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Showing content with the highest reputation since 14/06/20 in Posts

  1. 3 points
    ((This was done between myself and Hikaru.)) Kamille bumped through the hallways of the ZAFT warship, tears streaming out behind him. Fa called out to him but each time a little more softly as the angry teen mindlessly went down the hallway. She eventually forced herself to stop chasing him. As much as she cared about Kamille she knew she couldn’t do much for him in this state. Fa hated the idea of fighting, but she felt just as frustrated as he did at that moment. “We can’t even protect ourselves…” She muttered more to herself as she steadied herself to look out the viewport into space. Tears welling up in her own eyes as she gazed at the countless stars - It wouldn't be long after the conclusion of the meeting before Hikaru followed. He couldn't really tell where Kamille was, but he did notice Fa looking out amongst the stars. He told himself that she was an NPD, as was Kamille, but he couldn't really ignore this. He moved to be near Fa, respecting her personal space by staying at the next window over. "...Hard to save someone from themselves, isn't it?" Hikaru asked, not fully interpreting Fa's lament at the moment. - Fa fought back a sniffle and nearly jumped as the kind pilot from before surprised her. She looked around quizzically before catching on. “Oh… yeah, well Kamille has always been a stubborn one…” she looked away absently and an moment passed before she gasped. “You know I don’t think I properly thanked you or introduced myself… I’m Fa Yuiry… I appreciate you pulling me to safety back at Green Noa…” her voice trailed off as she was still very much worried and thinking about Kamille. - This briefly surprised Hikaru as he realized that he'd not introduced himself. The NPDs were just so iconic that he felt like he knew them already. It seemed to be time to rectify that. "Ah, I'm Hikaru Hiyashi. You're welcome for that, Miss Yuiry. I regret that you got dragged into that. In a perfect world, governments wouldn't use their civilian populations as shields. Of course, given that Kamille's parents both work for the Titans, he might not have been able to avoid that mess either way." - Fa’s eyes lit up momentarily at the mention of the Titans and she went back to staring longingly at the stars. “Fate is a funny thing isn’t it? Don’t you feel like sometimes life has a script that you have to follow? And no matter what you do you have to follow it?” She paused as the thoughtful words flowed out of her. “Still… I know I feel the same as Kamille… I feel like we need to take the fight to the Titans… we can’t sit idly by while they destroy colonies…” her gaze turned cold as she talked about the enemy. Hate could be seen etched on her face. “I think that’s why I can’t bare to bring myself to Kamille right now… I can’t tell him to stop, because deep down…” her voice trailed off again as she weighed the implications. - The mention of a script made Hikaru flinch slightly. At what point was her pain real? When did this transition into cruelty? He gave a sigh and rubbed the back of his head a bit. "There's a difference between feeling a need to do something and charging in blindly. That's what I was trying to warn him about. He has to be careful who he throws his lot in with. I feel stuck myself right now and want him to avoid that if he can. ZAFT may be the Titans' enemies, but it isn't necessarily a group that would always align with his intentions.” - She looked around in response, as if studying the ship itself. “Well you guys seem fine enough… though I understand you guys are somewhat freelance…” she looked at Hikaru now, “it’s not a matter of being blind for us right now as it is a matter of taking action. Green Noa is still fresh for us… too fresh…” she looked away as thoughts of home flooded her sense. “Do you think you could talk some reason into Kamille?” She asked meekly as he eyes absorbed the stars once more. - "Yes, we're freelance, though that doesn't come without questioning a few things here and there. I'm willing to try helping him, if he'll listen. That's the important part. He seems to think I'm trying to stop rather than advise. Do you know where he is, Miss Yuiry?" Hikaru asked Fa, wondering if she might have any ideas. - Fa pointed at the hallway that led to the hangars blankly. “He went off that way… and… thanks again Mr.Hiyashi” she offered a polite bow to Hikaru. “We really are indebted to you and your allies.” She offered a weak but genuine smile. - "Ah, you can call me Hikaru. I just felt like I shouldn't presume upon your given name." Hikaru bowed back to Fa. "And really...it might help if you were there. You're the only familiar person on this ship for him. Even if he is too upset and angry to show it right now, you might be an anchor for him as he is for you." - Fa nodded reluctantly and pushed off the railing to lead the way with Hikaru in tow. Meanwhile Kamille clawed at the cockpit of the the Beta Gundam. He snarled in frustration as the godlike mobile suit denied him entry. It looked almost identical to the MKII’s the titans were using, he was certain he could use this machine if he could just get inside. He whimper and groaned in frustration as the cockpit hatch didn’t budge open. “Please!” He begged softly. As it became evident that the machine wouldn’t yield he punched the metal hatch angrily yelling out in rage. “Let me fight!” Some of the Zaft personnel paused to regard the angry teen but most went about their business eager to avoid the awkward situation. It was during the height of his sorrow he could sense an approach, it was a difficult feeling to describe but in that moment he knew he wasn’t alone. “Kamille! What are you doing?” Fa called out as she floated toward him. He turned around to glare at her and the pilot equally. Fa caught herself next to the cockpit of the Beta Gundam, “Kamille you can’t take…” she bit her lip eager to not anger Kamille any further. “You can’t Mr. Hiyashi’s mobile suit! Did you forget that he saved me?” Kamille gave Hikaru an angry look and spat out. “Don’t think I’m ungrateful…” he muttered in response. “I just… I know…. I know I can make a difference… inside a Gundam…” he looked at the pilot of the machine before him. Silently challenging Hikaru with the glare. - Hikaru noted Kamille and, strangely, didn't seem angry. If anything, he was thankful that Kamille tried to take the Gundam. "First off, you're lucky you picked my machine to try and take. If you tried to steal one of the ZAFT suits, you'd probably be in the brig by now. If you'd done that to one of the Gundams they just took, you might even have gotten shot." It was important to clarify the danger Kamille had placed himself in, to shock him back to reality...such as it was within the game. "I'm not angry though, I get it. You want to do something about it. But we won't even be in a position to deploy to attack the Titans or the ship they're on for another day. It would also mean descending to the Earth. So since there's nothing any of us can do at the moment..." Hikaru leaned back against his machine and regarded both Fa and Kamille. "Mind listening to a story?" - Kamille wasn’t so eager to take the bait but Fa edged them on, quietly asking “ what’s it about?” As she asked she floated next to Kamille and took his clenched hand in her own, in an attempt to sooth the teen. Kamille reluctantly nodded to hear what the level headed pilot had to say, curiosity getting the better of him. - "There was a time, in Side 3, when people were angry about how they were treated by the Federation. They wanted freedom and