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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:36 am 
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Location: Von Braun
- Alexandria-class Kirov -
- Jason's Quarters -


After Jason quickly shuts and locks his door, he leans against it for support. The strange events of the day have drained him of all energy.

"What was that all about?" he asked as he wipes his brow and looks over at Grace.

"It was bad enough having Hepburn corner me but to run into Arron and Leandro?? Although Jackson did hint about us three defecting over to the Federation...I'm..I'm just not sure about him..and there's Lt. Grant to worry about," Jason points out as he sits on his bed. "He was in your last squad, can he be trusted?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:04 pm 
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[Pan Heyden]
[Pilot's Lounge]

Heyden narrowed his brow towards Stukov. Pan didn't really like the way Stukov used his words. But Heyden was also aware that Stukov wasn't almost as bad as Dolk was with using the english language. To be fair heyden wasn't that good with his words either. (Same with wedge14) So Heyden's lipped curled the other way around and he flashed his teeth. The big earthnoid flipped a few cigarettes out of his breast pocket and his lighter into the air. It was the former AEUG pilot's strange way of sharing.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:34 am 
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Location: Texas Gulf Coast
- Near Gryps 2 -

- The Kirov -
- Pilots' Lounge -

Dolk remained silent as Pan added his own take on his bizarre lyrical fatalism, but cracked a smile when Stukov began to speak again. He felt like the three of them understood each other perfectly well even if their language was hard to follow. “Neither one is soldier. This is perfect. I am not any more soldier. We are same kind of man, already too well knowing Death to be afraid of him," the Russian said, taking another drink, "I could not have better wingmen for what is left of future. Brothers, take another drink and swear you will not die until I allow.”

Dolk plucked a cigarette from the air and Heyden's lighter along with it. He rubbed his thumb across the series of notches scratched into the object as he lit up and answered, "There's no logic here today. Do as you got to, go your own way. I said that's right, time's short, your life's your own; and in the end we're just dust and bones,". He took a drag from the smoke, reached for the vodka and then nodded, "You got yourself a deal."

- Beta Team Ready Room -

Wolf stared through Sven as he entered, though his aimless tapping stopped and he slid his hand down onto the grip of his sidearm until he perceived who had come into the room. It was funny in a way that Sven was more concerned about Wolf's family and Alexandra Engel in particular. Ritter had gone a long time without thinking of her, and when he had he was more angry with himself for being forgetful than he was heartbroken because of her absence. Was she really his fiancé, he wondered? It was almost hard to think of her as a real person any more. His memory of his father had deteriorated in the same way. As far as he knew, Alexi was still alive somewhere. How did he feel about that? He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to end his vigil for a moment to rest and think of her, to remember her face. The room was quiet enough that Sven might be able to hear Wolf's soft snore as he drifted off to sleep. His subconscious begged him to stop dreaming of his own death as more hollow sleep came to him.

- Corridor -

Daren crossed his arms and rested his back against the cold metal wall. His brow furrowed and he turned his head to listen closer when he heard the sound of a room's door swishing shut. Someone had left the hallway. Down his corridor and around a sharp corner stood Jackson Hepburn, Aaron Faraday, and what sounded like Jason Drossel and at least one other person. The hallway's acoustics were good enough that he could catch bits of their hushed conversation here and there if he stayed quiet and controlled his breathing. He strained to listen and caught "-ss I'll go get lunch by m-". That wasn't Hepburn. He may need to move along quickly if he heard somebody leave. Unlike Sven and Wolf, he rarely carried a weapon openly these days and almost seemed to be even calmer than he was before. That seemed to irritate Ritter in and of itself, so he was spending more time out on his own keeping himself busy.

- The Jupitris -
- Hangar -

Friday didn't waste any more time loitering on the bridge with the humorless Haifan. He had stopped briefly in his own quarters to pick up a few documents on the way to the cavernous hangar, and now stood on an upper catwalk waiting with papers in hand for the launch carrying Trent to make its way inside. One might think that the pressure weighing down Andrewson Trent would be worse than ever inside the very belly of the beast, but to the contrary Friday was hoping to encourage a bit more clarity than usual for this particular conference. There were things that had to be made crystal clear to him, and besides, presenting Paptimus Scirocco with a pale, half-dead sleepwalker wouldn't cast him in the best light. He had to project absolute confidence and competency, and Trent was a large part of that. He stared down from his lofty perch at the crew working on The O and the ship's other, less impressive machines. Tucked away in a corner almost hidden by equipment and other, more important items was a rig carrying a bright pink escape pod, the kind used in a Rick Dias.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:54 am 
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- Salamis Kai-class Herakles -
- Captain’s Quarters -


"The problems inherent in Herakles Team’s composition were really quite evident in the reconnaissance blunder but given your circumstances it’s a feat in itself that the team hasn’t imploded in your hands.”


"Well thanks Captain, it's been a bit of a chore but things could be worse" he responded to Berg's compliment. Indeed hadn't expected to suddenly be tossed into the role of team leader and he barely saw any action beforehand but he supposed he was doing alright. At the very least they managed to severely damage one ship and its mobile suit team as well as come back alive.

