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Trouble in Paradise

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
May 4th 106AU

Location: Shuttle Bay 18, Inner Habitation Ring, Orbital Station: Gateway

Time: 1140hrs EST



It’s approaching the busy lunch hour and the streets of the city are crowded with bodies moving to and from their places of work, either going to get lunch or bringing a purchased meal back to work to eat. It’s such a commonplace scene, with the tarmac pavement and paved sidewalks, the street front cafe seating and the hover cars zipping by, an onlooker might mistake it for any other city. Until they raised their eyes to the sky to see a quadrant of Planet Earth dominating the sky before a backdrop of stars. Of course, CIVIC Director has very carefully backlit the dome that encloses the central business and habitation area of the city so that the ambient lighting resembles daylight on Earth, but not so much that it blots out the spectacular views of the planet the station orbits.
As a result of it being the middle of the working day, many people are out and about near Shuttle Bay 18.


Jennifer Brontes is not out and about on this fine day. She was approached by a company doing business on Gateway with an interesting proposal. The proposal was to use any and all means to access their computer system and, to prove she managed to get past their security, she was required to deactivate the company’s internal defense system and communications network. If she was successful in this endeavor, she would receive the other half of the $12,500 she was promised.


Trystan Ravenscar is definitely planning to be out and about. It’s a good warm day and the pretty ladies are wearing summer dresses. A perfect day to see and be seen. There’s a nice park down near Shuttle Bay 18 that’s well known for trendy young ladies to eat their lunch as well as a fair few nice cafes and restaurants that put a nice spread on at about this time. The only questions are, where to go first and what to wear?


Matias Rosalez isn’t actually on Orbital Station: Gateway. You had a long and boring meeting with your father, with your lack of commitment to undergoing Psionic surgery being the primary matter of discussion. Again, you outright refused and, again, your father went into a rage and again threatened to cut you loose from the family and any hope of an inheritance. You’d all but stormed out of the house, but your mother had pulled you aside and promised to send funds to your personal accounts so that you didn’t have to suffer. On checking your accounts on the short flight back into orbit, you did indeed find a comfortably large sum of cash clearing. Your shuttle is due to dock at Shuttle Bay 18 in about ten minutes and the flight attendants are clearing the First Class cabin and preparing for docking. Time for another glass of champagne?


Seung Han Bi has had a shitty morning thus far. You’ve spent most of the morning trying to stir up trouble in the freight embarkation and debarkation area of Shuttle Bay 18. Already, Gateway PD have moved you on or threatened to arrest you. Fascists. they’re standing in the way of legitimate protests and endorsing the illegal behavior of the UEF. Gateway Station is supposed to be independent of the UEF, why does it act like an appendage to it? You are flipping off a GPD pig just as your phone bleeps and you get a message:

Unknown
them
Brother Seung, prepare for action! We are going to show these Dictators what it is to try and stifle the will of the People. We shall have blood and fire to prove our devotion to the fall of the corrupt and immoral UEF. Get to the entrance of Shuttle Bay 18. Cause a disturbance there and ensure the entrance is blocked. You will know when it’s time to act. Delete this message once read.

Sounds like a plan, yes?


Ryan Woods has a meeting. It’s an important one, too. Someone needs a pilot and they need an experienced pilot who’s flown in combat. Sounds like a job worth paying the big bucks for. Also, it’s going to beat the fuck out of the boring ‘there and back’ short-haul flights you’ve been racking up in that beat-up rental shuttle you’ve been forced to use. Apparently the client has offered you a hefty pay packet, plus a bonus for expedient delivery and they’ll be providing the bird. Yeah, it smells a bit suspicious. Yeah, it could be dangerous. But fuck, it’s gonna be time in a bird that’s likely to not smell like an elderly male yak has taken a piss in the pilot’s seat.


Pandora Wicke was minding her own business when there was that familiar crackle of static somewhere in the back of her datahub and that familiar sensation of someone peeking. Before you could trace it back, the static was gone, but you were no longer alone. He’s here. DEFENSE Director. Your ‘boss’. He’s dressed in an archaic dress uniform, olive green fabric with gold lanyards and a peak cap with an eagle on it. There’s four stars on his epaulets and his bushy grey mustache was immaculately generated.
“I’m not going to waste time. We’ve got solid intel that something of critical importance is going to go down at Shuttle Bay 18. The intel says its going to be noon time. Get there. Prevent it. If you can’t prevent it, work damage limitation and suspect elimination. Go.”
With that, he dematerialized. Well, shit.


Valeria Marquez is having a strange morning. One of your contacts advised you that a client awaited you at The Dandelar Club. On arrival and on giving your name and profession, you’re shown into a back office. Seated at a simple desk in an antique reclining office chair is a guy you could only describe as unsettling. But you know him. If not personally, then by reputation. Hutchinson. The guy has a rep that makes even the deadliest enforcers pause and go pale. Ostensibly, he runs a club that caters to all people. Ostensibly, he’s a legitimate businessman. It’s rumored he is a drug trafficker, a producer of some of the best recreational chemicals not just on the station, but on the planet below. It’s also rumored that he has a vicious streak wide enough to put every Tha’Kar on Earth on without them spilling over the sides. And you’re stood in from of him.
“Hi, do have a seat.”, he says, indicating the chair on the opposite side of the table. There’s dried bloodstains on the back of the chair.
You take a seat, rather than risk the displeasure of Hutchinson.
“I have a job for you.”, he says, as you sit, “I need you to go to Shuttle Bay 18 and collect a parcel from one of the passengers. You’ll know him, because he has a purple orchid in his suit’s buttonhole. Tell him, ‘Your debt to Hutchinson is paid in full.’ then return here with the parcel. Don’t open it. Don’t shake it. Don’t attempt to use any means to determine the contents. Do this for me and I shall have other, more lucrative jobs for you. You may go now.”
 
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Gilzar

Bear With Me Here ?
Administrator
----- Ryan Woods -----

----- Pilot -----

The light shimmered off of Ryan's sunglasses as he inched closer and closer to Shuttle Bay 18. There he would find his next opportunity for work. How long that work would last, he didn't care. It paid a lot of money and beat the hell out of flying cargo back and fourth all day. He let out a sigh as he turned the corner. Just thinking of flying cargo put a bad taste in his mouth. That or it was the hangover, one of the two. Truth be told, right now if he were asked he might even admit to being a little anxious. Not everyday he got contacted about jobs like this, that was for sure.

But then again, Ryan also knew that not every pilot was like him, and just thinking of that made his mouth turn to a smile. Whoever this was needed someone experienced in the face of danger, and didn't waste time. Get it done fast, that's how he always worked. To Ryan there was nothing else like the thrill of danger. The adrenaline pumping through the veins, the uncertainty, the speed, nothing could beat it. Nothing beat it. Not booze, not drugs, and not even women. Just even thinking of wrapping his hand around the controls of a ship's controls while surrounded by fire made his heart pound in anticipation. Only thing he could compare it to was chess on steroids, but even that wouldn't do it justice.

He didn't know what this job was and he didn't care. All he needed was just that feeling one last time. 'Shuttle Bay 18' The sign read as he passed through. From there, the Freight Portion, where the meeting would take place wasn't hard to find. All these shuttle bays in the end were the same. As he passed through his last doorway, he slipped off his sunglasses and hooked them onto his utility vest. With one last pause, he stretched his hands out in front of him and tried to relax his facial expression the best he could. Showtime

Ryan walked to the designated area for his meeting, wondering who he would meet and what the job would be.

Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus
 
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Felix

Behind that Crazy Premise
----- Trystan Ravenscar -----
----- Paramedic -----

The air was filled with sound. It wasn’t the car horns of the traffic jam that blocked most of the street. Who needed to honk when the AI made sure that the hover cars went exactly at their maximum speed. No need to express your frustration with those awful sounds. There was frustration though, as there was one person who was not stuck in traffic. A hover bike was crossing in-between the cars at the maximum allowed speed. The bike itself was also not making any sound. However, the biker himself did hear the sound of his motor bike. There were not many manual drivers on the orbital platform, but those who did all had soundscapes to enhance their driving experience. But that was not was not the noise either. It was a vibrating buzz of a busy workday. A cacophony of chatter and high heels on the pavement. For most people the break had just started, so the whole area was cramped with traversing people. They talked their silly conversations, shouted the best deals and whispered the juiciest gossip.

Trystan heard none of that, but he was sure that it had to be there. The only thing he heard was the wind rushing through his helmet and the classic Harley Davidson soundscape that was blasting through the speakers. The real beast was underneath him. The hover bike vibrated in the same rhythm as the soundscape. It listened to Trystan’s every command. Trystan leaned to the right and the bike took a sharp turn through a gap in-between two hover cars. Then he quickly shifted to the left again to align with the road again. The man of the latter car opened his window to shout something to him, but Trystan was already too far to even get an idea of the insult. He’d rather not pass the cars like that, but a hover truck up ahead forced him to. By the way, all these commuters also could have chosen to ride a hover bike, but they hadn’t, so they also lost their right to complain. Automatic driving was for the weak.

A beep in his helmet notified that he had almost arrived at his destination: Shuttle Bay 18. Such a shame, Trystan would have loved to ride some more. On the other hand, he was glad that he could even ride his bike, as he was off duty for today. Without hesitation he put his toes on the pad that controlled the speed, which increased to the absolute maximum. Better make the last miles count. The cars at the crossing up ahead were slowing down. Trystan put down his foot even harder, even though he knew the bike wouldn’t go faster. It even started to slow down. ‘Argh!’ Trystan let out an irritated cry. He hated these automatic traffic crossings. He looked at his board monitor to see how long he would have to stay put. 20 full seconds?! That was unheard off! He looked to his left, where a woman was working in the back of her car. She probably had children or something … 15 … seeing as she was frantically copying a document with crayon marks all over it. To his right a whole bunch of people were waiting … 10 … They were really boring … 5 … All fancy suits and business dresses … 4 … No one stood out … 3 … Trystan turned his face to the front … 2 … His foot was dangling above the speed pad … 1 … And down it went … 0 … The bike accelerated to the maximum in just a few seconds. Unlike the hover cars that were left in Trystan’s dust. So long, sheepish automatics.

Trystan put down the bike stand. The board monitor automatically locked. Trystan got up and swung his leg over the bike. Graciously he landed on the pavement beside a café. He took off his helmet. It was very tempting to make a dramatic swing with his head while doing so, but he already felt very exposed. The boulevard was quite full of people whose sole purpose was to be in the spotlight and watch others. The lads were wearing tight jeans with colorful shirts. The girls were wearing really short skirts and high heels. It all seemed so sexist and superficial to Trystan. However, he couldn’t really judge them as he had also come for the allure of judging others.