independence from the distant foreign power that controlled them. They weren't alone in feeling this way, since Side 6 had achieved that peacefully in 0077. However...that feeling was easy to manipulate by those in power." Hikaru started, glancing to Kamille as he continued. He had to parse this carefully. He glanced to the parts of the GP04. "That machine over there was piloted by a woman named Cima Garahau. She was a Zaku I pilot in the One Year War who fought for independence and wanted justice and freedom for her people. As such, she listened to the Zabis and became one of their soldiers. She had no idea that she was using poison gas in January 0079 when she obeyed her orders...but she has to deal with the knowledge that she had been tricked into killing a whole colony full of her fellow Spacenoids for the rest of her life. After the war, her superior officer blamed her for the war crime and fled to Axis. By 0083, she no longer loved her homeland and was a pirate who only wanted revenge." He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. "When she rebelled against a former Zeon admiral and advanced certain plans with her actions that year, actions which may still be classified and led to the formation of the Titans, she apparently became exactly what she hated. An instrument of Earth's oppression and hatred. She is now a Titan, and seems unable to be anything else." Hikaru glanced to Kamille and Fa, intent on getting his message through. "Her mistakes were in who she trusted and signed up with. In her haste to achieve her ends, she became the pawn of people who had their own agenda beyond that which she desired. My point is that, before you join some military or group to take revenge, consider that group's intentions and goals. Ask yourself what they might insist you do for them in exchange for the power to fight." - Kamille did blink as the story became prevalent to himself. He ever so slowly nodded his understanding that the pilot was trying to relay to him. Slowly his anger seeped away and he reluctantly let his fist unclench. He was still distraught, but he understood that perhaps he should bide his time. He glanced away unsure of how to react before finally looking back at Hikaru. “I…” he searched for the words before shaking his head, “thank you…” he said at last and Fa nodded alongside him as they floated in front of Beta Gundam. “I’ll take what you said to heart…” he grumbled before looking at Hikaru. “I still plan on fighting with you guys next time… but… I’ll be patient…” he pushed away from the Gundam and gave a little nod to Hikaru. Fa looked from Kamille to Hikaru and gave him a brief smile. “Thank you Hikaru…” she said softly as she looked back to see where Kamille was off to now. - Hikaru smiled, glad to assist. "You're both welcome, Mr. Bidan. Miss Yuiry." He could have said more, but he would have been repeating himself. He didn't want to hold Fa up any longer than necessary in going to Kamille. The Diver could only hope that the pair stayed away from racist tripe and thought through who they trusted. ZAFT wasn't exactly a nice army for Naturals. - Kamille winced at the use of his surname, it reminded him too much of his father. He paused as he hit the catwalk away from the Gundam and turned around. “It’s Kamille… my first name is Kamille… you better remember it.” The teen warned as he looked back at Fa and Hikaru. Fa pushed away from the Mecha to join Kamille. She waved politely at Hikaru as she joined the infamous “boy with a girl’s name”.
  2. 2 points
    Aida waved his team off, but after they left, he noticed Beta Four, now sitting on the hand of her Gundam, contemplating the savannah. As usual, she had let everyone go in silence, without any sort of commentary. Once both his companions were out of the stage, however, he had nobody else to turn to, but her. Using his remote, he ordered Airbatel to pick him up with its left hand, then take him next to the GP03. While he waited for it to get there, he created a chatroom with Kyle and Carter inside, and sent them a message with his assessment of the situation. <8TMS> Aida > Impromptu Group #3976043 We’ve got a savannah with little to no probability of return to space. Make sure your MS can handle gravity and dust before coming back. Lots of extra fuel to walk aimlessly. And DEFINITELY bring a civ attire preset. In case we find a village. After sending them the message so they’d prepare for the next fight, he lowered his interface and looked at his artificial teammate, still wearing her normal suit. An aura of mystery surrounded her, but he was determined to know what lied underneath. - “I never did ask you.” Slowly, his feet changed hands. He did not dare to come next to the NPD, as he felt it was too soon, but he’d be forced to yell if he were to talk from the other hand. - “Hm?” - “What is your name? I mean, we’re all in the same team, but i don’t think you’ve told anyone yet.” - “Would it make you happy?” As was standard practice for her, Beta Four fired an armor-piercing question, but didn’t seem any less apathetic about it. Not being able to see her face definitely helped. - “Well, uh...” Aida struggled to find a reason not to make it about his uncertainties, but soon he found a good enough excuse. “... i noticed the guys aren’t quite as formal as my usual band of performers. So i’d like to get accustomed to the idea of calling everyone by their names, so we can build trust. This can be a long tour of duty. I don’t want to make people uncomfortable.” - “If that’s what you’d like to call it… here are my papers.” Surprisingly, a window sprung up in Aida’s interface, with the NPD’s name, speciality, and an icon that represented her current appearance, plus some numbers and status icons. - Isla (#0005) ReConfigurableNonPlayerDiver HP: 101/101 Unharmed MP: 275/400 Focused Customize < Stats - - “Nice to meet you, Isla...” Aida was obviously baffled. A customizable NPD? This is very new. I haven’t heard beta testers talk about anything like this in the private forums. Curious about the possibilities that had been implemented already, he opened the customization menu and found not only a myriad of options for Isla’s appearance, but also a very important function: changing her active Mobile Suit. Opening the menu, he discovered a timeline, which only had two entries: The green Galbaldy Beta, and the Titans GP03. Apparently, she could switch between any MS she had used up until this moment… but there was an option to add new Gunpla to her roster. Excited, he knew he had to try it all out, so he played with the options. He made her Mobile Suit into a Murasame provisionally, then went for her appearance. What do you even look like? Finding just two presets, A and B, he figured the one without the spacesuit was her canonical appearance. He applied it, and a masked, blonde woman wearing green showed up. Still can’t see her face. Well, don’t want to make her upset, if i haven’t already. Satisfied, he logged off, and upon returning to his shop in the real world, he took off the headset and cleared the sweat off his forehead. His cabinet being intended for the shop’s clients, it wasn’t as comfortable as one of those models people used from home, but being that he already lived literally next to the shop and spent most of his days there, it was somewhat pointless to buy one of those rigs with mood lighting integration, a motorized rumble seat or a Mobile Trace System, when the store cabinets already had the basics covered: decent seating, force feedback, working systems. He thought that was enough for him, and had no plans whatsoever of- WHAT THE HELL? Just look at the time! Wake up, get up, get out there!
