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The Umbra of Tartarus

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Joseph

 

     Joseph was a bit surprised by Dane's response. "Actually to notify you...Dane...I haven't seen my mother since I was fairly young. Me and my younger sister were abandoned by my family, so I doubt my mother would recognize me now nor would I recognize her." He took the comments a bit personally. Although he looked like a tough type, he had thin skin.

 

     He heard Erik's comment from afar, and laughed a bit. "Hello Captain Obvious, I think we all knew he wasn't serious." Joseph didn't really like snarky comments, and it made him think quite poorly of the person who states them. "Of course, you did prove that you think you are above us, so round of applause!" He gave a clapping, and turned away snidely. People like him won't go far with their pride... He thought to himself.

 

     He noticed Khalida, the girl who he saw earlier. He was stunned to see how many gadgets she truly had, as she could not even speak with her own voice anymore. At first he stared silently, but thought how his sister always told him how rude it was to stare, so he rubbed the the back of his neck trying to find something to say. What he blurted out, however, was quite rude. "Why exactly did you do all that to yourself? Do you ever regret it...?" My god...I should slap myself about now... He thought after saying it.
 

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A.J.

As the pilot started talking over the intercom, A.J. started to stir awake. The trip was much longer than he had expected and didn't count on falling asleep, but he had work to do once he was there, so he didn't mind the impromptu nap. What he did mind was the passengers starting to speak up. Complaining about food, about how far we've come, about each other's appearance... it was like highschool. Silence was preferred, but everyone talking took attention of of him. Which was preferred, considering it was possible, not likely, but possible that someone would know who he was. He was sure he could cover himself, come up with a lie, and be fine. But someone might have beef with Polaris. That wouldn't be good.

He thought about what the pilot said, light still down there. That means possible data salvage, and that's the whole reason A.J. was there, to get information. Until they landed, however, he just pulled up a dossier on the location while trying not to disturb the very large man with the very large gun beside him.

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Lane

 

The group sat in awkard scilence, fidigeting and eyeing each other suspisiously. Lane was no differnet though she had a bit of an advantage. She looked back down at the handheld screen flashing with the data D4 was currently collecting. He was sitting inconspiculously next to her on the bench, instead of hovering annoyingly around everyones heads, scanning everything but mostly her compatriarts.

 

Yo, is there any food on this piece of junk ship? I ran out of protein bars a few light years back and I’m starving.” As he spoke D4 focused on his face and voice and the screen flashed:

 

Kelly, Dane; 35YOA

Lane didn't even need to read the rest of the info to know who he was.

 

"Standard rations. All in cargo though, I think. It's not that much further." The screen flashed again.

 

 Dr. Summers, Ruby-Jane;48YOA

 

Absently, with eyes still on the screen, Lane shuffled around in her own bag for an energy bar. The last thing she needed was her team passing out before they even arrived. Before she could toss Dane the bar she detected movement out of the corner of her eye and on the hand heald screen.

 

"You owe me some food in desperation later, kid. You need somethin'?" 

 

Williams, Joseph; 27

 

Lane shrugged to herself then tore open the energy bar wrapper with her teeth and took a bite. Might as well keep her own energy levels up.

 

“Call me kid again and I’ll mess up your pretty boy face so bad your own mother won’t recognize you when you get back to your home planet.” Dane snapped. Lane rolled her eyes. She was about to comment on Dane's use of light years in his earlier sentence when another voice joined the conversation.

 

"Actually, given the speed we're going, and given that a single light year is approximately 5.8 trillion miles, if you ran out of food a 'few' light years ago, you would most likely be nothing but dust." Lane focused on him with her own eyes for an extra second, approving, before looking down at the screen.

 

Simmelink, Erik; 27YOA

 

Two PHD's and counting. At least she wouldn't be stuck with a bunch of mercenary soilders this whole time. She might actaully have somone to help her with research. Not to mention Dr. Summers medical prowess and another one of the teams computer science skills. She looked back at D4's scanning history to remember Mehra, Ajay; 31YOA. Not that she was ungratfull to have the teams combat members; on the contrary. She was going to want them around to blast the hell out of any life form or otherwise that tried to disembowel her--after she'd scanned it, of course. Lane looked back at the final memember of the team and frownned. Everytime D4 scanned him the screen would flash Barbosa, Tiberious :ERROR: Loras, Dimitri :ERROR: 38YOA. Lane frowned and tapped the screen, as if it would fix the problem.

 

“It’s called ‘exaggeration’, nerd boy. Look it up.” Dane snarled.  He slapped the protein bar back into the guy’s chest before turning away and muttering under his breath. “Nerds…stupid mission…KID?!…knew it was a bad idea…stupid, stupid…what mercenaries?!…sciency crap…”

 

 "Actually to notify you...Dane...I haven't seen my mother since I was fairly young. Me and my younger sister were abandoned by my family, so I doubt my mother would recognize me now nor would I recognize her." Joseph added to the conversation. He laughed a bit at Erik. "Hello Captain Obvious, I think we all knew he wasn't serious. Of course, you did prove that you think you are above us, so round of applause!" He gave a clapping, and turned away snidely.

 

Lane shuffled in her duffle bag again and pulled out another energy bar and held it out, still looking down at her screen.

 

"This 'sciency crap' is the whole reason you're on this 'stupid mission'." She addressed Dane, speaking for the first time. "You're Dane Kelly, right? I was friends with Chad at the acadamy." The energy bar was still in her hand. She shook it at him ferosicly and stated, "Now eat this so you have enough energy to protect our Nerd asses from whatever, if anything, out there wants to tear our heads off." She stated it with a flat emotionless voice, non-commanding and non-threateninig; simply a statment. "Or, you could take it, if you're going to be so cranky." Here eyes flicked upward to acknowlage she was addressing Joseph.

 

The door slid open. "Forgive me kind sirs for the intrusion. I am model Zahria X43501, however most have delegated me as 'Jeeves' but I will respond to any delegation you desire. It is my honor to inform you that we will be leaving soon. As a safety precaution please can everyone collect their belongings in case we have to make an emergency exit. Tasks and sub-teams will be delegated once we land but I am sure it is nothing you fine citizens have not done before. Please be aware I am entirely at your service! I will take some basic supplies with me and anything you feel you can not carry. My master has given me my instructions but I am subject to your command!"

Another bright smile and bow. 

"Is any further clarification sought?"

 

Joseph spoke again. "Why exactly did you do all that to yourself? Do you ever regret it...?"

 

The girl looked like any other high end android model but something flashed on Lane's screen: Hajjar, Khalida; 35YOA. Lane's mind filled with questions, but she voiced none of them. She broke the awkard scilence that peferated the air. "Nice to meet you, Zahria X43501." Lane dropped the energy bar still in her outstreched hand and wrapped her fingers around the android's/girl's metal ones in a hand shake. "You probably know, I'm Lane Wilcox. Can you tell me when our first deployment is? I'm eager to see what the D.W.A.R.F.'s will collect." As she spoke Lane carefully put D4 back in his place in her duffle bag, and placed the hand held screen's neck strap around her neck.

Edited by Ambassidor

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Khalida

 

"Why exactly did you do all that to yourself? Do you ever regret it...?"

 

Come to think of it, there are times, when not being able to voice the first thing that comes into your head is helpful. Like well keep your mouth shut sewer rat, and go take a running jump and take these freeloaders with you. But as ever, her lips remained sealed in an unwavoring silent, how-may-I-help-you smile. The 'that' Joseph referenced gave her only limited mobility of her mouth, which, while it was helpful in keeping up appearances made interacting feel like she was stuck inside the body of a plastic doll where every curse or sign of exasperation came out twisted into an unrecognisable cliche. 

Still, it gave her time to calm down. She recognised it was silly how defensive she got about her appearance, but it was something she didn't need bringing up when she was in the mindset for work. She tilted her head to the side and with just a second delay she started typing on her keypad which spoke after every word.

"I did not do all of this to myself Joseph, I am an android programmed to support you on your mission here. I am, however, as you note, 'not quite right' as you would say. I am designed to look and act in a manner you will find comforting and familiar, but I am not fully functional. I was just an experimental model and in the process lost my ability to converse as you would with peers, as well as some of my more human features". At this she turned to her right somewhat to show where machine met skin in markings not unlike an animal attack which went down the entire left side of her body and face. It was the same excuse she had given time and time again but in a way she liked it, it was getting to the point she had nearly forgotten the truth, the almost death drive she gained towards cybernetics, modding her body as if to remove any and all of her previous image until she had turned into *this*.

"My masters were most kind in letting me continue to serve, I hope this is not a barrier to our working together". Smile and a bow. Like clockwork. 

Silence filled the air as she remained as composed as ever. But she was.. perturbed. Did he really know she was human? Or just a lapse of judgement on his part?

"Nice to meet you, Zahria X43501." Khalida's thoughts were soon broken however as a hand came and grasped at her cybernetic palm. "You probably know, I'm Lane Wilcox. Can you tell me when our first deployment is? I'm eager to see what the D.W.A.R.F.'s will collect."

 

Bow. Nice to see even in the vast darkness of space manners still existed. "Of course, Mrs Wilcox. We will be arriving momentarily, we are just a few minutes away from the base's parameter, at which point I will deploy proceedings to get us into the cargo hold safely. Once we are, you are welcome to set up your droids as soon as we have secured the area and know that it is safe for you to do so. Your work is invaluable here today so please do as you see fit!".

