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Chapter Eight: Drake's Dream!

Silanon

Four Thousand Club
"Sounds like something that shouldn't be possible. Not that this means a whole lot, these days." Ylva eyes Beema, naturally; none of the others here seem to be familiar with what happened in the slightest. "It's something we should be familiar with, though. If it happens by accident like that, it might happen again. And we might not be lucky enough to return back to comfy chairs, then."Her gaze shifts over to Hitomi. "Besides, it might be useful if it's possible regularly. 'Seconds' is enough to escape the worst of an explosion, isn't it?" A short pause, returning to things that are reality, not just fantasies. "Is this how Bong finds the Commander, Beema?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag.
Elinor stares at Hitomi in surprise. "Vanished?" She looks around at the others. "It was bluish. Maybe we did go to the Blue World, or something like it?" That was an uncomfortable thought. "I didn't know we could go there physically..." She looks at Beema, or rather at the Broo shamaness-in-training. "Have you heard of Traversers doing that before?"

"Vanished!" Hitomi nods vigorously as she moves onto Mack and studies her face and takes her pulse. A moment later, she says, "It was like a scene out of Star Trek. One moment, we were watching the movie and its big finale, and the next moment all of you slowly... went away! I thought only The Professor could do that! How did all of you manage it, especially simultaneously? And why then of all moments? Didn't you want to see the credits?"

"Mrreeewr! Awraaswr!" squeals Trouble with his little tail lashing about. "You really poofed! I turned arounded an' no moar Traversers!"

Beema sniffs the inside of the popcorn bowl as casually as a person can under the circumstances. Unlike Hitomi and Trouble, she does not appear bothered at all. Beema's voice echoes eerily as she speaks from inside the metal bowl.

"Only Drake. 'Memba, before you, only Drake is Traverser. No one else."

"It's something we should be familiar with, though. If it happens by accident like that, it might happen again. And we might not be lucky enough to return back to comfy chairs, then."
Mack wrinkles her nose at the thought. "There's a comforting idea. How did we do it?"

Her gaze shifts over to Hitomi. "Besides, it might be useful if it's possible regularly. 'Seconds' is enough to escape the worst of an explosion, isn't it?" A short pause, returning to things that are reality, not just fantasies.
"Only if you know it's coming. Whenever The Professor went to the Blue World, he always vanished. But you didn't. Remember Vera Cruz?"

"Is this how Bong finds the Commander, Beema?"
By now, Beema has the bowl over head like a helmet. She pulls it up revealing her calm orange eyes focused solely on Ylva. "No! Bong only poof when Chief Faydra angry. An' neva like how Traverser poof."

Beema looks down at her lower leg and instead of scratching her itch with her hand, she pulls up her opposite foot and scratches it cat-like.

"Broo Shaman no is like Traverser; we look but no can enta! Is like... look into great-water but no can swim in. Our ancesta tell us, 'spirit world is for us but no for you.'"

She gives an amused and girlish giggle. "Beema 'memba when Commanda Kirin get mad at Drake? Drake poof! Then Kirin supa-mad! Very funny for Drake! Now? Commanda Kirin in spirit world an' Drake die. Stars shine so strangely." Beema stares upward, her paw resting on her chin.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
I thought only The Professor could do that! How did all of you manage it, especially simultaneously? And why then of all moments? Didn't you want to see the credits?"
Elinor shakes her head. "It's not like we did it on purpose. I didn't, anyhow."

"Only Drake. 'Memba, before you, only Drake is Traverser. No one else."
"Huh." Elinor considered that, and continued her thought process out loud. "Drake could. The Professor could. And now we can, even if we didn't know we could and don't know how to do it on purpose. So that's all known Traversers except Reggie and Murphy, and maybe they just haven't learned they can yet. Guess it's a thing we're s'posed to be able to do, then." She looks at the other Wild Cards. "Well, at some point we're gonna need to know how we just did that, not just so we can do it on purpose, but so we won't do it on accident again. This time, we just missed the end credits. Next time it might be somethin' worse."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag. =)

Heya Gang! BIG post here! Get ready! This scene covers the mission briefing for the Wild Cards for the ICE-9 mission. During this, you'll get lots of mission-related info. Also, this is the scene where Kaerri's Character, Elinor, gets her chance to bow out of the Wild Cards as Kaerri looks to play Eadric in the near future in Antarctica. Need a break from Real Life? Well dive back into Robotech: Broadsword because here the fun continues! Enjoy, Gang! =)

One by one, each of you retire to your quarters which even after two weeks still feel so very, very new. The incessant hums and warm sounds of the Broadsword travel with you wherever you go and a Sam unit never seems far away when, not if, you need a helping hand getting around the ship or with any other task. However, unlike two weeks ago, now those sounds are accompanied by new audible sensations - the chatter and presence of other human beings, namely the roughly 30 members of the UEEF Broadsword crew who have spent much of the last 14 days "thawing" out of cryogenic sleep and finding themselves thrust into a world some 20 years in their past.

Even with the Broo's unanimous enthusiasm, these young UEEF crew members - for none of them appear older than any of you and most appear a touch younger, some still in their late teens - mostly do their best to avoid you. But it is Captain Sharp that appears to throw them off the most, for in just two weeks, he has apparently said the right things to the right people at the right times and his presence alone softens the barriers between the "old" Broadsword crew that served under Captain Drake and the new along with the Wild Cards that serve under Captain, formerly Colonel, Hiram Sharp.