Listening to Berg go on about the coming operation and future of the Titans, he noted the focus on the eliminating of less needed factors within the Titans. It sounded similar to what the man from Jupiter had said during his own speech that had played during the recon mission. Or incident rather. An incident that was caused by loose cannon Orsino who was barely kept under control and that was if he was just playing around.

It seemed Berg had the same thing on his mind "It has been a bit tough keeping him under control but I do agree he thrives in a more chaotic environment. I've toyed around with the idea of letting him take point but the Hizack's abilities have somewhat pushed me away from that idea" he answered with sigh.

It wasn't a bad machine but after that last battle Orsino would probably ruin it before any real heavy fighting began. At least with a Marasai he wouldn't break the machine in a single skirmish.


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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:31 pm 
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-The Kalinin-
-Ready Room-

Bate wasn't suprised to find the ready room was empty when he arrived from the hangar. The other pilots still had four minutes to be there, according to his watch. His first reaction was to sigh and sit at the table, setting down a pile of papers filled with scores and other data from the pilots simulator runs, among other things.

How times change... He thought with a shake of his head. A few years, hell, months ago, he wouldn't have minded the pilots being casual about things. Bate had never been the serious one in units before, either as a normal pilot with friends whom he had served with for years or when leading his own teams as he had now been doing for some time. Somewhere along the line, he reflected, that had changed.

The door opened and in floated Hicks, who promptly went to attention. Bate waved him away, and the man floated to his locker, still nervous at the fact that his team leader was merely present. Maybe that was part of the problem, he thought. The Titans were supposed to be elite. Surely they had been early on, for the first few years. They best pilots in the best machines Earth could produce. Somewhere along the line, that had changed too. Now guys like Hicks were the norm, and now the Titans were barely surviving. Bate wasn't really sure how that happened, and had really stopped caring. Whatever the Kalinin did probably wouldn't have any impact...

The door opened and in came Sunoue. "Commander Bate," He nodded politely, getting the same dismissive wave as Hicks had gotten as Bate continued to skim over paperwork. Hicks was standing in front of the drink machine, acting as if he was trying to pick which he wanted, but clearly just standing there to keep away from Bate. Again the door opened and in came an angry looking Runnels, and a grinning Craig a step behind her. The grin instantly died when he saw Bate sitting at the table.

Bate closed his eyes and took a breath. Yet again, one of the idiots had found some way to make him angrier. "What the f*** is going on now?" Bate muttered, glaring at Craig, who went pale.

"I-I-Uh-"

"Shut up." Bate sighed and glanced at Runnels, who rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Craig, you two, stand at attenion over there." He pointed to a spot in front of the lockers and stood. The three quickly, if akwardly, did so, as Bate stood next to Runnels as she got a drink. "What did the idiot do?"

Runnels shook her head. "Nothing. I think he's following me around a bit. Probably watches too many bad movies or something."

"F***..." Bate muttered. "Well, this is just for them, you don't need to be here."

Runnels nodded. "Thanks, sir. I go on alert soon anyway, so I'll just head down to the hangar."

"Fine. I can handle this myself." Bate turned back to the three pilots staring at the wall in front of them. Runnels moved to her locker to grab her pilot suit, this time without any glances from Craig, whom Bate glared at again, who left to change in her own room. Bate waited a moment, thinking about what he wanted to say, and decided to get right to the point. "First, Craig, forget whatever thoughts you've ever had about Runnels, or any other female on this ship. None of them are interested, and you have more important things to do. Is that clear, Ensign?"

"Yes sir." Craig said evenly, which was probably the most impressive thing the man had managed to do. Sunoue remained impassive, but Hicks was clearly shaking a bit.

"Now..." Alpha began again, looking at them in turn. "I know your individual situations aren't the best, and that we had weeks wasted on us trying to get you three up to speed on -108's, but that doesn't excuse how f***in' awful you three have been to this point." Bate let that sink in for a moment, but the expressions from before remained more or less unchanged as he leaned foward on the table.

"What I would prefer to do is go out and run a few training drills with our suits, but we don't have the time, and we don't have any training weapons on hand anyway, not that I'd trust you with paintballs anyway." He growled. "So the best we can manage at this time is more simulator work. Maybe, just maybe, something will finally sink in and bring you three out of the dregs of every scoring system I know of." Bate waved at the papers, knocked a pair off the table. "So get your pilot suits on and be in your cockpits in two minutes. Go." The three held for a moment before turning around to open their lockers, only to find that Sunoue and Craig were standing in front of the wrong ones. Both moved at the same moment and collided like something out of a comedy movie, with Craig bouncing into Hicks, who was sent floating a few feet away, swiping at the wall to stop himself. Bate was already out the door when he heard the sound of one of them bang into the lockers.

He was in the hangar seconds later. He didn't need his pilot suit for the simulator. One of the mechanics saw the MS team leader and gave him a thumbs up, letting him know that his Marasai and the other three Hizacks were ready to go. Only Runnels machine, the current alert suit on Kalinin, was ready for combat, while the other three were going about normal maintenance. That could be changed in less than ten minutes, but it wouldn't be needed. Echo was away from any enemies at the moment, and besides, it would take much longer than that to get any of those other three pilots somewhere close to being ready for action.

Bate stood on the catwalk for a moment and checked his watch. He waited four minutes, during which time Runnels appeared and boarded her Hizack, but the other three didn't, before he entered the cockpit of his Marasai, glancing again at his watch and wondering just how long it would take them...

