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  1. - Top - End - #841
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    NinjaGuy

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    Captain Brighton nods, as Athrusa describes a feeling she's felt herself, her expression both sympathetic and comradely.

    "I'm sorry, Athrusa. Experiencing that....it's hard. It's really, really hard. It does sound very similar to what Newtypes can experience if we open ourselves too much. Or...if we've not learned how to control our abilities well enough, yet."

    She nods to Yuuki, before looking back to Athrusa, and speaking cautiously. She doesn't want to alarm Athrusa, but it sounds like this might be bothering the young pilot more than she's letting on.

    "If you want, we can try and find the system in your suit, and turn it off. It sounds like some echo of the former pilots is left. I've...heard rumors of such things happening to certain Newtype-use suits, and for awhile it was thought that Sazabi's AI might have absorbed something of that nature, before it had a proper pilot, but this is the first time I've heard of it in a baseline-use suit. It's up to you, though."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  2. - Top - End - #842
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    Athrusa looks to Yuuki with a sympathetic look on her face. She's quiet for a longer moment. "I'm not going to lie - it is pretty overwhelming to experience at first, but..."

    She bobs her head one way, her ears wiggling up and down in her consternation. "I don't feel Nephy -- well, that's what I'm calling it, anyway... I've seen the term 'ZERO' in it too... I don't think Nephy is malicious?" She frowns, a bit puzzled. "That sounds a bit odd to describe a system, but I feel like seeing both Kaydara and Mattias' memories in it made me think it does its best for its pilot. It's just a lot of strain, I think..."

    She pumps her hands up to psyche herself, looking to Yuuki. "I'm sorry to make you worry! But I want to try to learn more about it... because I think the memories in it might be able to help us someday, sooner or later. But... I'd be okay if you wanted a remote override if the worst case happens, Captain."

  3. - Top - End - #843
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    Yuuki shakes her head at Athrusa. "No, don't apologize for that. It's my own hangup, not something you did wrong."

    "But ZERO, huh... We could try asking some of the older engineers to look into it. I doubt they would know anything if it hadn't been discovered before, but maybe somebody will know somebody else. Even if it's just about how it could theoretically work."

    "I've heard rumors about people experimenting with Gundam piloted by AI way back in the Universal Century," Yuuki muses. "If it was real, maybe this 'ZERO' had something to do with that."
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  4. - Top - End - #844
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    Grahn nods, salutes and returns to his duties, allowing IVan and Agrias to get on with their mission. The dock space gives way to a commercial district once they're outside the berthing area, with vendors selling everything from weapons and ammunition to clothes, uniforms, food, electronics and spare parts. There are even a few places purporting to be mobile suit dealerships, some with suits dating back a hundred years or more. It will take the pair half an hour to reach the sector tram station on foot, where they can transfer to a tram and reach other sectors of the station relatively quickly, if they go directly there, but given their mission, it may be prudent to try and take a more circuitous route in case anyone is watching.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Describe how you're going to approach getting to the tram station guys.




    Captain Brighton shakes her head.

    "If you're fine with it how it is, then I'm fine continuing the way things are, Athrusa. I just wanted to offer the option if it was a problem." She looks to Yuuki. "We could try asking around, I suppose. Maybe Anaheim knows something, too, I can see if we can get Director Skye to do some checking on that end. It doesn't sound like a fully autonomous piloting system to me, though. It wouldn't need Matthias or this...Kaydara, was it? Their memories, in order to function. For that matter, it wouldn't need a physical pilot, either."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  5. - Top - End - #845
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    Yuki looks down, frowning. "I guess I don't know what it could be then, since the Nephilim doesn't have psycho-frame in it. But if Athrusa thinks it's helpful then I guess it doesn't really matter what it is."
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  6. - Top - End - #846
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    "I don't think it's fully autonomous," Athrusa admits. "I remember a moment where it was seeking a pilot for input. But other than that... it was a strong and convincing enough presence to me. I don't know much about AI, but I almost feel like it's more like it 'chooses' not to, rather than 'can't'..."

    She tilts her head and shyly smiles. "But ah, I don't know the technology at all -- Yuuki's right in that there's no psycho-frame on the mobile suit. If Director Skye or Anaheim can offer some clues, that'd be great."

  7. - Top - End - #847
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    Captain Brighton nods.

