CERES Pride

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Irys Akane, May 13, 2018.

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  1. Irys Akane

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    Martian pride had been wounded. Perhaps more than even the Nergal. Day by day Irys was coming to realise that luck hadn't been against the MCRN crew.

    A vessel as large as the Nergal had plenty of desk space. She was in the analytics and navigation area to continue her review. So far she'd pulled in two engineers from their vital work for a few hours.

    They liked to imagine the rockhoppers as an untrained workforce but there were plenty of exceptional minds out here. Everything pointed towards some serious engineering work behind the attack. The angle of the strike, the method of attack and the timing were all surprising. Perhaps the UN claims of the Donnager being attacked by the OPA weren't entirely unfounded, but Irys still suspected the UN had to be behind that.

    It wasn't her place to analyse strategy. She just worked through the sensor logs to put the picture together and put everything in an organised datastore for the officers to work through. A cut went back to naval intelligence too. The militia might have curtailed the attack, but when the detritus had settled they had found their OPA prisoner's cell obliterated by a charge placed on the outer bulkhead. He was quite dead.

    "All non-essential systems powering down in ten minutes," came a call over the intercom.

    Akane nodded and powered down her terminal. They couldn't have an unofficial belt militia getting their hands on martian tech so they had made best repair efforts on their own. Half the thrusters were down and only one drive was online to limp to Ceres at 0.2g.

    Despite the militia's threat most of the big belt locations were under Coalition control. Ceres was officially under the UN but there was a strong martian presence after their blockade. The physical activity of docking was more of a challenge than obtaining permission.

    With so many thruster down they had carefully matched velocity to the spin of Ceres on approach but a hundred tug drones would get them locked into place. Then they would make best repairs, get medical aid before the martian repair ship arrived. They would likely disengage from Ceres to finish the job.

    Irys stood, mindful to keep her mag-boots active. They would be under no thrust for a time and then, hopefully, under Ceres spin as soon as they were bound to the docking towers.

    She decided to head for the medical deck. Irkalla had insisted on other members of the crew being treated first, but would probably be done with surgery right about now.
     
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  2. Irys Akane

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  3. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    There was one upside to dragging their feet towards Ceres – the gee made them feel right at home.

    With her bruised ribs and a fucked up arm, Kasai was quietly grateful. Nothing nastier than popping your stitches under thrust. (And don’t even get her started on cleaning up a soaked crash couch. One run after the ambush had been enough for a year.)

    Marine training or not, her gut swimmed right up to her throat when the cozy low-thrust powered down. She focused on a misshapen stain on the ceiling above her medichair. It helped her tamp down the waves of nausea until it subsided to manageable levels.

    Just in time, too. The hatch hissed open to let through a careful Akane. (In better spirits, the Commander might’ve made a ‘fish out of water’ joke.)

    “Lieutenant.” Her greeting was instead its usual – a sharpened Martian twang. “There something I can help you with?”

    Kasai couldn’t wait to stretch her legs on solid ground again. In their current pinch, even the littered streets of Ceres would do. With the increased MCRN presence on the station, they couldn’t have picked a better week to get stranded with repairs.
     
  4. Irys Akane

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    "No ma'am," she replied sharply. "Just came to see if you'd finally got the arm sorted out by a professional. Was hoping my first field patient had a full recovery."

    Akane gave an almost apologetic smile. At the time the intel officer had seemed more shaken by the wounds than Irkalla herself. The attack hadn't been a little skirmish like aboard the OPA ship that had pulled up. It had been the full on boarding hell that they always talked about at the academy. They had passed more than enough bodies before the gunfights had even started.

    The deck below had mostly been requisitioned as a morgue. When the dust settled the casualty rate could have been a lot high. Decompression had taken the most victims in the areas around the parts of the hull that had suffered the blunt of the damage.

    Prepare for docking!

    Irys took two steps towards the nearest bulkhead and found a handhold. The act of manoeuvring wasn't going to be felt, but they would transition almost instantly to 0.3g if Ceres got a grip on them.
     