Edited by slycooper

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Joseph

 

     Joseph was unsure how to respond to Lane. He didn't mean to come off as cranky to her. He looked down a moment, deliberating his option. He figured if he calmed down and accepted the bar, maybe he'd make a better second impression, or he could ignore the statement. He chose to accept the energy bar from Lane, and try to patch things up a bit. "Sorry...I just didn't like his attitude... he should get used to it... I call everyone 'kid'." He sighed, taking a bite, before hearing Zahria explain herself.

 

     He noticed something wasn't quite right. He couldn't put a finger on it, but he wasn't sure he fully believed her story. At the same time, he knew what it was like to want to forget the past, to have new beginnings, so he tried not to make himself object to it. He gave her a small smile, something he hadn't shared with anyone that day yet. "It won't hinder anything, Zahria, I hope maybe we can get to know each other." It seemed strange to say to someone who was a robot, but in this time who said a robot could not have feelings also? "If there is anything you need from me, feel free to call me on."

 

He noticed A.J. awake, and look around. He saw he chose to avoid the conversation, but Joseph chose to eye him a bit anyway. He always felt a tad strange about those who chose to avoid everyone else.

Edited by Jesusismyticket

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Dane

 

Dane got only a few steps away before he heard the petulant voice speak up from behind him. He threw a glance over his shoulder to see the guy’s pouting face.

 

"Actually to notify you...Dane...I haven't seen my mother since I was fairly young. Me and my younger sister were abandoned by my family, so I doubt my mother would recognize me now nor would I recognize her." How did this street rat know his name? Maybe he’s heard of me, Dane’s eyes unfocused for a second with his own importance before he processed what the guy had said. He shook his head.

 

“Aww, boo-hoo. My heart bleeds for you. But if you’re in this business for the long run, you’re going to meet people who have had worse hardship than you. So go grow a pair.”

 

            As he finished talking, he turned fully around to face the boy again and almost jumped out of his skin to see someone standing next to them. She had quietly stood up and interjected herself into their conversation zone. Aw, hell. Should’ve just kept playing my handheld. Or pretended to. Dane glared at the girl. At least she didn’t look like she’d eaten a lemon…like some people did. He flicked a glance at the redhead.

 

"This 'sciency crap' is the whole reason you're on this 'stupid mission'." The girl said to him. "You're Dane Kelly, right? I was friends with Chad at the academy." Dane stiffened. She shook her hand and he saw she was holding a protein bar. "Now eat this so you have enough energy to protect our nerd asses from whatever, if anything, out there wants to tear our heads off."

 

"Or, you could take it, if you're going to be so cranky." She directed at the street rat. Dane stared at the girl. Friends with Chad? He didn’t remember seeing her before, but then again, all those skinny nerds from the Academy had looked the same to him. Whenever he visited Chad, the friends always looked at him in pity, as if they couldn’t believe that Chad had such a brainless brother. As if Chad could make heaps of money off the pointless research he did anyways. Dane sniffed in annoyance.

In fact, he ought to be getting double what he was being paid if he was expected to guard all these muscle-less nerds.

 

He vaguely registered another person had been talking in the room, as his mind drifted. He came back to present when the street rat accepted the energy bar from the girl. Wha--but--that was his energy bar! He scowled and focused on the girl’s bag, where he could see some wrapper poking out.

           

As the girl took a few steps away, Dane walked on her heels, his eyes on the prize. She stopped and began to speak to someone. Without really thinking or caring about who was watching, he snatched the bar from her bag and unwrapped it as he looked around the girl’s shoulders to see who she was talking to.

 

Hey…isn’t that…? All irritation fled. Slowly, he grinned. Well, maybe this mission wouldn’t be such a pain after all. He hadn’t seen Jeeves for a couple of years. They’d met some time ago on a misfortune-laden Lanos-funded adventure. If there was anything he considered a hobby, pushing Jeeves’s buttons was it. Despite her stony demeanor and polite android manners, she somehow exuded a murderous irritation that he found amusing. He rocked on his feet and took a bite out of the energy bar, still smirking at Jeeves over the nerd girl's shoulder.

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 post-40166-0-23539000-1428024086_thumb.jpg

 

Name: Adah Dixon

 

Age: 28

 

Personality: She has a good heart and cares for her fellow man, however, she can be a little difficult to get along with. She is strong willed, a little stubborn, and can be sassy. Given the way she grew up, she is very observant and cautious of her environment as well as the people around her. Despite this, she does tend to rush into things without thinking them through. She is selective about whom she trusts and isn't afraid to speak her mind. She can be quite secretive and lives by the term, "You don't ask, I won't tell you," thus giving her a certain air of mystery.

 

History: Adah's life started out fairly normal. Her parents were both blue-collar, down to earth people  They were seen as "lower class". They didn't have much, but they had each other. That was enough for Adah. And so, for the first five years of her life, that's the way things went Mom and Dad worked day after day to make ends meet while Adah's older sister, Marisa, baby sat her. But things didn't stay that way for long.

 

One day, Adah and Marisa's parents didn't come home. The girls waited and waited but.....they just didn't show up. A couple of hours later, protective services showed up with the news that the girls' parents had been killed in a workplace accident. Without giving the girls even five minutes to mourn, the workers also dropped the bomb that Adah had to be put into a children's home. Marisa was too old to be put into a home, yet too young to take care of Adah. Within out day, Adah had lost her entire family. To this day, the memory of watching her sister wail uncontrollably as she was taken away still haunts Adah.

 

Adah lived in the children's home for years. Children's home. Yeah, more like a children's prison. The walls were bare, the food was bland, and if you didn't follow the strict schedule, you were in big trouble. For the first two weeks, she did as she was told, followed the rules, but made no effort to so much as talk to anyone and sat alone in her room every chance she got. When she did finally venture out into the other parts of the home, she found it to be less than ideal.

 

Most of the kids in the home had formed their own little groups that had no room for Adah. She was a newbie, an outcast. Being that she was only five years-old, she was also easily pushed around. The older kids would pick on her, take her toys, and be just plain mean.

 

One day, the home gave the kids a very rare treat, food that didn't taste like cardboard and sawdust. Adah sat alone in the cafeteria, as she always did, so it was no surprise that she was an easy target for harassment by a bully who insisted she give him her dessert. She had finally had enough of being bullied and refused relinquish her food. This made the boy mad and he stated threatening her. "Take mine instead," a voice suddenly rang out from behind the bully. He turned and received a face full of chocolate cake. "Take my side dish too." A bowl of corn was plopped onto the bully's head. He run away. From that day, the food attacker, Daniel Conners, and Adah became inseparable.

 

Being five years her elder, Daniel was like an older brother to Adah. He watched out for her, and taught her everything he could. Somewhere down the line, the two developed an uncanny ability to find trouble. They often sneaked into restricted areas of the home, as well as hack it's computers to do such things as order toys and good food, gaining them hatred from the home's workers. While it would make sense that the other kids in the home would like them because of their hacks, they were actually targets for bullies. They were smart, they could into the computers, so many kids thought they could manipulate the two into getting them whatever they wanted. When they refused, things could quite often turn ugly. That meant Adah and Daniel needed to learn to defend themselves, which they did. Within a few years, they had become child jack-of-all-trades. Hacking, sneaking, self defense, and the ever useful ability to watch over their shoulders. But they always used these for the greater good, or at least, they tried to.

 

For years, that's the way things were. It wasn't an ideal life, but that what they had. They had each other. Adah had a family again, even if it was just a brother and no one else, she was happy. But life threw her another curve ball. When she was thirteen, a well to do couple came to the home looking to adopt. They were some of those people who specifically wanted a teen. They wanted to give a teen a fresh start, and especially wanted a daughter. Adah.

 

Compared to the home, her adoptive parents' house was a palace. They gave her everything she could possibly want, clothes, computers, and most importantly, they loved her. Even though they weren't too happy about it, they let her stay in contact with Daniel.

 

When she got older, because of her computer skills and that both of her adoptive parents worked there, Adah went to work for Lanos-Exec. She never became a big wig, but she did well in her career as a programmer.

 

While she was just starting her career, Daniel had already been working for years. He had become a computer technician at Lanos and was sent to work on Tartarus. He was on Tartarus when it went dark. Though Adah knew absolutely nothing about the colony, she knew Daniel was there but she hadn't heard from him in a while. Then, when she got wind of the colony going dark, (and she did not find this out by lurking in a hallway outside of a big wig's door) she knew Daniel was in trouble. That's when made the drastic move that ended her career, or rather, started a new one

 

Adah had always rushed into things when she was a kid, and now, as an adult, she still did. Her friend was in trouble, he could even be dead for all she knew. But she had to know. And she couldn't wait for the company to sort things out. Who knew how long that could take?! No, she had a plan of her own.

 

One night, after most everyone else had gone home, she stayed behind to "work late". It wouldn't be the first time she had worked late into the night. so no one paid her any attention. She went straight to her computer and went about her work quickly....well, as quickly as she could. After all, how fast could one hack into the data bank and then into locked files at one of the most high tech companies in existence? But that's exactly what she did. After some three hours, she broke though the system's defenses, and found the file she was looking for. Upon opening it, she found a list of names, to which she added her own. Adah Dixon. Now the newest name on a small list of mercenaries. Not long from now, she would know what had happened to Daniel. No matter the consequences would be, there was no turning back now. Tomorrow, her ship to Tartarus would launch.