    "I'll poke them and see what I can turn up. I do seem to remember something in the history books about the original RX-78 having some kind of 'learning computer' in it....perhaps it's some sort of evolution of that technology. After all, the Solarians are the ones with the most records from that time; even Anaheim didn't get more deeply involved until later in the First Contact War."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  8. - Top - End - #848
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    "Well, if nothing else," Yuuki says with a laugh, "this whole discussion is making me really glad that the Shura doesn't have any systems like that built in. Though I bet my total lack of psychic potential would probably mean they wouldn't be of much use anyway."
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  9. - Top - End - #849
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    "Well, despite what Qualia wanted me to be, I also didn't really awaken any Newtype potential..." Athrusa smiles at Yuuki. "And I think you'd be tough enough to handle it if it really came down to it."

    She listens to Captain Brighton's words, though. So the RX-78 had something like that too... she wasn't up on the history of that era.

  10. - Top - End - #850
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    "If it turns out to be beneficial, we might be able to copy it and put it into the other Gundams," Captain Brighton muses, before she's interrupted by a beeping from one of the screens. The Vengeance's XO appears on the screen. Commander Ellis looks paler than usual, and worried, his wiry frame exuding concern that's palpable even through the screen.

    "Captain, I'm sorry to interrupt, but we've a situation. Several situations, actually. Are you able to return to the bridge? Oh, and...perhaps the Ensigns should accompany you. I believe this may affect the entire crew of the ship, but perhaps two of the Gundam pilots can help."

    Captain Brighton raises an eyebrow in worry, and more than a little confusion.

    "What's wrong, Micah?"

    "I believe the Captain should see this with her own eyes. I'm sorry to be so cryptic, Ma'am, but..." His eyes slide to the side for a moment, as though he's looking at something just off-camera.

    "All right, we'll be there soon." He nods to her and cuts the connection as she stands and stretches. "Well, ladies, let's go see what this is about."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  11. - Top - End - #851
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    Athrusa has a bit of hesitation when the Captain mentions they could copy the Nephy and put it on the other Gundams. Copy Nephy...? Her brain kind of starts going down the path on whether it'd still be Nephy... but she catches the fact that that's a terribly huge rabbit hole to fall down into.

    The Commander's concern is more pressing anyway. "Ah..." she nods a few times, looking to Captain Brighton. "I'm with you, Captain." She proceeds to the bridge with the rest.

  12. - Top - End - #852
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    When the Captain mentions copying the Nephilim and putting it in the other Gundams, the image of the Shura with giant angel wings welded to it springs into Yuuki's head and she barely suppresses a giggle.

    That bit of mirth is ended when the Commander radioes and Yuuki schools her face back into a more serious expression. "Alright, Captain," she says. "I guess let's head for the bridge. I just hope it's nothing too, too dangerous."
    Main character-ish avatar by Oneris.
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  13. - Top - End - #853
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    Lt. IVan Tessera

    IVan nods to Agrias in response and gives out all of the appropriate salutes before heading out the dock.

    He does his best to play it cool, but he looks unmistakably stiff, like he's never been out for a simple stroll in his life. Worse yet, he keeps fussing with his hair. "Perhaps it's getting too long. Regulations for this sort of thing exist for a reason, I suppose. It would be a shame if it affected my performance."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

  14. - Top - End - #854
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    NinjaGuy

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    Strolling along the streets, Agrias and IVan might be surprised to see that there aren't a lot of people out today, at least, near the docking bays. As they get closer to the sector transfer tram, it starts to become more crowded, not just with humans, but with a good number of aliens as well. The station truly is a melting pot, though none of the people, human or not, seem to give Agrias or IVan a second look.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    If you two want some time to interact, that's fine, otherwise, I can skip ahead to you arriving at your destination.





    Captain Brighton leads the way onto the bridge, where the XO is staring with an annoyed expression at two of the large viewscreens. Viewscreens which are filled with two different sights. One is a deep-space image of a very large pirate cruiser, judging by its markings. The other is a group of sentients, at least one of which, Yuuki and Athrusa might recognize from their mission earlier.

    "What's going on?"

    Commander Ellis salutes, and nods at the pilots.

    "The Red Devils, Ma'am. Seems they're having a bit of an internal conflict. In the station's back yard here." The image on the first screen shifts as one of the operators pulls a feed from a different camera. On screen, several dozen mobile suits launch from a different ship, heading towards the ship that was previously shown.

    A man on the second screen pipes up.

    "The station as a whole would like to hire you and your suits, Captain. The mercenary guild representatives have shown us the footage from your proposal earlier today, but they can't necessarily intervene without perhaps alienating the Red Devil forces on the station. You're not officially affiliated yet, and your XO says you're here to resupply, that you're not staying, so you are the safer option for us as a whole. What do you say?"

    Captain Brighton looks quite surprised for a moment, and raises an eyebrow at Yuuki and Athrusa, before responding.

