intrusive inquiry. "Come back to flaunt some more, gentle Cossack?" The sarcasm was blatant, and Langdon expected some 'suave' retort, but only got a shrug from Uzbekistan.

Steven tucked his comm back in his pocket. With his conversation over the grounded pilot kind of just stood where he was as he realized he had nothing to do. With a shrug and a heavy sigh Steven resigned himself loitering in the hangar again. So with a definite slouch he shuffled off down the hall.
After a few minutes of walking he entered the hangar and looked around. The only thing he could really do was solicit Green Squadron for company. Even though his grounding was temporary he still felt out of place in the one place he was considered his stomping grounds.
“At least I pray that this is only temporary,” Steven said grimly to himself, “this might be the higher ups trying to rope me into a deck position.” As he got closer to Green Squadron's pit area he noticed a few faces he didn't recognize. He approached from behind so as to draw little attention, and sought out Fred.
“Morning Squad Leader,” Steven said as he walked up beside his old Irish friend, “what's with the fanfare?”

Fred was standing with his arms crossed and was silently watching as Red Squadron tried to mingle with the Greens. He glanced over momentarily as Steven arrived.
“First of all, it's Squad Leader pro temporem. You'll be back in charge soon enough,” he responded calmly. “Second, I guess the squatters got tired of their sausagefest and are now trying to mingle with some of our folk. Wanna place any bets on whose throat Arcadia cuts first?”

“Nah, she'll space 'em instead. You know, watch as their blood vessels rupture from the lack of equalizing pressure,” Steven said in an equally calm tone. “Think we should intervene, or warn them, or...something?”

“Pish, this is more interesting,” Fred mumbled as he took a swig of coffee.

“Sounds good to me,” Steven added. The two veteran pilots then proceeded to watch the procession like a sports game.

Seeing no objection to his squad's presence Siberia turned and nodded to them, releasing them to do as they chose as long as they didn't bring trouble to the Squadron itself. Hearing the Irish pilot, apparently the second in command not the actual Lead, use the words “squatters” and even “sausagefest” Jan was slightly irritated. The look one of the Green Pilots had given him as he introduced himself had also ruffled the Corporal's feathers; as she had obviously given him about as much respect as one would a rock and then dismissed him.
Siberia shook his head minutely, his goal was not to start an inter-squadron feud. Turning back to his men casually he cleared his throat to get their attention. “I know you all have your flasks on you.” The Lead chuckled as Czech opened his mouth to protest. “ - Czech I said I know you have them on you. Now to cut this short, drinking is allowed.” Siberia stopped as he was turning away speaking again. “Make sure our fellow squadron gets some drink too, they've been around long enough to have collected some dust.”

Ukraine wasn't exactly sure what was going on. One minute they had been by their scimitars boasting and inventing tall tails while try to out do each other and then they had all migrated over to the Hymn's Green Squadron.
But, then again seeing some women, even if some of them looked as if they would gut him if he even talked to them, wasn't a bad thing. And, as Romania passed him a bottle, not even a flask a whole bottle – god knows where he hid it, he took a swig and find it wasn't bad at all.

Germany, on the other hand, had no questions about whether or not this meeting was a good idea. Seeing Ruze not rise to Arcadia's challenge the pilot walked up to her and offered his flask. With what could only be called an attempt at a roguish smile on his face and a suggestive wag of his eyebrows the large man tried to gain her attention. “Hey, you look like you could use this drink.” Germany once again raised the flask in offering. “How 'bout we down this and then go knock off some of that “dust” of yours.”

Steven noted the contemptuous look on Siberia's face and felt a slight pang of guilt. He gave a quick glance over towards Fred, and Fred returned the look. They were both thinking the same thing.
“Excuse me!” Steven called as he jogged the short distance that separated him and the leader of Red Squadron, Fred followed after him. “Excuse me, Corporal. That probably wasn't the best formal introduction ever, let's try that again. I am Captain Steven Kerning, and this is my second in command Corporal Fred Haverthorn. Pleasure to meet ya.”

Ruze began to reach out toward Germany, hesitated, and decided to just watch rather than warn his squadmate. At the very least, it could be interesting.

Oh, she had a smile that most could only describe as devilish as she gracefully reached down from the nose of her ship and plucked the flask from the Red pilot. Her gaze was on Corporal Janisov. "Very gracious of you, sir." As she drank a few sips, her gaze drifted back to Germany. "I'm a pilot, not an antique," came her quiet response... it was the tone of voice of some beast about to pounce.

Perhaps to encourage that belief, she slid from the nose and landed beside Red Germany. She emptied the flask, despite the burn it had on her throat, and smiled again, pushing the now empty flask into Germany's chest. "And thanks for the drink." She took a step closer, less than a foot away now. "But I don't know who the hell you're trying to impress, calling nubile young women dusty." She shoved herself away from him.

All of a sudden-like, an old man in a lab coat came sort of hobbling into the hangar, a cane in his right hand. Slowly, he made his way, hunched slightly over, towards the group of pilots. he paused, and simply watched them, acting as if he either wasn't really there, or as if he had always been there. it was hard to tell which, but those who had been faced the wrong direction would think he appeared out of nowhere when they saw him.

Emma remained hidden behind her Scimitar, chatting with a young technician whom had been helping her with some thruster problems she had been having with the fighter. After having been rebuilt so many times, it seemed the craft was just about on its last legs.

Emma didn't want to give up the Phantom, as it had served her well since she joined the squadron, but the A type scimitar was outdated, and they were starting to run low on the parts specific to it, the B and C models having become the standard by now.

Still, she wasn't too worried about that. This young man was quite the lively chatter, and had been causing her to giggle on and off with some of the Technician jokes that he was telling. In truth, the man was glad he'd found a girl who understood them AND would put up with his telling of them.

Germany stepped back from the push, graciously accepting his defeat and walking back to Ruze, thirsty for another drink. “Ha! I can't see why you didn't move in Ruze, I would think that was a challenge just roaring for you.” Looking around the rest of the squad enjoying their drink, Germany licked his lips. “You wouldn't happen to have a flask I could have on you, would you Ruze?”

Siberia offered his hand in greeting. “Captain, Corporal. It is good to meet you. You have a fine squad sir, we saw some of their fighting out there.” The Red Lead was less annoyed now, a reserved and polite smile on his face.