 

Equipment: Small, semi-automatic, six shot pistol, an extra ammo magazine, radio, multi-tool pocket knife (including one large and one small blade, scissors, tweezers, pick, file, and tiny flashlight)

 

Cybernetics: Never cared for them.

 

Skills:

Medical Knowledge 3/10

Computers 9/10

Scientific Knowledge 4/10

Combat 5/10

Repairs 2/10

Strength 3/5

Intuition and Perception 4/5

Charm 2/3

Endurance 3/5

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Hi everyone, just to say this RP is now closed to all those who haven't already gotten in contact. Space may be available down the line but right now this RP is much bigger than I had planned for and while this will soon be dealt with by splitting people off, anymore will just be too much

Aaaand back to posting x

Edited by slycooper

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Erik

 

 

 "Hello Captain Obvious, I think we all knew he wasn't serious." Joseph didn't really like snarky comments, and it made him think quite poorly of the person who states them. "Of course, you did prove that you think you are above us, so round of applause!" 

 

Erik looked back up, a little confused. "Of course I don't believe I am above any of you. I wasn't aware any of us held any rank on this mission." He looked from person to person, waiting to see if anyone would correct him.

 

He perked up when the android walked in. He was on his feet in seconds, eyes glued, circling her as if she was his prey. 

 

 "Fascinating..." He poked at the girl's arm, then lifted it up at the elbow. As he did this, he also poked her spine, "This skeleton is synthetic, yes?" He moved his way down her arm and stopped at the keyboard. He looked up at her, questioningly. "I've seen plenty of cybernetic modifications, but I've only come across any as extensive as yours in passing. At first glance, I almost mistook you for an android." He looked longingly at the keyboard on her wrist, "Do you have a moment to talk?" He pulled a notebook out from his back pocket.

Edited by Skadaddle09

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RJ

 

RJ followed Joseph and Dane's conversation with only the slightest interest. She wasn't one to be entertained by the posturing of the young-guns, or anyone else for that matter, but it did provide some useful information. Pride was so often a weakness when the stakes got high... She snickered slightly when Erik and Lane joined the conversation. Although they were all equals here, R.J. had to admit she saw these two as "hers". Like the old highschool in that dusty Kansas town forever ago, still here existed the brains and the brawns. 

 

Suddenly the droid came in, "Forgive me kind sirs for the intrusion". The Droid said, speaking from a device on it's wrist with a mechanical droll.  "I am model Zahria X43501, however most have delegated me as 'Jeeves' but I will respond to any delegation you desire. It is my honor to inform you that we will be leaving soon. As a safety precaution please can everyone collect their belongings in case we have to make an emergency exit. Tasks and sub-teams will be delegated once we land but I am sure it is nothing you fine citizens have not done before. Please be aware I am entirely at your service! I will take some basic supplies with me and anything you feel you can not carry. My master has given me my instructions but I am subject to your command!" The droid bowed, artificually warm. "Is any further clarification sought?"

 

RJ was about to ask about base conditions when Joseph spoke up. "Why exactly did you do all that to yourself? Do you ever regret it...?"

 

The scientist raised an eyebrow and looked over the android. It's likeness was human enough, but not more so than other androids she had worked with. Personally, RJ didn't care for the humanoid androids, especially those who took a human face, or worse, human parts. Give them hearts, give them eyes, give them pieces of a donor's  brain. As far as RJ was aware, Lanos had never delved in such matters, but it sent shivers down her spine just to think about the possibility. How many nightmares had she had of Damian sending a new assistant-droid down to her lab? An oddity with Dichromatic eyes?

 

The droid answered Josefs question. 

 

"I did not do all of this to myself Joseph, I am an android programmed to support you on your mission here. I am, however, as you note, 'not quite right' as you would say. I am designed to look and act in a manner you will find comforting and familiar, but I am not fully functional. I was just an experimental model and in the process lost my ability to converse as you would with peers, as well as some of my more human features My masters were most kind in letting me continue to serve, I hope this is not a barrier to our working together".

 

An awkward silence hung in the air, Josef spoke quietly.  "It won't hinder anything, Zahria, I hope maybe we can get to know each other."

 

The next voice was Lane's, moving onto the original question and ignoring Josephs accusation. 

 

"Nice to meet you, Zahria X43501." The young scientist moved to shake the androids hand. RJ couldn't help thinking this was an unnecessary nicety for a machine. "You probably know, I'm Lane Wilcox. Can you tell me when our first deployment is? I'm eager to see what the D.W.A.R.F.'s will collect."

 

The droid bowed. "Of course, Mrs Wilcox. We will be arriving momentarily, we are just a few minutes away from the base's parameter, at which point I will deploy proceedings to get us into the cargo hold safely. Once we are, you are welcome to set up your droids as soon as we have secured the area and know that it is safe for you to do so. Your work is invaluable here today so please do as you see fit!".

 

"Ok jeeves, but what about...." 

 

Suddenly Erik was next to the android. "Fascinating..." He poked at the girl's arm, then lifted it up at the elbow. As he did this, he also poked her spine, "This skeleton is synthetic, yes?" He moved his way down her arm and stopped at the keyboard. He looked up at her, questioningly. "I've seen plenty of cybernetic modifications, but I've only come across any as extensive as yours in passing. At first glance, I almost mistook you for an android." He looked longingly at the keyboard on her wrist, "Do you have a moment to talk?" He pulled a notebook out from his back pocket. 

 

RJ rolled her eyes, "They get more human every year." She scanned the droid up and down. "My bet is that this one is illegal. Have you ever seen an android with human skin Dr. Simmerlink? Personally I can't stand the practice, but there are some areas where a more human countenance is desired...." She let the words hang in the air, not wanting to name the atrocities that a half-human droid might be used for. "The law gets tricky with the ones containing human parts. You can't produce them, well not legally at least, but the way the laws are written you can't really decommission them either." She shrugged and pushed forward with her question. "So Jeeves, any news about the conditions on base? Lanos gave us blueprints for main buildings but not much else. Do we have power? Are the labs in usable condition?" 

 

 

 

OT - Abi if this doesn't fit with your universe let me know and I'll edit. I liked the idea of androids with human parts in them, but I don't think they'd be something Lanos would want to produce. More of a black market type item that occasionally get auctioned off for work when they're picked up in police raids. *shrugs*

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Tiberius:

 

Snap.  Click.  Clack-clack.  Whiiiiiiiiiiiine.  The BFG was now loaded and ready for action.  When not sleeping (the ability to catch sleep when one could was a very useful skill for a soldier), Tiberius had spent his time on the trip stripping the BFG down and testing each component, then reassembling the weapon.  A translucent schematic image of it came up in the upper right hand corner of his vision.  A quick diagnostic double-checked his work, then showed the weapon in all-green (100 percent serviceable) with full ammo loadouts.

 

He ignored the others as they argued and jockeyed for position.  He almost smirked when one of the geeks tried to show off by telling one of the others how many miles there were in a light-year.  Odd that he didn't give the distance in kilometers.  Who knew what a 'mile' was anymore?  Maybe he was nostalgic for the old American Empire or something.  Turning away from the others, Tiberius picked out several aim points on the ship's interior and marked them with his HUD.  Then, in a single swift motion, he brought the BFG up and aimed, there-there-there-there-there-there.  HUD-arm coordination, good.

 

Then, an android entered and spoke.  Tiberius scrutinized her, but not as closely as the man who started circling her, poking and prodding like some creepy stalker taking an obsessive interest in a potential victim.  The too-friendly sound of her voice put Tiberius on edge.  There was just something about 'droids that skirted on the boundary of full sapience (or crossed it?).  That they had been created as property--as slaves--could hardly endear them to their human masters, should they ever gain the capacity for endearment...or hatred.  Or just reach the point where they realized they had much better uses for the carbon atoms and water contained in the human body. 

 

He could still remember the towering rants Lillian could unleash whenever the subject came up.  She'd believed that any A.I.'s we created that were anywhere within striking distance of sapience should be raised like children, to be fully human.  So that, should they ever reach the point of iterative self-improvement--the point at which they learned to enhance themselves, then use their enhanced abilities to enhance themselves still further--they would look upon their human creators as beloved parents, rather than as oppressors...or inconveniences.

 

Whether the android was sapient or not, there was another issue: who, exactly, had access to her source code?  Could she have been programmed to betray the mission at some critical point, or try to capture some weaponizable alien life form (should something like that be the cause of the colony's loss) and bring it back to fulfill some suit's monumentally irresponsible plans for boosting quarterly revenue?  He put those thoughts aside.  Nothing he could do about anything like that right now, but he'd keep a close eye on the android, if at all possible.

 

"All right, listen up.  As soon as that door opens, you all graduate from high school.  It won't be jocks vs. nerds anymore, but us against whatever's out there.  The nearest reinforcements are trillions of kilometers away, and more importantly, over budget, so don't expect any.  The only help any of us can hope for is already on this ship.  Yes, we're here for the 'sciency crap,' but that only counts if we get out of here alive.  So stay alert, stay in communication, and keep in mind that anything or anyone unusual we encounter out there could be responsible for the destruction of an entire colony.  So don't do anything stupid, like wandering off alone or sniffing some alien flower to find out what it smells like." 