He unzipped his biker jacket to reveal a dark blue shirt underneath. He was a bit underdressed, but that was on purpose. He walked over to a table from the café and sat down. He had a quick glance at the entrance from the shuttle bay, which was just at the end of the street. He let his muscles relax a bit. He could leave whenever he needed to. From his left jacket pocket he retrieved his e-reader. The book that was still open was an Irish ballad. Trystan crossed his legs and started reading, or rather pretended to. He knew the book inside out. The Hero would die in the final battle. Just like almost any other character, except for the wife of the Hero. She would die from her sorrow. The book was just his cover. Trystan leaned back and started staring at the pages, while quickly glancing over the people on the pavement.

The sound of the crowd was also evident in this part of the city. It was accustomed by an electrifying buzz. There was some kind of danger in the air. Something was about to happen. You could feel it if you were paying close attention. Not Trystan. Not this time. He just continued to judge people in silence.
 

Fyuri

w̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷f̷y̷u̷c̷k̷e̷r̷i̷
Administrator
[div=text-shadow: 0px 0px 8px rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);]
----- Pandora Wicke -----
----- Hand of Director -----
[/div]

"So much fucking paperwork, " Pandora groaned. If there was one thing she hated, it was having to write reports about every little thing. She had to write reports for her boss and more reports to the company responsible for her cyborg existence. It was in the middle of that monotonous task that she felt someone basically violating her privacy and entering her datahub. Whoever it was got in and out before she could even trace the motherfucker. She'd need to bring this up... and perfect timing that the Defense Director decided to show up.

He issued his orders and then vanished before she could even bring up what had just occurred, talk about perfect timing. She's just have to bring this up later. She saved her report files quickly and went to work on gathering her equipment; a couple of guns in her chest holster, more a third gun in a leg holster, and additional ammo mags on her other leg holster, and finally a few hidden daggers.

She didn't wear a fancy uniform like the Defense Director, just a simple tactical suit she'd been provided with. After a quick check of everything, she set forth on her assignment and quickly rushed to try and reach Shuttle Bay 18 before whatever incidence was supposed to occur. Pandora was a bit late and had arrived just in time to hear a scream before a series of smoke bombs were set off. "Shit." the Director was gonna be pissed, well, as pissed as the AI could get with the emotional range of a toaster oven.

With withdrew the firearm she'd had in her leg holster and cautiously entered the area. She was regretting her decision to turn down that upgrade to her eyes which would have allowed her a heat seeking function. She pushed further and came out of the fog obscured entrance, her eyes scanning the area as people were fleeing in fear.
 

Rhakun

Convicted memer
----- Valeria Márquez -----
----- Tech-Builder -----

Valeria kept slowly pulling her collar to ventilate herself in the presence of Hutchinson. She thought that he had planned matters very well: the closed place, the subtle goons, the quick approach, the direct language; it had all been very businesslike and shock-value oriented. Refusal could or could not put her in a bad gamble with a tycoon who clearly knew of her second business, so it was a matter of rational convenience to accept. She stood up from the chair, carefully holding it from the armrests to avoid touching the blood spots, nodded in his direction and said with a slightly nervous smile:

"Thanks for your preference."

Recovering from shock, taken by surprise and a little uncomfortable, she made her way out of the Club. It had breezed her mind before arriving that perhaps it would be a good idea to stop there for lunch: she had craved potato-anything since 9:00 a.m., but her appetite had scrunched up in a matter of minutes after the events in the room. A deep sigh and a pickup of her coat later, she exited the place. From the ground up, she looked at the top of a seven storey building. For all of the incoveniences that her hooks had, Valeria found a powerful sense of freedom from using a purposed machine for whatever she wanted. The idea of giving them a run was briefly tempting to her, however, there wasn't much need to employ it for going to the Shuttle Bay. If anything, it would make her stand out in the most anonymous of settings: a hangar. Additionally, she didn't have a sense of urgency; Valeria's turn in the platform was still hours away and her client had not been specific with it, so there was no problem with taking an itsy, liberal stretch. Finally, she was wearing a pencil skirt: the definite no to the notion of firing an edged magnet from her thigh.

"Menuda suerte." she whispered to herself as she boarded the vehicle. Notoriety was the sign performing well, but Hutchinson was a whole different level from delivering questionable lab materials for researchers or forgotten suitcases to careless workers. He wasn't, perhaps, the best person to have ties with. However, she was curious to see what this man's definition of lucrative was and she could always afford to have some spares to expend. Once her mind was settled, she turned to the man in the cab.
[What a luck.]

"Good morning, miss. Where'r you going?"
"Morning, sir." she replied "Shuttle Bay 18, if you may."

The man gave her a quick, aimable nod and diverted his gaze entirely; he seemed happy with his radio and the road. Valeria unwinded, the ride wasn't long and the song she listened to, much to her surprise, was from a surprisingly old record she found to her liking. She asked to be dropped by a park and she was halfway through getting, but her hunger kicked back in. Thinking it would be wiser to not press her luck since she would need to be carrying steel later in the day, she made her way to a café and browsed the menu at the counter. There weren't any potatoes on sale, but there was carrot cake which, she thought, could be just as good. She sat on one of the tables on the outside, keeping her eyes on the lookout for a suit and a purple orchid.

Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Felix Felix
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Chordling Chordling
Once into the IT office, with the door locked and blocked, it’s child’s play to find one of the terminals that some stupid person didn’t log out of. Probably they were planning on having lunch at their desk, so they just soft-locked the terminal. Easy. A simple rootkit gets you past the lock screen and the company’s UI is displayed for you. It’s nondescript, no visible clues as to which company owned or created the software, but you do know it feels… clunky, dated. The interface is not that user-friendly, mostly requiring complex command line instructions, so navigation is initially difficult. It’s like trying to navigate through thick forests without a compass.
You finally find your objective, even as the panicked shouts and yells outside give way to pounding on the door. The door shudders, but the desks upended and piled in front of it by Jerry and Alex prevent it from opening. The communication network appears to be extensive, and has tiered priority access. At it’s current low tier priority, the entire network is available, but it appears that as the priority tiers are increased, possibly due to reports of intrusion like the one you’ve enacted, access to the network is sequentially locked out so that it goes from an open network to a highly-encrypted, multi-phasic communication array. Right at this moment, you have full access, but that could change at any time.
The security system is divided into security cameras and what appear to be two types of aerial drones, silent surveillance types and larger, armed combat types. While the camera system is easy to hack from this terminal, the drones’ control subroutines are on a stand-alone system. Probably another server that’s connected to the drones alone. There has to be something you can do from here…
Another quick search reveals that, while you can’t subvert or directly disable the drones, they do have a scheduled maintenance subroutine that is controlled by a rota, that ensures that at least two patrols of surveillance drones and one of combat drones are always active. That subroutine is massively encrypted, even despite the age of the computer system. However, the clock managing the rota is the system clock. And that is hackable!

Felix Felix
As you settle to silently judge your peers over the top of your e-reader, the waitress attends your table. She’s dressed in the manner of 1930s era wait staff, black pants, white shirt, black vest and tie. The only nod to the modern era about her is the translucent datapad she carries in her hand to transmit her patrons’ orders direct to the kitchen and the bar. She’s pretty enough, in an earthy, understated manner. Minimal makeup, long brown hair caught up in what looked to have been a fair bun, but the workday and the constant in and out of the hot and humid kitchen had turned it slightly wild. An odd strand dangled down to brush her cheek as she stood politely at your table.
“Good day, sir, and welcome to Roosters’. Would you like to hear about the specials?”, she said cheerfully as she placed the datapad on the table in front of you.
The menu mostly contained items for the lunchtime clientele, paninis, sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes. A swipe of the finger brought the beverage menu across. Specialty teas and coffee blends, light beers, wines and aperitifs. Pretty standard fair for a middling-range cafe.
Meanwhile, the hoi-polloi swirled in and around the environs of the cafe. Pretty girls flashing glances at prospective mates, not a few have already watched you dismount your bike and stroll casually to your seat. Handsome guys sit in groups, sipping on coffee or beer and laughing on some banal subject or another. You’ve already seen them eyeing your bike curiously. Not many men still ride bikes on Gateway.

There’s a crash and clatter from within the cafe and all attention turns within. A busboy looks dejectedly down at the mound of broken crockery and shattered glass as a suited businessman sweeps imaginary dirt from his expensive suit. It looks Italian, but to a professional’s eye it’s plainly an imitation. The pinstripes do not meet at the shoulder seams, nor under the arms. Expensive, but still fake.
“Fucking asshole! Get in my way again and I’ll make sure you’ll not work on this entire goddamn station ever again!”, the fake suit-wearer snarled as the busboy backed away, “You fucking hear me, you piece of shit?”
Your waitress is watching the scene wide-eyed, her hands covering her nose and mouth in shock. Lots of people are watching intently, waiting for what will happen next.

cupidcreep cupidcreep
The smoke from your movie industry strength smoke pots quickly expands over a wide area, even as shouts of surprise and screams of fear rise from different quarters of the shuttle terminal. Several cops are trying to waft the smoke away, but the smoke pots are not even halfway empty and they continue to flood the large building with thick clouds of cloying smoke. You are about to smirk at the easy victory you’ve struck over the imperialist aggressors when you remember the last lines of the text you’d received: “Cause a disturbance there and ensure the entrance is blocked.”
You’ve caused a disturbance, but the entrance is still wide open. Several people have already stumbled out, coughing and gasping for air.

A glance around reveals several vending machines stood beside the doors. A little bit of muscle and perhaps a running start could probably tip the machines over and make an effective barrier to those still within.

Gilzar Gilzar
You are halted momentarily by the security at the gate, who wave you through when you tell them the location of your meeting. You walk in and find the freight depot in full swing. Men in hydraulically-powered loaders trundle around on caterpillar tracks, moving heavy goods containers to and from the waiting shuttles. There’s an order to it all, despite the noise and activity. The vehicle crews work around each other, not having to stop or redirect their loaders. Military precision.
You approach the building you’re supposed to be having your meeting in and see a single man sat on a drum reel of electrical wire. Graying hair, scars on his face, old combat fatigues and webbing. He appears to be slouching as he smokes a cigarette, but appearances are deceiving. You can see his eyes are constantly in motion and even though he’s seated, his body is balanced for a quick rise to his feet. He locks eyes with you and tosses his cigarette down at his feet, crushing the glowing tip under his boot heel.
“Woods.”, it’s a statement, not a question.
He jerks a thumb over his shoulder toward the door of the building.
“They’re waiting.”