Albania and Hungary heard voices from the other side of one of the Scimitars. Turning the corner Albania saw one of the Green's pilots speaking with a mechanic, listening happily to some inane chatter of the grease monkey's.
The gaunt pilot rapped his knuckles on the Phantom's hull, trying to get the pair's attention. “Oi! Mechanic can't you see us pilots are having a little “meeting” your keeping her from some important stuff.” Albania had a sick smile on his face as he leered at Emma, trying to remember the last time he had a woman, and watched the grease monkey for any sign of a fight.
Then, he heard the heavy step of his extremely large wingman. Red Hungary, or Pot Belly as the squad had christened him, was the largest man in the Squadron. As he turned the corner after Albania he stumbled, his face already scarlet from emptying multiple flasks. The large man furrowed his brow as he took in the scene before him, then his face slackened and he grinned.
“Albania! What have you found here?” As the big pilot shouted cheerfully Albania grinned slyly. It's a damn good thing he's already smashed, the gaunt Red thought as he dismissed his partner and turned his attention back to the young Green pilot.
And that was why he never saw Hungary's punch coming.
Pot Belly's fist crunched into Albania face, crashing into his nose and sending the smaller man tumbling to the ground. Hungary crouched by his wingman, pulling out his second flask again, keeping both hands occupied. “Siberia told you to watch yourself wretch.” He spat, looking down at his unconscious, and bloodied, squad mate the big pilot shook his head. Then, stretching back out to his full height he gave Emma and the mechanic a sincere smile. “Do feel free to join the party.” Gesturing with his head to Albania his smile just got even wider. “He's not getting up for a while.”
Whistling, Hungary turned back the way he had come to join what he considered his true squad mates, for no matter how long Albania and him had flown wing with each other he was really nothing more than the man's Warden. The big man sighed, first he would need to report what happened to Siberia.

Ruze offered Germany a drink and advice. "Oh, I'm making my move. Women like that take time 'n patience, and it's always worth the effort. Rough at first, but give 'er some time, she'll ease up. Right now I'm just taking my time getting over that first hump. Let me show you."

He strode toward Pilot Langdon with a congenial smile. She didn't see him coming as she was busy hoisting herself back up onto the Scimitar; she was thinking she might be able to do a bit of maintenance work- you know, make the men drool a little more. Unfortunately for her- and fortunately for Dilshod- the alcohol was starting to hit, and as she went up the first step, lost her balance. She stumbled back and probably would have landed on her a** if Ruze hadn't been there to catch her.

"Woah, Miss Langdon. Careful now. You just emptied a fifth of home-brewed vodka in a few seconds. You should probably take it easy." When she was on her own two feet, he let go.

Despite already having been released, Arcadia glared over her shoulder and shrugged in her uniform, a movement that would have been off-putting if Ruze's hands were still on her. Her cheeks were a faint pink from the irritation and alcohol. "I don't need assistance from you, sir[," was her answer, slurring that last word sarcastically. Then she climbed back onto Stygian Retribute- without problem this time. Ruze didn't pursue her, but returned to Germany's side, where she imagined they exchanged high-fives and kudos.

All Ruze exchanged with Germany, though, was a look, a nod, and a few words. "See? In time, she'll relax."

Hungary made sure both of his flask were tucked away and out of sight before approaching Siberia. As he came to stand behind the Red Leader he clasped his hands behind his back, hiding his blood stained right fist from view. Ready to give his news the large bellied pilot cleared his throat.

Siberia had been enjoying the prospect of having a good conversation with a fellow Squadron leader and his Second, but as he heard the sound of someone large walking behind him accompanied by the gravelly cough that only Hungary could produce he wasn't quite sure that was going to happen. “Excuse me a second Captain.” He told Steven and then turned to his subordinate. The Red Leader tried not to expect the worst as he spoke to the pilot. “Yes Hungary?”
“I got something you need to know about Albania.” The large pilot stopped as Siberia's eyes turned hard and a frown bloomed on his superior's face. “He's unconscious.”
“And why is that Private?” Jan's voice had turned rough.
Hungary gestured back towards the Phantom. “Albania heard some voices from back behind there and went to check it out. I followed him, as it is my job, and he seemed to have taken interest in the rather young pilot that was back working with a mechanic on the Scimie. He didn't actually do anything, but – well he had that look in his eyes, so I enforced a nap upon him.” As he had finished up speaking Hungary had pulled his hands from behind his back to gesture and the blood on his right fist was clear for Siberia, Steven and Fred to see.
The Red Leader paused to look at the blood for a second and then ran his hand down his face. When he spoke his voice had a tone of disbelief to it. “So, your telling me that not only did Albania cause trouble for us and the Squadron we are trying to form friendly relations with, but also the a member of the maintenance crews?”
“Yes Sir.” Hungary responded.
At loss for words Siberia turned back towards the two Green Squadron pilots. “I assume you heard all of that?” The red Corporal continued, not waiting for a response. “We'll need to talk to all three of them – you hear that Private, that means don't leave just yet – and Albania when he wakes. Do either of you have any questions for Hungary before we call the other two up?”

Steven maintained a solemn look on his face while Siberia questioned Hungary. Fred on the other hand had to physically restrain the urge to give Hungary a high five. Steven, hearing sporadic bits of laughter from his second in command, gave Fred a quick look to make sure he wouldn't do anything to brash.
When it was the Captain's turn to speak again, he could not help but crack a small smile.
“It sounds like you covered the gist of it. I got nothing to add,” Steven said casually. He then took a few steps to the side of the group, and gave a sharp whistle to gain the attention of the surrounding group. With most of the attention focused on him looked around for Emma and the third party. “Emma, come over here for a second. You to Mechanic. Need to have a word with you guys quick.”
Laughing inwardly to himself, Steven was congratulating himself on the decision to come to the hangar. This was much more interesting then sulking around the ship wallowing in self-pity.

The work here was all but done, and now Garrett added the coup de grace: a final APE-07 toward that console that did who knew what... probably something bad. It was best to make sure there was nothing left. "Grenade!" he called before shuffling away from the doorway. The rest of this was grunt work, and they were the grunts- not he.

