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Chapter Seven: Full House

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter

( Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus D. Rex D. Rex Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood Silanon Silanon It's big post time! 8D

"Full House" Per Pokerstars.in, "Three cards of the same rank, and two cards of a different, matching rank." In this case, the human Wild Cards. Lieutenants Toph Kirin, Elinor Hall, and Shirley Mackenzie along with Sergeants Hercules Papadopolis and Mario Zuko. Also a term implying this is, along with Lt. Ricky Rolland and Lt. Ylva Sveadotter, is as large as the Wild Cards are likely to become in the near future. (Yes, Shirley is a 1st Lieutenant and Cera holds no Army of Southern Cross rank being an Ura-Meltrandi Auxiliary Specialist, but hey, it's still a "Full House" to me!)

* * *​

The damaged Esper speeds away from the blasted remains of Chessel Corporation's Outpost #5 and the ruins of the once-popular city of Veracruz, Mexico. Entering the water with its shields up, the Wild Cards and the Esper crew leave the area much differently than they found it, for the Wild Cards succeeded in their mission for Acting-Captain Piper and freed the trapped Esper cargo cruiser from the wicked hands of the cybersecurity and machine-producing Chessel Corporation, a front company for the nefarious Anti Unification League - the greatest threat to aliens on Earth there ever was.

Toph lets out a deep breath and holsters the Twins. "Ok, I can officially say that I do not like using guns like this. I much rather target my opponents from a few miles out with a well placed missile. Much more civilized!" She lets out a nervous chuckle, then says, "Great job, everyone. I can see that my services are not going to be needed today. Always good for a doctor to not have to treat any injuries. I am glad to see that Mack was able to save our bacon. How is she feeling now?"
Hitomi comes over Iris's polyphonic nexus, her voice in your minds sounds unworried and a bit relieved. "Mack is going back to the world of loopiness for awhile. I can see her on her Valkyrie's camera. She's passing out in the pilot's chair as we speak.

"Truth be told, Wild Cards, that whole rescue was a joint operation. It went down like this. Colonel Sharp asked me if I thought Mack could rescue the Esper. I replied if the battle is short. We approached Mack who quickly stepped up. I made certain Spaceman Sam was her copilot. From there, Piper launched her from underwater and the Red Baroness came up undetected by the drones, giving Mack and Spaceman Sam surprise. The missile strikes and head cannon-fire was all Sam. The GU-11 fire, aggressive dogfighting, and "drone-wrangling" was entirely Mack's doing. Sam got her there and is taking her back. She'll be back in sickbay soon if you'd like to see her, along with our latest two Traversers, Lieutenants Rolland and Sveadotter.

"In fact, after your post-mission briefing together, I'd like to see you in sickbay for a post-mission briefing of my own to see how you're holding up medically. Come on down once you're here."


Mario looks around with a wide grin. "Hot damn! I absolutely love this stuff! Getting into the thick of it, blasting the crap out of targets." He looks over at the handful of pilots and asks, "Soooo, now that Herc and I have both flown into battle in those Logans, do we get fancy pilot callsigns?"
Cera speaks psychically in the typical no-nonsense way of the Ura-Meltrandi. "I would also be open to someone explaining this callsign concept to me. Is this... some sort of trial we of the lower combat ranks must succeed against in order to gain glory?"

* * *​

At Captain Piper's command, the Wild Cards and the new Traversers witness the Broadsword and Esper sail under the great blue depths of the Gulf of Mexico for the better part of an hour until one of the Samantha's in Toph's voice announces "all signs clear." At this stage, both vessels rise out of the waters. Both the Wild Cards and the new Traversers see both ships, the scarlet and white military frigate beside the nearly all-black cargo cruiser. With computer-controlled precision, the much-smaller Esper docks with the Broadsword and with the efficiency of an ant colony, the Sams, Samanthas, and Loaders begin hauling the resources you literally risked your life and limbs for onto the Broadsword. It is during this time Ricky and Ylva get a full and true view of just what kind of vessels they are onboard. There is no denying it - these are starships from stars the Army of Southern Cross and the United Earth Government of the year 2025 have never seen. They must be from Earth's future.

This but red/scarlet and silver with the marks of old battles upon her hull.
SCL-107 Garfish Frigate Broadsword
Garfish Frigate.jpg
(Image credit: Reckless Terrain and Miniatures - blogger)

Cargo Cruiser Esper
The Esper.  Billy-Knight-33-dotcom-Exeter-01.jpg
(Image credit: "Exeter" by the excellent Billy Knight33.com)

"Permission to come aboard," Cera asks once you're at the airlock leading to the Broadsword.

The captain herself replies, "Permission granted. Welcome aboard, Wild Cards."

At your ranking doctor's orders (which on this vessel is Hitomi immediately followed by Toph), the Wild Cards dismount out of their scuffed-up but otherwise undamaged Cyclones, and haul their bruised selves down to the Broadsword's sickbay where you find one very happy Mack lazily resting in a hot tub (a hot tub in a medical bay!). Sleepily, Mack smiles with her Californian grin and tries to give each of you a big wet hug. You also get a "attacked" by Trouble who, as a fellow Wild Card, was waiting for your return with all of the suspense and bated breath a mechanical cat could hold without exploding. Thankfully, towels for wet hugs and privacy are aplenty in the sickbay for besides Hitomi, there is no one else here. After checking you out and seeing that you've only the bumps and bruises of those who have been roughly handled inside their Cyclones and Mega-suits, Hitomi stands beside the sickbay door in case you get any new visitors.

The Wild Cards go through a detailed post-mission chat about how they could do things better and what to watch out for. Due to Mack's condition, it is up to Elinor to get this conversation started and going.

This is a very good time for you guys and gals to have a post-mission chat of your own in Fat Gandalf's if you'd like to improve as a team. What did you do right? Where did you screw up? How can you improve?

About 20 minutes later, you finish up and Hitomi shows you to the showers where you restore your humanity with the help of high-pressured hot water and good-smelling soap. Cera excuses herself to meet up with Iris whom she squeezes into a shower and takes the time to get her carapace back into a clean and shiny sheen.

Back in uniform, you find yourselves in sickbay with Mack who is drifting as if in heaven. Present are Elinor, Toph, Hercules, Mario, Cera, Hitomi, Trouble, and Iris. Cera and Iris are in another part of the sickbay where they can hear you but not see you. Cera and Hitomi are performing her own medical assessment as the three of them talk Scrath biology.

Moments later, you are joined by Colonel Sharp who is pushing a hovering wheelchair with a tall English rugged-looking fellow with the looks of a military man about him (T.A.S.C. pilots, you see Cocky Combat Pilot from the get-go, but then again, is there any other kind in T.A.S.C.?). Walking beside him is an attractive Scandanavian blonde-haired woman who could easily model for a living if she wanted to, but she too moves with the discipline of the militarily-trained. And if there is one thing each of you have learned in the Army of the Southern Cross, it is everyone who has joined the ASC has a purpose of some kind. Now all of you and your purposes are together in the Broadsword's sickbay. The Wild Cards are still linked by Iris's polyphonic nexus and Professor Stein is curiously absent.

Colonel Sharp's clear happiness and relief at seeing you back and in good shape is all over his face. He pats your shoulders and congratulates you for this is a man who has too-often seen buddies young and old come back in the bloodstained swathes of bandages, sometimes conscious, sometimes not. Sometimes alive, sometimes not. And in a universe of Mega-damage combat, there often-enough isn't a body remaining to bury and give honors to. That you all faced the Chessel Corporation and have come back to talk about it has made Colonel Sharp's day! "Welcome back! Wild Cards, you were outstanding! Boy, did you ever stick it to the AUL!

"Wild Cards, permit me the pleasure of introducing Lieutenant and Science Officer Sveadotter along with test pilot and Valkyrie pilot Lieutenant Rolland. We've full clearance from Captain Piper to tell them everything. Lieutenants?" Colonel Sharp turns to the two he mentioned. "Meet Californian Squadron Leader Lt. 'Mack' Mackenzie there in the jacuzzi. Acting-Squadron Leader Hall from Georgia. Doctor, combat pilot, and daughter of a dear old buddy of mine, Lt. Toph Kirin. This here's Sgt. Mario Zuko whom I understand was on the SDF-1 on its way back from Pluto during the SDF-1's first bad jump from Earth. Meet Sgt. Hercules Papadopolis from Greece and if he gets any bigger, we're going to need larger tanks to fit him in. Also, back there behind the privacy wall is Auxiliary Specialist Cera, uh I don't think Meltrandi have last names. Along with her is her alien friend, Unit One whom we call Iris, a friendly extraterrestrial being if there ever was. And you know Doctor Hitomi here.

"I think it's important we meet here as Mack is back in the tub and that means she still has recovery time. Lt. Rolland has also suffered this 'brain-burn' of yours and is also in recovery. Ladies and gentlemen, you, as far as I know, combine to make the largest gathering of Traversers ever recorded." Colonel Sharp lets that sink in. "I also understand Mack is open to having Sveadotter and Rolland join your squad so much that she's extended the invitation. That right, Mack?"