  3. 2 points
    ((This was a collaboration between all the members of Alpha team. Great work everyone!)) Hikaru's machine arrived at the Vesalius next, though it wasn't without at least something to show for its trouble. The machine carried the main weapon, the lower body, and the arms of a RX-78GP04G Gerbera Gundam in Titans livery. He disembarked from his machine, displeased. They'd lost. Oh, they managed to do some damage, but still. He moved through zero gravity and landed near Fa, Kamilla, and Marco. "Tch...at the very least we disabled a couple Gundams for a while. I brought back pieces of the machine that tied me up, but the torso got away. Maybe the AEUG can do something political with proof of the Gundam Development Project...or at least Anaheim can build us a machine faster out of the parts." Marco snapped out of his reverie to regard Hikaru. His expression was blank and he shook his head as if in a daze before clearing his throat. “That’s good kid…” he slowly began returning to the “here and now” his eyes studying the room more openly. Kamille trembled with visible rage “those bastards! How can they get away with all this! First our home…” his glare shot up at Hikaru. “I can’t let them….” He shook as he clenched his eyes tightly. “I wish I wasn’t so helpless… I need to be able to fight my own battles…” he muttered with tears trickling out from his closed eyes. It was obvious how distraught the teen was and Fa moved to comfort her friend. “Kamille…” she offered feebly. Hikaru hesitated for a moment. He could egg Kamille on and coax him to fight, but this...wasn't like manipulating Emma. No, this was a civilian transitioning into a soldier. He scratched the back of his head in thought. "Except it's not just your own battle. If you go out intending to fight alone, you'll just be killed. We were outnumbered, pulled away from the plan by it, and got lucky as it was. It was very nearly two-to-one out there. Besides...are you ready to kill? Even if people have their own reasons for joining the enemy side? Can you obey orders you might not like?" Hikaru inquired, wanting Kamille to have a more solid idea of what he was getting into. If he chose to help, it might aid his transition. Shin loaded in looking and listening to the two players and then the NPDs But then back to Marcos " So what happened to the teamwork talk! Because once the fight started you rushed in same as last time, and y'all thought I wasn't the team player here!" He then looked over to Hikaru and the young kamille but didn't say a word. He knew opening his mouth further would only make things worse. Risu entered a fair bit later than everyone else, scurrying in and giving the group a little wave. "Did I do good? Did I do good?" she called out, not at all aware of the room's current atmosphere. "We won, right?" Without a quick response, she'd stop speaking, giving her Force a small pout before sheepishly stepping to one corner of the room. Something told her that they were dealing with something, and her butting in would make things worse. Marco involuntarily gasped at Hikaru’s words and grimaced. He stood up and turned to regard the conversation fully. Then Shin chimed in about teamwork. Creed stood up straight at the remark and flared at the kid. His first impulse was to react violently but Risu cut him off before he could do anything rash. Kamille was fuming “What does all that mean? At least if I’m able to fight I don’t have to sit here helplessly! I should be able to protect myself! Having you guys kill for me is worse than if I’m the one pulling the trigger!” He flared angrily around at all the divers sweeping his hand out wide. “I’m being forced to trust everyone else’s judgement! I can’t bear such shame!” He clenched his fist in front of him practically growling. Marco took the moment to clear his angry thoughts and walked up to place his hands on Kamille’s shoulders before looking around at everyone. His touch on the boy made the teen jump but not run away. Creed took a moment looking at everyone grimly, “plans seldom make it through contact with the enemy… all things considered we did good…” his eyes settle in Risu as he said the last part. This was the most animated he’d seen her and he was surprised. Kamille hardly look pleased however as he began to brush Marco away. “I need to fight…” he stated defiantly, looking around for someone to help him. Hikaru rubbed the back of his head. He noted Shin, acknowledging the man's irritation. First, he responded to him so as to explain things. "So the Bael could attack the other Gundams with more impunity, and to keep the enemy's leader and probable main strategist from messing with Risu with his long range weapon, I led him away. I didn't expect the battlefield area to shift and for them to throw an extra Gundam at us. I sent a communication as soon as I could, and shot down the Zeong as soon as I saw you were in trouble. That's all I could really do." He wouldn't apologize for his actions, but he would explain them at least. The Diver then regarded Kamille and Fa. "...Kamille, I'm not telling you to fight or not to fight. I'm trying to prepare you. You may understand that the Titans were using you as human shields and might forgive us for fighting, but not everyone will. You might be ordered into a situation like that again if the Titans keep employing such strategies. You might have to fight among innocent civilians like we had to. We can't always choose our battlefields. If you insist on fighting, maybe we can contact Anaheim and have them finish this GP04 or something...but I think you need to talk to Fa about it before committing. You're her lifeline here, and she was scared out of her wits for you." Shin looked over to the young Risu and with a strange sort of smile spoke to her "As far as I could tell your the only one that kept the plan I knew of before the mission started." He turned to look at Creed and Hikaru and took a deep breath then looking at Kamille. "You wanna fight, do it your way. Stop feeling down about it and just move forward. Make a choice and stick to it. Trust me questioning your own choice will only hold you back." He walked closer and look closer at Creed and sighed as he looked away. Before he looked back at him " Guess what happened doesn't matter anymore." As Hikaru spoke Shin listened "Thats fine. Things happen, however Creed did exactly what he did in the first mission. He rushed forward without a full plan or if he had one he didn't explain it well. I've worked on teams before and it's a two way street. I was humiliated because I worried about what I was supposed to do to be a 'Team Player' in the end I realized I wasn't fully the problem on this team. " He scratched his head and then looked to all of the group. "If we wanna be a team we have to work together and play off each of our strengths. You all work off my all out combat style and I learn to work with the rest of you. I hate to admit but if we could actually work together we wouldn't be able to lose even if we got outnumbered." Risu paused for a moment, giving Shin a small nod of thanks. However, she'd continue to stay quiet, figuring it'd be best to listen intently. She had little knowledge of anything Gundam, and the best way to start would be to listen to everyone else. Marco looked away from Shin and muttered. “I’ll admit I got buck fever… but I didn’t intend to get lured away from everyone else for so long… I… I haven’t been the best teammate I know….” The man seemed more emotional than he should be as he still mulled over thoughts of Kira in his head. Kamille scoffed and headed for the doorway. “If you guys can’t help me then I’ll find a way to fight myself…” as he stormed out of the room Fa called out chasing him “Kamille!” The two NPDs exited the room and there was a tension that seemed to go away