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Grayson last won the day on November 30 2021

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  1. Anxiety had knotted up in Kali's throat as she entered the med bay, her heart raced as she walked about looking to the beds lined up on either side of the wall. Some were empty, some had a resting soldier with a bandaged head or limb. Her glasses reflected the overhead lights as she turned her head this way and that to read the charts, more specifically the names. Ellison, Pope, Summers...MacMaster. She stopped at MacMaster looking to the curtain that circled the bed. Kali reached for the curtain but stopped herself realizing she was shaking. Lowering her hand, she took a breath and steadied herself. She reached once again and peeled the curtain back, "Roa...Private MacMaster?" the words fumbled out of her mouth clumsily. She didn't pull the curtain all the way back and waited a welcoming response that invited her to reveal her fellow soldier or silence to leave him be. The last thing Roane remembered was light—a bright light. Overwhelming. Then, he had dreamt. A red flower in a sea of white ones, swaying indolently in a phantom breeze. There was more to that dream, so much more, but he couldn’t seem to remember it. It was just out of reach and getting further by the second. Then, a voice. And with that voice, the dream cracked into a million little pieces and fell away. Roane tried to open his eyes but found only one willing to do the work. The other was covered by a bandage wrapped around his head, but it didn’t feel like he was seeing the inside darkness of a bandage. It felt like he wasn’t seeing anything at all. The glare of the hospital lights overhead made the eye that did open water. “Hello?” he asked, trying to fight through the haze of his confusion and fear. His eye searched for a face, a source for the ghost voice that had pulled him from his dream. There—a silhouette behind the curtain. A shadow waiting beyond the veil, yet he felt nothing but calm. Roane reached out his right hand and saw that it, too, was bandaged. Bandaged…and missing most of his ring and pinky fingers. Roane studied his hand with detached fascination before turning his thoughts back to the one behind the veil. “Come in,” he said. “It’s alright,” Kali listened to Roane adjust slightly in the bed, she waited with bated breath wondering if she woke him! She hoped that if was indeed sleeping that he would disregard her voice as an apparition and go back to his much needed rest. She heard him say hello and she clenched the curtain tighter and continued to listen until he mentioned it was alright. Her fingertips felt upon the stiff fabric the curtains and she felt her arms will itself to open the curtain and reveal her comrade. Her eyes watered at the sight of her friend and she bit her lip to stifle the gasp of surprise as her eyes scanned from behind the clear lenses of her frames noting Roane's bandaged head and hand. Her lips parted and soft spoken "Hi." breathed out of her mouth. It took Roane a moment to recognize who he was looking at, but when that moment came, a soft smile formed onto his face. “Hey, Kali,” he said, looking at her through bleary eye. “Thanks for coming to visit,” A spike of pain drove itself like a nail into his left eye socket, the one covered by the bandage. The pilot winced and clenched his teeth until the pain passed, a thin sheen of sweat beginning to form on his forehead. “How’s…everyone else? Did anyone else…” Roane shook his head, abandoning that line of questioning. It was too painful. “Are you okay?” It pained her to see Roane this way, she felt the pang of guilt strike her again as she felt responsible for his condition...and Geneva...she couldn't bear to think about it but it haunted her. The pang doubled as Roane winced in pain. She instinctively shushed him to relax him, she reached for the towel on the nearby medical trap. She dabbed at his sweat, "I spoke with the Lieutenant...I believe things are all right." she sad as she put the towel down, "I'm okay...I think I have been most worried over you. Seeing you has helped ease but I'm sorry that I didn't act sooner...Roane...perhaps if I had gotten into the purple frame earlier...you would...Geneva would..." she sighed and lowered her head and stopped herself. She was at a loss for words. Roane shook his head as Geneva fell silent. “We all knew what we were doing,” he croaked, his throat growing dry. His thoughts turned to Geneva. From what Kali had said, she had been the only one aside from himself that had gone down. That, at least, was good. As good as losing a teammate could realistically be. “We all made a choice to go out there and fight knowing that some of us might not be coming back. Losing Geneva is…” he fell silent again, searching for the words. Eventually, he simply gave up and gave Kali a wry smile. “I’m glad the rest of us came back in one piece…mostly,” he looked at his bandaged hand and chuckled slightly. “Don’t beat yourself up too much about all of it. If anyone’s to blame it’s me. I could have acted faster…but we have to look forward for now. The union needs us. As soon as I can, I’m getting back in that mobile suit. If I ever cross paths with that GINN pilot again, I’m going to be ready,” Kali nodded, Roane was right they had to look and move forward. They would be better than they were before, "I'll be right there alongside you. We'll both be ready." She said with resolve, "I'm going to rest...you should do the same." She added knowing that he was in pain. She quietly departed...she thought about going to her quarters but she decided a cup of tea was in order to calm her nerves.a