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Khalida

 

 "It won't hinder anything, Zahria, I hope maybe we can get to know each other." It seemed strange to say to someone who was a robot, but in this time who said a robot could not have feelings also? "If there is anything you need from me, feel free to call me on."

 

Her fingers twitched as if about to reply when another voice squeaked up from the audience.

"Fascinating..." Oh that was never a good start to a sentence.

With ne'er a moment to turn and look upon the source, a finger poked her hard in the arm. What the- She gave a quick jerk but the hand merely grasped her elbow, and chances are, prodded more stubby fingers into her other limbs, but she was too dumbstruck by this invasion to really take notice. "This skeleton is synthetic, yes?" The hand progressed down her arm, she took advantage of his distraction to finally gaze down on him. Heh, at least someone looked happy to be here. Shame really, more time, different place, and he seemed like someone whose brain she could have fun picking. Someone whose enthusiasm in the mechanics of life hadn't been beaten out of them through questionable experiments and money cutting pseudo science... School kid through and through. He would turn like the rest of them one day, the bigger the brain, the harder and more devastating the fall.

 

Finally zoning back into the present, she realised he was far too close for comfort. The way he pinned her arm, she was afraid he would break the skin, at which point she might as well give up on the idea of anyone even -pretending- to believe her synthetic nature as she flustered to explain that the red liquid, was actually in fact, this harmless prank to lighten the mood, courtesy of Lanos, and aren't they just loooovely to care about your spirits, so?

"I've seen plenty of cybernetic modifications, but I've only come across any as extensive as yours in passing. At first glance, I almost mistook you for an android." He looked longingly at the keyboard on her wrist, "Do you have a moment to talk?" He pulled a notebook out from his back pocket.

 

"They get more human every year." Sweet mercy, somebody up there likes me after all. "My bet is that this one is illegal" Or not. "Have you ever seen an android with human skin Dr. Simmerlink? Personally I can't stand the practice, but there are some areas where a more human countenance is desired... The law gets tricky with the ones containing human parts. You can't produce them, well not legally at least, but the way the laws are written you can't really decommission them either." Safe then, don't have to worry too much about being ratted out after she got out of here. She felt relieved, finally she inwardly relaxed. It wasn't like standing trail with her ankles dangling over the hot coals that would be being left on Tartarus anymore.

 "So Jeeves, any news about the conditions on base? Lanos gave us blueprints for main buildings but not much else. Do we have power? Are the labs in usable condition?" 

Khal calmly and subtly removed her arm from the grasp of the over-inquisitive scientist. She placed her hand over his as she removed it and gave him a reassuring squeeze of the hand and a smile to show no hard feelings. It was that or draw attention to the shot of panic in her eyes which was finally passing. She held his gaze as she started typing into her keyboard, "Once this is over sir, Lanos would be happy to provide you with any information surrounding..." She paused, trying to think of the right word, "us". She hoped that was true, otherwise there went another pay check.

 

Her gaze then lifted to the mature scientist standing before her. She deliberated for a second, thankfully she had took the liberty to input some of the information before hand which allowed her to recant the details quicker than manual input. "We have had difficulties in ascertaining the extent of the damage. The exterior appears relatively in tact and the lack of light has made it difficult to evaluate the state of the interior. We uploaded a programme into the facilities mainframe back from base so we know at least the back-up power is working but we were not able to use it to get a full system status, so we believe there is a fault with the main generator. The labs however, located in both the base and overhead station, have their own purpose built power core. The one on Tartarus itself appears to be dead but the one on the space station showed signs of overclocking far beyond its usual levels. We would go there but the anti-ship radar is preventing any overhead landing so instead we will start with the base and work our way through to the project's Overseer's office where the controls can be overriden".

 

While she stood there, just standing with that trademark smile as her keyboard did the talking, her eyes glanced the room. Tiberius was beginning to make her feel uncomfortable, which was quite impressive seeing the high benchmark of today. It was obvious he was sizing her up, but it didn't seem to go beyond suspicion and he showed no aggressive change in stance, so she let her gaze re-waver. Once her 'speech' was over, the screen above her head flashed once more.

 

PREPARE FOR LANDING. ARRIVAL IMMINENT. 

Show time.

She gave a bow and turned to walk into the cockpit. It took a lot of restraint not to run, heck, probably closed the door just a bit too forcefully. Sweet, safe haven. She ran her hand over the control gear... She was shaking... Well, that was new. She closed her eyes briefly. Deep breathe girl, you're still in the clear. She pressed a button to her top right and the landing sequence initiated. The ship jerked as it slowed down and energy was rerouted to maintain stealth shields. She squinted into the darkness before her... There it was. It was like finding Atlantis at the bottom of the ocean... It was so beautiful in its own way. This one collection of metal which told the universe 'Man was here, look at what we can achieve'... Well, remains that proved we gave it a go at least... Nothing beside remains. Round the decay; Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away.
 

 

The brick-wall-turned-merc interrupted her thoughts to give the men a rally cry. Oh joy, she really was living in a Shakespeare play. Once more into the brig men! Cry God for Harry! England! And for your mother!

 

"....So stay alert, stay in communication, and keep in mind that anything or anyone unusual we encounter out there could be responsible for the destruction of an entire colony.  So don't do anything stupid, like wandering off alone or sniffing some alien flower to find out what it smells like." 

 

Well, hoohah.

 

And with that, the landing gear was slapped on.

 

OT: WELL THAT TOOK FOREVER. Sorry this isn't as much as I was hoping to do. Landing and location establishing detail... thingys, will be coming tomorrow!

Edited by slycooper

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OT: Super massive quick post here, so sorry its so trash but it means no one has to wait to post.

 

Khalida

 

Right. Balance status: Check. Stealth shields: Check. Landing gear functional? Check again. Targetting systems, elevation, breaks, check, check check.

 

 

Auto-pilot, sweet, dear auto-pilot. Do your thing.

 

 

The facility came closer into view, she could see the port they were aiming for and as they approached, the station, floating some 2000 feet in the air, bore down its long shadow which swallowed them up as they finally reached their destination. The anti-air craft weapons which had taken their predecessors twitch to life as they got near but not in time to swerve to meet them before they entered the hangar. A smile slowly came to life on her face, not half bad. The ship came to rest in the cargo bay - normally the base's landing stabilisers would appear to keep the ship still as it descended but here, nothing. There was one light, coming from a craft to their side (could there really be life?) but a part from that only her headlights gave any meaningful ability for analysising just what they had got themselves into.

 

She checked the radar on the row of panels near the roof of the ship. As far as they made out, her hunch on the ship containing any signs of life has been proven negative. Ne'er a blip appeared to indicate hot-blooded life, signifcant movement nor high volts of electricity. Just enough it appeared to keep up a breathable atmosphere and basic life support.

 

She remained still. Just for a second to take it all in. One breathe. Two breathes. And go. She raised up without another moments hesitation and grabbed her taser gun from the seat beside her and knocked open the cockpit door. She gave a quick firm nod and walked with a purpose and pose far removed to the upright, almost unopposing butler of earlier. She stood by the side door and motioned to open it. With a strong heave the door, almost as if it was loathed to be moved from its resting place, jittered and creaked open to let in a cool breeze of... Well... nothing.

The atmosphere felt perfectly still on Khalida's face. It was cold though. That much was certain, the ship had it pegged at just 2 degrees celcius. It was unnerving this sense of stillness, as if they were the first people to ever set foot on a timeless land. She stopped, just for a moment, just standing there, half rested on the door frame to take it in. Come on girl, you've done this before.

 

Recovering, she placed her torch into her upper shirt pocket and let it light up the foot drop to the floor below. Staring into the bay before her she once again initiated her speaker to voice a pre-programmed message.

 

"Right everyone, first thing's first".

Gyah, still that awful cheery voice. No way am I ever going to compete with Mr Motivator over there sounding like a Barbie Doll. Might as well just use the short and sweet version. She briefly reconfigured her speaker once more.

"Some of us need to stay and lock this place down and get a start on figuring out what we've got. It seems clear our suspcions are correct and this part of the compound at least isn't getting any power. It should only be a quick run to the east wing's basement maintenance area. Any assistance that can be leant is up to your discretion, although going through a basic Grestham Iraknul algorithm an ideal number may be to split us down 50/50".

 

She wasn't going to mention the true number that the algorithm gave was about twice their party size.

 

OT: I refuse to ever read this post again T-T

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Joseph

 

     Joseph within the past few minutes had grown to feel very confined in the ship. To the point he sat down and clinched his seat, feeling like he couldn't move in the large, yet clamped feeling machine. He looked about to see the new land. It was much larger than he imagined, and it appeared to be ready for reinforcements if needed. It made him feel a tad safer in the new land. Oddly, he was not as afraid as he could be. He almost felt free at the moment.

 

     He noticed a screen flickering. He wondered if someone knew to fix it. He was not big on repairs, and took a small note to mention the board to the other members soon. The whole land overall seemed to be filled with darkness, besides a few flickering lights. He suddenly felt his fear come back to him, and almost desired to be 'home' again. "I don't really have a home though..." He muttered to himself in thinking, continuing on.