with them. Creed stroked his beard and eyed everyone. “All things considered we almost pulled that one out of the bag… one thing on my mind is how you did it?” he nodded to Risu. “I didn’t know your suit could perform like that…” he then looked at Hikaru. “Also why did the field change for just you?” Hikaru sighed, noting that Kamille seemed to reject the offer of trying to make the GP04G work for him. Maybe he should make a Zeta Gundam for him. Having him fall for Rau's logic would be a bad idea...though hopefully Char would be quick to accept Kamille as a protegé. He noted the question and responded after a moment of thought. "I suspect it was because of both distance and some flag the other team triggered. Cima Garahau mentioned that the other team's leader was to be executed along with me. I only managed to pinpoint her sniping position by contacting the Red Frame to warn it of the danger and being given the location of the Gerbera in exchange. Not everything seems to be going well between Beta Team and the NPDs." Shin after sharing his piece leaned against the wall just watching the room. Maybe something helpful would be discussed A brief, almost hesitant pause met Creed's question, though soon enough, she'd return with that peppy, youthful countenance. "I-I dunno!" she smiled. "I-Isn't it like... if you put a lot of effort into building it, it's really good?" As cheerful as she seemed to be, it was pretty obvious that she was hiding something. Marco simply nodded as his teammates responded, he took in all the information and processed it silently. He gave Risu a knowing look before answering, “I’m going to be re-watching the replay of that fight very closely…” his eyes shifted from the squirrel to both boys. “It’s clear there’s …” his voice trailed off as he looked at the screen behind his teammates. The smiling face of Rau seemingly taunted all of them through the wall display. Rau’s melodic voice cut in finally, “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting anything…” the soulless gaze of the NPD seemed to scan the room and all the divers before he contributed. “Time is of the essence though and I have a new mission for you all… assuming you’re all still available for employment?” The question hung in the air as Marco looked around uneasily at his teammates trying to gauge their reaction to their pseudo employer. Curiosity got the better of him though as he impulsively blurted, “We’re listening…..” Hikaru noted Rau and was on his guard. So much for their after-mission discussion. At least it was largely over anyway. Rau had his attention, but he hesitated to immediately agree to something reckless. After all, Rau was offering employment on ZAFT's terms. He wasn't sure if they were ever on ZAFT's payroll and he didn't want manipulated into changing sides in ignorance. "I'm listening as well, but would this mission be for the AEUG, for ZAFT, or both? I have to admit to a bit of confusion about our status since we seem to have been handed off from our original co-workers." Shin looked at the wall with the NPD but just kept quiet. He would just talk if he spoke anyway so what was the point. In fact he took the time to pull a design bored and started to work on a long range type for the Astral AGE Rau grinned ever so slightly as he garnered the full attention of the room. “I’m glad we still have your attention then… as for employment this would be for the motherland. That’s not to say our goals don’t align with all spacenoids however.” He let the word spacenoid hang in the air as if trying it out. “As it stands the ZAFT forces are spread thinly. But we cannot afford to have the legged ship escape to their base on earth. The last battle set them off course, a timely mistake. We would like to have your team follow them down to the surface to finish what was started here in space. Unfortunately you will have to wait one more day before you can effectively pursue them, due to the rotation of the earth. In reality that gives you little time to prepare. We will provide you with re-entry pods and you can continue the pursuit once you have landed. Will you accept this job?” Rau’s tone was deceptively sincere as was his polite smile. The question hung in the air like a bad stench. Creed tilted on his heel to see what his teammates would do. He was curious beyond belief and wanted to see just how deep these missions would go. Even if it was just him he’d take on the challenge, whatever it might be. "Would we have support, or be operating solo?" Hikaru inquired of the commander. On the surface, it was a reasonable question to determine combat strength. They'd just been overpowered by their target, after all. However, he was truly pondering just how much oversight ZAFT would have over their decisions. If they had too little support, that could be a blessing on its own...given the nature of the man in front of them. Still, it felt like making a deal with the devil. Maybe he could use this to fish for an angle to let the AEUG stay connected to the deal, if the support was too light. Rau’s demeanor didn’t skip a beat as he calmly replied to Hikaru, “reinforcements will be forthcoming but not immediately available. So it’s safe to assume you may be operating alone for this whole ordeal.” His masked face scanned around and he politely asked, “any other concerns? I’m not saying that this won’t be dangerous, to the contrary it should be a worthy challenge for a team such as yours. We have high hopes for you…” Creed let out a sigh and nodded. “I don’t know about you guys but I’m good to go. I just need some repairs and Bael will be ready for terrestrial combat.” He turned to nod at Rau. “I’ll report back a couple hours before we begin.” He hardly acknowledged the response from Rau before bidding everyone else goodbye. As he was about to log out he noticed a reward waiting for him from the mission “hmm this out to be handy...” he mused as he fully logged out of GBN.
  4. 2 points
    ***Immediately following mission 2***** Before his blade could bite for more flesh the enemy MKII backed away. He had plenty of chance to pursue the enemy but Marco declined as the sinking feeling in his stomach grew. The text of “Mission Over” sprawled on his screen but he hardly cared and instead turned Bael around to fly for the Versailles. He checked his heads up to see the status of his allies. It seemed as if his team was still relatively intact. This did grant Creed some relief however the whole situation felt bittersweet. As he docked Bael he disembarked and was floating through the hangar of the Versailles. As he made his way through the ship he squinted as he nearly bumped into Kamille and Fa. The pair looked agitated, with Kamille clenching his fist and grinding his teeth. Clearing his throat Creed asked, “how are you two doing?” his face grew grave as he studied their reactions. The hesitation, the eye movement, it was all so lifelike that he could swear they were divers just like him. “We’re fine, how did the mission go?” Fa responded. Creed nodded, “The legged ship got away… but we dealt significant damage to the enemy…” he let the words linger as he chewed on their exact meaning. Shaking his head, he moved away from the pair before either could respond. He numbly floated his way towards the boardroom of the ship and sat waiting. The room was dimly lit with the monitor displaying the status of all the machines in the hangar as well as the projected course that the Archangel was taking to earth. He hardly reacted or noticed as his teammates floated in one after another. Despite himself, his thoughts dwelled on his son and the Freedom Gundam they had recently built together, and how “cool” Kira Yamato was supposed to be. With a simple sword stroke, it felt like had had just betrayed his son, and that thought was challenging to cope with.