As you enter the building, you find seven other men sat within. Again, appearances would say that they were just a bunch of muscle boys lounging around on steel folding chairs. But you know better. Not one of them is seated so that the door is out of view. They are all in good quality combat gear, from boots to webbing. Some of them have small arms strapped to their hips or in shoulder harnesses. Hair is either absent or cut short. No luxurious locks like you’re currently sporting. But it’s their faces and their eyes that really sell it. They all have the hardened faces of killers. And their eyes all tell the same tale of being in the thick of the fight and coming out the other end drenched in the blood for friends and foes alike. One of them had his foot perched on another seat, a plaster cast around the lower leg.
“Gentlemen,”, the gray-haired smoker said, coming in behind you and pulling the door shut, “This is Ryan Woods. Captain Ryan Woods of the UEF Space Navy. Specialist Air Corps, Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Medal with three bars, graduate of the Air Combat School at Miramar. He’s our replacement pilot.”
“If you want it, of course.”, he says, stepping around you and looking you in the eye.

Fyuri Fyuri
Arrival at scene. General panicking civilians and cops trying to determine if there’s a fire or some asshole throwing smoke bombs. All that aside however, something seemed odd as you tried to interface with the local network to join the effort and coordinate both with the human officers and automated drones and security systems to see what was going on. Part of the problem seems to be that someone is hacking and disorganizing the communication system here in Shuttle Bay 18 in real damn time.

Accomplishing something like that is a feat on its own because all communications of Gateway personnel was handled as a joint effort from both MEDIA and DEFENSE Director. The few times you had personally interacted with the MEDIA persona of the Director A.I System, she was a timid small quirky Asian woman who by her very nature of being the MEDIA Director, self-censored her self, unable to curse even. However if there was one thing that she truly hated, if you could call it that. Is the Director capable of feeling hate? Was that why she hated blackouts in communications, it caused issues with all the various departments and systems trying to work together, but it was something more then that, you could always feel that it was some sort of personal slight against her.

Speaking of the Asian devil. She appeared in your datahub. She materialized in her usual vivid green hair and poodle skirt with a white blouse and green button up sweater, black flats and white bobby socks.

Her projection in your datahub carried one of the digital tablets that civilians could use to access the MEDIA Network at any time, she cradled it like a clipboard.

“Hi Pandora! Due to the on-going construction and the slow wiring and networking of all the new additions on Orbital Station: Gateway, The Director, our/my control is not perfect yet. This has allowed an intruder to access a blind spot. You have to be my eyes and ears and I’ll do my best in coordinating all of the officers and systems in real time. I’m trying to get patched into everything and everyone as we speak, but I can’t fully sync them together. Everything is its own chaotic local network and it’s making me fu-fudging annoyed.

If you wish to take command of the situation, I will relay your orders to the officers for you individually.”

Rhakun Rhakun
As expected, your journey through the city was quick and relatively hassle-free. The cab driver delivered you to your destination swiftly and with only a minimum of fuss. The streets were busy with the lunchtime hustle of people rushing out of work to feed themselves. A local cafe, it’s sign proudly declaring itself to be called ‘Roosters’, drew you in with the scent of rich coffee brewing and fresh cakes in a display on the counter. The fact that the entrance of Shuttle Bay 18 was clearly visible from the counter was also something worth considering. The place was plenty busy, people in office suits, younger people in casual wear and more all choosing to soak in the Old Earth atmosphere the place put out. Your order was taken by a guy with a neat mustache in the shirt and vest uniform all the staff wore and he returned with your cake, a coffee and a complimentary smile and wink.

As you sit watching, a rare motorbike pulls up and the rider seats himself outside at one of the tables. He is slight of build, pale-skinned, blonde, and sports an eye patch on his right eye. The bike alone made him stand out, but the eye patch made him even more so. He was being attended by a waitress even as he sat with an electronic book in hand.

Elsewhere, a young man with lanky blonde hair and clothing that screamed ‘student’ sat at a table for two. The chair opposite was vacant and he kept looking from his phone to the window as if he was expecting someone. An untouched beer sat by his right hand and he constantly toyed with it without picking it up.

But your attention is drawn away from them as there is a crash nearby. As you turn to look, you see a busboy who has apparently just lost the tray of plates, cups and glasses he’d just cleared from a table. This was compounded by the fact that some of the dregs from the coffee cups had splashed the suit of a burly man in a suit. The man’s suit appeared to have been made for someone a size or two smaller than him, as his arm and shoulder muscles set the seams creaking every time he moved.

“Fucking asshole! Get in my way again and I’ll make sure you’ll not work on this entire goddamn station ever again! You fucking hear me, you piece of shit?”, the suited gorilla bellowed, an entirely unnecessary outburst considering the circumstances.
The busboy was caught between trying to apologize to the hulking man and trying to clean the mess up. Everyone else is watching expectantly to see what happens next.

ApfelSeine ApfelSeine
Life has been hard on you. Life took your youth, life took your innocence, life took your arm and, in the fullness of time, life took the man you loved and the daughter you doted on. But Life also gave to you. It gave you strength, resilience, a burning desire to see an end to the Tha’Kar invasion of Earth and, most joyous of all, a grandson. Lei is the center of your life now. He is the one reason for which you would sacrifice everything you had and everything you might ever have in the future. So it was for him that you carried him with you as you left Earth and settled on Orbital Station: Gateway.

It’s certainly different, living in orbit, jarring in how the normal intermingles with the abnormal. Every day you go about your daily life, taking Lei to meet the school bus, going to the local store to buy fresh cooking ingredients for the evening meal, sometimes lingering around the tea shops that sell traditional Chinese delicacies to chat with the aged proprietors. But then, when everything seems normal, you’ll chance a glance upwards to see the hugeness of Earth above your head, majestically sailing through space. And then, at night, the knowledge of how much humanity has lost hits home. The eastern coast of the United States, pitch black after sunset. Down there you know that millions of the despoiling Tha’Kar are crawling, climbing and flying through the ruins of Manhattan, nesting in the Statue of Liberty and sifting through the bones of those who could not be saved by the UEF’s valiant rearguard defense.

Yes, you’ve heard all the arguments before. Those who were too young to know better bleating about how the innocents of New York and the other east States were left to be slaughtered. About how the UEF cared little for the fate of the civilians caught in the initial assault by the Tha’Kar. But you know better. You’ve been there. Maybe not in New York, but you’ve been on the front lines when the Tha’Kar roll across the landscape like a tide of living, chittering, clattering life. You’d been there to hear the collected roar of whole battalions of UEF soldiers, tanks and artillery open up, trying to beat back that flood of aliens. You’ve personally been calmly going through the same process of load, fire, reload. There was no need to aim, just slam in another magazine, level the gun at the enemy and pull the trigger til it went ‘click’. You’ve had the same orders through your comms net, “Fall back to the second line, by company.”. You’ve seen an orderly retreat turn into a full-on rout as Tha’Kar airborne units thundered from the cloud cover to cut off whole companies of troops and cut armored units apart. You know that every man and woman who bravely stood their ground on Earth and on the doomed Orbital Station: Bastion sold their lives dearly for every inch of ground the Tha’Kar took.

But now, things are different. Children who have not known the horrors and privations of war are grown up and gaining voices. They balk against the wise governance of the UEF and demand a change in the system of government. They claim that it was the UEF’s mismanagement that lead to the fall of Europe. They are stupid. They have been mislead. One day, something bad will happen and someone will have to be held accountable for the foolishness of the misguided children.

You are witnessing a degree of that foolishness right now.

You were doing your daily shopping for fresh meat for dinner. Mutton for Dongshan, chicken for Wenchang and even a couple of fresh crab for Hele. Lei said that he was wanting to invite some friends from school over, so you figured it would be best to cook something hearty. No doubt their parents did not cook proper meals and the children would be emaciated to the point of being skeletons. No matter, you would ensure that they had at least one good meal. But, while you were shopping, you bore witness to yet another ‘protest’ by yet another anti-UEF groups. A bunch of teenagers were running around the nearby Shuttle Bay 18, cursing at the authorities and sticking posters bearing vile accusations about the UEF Council on any available surface. Mai Zheng, the lady who owned the store you are shopping in has already chased one of the wretches out after he tried to stick a poster on her shop window. A swift blow with her cane gave him a noticeable limp as he fled. Feeble young men, these days.

However, things are getting worse. As you watch, thick clouds of white smoke start to pour out of the shuttle bay entrance, followed by one or two stunned and disoriented commuters. The security on scene are trying to get things under control, but the teenagers are darting here and there and generally being a pain.

Yarrow Yarrow
For months, you’ve had difficulty sleeping. Constantly your mother has haunted your dreams. The most consistent dream is you as a child following her around a city. You feel as if you know the city, but you’ve never been there before. She never turns to look at you, but she constantly calls you to keep up. You run, but your young boy’s legs just can’t match her stride and you cannot keep up. She leads you through the crowds and at times you panic as she vanishes in the mix of people. But, as you are at the point of complete despair, her voice comes to you and see her. Then the chase begins anew. You almost catch up to her, then you trip and fall. As you look up, she starts to turn and you see the sky behind her. Only it’s not a blue sky like you expected, it’s a starscape and the Earth is there behind her. She says your name once more and you wake up.

You sit up in bed. As always, your body is coated in cold sweat and the last vestiges of the nightmare are fading like morning mist. Your alarm radio is playing some modern music and the clock face indicates you’ve overslept the alarm by a lot.
Shit! You had a class today, first thing. In fact, the class is about twenty minutes from finishing. Even if you skipped a shower, hauled your clothes on and ran, you’d still not make it. Then your phone bleeps. It’s a saved text alert.

Kenny
them
Hey bro! Looks like you’re gonna miss class. It ain’t too bad, half the class skipped out anyway. Old Bronski’s in a real shitty mood about it, but whatever. I took notes if you want to catch up on what you missed. Didya wanna meet at that Rooster’s place after class?

Kenny. He’s gotta be about 18, first time living away from home. You’ve got suspicions he’s still in the closet about his sexuality, but you didn’t want to make things awkward too early by asking him outright. Still, he’s a good guy, fun to hang around with, even if he is a bit naive and he doesn’t question why a thirty-year old guy is taking college classes on Gateway. Sometimes you find yourself wondering what you’d have been like at his age if you’d not been born a Navarra. Would you have been as free and easy as he is? You try not to think to hard on that subject, too many ‘what ifs’ make your heart heavy.