 

     Near the board he took a note of was a series of computers. He didn't think too much of them because they were off, and he was no hacking genius. He knew very little about the sort of thing and doubt he could make them boot again. The other side appeared to be a large, locked door. There seemed to be no manual way of opening it, but he took a note of it as well, because perhaps Zahria had something that could open it. Some machinery stood in the northeast, with some crates stacked up. His first thought was free supplies, but his second thought was of paranoia. Is someone else here...? Or perhaps WAS someone else here and they did not survive...? His eyes filled with a certain fear, but he continued on. There was a walkway, where it appeared dust had scattered on the area. Most of the crates were still upright. He was tempted to open one, but it seemed like a bad idea right now. He stared a little longer, and decided to ask the others about opening them. "Guys...there is some apparently undamaged crates here...Anyone wanna take a look?" He wasn't sure he was heard, as his paranoia was causing his voice to become more of a shy whisper rather than a vocal request.

 

     There was another opening, that was declared to be of "essential use only." It was a door to a powerhub. He was surprised by this. Someone else MUST have been here... He looked back to the others. "There's a door over here, that leads to a powerhub..." He read some of the other signs displayed. He smirked at the one about Harry. "Always gotta have a thief... I suppose ours is Dane..." He noticed the one about confidentiality as well. Were they not supposed to tell anyone else? His mind was stimulated by the confusing signs.

 

     The quietness of the area just made him paranoid. It always seemed when things were quiet, bad things occurred. At least, that was how it was in Joseph's life. He suddenly began to feel his heart pounding with anxiety. Suddenly he heard something like fingernails on a chalkboard. He covered his ears swiftly, waiting for the sound to end. It reminded him of a scream rather than a screech. His past memories reappeared, causing him to turn his back to the others for a few moments. His mind raced and his eyes welled up, but he wiped his tears. This is not the place to be weak...Pull it together... He thought to himself. He also noticed some blood around the mysterious ship. He began to question how safe they really were. "Guys... be careful..."

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Dane

 

“Right everyone, first thing's first."

Dane winced. He’d forgotten how much listening to Jeeves could drive him up a wall. No person alive, android or otherwise, could possibly sound that cheerful and mean it.

 

Earlier, she hadn’t registered any surprise at seeing him, not that that was unusual. Darn androids. But she’d talked to nearly everyone else before leaving to go to the controls, and he was feeling a bit pouty and left out. He’d grudgingly re-seated himself for the landing – exchanging dirty looks with the street rat he’d argued with – and finishing the energy bar that he’d nicked from the nerd girl.

 

Now they had landed. As usual, when he experienced the atmosphere of an alien planet, it sent a thrill down his spine. Besides the money, it was the best part of being a traveling mercenary. He double checked his bag and his gun, making sure everything was in order, and he grinned, almost hopping with excitement. Show time! Looking around, he didn’t see anything really out of place, despite the area being abandoned. Typical landing dock. Typical ugly, boring landing dock. He let his eyes wander around, keeping alert, his muscles rigid. It was what he’d been trained to do. Despite the creepy atmosphere, he wasn't really worried about what was going on down here. They probably didn't have anything to worry about.

 

"Some of us need to stay and lock this place down and get a start on figuring out what we've got. It seems clear our suspicions are correct and this part of the compound at least isn't getting any power. It should only be a quick run to the east wing's basement maintenance area. Any assistance that can be leant is up to your discretion, although going through a basic Grestham Iraknul algorithm an ideal number may be to split us down 50/50".”

 

“Dunno about this Gresham Eriknul guy, but I’m down with joining the group to check the generator. I’ll be sure to keep you safe.” He winked at Jeeves. He noticed out of his peripheral, that the street rat…what was his name again?…was already off poking his nose into things. Just like some puppy. He was gonna get his nose bit if he wasn’t careful. Not that Dane was going to say anything.

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Lane

 

Lane stood up, laden with equitment that looked heavy enough to bend her slender frame. However she was stronger than she looked, and her muscles had adapted to carry her usual haul. Slung across her right shoulder to her left hip was a smaller duffle bag with the basics, toiletriees, spare cloths, extra rashens and medical supplise. From her left shoulder to right hip hung the mother load of all duffle bags; all 12 D.W.A.R.F.s not to mention a uplithera of spare parts and other such useful things. On a strap around her neck hung the touchscreen monotor and her tool belt, with her feild supplise, was strapped around her hips for easy access.  A sharp jar made Lane glad she was holding onto the overhead railing. We must be landing. With the bases landing stabilizers out of use the landing was bound to be slightly turbulent. There was another sharp jar and Lane heard the satifying thump of her heavy duffle bag thap hard into Dane, who was still standing close behind her. That is for the theviery. She smirked.

 

Now that they had actaully landed Lane started to feel antsy, as if she couldn't stand one more miniute in that cramped, stuffy space. Finally, with a sharp hiss, the door of the ship opened. The cargo hold was huge, reaching much higher than the craft she had just left and yet, the large expanse of the cargo hold almost felt...cramped. Lane wasn't even claustraphobic, but she couldn't quiet yet put her finger on what was bothering her. She looked up again, craining her neck. The high cellings had clearly been designed for much larger supplies ships. The room had only two landing docks and there was one small ship, not unlike the one she had just arrived in, already in port on the west side. Just before the door to the ship was a small wall of crates and what looked like the door of the ship hauled upright as a barrier, although only 6ft in length.


Straight ahead stood a large screen suspended at eye level on the wall. It flickered dimly. At least it told her that the backup generator must be still functional. Lane squinted into the dimmnes. Every detail and object required great strain to see in the faint, flickering light. The light source was coming from the disused blue ship in the corner. It's internal lights were on although sadly not its headlights. Lane nelt on the hard, cold floor so her bags were also resting upon it and unzipped the bag containing the D.W.A.R.F.s. She took out their case and used the security pin code and voice recognition to open it. She deployed all twelve of her little helpers, six stationed in the air as a dependable source of light and the other six sent out to start exploring and gathering information. Lane let them do their work as her eyes continued to explore the newly lit cargo hold.

 

Near to the big flickering screen were a series of 4 computers and desks organised for the logging on of visitors of goods coming and going but those screens all remained blank. There was no external damage that Lane could see and it looked as though one of the modems power light flickered but it was difficult to tell if there was enough power to operate it further. Lane took another step foward. "That's strange..." She said to no one in particular. The technology of the processor and tower desktop looked like it was made with the newest cutting edge technology. Even computers who seeming main purpose was just to log in ships, looked state of the art. But the decor of the room felt out of date by a few years at least.

 

To the west, Lane saw, was the storage bay door. It was closed but she wasn't sure if it was locked. She let her eyes wander over to the northeastern side of the room was much more interesting. Some heavy loading machinery stood unused and there were unorganized crates stacked in the corner. Perhaps there had been a recient delivery. At least it was clear that the cargo bay had been functional fairly reciently.

 

There was a walk way, on both the north eastern and north western corners which both led to an office that extended out of the wall and loomed over the entire cargo bay. The office seemed lighter on the inside, but the windows were so dusty it was hard to tell. Then, it seemed, Lane was able to put her finger on what was bothering her. It was strange: the crates, and other random bits of debri were stacked up against both doors on the outside. Some had clearly fallen down the stairs but most remained firmly upright. Lane shuddered. It was as if somone had been trying to keep somone, or something, out.
 

Lane averted her eyes to the walls which contained a mixture of official directions (Ships to be fully searched before leave) and what were clearly hand skralled messeges (Harry, please stop stealing athe beer from the deliveries. We know it is you. Anymore and we will take action). 

 

Lane came back to reality and suddenly realized how quiet it was. Her own breathing seemed fill the entierty of the silent room. The silence was almost sufficating and was only broken by on occasional creak of what must have been old piping. Even the others barely made a sound. Then:

 

SCREEEEEECH.

 

Lane yelped and would have dropped her hand held monotor if it had not been strapped around ber neck. It was a terrifying sound like metal being scraped down a chalkboard mixed with the horrifying shrill scream not unlike those in the dramatic black and white films. This screech was definatly NOT human though. Lane's heart was suddenly pounding and her sences went into overdrive as adreniline flooded her body. The shadows now seemed to move, contorting and writhing like invisable asalints coming after her. The loose metal on the celing, roofing and wires, reached out toward her like metallic claws. Lane knew she was being foolish, but the constant flickering lights only made her imagination more vivid.


But then... there! Lane gasped. She swore she saw a real moving shadow this time, right by the vents. As if to agree with her the vent shafts creeked and hummed. She was sure she saw something...but no one else seemed to have noticed. She saw one of the other team mates eyeing her suspisiously and she realized she had probably gasped louder than she ment to. She looked back toward the vents but saw nothing, then felt a little embarressed. It was probably just flickering lights, no use alarming everyone for nothing.

 

There was already something alarming: blood, and lots of it, which ran from the neighbouring, mysterious ship and the upstairs office. Lane saw that the blood trail was heavier at the base of the ship and waned the closer it got to the office. It seemed as if somone or something, heavily bleeding, had come from the ship to the office. But then, how had the office been blockaded from the outside?

 

Lane was glad the D.W.A.R.F.s were getting all this. With her unusually sweaty hands, she tapped the handheld and began assigning the D.W.A.R.F.s specific tasks. Photograph this and that, get a sample of the blood, document what was in the supplise cases.