    "Well, normally I wouldn't want to get involved, but....anything we can get will help our mission. Still, I'm not fond of the idea of sending my pilots in without knowing what they're up against. What do you two think, Ensigns?"
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  15. - Top - End - #855
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    "An internal conflict?" Athrusa tries to make sure she understands the situation correctly. A pirate cruiser, and other people deploying to repel against it... "I don't mind myself, Captain, I don't really want to leave anyone in trouble. Can you tell us more about what's going on, though?"

  16. - Top - End - #856
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    Yuuki hesitates. "I...I don't know, Captain. I don't want to have to fight people, but we are going to contract with some of these people soon. So I guess we should go help them. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, or something like that," she finishes lamely.
    Main character-ish avatar by Oneris.
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  17. - Top - End - #857
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    NinjaGuy

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    Captain Brighton nods at both of her pilots. The generals and the station master do indeed provide more details, including a sizeable payout, which includes some badly needed munitions and spare parts. Yuuki and Athrusa barely have to do much more than make a pass or two at the pirate forces before they're either wiped out or give up and retreat. The pirates' equipment isn't in as good of shape as it had looked from afar. In a few hours time, they're safely back aboard the Vengeance, with the station master's reward and thanks already on its way.


    During that time, Agrias and IVan manage to get into about three kinds of trouble. Sharkey directs the pair to a clandestine meeting between a rival pirate gang and one faction of the Red Devils, conveniently, one of the factions that Yuuki and Athrusa manage to drive off. When their ride doesn't show up, the Devils try to bail on their rivals, sparking a fight, but also an opening. In the confusion, IVan and Agrias manage to steal the weapon blueprints back. Unfortunately, the confusion doesn't last long, and the pair are pursued back towards the ship by two now irate pirate groups. Agrias manages to successfully bluff them that she's carrying the documents, while she sends the real ones with IVan back to the ship, vowing to meet him there. Unfortunately, she doesn't show up when he does.

    Everyone is just managing to catch each other up when the Vengeance recieves a call. After a moment, the Gundam pilots are paged forwards to the bridge.

    On-screen is an impressed-looking Sharkey, who waits until IVan shows up before speaking. The woman is hard-faced, but attractive in a way, and she grins when the Gundam pilots appear.

    "Well, well, we meet again, sugar. I caught up with your girl just as she was disposing of those goons. Who knew you two were full-fledged soldiers in the Alliance? You sure fooled me. And a bunch of other folks." She chuckles, taking a draw off of the cigarette hanging from her lips. "But see, I got friends in high places, and well, we could really use someone like her around here. Station master thinks so, too."

    Captain Brighton looks less than enthused. "Get to the point. Why'd you ask for all of my pilots?"

    Sharkey just gives the Captain a smug grin. "Wanted to see the pilots who gave those knuckleheads something to think about. And...to make a business proposition, since you've gone and made yourselves known to a faction that ain't none too friendly, see. They're fixin' on ambushin' you once you clear the system. Now, I can make all that go away....for a price."

    Captain Brighton takes a deep breath. "And that would be?"

    "You station one of your fancy-dancy Gundams here, along with a pilot. In fact, I have just the pilot in mind." Sharkey gestures, and Agrias comes into frame. She doesn't exactly look happy, her face is dirty and her knuckles are bruised, but she's otherwise uninjured. She gives Captain Brighton a somewhat embarrassed salute.

    "Sorry, Captain. Once Sharkey caught up to me and we got back here, the station master called and laid out what his people had found out. He was going to call you, but Sharkey offered to instead. He's got some kind of turf war going on here he's trying to keep under control. He told us he'd asked you to help out, and well, Sharkey put two and two together that IVan and I were from the ship, so I sort of offered to stay if you'd clear it with command."

    Captain Brighton doesn't look terribly pleased, as another call comes in. The XO nods, and splits the screen, as the station master comes up on screen.

    "Ah, Captain, I've.....oh, Sharkey's beat me to it, I see. Well, that simplifies matters. I've been told to negotiate for this on behalf of the System Council. I realize you'll need to clear this with your command, but, we're willing to sweeten the pot, as it were. We can provide a lot of materiel that might've otherwise been lost. Sharkey's also mentioned that she'll try and negotiate with some of the factions of the Red Devils to gain their support for the war effort as well."

    Sharkey nods.

    "Not sure how much help they'll be, but it's better than havin' 'em squabblin' amongst themselves while the galaxy goes to hell."

    "We'll give you some time to present this to your command, Captain. We'd like to hang on to Miss Agrias until they've come to a decision."

    Agrias shrugs and nods.