"Yessir!" Mack wearily gives a thumbs up as she lies back in the tub.

"Troops," Sharp concludes. "Say what's on your minds!"

What do the Wild Cards (and non-Wild Cards) do?



katana at kent dot net .gif
SCL-107 Broadsword (this but in an aggressive red/silver with battle marks along her hull)
(Image credit: kent.net)
STATUS Location: Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico
Mood Music (click to play): The Big O - SURE PROMISE~Union Square Extended by 佐橋俊彦
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph is feeling relaxed after their mission out to recover the missing Sams and the Esper, satisfied with how well things went, despite the fact that Mack got hurt in the Blue World. She is now also quite curious to get to know the two new pilots, privately noting with amusement the fact that Mario and Hercules are getting seriously outnumbered by Veritech pilots.

Sitting back in her seat, Toph raises up her glass to take a drink, then says, "I must say, we did manage to pull our bacon out of the frying pan in pretty good order, despite our few missteps. If I may ask, what is the status on our mecha complement now? We have acquired several more Veritechs such as the Super Logans, along with the two tanks that Cera designed, but what do we have access to now, and how many of them are combat ready? Also, when we raided the stores in the base, what was recovered from it? Basically, I guess I am trying to ask, what do we need to be able to complete our mission successfully?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Sherwood Sherwood Psychie Psychie Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Kaerri Kaerri Silanon Silanon D. Rex D. Rex (I'm just going to tag everyone here because Toph's question has answers I think you'll all want to see.) Amirite? =)

The single Samantha unit in the sickbay with you turns and responds to Toph in her own voice. It's eerie to say the least. If you weren't looking, you could swear Toph had become possessed by some machine, so accurate is the sound and inflection, but not the word usage. Then comes the data she provides you.

"Captain Piper has approved your knowledge of this data. The Broadsword's current mecha compliment includes the following:

"1. Super Tomahawk Destroid Mad Dog, undergoing maintenance.
2. Valkyrie VF-1S Red Baroness, undergoing maintenance.
3. Super Valkyrie (black), undergoing maintenance.
4. Ajax VHT-10B, undergoing maintenance.
5. Super Stealth Logan Prototype #1, ready for deployment.
6. Super Stealth Logan Prototype #2, ready for deployment.
7. Veritech Hover Tank VHT-A1 (captured), unavailable per Captain Piper.
8. Veritech Hover Tank VHT-A1 #1, ready for deployment
9. Veritech Hover Tank VHT-A1 #2, ready for deployment
10. Mjolnir MBVHT-A1 Toothgrinder, ready for deployment.
11. Mjolnir MBVHT-A1 Toothgnasher, ready for deployment.
12. (available)
13. (available)
14. (available)
15. (available)
16. (available)
17. (available)
18. (available)
19. (available)
20. (available)
21. (available)
22. (available)
23. (available)
24. (available)

Cera comes around the corner for a moment and adjusts her long red hair behind her. She stares at the Samantha unit with brown-red eyes that hardly ever seem to blink, like a missile locked on to a target. It's a bit unnerving. This also proves to Ricky and Ylva that Cera is not quite human, but very much a Meltrandi. However, behind the sickbay's wall she emerged from is something else and you don't know what it is except that it's big (bigger than an adult horse for certain) and its awfully quiet for something so big. Hitomi is back there with whatever it is and there are no commotions implying things are going well.

Cera gives Ylva and Ricky a cursory examination and asks Samantha, "What of the Broadsword's Cyclone and Silverback composition?"

Samantha replies courteously as if she were not a modified and empty CVR-3 Mega-suit from the future, but instead some kindly Japanese attendant at a tourist attraction.

"Cyclones (Rifleman-class) 1-31 are available for deployment.
Cyclones (Rifleman-class) 32-36 are undergoing maintenance.
Cyclones (Predator-class) 1-34 are available for deployment.
Cyclones (Predator-class) 35-36 are undergoing maintenance.
Silverbacks (Standard) 1-11 are available for deployment.
Silverback (Standard) 12 is undergoing maintenance."

Garfish-class Frigates like the Broadsword change in size depending on which online resource you use. I know darned well even the largest Garfish-class frigate could probably not have all of this space, but you know what? There comes a point where I just want to have fun. So this is me saying it does. Because reasonable fun is king! =)

"Hmm," Cera muses. "All of the mecha undergoing maintenance have recently been used, including and especially ours. Our recently-gained resources should have them ready for deployment in no time."

"I like the sound of that," Colonel Sharp nods and rubs his hands together.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario lets out a low whistle. "That's a serious amount of ass kicking. But I have a few questions about our arsenal if I may?" He waits politely for permission to continue, then says, "First, the two Mjolnir tanks use the 105mm shells from the old Abrams MBT and the early Spartas, but the Broadsword didn't have enough shells to fully load even one of the two. Was there any of the shells in the supplies that we were able to snag from the Chessel Corporation base? I personally would like to go into a fight with the tanks at 100%."

"Next, most of us are familiar with the Rifleman Cyclone, but I am curious, what is a Predator-class Cyclone or a Silverback? Inquiring minds want to know!"

"My next question is for Cera. When you came up with the Mjolnir tanks, you made a real work of art, using design ideas from our future. Is there any ideas in that head of yours to upgrade our aerospace Veritech force? I know that a new Veritech was developed for the UEEF force, but I have no idea on what that fighter is or what it is capable of."

Mario looks down for a moment, obviously thinking. Then, he says in a quiet voice, he says, "I have another question that I would like to bring up. As it stands, the members of the Wild Cards are all listed as KIA. What are we going to do about that? Shall we remain under the cloak of the Grim Reaper, or is there some plan to bravely return from the dead? Either way, I'm in this for the long haul to get the mission done, but if there is a way for us to slip a message to my parents that I am in a secret ops group, and had to be listed as killed in action for security reasons."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph looks over at Mario with a sympathetic expression. "Sergeant, I am thinking that it will be best for us all to stay dead. I know you have family, but just think of what General Steele might do to them in order to get to us. Stay hidden, and keep them safe."
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules is certainly happier back on the Broadsword, flight suit zipped down and the arms tied around his waist, leaving his legs covered and his massive torso clad only in his sleeveless undershirt that only accentuated the slabs of muscle beneath the thin fabric.
The tanker automatically saluted the two new Traversers, but a frown crossed his face as he beheld Lieutenant Rolland. His face turned more thoughtful as he watched the Samantha reeling off the available assets aboard the Garfish-class vessel.
“Excuse me, sir,”, he spoke at long last, addressing the colonel, “where is Reggie?”
 

Dannigan

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

"First, the two Mjolnir tanks use the 105mm shells from the old Abrams MBT and the early Spartas, but the Broadsword didn't have enough shells to fully load even one of the two. Was there any of the shells in the supplies that we were able to snag from the Chessel Corporation base? I personally would like to go into a fight with the tanks at 100%."
Cera crosses her arms and casually makes a correction. "My Mjolnirs use 120mm rounds; the Spartas uses 105mm. Samantha?"

Samantha folds "her" hands and looks downward in apology. "No tank shells of any kind were found in the Chessel Corporation outpost."

Colonel Sharp nods and addresses Cera with a positive lift in his voice. "Hmm. How about tank round schematics? If we were able to procure a full schematic of each type of round, could they then be recreated here on the Broadsword?"

Cera grins. "Yes," she says curtly."

"Then that's something on our list worth going after. I might be able to help with that. What's next on your list, sergeant?"

"Next, most of us are familiar with the Rifleman Cyclone, but I am curious, what is a Predator-class Cyclone or a Silverback? Inquiring minds want to know!"
Samantha appears right about to answer when the door to sickbay slides open and in enters Captain Piper in her red uniform, two steaming black mugs in hand.

"Captain on deck." Colonel Sharp immediately stands at attention followed by Samantha, Cera, and any of you who are in a position and willing to do the same.

"At ease," Piper says as she swishes the contents of the mug. Piper looks extremely pleased as she takes a big noisy sip and stares right at Toph. "Lieutenant Kirin... you took the last mug of coffee on the ship. You also replaced it with even fresher stuff! Consider yourself forgiven and appreciated. Here. Some of the fruits of your labors." She hands one of the two black ceramic mugs straight over to Toph. After being stuck in a sweaty Mega-suit for hours breathing recycled air, the aroma of fresh, gourmet-quality coffee is quite the contrast from combat hell to fresh coffee heaven. Colonel Sharp now has a look on his face that resembles mild anxiety, for what battlefield commander could resist quality coffee?