Not having the means yet to customize your quarters, they are comfortable (the beds are soft or firm, both or neither as you see fit, and best of all, private - none of you have to share your quarters with anyone). After going through whatever evening routine you may or may not have, you eventually slip under the covers, adjust the bed to your liking, and drift... off... into what Sherlock Holmes once dubbed "the ultimate restorative."

Sleep. =)

* * *​

Something takes place when each of you sleep, but you don't know what it is. All you know is that when you wake, you feel better rested than you have since before you left for Antarctica, since you discovered the Broadsword, since you left Eglin ASC base (for most of you), and since the Assembly. It is simply the best sleep you have had in ages! And if you wonder why, well, perhaps there are questions better left unanswered and answers best left enjoyed?

Perhaps it is enough that you wake feeling refreshed. At precisely 0630 hours, while you are dining on an American-style breakfast in the Mess Hall, courtesy of your raid on the AUL in Veracruz (complete with fresh and super coffee!), you hear from the overhead speakers, Spacegal Samantha's cheery voice. "Atten'shun, all hands on deck! This here Broadsword has just entered the ol' South Pole! If yer a Wild Card, you'd better get yer bright eyes an' bushy tails up to the Briefing Room by 0700 or you might find yerself chillin' outside with them penguins! That is all!"

* * *​

It is 0700 hours on the Broadsword and you find yourself back in the Briefing Room. It is very different from the last time you were in here. There is no popcorn, there is no movie, and there is no Beema (have no fear, she's around here somewhere, probably napping). But you do you get a Captain Sharp, a Flight Lieutenant Piper (and her faithful hound, Wwarlock whom she is petting and both of whom seem open for more petting), and a Spaceman Sam unit (to whom your petting would be put up with but seen as very strange). =)

You have been called up here for your expected mission debrief into Antarctica. Given your current situation, any kind of debriefing is a good one for facts are slim to none and you're here literally going on the word of an Ura-Meltrandi War-lady who likes nothing better than to rock every boat she can come across. But if she says your ICE-9 is here somewhere... then maybe it is?

Shirley is pleasantly chatting with Captain Sharp as each of you walk in while Cera is rapidly typing away on her tablet. These days, the Ura-Meltrandi seems to have her nose in that tablet even more than a 21st century teenager has their face in their smartphone, but c'est la vie ("such is life!")! Shirley on the other hand seems to be doing a lot of serious listening to Captain Sharp whom you get the impression she approached. He's doing a lot of talking in low instructive tones and the young blue-eyed surfer with the long curly hair and great legs is doing a whole lot of wide-eyed nodding. Meanwhile, each of you is expertly inspected at ankle-level by a certain MechaKitten who has been waiting by the door and nailing everyone who has walked in.

"Reeewr! Mraaawr! Orraaawr!" "Good mooarning! I've been a good kitty! Just letting you knooow!" says the boyish voice in your minds without the use of a polyphonic nexus (which expired last night, so your mind-thoughts and highways are completely your own to travel if you get my meaning).

Captain Sharp glances at his watch and nods back to Shirley who graciously thanks him and looks like she wants to wrap his arms around him into a big hug, but the singer and close air support pilot refrains and soon she joins you on the other side of the briefing room table. Captain Sharp starts this little ritual (which everything said here is presumed to be classified!) at 0700 on the dot.

(This is the part where I kick in the instrumental mood music along with artist and title. =) )

"Robotech OST Roy Fokkers Theme"

"All right, it's 0700. Time to get this show on the road. Good morning." As is nearly always the case, Captain Sharp appears every bit the consummate soldier, his image and uniform as sharp as his namesake. The veteran tanker seems to be in a dutiful mood as he approaches the briefing room's sole table. "Get those brains open because we have a lot to cover. At 0225 hours, the Broadsword lifted off from Pacifica and sailed here underwater leaving Pacifica offshore and virtually undetectable in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. At 0412 hours, the Broadsword made land-sighting of the South Pole and by 0424, Adamantium set off to perform their scouting trip.

"At 0546 hours, we got word from Adamantium that there is indeed a hidden Zentraedi warship sitting on the very edge of Antarctica. As we are here in late May, this part of the world is in its least-hospitable stages with cold, ice, and the sun does not set here for another few months. This is an enhanced shot of the coastline courtesy of Adamantium."

Antarctica in summer GettyImages-1185355278.jpg
(Image credit: WBUR)

On the shoreline of the shot, the snow and ice and the vastness of it all makes one thing immediately clear - you are virtually alone out here. There on the coastline sits a long rectangular shape that would look like a series of hills except that it's too even, too mathematically correct if you will. Especially for something well over a mile in length. Sharp points this out on the hologram.

Captain Sharp points. "That long shape sitting there? That, we are pretty certain, is a snow-covered..." he reads the holograph carefully, "...'Queadol Magdomilla.'" Anyone like Mario or Cera who understands Zentraedi and has a military background instantly understand what Captain Sharp says next even as he is saying it. "Or in plain English, it's a Zentraedi Command Ship, their second-largest vehicle, able to detach itself into two pieces like that Star Trek Enterprise in the Next Generation. This one, however, appears fully intact. We're dealing with the full monty here, troops. And Sam has confirmed - it is a Zeki-Zentraedi command ship. From the future. Just like the Broadsword."