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:24 am 
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[Pan Heyden]
[Pilot's Lounge]

Heyden had grabbed the remote for the room's stereo and was in the process of putting on some hillarious space funk music when he noticed Dolk taking a moment to examine the notches on his EFSF branded zippo.
"That's my prize for serving in the spacy" Heyden's voice had a bit more of his foul bitterness then he usually evoked. A moment later Pan's awesome space funk was filling the room and the big man leaned back on the couch and put his boots up on the table.

Yet somehow the mysterious music that followed Dolk around just overrode the radip, so Pan just turned the stereo off.He was a little frutstrated but not really upset with the situation,he was starting to get used to it.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:58 pm 
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Location: 미합중국 버지니아주 페어팩스군
- Alexandria-class Kirov -
- Pilot Quarters -
- Corridor -


“I’d join you, Aaron,” said Leandro, “But Kyle and I need to run some final tests on the Extras.”

Leandro took a gripper and rode away on it, even though it was going the opposite way he’d been traveling a moment earlier. Truth was that, with Aaron departing, Leandro just needed to slip away before he was left alone in the corridor with Hepburn.

- Pilot’s Lounge -

Stukov plucked one of Pan’s cigarettes from the air and lit it with a match he pulled from within his tunic. The other two had, in their own ways, agreed to Stukov’s terms. “That's my prize for serving in the spacy,” spat Pan, indicating the lighter in Dolk’s hand. All prizes, of course - all the medals and promotions and honors - were glorified lies in the end.

“Is nothing and nobody left for to serve,” Stukov said around his cigarette, “The only prize is mingling of our dust with dust of enemies when we are dead.” With that declaration, Stukov passed the vodka bottle to Pan again.

* * *

- Salamis Kai-class Herakles -
- Captain’s Quarters -


“It has been a bit tough keeping him under control but I do agree he thrives in a more chaotic environment. I've toyed around with the idea of letting him take point but the Hizack's abilities have somewhat pushed me away from that idea.”

“Yes, unfortunately the Hizack’s combat prowess is limited compared to more recent models, but it’s still a sturdy workhorse. But really, who else in your team is better-suited to take point? Marco, perhaps, but would Gerwulf be of any use in the middle or rear position? Considering his combat record, I imagine he would move himself to the point position regardless of your orders.

“In any case, Herakles Team will most likely operate in a support role for a team with more advanced mobile suits. Hopefully Gerwulf’s unpredictable tendencies won’t put them in danger.”

Berg turned his scotch glass thoughtfully, then took another brief sip from it. “But let’s not dwell on that, Alex. I don’t intend to meddle with the composition of your MS team. After this offensive, the Gryps colony laser will make Paptimus Scirocco an incredibly powerful man. What are your thoughts on that, Alex? The most powerful man in the Earth sphere, a Jovian?”

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:50 am 
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Location: 미합중국 버지니아주 페어팩스군
- Jupitris-class Jupitris -
- Shuttle Bay -


Rather than leave his overlook above the hangar deck, Friday watched and waited as Trent glided out from the launch that had retrieved him from his ship. The shade of a smirk flashed across his lips for a brief moment as he considered that thought. The Kirov was Capt. Trent's command, but in a way by this point he felt like it was his ship as well. He had groomed Echo as a replacement for Taskforce Juliet, pulling strings and attending cold, standoffish meetings with Bask's men for months under the pretense of going through the motions. Echo belonged to him and Paptimus. Trent had hesitated after leaving his transport, stopping to glance behind him as if he expected someone to follow.

He had been given the appropriate (but brief) greetings befitting his rank by the pair of guards sent down to meet him, and they had wasted no time in ushering him to the open elevator in the hangar that brought him to the top level where Capt. Friday awaited him.

- Upper Deck -

When the elevator doors hissed open, Trent could see Friday was waiting for him. Scirocco's lackey had an unreadable face as always, but the inoffensive expression gnawed at the back of Trent's mind with a certain eagerness that wasn't his own. "Andrewson," Black said almost flatly, giving the other man a small nod as the guards took the lift back down. By now even in his state he should be getting some inkling that his leash had been loosened a bit. Pressure lifted from the base of Trent's skull and the inside of his mind out there somewhere between the flagships. Black needed him sober and rational.

Trent stared him down without returning the greeting for a few long seconds. "Captain Friday," he finally murmured. He had nothing more to say to Friday at this point. Without another word, Black swept his arm towards the hallway behind him and then led the way as they waited for a pair of lift grips to haul them closer to their ultimate destination. The quiet whir of the grippers and the sounds of machinery and engine noise in the background were only interrupted once or twice by passing crew, who seemed to either go out of their way to avoid eye contact with Black Friday or move closer to the opposite wall to stay as far away from him as possible. Only once did a passing marine snap a salute and react in a way that approached normal. Trent assumed he was one of the men in Friday's strange personal cadre of thugs and troubleshooters. The cabal that had infected his own crew.