The sound of Siberia's voice was something both Germany and Uzbekistan were keen to pick up; when he began speaking in his (more) serious tone with Hungary, they both keyed in and approached with curiosity. "What's going on, Sibe?" Ruze inquired, his gaze shifting amongst the four of them in search of silent answers. All he gleaned from this method of interrogation was that it wasn't very good news, although the Green Lead seemed to be amused.

At the whistle, Arcadia cocked her head, scrutinizing the source. She had no desire to go over there- Germany and Uzbekistan were there, and she hadn't the slightest iota of willpower to bring herself closer than 10 feet to them- so she slid down to sit on the nose of her ship and listened intently from there. There was still a pink tinge to her face that could have made the curious expression on her face seem rather comical or dim-witted, depending on personal evaluation.

The combined firepower of the squad withered away at the meager defenses in the room, 215 having taken it rather well by surprise, and everything was going perfectly well until Hendlow threw the antimatter charge. It exploded in an enormous fireball as molecoules cancelled each other out in a perfect reaction, turning completely into energy and forcing the volume of air in the room to expand significantly, a pressure wave knocking things over, pushing them down, and smashing them against walkls, as well as completely destroying the comm station. It was a rather spectacular event, by all Terran accounts.

When everything cleared there was one barely-alive Drathonian left in the room, and he was quickly silenced by Lieutenant Nakamura, who moved to a more comfortable position than his current cover. "Allright, we need to go around to the armory, Boys. You all ready? nobody better be hurt or i'll kick the injury." the tall man joked, cynically. Once it was certain that everyone was okay, the Terran squad found themselves clomping down the hallway towards their next objective. Miraculously, the other half met them on the way, and Kai debriefed them on what was happening, and their next objective, before continuing on. The squad halted at another turn in the hallway, but this time Kai called for someone else to check the corner. "Malinowsky, could you and our 'guest' kindly make sure there are no enemies around the corner for us?"

When they looked, they would find the armory to actually be ready for an attack, with barriers erected, alert guards, and lots of guns pointed their way.

Emma was somewhat shocked by what had happened, one pilot saying something odd to her, than the other completely decking him. The Technician apologized quickly as the large pilot waltzed away, then grabbed the unconscious man and dragged him to a spare ejection seat, strapping him in with his arms tucked so he couldn't escape.

When they were called by Steven, Emma hurriedly made her way and stood at attention, a quick "Sir" escaping her lips.

The Technician followed behind somewhat sheepishly, nervous of what the flight officer wanted with him.

Steven grimaced a bit as Emma arrived and stood at attention. He never got used to people standing at attention, or saluting him. “At ease,” he said promptly while giving a dismissive wave of his hand.
“I understand that there was a slight...disturbance a minute ago. You guys aren't in trouble, it is just that either Corporal Jan or myself is going to end up having to fill out some paperwork on account of the unconscious and bleeding pilot over there,” Steven said with a quick gesture over towards Albania, “so we just want to double check on the story we have already heard.”
“Corporal, it is your guy who is out cold, go ahead and ask what you will,” Steven said as he looked over towards Siberia.

Siberia nodded to Ruze and Germany. “Albania has caused some trouble for us again.” The Red Leader's voice made clear that that simplified version of things was a definite understatement of what their squadmate had attempted.
Turning towards the Green Squadron pilot the Captain had called over, Siberia was stunned. His first thought was whether or not the girl standing in front of him even met the age requirement to be a pilot and his second was even more praise for Hungary for stopping his wingman. I knew the creep liked them young, but I didn't think we would ever actually have that many problems with him while on a military craft.
Coughing politely, Siberia tried to make up for the time lost by his pause. “Ah – ma'am if you can tell me what exactly transpired before I got my report from Private Ambrus,” The Squadron Leader nodded towards his fat subordinate and then pointed out the maintenance worker behind Emma, “also if your friend can fill in on any points he thinks are lacking; I would be greatly appreciative.”

When the Lieutenant gave Cibo her orders, she grumbled, but stayed true to the orders. "C'mon you big lump. I'll need your help." The squad was at the top of a 'T' intersection, the upper right to be specific. To their left was the unknown, and the area forward of them looked all clear for now. Cibo silently sneaked up to the corner, and pulled a small snake probe out of a pocket on her lightly plated body suit. The probe's head slithered around the corner, and Cibo announced what she saw. In classical Cibo fashion, she didn't like it. "s**t..." The Intelligence Agent cued her comm, "I see the armory, it's swarming with those things. I count eight outside with lots of supplies. Probably more inside." Cibo glanced away from her HUD and towards the rest of the Terrans, and was irked when she saw the Ottyo waving to Sehene, Ken and some of the others.

"Get those munitions packed and out now!" it growled. "We have those shell covered Rodents to fry, and after that, the Demons above. Faster!" the leader kicked the other Drathonian out as just as he was carrying the flammable little creatures.

"Lieutenant, a ninth one and a box of bouncers. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" A little bit of her annoyance leaked over the channel and turned into twisted mischief.

Emma wasn't sure what to say, she was still rather taken aback, and simply stood dumbfounded for a few moments before the technician spoke up. "Well, we were just talking about miss Thompson's ship, when the smaller guy came and interrupted us rather rudely; I was about to say something when the big guy here clocked him to the ground. After that I went and strapped him into a stray ejection seat so he wouldn't cause more trouble."

Emma simply nodded at the young man's story.

"So Nine and explosives..." Kai muttered inside his helmet. He wasn't sure what to do. On one hand, taking out the explosives would be an easy way to get rid of their immediate problems, but it would probably cause others, either alerting more enemies or cooking off the entire armory. While cooking off the Armory could destroy the comm center behind it, it could also just as easily kill most of 215 and possibly other marine groups in the ship.

"I want one group to go around using the last passageway and distract the lizards so that our main force can attack from here unopposed. Do not I repeat DO NOT shoot any explosives or large piles of weapons, I do not want to chance cooking off the armory."

Quickly, Kai ordered Ruth, Kwon, Peterson, and Mortego to head off and they did so, quickly and quietly making their way around. After a few minutes of waiting (Kai hated this part) Ruth signalled that they were in position and Kai gave them the go ahead. The distinct sound and flashes of plasma rifles signaled that it was time for 215 to act, and Kai signaled the main group to go ahead and attack, jumping out into the hallway and taking a crouched position near the corner of the opposite side of the wall, firing on the enemies.