This brief but probably eye-opening technical readout appears for your (in-character) viewing pleasure courtesy of the Broadsword.

Queadol Magdomilla_bow.gif
(Image credit: Robotech Reference Guide)

queadol-magdomilla.png
(Image credit: Macross2.net)

"Adamantium tells us there is no activity around it. No signs of anyone coming or going. Looks like it's been here for more than weeks, probably months, maybe years? We don't know for certain. Which brings me to another important point," Captain Sharp takes a deep breath. "It's not dormant or shut down; it's warm. It's active. Thermograph sensors from Adamantium show its reactors are running although it is fully covered in snow from bow to stern. And somewhere in that two-and-a-half-mile-long starship is the ICE 9 we need to recover Commander Kirin from her hospitalized status.

Captain Sharp begins to slowly pace before continuing. "Flight Lieutenant Piper here tells us the vessel is 'sitting funny.' Not as tall as it should be. Our ship sensors can't see inside the thing, but with Sam's help, we found out Piper's right." Nearby, Piper silently beams and ruffles Wwarlock's fur. "Wild Cards, the command ship is very slowly sinking. We don't have any idea how long, but one day, that entire vessel is going to slip off of the land and into the water perhaps never to see sunlight again. It will happen sooner if something somehow unsettled its position. One day, it will go down with any hands aboard and take the ICE-9 with it.

"Adamantium found something else of interest. Sitting less than a mile away is a patrol of Queadlunn Rau - Female Power Armor units - belonging without doubt to the Ura-Meltrandi, not the Lisara-Meltrandi. My guess is that these are War-queen Taniya's people but what they are doing there, only they know. We believe they probably know we are here, but neither we nor they have attempted contact. Best as we can tell, they are waiting for something but we don't know what.

Captain Sharp turns to face you. "I want you to make contact with the Ura-Meltrandi. There is a chance War-queen Taniya left them here and if so, they may have additional intel, intel we can use to get inside that thing. Being that this is a Zeki-Zentraedi vessel and the Ura-Meltrandi live to kill the Zeki, I can think of a number of reason why they remain outside of the Zeki command ship. After you talk with them, I want you to figure out a way to enter the command ship by just about any means necessary, technopathy included, and find the ICE-9. But before it sounds like I'm sending you to board a ship with thousands of active Zeki-Zentraedi onboard, I want you to understand - this ship? It's running on its lowest power. Just enough to keep it warm. No signs of communication, no activity whatsoever as far as we can tell. It's like... it's sleeping. An undamaged command ship out here without a fleet to run - just it all by itself."

Captain Sharp rubs his chin. "That brings up a hell of a lot of questions in this old brain of mine and no doubt, yours. We can't see inside of it and the Ura-Meltrandi don't look like they want to say hello. So for this one, I want you to take the tanks. Time for your questions."

"Sir?" Shirley asks. "Two two-person tanks for a team of seven?"

Captain Sharp grins. "Your inventive teammate there," he indicates one smiling Cera, "has been busy. Thanks to her, the Wild Cards have access to 4 Mjolnir Veritech Hover tanks now. In addition to Thor's goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, you may add the names Freke and Gere, Odin's wolves. The Mjolnir tanks have much better protection than the Valkyries, our Ajax, or the prototype Logans, plus they can carry Cyclones, 2 per tank. Take all 4 tanks and you'll also have 8 Cyclones along for the ride, 7 plus 1 extra. The tanks were made by a Traverser for Traversers. They are quieter than the helicopter or jets too.

"What about the 120mm tank ammunition? Aren't we low on that?"

Captain Sharp's grin remains. "Not anymore. Albert, Murph, and Reggie made contact with that secret army of ours in Brazil. Guess who delivered us the schematics we needed? You provided the resources from Veracruz and now we can make what we need."

Cera raises her hand. "How many Ura-Meltrandi in the patrol Adamantium spotted, sir?"

"Half a dozen. Covered in snow. All facing the command ship. It's like they're frozen because they haven't moved. And we don't see any support ship of theirs. It's like they flew in from South America across The Drake Passage."

"Oh," Captain Sharp raises his finger to his forehead. "I almost forgot. Lieutenant Hall?" He looks to Elinor. "While you are more than welcome to add your thoughts to this secret mission, your skills have been earnestly requested by Albert and company in Brazil. As fate would have it, they desperately require the services of a test pilot, preferably a cool-headed experienced test pilot to help them figure out new technology seeing as their last test pilot got a bit too cocky, took things too hard, and exploded during mid-mission. While they are hosing her remains out of the cockpit, Professor Stein asked for you to come take a look-see personally. No strings attached; he just really wants your take on things. Says you're the only test pilot he trusts."

Again, Kaerri wants to change Characters from Elinor to Lt. Eadric Braidwood. This is her way of making that happen. =)

Shirley hears this and gives Elinor her biggest blessing. "Godspeed and cowabunga, Southern girl! If you decide to answer the call, know you'll always have a spot among us here in the Wild Cards!" Shirley offers a hug if Elinor looks like she wants to join The Professor in Brazil. Spaceman Sam gives Elinor a big thumbs up while Trouble cheers in his kitty fashion. Cera grows silent and also looks to Elinor, her thoughts concealed for the moment.