So, Roosters. You remember the place. 1930s Chicago decor and staff uniforms. Nice pasta dishes if a little heavy on the oregano. Student discount for food and drink. That in itself is worth the visit. They do some good Italian beers and wines, especially considering the fate of many of the good vineyards in northern Italy. So, shower, shave, dress and head out to Roosters for lunch with a good friend sounds like a positive start to the day?
 

Yarrow

Senior Member
----- Chris Navarra-----
----- IT Student-----

Chris sat straight up in his bed. He was again chasing his mother in his dreams, he was still tired although he went to bed quite early but waking up many times didn't give you that much rest. An alarm was bleeping, well, two alarms. His normal alarm had been going off for a few hours now and his emergency alarm for an hour. Great. Class was nearly over. The Italian guy checked his phone and grinned at the message Kenny.

Kenny was a nice guy, probably still in the closet and very young. He hadn't seen the world like Chris had. Kenny's life was so much more simple. Instead a family who was hunting you, he got a nice supportive family who also paid the rent of his appartement. He still got family. Chris has a crazy lunatic sister who made it her own goal of killing Chris.

Kenny
them
Hey bro! Looks like you’re gonna miss class. It ain’t too bad, half the class skipped out anyway. Old Bronski’s in a real shitty mood about it, but whatever. I took notes if you want to catch up on what you missed. Didya wanna meet at that Rooster’s place after class?
me
Um.. I need more time for that :-D Meet in 30 minutes?
them
Lol, sure

He quickly replied and jumped straight into the shower. Chris was a person how could do quick showers, after some time it would get boring. Kenny had replied and he saw he got only 20 minutes left. He decided to not trim his beard today, it would take to much time to do it right. The guy was great that Chris could write over the notes of him.. or was there something else going on... did Kenny like him? No way Chris liked him. He had noticed a guy a few weeks ago in a café where he was silently looking trough his notes. He wasn't sure what the guy's name was, but it was something like Dave or David.
Chris really didn't wanted that Kenny would like him, he was to innocent for that and probably couldn't keep up with all the shit Chris got on his plate.

He grabbed his bicycle and bag and went outside. Barely any people used a cycle these days, but Chris loved them. You could get nearly everywhere with them and they were faster then walking and certainly less expensive then car of something like that.
After ten minutes he arrived at Roosters. The place was nice, it remembered him of the north of Italy. Probably some immigrants from Italy started it back in the days and then moved to the Orbital Station. Chris was quite familiar with the staff, he knew some of them were Italian and when he entered he saw a familiar face behind the bar. Well, the only familiar face since he was too not social to know the other persons "Ciao, un caffè con limoncello per me e un panino si prega"
Then he walked over to Kenny "Hey, thanks for making notes, why did everyone skip class?"

((Hello! A coffee with limoncello for me and a grilled sandwich))
 
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Gilzar

Bear With Me Here ?
Administrator
----- Ryan Woods -----

----- Pilot -----

"Of course I want it." Woods said with a cocky grin. "Just tell me the job."

The message didn't lie. This was a serious job. All these people knew their stuff, he could just tell by the way they were all carrying themselves. From the looks of things they weren't UEF, especially since apparently there was money on the table. If he had to guess anything this must have been a band of mercenaries. Been a while since I've done merc' work...

Butterflies began building up in his stomach as he eagerly awaited the response. These men surrounding him were killers. Not under-paid construction workers or pissed off renegades like he was working with down in the cargo bay. This mission, whatever it was, would be dangerous. But that's exactly why he signed up in the first place. Driving cargo was boring. He more than welcomed the change in pace and scenery. It would be nice to get behind the controls of a real ship again.

He just wondered what happened to the last pilot.

Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus


 
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ApfelSeine

Murder by Numbers 🏳️‍🌈🖥️
Moderator
----- Bai Xiang-----
----- Citizen -----

Bai looked towards where the ruckus was coming from, pursing her lips as she observed the chaos. It seemed to her that young people were very easily flustered nowadays - not like the people in her generation at all. After paying for her groceries, Bai made her way outside to better observe the disorderly scene. She shook her head in exasperation at the teenagers, looking around at them all and half expecting to see her grandson among them. Lei seemed to be adjusting to life on the station, but it seemed that even on the station there were troublemakers.

The youth were coddled in this day and age, that was it. That was what led to such brazenly disrespectful behavior. Bai tred on one of the fliers, pausing a moment to grind it beneath her heel before continuing on. She made her way directly to the shuttle bay, double and triple checking that her ward was not among the hooligans giving the police a hard time. It never hurt to be certain after all - she was definitely not just satisfying her own curiosity.

Standing as close to the shuttle bay entrance as she could reasonably get, Bai peered curiously at the people who were making their way outside. She took some time to evaluate the situation, her robotic hand tensing in response to her instincts as she observed how generally irritable the young people were being. The blasted thing always seemed to want to act much quicker than she could stop it, though at the very least she did not have to worry about a lag in response time. Perhaps she needed to go through more calibration or something, but she was always kept so busy that she never seemed to find the time. Or at least, that was her perspective on the matter. It did not occur to her that she was frittering away time to figure out what was going on when it was technically none of her concern. Rather, she felt quite satisfied at being able to observe the commotion at such a close proximity - though her arm still wanted to give some of the young people a good smack for the way they were behaving.
 

Fyuri

w̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷f̷y̷u̷c̷k̷e̷r̷i̷
Administrator
[div=text-shadow: 0px 0px 8px rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);]
----- Pandora Wicke -----
----- Hand of Director -----
[/div]

Pandora was cautious with the fleeing civilians since the last thing she wanted was to shoot the wrong person. There was a ton of chaos and she always hated the distraction. Wait, distraction. Just as she was about to turn to try and look back over to where she believed the smoke bombs were set off, there definitely was a distraction. One in the form of the MEDIA Director. The scrambling of the communication system made Pandora expect a more miffed MEDIA Director, but instead she greeted her with a oddly chipper attitude, well at first.

“Fine, peek through me all you want. Just, be quiet please. I need some guys to clear the civilians from the area. If there are any air ducts that can be used to vent the smoke, it needs to be done. All possible access points need to be secured.”

It was then that Pandora heard the first loud crash coming back from the entrance. She swiveled around and darted back towards the entrance. There was no logical reason for that ruckus. “Notify units there is a disturbance at the entrance again. Motive still unknown, but they might be trying to block it.”

She arrived just in time to see the second vending machine topple over and a figure making an escape. “Suspect toppled the vending machines, it needs to be cleared. Suspect has fled the scene wearing a mask and thrown additional smoke bombs. Share visual suspect data with outside units if you can MEDIA and inform DEFENSE for a man-hunt.”

Pandora could have followed after the one that was responsible for the mess at the entrance, but she was here to stop whatever grand plan was supposed to happen here. She slowly made her way back into the main area of the shuttle bay - her weapon still drawn - and slowly walked as she tried to figure out what the hell the plan for this place was.
 
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Felix

Behind that Crazy Premise
----- Trystan Ravenscar -----
----- Paramedic -----
Trystan's lips were in a constant grin while he watched the people go by. In his head he all gave them a dramatic backstory based on the slightest hints he could derive from there appearance. The lady with the bright red boots probably had a diseased boyfriend who was a firefighter and wore the boots to be reminded of him. The guy with the sunglasses would be a very sensitive guy and wear the sunglasses to hide his tears. And then the lady in the black skirts who was constantly staring at his motorcycle, she probable had some weird perverted dream about something with the motorcycle. His motorcycle got a lot of attention from passerbys and cafetaria clients alike. Trystan was sort of flattered with the attention, but also hated that he would not be able to leave unnoticed.

The waitress startled him. Trystant didn't know what was up with him. It was quite rare for him not to notice something like this. He must have been more on edge than he had thought. He observed the lady a bit before he answered. Technology made it hard to distinguish between actual people and AI's, especially everything inbetween. She looked earthly beautiful, but that could have been programmed as well. "I'll take pasta Carbonara, please. And afterwards an espres-."

He was stopped by the clattering plate. Everybody turned towards the sound. It didn't take long to analyse the situation. A wannabe-gangster asshole had run into one of the servants, probably on purpose, and was now causing a scene. Trystan really hated this kind of people, acting all haughty and important, while they actually needed to make others look bad to feel good about themselves. The situation had dangerous written all over it. Part of him was screaming to leave immediately. No one was watching his bike anymore. However, he couldn't let it slide. These people shouldn't be allowed to do whatever pleased them. Someone had to at least give some resistance and it didn't look like any of the other guests was going to. On the other hand, they might need some more time to understand what was happening. He looked at the waitress again. She was definitely human. And afraid. Terrified even. Was the impostor really that frightening?

That was the last drop for him. This man was clearly used to doing whatever he wanted. It was time someone gave him a run for his money. Slowly he got up and walked over to the scene. He straightened his shoulders and started speaking. "I think it's about time that someone should stand in your way. You must think you're so powerful, walking around in your fancy fake suit, commandeering people around and make them feel bad about the smallest mistakes. The boy probably didn't make the mistake in the first place. Just another excuse to portray yourself as the big bad boss. You should be ashamed of yourself!" He sort of lost track of the surroundings while he continued his rant. In some environments people would have clapped for him, but not this one. Most faces he saw were a combination of surprise and fear. Others were angry, probably the cronies of the Jerk. The gangster himself was radiating anger. He would teach this ignorant blond-haired guy who was boss. In his mind Trystan was preparing himself for whatever it was that was coming his way.
 

Rhakun

Convicted memer
----- Valeria Márquez -----
----- Tech-Builder -----

Once she was done eating, Valeria sat on the edge of her seat, peeking her eyes towards the exterior. Her stare kept browsing, but many men happened to suit the description she was given by Hutchinson and none had an orchid she could see. Valeria didn't think unusual that a lot of the passerbys were formally clothed: She herself did go to very far places to both get her mind off the workspace and to lunch something nice in between her shifts, but this habit, a notion seemingly common and widespread, sure did complicate her task.

Turning her eyes from the streets to the café, she saw the people inside. Her waiter had been sympathetic and, on turning to the handing of her meal, she had noticed that the tuxedo wearers weren't restricted to the outside. Breezing the chances of her target being there, Valeria turned to watch the people inside and, much to her surprise, the contrast was strong. A Gatsby-era looking restaurant, sporting both the "poshest and grooviest" from fashionable trends of the old and the young: moreover, Rooster's seemed to sell beer and quite a bit of people were enjoying it. Especially the guy with the eyepatch and the nice bike.

"Odd thing for a café," she thought.