 

"Right everyone, first thing's first. Some of us need to stay and lock this place down and get a start on figuring out what we've got. It seems clear our suspcions are correct and this part of the compound at least isn't getting any power. It should only be a quick run to the east wing's basement maintenance area. Any assistance that can be leant is up to your discretion, although going through a basic Grestham Iraknul algorithm an ideal number may be to split us down 50/50".

 

Lane looked around. She really had no preference as to who she was going to be with, however she did feel the urge to explore the blood trail.

 

"I can send half of the D.W.A.R.F.s in first to check out the state of things in there and there." She pointed toward the disused ship and baracaded office respectivly. The D.W.A.R.F.s  wouldn't really be of much use turning on the generator, however, "And somone from the other team can take the other six." She gestured at D1, D3, D5, D7, D9 and D11 who were hovering in the air providing usefull light. She pulled an out extra handheld touchscreen and looked meaningfully at anyone in the team who's hand werent already occupied with some sort of wepon. It didn't really matter to her who operated them, as long as they could decifer the monoter readings. The D.W.A.R.F.s were nearly indistructable anyway, and she wanted to see how others handled her technology.

 

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Adah

 

The craft jerked roughly as it came to a landing, the turbulence shaking Adah from a dreamless sleep. It took her a few seconds to realize that they were at their destination and that she had slept through the entire ride. It wasn't surprising that she had, after all she was up until three AM the night before, but it still bothered her. Now she had no idea how long the trip had taken, knew nothing about those with her, and if anything had been explained about the mission or Tartarus she had missed it.

 

More than that, she had planned on listening to and watching the people around her, planned on trying to glean how a mercenary should act. Now she had no idea what she was supposed to do. She felt like she was walking blind into a pitch-black forest with absolutely no sense of direction. She was already taking a huge risk. Any device pre-programed with the list of mercenaries wouldn't have her name on it, not unless it was updated after midnight like Lanos' main database was, thanks to her. Now she also had to worry about her behavior giving her away.

 

As she stepped out the door, the first thing she noticed was the stillness. No wind. Very little light. Aside from an occasional creak from some of the older pieces of the building, no noise. All was quiet and still and dark....like a grave.

 

Despite it's high ceilings and spacious design, the place felt tiny, adding to the grave-like effect.

 

As she gazed around, the first thing that caught Adah's eye was, naturally, a series of four computers and desks near a large screen suspended at eye-level toward the north of the cargo hold. The large screen flickered dimly and no external damage was clearly visible on the blank computer screens. One of the modems' power light flickered as if on standby. Given how poorly functioning everything else was, it was hard to tell if it could be operated further, still Adah's curiosity was piqued.

 

Before she could voice any thoughts about the computer, another item in the room caught her attention. There was another small craft already in port on the west side of the room. It's interior lights were on, yet sadly not it's headlights. Just before the ship's door was a small wall of crates and what looked like the door of the ship hauled upright as a barrier, although only six feet in length.

 

It was strange. Why where the lights on inside of an unused ship? Why were all those crates, and the door, barricading the entrance to the ship, as if someone inside was trying to keep someone else out? And was that...blood? Yes, it was.

 

Her eyes followed the blood from the ship to a walkway on the northwestern corner, to which an identical one was in the northeastern corner, both leading to an office which extended out of the wall and peered over the entire room. The inside of the office was somewhat brighter than the rest of the cargo hold, but what seemed to be dust had settled over the windows, making viewing difficult. What Adah did see, however, made her imagination start to whirl. Stacked on the outside of both the office's doors were crates and other objects that Adah couldn't quite make out in the dim light. Another barricade, one that seemed it may have served a purpose, considering that some it's pieces had clearly fallen down the stairs.

 

What exactly happened here? Adah couldn't help but wonder.

 

Her attention drifted to the heavy machinery used for loading and unloading standing desolate in the northeastern side of the room. Some crates were stacked in the corner, not yet taken to their proper place of storage. It seemed there may have been some kind of recent delivery before the place went dark. And before someone barricaded many of the doors for some reason. But the cargo bay had been functioning until fairly recently, at least that much was clear.

 

There were two doors on opposite sides of the room, the one on the west led to the storage bay while the one in the east stated plainly that it held the south entrance power hub. Various posters and signs were hung throughout the room. While none of this slipped her eagle eye, the light flashing on the computer modem kept drawing her attention. It was like a homing beacon calling her in to port.

 

She was about to mention it when a sudden noise made her breath catch in her throat.

 

The air that was unnervingly still just moments before was now filled with an earsplitting screech that sounded like metal being viciously ran down a chalkboard mixed with the shrill scream of an old film noir actress. Adah covered her ears and grimaced. What was that? It wasn't human, that was for sure. There was no way a human could make that kind of sound! Whatever it was, Adah hoped she'd never have to meet it.

 

Suddenly the creaking from the old pipes and scaffolding seemed louder. Adah looked up and saw a shadow shift, as if someone had just run across one of the scaffoldings....but this place was empty...right? Just her imagination, had to be.

 

"Right everyone, first thing's first." Adah jumped at Khalida's sudden words. "Some of us need to stay and lock this place down and get a start on figuring out what we've got. It seems clear our suspcions are correct and this part of the compound at least isn't getting any power. It should only be a quick run to the east wing's basement maintenance area. Any assistance that can be leant is up to your discretion, although going through a basic Grestham Iraknul algorithm an ideal number may be to split us down 50/50".

 

Adah's repair skills went about as far as knowing, Don't cut the red wire!!! Obviously, she'd be of no help fixing the generator.

 

As one of the mercenaries poked his nose into some crates and two others offered their services, the blinking light caught Adah's eye yet again. The computer had some power, and computers could be strange sometimes. Unlike the rest of the decor, it was fairly new. Maybe some power was all it needed. It was possible. And possibly important. Instinct took hold of Adah.

 

"I'd like to get a look at that computer," she said abruptly.

Edited by SouthernChristian1997

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Tiberius:

 

As soon as she ship's gangway hissed open, Tiberius was out into the cargo bay, panning the BFG left and right, then up.  No immediate threats to his team, who came out behind him and started to fan out.  That didn't mean the place didn't feel threatening.  He felt a strange sensation of the walls closing in, as if the cavernous cargo bay was even more cramped than the ship he'd come in.  The flickering light, the tangles of metal...the place had 'ambush' written all over it.  At least, there would be no way to fully secure the LZ with the small force he had to work with.

 

There was a loud, discordant shriek.  Tiberius turned toward it and took aim, but his HUD could not pick out a target, or anything that was definitely a hostile rather than shifting shadows and the human brain's tendency to search for patterns and sometimes make them where they didn't exist.

 

"I think we should investigate that ship first.  Its logs might be able to give us some idea what we're up against.  It doesn't look very promising, but, we should see if she can be made spaceworthy, in case we need a backup ride outta here, or we find more survivors or important cargo than our ship can carry.   We should also see about physically disabling the stabilizer arms for the pad we're on before we go turning any backup generators on, so we don't find ourselves locked down like that," he said, nodding toward the other ship and the robot arms holding it in place.

 

"Who's the best medic?  Can we test that blood, make sure it's human, and see if there are any crazy-making drugs, spores, or whatever in it?  Because, who takes the door off their ship to make a barricade out of it, instead of just climbing into the ship and closing it behind 'em?"  He turned to Lane.

 

"Ma'am, you can monitor those drones remotely?  Can you rig a way to do the same for our ship's sensors, security systems, and telemetry, while one of your drones watches the outside of the ship?" he asked, then turned to Khalida.  "If you can do the same, then if we're gonna split up we should have one of you in each party, so we can all know if any hostiles try to mess with the ship while we're out exploring."

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RJ

 

RJ strained her eyes to see into the dimly lit and cavernous space. The hair on her neck prickled as she exited the ship. She carried her supply bag swung over one shoulder and left her other hand free to hold the strap on her gun. Despite the rooms height, RJ felt suddenly claustrophobic. She remembered a nursery rhyme where a band of explorers had wondered into the mouth of a giant whale or snake. 

 

After a few steps, enough to be out of the way, RJ paused and looked around. It was the ship next to her that had caught her attention, familiar almost with it's deep blue and white stripe, although RJ couldn't place it. And then there was the blood, lots of blood. Blood spreading from the blue ship to a small office upstairs barricaded with boxes and other objects. Her hand instinctively moved to her pocket, settling gently on the old dog tags as if some comfort could be gleaned from them. Something about this place was unnerving. 

 

Lights lit the ship from the inside, and RJ moved closer. Then a metallic screech broke the stillness. RJ blinked as the lights flickered, her heart suddenly beating at a thunderous place. Something moved in the rafters and RJ almost cried out, but stopped herself. Just shadows. Just shadows. Don't be losing your head just RJ.

 

The android was speaking, "Right everyone, first thing's first. Some of us need to stay and lock this place down and get a start on figuring out what we've got. It seems clear our suspcions are correct and this part of the compound at least isn't getting any power. It should only be a quick run to the east wing's basement maintenance area. Any assistance that can be leant is up to your discretion, although going through a basic Grestham Iraknul algorithm an ideal number may be to split us down 50/50".

 

Lane's voice was the next heard. If the noise had rattled the young girl, she seemed unperturbed. "I can send half of the D.W.A.R.F.s in first to check out the state of things in there and there." She pointed toward the disused ship and baracaded office respectivly. The D.W.A.R.F.s  wouldn't really be of much use turning on the generator, however, "And somone from the other team can take the other six." 