“Got yah Sir, no fireworks.” Adrian responded as Kai instructed the Squad not blow anything up. Rolling his shoulders the sniper waited for the other team to initiate the attack. As his body loosened up the old marine felt a rueful smile spread across his face, it had been too long since he had any proper work.
The sharp crack of weapons fire dissolved his smile, getting on the com-channel Adrian spoke softly. “Moving up to support Sir.” Already moving before the last word left his mouth the Sniper slide around the corner. Seeing the Drathonain with the box of “bouncer” he tried to take the explosives out of the equation.
His shot missed, the high powered beam missing the lizard by less than an inch. Swearing, the sniper wished he had switched back to semi-automatic. Quickly taking cover back around the corner Adrian looked towards the rest of his group.
“Move up now, despite that last shot I promise I won't shoot any of yah if you ran ahead of me.” Then, with a sheepish look on his face, the older marine coughed. “Of course, as long as your fine with that Lieutenant.”

Siberia nodded as he listened to the mechanic. While the girl didn't seem to have any lasting effects from his subordinates – ahem – attentions, it was still a problem that needed to be dealt with. “Thank you.” The Red Leader told the young man as his story came to an end.
Turning to Steven, Siberia shook his head regretfully. “This was a mistake on my squad's end, but as ranking officer in this situation it is your right to pick a punishment, Captain.” Then glancing at Emma out of the corner of his eyes the look on the Corporal's face deepened into a scowl. “I would also personally like to ask for your aid in deciding my pilot's punishment – as right now I don't trust my temper – but if it would be inconvenient; well, Sir, your a squad leader too and as I'm sure you know you can't get that far without being able to take responsibility.”

My opinion, huh?” Steven mumbled mostly to himself. “Well let's see. From my perspective I see a guy unconscious. From the reports he didn't actually do anything wrong besides being rude. Then there is the second pilot here who was the one who knocked him out. If anything he is the one that is most at fault. But! Since you guys know know Mr. Sleepyhead better than I do and believe that he in fact had ill intentions, I will trust your judgment.
“As for actually punishment though,” he stopped pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to think. Now that he thought about it he rarely ever had to actually punish his pilots. “Hm, I am willing to overlook Hungary, and suggest that a good course of action would be to rescind Albania's alcohol and cigarette rations for a week or two.”

'He missed.' was pretty much all Cibo could think as a living grenade bounced off the floor and exploded at the intersection. The surprised Drathonian was still slightly dazed from the anti-material blast, but it's companion acted first, quickly picking the Bouncers and tossing them at the Terrans. A piece of flaming phosphorus ridden intestine stuck to her thigh, and started to burn it's way into her thin armor. Without a word, the Intel Agent's knife flickered out of it's sheath and swept the incendiary mess onto the floor. "Great. Just great." her voice sarcastically sounded. "Now we're having exploding critters chucked at us! Does anyone have any bright ideas?" With the incendiaries being used, she couldn't do a thing.

As another Bouncer was thrown down the hallway and burst into flames, Killy leaned into the fire and gave off a long burst with his Sugar; the flames helped to conceal him, but as he pulled back, Cibo could see his suit was starting to crack at the more fleshy parts under the armored skeleton. "Yes. We wait and make sure they keep throwing those. Their masks are of inferior quality, and will most likely melt at this rate in about...five to ten minutes?" The Ottyo leaned his rifle out and blind fired. "Combat is often like this and not as fun when you're not in Combat Skin."

Cibo's eyes narrowed and gave him a look of pure venom.

If any of the 215 understood the harsh Lizard-tongue being shouted, they would have heard a rather ferociously demanding voice bellow, "Release the Ukrith'Tanshk!" Mere seconds later a few guttural, stuttering growls could be heard amidst the gunfire. Five sandfrogs emerged from the armory; two headed for Kwon's number, the other three scrambled toward Kai and company.

"Watch those Bouncers!" Garrett called just before running from his previous wall inlet to another, narrowly avoiding another volatile critter. From this new vantage, he began spraying all across the line of Drathonians. His focus shifted, though, upon seeing the sandfrogs. He knew firsthand that they were nasty little fuckers. "Hit the sandfrogs! They'll make this all sorts of Hell if we don't."

when the sandfrogs were let loose, the Bouncers were halted, lest the jagged-jawed creatures be harmed. Plasma rifle fire still found its way down the hall, and ruth's group had to retreat so they could kill the sandfrogs without being exposed to enemy fire. "Listen to hendlow, kill those things quick!" Kai agreed, moving back and adjusting his aim at one of the creatures on the floor, firing at it and blasting it into a spray of charred flesh and guts. As he did so, a stray plasma bolt grazed his helmet, charring a line across the left side of his visor.

Hendlow found himself somewhat less lucky, a bolt grazing his leg and explosively removing the armor there.

Kendrick, however, was the very opposite of lucky. the timid medic had been hit by a bouncer and brought to the floor, where he was gruesomely riddled with plasma bolts, and his life put to an end.

Adrian grunted as a bolt of enemy fire plucked at his arm, cutting through his armour but thankfully only giving the sniper a small flash burn. Ignoring the pain and angrily aiming his rifle at one of the sandfrogs he promptly turned its front side into a churning mass of gore with a burst of unrelenting fire. Switching his target to the last sandfrog Adrian took careful aim and prepared to take it out in one shot.
But, just before he fired the sniper was distracted by the sound of Kendrick going down, as he pulled the trigger his shot went off course shearing through one of the beast's legs, causing it to stumble and crash towards the floor. As Adrian turned towards dead medic a second Drathonian got a shot off on him. The bolt of plasma hit him just below the shoulder, searing through the armour and the into his flesh. The force of the hit jerked his body in a small spin and then sent him clattering to the floor.
Pulling on the strap of his sugar and dragging it towards him Adrian quickly scrambled back into cover. As he looked at the rest of the squad he just shook his head, keeping the pain from his wound out of mind for now. “Lieutenant, give me a few seconds and I'll be out shooting again, we all want to wrap this up – quickly as possible too.”

Though delayed, one of the more dreaded orders was finally given as the last of the sandfrogs fell. "Advance now!" The Drathonians divided into two groups and begun to move on the embattled Terrans, the sandfrog bodies being kicked about like projectiles. Swords were drawn, and Drosses whined as what was left of the enemy rushed them.