Captain Sharp adds, "Lieutenant Hall, take your time thinking about it. Albert and Murphy are in agreement - the situation in Brazil isn't going anywhere from the look of things." The veteran tanker looks ready to handle more questions.

What do the Wild Cards do?
 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph listens intently to the briefing, keeping all of her focus on the Captain. Once he opens up the floor to accept questions, she raises up a hand. "I don't suppose we have any recognition signals for the Ura-Meltrandi to keep them from gunning for us the moment we get in range? We may not be the closest of allies, but I sure as hell don't want them to be our enemies, either."

She then looks about the room and adds, "I know that Mario has been doing a lot of training in the new tanks, and I'm sure that Hercules is going to be in familiar territory, but this is going to require at least a few of us to Traverse the Mjolnir tanks to be up to speed in them. How are we pairing off?"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario's thoughts race as he listens to the briefing. With his own hand up, he asks, "From our intel we've gotten in the past about the floorplans of the Zentraedi ships, is there any reason to think that this vessel will be laid out internally any different from what the RDF has on file from the defectors that joined us under the command of Lord Bretai? It is a damn big ship, and if it is due to sink off of the ice and plumet into the depths, I don't want to waste any time having to search our way through the passages to find the medical section where they should have the Ice-9 located."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Toph listens intently to the briefing, keeping all of her focus on the Captain. Once he opens up the floor to accept questions, she raises up a hand. "I don't suppose we have any recognition signals for the Ura-Meltrandi to keep them from gunning for us the moment we get in range? We may not be the closest of allies, but I sure as hell don't want them to be our enemies, either."

Captain Sharp adjusts his glasses and looks to Piper. The young redhead looks serious. "I don't know what you mean by 'recognition signals.' I was on the bridge when Adamantium spotted them. They definitely know the Broadsword is here, but maybe not Adamantium. They've made no attempt at hailing us. In the past, we've had better success chatting with them face to face than over radios."

Piper grows silent for a moment then her voice gets a little lower in octave. "The UEEF and the Ura-Meltrandi have been enemies up until you Wild Cards went and made a non-aggression pact with them. Since Cera is with us, this patrol has got to be aware of that pact and it's really not like the Ura to go back on their word once given. Plus, Taniya's the whole reason we even know about this downed Zeki command ship. I agree with the captain - the patrol belongs to her command. Besides, as far as we know, the only Ura we've seen here in the year 2025 is Taniya and her people. No sign of Empress Ura or the others."

She then looks about the room and adds, "I know that Mario has been doing a lot of training in the new tanks, and I'm sure that Hercules is going to be in familiar territory, but this is going to require at least a few of us to Traverse the Mjolnir tanks to be up to speed in them. How are we pairing off?"
Piper looks back to Captain Sharp who says, "I'm leaving the fine details up to you. I trust you to make the best decisions." He turns pointedly to Shirley who straightens and grins a little.

Shirley replies to Toph. "The Mjolnirs were made by a Traverser for Traversers. Does that mean the Cores of all four machines consider us friendly?"

One look to Cera and you see the two-week-old Ura-Meltrandi nodding silently to the positive. "They have agreed to obey us as long as we follow their protocol."

"Just what is their protocol?"

"'To aid humanity and its allies against all threats, domestic or extraterrestrial.'"

"Totally rad." Shirley taps a finger. "Team, start thinking of who you'd like to team up with now. I'll ride with Cera. I'd prefer our Wild Card tankers in different vehicles, but you're welcome to figure out who rides with who amongst yourselves."

Mario's thoughts race as he listens to the briefing. With his own hand up, he asks, "From our intel we've gotten in the past about the floorplans of the Zentraedi ships, is there any reason to think that this vessel will be laid out internally any different from what the RDF has on file from the defectors that joined us under the command of Lord Bretai? It is a damn big ship, and if it is due to sink off of the ice and plumet into the depths, I don't want to waste any time having to search our way through the passages to find the medical section where they should have the Ice-9 located."

With a nod from Captain Sharp, Piper takes this one. "I'm willing to bet my seat as the Broadsword's best pilot that the layout is gonna be different. Lord Zeki's Zentraedi purposely think differently than Lord Dolza's Zentraedi, or any other Zeeks who continue to swear fealty to the Robotech Masters. Schematics of Lord Dolza's vessels won't mean beans. For one thing, the Zeki are into the creation and alteration of organic technology while the Ura embrace non-organic, computer-based tech. A command vessel like this? No one from the UEEF has ever been aboard a Zeki command ship. You'll be the first. So hey! You're making history! Don't it feel gooood?" Piper lets out a chuckle; she is clearly glad she is staying aboard the unique Garfish starship.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph lets out a low growl. "Hmph. If we are dealing with a unique internal configuration, do we have any idea on just where the Ice-9 will be located on the ship? Is it in the main sickbay, or would it be stored somewhere else to be used only as needed? We may end up having to hack/Traverse the computers just to find our target and get out."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Toph can see that Captain Sharp shares her frustration as he wears a similar expression and perhaps it is his rank and position alone that stops him from adding a low growl of his own. However, with time comes experience, with experience comes perspective, and this he shares with her.

"Look at it this way, lieutenant. Our planet Earth is some 25,000 miles across. We have narrowed our search to a single vessel two-and-a-half miles across. You are Traversers and familiar enough with the Zentraedi language that both Lord Dolza's and Lord Zeki's people communicate with, that you probably have the some of the best chances on Earth of succeeding in this."