 

Next Tyberious's voice rumbled, "I think we should investigate that ship first.  Its logs might be able to give us some idea what we're up against.  It doesn't look very promising, but, we should see if she can be made spaceworthy, in case we need a backup ride outta here, or we find more survivors or important cargo than our ship can carry.   We should also see about physically disabling the stabilizer arms for the pad we're on before we go turning any backup generators on, so we don't find ourselves locked down like that," he said, nodding toward the other ship and the robot arms holding it in place.

"Who's the best medic?  Can we test that blood, make sure it's human, and see if there are any crazy-making drugs, spores, or whatever in it?  Because, who takes the door off their ship to make a barricade out of it, instead of just climbing into the ship and closing it behind 'em?" 

 

RJ nodded, "I'm on it." 

 

He turned to Lane. "Ma'am, you can monitor those drones remotely?  Can you rig a way to do the same for our ship's sensors, security systems, and telemetry, while one of your drones watches the outside of the ship?" he asked, then turned to Khalida.  "If you can do the same, then if we're gonna split up we should have one of you in each party, so we can all know if any hostiles try to mess with the ship while we're out exploring."

 

RJ took a deep breath and moved towards the blood and after a moments hesitation knelt down, carefully setting her gun down beside her, close at hand. Thinking of spores, RJ removed a mask from the first aide kit and put on gloves before removing other needed supplies. She focused her enhanced eye, magnifying the blood in front of her. Ok, RJ thought to herself, Let's see what you were. 

 

 

 

OT: Hope this works, wasn't sure if I should just jump right into things but it seems like the thing to do. 

Edited by Marley

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OT: Just because Khal said 50/50 btw doesn't mean you all have to if you really want to hang out with the other group. It can have certain consequences (story wise with certain stat deficincies and possibly pacing) but I want to be as flexible as possible ^_^ Also posts like Ash's are perfect as she's left it before interacting with an unknown object in the environment, which means I can now send a PM detailing what it is she observes when looking at the blood. So stuff like before you enter the mystery ship, read the contents of the computer and all that, leave it and I will send the needed info (or message me before posting what it is you want to do and i'll send it beforehand. Whichever is easiest for you).

Khalida

 
“Dunno about this Gresham Eriknul guy, but I’m down with joining the group to check the generator. I’ll be sure to keep you safe.”
 
He does try at least. In a strange way she was glad to have him with her, sure he was provocative but he was competent, probably more so than anyone else here pegged him as. Although that esteem soon dissipated at the moment he began to wink at her. If nothing else he can't start gossiping about her without her knowing.
 
"I'd like to get a look at that computer" came a quite voice from her side. Khalida just gave a solemn smile at her and nod in the affirmative. It was a good sign at least when even the quiet ones were taking initiative. Heck, all of them seemed to be diving head first into it, maybe this wouldn't be so bad and she could hang back after all. Some of them appeared to take a more considered approach to the investigation rather than running around a ramshackeled risk assessor's nightmare. 

She did take a moment to stare at the blood but she remained visually unphased, and to be honest, this wasn't much of a under exaggeration to how she really felt. She'd expected certain horrors but this place was a death trap so far, and the blood? Some number of people got hurt and tried to escape. The barricades could mean some sort of mutiny, which would explain why the facility had gone dark. The door which had been taken out of the ship could have been removed when the ship was being repaired. But still, everyone was soo... Jumpy. Agitated. Maybe it was their age, the romance of being stuck in No Man's Space with nothing but giant monsters, but as far as she could tell there was no reason so far to be scared. It merely heightened tensions and made people go at each other's throats easier.
 
"I can send half of the D.W.A.R.F.s in first to check out the state of things in there and there." She pointed toward the disused ship and baracaded office respectively. The D.W.A.R.F.s  wouldn't really be of much use turning on the generator, however, "And someone from the other team can take the other six." 
 
The mechanic's hand extended forward with the handheld to control them. If only her and Dane were to so far volunteer for the task of starting the generator it might as well be her so he could focus on keeping look out. He may be an irritating so-and-so but he was a better shot than her. Not that he would ever hear those words uttered.

Khalida made a motion to take the pad in her spare hand. She grasped it with an almost worshipful reverence, she had worked with some of Lane's handiwork before and she had to admit, she was somewhat of a fan. The ingeuinity mixed with ease of use. It was hard to come by in this business. With a bow she took the handheld and motioned the military 'move out' signal to Dane towards the door.
 
"If you can do the same, then if we're gonna split up we should have one of you in each party, so we can all know if any hostiles try to mess with the ship while we're out exploring."
 
Khal gave a quick salute in response.... Something about him just brought out an instinctive reaction to show proper military respect in case she was court-martialed and quartered before she so much as inhaled her final breathe. She quite liked it, felt like being back on patrol duty and if nothing else, the A team would have a good leader if things went south.
 
She looked down at the handheld. Right.... How do I do that? She had never used a D.W.A.R.F before but it looked like what she had used with other drones she had operated. She gave it a test drive, make sure she got the basics, and sent one towards the ship. They needed theirs more than she did.
 
In a hurried walk she finally made her way towards the door to the generator, just giving a quick turn on the heel to bow to those who were staying behind. Try not to die if at all possible. There was no point in standing around waiting for volunteers when their way in was still obstructed by debris. Nothing as bad as she feared, mostly just a few wires and a thick iron bar which looked like it had been used as scaffolding on the ceiling, and had hence crashed down with seemingly everything else in this room. Was this place always falling apart so?

Right, swallow your pride girl, it wont be the worst thing you do today. Team work and all that, remember your girls scout training. With a motion of the head to indicate at the obstruction she requested assistance from her acquaintance to take the other end.
 

 
Edited by slycooper

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Joseph

 

     Joseph saw the party beginning to search about as well. He got his weapon loaded, being sure if danger arose he could protect. He walked back up to the ship base, where people began to divide into groups. He noticed Khalida needed assistance, and began to help her. "I'm on your side, if you need me for anything else call me up" That sounded a bit more charming than I wanted it too... He sighed, knowing he couldn't take it back now. He was on guard, but his currently high anxiety could make his guarded efforts unneeded any moment. Stay focus and you won't screw it up... He thought to himself, taking a deep breath.

 

 

OT (I realize this sucks but I didn't have much to work with omg)

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Dane

 

          Scratching his chin, Dane scanned the surroundings without much interest. After a month’s stint in the Greater Rainforest, on that one planet that’s name was completely unpronounceable, this place was completely drab. On the other hand, it was a bit eerie. Everyone from the ship seemed to be exuding nerves. In regards to the blood, Dane wasn’t as interested in what the blood came from, but rather when the blood appeared there. If it was fresh, whatever had been doing the attacking was probably still around. On the other hand, the body was gone…so if whatever it was was carnivorous, it probably wasn’t hungry now.

 

           He waited while the others talked. His mission was to head with Jeeves down to the generator and cover her back. He wasn’t going to stick his nose into anything else and distract himself right now. He did keep half an eye on the shadows though. You never really knew what might pop out at you on unfamiliar planets.

 

           One of the nerd girl’s little drone things got close to his face and flicked it with his finger, scowling. What good where those things anyways? They were tiny. And didn’t appear to have weapons. Jeeves seemed to be happy to have them though…however happy an android could be. He glanced at her in time to catch her ‘move out’ signal. Unhesitatingly, he unhooked his gun from its holster and headed toward the door, his face set with concentration. 

 

            Almost immediately the way was barred. Dane scowled at the obstructions. The place was falling apart. Wasn’t this supposed to be an active outpost? Why couldn’t they fix their own darn stuff? He turned to see Jeeves staring up at the blockade as well. There was a flicker of that sour face that she often turned on him…except right now it was directed at the junk in front of them. Must be caused by a kink in her calculations. The thought cheered him up a bit. She jerked her head at him as she went to one end of the massive iron bar. Dane re-holstered his gun with an internal grumble and leaned down to grab his end.

 

            “On three.” Dane grunted. “One…Two…Thr---“ As the iron bar shifted, debris and dust rained down. He ducked his head, glancing sideways to see the street rat had hurried forward to help them. He said something about being on ‘your side’ to Jeeves, but Dane couldn’t hear the rest of his words from under the sound of wires and scaffolding settling around them.

 

            Great, thought Dane. But he didn’t comment. Once they started venturing into the unknown, he needed to keep his ears and eyes open. He could be snarky later. He got his gun out again, along with his mini flashlight, and peered suspiciously through the dark as he moved forward. There was a hallway here, without power. Although some broken wires hissed and pitched sparks every few feet. He flicked his light upward. There were massive cables running along the ceiling and for some reason they gave Dane the creeps. It was probably just the shadows. But they also kind of reminded him of the strangler snakes in the Greater Rainforest. He shuddered and glanced at Jeeves and the street rat, hoping they didn’t think he was frightened of the corridor. He scowled extra hard to cover up his uneasiness.

 

            The cables were probably just there to transport heavy machinery. Yeah, that was it. Simple and not malevolent at all. He tried not to look at them again. There were also a couple of darkened windows along the corridor. He glanced through one and saw Jeeves glance through another out of the corner of his eye. Offices, he realized. Empty offices, from what little he could see inside of them. He squinted down the corridor as they progressed, confused. This corridor seemed to be a dead end. There was no door. No window...nothing.

