Kaerri's Man. =)
( Captain Hesperus D. Rex Kaerri Psychie Sherwood 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.
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.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?"
"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."
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?"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?"
* * *
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.
"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?
SCL-107 Broadsword (this but in an aggressive red/silver with battle marks along her hull)
(Image credit: kent.net)