Of course, it's Black Rifle Coffee. In Robotech: Broadsword, did you really expect anything else? =)

"Better Ways to Wake Up" thanks to Black Rifle Coffee Company

"So, Italian," Piper greets Mario. "Silverbacks. They're Veritech Sport Utility Vehicles. Big, badass, multipurpose, and like your jock ex-girlfriend, she takes all kinds of rowdy action and keeps coming back asking for more." One glance from Captain Piper and Samantha draws up her forearm. Out of the housing sprouts a folding laptop computer. With a flick of a few switches and buttons, 3-D images appear and rotate before you providing a wonderful picture of the Silverback Veritech SUV.

Silverback Cyclone.jpg
(Image credit: Tapatalk)

Silverback from Robotech Wiki - Fandom.png
(Image credit: Robotech forums)

"Predator Cyclones," Piper continues, "are custom-made for our Marine Recon troops. Blondie here," she indicates Ylva with a tip of her mug, "ran into two of mine out in the field. It's how she woke up here. The Predators differ from the Rifleman-class in that they're scout Cyclones, lighter in armor, faster in speed, and made for reconnaissance, ambushes, hit-and-run attacks, and information collection. They're badass too. Just not meant for long-term engagements."

Colonel Sharp asks, "You have Marine Recon troops awake and active?"

"Uh huh," Piper says. "But that's far from the whole story, sir. Later. Samantha, show the Predators." Samantha presses a few buttons and new images appear before you.

Cyclones from Genesis Climber Mospeada Breakers (I thought the name "Predators" sounded accurate, shorter, and just as cool, so I'm using that name instead).
Genesis Climber Mospeada Cyclone.jpg
(Image credit: AnimeNewsNetwork)

"My next question is for Cera. When you came up with the Mjolnir tanks, you made a real work of art, using design ideas from our future. Is there any ideas in that head of yours to upgrade our aerospace Veritech force? I know that a new Veritech was developed for the UEEF force, but I have no idea on what that fighter is or what it is capable of."
Cera eyes the strange mugs and their stranger contents, her warrior's eyes following them as she speaks. "Gratitude, Mario. The Mjolnirs are works of inspiration. I am not, at this time, inspired to create a new flight-capable Veritech. During my time with the all-powerful Ura-Meltrandi, prior to my emergence from the body banks, I had time. I used some of it to create and design the Mjolnir. Now that Captain Piper is awake and aware, I will require her permission for future mecha designs if I they are to be born of the Broadsword."

Piper frowns. "The UEEF launched with a Veritech-class called the Alpha. Many years later, a larger Veritech that could "mate" with it called the Beta was developed. The Broadsword's infamous Flight Nine was made up of all Alphas. They're all gone now." Piper pauses, grits her teeth a moment, then after a long slow breath, continues. "I think it's a bad idea to start making Alphas and Betas. They're even riskier than using Cyclones and Silverbacks because if the Zeki-Zentraedi or Ura-Meltrandi see 'em, they know right where they came from. Us. Same goes for the Army of Southern Cross. Case in point. Colonel? What would ASC do if they saw Mjolnirs hovering up and doing their thing?"

Colonel Sharp licked his lips. "The short of it? Supreme Commander Leonard would want that technology copied for humanity's sake pronto. He'd do everything he could to get it, probably using people like General Steele to turn that desire into a top-priority reality."

"Exactly my thinking," Piper concludes. "I'm hesitant to be seen at all. By anybody. Because if the Broadsword's cover gets blown, our chances of succeeding in our mission take one big fat nosedive. And that makes everything we've sacrificed, everyone who was lost coming here, well... it makes it all meaningless. We're going to succeed in our mission if I have anything to say about it!"

Mario looks down for a moment, obviously thinking. Then, he says in a quiet voice, he says, "I have another question that I would like to bring up. As it stands, the members of the Wild Cards are all listed as KIA. What are we going to do about that? Shall we remain under the cloak of the Grim Reaper, or is there some plan to bravely return from the dead? Either way, I'm in this for the long haul to get the mission done, but if there is a way for us to slip a message to my parents that I am in a secret ops group, and had to be listed as killed in action for security reasons."
Toph looks over at Mario with a sympathetic expression. "Sergeant, I am thinking that it will be best for us all to stay dead. I know you have family, but just think of what General Steele might do to them in order to get to us. Stay hidden, and keep them safe."
Piper stared Mario right in the eye. "Sergeant, if you got some crazy plan on being resurrected, it had better not jeopardize the Broadsword in any way! Yeah, I bet you miss your family. Can't blame you. Just remember if the Broadsword's mission fails, the Invid come here and kill and enslave all of humanity here on Earth - and that involves your family too. That's the reason I turned down your request to contact your father, the Destroid pilot. God knows who strangers will tell about us, and I'm not about to go with the 'it's only a matter of time before we're found!' nonsense. Everyone keep that in mind."

From back behind the sickbay's extra wall, you hear Hitomi chime in. "Captain? Ah, I've got a plan of my own I'd like to run by all of you that doesn't involve compromising the Broadsword, the Wild Cards, Esper, or anyone here. Call it a compromise. I'm not sure it'll work because I haven't smoothed out all of the details. Maybe the Wild Cards and I can talk later and run it by you if we get something concrete, captain?"

"Nothing I'd like better, Yashida. You've kicked a lot of all-around ass here not only a doctor but acting as 'brain-to-brain-dispatch' for the Wild Cards. You've earned my respect. Keep up the good work and we'll talk about this plan of yours."

"Aye aye, ma'am," Hitomi answers agreeably.

“Excuse me, sir,”, he spoke at long last, addressing the colonel, “where is Reggie?”
"Reggie?" Colonel Sharp looks puzzled for a moment, then he brightens in recognition. "Oh, you must mean Sergeant Booty's son? Sorry! Took me a moment. Albert has him on some kind of mission here on the Broadsword. Something about an exam to see if he has what it takes to become a Junior Engineer-in-training."

Piper looks up to Hercules, her green eyes full of thought. "Right now, Reggie's on the Command Deck with a couple of the Sams. He's putting something together, but heck if I know what it is or how it's coming along. You're welcome to go to him after we're done here. I think he mentioned something about being worried about you. Don't see why, though. You Wild Cards can clearly handle yourselves." Piper sips her hot coffee again and gives a very satisfied sigh.

"How about you three?" Piper turns to Elinor, Ricky, and Ylva. Kaerri Kaerri D. Rex D. Rex Silanon Silanon "What's on your minds? Enquiring smartass Acting-Captains from the future wanna know."
 
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Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules snaps to attention again as the ship’s captain enters then drops back into a comfortable at ease. While he too didn’t appreciate being ‘dead’ and having his family thinking him KIA, he did appreciate that the mission came first. Perhaps, once everything was resolved, they could return to the land of the living. Truly they were living the lives of Greek legends, fighting from beyond the shores of the River Styx. He did smile as Doctor Hitomi indicated she might have a plan in that regard. He looked forward to hearing what she had on her mind.
The admiration for her suddenly made him self-conscious and his natural bashfulness flushed his face a bright crimson that even his Mediterranean skin tone could not hide.

But hearing that Reggie was on the Command Deck brought him back to himself and the reason he wanted to see the young man. He saluted to both senior officers again, then walked over to the Samantha. He gently tapped on her head and said, “Could you please ask a Sam and Samantha from the Esper meet me on the Command Deck. I need their help.”
This said, he jogged from Medbay to the Command Deck at a pace that most people would consider a significant run. As he entered the Command Deck, he pointed an almost-accusatory finger at the teenager and barked out, ”Reggie! Why can’t you walk?”
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus
Hitomi, behind her wall with Iris, did not seem to notice Hercules's reaction, busy as she was, but she would have certainly enjoyed it if she had.

As Hercules is on his way out, Colonel Sharp reminds him, "Son, the captain hasn't dismissed us. She's still talking."

Piper looks up to Hercules, her green eyes full of thought. "Right now, Reggie's on the Command Deck with a couple of the Sams. He's putting something together, but heck if I know what it is or how it's coming along. You're welcome to go to him after we're done here.
(bold mine)

What does Hercules do?
 
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Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules rapidly rewound himself

”?klaw uoy t’nac yhW !eiggeR”, he garbled out across he Command Deck before sprinting backwards thought the ship back to Medbay.
Once there he rapped on the Samantha droid’s head and jabbered, “.pleh rieht deen I .kceD dnammoC eht no em teem ot repsE eht morf ahtnamaS dna maS a ksa esaelp uoy dluoC”
He then backpedalled to his original position and stood at ease.
”Yes, Colonel.”, he replied with a nod.
 
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Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
"Well, compared to all else bein' said here, this is gonna seem minor," Elinor began, "but can we find an alternate voice for the Samanthas? It gets confusin' when Toph's voice comes out of a mouth that isn't hers." She smiled wryly at both Toph and the nearest Samantha.

"The other thing I'm thinkin' is, what if we went about altering current designs instead of creatin' new ones from scratch? Not as much fun, maybe, but if we're spotted in what looks like a Valkyrie, the viewer's gonna think it's a Valkyrie even if it does things Valkyries normally don't. Or, change up the ammo instead of the mecha, that kind of thing. Trick the eye and the brain tends to follow."
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Ricky found himself rather enraptured looking at all the vehicles that he hadn't seen before. To think that some of them were actually from the future. How good were they? What could they do?