  5. 1 point
    Order of the Seven Stars Gjallarhorn is the savior that pulled the world out of the brink during the calamity wars. They fought and nearly exterminated the menace of mobile armors from known existence. Mobile armors were soulless death machines which brought humanity to its’ knees during the calamity wars. Hero’s who vanquished these mighty foes were rewarded the highest honor within Gjallarhorn, the Order of the Seven Stars. Do you have what takes to echo the achievements of these heroic titans? Gabriel looked at the description with a scowl on his face. Ever since his meeting with the mystery sniper he had been in a bad mood. He didn’t feel like playing into their hands, on the other hand he was missing the rush of combat. He needed to do something legit, to feel validated again, to feel worthy of Ardent Exia. While some missions could be described as hard or challenging, others were in a class of their own, downright suicidal even. Of course there was a rendition of this mission on the old GBN, but this new one, well he hadn’t heard good things about it. Supposedly no one had beaten the challenge yet. For Gabriel’s mood, It was right up his alley. The diver selected the join button and he as put in a que to see if anyone else would be up for the task. As he waited, he checked over his armaments. True Exia was largely armed with beam weaponry, so he took the precaution to load up two extra GN blades the normal Exia would carry in 7 swords mode. It would make him more bulky but the trade off should be worth the risk. He was so lost in his thoughts, that Gabriel almost didn’t realize the mission had started. “Crap.” He chided himself, “I didn’t even see who I’m teamed up with!” The scene before him was carnage incarnate. Ardent Exia stood in the abandoned streets of a huge city. Tall buildings cut up the terrain into grids, with gray skies threatening to rain at any moment. If it wasn’t for the radio chatter (which he was ignoring) the whole scene would have been eerily quiet. Unidentifiable mobile suit remains were scattered in the streets like body parts from a slasher film, with thick oil seeping from their limbs like blood. A flash of lightning made Gabriel jerk in surprise but as he turned to look at the source his eyes grew in alarm. In the distance an area of mountains bordered the city, and on the rim of one of the mountains was the great beast Hashmal. The bird like mecha tilted its’s head up to screech out a roar, and despite its great distance the pink lightning of a beam blast, blindly glanced into the city. Buildings erupted into gray dust and tumbled down, creating a thick fog like smoke, hiding the terrifying beast from sight. Gabriel gripped his controls tighter as uneasiness grew over him. “What did I sign up for…” he muttered to himself. Movement caused him to look to his side and see a friendly mobile suit. “Oh thank goodness!” He sighed as he turned his comm on to hail the friendly. Before he could even say hello a black dog like creature pounced into the mobile suit, followed by another, then another. The swarm of Plumas crashes into the mech drowning it with attacks. The friendly pilot screamed out in terror begging for help. Gabriel yelled out, though he didn’t know if it was from fear or rage, and charged in towards the pile. He slashed out with his GN sword to start bashing away the smaller drones. “Crap! We can’t be a man down already!” Even as he swiped his blade through the little mecha, he knew he was too late. He got a handful of them with his sword but more and more kept coming. “If I stay here they’ll over take me too…” he reluctantly fired his thrusters to take flight and hovered away from the plumas as they proceeded to tear their fresh kill apart, greedily “chewing” the limbs of the mech and draining its’ fluids. One thing became clear to Gabriel as he retreated, “this isn’t going to be easy…” he darted between buildings looking for more allies. “Anyone out there? We lost an ally already!” He called out frantically. Fear was settling over him and he didn’t like the feeling.
  6. 1 point
    Three Plumas jumped off the roof of one of the broken buildings near the Smackdown, attempting to catch the yellow Gunpla off-guard. At first, it looked like they'd connect with the machine, but Dave was beginning the figure out their patterns as they would stop and start moving. Once they got dangerously close, the diver stepped to the right, pointing his right fist at the three. With all his might, the fist pushed the three into each other, smacking the wall in the process. The crushed parts mixed together with the wall's materials, creating a large crack. "Yes." Dave finally responded to his teammate, swiping the Gunpla's arm back to remove some of the oil. He knew the other player was right. The amount of Pluma's in the area were substantial. Whoever else was on the team was likely destroyed, meaning they didn't have much of a chance to even get to the Hashmal if they tried to defeat the mobile armor's minion. The Astaroth blasted upward in the air, attempting to get as much distance between the massive group and himself. Seeing the mission's goal in sight, he began his assault forward, knowing in the back of his head that the tiny machines would follow suit. "Ignore them." Dave uttered. "Get to the Hashmal." It was easier said than done...
  7. 1 point
    Through the dust the a figure of absurd colors slowly took shape. Yellow and maroon slowly collated into an IBO variant, which Gabriel couldn’t recall at that moment. What he did see was the machine punching its’ way past plumas. Gabriel responded to the simple greeting with, “I’m glad I’m not alone!” As the two suits met up more plumas seemed to stream towards the duo. Gabriel slashed past unique machine to split the crown of one of the minion machines charging them. “Looks like we got a entire maze of these monsters between us and the mobile armor!” Gabriel noted as he fought the urge to pull out his beam pistol to fire ineffective shots. “Is your suit only effective at close ranges?” He asked blindly as the plumas slowed down in consistency, offering them a small reprieve. Gabriel was still feeling flustered between his recent defeat and the sudden intensity of this challenge. At the moment he was playing much like his old self, and he hated it. He felt like he couldn’t get the upper hand, he was barely prepared, and there was perhaps a literal army between him and the desired goal. As his insecurities grew, the wave of plumas all together stopped, offering an eerie pause to the action. Still he looked around cautiously as he waited to hear from his new companion.