  2. The explosion was a hallmark to her quick thinking. Kali beamed proudly and close her eyes in gratitude, "That was for you...Geneva." she whispered. A sigh escaped her as she and the purple frame moved in tandem to watch the enemy forces retreat much to her relief. It wasn't long before they were in the hangar. The medics had met them and had cleaned her head wound and bandaged it. Her black bangs fell over the white red-stained bandages. A dull ache remained but she was okay. She nodded politely to the medics assuring them they could go on to help where they were more needed. Her hands rested on her elbows as she absorbed the experience. The events replayed in her minds eye over and over, it all transpired so quickly and yet it seemed like they were trapped in eternity. She glanced over to the red frame, "Roane..." she whispered. Images of her crying out to him, the explosions, them being separated flashed before her eyes. Kali stood up immediately, a wave of dizziness fell over her causing her to stumble slightly but she regained her bearings, "Where is Private MacMaster?" she asked a passing technician, "The infirmary ma'am." Kali nodded in thanks and hurried her way through the corridors, she had to make sure he was okay. A stray thought entered her mind, where was the lieutenant? Was he okay as well?
  3. It all happened so fast the shot and Roane moving to protect her. Kali didn't here herself cry out and instinctively reach out to the Red Frame only for them to be separated by the explosions. Kali's body jolted violently from impact as she did her best to maintain control! She fell into a massive heap. Kali's winced, her breath rapid as she tried to regroup. She recalled the shimmer before the attack and the shot that followed. The purple frame as if sensing her urgency recollected itself at her command. Kali felt blood trickle down her forehead, her head hurt but her hands reached out the operating system of the astray. The shimmer, the shot, the two factors in her equation. While they were seemingly minute, they were not. She could trace the trajectory of the shot for her target. The aiming receptacle of her astray began scanning the screen as the purple frame took aim. Kali's eyes focused as her hands input the data she needed. The receptacle locked onto the location she sought and she let out a volley of shots in that direction. While there was a chance of error, Kali was confident in her calculation even if her head was killing her at the moment.
  4. Kali instinctively reached out to Roane, her Purple Frame seemingly matching her own movements resting its mechanical hand on her comrade's shoulder. Steadying her voice as best she could, her lip trembled, "There...was nothing we could have done." She whispered in the comm as if she were sitting next to Roane himself, "I don't know what to do either." She continued, "Roane..." it felt different saying his first name, "We can't let her death be in vain..." She said as she stood and looked off into the distance, "She would want us to fight and honor her." She said looking back to her kneeling partner, "That's what we can do." She said gripping her rifle, "I can't do this without you...will you help me?" She asked.
  5. Kali's attention was ripped from her terminal as the Captain called out to her. Her eyes widened in astonishment as she was ordered to suit up. She nodded at the Captain's reassurance and left her terminal immediately. Her feet had a life of their own as they guided her quickly through the corridors and into the hangar. She felt herself climb into pilot's seat of the Purple Frame. Her hands instinctively reached out operating the OS activating the machine. She felt herself say: "Purple Frame. LAUNCHING." The large violet hued machine was guided by her steady yet nervous hands as she entered the battlefield. As she approached she equipped her beam rifle. Her gaze fell upon the dissipating smoke seeing the Red Frame, "Private MacMaster." She called out as approached, she noticed a piece of broken scorched blue shrapnel, "Private...what happened? Where's Ensign Halston?" She asked in a seemingly hopeful voice even though the reality of situation sunk in like her heavy heart. Kali closed her eyes tight to hold back tears but she immediately blamed herself for not being ready...
  6. Brown eyes were seemingly vacant as Kali watched the viewing screen with intent. She monitored the incoming bogeys as well as looking for stragglers as Ensign Halston suggested, "Roger." She said almost robotically. Her deft digits danced across her keyboard like second nature. She was simultaneously collecting battle data while monitoring. "We have 6 units intercepting!" Kali called out to the team watching the blips on her screen move this way and that, "Lieutenant and Larris, two of the bogeys are entering your vicinity."