As Cibo popped out the spent battery and grasped at a new one for her BRO, Killy let loose a final long burst of blaster fire before his Sugar overheated. As she tried to jam the cell into the battery well, Cibo watched in fascination as the alien dropped the Terran made weapon and brought to bear his own in one swift movement. He lifted the rifle up and braced the back, catching the edge of a harsh Drathonian blade with the trigger guard.

"Shit!" For some reason, the battery wasn't sliding in properly. Her eyes wandered away from the action and fell on the culprit; the battery's top was damaged and refused to slide in. Her fingers grasped for another one. "Shit double shit!"

Killy was being shoved right into her.

Garrett hissed under his breath at the latest turn of events. The sandfrogs were down thank the holies, but the Drathonians were moving on them now. Sheer mass and numbers could very well do in the Terrans. With his gun on full automatic, Garrett began his retreat to the bend in the hallway. He dropped a single remote-detonation explosive in his wake then high-tailed it around the corner, his armor beginning to show some serious wear and more than one scorch mark made by plasma. By some miracle he had yet to experience another severe injury.

Everything was suddenly interrupted by a loud series of pops, followed by a rumbling and rattling noise, then, a huge creaking explosion followed by the ceiling caving in around a good portion of the drathonians, as well as behind the Terrans. Somehow, the corners of the wall managed to provide enough support that a 'bubble' of sorts was left open, encapsulating the Terrans and a few lucky Lizards.

Kwon's voice was heard over the general comms yelling "WHOAH! What the hell just happened guys? The Effing sky came down and killed all the Scalies! You guys Okay? Hello? HELLO!"

Kai would be unable to answer, however, as he had used his Sugar and the forearm plate of his Savior armor to block a sword, and was now matching strengths with one of the weakened Drathonians. Though, it was obvious that he still wasn't strong enough to beat it in Melee, the fact that he was holding the lizard in place due to its weapon being stuck in his arm was something. After a few moments, the red creature realized he wouldn't be able to get his sword back and opted simple to try and punch the Terran. His fist would be met with a heavy Plasma bolt from the Lieutenant's L/P 50 sidearm, though that gun was flung away quickly by the stub of an arm smashing through it. Knocked down the the ground, Kai scrambled backward on all fours, the sword clamoring to the ground- its blade covered in blood, Kai's blood, and a nice stream coming from his arm, the marine grabbed his combat Knife and did the only thing he could- Threw it straight into the Drathonians eye.

The Giant lizard grabbed at it for a few seconds but one slight twist was all it took and the alien soldier went limp, thudding to the ground as its deafeator panted in his helmet.

After Steven's suggestion, Siberia gave a quick, curt nod before turning back to Hungary. Pulling out his commanding voice, the Red Squadron Leader gave his subordinate a hard look. “Go take Albania to the brig, have them take him in for the night.” Making sure the full weight of his gaze was on the drunk giant Siberia continued, “And I mean the brig, not his bunk tied up with some rope. Do it proper this time, you hear me Warden?” Jan had used Albania's nickname to remind of them of their deal – and his duty. Assured that the man would do what was right, the Red Lead turned, leaving the man to his job.

Hungary nodded slowly. His eyes cleared and his face becoming extremely sober as he saluted his Siberia and likewise turned away. The giant sighed and it seemed as if all his previous bluster had been drained away, leaving only a tired and very serious man behind.
Looking towards the mechanic Hungary gave the other man a regretful nod, “Lead on, I've got business with the man you locked up.”

The Drathonians were charging, there was no time to talk anymore. Adrian lurched to his feet and was about to leave cover again when the whole ship rumbled. Pieces of ceiling fell and the lizards near the back of the pack were left crushed.
The older marine took it in stride, his only real worry still how serious the wound in his chest might end up being. But, rising to finish the job, the Terran sniper clenched his teeth against the pain and came out of cover, directly into the path of a surprised enemy. Unluckily for the lizardman, Adrian's sugar had been set to sniper mode and the brilliant beam that lanced through its chest hurled it to the ground.
Pain redoubled through the marine again as his shot sent him sliding across the floor with a sprawl, only stopping when he was up against some rubble. Blinded from the proximity of the discharge, Adrian was pretty sure the exposed flesh of his wounded shoulder was now also burned, along with his hands and arms. Glancing down through light and tear blurred vision, the sniper could see that the armour along his arms was melted, his rifle warped and locked in place with his hands unmoving.
Coughing and finding that his coms still worked, Adrian activated the channel. ”Damn Sir, I'm gonna need the other team's medic. Hope this rubble ain't too thick, eh?" The marine paused, taking a deep breath. "Minder you and your alien kill the rest of those scaled bastards for me!” Coughing as he ended his yell to Kai, Killy, and Cibo; the sniper slumped against the rubble - conscious but out of commission for now.

Siberia turned back to Steven, now that that was all taken care of he hoped that he and the other Squad Leader could talk some more. Giving the Green Squadron Lead an apologetic frown before he spoke. “I was wondering if you saw the new -” Siberia stopped mid-question, holding up a hand to gesture that he needed a second.
Turning on his heels he looked at Emma. “I'm sorry if me and my men have disturbed your evening at all Miss. Hopefully you can gleam some enjoyment out of it still and I must thank you for your cooperation during this ordeal whole-heartedly. If your superior has no further need of you, from my point of view you can go or stay, and mingle as you wish again.” The Leader's speech was very formal, but he tried to infuse some warmth into his words. He was still extremely thankful that she hadn't seemed to know what exactly Albania's intentions had been.

By now, hearing Siberia's voice and seeing him and Hungary together with Albania absent, quite a few of the Red Squadron members had gravitated over. All of them where currently being pointedly ignored by their leader. Siberia would tell them all about what happened quietly later and remind them who and what they where, and what duties came along with that.
That still didn't keep curiosity from running among some of the more inquisitive of pilots and soon Ukraine was trying to get Ruze's attention. Eremenko had been mostly following his wingman at a distance, the much shyer pilot being content to just watch Ivlivanevya interact and not do so himself.
The boy was always interested in any problems in the Squadron though, he frequently worried too much.
After padding up silently to his companion Ukraine spoke, “Ruze, you think everything's gonna be alright, I saw Jan's face and, well he had that 'Your all going to get a lecture again.' look on his face...” The younger pilot's voice trailed off, not sure if bothering Ruze was such a good idea, especially over what would probably turn out to be something stupid.