As they made a turn, Friday was the one to break the heavy silence between them. Without turning his head to look back at Trent he began to explain, "Andrewson, there is something you need to understand before we arrive." His tone and tempo were still his usual (normal was not at all the right word to use) "false friendly", but perhaps now more than before Trent could sense that there was something deeply wrong about Capt. Friday's demeanor. It was as if some manner of terrible thing had grown very adept at appearing to be an agreeable human being. "My association with Taskforce Echo goes back longer than you realize," he continued, his voice echoing down the empty corridor, "The ones that came before you - Taskforce Juliet - were unreliable and unable to properly serve their purpose. But you--". He turned his head slightly to peer at Trent with his peripheral vision, "You were in the right places at the right times. And you delivered the Ritters to me before you were even aware of my... our desire to see them destroyed for the common good."

He turned away from Trent again. "And now more than ever I need you to be competent and useful to me, Andrewson. I need you to show your worth," he said, lowering his voice slightly, "This has been entrusted to me personally by Paptimus himself. And if you ruin everything for me after I've worked so hard and come so far..." He trailed off at that, letting Trent fill in the blank for himself. No pressure this time, no mental suggestions. That may have been worse.

Trent, for his part, was only just then coming to notice that he was in Black Friday's presence without a mental weight crushing down on his thoughts. Replacing the sensation was a tingling in the corners of his awareness that he was only just then conscious of (but certain it had always been there). A tingling that intruded into him with devotion - no, conviction that he felt without feeling.

Processing that had delayed his response to Friday. "I don't care what Taskforce Echo is to your little games. I have my job, and the only thing keeping me from doing it is your meddling."

Friday smirked at that without letting Trent see his expression change, and they rounded another corner. Now they found themselves headed towards an important-looking door watched over by an armed guard. "One last thing," Friday said, his voice now finally sounding more like an actual warning as he let go of his gripper and turned to face Trent, "Mind your manners, captain."

He slowed himself down into a controlled, graceful glide and approached the door without acknowledging the guard, who stepped aside dutifully and came to attention as best as he could in zero gravity. The soldier reached over and entered a short code into the door's controls, and it slid away revealing what looked more like a modern, relaxed personal study than a meeting room. Well-lit with an open atmosphere and inviting furniture, it seemed to be the exact opposite of what one would expect. Paptimus Scirocco looked up from the data device he was holding and handed it off to a doe eyed redhead as he moved forward to greet them.

"Capt. Friday," Scirocco nodded, which Black returned with a respectful half-bow. He looked to Andrewson with a calm, even expression that seemed much more genuine than Friday's practiced facade and nodded again, "And Capt. Andrewson Trent." He extended his hand, and Trent took it.

"Paptimus Scirocco," said Trent, maintaining a poker face. He'd been referring to Scirocco by full name, without rank or title, for all of their meetings and communications, and had never been corrected. Truth was, he wasn't sure what title the Jovian would use; the man had very suddenly assumed control of the Titans, but did not announce any kind of self-promotion, and his custom-made uniform gave no indication of rank. "This meeting's sudden. Is it urgent?"

"I suppose one could say so," Scirocco said, gesturing to the chairs across from what appeared to be his own. Friday cut his eyes at Trent and gave a small, sharp nod to indicate he should take a seat. Once they were all seated, Paptimus looked to the woman in the room and said, "Reccoa, we can finish our discussion later." As she moved to leave, he turned back to Trent and Friday and sat quietly for a moment before beginning in a measured tone, "I've decided to speak to you partially at Capt. Friday's request and partially for your own benefit, in a manner of speaking." He rested his hands on the arms of his chair and continued, "You're still alive and have maintained command of your fleet for this long, captain, so I know you are not a stupid man. And so, out of respect for you, I may be somewhat blunt this afternoon.

"First and foremost, we both know that not only the Titans, but all of humanity is vastly better off with Jamitov Hymem and Bask Om dead. They could have accomplished so much for so many with the power they wielded but they squandered it, instead choosing to waste the colony laser on the pointless murder of civilians who were simply acting in their own best interests." He crossed his legs, his somewhat relaxed appearance contrasted with the way his speech always seemed to sound a bit rehearsed. Perhaps he simply was as gifted at public speaking as people said. "I do not intend to frivolously use that gift of might on petty revenge or other useless trifles," he asserted, "I can use the Titans and the colony laser to bring about the sort of world Jamitov was too stubborn and reactionary to conceive of! The Earth sphere has so much potential to be a place of peace, order, and understanding if only we had the right person to focus our energy and lead us into a new age."

Scirocco stopped and chuckled, reining in his energy a bit. "No, Capt. Trent, I am not that person," he said, warding off that thought, "I only aspire to be that person's herald." He looked to Black briefly before continuing, "I don't know exactly what Capt. Friday has told you about our ultimate goals, but that is not the main point of our meeting today in any case so I will move on."

"Right," said Trent, his tone flat though he was caught off-guard by Scirocco's comments, not to mention his views on Jamitov. Scirocco had meticulously cultivated a public image of loyalty to Jamitov since arriving in the Earth sphere, so hearing him admit that Jamitov and Bask had run the Titans into the ground was a blindside. Still, in spite of the apparent honesty on Scirocco's part - in spite of the Jovian's affable and even inviting demeanor - Trent kept his guard up. "I can appreciate your being candid, Scirocco, but we're not going to waste much time, are we? I have matters to deal with on my own ship, so personal speeches are low on my list."