Captain Sharp briefly points and nods at Toph in a manner that is meant to display faith and encouragement. Sharp speaks from his heart. "I don't have to tell you your mom's health is riding on this. Given the situation, I'm glad it's the Wild Cards going in. I can't imagine any other unit - and I might know a few - who has better chances of walking out of that ship with the ICE-9 than the Wild Cards."

Shirley's eyes widen a little at this. You see your Californian commander nodding in agreement with what she has just heard.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario gives Toph a grin. "No worries there, LT. We'll get in, get the goods, and get back out and steamroll over anything that is dumb enough to get in our way. And, if you'd like, you are more than welcome to ride shotgun with me in my rig. You guys helped to teach me to be a pilot, now Herc and I can help you to be tankers! How sweet will that be?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
I have to admit, Mario's enthusiasm is quite contagious. Both he and the Captain are right. If there is any team on Earth that can do this, its the Wild Cards. "Thank you, Mario. I'd be happy to accept your offer, and hopefully I will do my part to uphold the fine traditions of the ATAC."
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter


Elinor's character sheet
Action Points: 8/8
Bonus action point: 1
"Oh," Captain Sharp raises his finger to his forehead. "I almost forgot. Lieutenant Hall?" He looks to Elinor. "While you are more than welcome to add your thoughts to this secret mission, your skills have been earnestly requested by Albert and company in Brazil. As fate would have it, they desperately require the services of a test pilot, preferably a cool-headed experienced test pilot to help them figure out new technology seeing as their last test pilot got a bit too cocky, took things too hard, and exploded during mid-mission. While they are hosing her remains out of the cockpit, Professor Stein asked for you to come take a look-see personally. No strings attached; he just really wants your take on things. Says you're the only test pilot he trusts."

Shirley hears this and gives Elinor her biggest blessing. "Godspeed and cowabunga, Southern girl! If you decide to answer the call, know you'll always have a spot among us here in the Wild Cards!" Shirley offers a hug if Elinor looks like she wants to join The Professor in Brazil. Spaceman Sam gives Elinor a big thumbs up while Trouble cheers in his kitty fashion. Cera grows silent and also looks to Elinor, her thoughts concealed for the moment.

Captain Sharp adds, "Lieutenant Hall, take your time thinking about it. Albert and Murphy are in agreement - the situation in Brazil isn't going anywhere from the look of things."
The relayed request catches Elinor by surprise, and for a moment she simply sits still and listens as Captain Sharp explains.

That a test pilot would get fatally overconfident isn't the unexpected part; it happened with what outsiders might consider dismaying frequency, which Elinor tried to keep in mind every time she got in the cockpit of an unfamiliar craft so that she wouldn't fall prey to it. It did surprise her a little that Brazil only had one test pilot, but she supposed that would make sense if their group wasn't very big. What had her sitting silent was the thought that Professor Stein was specifically requesting her as a replacement -- and even more, the tremendous compliment attached to the request. The only test pilot he trusts? Whoa... She felt pulled in two directions. On the one hand, the Wild Cards could use all the Traversers they could get for Drake's plan, and they were just settling into a team.

Her eyes narrowed slightly, brow furrowing as she thought.

On the other hand... Elinor had chosen the test pilot career because she felt she had just the right combination of skills it required, and it was a job uniquely necessary for getting field-practical machines, which was critical to the pilots, to the military they served in, and to the Earth they defended. Traversing could only help with that. And the Broadsword mission, at least so far, seemed more interested in only her Traversing and general piloting skills.

"I'll think on it," she said finally, trying to stay neutral. She didn't like to rush big decisions like this if she didn't have to, and Captain Sharp said she had time to consider. She left it to stew in the back of her mind while she listened to the others talk about the upcoming South Pole trip.

Cera's description of the Mjolnir's protocol made her smile. "To aid humanity and its allies against all threats, domestic or extraterrestrial." That was something they could work within, for sure! Hearing that the Zentraedi ship was of unknown design made her wonder if perhaps she shouldn't stay with the Wild Cards at least until after this mission; she had some training in light and medium spacecraft, though she hadn't actually been on one (aside from Broadsword) since then. Not that this sounded like a light spacecraft. And she didn't know Zentraedi. She shook her head slightly. It really was starting to sound like her particular skills were more needed in Brazil than here, at least for now.

"Mario's right," she found herself saying. "Y'all have got the best odds of anyone on the planet." Elinor seemed as surprised as anyone at her own use of "you" rather than "we." "Well," she said a little sheepishly, looking at Captain Sharp, "I guess I've decided already." She looked back at the Wild Cards. "But y'all say the word if there's somethin' I can do to help before I go!"
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules woke up early and hopped out of his rack feeling better then he had in a long time. He pulled on a t-shirt and jogging pants then went for a quick circuit around the outermost of Broadsword’s corridors, before a quick shower and shave to remove even the tiniest hint of stubble from his rugged jowls. Then it was into the close-fitting undersuit that he wore beneath his armor and down to the mess hall for a hearty breakfast.
He turned up outside the Briefing Room at 06:55 and filed in with the rest of his squadron. He scooped the excited MechaKitten onto his broad shoulder and sat in silence, listening to Sharp’s briefing while taking notes on an electronic pad he’d taken from his pocket. He only reacted when it was revealed they would be loaded up in the two-seater Mjolnir hover tanks, cocking an eyebrow and glancing over at the eager Mario. Once the briefing ended and Sharp opened up the floor to questions, he spoke up.