Cibo struggled up to her feet; her thin suit protected her from most of the rubble, but she could already feel bruises coming on. As everything slowly came into focus, the Intelligence Officer could hear Adrian's voice. Something about Cibo and her alien bastard? She shook her head and clumsily stumbled over to him. She didn't like what she saw, but fell to her knees and began checking over him anyways. She looked up and spotted the fallen medic, Kendrick, and immediately rummaged through his ruined form. The body was horribly burned, torso perforated by bolts of plasma. The charred remains, the ruined body of a hansom man, both squished and cracked at once as she salvaged what she could for Adrian.

She felt a tinge of remorse for the fallen medic, but there was no time to muse. Cibo's fingers nimbly danced over Adrian's wounded form, sealing wounds and treating burns to the best of her ability. She heard Kwon calling out through the darkness. She was afraid to turn on her lights, but calling out was better. The Intel Officer spoke quickly, "Cibo here! I'm fine, but Adrian's unconscious and wounded. Kendrick's KIA and I don't know about Inquisitor Killy. And I think we might be stuck in here." Her heart was pounding, and the visor was starting to fog over by the time she was finished stabilizing the man, but it was done. He'd make it.

Another voice, sarcastic and mocking as always reached out to her in the dark. "We'll be fine. They're coming around to make an exit for us." Killy spoke. From her position, she could faintly make out a clicking sound, as though the Ottyo were stroking something hard yet...'No! It couldn't be!' With all her experience, she knew that sound! She swallowed in apprehension, and shined the light at the voice's source.

Killy was leaning up against the only unmarred section of wall, appearing to be relaxed and calm. The Ottyo simply stood there, stroking the spinal cord attached to the Drathonian's head. The clicking noise tapped at Cibo's ears again as the alien's armored claws rapped at the vertebrae. Her mouth dropped.

"What? It gave me a - " He leaned forward and cracked the helm open, coughing out a few teeth, " - hard time" The Ottyo cleared his throat as a grenade went off, blowing open a path out of the damaged section of ship. Light filtered through from the floor above, and a gray ladder made of web was thrown down. Heavy bolts could be heard being shot into the bulkhead above to secure it. Killy dropped the head and walked over to the column of light. A black reptilian form stood out from above; it was larger than any Terran, heavily armored and holding a rifle, yet smaller than a Drathonian, standing upright and not hunched over. It looked down on them all. Killy tossed his Ottyo rifle up to what was presumably others of his kind. A small backpack was tossed back down to him, and he opened it up to reveal several bottles of pills. Killy closed it up again and slung the pack over his shoulder. "Kai Lieutenant? Are we ready to depart? The floor above is partially clear. We just need to go where the bodies are not present and avoid shooting those uniform." he spoke, tapping his own jet black armor.

The eerie, ever so faint sound of silenced claw-steps above filtered down to the Terrans below.

And then they were gone.

The Ottyo soldiers were soon replaced by a few Terran helmets, who then slid down the ladder, one of them making his way to Adrian the moment the crippled Sniper was seen. The others thudded softly to the floor, and then Kwon's voice emanated from the loudspeakers.

"Hey. Hey. HEY! What's up with you guys? Are you allright? What happened man? who were those dudes? they looked big, oh, man, did we lose another guy? Where's the LT? Hey! LT! What's Up with Yo-" And then he was stopped by Rutthinger's firm hand on his shoulder.

"Kwon, I thought you knew better than to get excited like this." the calmer marine said, simply, before striding over to help the wounded Lieutenant up, as the rest of the people in the squad made their way towards the lit portion near the soft ladder. Kendrick's body was dragged along too, and people began wondering how to hoist him out of this situation, so he could have a proper burial.

Kai accepted Ruth's hand up, and observed the situation. Combat reports were rolling in that all the comm areas were nuetralized, and that the Drathonians were now beginning to destroy parts of the ship in order to kill their enemies.

"Allright marines, Let's take ours and get out of here, they're going to send in a shamshir squadron to bomb the shit out of this thing, since it seems the Lizards won't let us take it intact. Killy, I hope your comrades know this as well, we don't want to go in and blow up our new friends, now, do we?"

Steven sipped casually on his coffee as he watched Siberia issue his orders. He took note that the coffee had a slight hazelnut taste to it. Hazelnut wasn't his favorite, but he didn't want to go get a new cup. When he felt the time was proper for him to interject he did so.
“Emma, that will be all. You are dismissed,” Steven said with an affirmative nod towards the young pilot.
Turning back towards Red Leader he noticed the rest of Red Squadron, and several Greens, had congregated to see what was happening. “You guys must be a pretty eccentric squad if this isn't the first time something like this has happened,” he said lightly, “now, you were asking me something?”

While all of this was going on, Fred stood beside Steven and was simply thinking of what Green Squadron would be like with ten other Irishmen just like him. He figured it would be similar to what he was seeing with Red squadron.

Ruze merely sighed and resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "You worry too much, Ukraine. Looks like Albania just did something stupid; we'll probably get a lecture, but it's not our fault." He offered a reassuring smile then looked around at his other squad mates as they seemed to slowly migrate toward Siberia.

Garrett's miracle was short-lived, it seemed. Out of the oven and into the frying pan, he went from dodging plasma to dodging the very ceiling itself, and he didn't do so well. A chunk roughly half his size tackled him to the floor, warping his armor and eliciting a strained grunt from the Lieutenant. He managed to free himself by the time the reinforcements made their way down the gap in ceiling/floor.

He rose rather slowly, grimacing. His ribs weren't feeling very pretty, and said as much. "Think I might've even broken a couple, but otherwise I'm just peachy. Which way, Kai?" His breathing was labored, and he was bent over, one hand clutching his gun and the other resting on his knee. He looked to be in a bit of pain, but his face didn't tell even half the story: he had completely broken the rib that he'd cracked upon their rough landing. On top of that, he'd cracked two more beside it, and his left side was going to be looking ugly as Igor for awhile with all its blues, yellows, and purples.