  7. Kali monitored as the Gold Frame launched knowing the team would follow suit, she listened intently as the Lieutenant issued his orders. Swift digits brought up a view of the area. She watched as the M1s engaged, her eyes darting as she looked for openings and anything that would be helpful to the team. Part of her wished she was out there, she knew that she had more training to do before she was to be in the field. She listened to the chatter, noting the adaption and teamwork that was more apparent than the ambushed training. Ensign Halston showed more confidence and ease. Her terminal alerted her to movement opposite their position, "Chromatic team, we have inbound movement. Watch your six." she noted as she continued to monitor their movement, she couldn't tell if it was friend or foe.
  8. Kali hadn't anticipated becoming a pilot so soon but she anxiously took it in stride as best she could. She spent her time during the drills recording the battle data of the team which she consumed at length for strategy and formation notes. When data wasn't reflected in the lenses of her glasses she was hands on with Mobile Suit maintenance. She struggled with firearm training only barely excelling in the use of the standard pistol. Outside of the trainings she spent her spare time pouring over the operating system of the Purple Frame, she recalled the data she first saw in the captain's office and even though she had the core functions of the frame down, she was frustrated by the data kernels that eluded her with encryption. She wanted to know more. Not one to have consumed anime before, Kali watched with interest while drinking her tea. Her reactions were minimal as she tried to understand the concept of it. Kali was on standby as back up. She listened to the chatter while simultaneously going over data should the team need her assistance. She didn't have any drones to assist but with her terminal she was able to provide an extra set of eyes to the team and help them strategize to compensate where needed. She listened as Ensign Halston and Private MacMaster reacted to the Lieutenant's brief, her uncertainty echoed with theirs but her determination was equal with it. "You know my sentiments, Lieutenant." Kali followed in support of Halston and MacMaster, "I am on standby. I will be monitoring the team's movements as well as frame and weapon status. Pilots, formation data has been uploaded to you based on the Astray trainings. I will be sure to apprise you of any battle data that will assist you." Kali took a breath hoping that she conveyed more confidence than her anxiety. Her heart was racing the entire time!
  9. Kali glanced to Private Larris from her peripheral and she gave a nod of satisfaction and soft smile at his comments. Her eyes went back to Lieutenant as he explained the training. Kali took her seat again and added his trainings to her datapad. She glanced back towards him to see him give her a look and a nod. She wasn't sure what he meant but she decided to stick around to clarify. Her anxiety quickened and she worried she overstepped her bounds. Intrusive thoughts, Kali told herself as she brought her datapad up again. She hoped by focusing her anxiety into tasks she would be less overwhelmed and worrisome. She brought up her formation notes began adding notations for different scenarios for drills and sorties that could be helpful in the field. She'd run them by the Lieutenant to gather his thoughts.
  10. A small smile was offered to Private Larris as if saying 'I'm not offended when he showed up for the meeting. She noticed the Lieutenant give her a smile which made her feel at ease and her grasp on the datapad lessened and her tension melted like ice in warmth. She nodded at his sentiments that they were lucky and that no one on the team got hurt. Kali noted hints of frustration in the lieutenant's voice but she wasn't sure if it was directed at anyone specific or himself for the matter. Kali's ears perked up at the mention of them being a team and they would act as such. She couldn't help but notice his gaze fall on Ensign Halston and Private MacMaster when the lieutenant talked about being as strong as a weakest like that they were stuck together. Her intrusive thoughts couldn't help but shift her focus to being a part of the team. Was that what she wanted? To be a part of the team? To help beyond her terminal on the Archangel? It was at that moment she without really noticing or trying, located eyes with the Lieutenant. She felt herself nod in affirmation to an unasked question. When he asked for feedback Kali raised her datapad from her lap, she felt sweat form upon her brow and she swallowed hoping her anxiety would disappear in the pit of her stomach as she listened. Ensign Halston suggested they do team building off the field which Kali agreed. She appreciated Private MacMaster's suggestion for relaxing but she wasn't certain if the lieutenant was keen on relaxing. When Mac master stood and explained himself she felt she understood him, especially when neither one of them came from a military background. Her intrusive thoughts reared their ugly heads shaming her for comparing when he was a Private and a pilot, Kali didn't even have a rank even though she wore the standard uniform, she wanted to change that. "Lieutenant." She said shakily before her voice gained confidence, "Given the initial training exercise and how quickly the team was assembled, Ensign Halston's suggestion on team building will help your dynamic on and off the field. Ensign Halston's weapons may have overheated but with the quick thinking of yourself and the other team members, you were able to compensate which I think shows how the team is adaptable given unexpected anomalies. And I too would, with your permission, would like to submit myself for training. I know I'm not a part of the team..." Her tone saddened at the statement but she continued, "But I would like to be as helpful as possible."