Keeping up guard was easier said than done. The ripples in the stream of Trent's awareness had grown larger and more rapid since entering the room, and he had trouble concentrating because of it. But unlike Friday's mental meddling, Trent's loss of concentration was not accompanied by headaches or nausea; instead, he felt greater comfort than he could remember. A certain easygoing feeling he only now realized he had. Waves crashed lazily against a distant shore of consciousness.

"Speech? No," Scirocco shook his head, "But we have some very personal matters to address here before you return to your ship." He gestured to Friday, indicating that he wanted one of the documents the man had brought with him. "Interestingly the colony laser has cast such a large shadow over our actions that it is related to my first point, as a matter of fact," he said, holding his hand out until Black passed him the right papers. He flipped the packet open and skimmed it for a moment, and then clarified, "Captain, on 7 December, 0087 you carried out a set of high priority orders in Hatte that were signed by Bask Om."

A coldness settled into Trent's gut at those words, but he remained stone-faced and silent as Scirocco went on, "According to our records it was your flagship that acted as a relay to send targeting data to the colony laser at Gryps. The colony laser was test fired that day and 18th Bunch in Hatte was destroyed for their alleged associations with the AEUG." He flipped a page without looking up at Trent. "You also made a delivery of certain gas canisters to a ship called the Latium on the 7th. I'm sure you're aware of what became of Hatte's 21st Bunch," he said dispassionately. He looked up from the papers and smiled faintly, "But here I am telling you things you already know again."

Trent was numb and didn't know how long he'd been so. A distinct sensation shot through his chest - the knowledge that he was being cornered and had no way to stop it. He knew he was saying exactly what Scirocco wanted him to say when he responded with "What are you getting at, exactly? I'm not proud of what I did, even if they didn't clue me in on what was really going on. If you're trying to pin me down as one of Bask Om's dogs, then you have the wrong man."

Black Friday laughed quietly, and Scirocco shook his head. "No, Captain, I don't doubt that you're a good man and you wouldn't have done those things if you weren't being coerced by the thuggish power Bask held over you all. I am questioning neither your loyalty nor your humanity," Paptimus answered, lowering the papers he held. Friday held up a different file and picked up where his master left off, his voice filled with counterfeit sympathy, "What happened last year is part of your reality now, Andrewson, even if you would never have willingly taken part in those unfortunate events."

Scirocco took the new file and flipped it open. "Not a poor choice of works, Capt. Friday," he said with a small nod, "The unfortunate reality you and I live in has led us down a path that allows for few outcomes. The potential of defeat at Gryps 2 is one outcome, but that is not the end of the narrative for us," He upturned his hand and clarified, "Any of us."

Friday picked up again, "What he means is, after the hypothetical loss of the war, the Earth Federation and their new friends in the AEUG aren't likely to be satisfied with merely placing most members of the Titans into military prisons." He slipped a document with a photograph attached to it from the folder in his lap. "We already know that the Federation is cooperating with the AEUG on the moon, for example, and there have been a few courts martial organized there for captured Titans personnel," he explained, holding up the paper. It appeared to be a copy of a very brief EFSF court document. "To be frank, there have been multiple executions; most of the men killed have had some connection to the old regime's reprisal attacks and heavy-handed colony garrisons. At least, the Federation has gone out of their way to find those connections. You'd be surprised what they can uncover when they set out to find something." Just enough of the picture attached to the paper was showing from behind it that Trent could make out what was clearly a Titans officer that had been shot dead.

He shrugged, putting the document away without offering it to Trent. "These show trials are unfortunately being accompanied just as often by informal executions carried out aboard AEUG vessels, and it appears that that sort of behavior is being condoned. Ignored, at the very least. We don't believe that is likely to change in the future."

"I see," said Trent, his voice much softer than he'd intended. He repeated himself, louder this time, "I see." He sucked in a deep breath as he leaned back in his seat, then made a production of removing his hat and placing it in his right armrest. The stream in his mind rushed. Then his eyes widened for only a moment as he was struck with a thought. He looked back up, directly at Scirocco. "If the EFSF were to capture Taskforce Echo, they'd only want my head, as the commanding officer. I can't imagine they'd extend sentences to the rest of my crew and pilots."

Black answered rather than Scirocco, tapping on the folder he had just closed for effect, "As things stand, that doesn't seem likely." Paptimus steepled his fingers and expounded upon that curt answer, "The Federation and AEUG seem to have taken to finding anyone with any connection to gas attacks to make examples of them, and the use of the colony laser should be no different. They're treating it as if entire ships' crews are tainted by it. Everyone is complicit in their eyes, down to the cooks and quartermasters." There was a short silence between the men as Friday rustled his papers putting them away. "We've seen it before," he said, "The last time it was us 'taking revenge' at the end of the last war. Fundamental fairness and due process were not foremost in our minds when Zeon capitulated. I witnessed some of it myself after A Baoa Qu." That flicker of a smirk returned, and he added sardonically, "Perhaps it's karma."

Trent's gaze lowered to his knees, a darkness coming over his eyes; his jaw clenched and unclenched repeatedly as the silence grew and filled the room. The waves came down in deafening crashes. After the silence had hung between the men for an eternity, Trent slowly, deliberately sat himself upright again while tilting his head up to meet Scirocco's. The Echo commander's visage had hardened considerably, his brow set low enough that only the lower halves of his eyes were visible; his features immovable. "What do you need from me?"