  5. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    “Given the situation, you did alright.” From the Commander, that was high praise. She righted herself in the white chair, carefully favoring her right side. The left still smarted something fierce, but it was still just a dull ache compared to the searing sting from before.

    Along with the healing agent, the automated dispensers in the chair had released plenty of painkillers into her bloodstream. The Captain was, at the moment, rather jolly.

    Frankly, it was almost terrifying.

    She leaned back against the cushion as three gee kicked in. Her mouth twitched into a dopey grin. “Feels like home, don’t it?”

    Kasai cleared her throat and gave a subtle shake of the head. “Any word on the repair ship ETA?”
     
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  6. Irys Akane

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    "Thank you," she replied. Akane took a cautious step away from the wall. It was a familiar amount of gravity, but she always found the sudden transition from weightless as the thrusters gave a sudden burst and the clamps latched on a little jarring. Like an exaggerated version of a rising lift coming to a halt.

    She didn't need her analysis implants to notice the slight change in the captain's speech patterns. The hard syllables were rolled ever so slightly, the drawl more evident in the vowels.

    "No update. So many systems are reporting issues it's going to take a week just to get a number apparently. They hit us hard. And they hit us well."
     
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  7. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Kasai sighed and let her head loll back – now that it actually could. “They did, didn’t they? I’ll be honest, Lt, I don’t like it one bit. That kinda coordination bodes none too well.”

    A quick glance at the monitor screen in the armrest showed her vitals level (enough). If there was one thing the Commander hated, it was sitting around with her figurative dick in her hands. Kasai stood up with a groan. She swayed a little uneasy on her feet before shaking it off and making for the CIC.

    “You manage to analyze the attack any? Or the tech we got off the boarders?” They passed a few of the skeleton crew – the majority were preparing for the unscheduled shore leave with great zeal.

    “If you want you can join me for the interviews later. Three of the Belters we caught survived. Should be nice and sweaty by now.”
     
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  8. Irys Akane

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    "Are you..." Akane trailed off before she could ask if the captain was in a fit state to be in the CIC. She recalled the look on Irkalla's face when she finally agreed to step back from the front line before she bled to death. This didn't seem like it would a question worth asking.

    She fell into step beside Kasai, keeping her hands clasped together behind her back.

    "We've been looking through the data. It was well planned and executed. They habe a good idea of how we work." Akane turned for the lift, just in case Kasai was considering heading for the stairs.

    "This is earth's fault. Billions of people desperate for work on Terra. Why not just replace the Belters if they don't want to work under these conditions?"
     
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  9. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Kasai snorted as they slowly trucked up towards the CIC. “As if that’d make them complain any less, Lieutenant. They’ll just find some new excuse – how Earthers are stealing their jobs, probably.”

    The elevator gave a shrill ding. Without emergency lighting obscuring the worst of it, the deck looked much worse for wear. They’d taken a couple of bad hits, alright: a few consoles were wrecked beyond recognition, and the far side of the inner hull was sporting a number of gaping holes.

    The Commander winced.

    “Analyze the initial attack whatever way you can, then send the results up the chain. We need to start working on defenses for this kind of assault. Now…” she paused, turned on her heel.

    “Do you wish to participate in the interrogation or not, Lt? I’m not going to offer twice.”
     
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  10. Irys Akane

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    Akane felt slightly sheepish that she had almost forgotten the offer as she had internally debated whether the question Kasai's state to continue working. It didn't reach her face.

    "Yes ma'am. The boys in tactical..." Despite how evenly the genders were represented within the MCRN the tactical team with their powerful simulations and toys always seemed to be boys. Not men. Boys. ".. think a different waveform on the array and taking evasive action or intercepting with a nuke should do that trick." Her own gaze was drawn to the puncture wounds in the CIC bulkhead

    The leiutenant took a few terminal and logged in to access the intelligence subsystems. She fell into step once more to head down towards the brig.

    "Even the density of shrapnel was specifically chosen to confuse our scanners."
     
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  11. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Her frown deepened as she picked up stride again. The Commander’s shoulders seemed even more rigid than usual.