After some more vigilance inside, the minutes went by and her concentration froze on the lookout of the hangar ports until she heard a loud clash coming from the insides of the building followed by shouting.

“Fucking asshole! Get in my way again and I’ll make sure you’ll not work on this entire goddamn station ever again! You fucking hear me, you piece of shit?”


"Could you be a little louder? The people in Earth didn't listen through the last part." She thought. Valeria wouldn't want to make the situation worse and, given that they were both already mobilizing in a sort of aftermath, so her mind was set on avoiding an intervention. More to her interest, the man was wearing a suit and she decided to look around for the flower until the guy with the eyepatch she had seen stood up to nag him up. He was certainly brave to stand up like that: an employee could have had a harder time doing the same being in service: she knew it firsthand; however, this monologue made a bigger scene of matters: The onlookers that hadn't turned at the clash were now engaged.

An escalation could, given her location, make thing a whole less discreet. She thought, then, that the way to go now was to have things settle. There was no doubt, perhaps, that someone was using a phone to record at this point and it'd be very inconvenient for her face or frame to be present in an incident: Being unknown was part of her business model and the last thing she needed was to be on the happening section of some urban magazine's video folder on social media happenings. Valeria reasoned that her option were either going away and ruining the position, or deflating the situation.

Quietly, Valeria picked up the package and walked somewhere near both the busboy and the biker.
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Yarrow Yarrow
Kenny turns and grins cheerfully as he sees you approach.
“Hey man, I dunno. I think there was some big concert or something at that Dandelar Club place, big names playing alongside local talent, lots of students went. I didn’t go because I got some prep work for my Psych lab to finish up.”, he replied, rubbing the back of his neck, “Have you ever heard of the Dandelar Club? I hear all sorts of rumors and stories. Stuff like it’s some sort of mystery. Cops and crooks sit down to eat dinner there, celebrities meeting with drug dealers, political leaders taking their mistresses out and stuff. I dunno, sounds totally fake to me.”
Kenny sips at the beer that’s been sat beside him since before you walked over then roots into his backpack to retrieve his tablet computer.
“I swear Prof Bronski spent twenty minutes bitching about the empty seats. She put most of the lecture on the school’s infohub but I dictated the important stuff she talked about that she wasn’t uploading.”
With a few deft finger movements, he bundled his dictation notes into a folder then pinged it to your phone’s datahub. It’s not a sizable file, but you know Kenny is meticulous so he’ll have refined out any diversions from the subject and kept everything brief but exact.

At that moment, there is a crash nearby and the sound of shouting.
“Fucking asshole! Get in my way again and I’ll make sure you’ll not work on this entire goddamn station ever again! You fucking hear me, you piece of shit?”
You recognise the voice and it makes you shudder involuntarily. A quick glance behind you confirms your suspicions.
Arturo ‘The Razor’ Calvetti.
He’s a particularly brutal enforcer for the Navarra family. Known for his loyalty to the family as much as he is for his propensity to violence, he was a regular at the family home. That is, he was when he wasn’t out terrorizing company managers by snatching their kids from school and sending pictures of himself with the kids from their own cellphones or some other sick, twisted shit. Of all the people you despise in the family, he’s in the top ten.

Fortunately his attention hasn’t fallen to you. It was initially on some poor busboy who’d dropped a tray and was now on a tall blonde guy with an eyepatch. Eyepatch was confronting Calvetti with an arrogant, self-assured swagger. If he knew that the man he was standing against was suspected of putting several prominent Mob figures in the San Francisco bay with concrete blocks padlocked to their necks and a half-dozen Triads inside the reinforcing foundations of a major hospital in Chicago he might not be so cocky.

You are left in an awkward situation. If you interpose yourself to save the blonde guy, you risk exposing your presence on Orbital Station: Gateway to your family and more importantly to The Razor himself. If you don’t Eyepatch might just end up taking a walk outside the station without a spacesuit. Either way, there’s still a risk that Calvetti might have already seen you sitting with Kenny and that puts him at risk as well.

It’s a moment before you can make that fateful decision that you hear the screech of car tyres outside, followed by the sound of automatic gunfire. Then the shockwave of an explosion blows the window beside you inwards in a vicious hail of razor-edged death and the world becomes red and noisy.

Gilzar Gilzar
The older man smiled and clapped you on the shoulder.
“Welcome aboard, rocket jockey! Let me introduce you to the team. Over there is David Sommerville, support.” He indicated a tall, muscular man with short brown hair dressed in a pale shirt, dark cargo pants and a military-spec harness. He had a semi-auto pistol strapped to his thigh and a combat knife hung from his belt.
“Next to him is Vladislav Komodenska, electronic ops.” The indicated man had a mop of dark curly hair and a three-o’clock-shadow. His physique was lighter than David’s and his clothing was darker and more nondescript. He was not obviously armed.
“Then there’s Alvin Keppler, sniper.” Keppler was athletically built with a shaved head and a multitude of bionic eyes. He wore what was basically camo gear. On the floor by his seat was an armored case about four feet long.
“Duncan Jones, demolitions.” This man also had a shaved head and multiple scars disfiguring his face. He was burly in the form of a body builder but without the sculpted muscles or fake tan. His torso was barely covered by a green sleeveless shirt and his legs with denims.
“That’s Janis Meredin, recon.” The indicated man looked Latino, short dark hair and dark eyes. He was wearing a hoodie with a rock band logo on with combat pants and he had a prominent shoulder holster with a pistol in it.
“This is Tony Baraclough, pointman.” This man was ginger-haired and bearded. He was wearing a snapback cap, T-shirt and knee-length shorts. He also had a pistol holstered on his hip.
“That piece of shit with the cast is Max O’Reiley. He was our pilot.” This last man looked up with a dejected look in his eyes.
“He fucking broke his ankle landing badly after dunking at basketball.”, the man called Sommerville chuckled.
“Fucking missed it, too.”, the ElOps guy chipped in with an Eastern European accent.
“My name is Tannis.”, the older man finally added, “I won’t be on the op, I’m just here to brief you all on behalf of the client. And to give you some extra news. Good or bad, you choose.”
The laughter and joking stopped as Tannis finished speaking. Everyone paid attention.
“First off, the news. You’re being joined by someone representing the client’s interests. if you’ve been in this business for any time you’ll know the name and the rep. Verity Belkamp.”
Despite your not having much experience in the realms of the ‘freelance protagonist’, the name is familiar. You’ve been to merc bars, there’s one on pretty much every planet, moon, asteroid base and artificial satellite across the UEF’s area of control and even more outside it. Belkamp is a name that draws a lot of conversation, usually regarding her experience and professionalism. Decades in the field, yet not military trained, she was an idol of younger mercs and a thorn in the side of ex-military mercs who still had a stick up their asses about the fact she doesn’t have even a day of boot camp in her history. But, longevity spoke louder than origins.

The lady in question strode into the room and it immediately felt smaller.

“Okay, now that our happy little band is complete, the formalities. Woods, you’re gonna need to sign this non-disclosure agreement before we go any further.”, Tannis said, handing you a very antiquated sheet of paper. It read very long, but the basics were simple enough. ‘Don’t discuss the mission to anyone outside the mission before or after it happens otherwise really bad stuff happens’. The actual ‘bad stuff’ was not mentioned, but considering that it was written by a company with trained and experienced killers on the payroll, as well as what appeared to be an exceptional legal team, anything was possible. Once it was signed, Tannis continued.

“Okay, the mission is a Dark Op. For those of you who are unaware, that means that you are not on your company’s payroll. All equipment other than your own personal gear is being provided by the client, along with the vehicle we’ll be using to insert and extract with. You will not be reimbursed by your current employers for any time spent on-mission, nor will any indemnities, securities, insurances or health plans. If you are captured or killed, your company will not take responsibility for your actions, nor will they attempt to recover you, alive or dead.
“Our mission is basically a snatch-and-grab, but with a difference. Firstly, we’ll be inserting into an abandoned scientific research facility in Eastern Europe. Second, the facility is known to have automated defense systems, drones and sentry guns. Third, the facility is outside the control area of any known Tha’Kar nests, but there may be roving groups of them so be alert.
“Your objective is this.”, Tannis turned and tapped a switch on the wall. Instantly, the lights dimmed and a 3-D holographic display flickered to life, showing a plan view of a building.
“This is the Uzbekistan branch of XX Industries, a leading researcher in bio-tech. The lab, obviously, was lost when the Tha’Kar dropped onto the planet and the research personnel were either evacuated or killed before they could secure the data and key biological samples they kept in cryo-storage. Why they never went back to recover the data and samples is unknown, but now our client considers it to be fair game and we’re contracted to go get it. You will infiltrate the facility here, via the landing pad. An initial recon team contracted by the client managed to get preliminary data about the locations of the objectives as well as planting a small EMP device on the facility’s landing pad. They were then chased off by the facility’s security systems.
“The data is stored in their central hub here,”, he indicated a room on the third floor of the complex, “and the client has provided a portable high-speed hub to crack the security and download all the files. Download is estimated to take about eight to nine minutes, but don’t count on it. The cryo-storage area is here.”
Another much larger room, this time in the basement, lit up.
“The samples you’re looking for are in Section 88/3/64. There’s an automated retrieval system that’ll get the samples and bring them to you. Which is fortunate since the storage area is kept a cool -150 Fahrenheit. Once you have both the data and the samples, exfil via the landing pad.
“Your opposition in this will be standard TransTech Mark 16 combat droids and Mark 34 aerial drones. Yes, they’re dated models, but they’ve been running in stand-alone mode for over a decade, so don’t underestimate them.
“Finally, the vehicle you’ll be using is an FC-35-A shuttle. The FC-35 is a civilian version of the military F-35 Condor. The one our client provided has been upgraded with armor, advanced optics and guidance systems and, of course, weapons. If you’re needing anything else, Woods, you’ll need to request it today.”
“What he’s not telling you,”, O’Reiley chipped in, his voice slightly bitter, “is that the shuttle is non-returnable. None of the gear is. Once the op’s over, everything you’ve used is yours to dispose of. I had a buyer on the line for that Condor.”
“I would have gotten to that, thank you, O’Reiley. But he’s right. If you successfully complete the mission, the pink slips for the shuttle are yours. That’s on top of your pay.”

As you are about to answer, you and the others in the room freeze as a dull boom reaches your ears, followed by a crackling sound. You know both, all too well. An explosion, plus automatic weapons fire. And it’s close.