Paptimus Scirocco smiled faintly, but it didn't appear to be out of arrogance - rather he seemed to be projecting a sense of sympathy. "Capt. Trent, all I require from you is Taskforce Echo's experience and determination. I must have the colony laser or we are all finished. The Federation and the AEUG will have our heads one way or another, make no mistake. This is a do-or-die mission in the truest sense, because we will not have another chance," he answered, leaning forward slightly. He rested back in his seat after letting that sink in for a moment, and continued, "Do not let despair distract you though, captain. I have much to offer in return for your loyal service. Once things have been made right and I have the colony laser, I'll be in a position to allow you to sever all ties with the military and quietly retire. You can walk away from this, no questions asked. Accomplish this one goal with me and you are a free man."

"It’s a deal, Scirocco," Trent’s face softened slightly as he set his hat firmly back on his head. He was still securing it as he began to stand up.

"There is one other thing," Friday interrupted, standing up as well. Trent stopped halfway through turning to the door and swiveled his head to face Scirocco’s fixer. "Ah, yes," Scirocco said after thinking it over for a second or two, "The situation with Ritter." He rose from his chair and looked to Black rather than Trent. "Why has he not been killed yet?" he asked, the question directed mostly at Capt. Friday.

Obviously not expecting to be questioned himself, Friday blanked for a moment before recovering into a wavering half-answer, "Well, sir, you see, I've been very meticulous thus far, just as you requested." It was likely the first time Trent had seen Friday not in total control of the situation he was in.

"I understand that," Scirocco said, his voice changing just slightly, "But we're very close to a vital operation and I was hoping to have the minor annoyance of his family out of the picture."

Whatever that shift in inflection was, it set Friday on edge. "Sir," he began, jaw clenched, "I've seen to it that his entire immediate family is dead, and all of his clan's major supporters are as well, save the one with him now. I was waiting until the other loose ends were tied up before removing Wolf Ritter himself - there's nothing between him and us anymore."

"I see," Paptimus said, staring at Friday for a few seconds more. "Make sure you are not overconfident about your control of the situation," he finally spoke again, "And get it done before he has the chance to become a problem." Turning from Friday back to Trent, he held his hand out towards the door they had entered through. "Thank you for your time, Capt. Trent. Now that you have a full understanding of things I'm sure you will come through for me when the time comes," he said politely, though his voice still carried a strange controlled timbre.

"Oh yes," said Trent, his eyes shifting back and forth between the two men, "I understand everything clearly. Next time we meet will be in the Gryps control room." He gave a salute without turning, then proceeded to the door without another word.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:16 pm 
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-Hepburn-

Got-damnit..

With the rapid dispersal of the group, Hepburn had missed his chance to convey what he wanted to say. As such.. he left Aaron, Jason, and Grace to slip from his audience with a bit of help from Leandro.

Much ado about nothing now..

Jack pulled a slip of paper from his jacket and hastily scribbled something on it. Looking down the hall, he slipped it under the door, careful to make sure that no bit of it extruded from his end of the threshold. A simple one line read on the note:

"I'm taking Ritter down with Te'litha's help... keep your head down and make a run for it when you can... we're not out for you guys."

Slipping the pen into his jacket, he kicked away from the door, knocking twice before grabbing a gripper and heading down the hallway toward a corner. By the time Jason would notice the note, Jack would turn the corner and find himself staring down Darren at the far end of the hall.

Hitting the brake on the gripper, he halted himself and acknowledged the Ritter lackey.

"Darren.."

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:09 pm 
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"I certainly hope so. After the little debris belt mishap, I get the feeling the other mobile suit teams won't tolerate anymore screw ups."

“But let’s not dwell on that, Alex. I don’t intend to meddle with the composition of your MS team. After this offensive, the Gryps colony laser will make Paptimus Scirocco an incredibly powerful man. What are your thoughts on that, Alex? The most powerful man in the Earth sphere, a Jovian?”

Thats right, Paptimus Scirocco or 'The Man From Jupiter' as he was sometimes called, had indeed become one of the most powerful figures in the Earth Sphere "Well it certainly is a bit ironic for the Titans. An organization that promotes earthnoid supremacy is now led around by a man who's lived in space his entire life to my knowledge"

"Personally I don't really trust him. He gives all these big speeches but I can't help but think he'd join Axis if it helped him fulfill whatever goal he has"


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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:55 am 
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- Captain’s Quarters -


”Well it certainly is a bit ironic for the Titans. An organization that promotes earthnoid supremacy is now led around by a man who's lived in space his entire life to my knowledge. Personally I don't really trust him. He gives all these big speeches but I can't help but think he'd join Axis if it helped him fulfill whatever goal he has.”

“Alex, you have good instincts for someone your age. Unfortunately, not everybody can see so clearly. Bask Om understood the responsibilities and sacrifices needed to protect Earth’s interests, but now we have a man from Jupiter in charge, and we have no clue about his long-term agenda.”

Berg maintained an attitude of erudite calm. After swishing the glass in his hand once or twice, he finished off the small amount of scotch that was left in it.