  11. The alert on her datapad caught Kali by surprise! To All Astray Pilots: We will have a mandatory staff meeting at 1500 hours. The topic of the meeting is to debrief the recent mission. Please bring forth any ideas or issues noticed from the action for discussion. Respectfully, Lt. Nathaniel Barondel Chromatic Team Leader She lowered the datapad next to her cup of steamy tea wondering if it was a mistake. Her anxiety climbed a notch as she debated on if it was an error. She reached for her cup stirring the liquid thoughtfully with her spoon. Should she go? Or should she assume it was sent to her in error and not go? Kali sighed softly and sipped her tea. - - - - - After catching the captain mere minutes before 1500, Kali confirmed she was indeed invited to the meeting, but the captain wouldn’t tell her why or better she was hurrying off before Kali could ask her. A released sigh helped her ease her anxiety and she took comfort that the invitation was not in error. Datapad in hand, Kali arrived at the briefing room. She heard Ensign Halston acknowledge the Lieutenant with a resounding, ‘Sir.’ Kali immediately started overthinking, was she supposed to do the same? Did she have to be as loud? As confident? In the flurry of anxious thoughts, she observed Private MacMaster who came in quietly. Kali decided to do the same and found a seat where she sat promptly and quietly. Her hands grasped to her datapad as she waited for the discussion to commence wondering what she could contribute that would be useful to the Lieutenant and his team.
  12. Kali watched as the unknown aircraft unloaded its cargo before ascending. The cargo rained down on the battlefield. Kali was confused by the tactic but grateful that in its own quirky way, was working! She listened to the chatter in her earpiece as she re-focused and prepared the drones to provide cover fire only to watch them be destroyed by the enemy. Kali sat back defeated unsure of what to do next besides watch the view screen helplessly. She felt herself saying her mantra like a silent prayer of support for the Lieutenant. When her fellow officer the enemy was retreating and the mobile suits were making their way back to the Archangel, Kali felt as if her prayer was answered! A wave of relief swept over her and she felt her body sit back in the confines as her tension and anxiety left her body. Kali was exhausted but still managed to curve her lips into a satisfied but weary smile. A cup of tea sounded grand in that moment.
  13. Her anxiety screamed beneath her calm, determined demeanor as her brown eyes darted to and fro looking for the next opening the next opportunity. Fingers danced along the keyboard of her terminal; her eyes dare not stray from the battle on her screen. Her silence and stillness were betrayed by her typing fingers and observant eyes. She gained access to the visual receptors of the drones giving them additional eyes on the battlefield which she shared with the crew of the archangel. Perhaps they would see something she did not. Her eyes momentarily locked with Captain Hawthorne giving her a silent, agreeable, and determined nod before she returned to the task at hand while her anxiety worried that her observation about the island went unnoticed. Given the circumstances she understood yet her anxiety did not. The drones closed in on their intended destination, with simple keystroke Kali activated the self-destruct sequence on one of the drones cause a sizable and noticeable explosion. She was certain that while it wasn’t enough to turn the tide, collateral damage would still be factor. Still a gamble, she didn’t risk exploding another but was concerned that any of the remaining drones could be shot down before she could. She set a timer on another drone as she listened to the chatter. The lieutenant was getting his team to evacuate or regroup, she was certain the intention and it only caused her anxiety to climb another notch. When she heard Geneva mention whether the commander was accompanying them, her anxiety within screamed another octave. Another drone exploded closer to the mountain on the island. Kali nervously set the timer on another; her little trick would only last so long. Kali’s indicators flashed bringing her attention to the unknown aircraft entering the battle zone. Her anxiety reached its crescendo! Was Kali holding her breath? Her heart thumped in her chest as she heard Private MacMaster try to hail the airborne vehicle. What else could she do to help?