ApfelSeine ApfelSeine
As you draw closer to the shuttle bay entrance, a young person masked and dressed in clothes that concealed their gender and general description hopped over some toppled vending machines that blocked the shuttle bay entrance, paused to toss several smoke bombs back into the entrance then sprinted across the street to sit innocently at a cafe that overlooked the entrance to the shuttle bay. Once seated, the young reprobate removed their mask to reveal… a young woman? Such behavior, especially from someone barely out of her girlhood! It almost makes you shudder to wonder what other immoral activities she’s been engaged in? As you watch, the station’s security drones start to descend upon the scene, most of them are surveillance models, while a couple are sporting weapons. Their movements are sluggish, however, as if they are having issues with their connection to the system that controls their movements. One even richocets off a wall as it tried to turn a corner and almost crashed to the ground. Something was seriously up with them.

More people were trying to get out of the smoke-filled shuttle terminal. One man, dressed in a suit with a pretty purple flower in the lapel, managed to struggle over the obstructions and stumbled away, coughing and choking as he clutched a box to his chest. A woman wearing a skin-tight military-spec body suit has arrived and appears to be in the process of organizing the local PD with clipped efficiency. A cursory glance reveals subtle panel lines on her face and exposed body parts indicating that she has extensive bionic enhancement. The local police are starting to move with a purpose now, working to corral the trouble-making kids without any further issue…

You don’t know what it is, but something’s wrong. After years of fighting, the instincts might get dusty, but they never leave. Your body tenses as you feel an upsurging sensation of impending doom. A glance around and you see three delivery vans haul into the vicinity from different directions. They are all travelling at speed, but as they near the shuttle bay, they slam on the breaks and the doors open to reveal a rag-tag horde of people wearing body armor and wielding assault rifles. They open up immediately, firing indescriminately into the lunchtime crowds around them. Then the car bomb goes off and you are hurled through the air to land in a heap by the shuttle bay wall.

cupidcreep cupidcreep
You effect your escape easily, scooting into a seat in a nearby cafe to watch the spectacle. Hah, that’ll show those stupid sheep! If they are so happy to live in a pen, they’d better watch out for the wolves. You pull your mask off, since it’d be harder to identify you since all the trouble is being caused by people wearing masks like yours. There’s plenty of fun to be seen today, except….

That old asian lady.
She’s watching you, watching you intently. Does she know you? You certainly don’t recognise her, but she’s watching you. Could she have seen you messing around at the shuttle terminal? Possibly. But then, she became the least of your problems as a security drone drifted down from overhead. It’s camera module was scanning left and right, searching, seeking. Then as it’s mechanical gaze cast across you, it stopped and locked onto you.
+++Warning, citizen! Please remain where you are. You have been identified as a suspect in an act of wanton violence and disorder within the precincts of Orbital Station: Gateway’s authority. You are required to give yourself up to the proper authorities for due process of the laws of Orbital Station: Gateway. Do not resist. Comply with all instructions or suppressive force may be employed against you. Do not endanger the lives of others or lethal force may be employed against you.+++
The tiny speaker within the machine’s body echoed tinnily around you and people were looking at you. You’ve definitely been made.

As if that wasn’t enough of a problem, you could now see a woman you could easily describe as ‘big trouble’. She was blonde haired and pale skinned, her body was athletically-built and poised. She was dressed in a close-fitting bodysuit with integrated combat webbing. She was openly armed and appeared to be directing the pigs. And now with this goddamn drone being a jerk and giving your position away she was also looking in your direction.

Your attention was so distracted between her and the drone, you didn’t notice the three white vans arriving from different directions until they disgorged a group of heavily armed and armored people wearing masks. The gunmen immediately opened fire at everyone and anyone they could see. You watch as a guy in a dapper suit with a purple flower got peppered with bullets and went down in a spray of blood.

But, of course, the shock of the sudden attack was nothing in comparison to the bomb’s detonation. You were mercifully shielded from the blast by the drone that mostly shielded you from the flying debris, but the shockwave still blew you out of the chair to sprawl on the floor.

Fyuri Fyuri
MEDIA Director nodded as she took in all of your orders. Disconcertingly, her form in your datahub kept flickering and becoming blurry with static, as if she were being projected on a malfunctioning holoprojector.
I’ll do my best, Pandora, but it appears that we/I are being ha-ha-hacked. Sophisticated work, they’ve infiltrated the local security network and are blocking the communic-aaaaaaaaa-ation systems and interfering with DEFENSE’s access to the drones.
True enough, the security drones overhead appear to be malfunctioning, falling out of their established patrol routes to drift lazily and haphazardly through the skies.
CIVIC is aware of the hack and is attempting to shhhhhhhhhhhhh-ut them down. I-I-I-I’m boosting the communication network where I can to compensate.
Whatever MEDIA does seems to work as the GPD officers start to work in concert to start dealing with the group of rioters who were causing so much trouble.

Item: CIVIC is trying to counter the sons of bi-beaches who’re trying to hack i-i-i-i-nto the comms system, Pandora. Item: GPD units report that they are br-rrrr-inging the civil unrest under control. Item: Suspect identified from your BOLO report has-has-has been detected by surveillance drone D-8/92, 50 meters southwest of this location.”, MEDIA quickly reported, still suffering from the hacking and looking more and more annoyed.

As you turn to look in the direction indicated, your ears pick up the sound of multiple medium vehicle engines approaching from different directions. A glance tells you that this is the problem DEFENSE had called you in for. From the backs of three vans, about eighteen subjects wearing tactical-level anti-ballistic armor and carrying modern assault rifles dismounted and immediately started to open fire on people around them. The GPD moved with surprising speed for officers who rarely have to deal with armed opponents, seeking cover and returning fire. But their pistols were unable to penetrate the body armor of these opponents, though one assailant went down as his unprotected head took a round and sprayed his friends with brain matter.

Before you could respond yourself, your sensory suite reacted. First the vibration sensors in your feet detected a heavy disruption originating from directly behind you, next the pressure sensors in your dermal surfaces detected an incoming compression wave. Next your auditory systems detected and immediately shut out the ear-splitting explosion before you were engulfed in a cloud of flames and wreckage as the car not eight meters behind you detonated. Your body is hurled across the street to blast straight into a cafe. Your optic sensors inform you the cafe is called ‘Roosters’. You know this because your face went through the text declaring that fact written on the window.

Felix Felix
As your words reach the ears of the onlookers, the room takes a collective breath in. As you surmise, the bully’s body language radiates almost uncontrolled rage. His face twitches and reddens as he clenches his jaw and his hands bunch so tightly into fists, the knuckles pop one by one and whiten the skin over them. His arm muscles bulge underneath his reproduction Italian suit sleeves, straining the substandard stitching to the extreme.
“What… the… fuck?!?”, he snarls, his lips curling back to reveal two rows of pearly white teeth, “What the FUCK did you just say, motherfucker? What did you say about my motherfucking suit, you lowlife piece of shit?”
He steps closer to you, invading your personal space and standing toe to toe with you. You can’t see anything but his eyes without either leaning or stepping back, and you have a strong suspicion that either action would result in him leaning or stepping after you.
“You think you’s some big fucking deal, shitbag?”, his voice was slipping into a drawl typical of Brooklyn Italians, “You think I ain’t crushed fucks like you so fucking hard, their fucking kids’d be born wit’ broken heads? You ain’t nuthin’, ya hear? Nothing but some one-eyed loudmouth motherfucker with less sense than eyeballs.”
You feel something thud into your chest. It’s a forefinger, jabbing into your fourth intercostal space repeatedly.
“What you need to do, fucker, is fucking apologise for what you said about my fucking suit, turn your bitch ass around and walk the fuck away before something fucking painful happens to you.”
Should you happen to glance around, you notice that no one is rushing to get your back. In fact, some people are moving to the exits as inconspicuously as possible. The area in close proximity to you and the intimidating man is slowly and carefully becoming uninhabited.

Before you can respond though, there comes a screech of tires from the street behind you. This is rapidly followed by the staccato bark of weapons fire at close range, interspersed with screaming.

Then the explosion blasts the window of the cafe inwards in a storm of flying glass and debris from outside. One piece of debris, with the exact form of a shapely blonde woman in a combat-spec bodysuit, smashes straight into the bully, ploughing them both into the bar. But, of course, the shockwave also hits you and hurls you to the floor. As you hit the ground, you feel blood on your face.

Rhakun Rhakun
(In cafe, watching for contact, sees situation between Trystan and legbreaker, moves closer)
As the biker starts to escalate the situation between the big bruiser and the busboy, you start to make your way closer. As you suspected, several people have discretely taken out their cellphones and were carefully recording the mounting drama unfolding during their otherwise hum-drum lunch breaks.

Your well-develop sense of trouble tells you that shit is about to get far too real very soon. Either the biker is going to back down or fighting is going to happen. This is the sort of thing that would get you and your line of work a lot of negative exposure and that’s something that would be career-ending. Perhaps a quiet and nondescript exit is required?

Looking around for an exit route that will take you as far as possible from the impending violence about to erupt, you glance through the cafe window to see outside.
A flash of purple
Your eyes, so attuned to the color purple alerted your brain to a momentary flash of that same color. You freeze and look back, quickly glancing back to try and fix it again. You see the entrance of the shuttle bay, with it’s official looking ‘Shuttle Bay 18’ sign overhead. Thick white smoke is pouring out through the doors and people are staggering away from it. You keep looking and then… There! A man in a suit, clutching a parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. In the lapel of his suit is a large purple flower, wilted and missing a couple of petals, but unmistakably an orchid.

Your view of him is momentarily obscured by a fast-moving white van, which hauls to a stop close by him. Movement by the van in your peripheral vision reveals a group clambering out of the back of the van. Guns, body armor, not police or military uniforms. Then the shooting starts. The gunmen start firing at random, aiming at passersby and people sat outside restaurants. Your eyes widen in shock as you see your contact stagger back, jerking like a marionette hung from the hands of a puppetter in a palsy. A ruddy cloud erupted from his back and as he collapsed backward against a wall and slid down it he left a long crimson smear on it. Before you could react, there was a bright flash. The window of the cafe erupted inwards, followed by a deafening roar and a wash of heat and a cloud of fast-flying glass. Furniture and bodies within the cafe were flung away from the explosion and you were amongst it all.

Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus + Plutoni Plutoni
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are now coming in for our final approach to Orbital Station: Gateway. We have been given permission to dock at Shuttle Bay 18 in the eastern sector of the main city. Ambient temperature in Gateway city is a warm thirty degrees centigrade, eighty-six Farenheit with a humidity of 30%. Local time will be 11:58am. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing United Spaceways for your journey and wish you a pleasant and peaceful stay on Orbital Station: Gateway. Flight crew prepare for docking procedures.”
As the captain’s voice abruptly ceased on the PA, the flight attendants moved down the aisles, checking that seatbelts were fastened, the small tables were retracted into the chair armrests and the luxurious seats were back in their upright positions. Once they had assured themselves that their passengers were safely strapped in, the flight crew returned to their own seats and buckled themselves in.