Hmmm... wait a minute.


Ricky pointed at the screen, "Hey now, where is my Jezebel? I thought you said she was being repaired. Surely you just hadn't put her in the system yet. Please don't tell me you scrapped her..." he said, looking visibly concerned. "... hey, I'll repair her myself if need be."
 

Silanon

Three Thousand Club
"Might not be registered just yet, at least not as airworthy for the forseeable future; she did take quite a beating."

It's the first time Ylva speaks; not much need before, and that familiar feeling to not belong just yet. Odd, that; the largest meeting of traversers, they said, and yet it feels no different from those other, new beginnings. The same anxiety; the same quiet observation, too uninvolved thus far to get much of a word in. Maybe a good thing that it isn't so different. A glimpse at some normalcy ahead; even in a place like this one. Seems like it's just the same kind of military planning, mostly, only with other, more futuristic tools at hand. Some of those noticeably peak her interest. The term 'Super Logan'. The images of tech, unavailable and yet within reach - her eyes seemingly try to pierce right through those. The people, of course - she gives those a nod who show the same polite curiosity that she tries to display. Thus far, it's not a group of weirdly rambling Professors, which is both a relief, and a disappointment.

"Or Jezebel doesn't count as a part of the Broadsword's fleet."

Back to finding comforting, yet logical explanations. Until she runs out of those, which is about right now. So it's back to the quiet observing, and brooding. First on other, better explanations; then on the problem at hand, before that.

"About the 'altering', Acting Squadron-leader Hall." That's clunky as hell, but a rank is a rank. "It might be hard to make major changes. Worked on Logans before, they're pretty much optimised the way they are. Movement-wise, the transformations, those things. It's probably the same for most mecha. One thing that can be done is to replace a module in there with something else. Take out the missile pods, add in sensors of roughly the same size. Something like that. Don't know if that's what you have in mind, but a 'roughly gunpod-sized laser torch' is easier doable than a totally new mecha. Just leaves the question what's not needed, and what other thing might be more useful instead. We weren't in it for the fighting, back then, so we brought the best sensory equipment and probes instead of weaponry. Like a toolbox, where you either put a cross-tip or slot screwdriver in that one particular spot, depending on what you might need. Maybe it's possible to design different modules that might sometimes be better than a few extra shots, missiles or a smoke launcher, or whatever else might feel redundant. Just a thought."
 

Dannigan

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

Ricky pointed at the screen, "Hey now, where is my Jezebel? I thought you said she was being repaired. Surely you just hadn't put her in the system yet. Please don't tell me you scrapped her..." he said, looking visibly concerned. "... hey, I'll repair her myself if need be."
"Or Jezebel doesn't count as a part of the Broadsword's fleet."
"'Jezebel?'" Piper says in a low voice. Leaning over to the Samantha unit, she asks. "What's he talking about?"

In response, Samantha steps forward to the Captain, her collapsible laptop at the ready. The information on the screen seemed to change. It is viewable to Captain Piper only who reads it thoroughly. "Oh..." She smirks at Ricky. "That VF-1S doesn't have a bay yet because Sam hasn't told me if she's still combat-worthy. In a way, she's more messed up than you. But you realize I'm passing up a prime opportunity to mess with you, right? 'Oh, sorry, but after all of the combat, we needed a new garbage trough so...'" she chuckles. "Or better yet! We're holding her hostage just to keep you in line! Ha ha! No way. Even I can't be that bad. Besides karma like that has a way of coming back to bite you. So!

Piper indicates to Samantha to turn and show the rest of you the data on the laptop screen. You see what appears to be a live-action shot of a battered VF-1S, GU-11 gun pod in hand, carefully hovering about 50 feet above the beautiful blue Gulf of Mexico (and therefore above the submerged Broadsword and Esper). Ricky recognizes it as the Jezebel. Her paint scheme is still scratched all to hell, there are blast marks all over her, and rear cockpit glass/canopy has a hole in it only the Zentraedi could provide. The only thing that looks new at all is one gray and unpainted lower leg upon which she is staying aloft on. Like a young girl testing new crutches, a Samantha is piloting the Jezebel and very carefully testing out that new lower leg. So far, she's holding up.

"Wild Cards, witness a little bit the hell Lts. Rolland and Sveadotter had to go through to make it out alive. See, it just so happened we had the means to build a VF-1S leg, because you know, not like we have old spare Valkyrie parts lying around on a ship like ours, right? And we need to test it out to see if the old bird could handle it"

As she is saying this, you notice that whatever is providing the live-shot is circling the Jezebel. "So far... so good." She gives a friendly shoulder-punch to the Samantha unit who bows in kind.

* * *​

Maybe it's possible to design different modules that might sometimes be better than a few extra shots, missiles or a smoke launcher, or whatever else might feel redundant. Just a thought."
"May I?" Colonel Sharp raises a finger to get Captain Piper's attention. She nods allowing him to answer which the old tanker does proudly. "These new Logans the Wild Cards found are prototypes. They are as different to standard Logans as Super Valkyries are to standard Valkyries, plus they add Stealth technology. They're quite a catch and, as far as we know, the only such veritechs in existence."

* * *​

"Well, compared to all else bein' said here, this is gonna seem minor," Elinor began, "but can we find an alternate voice for the Samanthas? It gets confusin' when Toph's voice comes out of a mouth that isn't hers." She smiled wryly at both Toph and the nearest Samantha.
Piper clenches her fist, careful not to spill her coffee in the other hand. "Yeah, and whose idea was it to change their voice modulators up, huh? What was wrong with your original voices and manners?"

Samantha replies, "Authorization was provided by... Commander Zyorna Kirin."

"I missed that? Bring it up," Piper orders.

A 3-D miniature hologram about 1.5 feet high appears above Samantha's forearm. There you see the Broadsword's Bridge with people on it, not Sam units, but people, none of whom you recognize except Piper who is not sitting in the Captain's chair and looking extremely busy from her own console. Everyone on the bridge looks tense and the Broadsword is definitely in motion. In the foreground of the hologram is a stern-looking micronized Meltrandi with beautiful face and hair dressed in a UEEF uniform with some shiny emblem on its neck apparently denoting high rank. She seems like the kind of person who has earned every bit of respect to go along with it.

The female glances at the camera and orders, "Sam, if we are to die today, I wish to hear my beloved Hiroshi and Toph as if they were here beside me."

This but in a UEEF uniform instead of this Zentraedi outfit.
meltrandi_fighter_pilot_concept_by_leelf_d59wp4h-fullview.jpg
(Image credit: DeviantArt.com)

Up at her console, then-pilot Piper looks up at something you can't see, flinches in shock, and raises her hands in the air. She positively shrieks. "Wha-a-a-t the fuck! That's the Black Binary?! I guided us to that?!" But you can't see the main screen from where the camera is pointing.

"Piper!"

"Sorry, Commander!" And Piper gets right back to work.

Commander Kirin turns back to the screen and concludes, "Sam, while next in command may make alterations to you; as long as I am in charge, this is how you shall remain."

"Understood, ma'am," says the voice of Hiroshi Kirin. Then he seems to bow without taking its camera off of her. At this, you see Commander Kirin's face soften a bit. And smile. Then the hologram vanishes.

Piper takes another sip of coffee. "Not my finest moment," she says as she looks towards Toph sheepishly. "Uhh... sorry if you weren't ready to see your mom or whatnot, there. Lieutenant Kirin. But hey!" Piper points to Elinor. "You're still in charge until Lt. Mackenzie returns to active duty, right? So... uhh... you choose! Thanks to our pranksters in our crew, we've got a list of pre-created vocal and mannerism dictionaries. I'm telling you now, though; you choose Scottish and you're gonna drive me up the wall! Fair warnin' t' ye, lassie!" Piper performs a brief and decent imitation of a riled-up Scotswoman.

Samantha approaches Elinor and displays her laptop screen. She touches the screen and on a blue background, Toph sees a list of vocal dictionaries ranging from American-English to Queen's English to Southern-American to "Spockese" and "Pirate Talk" among others. Oh, and yes you see Scottish listed too.

While it's Elinor's decision (face it, being in charge of you wackos, even temporarily, should come with SOME benefits!), by changing the Sams and Samanthas, you do more than change up their voices; you change some of their mannerisms. Here are a few examples:

The Broadsword's inanimate crew could all talk similarly to Spock from Star Trek:
"Spock - McCoy banter and friendship Part 1"

Or they can go around like pirates:
And no one does it like Robert Newton in Long John Silver!
"Arr! "Talk Like a Pirate" Lessons Direct from the Cap'n"

Or maybe you want them to talk like soldiers?
"BRITISH SAS AND US MARINES IN FIREFIGHT WITH TALIBAN 2011" Don't worry, nothing graphic in here, but take care - the gunfire is loud!