  14. With bated breath, Kali’s brown anxious eyes darted about behind the round lenses of her glasses as she watched in silence. Private Larris decided to focus on the tanks to her relief which was short-lived when a tank shell hit the left arm of the Gold Frame, “Lieutenant!” she cried out, her hand clasp over mouth all too late! Geneva was fighting off the missile barrages while the drones did what little they could do to assist. Kali felt the Archangel lurch at the Captain’s commands. Kali’s indicators went off signaling the Green Frame’s SMGs overheated, “Hang on, my friend.” Kali felt herself say out loud much to her dismay as she typed changing the protocols of some drones to cover her while her weapons recovered, “Hopefully they’ll last enough for the weapons to cool down.” She said hastily as her eyes shifted to Roane as he cried out, he couldn’t breathe. Kali never felt so helpless as she watched, she heard the Lieutenant's voice yell at Roane, but she had toned him out as her eyes scanned her terminal to see what else she could to help, the drones were all occupied! The explosions and crashes brought her attention back to the Red Frame who had overcome her fear, “You did it!” she exclaimed in her earpiece. They didn’t have long to celebrate the victorious moment as more helicopters swarmed the area. Kali sat back in her chair daunted by the odds they faced. A determined look came across her face, unless the enemies were destroyed from the source, they were just spinning their wheels at this point. Kali sat up from her chair and typed in her terminal tracing the trajectory of the enemy fire, tanks, and helicopters. Her eyes widened at the discovery, “Lieutenant, they are coming from the mountain.” Kali said earnestly, “On the island.” She clarified. She hoped the information she relayed was useful as she typed in her terminal frantically. It was a gamble, but she hoped that by redirecting the drones toward the intended area it would draw the enemy fire towards them and allow the Astrays to regroup while the Archangel did what it needed to turn the tide of the battle.
  15. On the bridge of the Archangel, Kali’s brown, analytical eyes hidden behind her spherical spectacles scanned the viewing screen as Lieutenant Barondel launched the Gold frame. His voice rang out in her earpiece as he commanded his team. Her deft fingers instinctively reached out and began typing on the interface in front of her. Captain Hawthorne had given her access to the data on the mobile suits, this was her opportunity to add to that data while they were testing in the field. She noted the distance the Gold Frame had traveled in its launch, Kali was impressed and awed by the feat. She was curious and eager to see how the other pilots measured up. Kali noted the staggered formation and was curious how other formations could enhance their defense as well as offense. Her fingers put her thoughts into data noting how a rotating star formation could provide optimal defense, as well as alternating firepower from each of the mobile suits, would help reserve power. Along with all her datapad and terminal, Kali also decided to bring along a notepad and pen. She noted the standard equipment loadout for each suit as well as the exception that made them unique such as the Lieutenant’s bayonet beam rifle and the Blue Frame’s SMGs. She noted the Red Frame’s pilot confidence and ease. A quick examination noted he was worked with a different OS compared to the other suits. She heard Geneva’s voice which was a first for Kali, the two bunkmates kept missing each other. A soft smile formed on Kali’s lips at being able to hear it for the first time, it was such an odd way to meet she thought as she glanced at the woman’s visage on the screen. Kali noted a silent, respectable greeting in her mind and hoped their paths would cross soon. The team approached the drones that awaited them for the exercise. Kali waited for the Lieutenants command for the exercise to begin when her terminal blinked with warning indicators. Kali looked up only to hear the Lieutenant’s voice cry out in her ear to take ‘evasive action!’ The explosions that followed from the fire missiles rang in her ears as she watched in horror the battle that ensued right in front of her. The reality was further solidified when the Lieutenant cried out it was a trap! They were surrounded! Kali glanced in the Captain’s direction who appeared anxious at the events unfolding. The Captain's anxiety notwithstanding, the Captain gave her commands with cool confidence which comforted Kali and urged her to calm her anxiety that threatened to take over. Kali turned back to her terminal, she glanced at her datapad and her terminal determined to do something to help! The alarms rang and the ship shifted into action! What could she do? Then it dawned on her as she recalled the lieutenant’s words, “Alright, this is a war game with live ammunition. We will conduct a patrol, just keep an eye out for anything, target drones will appear at random intervals.” Light reflected off the lenses of her glasses as she logged into the protocols for the training exercise, “What are you doing?” one of her fellow officers asked, “Reprogramming the drones from the exercise.” Kali explained hastily as she typed intensely, “We can help the Lieutenant while we intercept the vessel.” She said with determination as she finished with one final keystroke. The drone's indicators flashed with their new directive and scattered and began firing at random intervals at the unexpected enemy. Kali was thankful that the drones were equipped with live ammunition. She was certain this tactic was enough to even the odds and allow the team to regroup and allow the Archangel to intercept with less interference. It wasn’t perfect but it would have to do, she thought to herself as she analyzed the battle taking place seeing if there any other opportunities in which she could assist.
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