Cibo watched the alien's tail curl up and flex back out; she guessed it was because he was a bit uneasy. He opened his mouth. "Mmm. I guess that's why they left us in a hurry." Killy's voice sounded flat and level like it did before, which meant he wasn't deliberately putting his feelings into his words. English wasn't exactly his native language after all. His body language suggested something else however. She watched carfullly; his shoulders were stooped and his helmet's feather crest was fallen. Was he sad? As much as she wanted to think about what the Ottyo was thinking, they couldn't stay here.

"Lieutenant, are we to go up first and stay on point?" Cibo asked, eying the web-like ladder. 'Maybe he's sad because he misses his friends?' For a brief moment, she felt pity for him, and thought of Killy as a person, not an alien creature. At that moment, the Intelligence Officer watched as Killy flicked his Sugar up into the air with his boot and caught it deftly in his hands. She seethed, arms straight at her sides, hands clenched into fists and wrists bent upwards. 'God damned aliens always showing off how physically superior they are!' She wanted to kick him. Badly.

Something was out of place; Cibo's mind did a flip suddenly, and she was thinking like she was supposed to again. 'Wait. He only has his Sugar. That other rifle, what was it? MCR? Matter Creation Rifle? Why did he throw it up to the other Ottyo, especially when they were leaving him behind? Something's up.' She unclenched her fists and just looked at him.

Mortego Helped Adrian up, after administering some painkillers and stimulants to the badly injured sniper. One of Adrian's arms was slung over the medic's shoulder, to support him, and he prodded the older marine into waking up and walking. "Oi, Hendlow. I need you to administer two syringes, The painkillers, and half of a stim, to yourself. I can't treat your wounds properly, but that should be enough to keep you moving till we can dunk Adrian in a tank and get you the proper care."

Kai inspected the cracked forearm plate of his Savior Combat armor, while listening to what was being said. "I suppose you tw can remain on point if you feel up to it. I was going to put Ruth and Kwon on since they're a bit fresher than us, but, volunteers get first pick." the Lieutenant answered the Ottyo and Intel officer. He waited at the bottom of the ladder for everyone else to get up, and then spoke up once the group was all up "Remember, we gotta move quickly and get out of here. They're sending an Evack shuttle for us at the wreckage, so we'll head back the way we came once we go down a level, got it?"

Emma nodded to Steven, relieved, and then turned around, to head back towards her fighter. However, she noticed an old man standing near the entrance, smiling oddly as he watched the two squadrons Interact. "Hey, Umm, captain Kerning, I think someone's here to see you.. maybe?" she said, timidly, as the labcoat-clad man approached Steven.

Istvan made his way over after whatever had been going on seemed to settle itself. He stopped in front of Captain Kerning, and held out his hand for a shake. "Steven Kerning I presume? Yes. you look like your father, don't you? I can see it here.. and here" the man babbled, pointing at different features of the fighter pilot's face, seemingly ignoring any reaction that might happen. "Ah, and you've followed in his footsteps. Well, we'll see how it goes, seems you're doing well though. Hrmm.. Maybe your squadron would be good for my new project. A bunch of skilled pilots. Your unit is very decorated, you know! From before, and even now! but, we haven't had time for a ceremony, no. too much fighting going on, bah. And look at this, such a young lady, fighting too. Quite the cute one, too, Heh."

Emma backed away a bit as The crazy old man pointed towards her and seemed to be looking her over. She was freaked out by the way he was acting, and talking, mostly to himself.

"Oh! Right! I forgot. Introductions, yes, they're Helpful. I am Istvan Villanovich Plutanovicz At your service. Number one genius inventor and the smartest man alive, if I do say so myself, heh!"

Steven was completely caught off guard by this old man. After a few moments of looking between the old man's face, then hand prodding at his face, and then the outstretched hand, Steven took the hand and shook it awkwardly. He had several questions to ask but no clue where to start.
“Um, you knew my father, Mr,” Steven started but then paused as he tried to remember the man's name, “Istvan?”
What the Hell is with this guy? He looks senile, Steven thought to himself.

Standing back by the doors to the hangar where Istvan had come in, another aging man was watching his comrade heckle Steven. With a slight smirk on his otherwise stern face, Sean Kerning was wondering whether to approach and assist his grandson or to wait and get a few more laughs out of the situation instead.

Garrett groaned and nodded before getting to work patching himself up. What a bitch, he thought, and even his thoughts seemed strained. He managed to apply the drugs without problem and stood upright with a great sigh. "Ready to roll, Lieutenant." He took up his weapon in both hands, and looked toward their destination, not meeting anyone's eyes. It was hard enough to keep a straight face without looking at them.

Arcadia Langdon had been content to be a spectator until Istvan made an appearance. She slid off the nose of her ship and strode toward the cluster of pilots with mixed curiosity and irritation.

When the old bastard tried to make lusty comments about Emma, Langdon grew angry. She got in the doctor's face, one finger up as if to warn him. "Don't even think about it."

Even Dilshod "Ruze" Ivlivanevya was a little perturbed by his comments; the age difference was simply too drastic for him to find any humor in it. He put a hand on Istvan's shoulder. "Let's go get you a drink, Istvan."

“Pilots, at attention! NOW!” Siberia's voice barked out, conveying absolute command and nothing else to Ruze and Arcadia as they approached Istvan. As he turned, clearing his voice from yelling, he positioned both of them in his vision and glared. “You might not know it, and he might not look it, but that man has saved the lives of everyone in this room more than any of you can count. If he wants to talk to the Lieutenant, show some respect! Even if -” The Red Leader swiveled, turning his baleful gaze on the scientist. Istvan was rekindling problems that had just been solved. “Ahem. Sir, even if we aren't on duty, this is a fighting deck so keep it to yourself – especially when you haven't even made a proper introduction to everyone.”
With that taken care of, Siberia nodded to everyone involved and took a quiet step backward, giving Istvan and Steven some space to talk and keeping him detached from the rest of the group. He had wanted to his fellow Squadron Leader about the new fighters that had been used recently, but it looked like that would have to wait.

It was not long before the Marines had gotten a move on, and were making their way towards the exit- which was in fact the entrance that they had made via Hendlow's explosives. Outside, in the dim semi-light from the lack of a sun combined with the vague burning of parts of the crashed starship, the night-vision features of the Marines' helmets illuminated a number of shuttles landed around the perimiter, with more on the way, and a few already leaving. There were other forms moving around down there as well, closer to Killy in appearance- probably the ottyo soldiers that had been deployed as well.