“If there’s a minimal risk of Zeki hostility, could we not use Broadsword to drag the command ship further onto land? Or, failing that, can we not anchor the ship with long lines between the hull and the bedrock? That should provide us some additional security to prevent the ship from slipping into the water prematurely. If that’s not an option, I further recommend we begin our search the vessel at the furthest reaches circling back to our point of ingress. If the ship becomes unstable and starts to slip, it’ll be better to be tracking back through already navigated passages than trying to explore new ground.”
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!

“If there’s a minimal risk of Zeki hostility, could we not use Broadsword to drag the command ship further onto land? Or, failing that, can we not anchor the ship with long lines between the hull and the bedrock?
Captain Sharp gives off an interested "huh!" at this. The solid tanker looks to Spaceman Sam with a raised eyebrow. That empty suit of CVR-3 body armor assumes a very casual pose as Spaceman Sam answers Captain Sharp's unspoken question.

"Totally rad idea, sir, but no can do. The Broadsword's, like, only a few hundred yards in length while that frozen-over command ship is, like, over two and a half miles long. Kinda like tryin' ta tow a cruise ship with a sports car, sir - we're just not big enough."

But your creative and attentive Ura-Meltrandi squadmate raises a hand and says, "The command ship is a design that can split into two sections, each its own independent vessel. If the ICE-9 is on the forward part of the ship, we might do well to take over its bridge and separate from the rest of the ship, using the forward vessel's own propulsion systems to move it onto dry land, or perhaps take the vehicle altogether." Cera's eyes flash about the room as her thoughts continue to form. "However, that might create its own set of problems like telling every other Zeki vessel out there that this one is not only still powered, but active and moving."

"Not to mention taking the bridge in the first place," Mack leans against the bulkhead. "If we hit the bridge for anything, it's to find the location of the ICE-9 and move on from there. If the vessel is still warm on the inside, that implies that it has reason to stay warm. If even a small fraction of the crew of a ship that size is active, we are horribly outnumbered."

Captain Sharp nods. "Yet another reason I want the Mjolnirs along to fight your way out if you have to."

Mack has to ask. "I get that you want the tanks in and the Cyclones with them, but are you open to the idea of us adding a Valkyrie or two to go with the mix? Or the AJAX? That ship's from the future - it's not like they're not going to know what an AJAX or Valkyrie is, right?"

Captain Sharp smiles back. "Lieutenant, you've got a point. I don't mind you adding to the mix as long as you're willing to take all four Mjolnirs as a base force. If the jets get shot down, you I want you to be able to get into the Mjolnirs. If those get taken out, you have the Cyclones. But I want your entire team to have something to fall back on; the last thing I want to happen to you is for you to be stuck running around in your Mega-suits on a mysterious Zeki starship, especially under these precarious circumstances. I want your safety to come in multiple layers. I recommend the tanks also because I know tanks best. With all of my time in the armor business, I guess I'm biased." Captain Sharp purses his lips in thought and then adds, "The only vehicles I definitely don't want along for the ride are the Spartas Hover Tank that you recovered from the Zeki Assault Scout and the two 'black birds' we confiscated from General Steele's own personal hideout - those are prototypes and irreplaceable at that. Cera, didn't you have a name for them too?"

"Huginn and Munnin, Captain," she replies with a small grin. They are named after Odin's Ravens."

"'Thought' and 'Memory,' huh?" Captain Sharp recalls from Norse mythology which brings a pleased and mildly surprised expression from Cera. "Well, I think we can use any blessings our gods see fit to provide. Missions are like baking cakes; the better the ingredients and prep-work, the better the chances something sweet will come out of the oven. What other concerns are on your minds, troops?"

Captain Sharp's gaze sweeps across the room. He leaves no one out.

Cera brings up another topic while leaving the others still open to reply. "Do you require Unit One's help on this? Her ability to move around undetected is uncanny, including on enemy vessels and bases."

"She won't be some kind of liability?" Mack has to ask.

"No, Leader Mack. Do you remember your first meeting with her outside the Zeki Assault Scout you thought was a base? This is, in fact, what she is trained to do."

Mack looks over to Ylva. "You're new to our team. Lemme know if you want us to fill you in on our big momma of a Scrath. I doubt the folks in Scandinavia have anything quite like Iris."
 
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Silanon

Four Thousand Club
"We certainly don't... well, as certain as things are, these days." The Swede's hands point out the surrounding - still hard to believe that the Broadsword is a thing, sometimes. Or all those other things. Even being all the way south here is a childhood dream that was supposed to never be a thing, given the war and all - not that there'll be time for sight-seeing anytime soon. "Anything specific I'd need to know about Iris? If not, I'm probably fine, for now."

There are enough other questions to worry about. Like this whole mission without really knowing a thing. A mostly unknown ship on stand-by, just waiting for a chance to slip into the depths... a dream come true, a few years ago. If not for the signs of possible danger within. Now... a hassle, all for the tiny splinter of hope that others put into the Commander's lead. Not that it matters. The decision was made. It's all about getting it done now, right? But there's little that can be done, without knowing more. Besides what has been said already.