* * *​

"The other thing I'm thinkin' is, what if we went about altering current designs instead of creatin' new ones from scratch? Not as much fun, maybe, but if we're spotted in what looks like a Valkyrie, the viewer's gonna think it's a Valkyrie even if it does things Valkyries normally don't. Or, change up the ammo instead of the mecha, that kind of thing. Trick the eye and the brain tends to follow."
Captain Piper gives a thumbs up to Elinor. "Damn good idea! And way to fit in with the natives! There are a number of guns and goodies we can make improvements with now that we've got the resources to do it with. I'm good with this idea of changing up existing mecha kind of like the Super Tomahawk and going with complete unknowns like the Mjolnirs, because the Zeki won't have any clue what those are or what they're attached to militarily-speaking. Heh heh heh." A devilish grin forms around Piper's face. "Of course, there will come a point once the Invid come here that none of that will matter and we can go balls-out. But that's probably not for years yet."

* * *​

Captain Piper savors her coffee and adds, "Listen, I brought all of you here to give you a heads-up. It's a big one and it involves Professor Stein, and speaking of whom, isn't present. He still napping?"

As if on cue, the sickbay door opens up and in slowly steps the biggest man in the room save for Hercules - it's Professor Stein. "Good afternoon, everyone. MechaKitten tells me I should be here?" Professor Stein is intercepted by Trouble who happily climbs up his offered hand.

"Yeah," Piper adds. "I can drop this now or keep fielding questions. Nobody leave until we get all this sorted out, huh? I think this is the first time we've got everybody in command settled into one place so let's make the best of it."

Then Professor Stein eyes Mack in the hot tub and looking as relaxed as a lady can be. "You've got a hot tub!"

"I dooo!" Mack winks. "If you're nice enough, maybe you'll get one too?"

"Me? Nice?" Professor Stein rolls his eyes. "Guess I'm going high and dry."

"Keep the questions coming," Captain Piper leans against the wall, seemingly ready for anything.

"There's one I'd like to add," Mack says. "Over the post-briefing, I think Mario raised the idea of some of ours getting Callsigns? Herc, Mario, and Cera are without, but they may not realize what they're getting themselves into."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph raises up a hand to indicate she has something to say. "A side note? The Ajax is named Cookie Monster, just so you have your records correct!" She grins, then says, "Well, as far as the idea goes of upgrading the mecha, Cookie has a modular weapon mounted on the arm that is easy enough to remove. It has a good punch, but what I don't like about it is the lack of range it has, especially compared to the GU-11 and the hover tank's EU-11. Perhaps some new addition can be thought up to fix that?

Finally she looks over at Mario, Herc and Cera. "As for the question of call signs, we can definitely come up with something appropriate!"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Piper gawks. "'Cookie monster?'"

Cera replies, "Ion-based weapons are often like that; heavy-hitting at the cost of range. Hmm."

Then Mack chimes in, "Well, everyone here in T.A.S.C. knows how the first aviator callsign works."

Per Wikipedia, under the entry for "Aviator call signs" is written:

"The origins of aviator call signs are varied. Most call signs play on or reference on variants of the aviator's firstname or surname. Other inspirations for call signs may include personality traits, middle name, references to historical figures, or past exploits during the pilot's career. Aviator call signs nearly always must come from a member or members of the aviator's squadron, training class, or other cohort.

It is considered bad form to try to give oneself a call sign and it is also common for aviators to be given a fairly derogatory call sign, and the more they complain about it, the more likely it is to stick.[citation needed]

Some aviators use the same call sign throughout their careers; in other cases an aviator might have a series of call signs. For example, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Kara Hultgreen was originally given the call sign "Hulk" because of her ability to bench-press 200 pounds.[1] Later, after a television appearance in which she wore noticeable makeup, she received the call sign "Revlon",[1] and a 1998 biography was entitled Call Sign Revlon.[2]"

That said, in American military aviation, not only does one not give themselves a call sign, but it appears to be described exactly as above. So Mario, Herc, and Cera could each expect something less than they might desire. Also, for those who remember, Mack's first call sign was not "Mack" but "Bumper" for having tapped a parked aircraft with her own. Toph's first call sign was not "Muppet" but "Scorch" for a mistake she made during takeoff if memory serves? (Psychie, you would know. Fill us in?). "Bruce Leeanne" is Elinor's call sign because her buddies found out she was practicing Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee's own system) and it stuck. She hasn't grown out of that one.

Now that you're well-armed, create away with Mario, Herc, and Cera!
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!





"'Jezebel?'" Piper says in a low voice. Leaning over to the Samantha unit, she asks. "What's he talking about?"

In response, Samantha steps forward to the Captain, her collapsible laptop at the ready. The information on the screen seemed to change. It is viewable to Captain Piper only who reads it thoroughly. "Oh..." She smirks at Ricky. "That VF-1S doesn't have a bay yet because Sam hasn't told me if she's still combat-worthy. In a way, she's more messed up than you. But you realize I'm passing up a prime opportunity to mess with you, right? 'Oh, sorry, but after all of the combat, we needed a new garbage trough so...'" she chuckles. "Or better yet! We're holding her hostage just to keep you in line! Ha ha! No way. Even I can't be that bad. Besides karma like that has a way of coming back to bite you. So!

Piper indicates to Samantha to turn and show the rest of you the data on the laptop screen. You see what appears to be a live-action shot of a battered VF-1S, GU-11 gun pod in hand, carefully hovering about 50 feet above the beautiful blue Gulf of Mexico (and therefore above the submerged Broadsword and Esper). Ricky recognizes it as the Jezebel. Her paint scheme is still scratched all to hell, there are blast marks all over her, and rear cockpit glass/canopy has a hole in it only the Zentraedi could provide. The only thing that looks new at all is one gray and unpainted lower leg upon which she is staying aloft on. Like a young girl testing new crutches, a Samantha is piloting the Jezebel and very carefully testing out that new lower leg. So far, she's holding up.

"Wild Cards, witness a little bit the hell Lts. Rolland and Sveadotter had to go through to make it out alive. See, it just so happened we had the means to build a VF-1S leg, because you know, not like we have old spare Valkyrie parts lying around on a ship like ours, right? And we need to test it out to see if the old bird could handle it"

As she is saying this, you notice that whatever is providing the live-shot is circling the Jezebel. "So far... so good." She gives a friendly shoulder-punch to the Samantha unit who bows in kind.

* * *​



"May I?" Colonel Sharp raises a finger to get Captain Piper's attention. She nods allowing him to answer which the old tanker does proudly. "These new Logans the Wild Cards found are prototypes. They are as different to standard Logans as Super Valkyries are to standard Valkyries, plus they add Stealth technology. They're quite a catch and, as far as we know, the only such veritechs in existence."

* * *​



Piper clenches her fist, careful not to spill her coffee in the other hand. "Yeah, and whose idea was it to change their voice modulators up, huh? What was wrong with your original voices and manners?"

Samantha replies, "Authorization was provided by... Commander Zyorna Kirin."

"I missed that? Bring it up," Piper orders.

A 3-D miniature hologram about 1.5 feet high appears above Samantha's forearm. There you see the Broadsword's Bridge with people on it, not Sam units, but people, none of whom you recognize except Piper who is not sitting in the Captain's chair and looking extremely busy from her own console. Everyone on the bridge looks tense and the Broadsword is definitely in motion. In the foreground of the hologram is a stern-looking micronized Meltrandi with beautiful face and hair dressed in a UEEF uniform with some shiny emblem on its neck apparently denoting high rank. She seems like the kind of person who has earned every bit of respect to go along with it.

The female glances at the camera and orders, "Sam, if we are to die today, I wish to hear my beloved Hiroshi and Toph as if they were here beside me."

This but in a UEEF uniform instead of this Zentraedi outfit.
View attachment 799812
(Image credit: DeviantArt.com)

Up at her console, then-pilot Piper looks up at something you can't see, flinches in shock, and raises her hands in the air. She positively shrieks. "Wha-a-a-t the fuck! That's the Black Binary?! I guided us to that?!" But you can't see the main screen from where the camera is pointing.

"Piper!"

"Sorry, Commander!" And Piper gets right back to work.

Commander Kirin turns back to the screen and concludes, "Sam, while next in command may make alterations to you; as long as I am in charge, this is how you shall remain."

"Understood, ma'am," says the voice of Hiroshi Kirin. Then he seems to bow without taking its camera off of her. At this, you see Commander Kirin's face soften a bit. And smile. Then the hologram vanishes.

Piper takes another sip of coffee. "Not my finest moment," she says as she looks towards Toph sheepishly. "Uhh... sorry if you weren't ready to see your mom or whatnot, there. Lieutenant Kirin. But hey!" Piper points to Elinor. "You're still in charge until Lt. Mackenzie returns to active duty, right? So... uhh... you choose! Thanks to our pranksters in our crew, we've got a list of pre-created vocal and mannerism dictionaries. I'm telling you now, though; you choose Scottish and you're gonna drive me up the wall! Fair warnin' t' ye, lassie!" Piper performs a brief and decent imitation of a riled-up Scotswoman.