"Doh ho ho ho. Looks like I have a fan. Corporal Jan Denisov, Red Siberia. The coolest hand in Red squadron, losing his top over me. How exciting!" Istvan muttered to himself, before seeming to understand what the man had said. "Ah yes, Introductions. But I introduced myself already! Ah well, I guess I'll introduce myself better. As I said, I am Istvan Villanovich Plutanovicz, the inventor of everything! ha ha! Yes. I invented shielding, I invented the warp system, I invented the power source of this ship, I even did most of the design for your starfighters. I designed your pilot suits, ohh yes, and all the life support systems on this ship. ha! yes! I AM a genius afterall, didn't you know. And I'm One hundred and Sixty years old. I know, I know, I only look fifty or so, ahh, I remember those younger days. what a time.."

The man went on babbling about his achievements for a while, completely ignorant to whatever anyone else had to say about it. the only one who could stop him at this point was standing outside the door to the hangar, however.

“Well, that's my cue,” Sean mumbled to himself as he watched the situation quickly degrade before his eyes. After taking up a more serious composure he passed over the threshold and entered the hangar. The Admiral strode proudly and properly towards the group of pilots. Each step was surefooted and the valleys of his aging face, mingled with his share of scars, spoke of his experience and years of service. His hair was silken white and his face looked weathered, but even then his strong jaw was prominent and his chin held level. His eyes remained sharp despite his age, and his irises were a vivid shade of forest green. Even his uniform was freshly pressed and his shoes polished by hand. Everything about the man commanded the respect of those who looked upon him.
“That is enough Istvan, you are starting to step on a few toes,” Sean said as he drew closer to the group. “You may be a genius, but your social skills are still very lacking in most areas.”

“Admiral on deck!” Daniel called out from his position off to the side of the group. Half of Green Squadron reflexively shot up a salute with a few stragglers following suit after looking around a bit. Steven, slightly confused by the appearance of a high ranking officer in tandem with the appearance of the strange scientist, started to look around to try and get a grasp on the situation. When his eyes finally met those of the Admiral, Steven's face brightened like a kid who had just received a wonderful Christmas present. It took everything the Captain had to restrain himself from calling out.

Sean strode right up to the group without pausing and stopped just next to Istvan. He was about to start speaking with Istvan when he saw Steven's excited face. “Oh, I can't resist messing with him a little,” he thought to himself. Sean walked purposefully up to Steven and stopped when he was barely a foot and a half away from him.
“What exactly are you smiling at, boy?” Sean said in a hard tone as he locked eyes with Steven. Steven's face at once lost all color and looked shocked as he locked eyes. After that Sean's face began to slowly lose its cold demeanor as it looked like the Admiral was trying to stifle a smile. Now Steven looked mildly confused as Sean began to chuckle a little.
“At ease,” Sean called out in the wake of a quick laugh. Not a heartbeat later Sean was giving Steven a big hug as the young pilot joined in.
“How are you, Son?” Sean said as he took a step back and ruffled Steven's hair. However, without waiting for a response Sean straightened his uniform and turned towards the rest of the group saying, “I apologize for my associate here, he wandered off and I was sent to recover him.”

Cibo was essentially the first out of the ship since she was on point, followed by Killy; she didn't so much as want to look at the alien. Because her suit was developed to be worn under normal clothing or for advanced scouting, Cibo's close fitting and now soggy helmet had the cream of optics. She didn't like what she saw; they were fast on their feet. Yes, Drathonians were fast on their feet as well, but these aliens were nimble too. 'And just what were they doing here? We could have wrapped this all up by ourselves. Maybe they thought we weren't up for the job, or maybe they wanted to grab something we didn't know about?' Cibo's paranoia rose again. 'That has to be it. Intelligence about the Drath-fags or us, or, or something!' She shot a glance at Killy, only to hear him speak.

"Once again, I remain behind."

The statement caught Cibo by surprise, and she couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of pity as the group of Terrans and one oddball moved to the shuttles

Garrett limped after, sighing heavily every few steps. Getting out of the ship was extremely discomforting and painful, but he groaned through it like a good soldier. He came out near Killy, heard him speak.

"Quit your moaning. As I recall, you came to us, snooping around our ship, getting into the shop, generally making a fuss." Being in pain was making the Lieutenant slightly more irascible than usual, and even pain-free Hendlow was always disdainful of self-pitying talk like that. It begged consolation, and that was one thing the demolitions expert was unwilling to console, let alone condone. "If you want to go back, we can sure as hell arrange it; I don't want soldiers that have no desire to be here, and if we actually need a damned liaison, we can find someone else."

As soon as Arcadia heard that, she lost all color and saluted- and saluted again when Steven's father arrived. When the relation was made public, she was even more shocked; these two seemed nothing alike. While Steven was a natural-born leader- people definitely gravitated toward him with ease- Admiral Sean Kerning simply radiated command. Now she was curious...

Ruze saluted properly then dropped back by his commander. Quite simply, he was rather amused and in awe. One hundred and sixty years old? Designed everything Ivlivanevya touched to do business? Impressive, even if he was full of himself. "Sir," he asked Siberia in barely above a whisper, "What's this about a new project and how risky is it going to be?"

After the call to attention and everyone following it, Istvan shut up, and then watched as his friend greeted his grandson for what was probably the first time in half a decade. Istvan thought back to his own family life and realized that he had been so immersed in inventing things that he had neglected to have one. Ah well. His siblings had had some and the Plutanovicz line was still strong. It was then, during the inventor's reminiscing that someone spoke, asking about the new project.

"Ah well-"

Within ten minutes, the Squad of marines were on a new shuttle, Heading up through the toxic atmosphere and out towards the vacuum of space. If one looked out the windows, they could almost make out the tiny pinpricks of light moving too fast to be stars; the Terran Battlecruisers and a few of the Ottyo ships.

Still, Many of the marines were glad to be off that sun-forsaken rock, and away from the enemy ship that had caused a few deaths. Many thought that the mission, which had been so hasty, was also much too costly.

A further twenty minutes would bring all the shuttles back, those with wounded landing first to allow for easier evac before letting the rest in.
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Re: Chapter 9: Seperated at Birth

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