  8. 1 point
    The main lobby of GBN was filled to the brim with crazy looking cosplayers and animal people as Dave walked around. That was the fun part of GBN for most players. You could look however you wanted to, but Dave was perfectly fine with just looking like Dave. Ironically, the bland man with a white T-shirt and jeans stood out in the crowd as he looked through the the mission list, seeing if he could find a mission that would just give him something to do. It didn't take long to find a mission that was starting to become quite popular in the game. Order of the Seven Stars began to get a reputation of being one of the most difficult challenges in all of GBN. In fact, no one had ever beaten it. "Hm. Okay." CLICK! Wherever he was transported to, the place had seen better days. Noticing the Hashmal immediately, he saw the mobile armor utterly decimating the landscape. "Alright." Said Dave as he walked toward the machine, not even worrying about speed or any of his teammates currently. He decided not to wait and try this mission with his Force, the Baka Brawlers, knowing that only their Grandmaster would stand a chance against the metal beast. He wasn't even paying attention as to who was even on his team right now while The Astaroth Smackdown's feet crunched down on debris. "Doesn't matter." He thought while black metal creatures watched him. Dave didn't really care if they won or lost. Suddenly, four of the Plumas pounced at the neutral diver, but Dave didn't care. He pulled up on the controls and turned around, grabbing two of the vicious enemies in the Astaroth's hands. He then quickly turned off the thrusters, angling his legs at the other two. They didn't see it coming when he crashed down on them, sandwiching the two between him and the ground. Dave looked at the two squirming in his hands, mashing them together into a mishmash of oil and metal parts. That wasn't the end of their attack though, as many more began to attack the IBO custom. Dave stared down, clicking two buttons on the control pad. The hands above the regular ones tightened, creating a "double fist" of two stacked appendages. The diver thought back to when he told his crew about his Astraroth's gimmick. "You gotta say it loudly when you do it!" Josh Duncan clinched his fists and began to punch the air "FOUR FISTS!!!!" Dave blinked and didn't react to the stupidity. "No. That's fine." The fists flew into some of the Plumas, pulverizing a couple of them in the process. The sheer strength of the hands began to push back the machines, all without the Gunpla moving from its spot. Eventually, the enemy had enough, opting to go kill some other poor mobile suit. Dave's comms blared as one of his teammates flew near him. “Anyone out there? We lost an ally already!” Dave heard as he ignited his engines, flying toward the white Exia. "Hello."
  9. 1 point
    Carter was elated with himself, actually coming up with a winning plan that got them to safety "Hell yeah!" He said, sitting up from his cockpit and opening the hatch, he looked around the area and saw nothing "Hey.. we're on Earth right? Not mars?" He joked, wiping his forehead as if there was sweat. "Oh yeah! We did well out there guys" he chuckled and raised his fist "We'll get back at them for betraying us another time, I gotta go for now" he waved bye as he logged out. When he was back to reality, he shut his eyes and laid back, it wasn't too intense, but he was mentally strained.. his new MS felt amazing to pilot and use. He picked it up and admired it "You did well out there" he said, bringing it over to the shelf and putting it in action pose next to his Zaku. "Oh yeah, I should probably.." He nodded and looked at the time "I should make a visit" he said, grabbing his coat and heading out
  10. 1 point
    Walking outside of the Zeong's head, Kyle looked around the savannah. The group of four seemed to be alone, with no Archangel or anything else in sight. The diver knew that whatever happens during their next mission, Beta Team will likely be on their own. "Wouldn't want to fight with those Titans anyways." He thought while walking toward Aida. Kyle put his hand on the back of his head. "Sorry I couldn't do much this time." He exclaimed. "I'll promise you that the Trinames will be complete by the time we do the mission, whatever that may be." Kyle pulled up his menu, checking to see if he was past his allotted playtime he gave himself. It was close, but the diver decided that he needed to get to back to his real job. "I'm gonna have to log out now." He uttered while pressing a few buttons. "Great job on the win! I'll see you guys next time!" With that statement, the diver materialized away from GBN. Pulling off the headset, the sides of them were covered in sweat. "Gross!" He yelled while grabbing wipes. "Wish I had one of those more comfortable, hi-tech ones..." He wiped the whole setup down and picked up his Zeong gunpla, placing it back where it belonged in his collection. "You were good, but you're no Trinames, that's for sure." He thought to himself as he glanced at the uncompleted custom. "Nothing will stand in the way of the Comet Meister's machine!"
  11. 1 point
    (Post-Operation II) Having regrouped near the Archangel, Beta Team tried to reach for the hatch of Archangel’s right catapult. Oddly, not a transmission had come from the ship ever since the announcement of victory: Aida himself was guiding the team to the ship with his Super Airbatel’s Mobile Armor mode, going at a pace the Buster Dagger and GP03 could keep up with. As for the Zeong’s head, it was still being carried by Beta Four. As nimble as it was, it was not fast enough, nor did it have a reactor anymore, so it would have to save its energies as much as it could. - “Alright, people. We’re here...” Aida switched to MS mode as soon as he reached the closed hatch, and put the GM’s hand on it to establish contact with the bridge. “Archangel, this is Beta! Open up! We’re here!” - “Lieutenant. I wouldn’t have thought you as the naive type...” As a video window opened up in his cockpit, Aida saw Cima Garahau in a room of the Archangel, along with Bask Om and Jamaican Daninghan, rather than the bridge. It was possible those in the bridge could not hear what was going on. - “Garahau! You… how did you get here so quick?” Aida was surprised to see Cima in the ship, but she refused to disclose any information. - “Does it matter? Now, you’re in the perfect position. The whole lot of you will burn up in the atmosphere, Mobile Suits and all. I would’ve preferred to interrogate you, as traitors deserve, but merely getting rid of you will do the job.” Mocking Beta Team, Cima put on her Titans peaked cap, and grinned as she dedicated the four of them a military salute. - “Hahaha! And while you’re at it, you’re taking that GP03 with you to Hell!” Bask laughed, while Jamaican served himself some gin. - “Truly, two birds with one stone. They're saving us a logistics problem on their own.” Daninghan only had but a slight smile for the team, before sipping from his glass and exiting the room. - “You snakes!” Aida, furious at the three of them, tried to aim his weapon at the ship, before realizing his weapons were locked, as usual for cutscenes, and interactive story sequences. “I’ll get the Titans back for this, i swear...” After this, the communication was cut and Aida took back the Airbatel’s hand. “This ain’t good… We need to find a way to descend safely, fast!” -“Bastards! Bastards!” Charo chirped as he bounced around the entire cockpit