    "I'm willing, Captain."

    Captain Brighton looks about three shades beyond angry, but manages to keep her composure.

    "Alright, then. I'll consult my command and be in touch." Both callers smile and nod.

    "Very good! Contact me right away once you have a decision. Until then." He signs off with a jaunty wave. Sharkey simply sketches a salute, then cuts the contact.

    Captain Brighton's hands slowly close into fists, shaking slightly with anger. IVan can feel the negativity practically roiling from her.

    "Yuuki, Athrusa, IVan, go run maintenance checks on your Gundams and stand by. Have your teams give them a full combat loadout, full fuel, too. I don't trust this, and I'm not sure what command will say, so I want you to be ready. Understood?"
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  18. - Top - End - #858
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    In many ways, this feels so much more complicated than even when they were fighting against the Ragalians. She's worried about Agrias, to be certain, but she's confident the pilot can take care of herself. "Geez, it feels like we're being swindled, doesn't it..." she grumbles, but heads on off and readies herself, boarding the Nephy as she does so.

  19. - Top - End - #859
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    Lt. IVan Tessera

    IVan bristles when Sharkey calls him "sugar." He was accustomed to being flirted or teased with, and given the circumstances. He glances back at the captain. This was bad, the situation was getting under her skin. Even worse, the loss of a suit and pilot could seriously jeopardize their mission, regardless of how command responded.

    "Captain, would it be reasonable to assume you're not interested in taking their offer?" He asks. "I concur. Forfeiting a pilot and a mobile suit, Gundam or not, would be a huge loss to the ship. I... shouldn't have left Agrias behind in the first place..." His attempt at consolation was poor, but he thought he should try. Sympathy or no, he had hoped that sharing some culpability would help the Captain relax.

    He salutes and departs to Sasha's berthing. "Rearm the suit. Refuel and reattach the sturmbooster as well. Combat operations are highly probable," he tells the team. He looks up at the suit, his second body. He was lesser without it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

  20. - Top - End - #860
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    "I don't know if it feels like we're being swindled or if they're trying to cover up kidnapping her," Yuuki says. "But I guess we'll have to just wait to find out."

    She returns to the Gundam hangar and gives a loud whistle to attract her crew. "The Captain thinks we're going to be in a firefight soon," Yuuki tells them, "So she wants a maintenance check run if you guys didn't get one finished after our last engagement. And we're also to go to full combat load out. Can you guys do that for me quickly?"

    After getting their response, Yuuki climbs up the gantry to the Shura's hatch, patting its shoulder armor before getting into the cockpit.
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  21. - Top - End - #861
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    "It happens, IVan," Captain Brighton says in a tone born of long experience. She sketches a quick salute in return to his own and nods. "But thank you."

    The suit crews all seem surprised, but quickly fall in and complete their assigned tasks quickly. The next few hours are the most tense and yet boring affair the pilots have probably experienced. Everyone on the ship seems on edge, but no orders come. Nurse Celeste comes to check on Athrusa a few times, and Itachi does the same for Yuuki. IVan has a short visit from Director Skye, who thanks him for his work that lead to this mess in the first place. After three excruciating hours, an order comes through, though not from Captain Brighton, but rather, from Commander Ellis, the ship's XO.

    "All Mobile Suit pilots, stand down. Special duty roster schedules will be transferred to your personal terminals, but the Captain has ordered that the Gundam Team go off duty for at least eight hours and get some rest. We'll be staggering duty shifts after this, as detailed in the schedules. The Captain will be briefing you tomorrow at 1430 ship time regarding the current situation. Until then, you're off-duty. Enjoy your rest."

    With that, the comms from the bridge cuts, leaving the pilots with at least 8 hours to themselves to do as they like.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  22. - Top - End - #862
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    Waiting, as it turns out, is one of the bigger struggles for someone with a large injury like Athrusa; when she's got something to do, like focus on combat or another task, the meds that keep her sustained and running are less of an issue. But when she's got nothing to do but stew in her own thoughts, they start to nag away at her, and Nurse Celeste's visit does help a lot...

    "Aah... Yuuki, IVan, I'm going stir-crazy. Do you wanna do something like... um," Athrusa tilts her head. "I was gonna suggest, playing a game or something? Do we have something like that? Either video game or board game would both be okay with me..."

  23. - Top - End - #863
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    Lt. IVan Tessera

    IVan grimaces. He was trying to get a nap at least, but sleep had evaded him. Whereas he would normally be annoyed with his rest be disrupted, he's merely agitated that he has to admit defeat.