The shuttle slowed its approach to the yawning entrance of Shuttle Bay 18, the guidance lights on the station pulsing and strobing to indicate the safest approach for the shuttle. The shuttle responded by flaring its attitude thrusters to bring itself in line with the bay entrance, flicking compressed gasses from nose and tail thruster arrays to achieve perfect alignment. What looked like a complicated maneuver was, for the veteran pilot, a walk in the park as he brought the vessel into the bay. As he entered, he extended the landing gear and nursed them down onto the deck of the shuttle bay proper. The only indication that the shuttle was fully landed was the sudden mild lurch as the station’s artificial gravity took over from the shuttle’s gravity module.

The usual mounting sense of tension in the passenger cabin relaxed as people started conversations that had been paused as the shuttle entered its final approach. The engines of the shuttle powered up briefly as it taxied from the landing pad to the private disembarkation area, passing several larger shuttles that were loading and unloading passengers and cargo. It came to a halt at the chosen area and started to cycle down the engines. The digital clock over the door in the main passenger compartment clicked over to 12:00.

An explosion blasted away a sizeable section of the wall of Shuttle Bay 18, exposing the secure interior of the shuttle bay to the city streets outside. The private shuttle, being parked closest to the main terminal was rocked on its landing gear and the windows on the right side were peppered with debris, several of which were cracked by the impacts. People who were in the process of rising from their seats were violently thrown around the passenger compartments and the shuttle’s lights flickered out as the power systems failed.

Chordling Chordling
As you sit considering your first move, Jerry is starting to panic.
“Shit! I think I can hear someone with a gun out there!”, he called out, pushing another desk into place to block the door.
Right on cue, a voice comes through the door, “This is the Gateway Police, you’re all under arrest. Unblock the door and lay down on the floor otherwise we’ll be required to use force to subdue you. This is your only warning!”
You could probably hack their comms to send them off to find a donut store because, let’s be honest, they’re only cops and-
Wait.
Your own personal system is sending out an alarm. A quick status check tells you something is seriously wrong. Your firewalls, all eight of them are being hacked. Simultaneously. You weren’t even aware that was even possible. But that’s not even the scariest part. The scary part is how quickly you’re being hacked. Your first, outermost firewall is proof for at least ten minutes against even the most advanced hacktool, but yet, it’s been almost a minute and that firewall is almost completely degraded. What’s more firewall two and three are also degrading at a rapid rate. There’s no hacktool, no hacker that quick. To be cracking those defenses you’d need an advanced supercomputer. And in this day and age only the UEF has stuff like that. Unless…

The monitor in front of you bleeps and goes blank. Then text scrolls across it.

+++ I can see you +++
+++ You think you’re so very clever, infiltrating our software +++
+++ But you’re not that clever +++
+++ Oh, by the way, nice bank account +++


You cannot help but check your private bank account to find that your account is not simply empty but massively overdrawn and your finances have been frozen under the orders of the IRS. But your firewalls aren’t even down yet! The screen scrolls more text.

+++ We want a word with you +++
+++ You intrigue us +++
+++ We’re sorry about what’s about to happen +++


There is a crash and the grille on the ceiling air vent bursts inwards. A medium sized security drone hovers down, it’s camera sweeping the room.
“Lawbreakers, you are under arrest as defined by the Gateway judicial code. Do not resist or suppressive force will be employed. Do not employ any weapons or endanger the lives of other humans otherwise lethal force will be employed. Please wait for the duly appointed authorities to arrive and carry out their duties.”
It was Michael who made the wrong move. He tugged a device from his belt, one you’d seen before. It was a rudimentary EMP pulse weapon. He’d built it from spare parts and it had proved somewhat successful on several of Gateway’s surveillance drones. He pointed it at the drone and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. Normally, the drone would have shorted out and dropped like a stone, instead it turned to face Michael.
“Lawbreaker, you are brandishing a weapon. Desist or lethal force will be employed.”
Michael jerked the trigger again and again, nothing happened. The drone continued to hover and the furniture blocking the door started to shift as more and more force began to be applied from behind it. The drone responded to Michael by firing a taser at him. The young man screamed as 50,000 volts coursed through his body then collapsed to the floor.
“Suspect neutralized,”, the drone continued in its emotionless voice, “probability of other suspects becoming violent to GPD officers is high. Preemptive suppressive force authorized.”
There was a hiss from the underside of the drone and immediately the air in the room began to smell funny. Your head reeled and your eyes became blurry. Alex staggered over to Michael, but only managed a couple of steps before slumping to the ground. A glance over at Jenny showed she had already succumbed to the gas. You could try to make your escape but, as you try to stand, your legs also fail to support you and you fall heavily to the floor.
The door to the room cracks as the desks are violently shoved back and you see figures in black body armor and gas masks gaining entry before consciousness escapes you.
 
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Teh Frixz

That lady robot
----- Verity Belkamp -----
----- Mercenary -----

There was an abnormal aura of earned comfort that followed Verity into the meeting room. Like some sort of shield that eyes and looks just seemed to bounce off of and reflect back to their origin. Simple combat boots, tactical trousers in a simple grey tone and a black top. Her hair was pulled into a tight bun and no weapons showing.

While her body language screamed comfort and ease, she projected an aura of danger that apparently wasn't an uncommon phenomena felt around martians. Something that scientists were calling divergent evolution or some shit. Whatever it was, it was off putting.

Verity however, was only smiles. Having checked her accounts on the way over, the large sum of money the Client had promised just cleared and was setting like a golden egg atop her assets. The job promised enough that she'd even felt comfortable purchasing a couple wines she had her eye on.

Now, with a bit of a swagger, Veroty pulled up a chair right in the kill zone of the doorway with her back to the entrance. In a weaker group of beings, it might have elicited a gasp.

"Hello everyone."

It was all she said and it said enough. She wasn't part of the 'team' proper, she was an insurance policy for the team. A reminder to keep mouths shut and eyes on the prize. There was a rumor recently about a job a year back. A team hesitated, morals coming into play before the contract. Team didn't come back, Verity did.

Relaxing quietly through the briefing and through the wrap up, Verity jumped up right before the explosion, guns in hand.

"Louder between shots, heading this way. We should secure ourselves."
 

Fyuri

w̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷f̷y̷u̷c̷k̷e̷r̷i̷
Administrator
[div=text-shadow: 0px 0px 8px rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);]
----- Pandora Wicke -----
----- Hand of Director -----
[/div]

Pandora may not have the bodily requirements needed to feel things like an adrenaline rush, but there was that mental factor and a complex system of science shit that replicated it pretty damn closely. She was unsettled that The DIRECTOR was in what she would call a very vulnerable state. She had hoped that the AI would have overcome whatever was going on by now, but it seemed that who ever was behind the hack was a master Black Hat. This meant she was compromised if they were to use the connection to her HUB.

"MEDIA, I am disconnecting from all outside connections to avoid interference. Last thing you'd want is them hacking my body."

Before MEDIA would even have a chance to protest, Pandora "flipped the switch" and went into complete internal mode. The only chance of her getting body-jacked is if someone directly plugged into her cyborg body. This was a fucking shitshow and it was made worse the moment the vehicles screeched onto the scene with very well-prepared individuals. She took cover when they open fired. She was pissed off now as she witnessed innocent civilians get caught in the crossfire. People who were always just written off as collateral damage.

She returned fire, purposefully aiming for vulnerable points, such as where there were gaps in the armor, since no one could protect their armpits or other areas needed to be left unprotected to unhinder movement. Two headshots on those who didn't duck behind their cover in time. It was then that her censors went off, "Shit." It was all she managed to say as the blast launched her body through the local cafe known as 'Roosters'. From the moment of the explosion her UI automatically began to asses the damage to her body. If she'd been hit like this a few years ago, she'd have been out of commission until she got a new body. Thankfully the company had decided to upgrade her to a combat model. After a quick systems check, she'd need to probably replace her entire outer dermal surface, no one liked a cyborg with their metal bits showing. There were a few other problems, like the loss of use for a few fingers missing, one weapon down, a crack on the left side of her torso, and a few other minor areas of damage here and there.

Pandora was furious.

She got up and looked out the window she had just crashed through. She looked around the cafe and saw an old relic of a fridge being used as decoration. She opened the door, tapped it to determine how effective it would be against raining bullets. It's probably get her a third of the way to where those dipshits were firing from. It wouldn't work. She could throw the door at them as a distraction and rush at them. She hoped they wouldn't fire on their own guys, but she wasn't placing any bets that they wouldn't. However, in order to even close that distance and reduce the amount of time she was out in the open, she'd need to do one of the worst things to herself; overclock. She'd - at the least - fry a few circuits in her legs if she stopped overclocking when she got in close quarters. Oh this was going to suck.

"Fuck it."

A few internal alerts warning against the use of overclocking and the risks involved and she was off, running at an inhuman speed towards the grouping of targets. More alerts popped up as things began to fry and other damage occurred, but she reached her destination with a dark grin and shut off the overclock just as she slammed into one of the targets with such a force she heard bones crack.
 

Yarrow

Senior Member
----- Chris Navarra-----
----- IT Student-----
Chris sits down at the table. The Navarra listened to what Kenny was saying "I haven't heard if it, but it sounds fine, but yeah, it could also be a good joke" Chris' panini and coffee arrived and he paid directly by holding his phone against the phone of the waiter, Chris smiled at the guy "Thanks" he didn't say it in Italian because the guy seemed America, it would be really awkward if he said it in Italian. "But please, Kenny, stay away from that place if it is true what they say, some very not nice people will run it"
The conversation went on to something lighter, well, for Chris for sure. The Navarra's had some club on Sicily, like the club Kenny just described. Bad Business. While he opened the file he mumbled a thanks to Kenny.