of the Zeong. -“Watch your language.” Exclaimed Kyle as he looked through various settings on his control screen. “You’re right though. I’m sick of these Titans and their nastiness!” If there was anyone in the group who could get them through this predicament, it definitely wasn’t Kyle. The diver stood inside of the Zeon machine’s head, trying to think of a plan. It seemed that there was truly no way in. Kyle was getting more and more concerned by the second, even though he knew that he wouldn’t actually burn up physically. Worse case scenario, they’d be locked out of the game, a far worse fate in Kyle’s eyes. “I don’t think any of us have atmospheric reentry capabilities either, except maybe Aida’s mobile armor.” He uttered. Turning on the teams comms, he hoped the others had an idea. “Can anyone here reach the actual bridge?” --- Thus, the Divers began to truly cooperate for the occasion. - "Tsk.. SERIOUSLY?! We fight tooth and nail to protect them and this is what we get? Dammit..." Carter, normally the aloof member of Beta Team, was clearly unsatisfied with how they were being treated, with good reason. This must be what Garma felt when Char betrayed him, he thought to himself, looking around and scoffing before speaking again. "Should I blow open the catapult?" Carter’s irritation was slowly getting the best of him, however, he was not the only one. - "Believe me Carter, if only our weapons were unlocked, I'd burst in there myself and take over the ship with this 9 mil of mine..." Aida begun, clearly angered, yet in a state of tranquil fury, "but it's no option." - "We now have four minutes before we ignite. Beta One, what are your re-entry measures?" Four coldly stated the facts, and inquired about Aida's machine, unwittingly (or perhaps not?) following up with Kyle's thoughts. - "I don't have that stuff! This is a GM, after all! Doesn't anybody see some thick debris we can get behind or something?" -“Beta Four! Try to get us in front of the bridge. We’ll try to alert the crew while the others look for debris!” Kyle pleaded. The angle of the head didn’t give him much visibility, so he couldn’t find any, but Aida and Carter were bound to find some around in the area if they went looking. - "Tch.. this is a rotten situation. Wait a moment. You fought in a debris zone, right Kyle? This is gonna be dangerous but..." Carter suddenly fired up his main burner. "If I use the Saturn engine, i might be able to pull myself out to grab some debris!" He was fully aware of the rangers, they were already burning up, and a Saturn engine on top of that only complicated matters. But maybe, just maybe, it could work out. - "To be seen by the crew, we would have to hack control of the comms away from the Titans. Even if the crew heard us out, i don't think they have any authority to let us in..." Aida, still pessimistic about trying to talk things over with NPDs which could very well be scripted to disregard them, put all his bets into Carter's attempt to bring something able to withstand re-entry. “That sounds like a plan, Carter. Can i be of help?” Aida turned the Airbatel into a Mobile Armor again, and followed him towards part of a colony cap that seemed to have drifted into orbit from the debris field. If they could briefly make their orbit steeper, they could reach for it. - "I can attempt to hack the comms.” Beta Four surprisingly revealed. Dedicated hackers were a rare commodity on the game, due to the sheer complexity of some of the puzzles. “It's worth a try. Carter, Aida, you have three minutes..." Still speaking in her signature monotone voice, the NPD put the GP03's hand over the bridge, which couldn't see any of them directly because of the covers put over the bridge windows to survive re-entry. "Authority fabrication sequence... begin." - “Hmm.” Shaking around in the Zeong’s head, Kyle hoped that the other two members could find a big enough piece to withstand the return to Earth. He felt worthless, for he had no way to help the others. However, someone else could. “Hey, Charo.” He reached for his red robotic companion. “You’re a smart little machine. Can you help Beta Four hack into the comms?” -“Roger! Roger!” The ball responded while essentially going limp. A bizzare noise, which almost sounded like a fan running, began to play. Kyle grabbed the toy to keep it from rolling around. Hacking wasn’t it’s speciality, but as a product of the game itself, he could give them a better chance of contacting the bridge. With the crew being unable to physically see them, it’d be worth a shot for the droid while Aida and Carter went for the colony cap. - "Ever watch some football?" Carter asked, diverting power to only what was necessary for his plan. "I'll be the running back…” Conscious that Aida might not be a sports fan, he corrected himself and used cleared terms. “I'm gonna flick the Saturn engine switch and grab onto your mobile armor. Our combined boost outputs should pull us out to reach for that thing." - "Haven’t got the foggiest about football, but that sounds like a plan. We're taking that piece of the cap as close as we can to Four and Kyle, in case Plan A fails..." Firing up his thrusters, Aida caught up to Carter's Comet Dagger, and positioned himself in front of him. "Four, can you take yourself and Kyle to the colony cap when that happens?" - "It will be done. Two minutes remaining." Four couldn't be bothered to lose her calm. Her job was hard enough as is. "Attempt 3, failure. The structures are predictable, but... I lack dedicated hardware." - "Hardware, huh?" The NPD's comment made Aida think about Beta Four's proficiencies. Slowly but surely, more information about her playstyle surfaced. If only he was in charge of her Mobile Suit of choice, he would not be afraid to specialize her, given that he was already a jack of all trades for the team, even if a Gundam was naturally better-performing than a GM. -“Charo!” Kyle, worried, yelled as smoke started to come out of the droid’s “mouth”. He put the unit down, as the toy shut down completely, it’s lights turning off. The diver realized that, for the first time ever, he felt something for an AI. “You’ve gone on plenty of adventures with me, little buddy. I’m not gonna lose you because of this.” With Beta Four also not being able to contact the bridge, their only hope was the colony cap retrieval operation… --- - "Alright!" said Carter, you could almost see him smirking from his MS. "This is gonna be a gamble, so let's see just how lucky we are..." He flipped the switch on his Saturn engine, and diverted all the power to thrusters, life support, and comms. "On three, Aida." Taking a deep breath, Carter’s foot hovered over the pedal. "One… two… THREE!" After the countdown, he put his foot down, and the Comet Dagger burst forward with his thrusters flaring beautifully. Having carried out his own countdown silently, Aida fired up all of his rear-facing thrusters, and both the Comet Dagger and the Super Airbatel sped towards the colony cap piece, eventually reaching it. Weirdly, the cap appeared to be from an O'Neill Cylinder rather than an Hourglass-Class: this meant the piece of debris destined to save them was not from Junius Seven, but rather another colony. - “Ok… now we oughta make sure we don't overshoot that piece, so turn off that engine for now! On the count of three, we'll use the verniers to pull off a 180°, then full throttle on the mains to take it with Kyle and Four! Ready?! One, two, THREE!" On his signal, the Airbatel fired up all of the thrusters mounted in