Samantha approaches Elinor and displays her laptop screen. She touches the screen and on a blue background, Toph sees a list of vocal dictionaries ranging from American-English to Queen's English to Southern-American to "Spockese" and "Pirate Talk" among others. Oh, and yes you see Scottish listed too.

While it's Elinor's decision (face it, being in charge of you wackos, even temporarily, should come with SOME benefits!), by changing the Sams and Samanthas, you do more than change up their voices; you change some of their mannerisms. Here are a few examples:

The Broadsword's inanimate crew could all talk similarly to Spock from Star Trek:
"Spock - McCoy banter and friendship Part 1"

Or they can go around like pirates:
And no one does it like Robert Newton in Long John Silver!
"Arr! "Talk Like a Pirate" Lessons Direct from the Cap'n"

Or maybe you want them to talk like soldiers?
"BRITISH SAS AND US MARINES IN FIREFIGHT WITH TALIBAN 2011" Don't worry, nothing graphic in here, but take care - the gunfire is loud!

* * *​



Captain Piper gives a thumbs up to Elinor. "Damn good idea! And way to fit in with the natives! There are a number of guns and goodies we can make improvements with now that we've got the resources to do it with. I'm good with this idea of changing up existing mecha kind of like the Super Tomahawk and going with complete unknowns like the Mjolnirs, because the Zeki won't have any clue what those are or what they're attached to militarily-speaking. Heh heh heh." A devilish grin forms around Piper's face. "Of course, there will come a point once the Invid come here that none of that will matter and we can go balls-out. But that's probably not for years yet."

* * *​

Captain Piper savors her coffee and adds, "Listen, I brought all of you here to give you a heads-up. It's a big one and it involves Professor Stein, and speaking of whom, isn't present. He still napping?"

As if on cue, the sickbay door opens up and in slowly steps the biggest man in the room save for Hercules - it's Professor Stein. "Good afternoon, everyone. MechaKitten tells me I should be here?" Professor Stein is intercepted by Trouble who happily climbs up his offered hand.

"Yeah," Piper adds. "I can drop this now or keep fielding questions. Nobody leave until we get all this sorted out, huh? I think this is the first time we've got everybody in command settled into one place so let's make the best of it."

Then Professor Stein eyes Mack in the hot tub and looking as relaxed as a lady can be. "You've got a hot tub!"

"I dooo!" Mack winks. "If you're nice enough, maybe you'll get one too?"

"Me? Nice?" Professor Stein rolls his eyes. "Guess I'm going high and dry."

"Keep the questions coming," Captain Piper leans against the wall, seemingly ready for anything.

"There's one I'd like to add," Mack says. "Over the post-briefing, I think Mario raised the idea of some of ours getting Callsigns? Herc, Mario, and Cera are without, but they may not realize what they're getting themselves into."
Ricky put on a feigned look of hurt at her teasing, but he was quite relieved at the Jez being safe. "Come on, Cap'n, I'll swallow your baguette if you don't make any more jokes at her expense. She's my baby girl. We been through a lot. I'll swear by it, she's the best Valkyrie there is."

"But this is a future ship, with empty suits and robot cats and weird new veritechs, you all got to have something to make up parts out of thin air. Unless you pulled that leg out of the glovebox. Or unless your future is really boring and you haven't reached Star Trek levels yet."



Ricky cleared his throat. Finally turning to the others. The Wild Cards. "I'm Richard Rolland. Everybody calls me Ricky."

At the mention of callsigns, "The Blue Hares called me Swiss. Cause of... well... that." He said gingerly, pointing at the screen showing his valkyrie. And it being as full of holes as the namesake delicacy. Him being cheesy was just the fondue on the potatoes. "But new squad, new rules. Call me what you will. After all, its bad luck to pick your own callsign."
 
Last edited:

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph's first call sign was not "Muppet" but "Scorch" for a mistake she made during takeoff if memory serves? (Psychie, you would know. Fill us in?).
I gave Toph the callsign of Scorch because while taxing her trainer jet back to the hangar, she hit the brakes a little too hard and lit the tires on fire. Thus, she was tagged with 'Scorch' for the beginnings of her flight career.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
"About the 'altering', Acting Squadron-leader Hall."
"Just Elinor'll do me fine for the present," Hall began, then perked up at Ylva's obvious engineering knowledge. "Yeah, somethin' like, only I'm sort of envisionin' a new mecha that looks like old-style Valkyries but maybe has hidden upgrades based the futuristic tech we've now got access to. Or whatever Cera can come up with. She's got a fantastic brain for this, y'know. Those modules of yours sound like a great idea too -- maybe we can design the mecha itself 'round the module idea, so's to swap out for different mission profiles?"

"Wild Cards, witness a little bit the hell Lts. Rolland and Sveadotter had to go through to make it out alive.
"Good Lord," Elinor whistled, then looked at Ricky with new respect. "Nice job gettin' here in that, 'Swiss.' Maybe we oughta call you 'Lucky' instead!"

She leaned over to Cera and whispered softly, "Swiss is a kind of cheese, and it's full of holes. Kind of like Jezebel there."

Then she looked appraisingly at Mario, Hercules, and back to Cera. "I'm thinkin' we can come up with somethin' appropriate for you all, too."

Piper points to Elinor. "You're still in charge until Lt. Mackenzie returns to active duty, right? So... uhh... you choose! Thanks to our pranksters in our crew, we've got a list of pre-created vocal and mannerism dictionaries. I'm telling you now, though; you choose Scottish and you're gonna drive me up the wall! Fair warnin' t' ye, lassie!" Piper performs a brief and decent imitation of a riled-up Scotswoman.

Samantha approaches Elinor and displays her laptop screen. She touches the screen and on a blue background, Toph sees a list of vocal dictionaries ranging from American-English to Queen's English to Southern-American to "Spockese" and "Pirate Talk" among others. Oh, and yes you see Scottish listed too.
Elinor studied the list for a few minutes. Seems only polite to go along with the one opinion given, 'specially as it's the acting-captain's, she thought, bypassing "Scottish." "Pirate Talk" was tempting, but she knew that that would drive her up the wall sooner or later. She found that, like Zyorna, she wanted something familiar instead of just amusing. "That one for you," she told Samantha, pointing at "Southern-American." "And for the Sams, that one," she added, pointing to "Surfer-dude." Just for you, Mack.

((I'm hoping "Surfer-dude" or something like it is on there. If not, I'll remove the last two sentences.))
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
"Good Lord," Elinor whistled, then looked at Ricky with new respect. "Nice job gettin' here in that, 'Swiss.' Maybe we oughta call you 'Lucky' instead!"
Toph looks over at Elinor with a shocked expression. "You can't call him 'Lucky'! Do you want to jinx the man? That callsign is a curse, I tell you! No one named Lucky has ever come out of the furball in one piece! Just doesn't happen." She shudders in mock fear, then looks over at Ricky and says, "You should thank me; you just dodged a bullet there."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
(Post 1 of 2)

Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus
("Replies")

Ricky put on a feigned look of hurt at her teasing, but he was quite relieved at the Jez being safe. "Come on, Cap'n, I'll swallow your baguette if you don't make any more jokes at her expense. She's my baby girl. We been through a lot. I'll swear by it, she's the best Valkyrie there is."
Piper eyes Ricky with a look of curiosity. "Huh! You love your bird enough to defend her against jokes? That's a plus in my book. I think I love the Broadsword in the same way you love your Jezebel. And that's a helluva lot. I won't joke about her again."

"But this is a future ship, with empty suits and robot cats and weird new veritechs, you all got to have something to make up parts out of thin air. Unless you pulled that leg out of the glovebox. Or unless your future is really boring and you haven't reached Star Trek levels yet."
Captain Piper raises her free hand and shakes a finger while taking another sip of coffee. "Not out of nowhere. We need resources. Mechanical, electrical, hard components, and soft. We had just enough resources make that leg." Then Piper looks confused for a moment and there is no evidence from her to show it's some kind of joke when she asks.

"What's Star Trek?"

In Robotech: Broadsword, Star Trek is just as popular as it is in Real Life. Someone Piper's age should not only know about Star Trek, but be old enough to be able to recite the movies.

* * *​

Or whatever Cera can come up with. She's got a fantastic brain for this, y'know.
Cera quietly and positively beams at this praise. It is clear to anyone looking at the Ura-Meltrandi that Elinor has just made her day.

She leaned over to Cera and whispered softly, "Swiss is a kind of cheese, and it's full of holes. Kind of like Jezebel there."
"Cheese? Some kind of delicacy humans enjoy from the sound of it. Iris seems to think I would like it."