    “That’s…” Kasai banished the curse on her lips with a sigh and reached out to run her fingers across a wide dent in the bulkhead. For every piece of shrapnel that had made it through, five more had remained burrowed in the hull.

    Nergal was, after all, a Martian vessel.

    “Is there a way to figure out the right density just through trial and error?” The alternative was far more troubling – Martians selling military intel and specs to terrorists? Kasai would court-martial them herself.

    The pair of guards at the elevator saluted them both. After a brief exchange they directed them to the trio of occupied cells. Their prisoners had been denied human contact for the whole slow, long ride to Ceres. Compounded by the exhaustion of utter isolation, the familiar level of thrust ought to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    She met Akane’s eyes with a resolute stare, then entered the first cell without so much as a word.
     
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  12. Irys Akane

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    "It could be done. Can't keep how we scan a secret unless we stop doing it. Watch one of our ships in combat stance. Then you'd need intelligent enough engineers to go from that to theory."

    Her thoughts were racing now. Radar engineers known to be within the OPA. What facilities did they have that could emulate an MCRN pattern?

    She put a cognitive break on that train of thought. The glance Kasai cast in her direction suggested it was time to focus on the matter at hand.

    It took less than a second for her to assess the first prisoner.

    "Not this one," she said quietly. The implants did a quick analysis of her vitals and expression, but that wasn't even as quick as she was to decide they would get nothing here. At least not quickly.
     
  13. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Kasai dug her nails into the soft flesh between palm and thumb – it helped her shake the cobwebs of the painkillers in her system. None of that, now. Briefly she considered reaching for the focusing drugs in her breast pocket, then thought better of it. God only knows how they’d interact with the cocktail already in her blood.

    She hadn’t exactly invited the Lieutenant out of courtesy, either – Akane had eye implants specialized for this sort of thing.

    “Very well.” The guard closed the cell again, and they moved on to the next one. “So we have a problem. Report your findings up the chain and have them compile a list of known engineers that have that level of skill.”

    The brisk pace soon brought them to the next prisoner. A typical Belter, this one – all skin and bone, with lanky features and watery eyes to boot.

    The Commander paused at the sound-proofed door. “Once we’re done here I’ll see if any other patrols have been hit in a similar manner. It’s unlikely we were the first test subject for these new tactics.”
     
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  14. Irys Akane

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    There was a slightly awkward pause. Irys knew the Captain had wanted to return to her duties earlier, but the wounds she had suffered meant some heavy sedation. She didn't think Irkalla would take it personally, but she hadn't quite figured out the Captain just yet.

    "I...checked RNICS," she said quietly. It was pronounced as ''r-nicks". The MCRN intelligence sharing system that hooked into their wider C4ISR systems. "Unless someone compartmentalised it, it hasn't happened. I put in an RFI so we should be briefed I'd they have more. I would hope that isn't the case. An alert got spread out and they're working on a patch for the sensor systems to pick up an early alert. Not much of a defence unless you see it coming.

    "The Épée fired on a belter ship that refused to keep its distance fearing the same thing. It was...a civilian vessel."

    Irys fell silent to let that sink in. The news of the OPA seriously damaging a Martian ship and the destruction of an innocent vessel was certain to cause far more fallout than the belter militia kicking up a fuss.

    "This one will do. What do you want to know?'
     
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  15. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    The news registered with her in a manner all too familiar by now. Wasn’t even disappointment anymore. Closer to resignation every year, and distant like the dulled echo of gunshots after a grenade goes off in your ear.

    “Meksinski’s been a nervous wreck since I’ve known him.” There was neither apology nor anger in her voice. Just fact. Because Meksinski was a Captain, and rank matters.

    Even when your superior is thicker than a Martian hull.

    “This one will do. What do you want to know?”

    “Everything.”

    She turned her eyes to the Belter in the brig. “The weapon system especially. If he has information about it, or knows where to find someone who does, send it up to Intelligence. Oh, and— I want the name of his ship.”

    Kasai knew well what they said about vengeance, but space… space is always cold.
     