    "Affirmative, I'll play a game..."
    he says, getting up. He doesn't offer a suggestion for one. The close thing he's done for gaming is the 'games' he would play in the lab when he was much younger. Naturally, he and the other newtypes caught on quick that these were tests, and the scientists thought it would be far more kind and ethical to treat them like adults and tell them the truth. "I'm unsure of what to play. Games aren't one of my... hobbies." The word made his mind wonder. Did he have any hobbies? He must've liked something before coming a soldier, at the very least. It was all so long ago for him. He guesses he enjoys working on his machine, but that's work. He's been conditioned to enjoy work, hasn't he? Does anything he do really count as a decision if he's been programmed to act in certain ways? "It's up to one of you."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

  24. - Top - End - #864
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    Yuuki heaves a sigh and relaxes into her chair, flopping down like a wet noodle. Three straight hours of stress and no way of relieving it have drained her of all her energy, so she's glad for the call to stand down.

    "Sure, I'll play a game," Yuuki replies. "I've always been kind of a muscle head, even before Stechkin, so I don't know many. There's probably loads of cards and flight sims on board, but that's not really the kind of game you're talking about, is it. Much as I hate to admit it," she says, sounding pained, "Akiba might actually be a good person to talk to about finding games."
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  25. - Top - End - #865
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    Default Re: Gundam: Wrath of the Stars IC

    "I guess a pack of cards could do if nothing else is around, but I wanted something we could really all share in, if that makes sense...?" Athrusa gives that some thought. She's glad IVan is onboard too -- she wasn't sure if he would agree. But she perks up and says, "That does sound like a good idea. Let's go see if he has some ideas!"

  26. - Top - End - #866
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    Default Re: Gundam: Wrath of the Stars IC

    It takes a little bit, but eventually the pilots find Akiba sitting by himself in a dark corner of the mess hall, drinking something hot from a large mug. For once in his life, he doesn't seem annoyingly chipper, or excited. He actually seems...kind of sad and subdued. It really doesn't suit him at all, but strange times and all that. He doesn't even wave to them when they come up, though he does manage to sketch a salute at IVan.

    "Something I can help you guys with?" He barely looks at the group, before taking a long pull from his mug. Whatever it is he's drinking, it looks similar to coffee, but it smells very different. A very strong smell of vanilla, but there also seems to be a richness there and hint of other spices. Doesn't smell alcoholic, though, which is probably a good thing, given the expression on his face.
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  27. - Top - End - #867
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    Default Re: Gundam: Wrath of the Stars IC

    Athrusa blinks softly at Akiba's state, perhaps expecting him to be more his usual self. "Did something happen, Akiba?" she puts her hands behind her back, leaning forward gently. "Oh, but... we were wondering if you had any suggestions for games to play. Could be anything, just, we're all feeling pretty pent-up from all that waiting and figured something fun could be a nice break."

  28. - Top - End - #868
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    Default Re: Gundam: Wrath of the Stars IC

    "Pretty sure we're gonna lose the L.T.," Akiba says, before taking another swig from his mug. "But I guess that's just my problem." He thinks for a moment, putting the mug down onto the table and crossing his arms over his chest.

    "Well, there's cards all over the place, and I thought I saw a 3-D chess board floating around somewhere in the officers' lounge, but hmmm...those all kinda seem a little boring." He eyes Athrusa for a moment, then closes his eyes and shakes his head. "Daah, that one's no good, either! I think I've been hanging out those Ooonta techs too long. They're always going on about something they call 'Spinebuster', but from the stories, I think you'd better not, Athrusa. I'd like to stay on the good side of the med staff if I can."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  29. - Top - End - #869
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    Default Re: Gundam: Wrath of the Stars IC

    Athrusa blinks a few times, then puffs up as she gives Akiba a quick hug. Then steps away. "Akibaaa, don't think that, okay? We're all really upset about what happened. None of us are gonna give up on Lt Agrias! Right, Yuuki, IVan?"

    On the topic of games, though... "3-D Chess? I thought 4-D Chess was more popular," Athrusa completely miscontrues the phrase. "S-Spinebuster... Nurse Celeste is going to lecture me soooo bad."

  30. - Top - End - #870
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    Default Re: Gundam: Wrath of the Stars IC

    Lt. IVan Tessera

    IVan returns the salute out of habit, but grimaces at Akiba. He didn't appreciate the comment about Agrias. "If that is the case, I would suggest you improve your attitude in front of the new flight lead," he says coldly. He's in a sour mood, still blaming himself over what happened. Akiba rubbed him the wrong way as it is, so affords himself enough emotion to give him a hard time. "You wouldn't want that, would you Mr. Slater?"
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