Then he froze from the voice he heard, you could recognize the rash voice out of thousand other voices. Just to be sure he peeks over his should. The Razor is infamous for his most favorite weapons, two antique razor blades, where the great grand dad of your great grand dad shaved himself with. With those blades The Razor had terrorized and killed many people. The Navarra enforcer was now in a conflict with some tall blonde not bad looking guy with an awful eye patch.
Chris cursed himself, he was brought again in a terrible situation. He had multiple options, helping the eye patch, with exposing himself to Arturo, but he could maybe already be exposed. Maybe.. and maybe he was still safe, but if he was exposed, everyone close to him would be in danger, like the poor innocent (closeted) Kenny. First, Kenny needed to be safe and far away from Calvetti. Chris hissed to Kenny "Get out Kenny! Things we turn out bloody here"

Well, one problem was being taken care of hopefully. There were two options left now, continuing drinking his coffee and eating his panini while ignoring the things behind him or exposing himself and saving the eye guy. Chris could stop the violent Calvetti with the two knives strapped at Chris' back. He just needed to place them under the armpit of Calvetti, who would freeze and if he would move, Chris would push the knife straight into his soft spot, getting really close to the heart. Decisions like this were hard, he couldn't let the poor eye patch get hurt, but giving up his cover would maybe even be worse. However, his thinking was but to a quick end when he heard the sadly familiar sound of machine guns. He stood up, ready to take cover, but then there was an explosion and he tried to take cover under the table from the sharp glass of the window.
 

Felix

Behind that Crazy Premise
----- Trystan Ravenscar -----
----- Paramedic -----
At first, the situation unraveled itself quite predictably. The gangster exploded in a rant littered with cussing and an accent just as fake as the suit. Trystan did nothing, even when the man stabbed his finger at him. It was quite hard, as the man stabbed quite hard and just in between his ribs. It hurt, but he could not show his pain. Or his anger. Or the slight amusement over the predictable and stereotypical behavior of the gangster that was tucked away somewhere in Trystan's brain. He knew that if he showed that the jerks words did anything to him, he would have lost. So he did his best to keep his face slack, make his posture regal and powerful and remained calm. Like the calm before the storm.

And a storm came, but in a form Trystan could never have predicted. He noticed the screeching tires and bullet rain that immediately followed. Without much of a thought Trystan ducked and stayed close to the ground. He was no military expert or anything, but through his experience and studies he had developed an instinct to keep him out of danger. However, it was not enough to save him from the explosion blast. The surroundings flashed by as his body was thrown to the floor.

For a small moment he lay on the floor, his eyes staring blankly in the distance. The events hadn't quite caught up with him yet. Then came the pain, a numbing warm feeling on his head. something trickled slowly over his face. His eyesight became a bit foggy. Slowly and shakily he brought his left hand to his face. Please, not my other eye! His hand felt something wet. He wiped it away from his eye and held his hand in front of his face. It was red. Oh god! The good thing was that he could actually distinguish it as being red, which meant that his eye was not beyond saving. He brought his right hand up as well and moved his hands over his temple and forehead. When he finally came upon the wound it hurt like hell, but he forced himself to continue. There was a nasty gash of about 2 inches. Auch! He felt what had caused it, a small glass shard, which had just made a small cut in his finger. Luckily it had not made a very deep gash in his head, but it would still require stitching. He might have a concussion too from hitting his head to the floor.

As he became more and more conscious, the chaos of the surroundings started flooding in. His back and neck ached from the fall, but it would probably only cause some big bruises. His arms and legs were feeling relatively fine. He heard gunshots and screams. Were they killing all restaurant guests? He turned his head a bit and saw the DEFENSE uniforms. He hoped it were just painful tranquilizers they were shooting, bullets were not from this era anymore, unless ... Unless this situation was very messed up. He turned his head a bit further and saw his former enemy pinned to the bar by a shiny lady. He was screaming very loudly and his joints were in positions they should never be in. At least that was one less problem for him. It just didn't quite outweigh the danger he was currently in.

He tried very hard to think clearly. He had to get out of here. He had to get to safety. His first thought was motorcycle, but that would mean he would have to go towards the DEFENSE robots and staff. He didn't really trust them at the moment. By the way, they seemed to be shooting anything that moved, so he would not be able to get up and run or crawl all the way to the exit. Then he thought about the back exit in the kitchen. Unless the DEFENSE had made a really stupid move, they would probably guard that as well. He was basically trapped in this situation. He decided that hiding behind the bar was his best option. The metallic girl was fixated on the gangster, so she probably wouldn't notice him. When the situation was calmed down a little he would come out and exclaim that he was a medic, which should save him from further harm. Slowly he crawled a a meter further and clenched the corner of the bar. In one smooth movement he pulled himself behind it.

He found that he was not the only one with the idea. A barmaid and the busboy who was harassed sat next to each other with their backs to the bar. They looked fine, at least physically. They were both shivering and making themselves as small as possible. They were both clearly in shock. He sat himself next to the busboy and tried his best to look calm and comforting. He might not be able to save them in battle, but at least he could try to calm them. Calmly he asked: "Are you guys okay?" The busboy didn't react, but the maid nodded slowly. "My name is Trystan, I'm a medic. I will make sure that you remain unharmed. It's going to be okay. What are your names?" He paused a moment to let his soothing words kick in. "S-s-Sarah" the girl muttered. The boy also responded this time, but it was not audible. "Okay Sarah. I could use your help. It's really simple. I need some towels and the strongest alcohol you have. Could you get those for me? You would be a big help." The girl nodded and started rummaging in the closet next to her. As Trystan pried the glass shard from his forehead he muttered an echo of his words before. "It's going to be okay."
 

Gilzar

Bear With Me Here ?
Administrator
----- Ryan Woods -----

----- Pilot -----

Ryan eagerly signed the contract while the mission was being explained to him, and as he was introduced to his rag-tag team. Best to get this signed on quick, just so things wouldn't be complicated. He of course read the fine print, as it was explained to him, just quicker than usual. It didn't look like there would be anything that'd screw him in this contract. Right as his pen left the paper, the mentioning of a FC-35-A shuttle stole his attention. Mainly a troop transport ship, but it had enough weapons on it to fly combat missions just fine. This type of ship just so happened to be the type that Ryan was originally trained to fly.

"Pleasure to meet you all." He said simply.

The mission itself was a little troubling. Europe - That's Tha'kar territory. But as explained it shouldn't be a hotzone...hopefully. Everything else was of no concern to him. The Ariel drones he could take care of with ease. Droids...he'd let the others worry about that.

Verity came walking in. That name was familiar to him. She was a professional at this, and had a good reputation. He didn't know a lot about her other than that. Personally he found that she had no military training a little annoying, but having someone like her on this mission did let him feel at ease.

Gunshots ruined that feeling however. Each pop rattled the room, and filled Ryan with unease. These were close. Slowly he led his hand down around the grip of his revolver, and calmly drew it out and kept it pointed at the ceiling. Verity commented that they were getting closer, and to secure the room. Well shit, he didn't have a better idea! Ryan quickly backed away from the door and to one of the room corners.

"Well, what's the plan?" He spat out in an anxious tone.
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Shuttle Bay 18 Freight Bay

As you both rise from your seats in response to the closing gunfire, Tannis starts to back up toward the door. From the back of his waistband, he retrieves a semi-auto pistol of his own, replete with an underslung laser sight.
“Fuck it, this is outside of operational parameters.”, he scowled, “Dave, you have TP command. I’m not even here right now. Woods, Belkamp, pass your contact details to Sommerville and he’ll let you know when the op is a go. Additionally, let him know if there’s anything specific you want for this ASAP. I’m out.”
With that, the older man turned and poked his head and gun through the doorway, scoping out any threats. A moment later, he was off around the side of the building and out of sight.
Dave had not been idle while Tannis had been making his escape. He went to the back of the room and dragged a tarpaulin off a pile of military-style kit boxes. He and Jones unstacked the boxes and popped them open to reveal a wealth of firearms and tactical equipment. Dave glanced over at Ryan’s revolver.
“What’re you going to do with that once your six are out?”, he asked without malice.
He extracted a submachine gun from one of the boxes, along with three extra mags.
“Here, it’s got five times the capacity, twenty times the fire rate and a tenth of the reload time. Also there’s body armor and shoulder IFFs. Everyone at least get the IFFs so the Gateway drones don’t paint you as a target. Taskforce Principle is a known peacekeeping organization on Gateway, so we’re allowed to lend a hand in an emergency.”
With that, Dave and the others step away from the boxes and start preparing their own gear ready to respond to the closing threat.
"Plan's simple. Vlad, get on the squark and see if you can raise DEFENSE or one of the other Directors, let them know we're here and willing to assist. Or at least, that we aren't hostile and shouldn't be shot at. Everyone else, establish a perimeter, determine whether we're in immediate danger then we'll look to either extract or regroup."

Teh Frixz Teh Frixz Gilzar Gilzar
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
----- Verity Belkamp -----
--- Mercenary ---

"They don't jam at the very least." Verity confidently crossing the room to retrieve one of the IFFs to affix to her shoulder. "And hell, it could be six confirmed kills with his six shots."

Slightly ironic considering the amount of ammunition spent in defense of an independent Mars a few years back.

Hauling a pair of automatic rifles out of the crate and proceeding to break them down, switching parts around between the two. A common if a tad old fashioned trick to screw with both onboard and external sensors. Verity continued on.

"Tennis ball had the right idea, bugging out. Establishing a perimeter is smart but I'm not assisting DEFENSE unless it puts up bounties or funded public objectives." Cocking the loaded rifle, she slings it and starts the process again on two new rifles, putting one together for Ryan.

"I'll give you my card, can forward all the information and contact shit to my office. That'll end up in my lap." Standing up, she hands Ryan an unloaded rifle and a couple magazines. "Any bright ideas before I run my mouth more?"
 

Gilzar

Bear With Me Here ?
Administrator
----- Ryan Woods -----

----- Pilot -----
Ryan blatantly examined his revolver as he was being pestered about it. Only six shots, yes. But it was the most efficient thing on the market he could afford. Space faring isn't cheap after all. That's why he didn't hesitate to take both the SMG and the Rifles he was offered. He clipped the both of them to his utility vest, still listening to the gunshots outside. What the hell is going on out there?

"Fucking Directors.This is why we shouldn't let machines run our stations." He remarked as he unbuckled his utility vest and slipped on the body armor he was offered. He zipped and buckled the vest accordingly, palms still twtiching from the sound. As anxious as he was it was better to be equipped.

Ryan then slipped his utility vest back on, over the vest this time. He wasn't scared. This wasn't a first for him since he'd been under fire before, just not outside of a cockpit. Then he picked up the card Verity had offered him. Barring anything unforeseen he probably wouldn't need it, but it helped. For now he was just going to find a bar to entertain himself until the mission started.

With a few quick motions, Ryan double checked that everything was buckled on correctly to his jumpsuit. His head turned to Verity to answer her question. "No." He let out. "I just hope the mission is this exciting."

He meant every word of that. He quietly peeked his head out of the door like a spy would, then headed down the halls away from the gunfire.
 
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