Trouble pipes up, his boyish sounding in your minds as he makes happy kitten faces while his tail lashes about. "I like cheeeese! You kin put your face in its and iz all gooey an' sticky!"

Cera recoils and stares at Trouble as if he were insane. Of course, he is a kitten so this may be true. =)

* * *​

She shudders in mock fear, then looks over at Ricky and says, "You should thank me; you just dodged a bullet there."
Colonel Sharp produces a small cloth and cleans his glasses. The lines on his face from years of military hardships are evident, but they only add to the stalwart stockiness of a man who has many tank-like qualities himself. "I've never known any tankers or tanks go by that name either. Perhaps tankers and jet pilots are all superstitious."

Mack smiles at him. "We prefer the term combat aviators."

"Noted, miss," he grins.

* * *​

"We're still missing three. Captain Piper turns to Hitomi who is still behind the screen with Iris. It sounds like she is polishing or rubbing something. "Any chance the Prof could be here? I know he wanted it on this. And Samantha? Get Reggie and Sarge Murphy over here."

"Yeeew got it, sweet thang!" replies the Samantha with a toss of her hair and a hearty thumbs-up. Piper turns straight to Elinor and gawks as if to say, "Do all of you talk like that?!"

"Give me a few minutes," Hitomi replies.

A few minutes later, the sickbay door slides open revealing a tall, portly, and beat-looking Professor Stein. His suit remains immaculate and his long white hair and beard are well kept. The only sign of his fatigue is in his eyes. He moves towards the nearest chair and takes a seat in it giving a friendly wave to everyone. "Hello, all. Kind of you to wait for an old man."

Captain Piper asks him. "You ready, sir?"

"By all means."

Moments after that, in comes a teenager in a floating chair much like the one Ricky is sitting in. He is dressed in a Broadsword uniform. His legs look so thin it is easy to wonder if they work at all, especially when compared to the youth's muscled chest, shoulders, and arms. Best of all, there is a very positive feel to this youngster with the flat-top hair, bright and easy smile, and African-American features.

His hovering chair is being pushed by the Grinch That Stole Christmas. A weathered-looking soldier wearing a Tactical Corp-model ASC Mega-suit that looks like it has seen years of use, the insignias upon his armor spell out his rank of Command Sergeant Major (or "CSM" Rank E-9) which makes him one hell of a rarity. His helmet is hooked on his hip. He stares at the lot of you from behind thick Coke-bottle glasses and over a brown and gray handlebar moustache. He looks like he could chew the tires off of a Greyhound bus. But then he glances the way of your female Wild Cards and suddenly, he flinches and looks downward. Breathing hard, he says to the young fellow in the hovering chair, "Reggie! Where we parkin' ya, kiddo?"

"Mister Hercules!" Reggie points at Hercules with all of the enthusiasm he can muster. It is clear even to newcomers like Ylva and Ricky that this young man just loves Hercules to death for his beautiful brown eyes and face lights up like the Fourth of July when he sees the Greek sergeant. As the rugged old-timer moves him toward Hercules, Reggie waves at all of the Wild Cards. "You're back! You blew up the whole outpost! Mister Hercules! Professor Stein is putting me to work! I'm contributing!"

Lord Dolza and all his Zentraedi fleet during the Rain of Death with his 5,000,000 ships couldn't get the smile off of Reggie's face just now. =)
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario gives a respectful nod to the Professor and CSM Murphy, then a more at-ease grin to young Reggie. He gives the youngster a fist-bump as he checks out the cool looking hover chair. "Great to see you, kiddo! Nice new ride there. I like it." He looks over at Capt. Piper, then back at Reg. "Good to hear that you are putting in some work hours for the Wild Cards and the Broadsword. What does the Captain have you doing?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
(Part 2 of 2)

Mario gives a respectful nod to the Professor and CSM Murphy, then a more at-ease grin to young Reggie. He gives the youngster a fist-bump as he checks out the cool looking hover chair. "Great to see you, kiddo! Nice new ride there. I like it." He looks over at Capt. Piper, then back at Reg. "Good to hear that you are putting in some work hours for the Wild Cards and the Broadsword. What does the Captain have you doing?"
Reggie eagerly returns the fist-bump and he gives as good as he gets. "Hi, Sgt. Zuko! It's the Professor's project. I'm not allowed to say until it's ready, but it's almost ready!" He rubs his hands together.

* * *​

"Goddamn, can we get any more officers on board this here ship?" CSM Murphy eyes Ylva and Ricky, summing you both up with a single glance. "Top! This your idea?"

Colonel Sharp opens his hands and smiles. "Murph, you're gonna love this."

"Whyzzat?"

"They're Traversers too! And technically speaking, Captain Piper's in charge here."

Grizzled old Murphy looks at Captain Piper. "This may be your fancy REF spaceboat, but I don't take orders from nobody not in my chain o' command. An' that means Army of Southern Cross. You unner'stand?"

Captain Piper just nods back at the veteran with a little grin on her face. You could swear there's a hint of admiration in her gaze towards him. At that moment, Spaceman Sam - the original Sam unit the Wild Cards first interacted with - enters the sick bay and salutes Piper who salutes back.

Colonel Sharp steps beside Professor Stein and stands at parade rest. He's got a look about him that seems to know something he hasn't yet told. "Lieutenant Rolland? Lieutenant Sveadotter? You have already had the pleasure of Professor Albert Stein's company. Meet... what's your position now, son?"

Reggie responds with a quick salute. "I'm a Junior Tech-in training, sir!"

Sharp returns the salute and chuckles. "Junior Tech-in training, Reginald 'Reggie' Booty. And over here is a man from Albert's era and mine, Command Sergeant Major 'Murph the Smurf' Murphy from Tac Corp. He has served as my advisor, helped me keep my tank crews in tip-top shape back in Eglin, and kept people alive back in Brazil. Heck. Albert, Smurf, and I have been raising hell together since the devil was young!"

"An' we're better at it, too!" Murphy adds. "Lucifer ain't got nothin' on us."

Colonel Sharp turns to Murphy. "Smurf, nice of you to bring the whole chain-of-command thing up. See, Albert, Captain Piper, and I have been having quite the chat when we've found the time."

"Here it comes," Murphy mumbles. Mack and Cera lean forward while Hitomi peeks out from around the wall for a moment. Hitomi's hair is now a little wet on top and you can see some soap bubbles.

Colonel Sharp looks over to Professor Stein. "Want to do the honors?"

"May as well." Professor Stein straightens up a bit and takes in a deep breath of preparation. Piper walks by him and hands him her coffee mug with about half left in it. He looks down at her then at the coffee and downs it. "Ahh! Cheers, Piper. You are simply brilliant!" Piper just grins and folds her arms beside Colonel Sharp and CSM Murphy.

Professor Stein continues proudly. "Wild Cards, Colonel Sharp, Sergeant Murphy, Doctor Yashida, Lt. Sveadotter, Lt. Rolland, Mr. Reggie Booty - this announcement is for you. With the authority invested in me as the head of Project Eternity under the United Earth Government, I am proud to make you the offer to transfer from the Army of the Southern Cross to the Robotech Expeditionary Force with your full equivalent ranks, pay, and privileges."

"Doing so means you will serve aboard the Broadsword. You will serve under Acting-Captain Piper with Colonel Sharp acting as CIC advisor and Murphy here in charge of your mecha. Hitomi has come onboard as the ship's head doctor, Reggie as my Junior Tech-in training, Trouble as... well, Trouble, and... am I missing anyone?"

"Iris," Cera states.

"Iris is exempt and considered your ally."

"This is accurate," Cera nods.

Piper raises a finger. "There's also a mess of others in the Broadsword crew, but you'll meet them all... um... later."

Professor Stein continues. "Right-o, then. Everyone, accepting this offer means you no longer answer to Supreme Commander Leonard of the Army of Southern Cross nor any of his generals. Including General G. Steele of Eglin base. Instead, you will ultimately answer to Admiral Lisa Hayes-Hunter and Vice Admiral Rick Hunter of the REF.

"We don't want to hold this part over your heads, but you should still know - this also means that we have a better shot at reuniting you with your families. Hitomi has a plan around this that is not quite fleshed out yet. That means we'll need your help, doesn't it?" Stein looks to Hitomi who silently but eagerly nods back a big 'yes.'

"This also means that you tie your fate to this vessel, this crew, and everyone aboard her. We feel it is only right to inform you that we have cast our own destinies along with the Broadsword. If anyone can defeat the enemies of Earth - this... Invid invasion, if you will - it is us. We can also include as enemies the Malcontents, the Zeki-Zentraedi, the few rogue Lisara-Meltrandi out there, and of course, all of the Anti-Unification League. Captain Piper has agreed to all of this. Colonel Sharp, Sergeant Murphy, and Hitomi have thrown their hats in as have I.