           

            He almost jumped out of his skin when Jeeves touched his arm and pointed downward. In the dim light of his flashlight, he could see what appeared to be a manhole cover. "Oh, goodie." Dane said, to no one in particular.

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0_a8a7d_1ee1c1b4_L.jpg

 

Name: Signy Haugen

 

Age: 28

 

Personality: Signy is rather introverted, although not shy; and when she does do much talking she tends to be very honest. She prefers just taking action and seeing where it goes, rather than making long elaborate plans, and it can take her some self control to not just jump impulsively into situations. 

 

History:

Signy came from a small planet named Thalia 5. She was quite athletic and had a love for laser tag, a sport which she became very good at. Her dream was to someday make it to the interplanetary championships as part of her homeworld's representative team.

 

But the beginnings of an economic depression, followed by a collision with an asteroid belt that decimated large parts of the planet, resulted in mass poverty and a short but violent resource war. Work was scarce, and Signy signed up for the army. She had excellent aim thanks to her experience with laser tag, and so was trained as a sniper.

 

Then the war ended and things settled down somewhat; and she was job hunting once again. Signy ended up becoming a hired gun, and is currently working for Starchaser named Venera. She hopes to someday save enough money to move somewhere nice and start again with a less violent profession.

 

Equipment: A sniper rifle with a laser sight, pistol, night vision goggles, a powerful flashlight, and a radio headset.

 

Cybernetics: None

 

Skills:

Medical Knowledge 4/10

Computers 1/10

Scientific Knowledge 0/10

Combat 10/10 

Repairs 5/10

Strength 4/5 

Intuition and Perception 5/5

Charm 1/3

Endurance 5/5

Edited by She-geek

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Steampunk%20Girl%2018%20Post-Apocalypse%


Name: Venera ISIF Starchaser
Age: 20
Personality:

Venera is clever and resourceful, and good at talking her way out of a jam--which is helpful because she can't fight for beans.  She's determined, and has an aura of intensity about her.  She is brave (perhaps "reckless" might be a bit more accurate...) and loves a challenge.  She tends to fly by the seat of her pants, but when it comes to taking care of her Ship, she is extremely fastidious, taking the Get It Done Right approach over "quick-and-dirty."  


History:

Venera was born into the Starchaser Clan, a loosely-organized society of space nomads who live aboard their ships, and a few trading and mining outposts on asteroids and other small bodies (comets, Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud objects, abandoned capital ship wreckage, etc.).  The Starchasers get by through trading, smuggling, salvage, and use of space resources.  They tend to avoid planetary gravity wells.  It's fairly common for Starchasers to have a superstitious fear of being trapped at the bottom of a gravwell (i.e., their Ship malfunctions, can't launch, no escape, or they get caught by the local gendarmes, etc.--planets are bad luck).  Many Starchaser Ships are not even designed for atmospheric entry.  Salvage and adaptive re-use of technology is an important value for Starchasers.  It is a point of pride for Starchasers to be able to restore, maintain, and soup up older Ships--the older and faster, the better.  They do have a modest capacity for manufacturing new vessels, but a new Tribe on a new Ship is viewed collectively as a child.  A Starchaser's Ship is sacred, as it gives them life and protects them from the Void.  "The life of the Tribe is the Ship, and the life of the Ship is the Tribe."

 

Venera was born into the crew/family/tribe of the bulk freighter SCSYou Don't Say?.  Growing up, she learned the smattering of skills every Starchaser was expected to know, but excelled in mechanics and piloting.  As a youth, she often chafed against the safe, relatively dependable freight runs her Tribe preferred.  While doing maintenance on the Ship's memory core, Venera found references to cargo missions undertaken when the Ship and Tribe were new, hauling refined ores from a mining outpost that hadn't solicited shipment for over a hundred years.  She was able to talk the crew into visiting the location of the outpost, a mid-sized moon with a methane atmosphere, no longer a stop on any known shipping route.  From orbit, they could tell that the outpost had been abandoned long ago.  Some members of the Tribe were leery of going into a gravwell that deep, while others were willing to risk it for the promise of abundant salvage--and perhaps even ores--the mine offered.  Venera was among the ones who wanted to go, and she offered to scout it out.  Reluctantly, the Tribe accepted, and she went down in a one-person prospector shuttle.

 

On the surface, Venera found evidence that the mine had played out at least a century ago.  Not much was left behind except broken and worn out mining machinery, and an old cargo hauler that hadn't been flight-worthy when the last of the miners pulled out.  The vessel was a Planetary Resources General Explorer, a rugged jack-of-all-trades vessel that dated back to the First Wave of interstellar exploration.  She was just starting to explore the ship when raiders attacked theYou Don't Say?.  The freighter was outgunned and forced to flee.  A squad of raiders came down to the planet and seized Venera's shuttle, transmitting messages to come out and surrender, or they'd take it and leave.  Venera didn't want to end up a slave or worse, so she stayed in hiding.  Rather than risk a fight with an unknown enemy sheltered in defensible ruins that presented abundant opportunities for ambush, the raiders stayed true to their word.

 

Alone and trapped at the bottom of a gravwell, with only her suit's life support and her wits, Venera had to face a Starchaser's greatest fear.  Scavenging through the wreckage of the outpost's buildings, she cobbled together a kludged life support system for the Ship, then set about working on the engines, sensors, and astrogation systems.  The outpost had machines for extracting water from the planet's environment which she was able to repair, but there was no food.  After a harrowing few weeks, Venera was able to load up some of the mine's machine parts in her cargo hold and launch.  It was a close thing, but she was able to contact a Starchaser Ship and trade the parts for their refined-metals value in exchange for desperately-needed food, fuel, and supplies.  Venera was now the proud owner of her very own Ship, which she named the SCS I Saw It First!  

So far she's been able to get by doing cargo and smuggling runs, and soup up her new Ship a bit, but she has a way to go before it's the fastest hunk of junk in known space.  Unlike most Starchaser Clan Ships, the ISIF is capable of atmospheric entry and liftoff, even if it does fly like a brick in atmosphere.  Venera has not yet been able to find any trace of the You Don't Say? or any of Hir Tribe, and she fears the worst.  Sometimes she has nightmares from her time on the planet, but she is also proud of herself for having faced it and come out alive.

Equipment: All-purpose mechanic's diagnostic goggles: heavy goggles with sensors able to detect metal fatigue, sound analysis for engine and life support system diagnosis, augmented reality software able to generate blueprints, schematics, etc. and interface with tools such as multimeters and logic probes

 

Portable tool box: a standard mechanic's portable tool box

 

Taurobot: a robot with a flat-bed body that's low to the ground and an upright torso capable of lifting, placing, and carrying up to a thousand pounds of cargo.  The robot can obey simple natural-language instructions and has an offbeat pseudo-personality, but it is not truly sapient or Turing-class AI.  It is not capable of autonomous operation.  It is incapable of combat, but it can identify living humans and prevent itself from harming them accidentally (not hit them with its arms, walk on them, etc.).  The Taurobot has six legs with electromagnets in the feet (so it can cling to metal in weightlessness) and can move over ordinary uneven terrain at a walking pace.

 

Spacesuits: Hard-suit for EVA use, kept aboard her Ship (probably won't factor in the game), environment suit (lighter suit that can protect against un-breathable atmosphere and "Earthlike" temperature extremes, but not extreme radiation or outer space levels of heat and cold), breather mask.  Emergency Life Support Bubble; a spherical graphene "bubble" equipped with a miniaturized carbon scrubber, set of thrusters and heat exchanger; the graphene folds into a wrap around the other components, and the whole thing is about the size of a small Thermos.  In case of atmosphere loss, a person can unfold the graphene bubble, climb inside, and inflate it.  In gravity, the person can crawl hamster-ball style; in zero-g, the micro-thrusters can use small bursts of compressed gas to maneuver the bubble.  It can provide up to 10 hours of life support for a single person.  Also has an emergency locator beacon and a radio.

 

Weapons: gauss pistol (10 rounds per clip, 3 clips), survival knife.

 

General Equipment: pocket multi-tool, first aid kit, portable computer interface (used to access, diagnose, and debug computers or computerized systems such as security systems, life support, engine computers, and so on; useful for hacking, or for accessing computer memory, processors, etc. when the computer isn't working and can't be operated from its own keyboard).  Water bottle, "space blanket," pressed Soylent bars (compact emergency food, enough to last her a week if she eats 3 meals a day), general purpose scanner (can detect toxic compounds in atmosphere, nuclear and electromagnetic radiation).

 

Cybernetics: None

 

Ship: SCS I Saw It First!

 

steampunk-orb-spaceship.jpg

---

 

Skills:
Medical Knowledge 2/10
Computers 8/10
Scientific Knowledge 2/10
Combat 2/10
Repairs 10/10

Strength 2/5
Intuition and Perception 4/5 (Will get more hints as to options available and get more info on what's in the environment)
Charm 3/3
Endurance 2/5

 

OT: @She-Geek: you're welcome to have Signy be a freelance merc Venera hired, since she needs some muscle to make up for her lack of combat effectiveness.  Venera would offer a 50-50 split of proceeds from salvage, cargo hauling and the occasional...dubiously legal caper.

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OT: Thanks Logos! That would be great; I'll tweak Signy's history a bit to mention it.

Edited by She-geek

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