"So - with our sensors not getting through the ship's hull - what about communication? Any chance to stay in contact, or will we be on our own? And... maybe a silly question, but what's the rush with the Professor's project? I get that it's important, it's just... this is the kind of mission where another cool head might do us some good, right? Not that i don't think it's important if he asks for Hall specifically."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
"We certainly don't... well, as certain as things are, these days." The Swede's hands point out the surrounding - still hard to believe that the Broadsword is a thing, sometimes. Or all those other things. Even being all the way south here is a childhood dream that was supposed to never be a thing, given the war and all - not that there'll be time for sight-seeing anytime soon. "Anything specific I'd need to know about Iris? If not, I'm probably fine, for now."
Cera steps forward. "Iris is telepathically capable, able to create our unbreachable polyphonic nexuses that go straight through Mega-damage barriers, which coupled with her clandestine training as a Hunter-Killer could help us detect Zeki enemies aboard the command ship before we are detected by them. As a Scrath, she is as impervious to this planet's elements as our mecha."

"So - with our sensors not getting through the ship's hull - what about communication? Any chance to stay in contact, or will we be on our own? And... maybe a silly question, but what's the rush with the Professor's project? I get that it's important, it's just... this is the kind of mission where another cool head might do us some good, right? Not that i don't think it's important if he asks for Hall specifically."

Flight Lieutenant Piper scratches the back of her head before speaking. "Yeeeah, about that. If our sensors can't penetrate that hull, chances are we're gonna lose all communications with you guys once you go in. Not sure I like the sound of it, but what choice have we got?"

Captain Sharp says, "Concerning Albert's project, his people are actively engaged against enemy forces in Brazil. The sooner they get someone like Lt. Hall in there, the sooner they can gain a much-needed edge and turn their situation around." Captain Sharp gives Elinor a serious look. "Not to pressure you, but the work you'll be doing will very likely be saving lives."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph looks up at that. "Sir, it may be possible that a polymorphic nexus can keep us in touch with the Broadsword. Between me and Iris, we can at least give it a try to keep someone here on the ship in our loop while we search for the Ice-9. But on another subject, what kind of Cyclones are we going to be issued for this? And what personal gear can we request? I would certainly like having use of the twin pistols that I had before. While it would be nice to just be able to walk in, get the Ice-9, and walk out without any difficulty, I'm not silly enough to expect it."
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
Elinor nods to Ylva. "Wish I could be in both places at once," she confesses. "An' if Professor Stein had said they were 'down a pilot' -- meanin' they've got more 'n one, and still have at least one of the others -- I'd feel better about stickin' around with y'all for this mission. But he didn't. He said they'd 'lost' their pilot, the only one they had far 's I can tell. That means whatever they were workin' on, is pretty well stopped until I get there. An' what if what they're workin' on is somethin' Broadsword can use too? Or even indirectly, when it comes time to hit Brazil ourselves?" She sighs and shakes her head. "Sooner I get down there, sooner I can get that project back to work, and get it ready for the people who need it."

Elinor nods again, this time to Toph. "Just what I was thinkin'. Hitomi, that device you use to hook into a Nexus -- is it dependent on its tech, or on the Nexus itself? If it's the Nexus, might well be Toph's right and y'all can stay in touch that way."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Hitomi, that device you use to hook into a Nexus -- is it dependent on its tech, or on the Nexus itself? If it's the Nexus, might well be Toph's right and y'all can stay in touch that way."
Hitomi raises a finger and caresses the smooth edge of the earpiece centered just over her outer ear. "Technopathic transceivers are tech-dependent. Like a radio channel minus the electronic noise, I can hear and speak and that's pretty much it." Hitomi looks wistful for a moment. "I understand that the polyphonic nexus transmits more than that - emotions, images, straight brain-to-brain uninterruptable communication - and only what you want to communicate? That's as close to real life telepathy as a non-Traverser girl can dream of."

Cera nods curtly. "Indeed. The Scrath are one of the Ura-Meltrandi's best weapons against the Zeki, for the Zeki cannot communicate telepathically and thus must rely on technology."

Mack speaks up, looking to Toph. "It's a real good idea you've got there. How about we have Iris create her own polyphonic nexus with us and stay onboard the Broadsword? The nexus isn't hampered by distance, right?"

Cera replies. "A nexus must be created between one who can create them and their target whom they must see. After the nexus is established, there is no limit to its range that I am aware of."

Mack adds, "Just don't get knocked unconscious or out you go and you have to start all over again."

"Handy!" is all Captain Sharp can think to say.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario looks over at Capt. Sharp and asks, "Other than the Ice-9, what kind of priority do we have when dealing with the enemy ship? Even if we find that the ship is in a flyable condition, I don't know how to fly a starship without trying to Traverse it, and I'm sure it will regard us micronians as hostile and not work willingly with us. Assuming that we are able to figure out how to fly it, do we try and lift it off the ice shelf to bring it to our underwater city, or should we strap enough kaboomite to the engines to make it go up in pure light? I really don't want to have this in the hands of the Malcontents or General Steele and his goons. To say that would be bad is the understatement of the year."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Sherwood Sherwood

Captain Sharp muses a moment and then looks to Piper and Cera from whose time the Zeki-Zentraedi starship is a part of. "My first thought is to destroy it somehow, or at least sink it. A command ship is one incredible prize but only in the hands of our enemies. Is this so? Piper? Cera?"