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  16. Irys Akane

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    "I've heard that about him."

    She hadn't. But there were lots of rumours that her division spent it's time looking for malcontent within the navy. People had a habit of staying quiet around her. Sometimes they did raise flags on malcontent, but it was only with significant checks and psychoevaluation to find potential traitors.

    She didn't suppose Kasai was the type to subscribe to rumours. But it was no skin off her back to lie and make it obvious that there was no investigation coming off the back of an innocuous comment. The captain had been quite forthright after the Ceres debriefings too.

    Irys gave a nod. She reached up as if to tuck her dark brown hair back behind her ear, but it was already pulled back into a ponytail. She could be a creature or habit at times.

    A soldier followed them both into the cell. A closer glance revealed a lot. He was hungry. He was afraid of what ranked officers were here for.

    "Benoit. Can we get you something to eat?" Akane asked as she sat.

    "Mi na wanya nating!"

    I don't want nothing. Awful, even for their broken language.
     
    #16 Irys Akane, May 27, 2018
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
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  17. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    The Commander didn’t sit.

    Sitting meant giving in to the numb throb of pain in her side. It meant an onset of drowsy exhaustion, and that meant sub-par performance.

    Irkalla Kasai was many things; sub-par wasn’t one of them.

    So she crossed her arms – or tried to, at any rate. A spike of pain shot through the dull of the drugs and straight up her left arm. The Captain reshaped the grimace into a fierce fury and settled for fists at her sides.

    The soldier beside her exhaled a wary breath.

    “Not good enough,” Kasai forced out between her teeth. “We’ll figure out what you know sooner or later. Stop lying now and spare yourself the…” bruises, “...pleasure of our company. Because we’ve got all the time in the world, Benoit.”

    You don’t.
     
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  18. Irys Akane

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    The slump of his shoulders was ever so subtle. The movement captured by her implants, analysed and replayed. It was a sign that his will was already worn down.

    Akane wasn't looking at Irkalla, but if she had been with the implants on it would have been revealing. She had to see the crew around her as people, but through a clear, analytical lens. Meanwhile she deliberately dehumanised herself to an extent when here. It was stifling. She really needed a drink. Meet some old friends from home and go dancing. This had been a difficult tour.

    "We know someone sold you information on us. Probably some sympathiser or lowlife who needed extra cash."

    Akane didn't believe it. Or at least see didn't believe it for the tenth of a second it took to realise that Benoit did.
     
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  19. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    She was neither augmented nor as trained as Akane was in the art of perception. Still, any leader – any good leader, anyway – has to learn to read people sooner or later. Martians weren’t the most expressive of people to begin with, and her test subjects… well. Suffice to say that with Martian Marines, the helmet didn’t make a lick of a difference.

    All of this to say that a stoned Kasai couldn’t read a Belter for shit.

    Her green eyes narrowed slightly as the man fidgeted in his seat. He was hungry, lonely, and likely terrified. Ostensibly a perfect combination for information extraction; so why wasn’t he spilling his guts?

    Benoit glanced from the Lieutenant to the Commander and back again. “Mi na showxa inya,” he spat, finally, and crossed his long arms over his chest.

    The Belter equivalent of ‘hello’ whenever they dealt with Martian patrols. Kasai frowned.

    “So if I ordered that guard to shoot you—” Benoit flinched, then sneered as he realized he’d been caught.

    “Well, lookit that,” the Captain drawled, “to showxa inya.”
     
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  20. Irys Akane

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    Akane chose her words very carefully. She leaned forwards and her expression visibly softened. Whilst she knew she was moving this on too quickly this was no police interview. They needed information now. There was a loose thread that needed to be pulled to see what unravelled.

    "I'm not interested in you. We know someone gave you the plans for the attack. That's who I'm interested in."

    Akane leaned back in her chair. There was the impression of a shrug that came with just the hint of a one-sided smile.

    "You..." Her hand peeled away from her arm and almost seemed to indicate the door. Save skirted making an offer, without actually putting anything on the table
     
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