"There is one incredibly-important condition - by leaving the ASC for the REF, we must still largely remain undetected by the world at large. Nearly all of the Robotech Expeditionary Force left for Tirol years ago onboard the SDF-3 Pioneer. There is only a skeleton force - a receiving force if you will - left here on Earth belonging to the REF. So few that they're never mentioned in the media, but still quite active as far as the United Earth Government goes. This means if we decide to assist any Earth forces, ASC included, we as the REF are a known and friendly force. Even so, the Broadsword itself must stay out of view. This is critical to the role it plays in the Broadsword's mission here on Earth in our year of 2025. Captain? I believe it's your go now?"

Piper nods along to most of this, especially at the end. She takes a hesitant step forward and addresses you. "Now, uh, you gotta understand a few things about serving on the Broadsword. First..." she takes a deep breath and tries to look you in the eyes. She fails. "We... we come from the year 2044. In our timeline, Earth... lost the war. Humanity is mostly dead or enslaved. Mostly dead. The Invid have most of the protoculture, the SDF-3 and its fleet are..." she swallows as her heart begins to race, "...missing in action. And we're here in the year 2025 with you guys. That's my birth-year. Somewhere out there... I'm being... born, okay? In space. The Broadsword crew? We don't know jack-crap about Earth! And here we are trying to save her. I feel ridiculous just saying it.

"But back on track here. Captain Horatio Drake was the Broadsword's captain. We lost him back in - or is it ahead? - in 2044. Our second-in-command? That's Lt. Toph Kirin's mom. Commander Zyorna Kirin. She's on ice. Critically-wounded. We dare not pop her until we get some Ice-9 or she's as dead..." Piper begins to shake. "...dead as Drake."

"So listen. You come aboard and join us? You're as godly and as screwed as we are. See... the captain... I mean, Captain Drake... left a master plan inside Spaceman Sam's head. It involves saving Earth. We were supposed to arrive with the fleet, but... only the Broadsword and somehow the Esper? I don't know the details." Without warning, Piper heavily glares at Spaceman Sam, the one Sam unit that wears a laser-carved insignia on his chest with that very name on "his" chest.

"And I don't know them because Sam's... been holding out on us. He knows everything that's been going on since we arrived here. But I... I was on ice until just recently! So if you join us, you do so that we don't even know... I mean... what the hell is our mission, Sam?! Save Earth from the Invid? What the hell am I supposed to be doing?!"

Spaceman Sam looks to Piper. He shakes his head and then says, "Bummer, cap'n! Loose lips sink ships, right? We're, like, zippered lips until we reach a certain stage in development. So like... saw-ree!"

At first the change in Sam's speech method throws Piper off. Now he sounds like a hunky surfer-dude instead of Hiroshi Kirin. Piper's fists clench. "'Sorry?' Okay, okay, fine! At what stage can you tell us?" The room goes quiet as many gazes fall upon Spaceman Sam.

"Cap'n Drake was totally specific, Cap'n Piper. Like, every dude and babe present has gotta be REF or UEG, or it's like, no good, ma'am. We gotta, like, let nobody know outside the Broadsword or we're like screwed!"

"Dammit, Sam! I'll show you screwed!" There is a hustle of movement as suddenly, Piper moves and reaches to do something to Sam who makes no move to defend itself, but Colonel Sharp is closer and with equal alacrity puts himself between them.

"Whoa, Piper! Calm down!"

She tries briefly to get around Sharp, but he's too good at blocking to let it happen. This doesn't stop Piper from pointing and screaming wrathfully at Sam. "Why couldn't Drake tell us?! We're his crew! We'd die for him! Why only tell you?"

"Protocol's a bummer, ma'a--"

"Don't give me that crap! We're all loyal to Earth here! Even Cera and Iris are Wild Card allies! Out with it! What's Drake's plan already?!"

Sam raises his hands in a combination of apology and a plea. "Yo, it's like Cap'n Drake said. Even ASC personnel don't get to ride the barrel, ma'am."

"So nobody but REF and UEG? Per Drake?"

"Nobody,
ma'am."

The sickbay door opens and in comes a Samantha unit leading Wwarlock the King Shepherd. He looks about, jaws open, face curious, his eyes looking all around. Then the big furry hound sees Piper and bee-lines straight for her. In moments, her hands are around his neck gratefully rubbing his fur. But then she stands again.

Piper relaxes a little, turns from Spaceman Sam, and faces all of you. This time, Piper seething with rage and confusion, looks each of you in the eye regardless of your rank or station. "This... is what you're getting into. You accept and come onboard? You can kiss your old lives bye-bye! You use your technopathy to aid humanity against alien bastards who make the Malcontents look like a street gang! With the Zeki and Ura here, what's going to happen next is anybody's guess. All I know is that I'm supposed to help prepare humanity against... the blasted Invid. But how?! Without the fleet? How?

Piper plops onto a sickbay bed. Wwarlock steps up on a chair where Piper can reach him. She holds him terribly. "So if you wanna bail, no one's gonna hold it against you. You go into the Mindbender and you come out with no memories of us, the Broadsword, Veracruz, all of it gone. Go back to your old lives. Live in ignorance until the Invid show up and kill or enslave you and everyone you love. No technopathy guidance. No REF. Just a blissful few years until you die like Supreme Commander Leonard and the ASC in sticky orange flames. With any luck, your end will be quick. That is, if the Zeki or Ura don't somehow change history before that happens. Hell if I know." She looks over to Spaceman Sam. "Sorry I blew up again, Sam. I'm a lousy leader."

"No biggie, Cap'n Piper," Sam replies. "I dig it. The highest chair holds the most weight, y'know?"

"Sure does," she nods slowly. "Now go get everybody some damned coffee."

"Aye aye, sugar cube!" A Samantha unit cheerfully says as she leaves. Of their type, only Spaceman Sam remains in sickbay.

Colonel Sharp turns to you in parade rest. He looks quite serious. "Questions, troops?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph is silent for a moment, then raises up her hand to indicate she would like to speak. "I have a few questions, sir. First off, as of this time, the UEEF fleet from our time is still out there. Is it possible to get a message out to them for reinforcements to aid us? That might be a good start to the efforts to keep the Earth safe from these Invid. Next question is, what kind of support can the Broadsword expect to receive from the REF forces that are still here? We need supplies, and if they can provide them that would be a huge boost to our capabilities. Finally, am I correct in saying that this possible transfer to the UEEF is a one way ticket? That once we make the transfer, there is no going back? I just want to make sure I fully understand the ramifications of this."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Piper holds Wwarlock, half-mindedly playing with his collar and stroking his head and neck. Wwarlock does not appear to mind one bit. Piper gives the O.K. for Toph to ask and listens quietly as Toph speaks. "We've tried. In fact, we're still trying but nothing's getting through. It's like... they folded space and haven't arrived yet or... maybe something's wrong with their comms? Whatever it is, it's on their end. As for support, next to none. If anything, we'd be supporting them, right Prof?"

Professor Stein coughs, excuses himself, then replies. "The REF receiving team is a skeleton crew left behind on Earth with the sole purpose of having someone here on Earth to talk to should the SDF-3 Pioneer run into trouble. It might be worth contacting them to see if they are having some of the same issues. They work remotely, far away from any Malcontent presence, not getting involved with anything ASC-related. Hmm."

Piper shakes her head. "Supplies would be nice, but look at the mission you just completed. Sam was awake before any of us and he's been gathering resources where he can. Crazy thing is, I wasn't aware the Esper was even here. I thought the Broadsword was the only vessel to make it through the Black Binary? There's so many questions I want answered on this. Prof? You want the ASC question?"

"Yes, I'll take it. Muppet, career transfers from one military branch to the next don't happen often but they are usually one-way by personal choice. There is nothing stopping a person from trying to go back; it's just a huge hassle to all invovled to make it happen." He thinks a moment. "I foresee three hurdles for you and they are enormous. First, ASC thinks you're dead. Secondly, General Steele seems to want you dead. Finally, when the Invid come, the ASC is wiped out replaced by a... what?"

"Resistance," Piper rolls her eyes. "A guerilla force mostly comprised of people the Invid failed to catch. The Army of the Southern Cross as a whole dies."

"Any other Earth factions that make it out in one piece?"

"Only the REF, Prof. The remnants of the RDF veterans, Russia's EBSIS, the Scavengers all over the world, all of the city-states out there. All gone. The REF takes its share of losses too when they find out Earth is under attack. Mars Division does its damnest to reclaim Earth and they get their asses kicked hard in both of their attempts. Of course, now the Zeki and the Ura are here. They were after the Broadsword. Commander Zyorna thought they wanted to take over our ship in an attempt to make more like it. I mean, who wouldn't want a military vessel with its own miniature Robotech Factory on it?

Piper looks at the Wild Cards, especially Cera. "War-queen Taniya backed off since the Wild Cards found her first?"

Cera nods once. "Affirmative. We mainly wanted to keep the Broadsword out of the hands of the foul Zeki."

Piper sighs. "You Wild Cards must have had one hell of a meeting with War-queen Taniya for her to ally herself with you!"
 
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