Piper waves her hands and nods vigorously. "All the way! It's Zeki tech which means only Zeki can really use it and the Ura won't touch it." Cera grins in rare agreement with Piper.

"It will harm your people far more than it will help them," Cera notes. "When the incompetent Zeki-Zentraedi and we Ura-Meltrandi separated from the Robotech Masters, we began the process of creating our own marvels and triumphs. The Zeki go the way of biology, merging themselves and their Wargoths with their machinery while we Ura-Meltrandi forego such abominable shortcuts and remain what we are - simply better - through pure technology. Mixing one with the other not only does not work, but neither approach is meant to merge with another and is therefore made to work against such efforts. As an Auxiliary Specialist with understanding of Protoculture drives and Reflex engines, I would be proud to assist you directly in the destruction of this crown vessel of my sworn enemies."

Mack nods and folds her arms. "Sir? Is the command ship's destruction a priority then?"

"No," Captain Sharp dismisses the thought. "Our sole priority is the procurement of the ICE-9 and to get everyone involved out of that ship alive and in one piece. Besides, do we have the 'kaboomite' to light a fuse and blow it from a distance?"

Piper shakes her head. "Nope. This isn't a mining vessel; we're only carrying enough munitions for our ship and everything defending it. Everything costs resources and we're trying to use our recently-gained supplies wisely."

"Could we make enough to do so?"

"Making enough would take time I don't know that we have. Then there's having to get it onboard - a challenge in itself even if the thing is empty of troops somehow, which I totally doubt!"

"Is there any other way?"

"Yeah," Piper says with absolute seriousness and one big smirk on her face. "We can try the Broadsword's Synchro Cannon."

"Uh, like, ma'am?" Spaceman Sam asks. "Is that wise?"

"Got a better idea of taking that thing out?"

Spaceman Sam shakes his head.

"For now, just get the ICE-9," Captain Sharp orders. "If we find some other way to take the Zeki command vessel out of the picture while we're doing it, it's a card we'll keep in our hand. That is, unless someone else has a better idea that doesn't risk you anymore than you're being risked?"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario listens to the play-by-play intently, then nods. "Understood, sir. The Ice-9 is our mission, and anything else beyond that is secondary. Nice intel would be gravy for this meal, but we have our focus. After we have recovered it and gotten out with the cargo intact, then those with more stripes on their shoulders can make the call on what to do next."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph thinks back to the Beastmaster that they fought, and how the Wargoths were weaponized to be used like smart missiles against them with a shudder. To do that kind of thing to another living being is just wrong on so many different levels. If you have to go to war, fight honorably, not like these monsters. Best to destroy the ship as soon as we get the Ice-9 to keep it from Zeki hands.

"I think that the whole reason that Mario wants to destroy the ship so bad is to get the bragging rights of destroying two Zentraedi ships!" She grins at the tanker, adding, "Its not like you haven't gone out of your way to mark the silhouette of an Assault Scout on your Spartas to show off or anything!" With a soft laugh, she says, "I'm just teasing you, Mario. But I do have to agree that this ship is best destroyed by any means necessary. The technology onboard would be revolutionary, but the moral cost to us would be unacceptable, and we can't let the ship fall back into the hands of the Malcontents."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario chuckles. "You got it in one, LT. Any time I can stick it to the Zeki and get away to tell the tale, hell yes I'm down for that. But don't worry; I'll keep my focus on the mission at hand. There are secrets in that ship that I have a feeling will try to bite us on the asses if we're not careful."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
It is then that Bong the Shaman finally speaks up. With Chief Faydra standing beside him, the lean Broo's ears flick in annoyance and his tone is knife-edge serious. Both the hairs on the backs of their alien necks are up and their muscles are tense, but calm.

"Mar-ee-yo sense it too," Bong rubs one of his talismans and says slowly.

"Sense what, Bong?" Piper nearly demands.

"Ship," Bong points to the gigantic 3-D holographic near-mountain of snow. "Ship has secrets. Yesss."

Chief Faydra narrows her eyes as if staring at the ship so grants her some uncanny ability to understand it better. "Ship is... not right, Pie-pa."

Piper wrings her hands and leaps into a hyperactive rant. "Of course, it's not right, Chief! It's 20 years out of its own time, sitting on an ice shelf on the South Pole, while still warm on the inside, with no sign of... anything! How in the hell did Taniya find this thing? If that ship were active, she would have been gunning at our teeny-little-frigate-self long before we got here, much to our sorrow! So what could be right about it?"

"Not what I mean," Faydra stares. "Ship is... wrong."

"Then what?" Captain Sharp asks.

Bong answers like a man in a trance, his eyes are wide like pools. "Mar-ee-yo speak'a troo. Wrong-ship has secret. Ship is... not alone. Something on no should be here. Wild Card must take strong care."

"Wha?" Mack turns to Bong.

But Bong can only repeat himself. "Wrong-ship... not alone."

An air of uncertainly fills the briefing room but the Broo say no more. Instead, they stare at the hologram in silence and utter distrust. Captain Sharp folds his arms, clearly not liking this but one glance at Flight Lieutenant Piper tells her tale - Piper believes her Beasties.
 

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