the front of the GM. For the maneuver to be successful, it was paramount that Carter used the thrusters in the back of his MS to counter the maneuver, and so both of them would be able to achieve the desired spin. As for Beta Four, her GP03 finally gave up. It appeared as if the Titans had not only repelled her attempts to hack into the Archangel, but also attempted to counterattack with a hack of their own. Before it could engage the Stamen's self destruct protocol, Four simply took back the hand, and gripped the Zeong head, grabbing it from one of the big red antennas. "It ain't gonna work. Hold on tight and remember to prioritize life support... They only have a minute to come back." -“One more minute?!” Kyle yelled while grabbing the front console with one hand, while holding Charo in the other. It was going to be tight, but he believed in Beta Team. He knew the others would work together to win. “AIDA! CARTER! DO IT!” - "IKU DE~!" Carter cheered as he and Aida shot towards the colony cap, he smirked, knowing his plan was gonna work. "Come on!" He said, cutting off the engine and then firing his verniers at the perfect time! They spun and pulled off a perfect 180 together, before using the main thrusters again to get to the piece and push it towards Earth. "We made it! Now let's push this thing back to our friends!" He said over comms, the excitement was painted all over his voice and his face. He didn't know PVE could be this fun at all! - "Just a little longer..." Aida pushed his thrusters as much as he could: less than a minute was left until the temperature reached levels capable of damaging the Mobile Suits of his friends, and when that happened, it wouldn't be much longer until the heat sinks couldn't hold it any longer. I'd rather not lose any of my teammates the one day we're on the winning side. The payout is probably twice as good! - "Thirty-three seconds... Aida-san, Carter-san, you're not gonna make it at this rate." As she waited for Aida and Carter, Beta Four had eyed the timer, and her predictions were not pretty. - "Hold my war crimes! We'll be there in time, just you watch!" Aida, determined to leave no Diver (or NPD) behind, had one last trick up his sleeve, and was not afraid to use it for the home stretch. "EXAM! CHEESY ONE-LINER! HERE WE GO!" Pressing the right combination of keys on his controllers, all the sensors of the Airbatel turned blood red, marking the deactivation of all the machine's limiters, and the engines flared like never before, giving the colony cap that direly needed push that would allow it to get to Kyle and Four on time. - "Don't die just yet." Four gripped the other antenna of the Zeong, and taking it with both hands, the GP03 waited for the colony cap fragment to reach a certain point, before kicking the Archangel to propel itself towards it at maximum acceleration. The Gundam started to glow orange, then red. But just before bursting into flames, it activated all of its fire extinguishers at once, buying a little more time for Four and Kyle, and leaving behind it a beautiful white trail. After this, it arrived to the safety of the colony cap, where it started to lose glow, and Aida knew he could turn off the EXAM, lest he let the Airbatel blow up there. - "Woooohoooo! Turn off the engines, we did it fellas!" Aida celebrated, as all of his systems, save for the life support and communications shut down. "I think a celebration is in order! And a damage report, of course." - “Oh man! You guys are fast!” As the four of them went behind the colony cap, Kyle took in a huge breath of relief and congratulated the team. “Awesome job!” The diver looked down at the unmoving ball. “As for a damage report, uh, it’s a lot of damage for me. Plus, Charo...” Beeps and boops whistled from the toy as it rebooted. Lights on the machine lit up while Charo jumped out of Kyle’s hand. - “Idiot! Almost died! Idiot! Almost died!” It chirped while hopping on its owner’s head. - “Alright, alright.” Kyle exclaimed as he pulled up his menu. “You did great today, and don’t worry. I’ll be piloting a proper Gunpla for us next time. The diver pressed a button, putting Charo back into his inventory. After that, he felt Beta Four’s Gundam aiming the head to the side, so as to let Kyle contemplate the scenery, which left Kyle speechless. It never ceased to amaze him how much work went into the graphics of this world. - "WOOOOOOO! I’M A GENIUS!" Carter said jokingly, cheering in his cockpit. The Comet Dagger turned off its engines, as the pilot congratulated Aida. "That was awesome, man! Hell of a way to debut that EXAM of yours." He said, before going on to render his damage report. "I'm kinda crispy, but luckily I'm not too battered up." Carter relaxed slightly and then leaned back, looking at the beautiful view. He had always wondered what it looked like.. - “The view… it’s gorgeous. I need to take this one picture.” As Aida’s main camera turned back on, shining very dimly, the view came to his screens as well. Without a second of doubt, he kept three keys pressed, and screenshots were taken, being saved on his personal gallery. Smiling, he thought he’d be sure to send them to his new teammates. For a group of randoms, they're sure good fellows. I wish I could invite them to the force. Even the NPD. --- Minutes passed, admiring the view and chatting with one another as the colony cap fragment slowly burned away, pieces of it coming off at intervals. At times, they worried that the fragment would be completely destroyed, and tried to have the three Mobile Suits (and complementary head) occupy as little space as possible. However, just as their impromptu heat shield had shrunked down a few sizes, the trail of atmospheric heat disappeared, marking the point where they had survived re-entry successfully. Soon, the ground was visible. An extense, lush savannah. The question now was, how should they land? Hmmm. Non-transformable MS without ballutes meet a long, long fall… And we don’t even have a Dodai. Aida quickly put his knowledge of the aerial environment to the test, coming up with one plan. Later, the team put it into action by pushing the cap fragment together with their thrusters, making it go horizontal, in a maneuver that made their descent less of a downspiral and more of an actual curve. When the cap fragment was about to touch down with incredible force, the Beta MS bailed out, using all their available rocket fuel to slow down, while Aida's Mobile Armor took off for the clouds. When it came back into sight at a much lower speed, he saw the Comet Dagger and the GP03, boots on the ground. Touching down next to them, a prompt showed up for everyone, as the sun started to set. < Landing Successful! +2000 Cr.> The leader of Beta Team got out of his MS, for once relatively undamaged, only to remember there were no welcoming figures, no new motherships or politics. Only them, in the middle of a savannah, along with some animals that had been blown away by the force of their thrusters. Alone. On their own. Does that mean I have to do a debriefing? Putting on his usual dress uniform, he stepped down from the cockpit into the hands of Airbatel, which automatically lowered him down to ground level. Beta Four put the Zeong's head down next to Aida, then opened her own cockpit to come with her two teammates, while Carter did his own thing. If this is the end for now, then we truly don't know what comes next. I have to come up with something... a strategy of sorts.
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