“Alex, I won’t keep you here too much longer. It’s good to know where your mind is on these matters. The Earth Federation we know and love is under attack by Spacenoids and their sympathizers, and it seems true Earthnoids like us - the ones who aren’t bowing to these invaders - have become a rare species. We need to look out for each other, know who the enemy is, and make sure to cut out the deadweight holding us back. I’m counting on you to keep a clear head out there and remember what’s good for Earth is good for the Titans - the real Titans - and for you.”

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Grace was unusually quiet after escaping the crowd in the hallway, which left Jason a bit worried but there was still a few unanswered questions he needed to find out before he could relax. He also thought about keeping Grace busy by helping which should enlighten her mood .

"I still need to figure out a few things, like why Arron wanted to see me," Walking toward the door he picks up a note. "Why don't you see where our C.O. stands...-well at least this question is answered," Jason says with a grin before handing over Hepburn's note to Grace as he leaves.


~~~~

- Pilot’s Lounge -

Jason quickly enters the room and scouts the area for any sign of Arron. He takes a table away from the crowd and continues to look around for him.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:26 pm 
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- Corridor -

“I’d join you, Aaron,” said Leandro, “But Kyle and I need to run some final tests on the Extras.”

“Thanks,” he said with a slight smile,” I understand. Work needs to get done before the next battle.”

The gripper then pulled him away towards the Pilot's Lounge. He didn't want to go all the way to the mess hall, but he still had to keep up his reason to be excused.

- Pilot’s Lounge -

Finding a table to himself after getting a coffee tube and a small donut, Aaron sat in deep thought. He knew he had to speak with Jason soon, otherwise it'd be too late. For now though he'd have to sit and wait till the corridors around the pilots quarters cleared up.

Fortunately for him the wait wouldn't be long as Jason stepped into the lounge and took a seat. Playing it cool, Aaron waited to make his way over and as he did he first stopped at another vending machine and purchased another coffee tube. Finally he walked over to the table that Jason was sitting at, hoping not to draw any attention.

“Sorry to hear that you were transferred to another team,” he said sitting down across from Jason, “do you have a few minutes to go over some details from the last battle?” a quick wink let Jason know that it wasn't what he really wanted to talk about.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:25 pm 
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-The Kalinin-
-Hangar-

It briefly amused Alpha that something could relieve and cause him stress. Even though it was simulated, the action had been fun for a bit. He'd sat back and let them run through two simple missions on their own, which lasted a total of ten minutes before they'd ended in failure. Bate had taken part in the next two, leading them as if it was a normal combat situation against the computer controlled Nemos. Bate had mainly fooled around. The enemy was set to have a fairly slow reaction time, and for his Marasai and skill, he literally flew circles around some of them while commanding the three idiots. The slowed reaction times should have more than made up for the fact that their Hizacks weren't quite as good as the Nemo, and Bate's instructions should have made it childs play...

But it wasn't, for their basic piloting skills remained awful. Craig was a decent shot when he stopped moving, having actually taken down a pair of Nemos in one battle. But it was suicide to stand still and track targets in the manner he had, which even the dumb simulator had proven when a Nemo had killed him as Craig fired on a third plodding target. Sunoue and Hicks had both managed one kill each in those runs, but had been shot down twice.

They'd done a few more, with similar results, before Bate had finally had enough and flew against the rookies himself. It had been the longest battle for the other three, close to twenty minutes, solely because Bate had toyed with them again. Without using his beam rifle, always keeping at a speed slower than the Hizack's max, he'd slowly hacked them apart with his beam saber. It had helped get some of his anger at them out of his system, at least, for the time being, but the fact that they hadn't landed more than a handful of glancing shots on him, and none of them serious, just added to his concern. He'd let them go back to fighting digital Nemos, occasionally joining with them in further attempts to aid the trio, but after another hour and a half, Bate pulled the plug on it.

The three met him on the catwalk in the hangar. All three looked exhausted, with Hicks looking as if he was about to pass out. "Alright, you three have the next hour for yourself, then be back here for another two in the sims before whichever of you has the alert after Runnels. I want the other two to work on landings and the other non combat crap, okay?" Bate said quietly, suprising the pilots who were becoming used to him being annoyed at them. As one, they nodded, and were waved out of the hangar.

Alpha kicked off the catwalk and headed to the little maintenance office on the floor. It was there that the data from the simulators was collected and printed. The head mechanic was looking over a computer screen showing the results as Bate floated in and quickly scanned over them as well.

"Well s***..." Bate muttered. As expected, the hard data on the three pilots was beyond terrible. The scores on things like weapons accuracy were so poor that Bate wondered if the people at Nijmegen even taught pilots how to shoot...

"They did fare a little better on the next to last one." The chief pointed out. He wanted the pilots to do better too, mainly because he was fearing what kind of wrecks they might bring in to his short handed crew after the pilots were in real combat.

"Let's hope it's something." Bate sighed as he grabbed the last pages as the printer spit them out. "We'll find out in an hour. Everything else okay?"

"Yes sir." The mechanic nodded. All five machines were as ready as he and his people could make them. Bate nodded and left the office and headed for the exit. He wanted to look over the data in his room and compare it to previous runs, hoping, but not expecting to see some real improvement in their skills...

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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:50 pm 
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Jason sat up when Aaron arrived at his table, he hardly knew the man and only flew out on one mission together before he was transferred. This should be good he thought to himself secretly hoping that Aaron had some information to give him since he wanted to meet.

“Sorry to hear that you were transferred to another team, do you have a few minutes to go over some details from the last battle?”

"Huh?" Sensing that Aaron wanted to talk about something on the down low, he replied in a hushed tone.
"Honestly, I'm pretty glad to be out of that psychopath's squad," Looking up to see if anyone was in earshot, Jason notices only a few people in the far corner. He leaned toward Aaron and continued in a lower tone.
"I'm not gonna beat around the bush with you since you seem like a good guy. In fact you remind me of ME about four months back only more ignorant," again he looks around to see if anyone was near.

"I'm just not into this cause anymore...I don't know when I lost the gusto for it. Maybe when I saw the colony laser tear through a colony in 18th Bunch or just about witnessed the Commodore's assassination...I tell ya, a year ago I could've cared less how many civilians were sucked out that hole but-,"

Jason sits back looking at the other people go about their business, "Now, I can't see where killing civilians or each other will defeat the AEUG much less protect the Earth. No. I found something new. Something I want to protect..it's my future..whether AEUG is in it or not I don't care but it's not possible as long as I remain on this ship,"

Drossel's eyes shift toward Aaron as he grips the table "Look, don't even be in the same universe as Nick. I got good word that Te'Litha is going down next battle. I would assume anyone near him will also be taken care of...so get out now! Let them kill each other off!" he warns in a shushed yell.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:36 am 
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- Near Gryps 2 -

- The Kirov -
- Corridor -

Daren mentally kicked himself for zoning out just long enough to allow the hallway meeting to break up without him immediately leaving the area as Jackson floated into view around the far corner he had been resting opposite. Hepburn abruptly stopped the lift grip he was using and rumbled simply, "Daren...". "Ltjg. Hepburn," Daren answered flatly. He rested his hands loosely on his belt. In a surprisingly more talkative manner than usual, he continued, "So by the sound of it you don't appreciate taking orders from Paptimus Scirocco,". He slowly shifted his hands and crossed his arms, "If I were you, I'd be careful about making more enemies at a time like this. I mean, crossing Wolf Ritter is one thing, but...". He shrugged slightly. "Don't you have a job to do? Your choice, I suppose."

- The Jupitris -
- Bridge -

Capt. Friday watched in silence as the launch that was to ferry Trent back to his ship left the Jupitris' cavernous hangar and slowly boosted away on it's trip. "So how did it go? Is your science experiment getting passing marks?" Haifan grunted from a nearby bank of operators. "As a matter of fact, yes," Black answered bluntly, "I've been given a task and it is nearing completion,". He said nothing about Scirocco's question about Ritter still being alive. And he hadn't dared to speak to anyone about his own small doubts about the showdown at Gryps 2. What they had said to Trent was a small, cherry-picked sample of half-truths stretched and tortured to their very limits. There were no sanctioned death squads or rampant revenge killings, of course. Still, he knew that the Titans fleet was nearly worn out and that taking on the remainder of the AEUG and Haman Karn's Axis would push them to a break point. Haifan blew out a breath dismissively, and quiet settled over the bridge for a few moments. "You know," Friday said, suddenly breaking the silence, "I've been meaning to ask you about your uniform,". Haifan slowly turned from his supervision of the crew and repeated questioningly, "My uniform?". He looked down at his tan jacket and trousers and said, "What about it?".

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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:32 am 
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"Look, don't even be in the same universe as Nick. I got good word that Te'Litha is going down next battle. I would assume anyone near him will also be taken care of...so get out now! Let them kill each other off!"

Aaron took everything in that Jason has to say. He got right to the point, which was ballsy with how things were playing out on the ship. But Jason was right with his assumption.

"Yes, I mean, I agree with you on that," he said in reference to Jason's advice to Nick, "First chance I get I'm pealing away from him and Hepburn."

He bit his lip for a second, now that Jason had confirmed to him that he was done with the Titans it should be easy to go ahead with what he wanted to discuss. Yet, he was still hesitant. Was Jason just setting him up? At this point he had no choice but to stick it out and take his chance with Jason.

"The real question is: where do I go after I get away from Nick?" Leaning in he spoke softer. "We need to protect one another out there if we're going to have any hope of making it... But where are we going to go once we get away?"

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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:38 pm 
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Jason was surprised at how fast Aaron had given in to the notion of defecting. Maybe he was wrestling with the idea for awhile or this was some sort of trap, but either way there was no time to find out. He figured that their chances would improve with a larger number.
Hardly a place to discuss defection in the near empty mess hall but he decided to trust his instincts and lay out his plan to escape with Grace.

"Seeing as this next battle will be for all the chips, we assume that the Federation will have a few eyes in the area. So the plan is to meet up mid-battle once they're spotted by way of signal flare. If all else fails we go over to the AEUG but we'll try to avoid THAT if at all possible," Looking around Jason gets up "That's the best we've come up with so if you're willing we're lucky to have you if not I'll appreciate you not spilling the beans. We'll meet one more time right before we sortie in case there are any changes, so now if you excuse me I have some last minutes details to check."

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