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CERES Pride

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

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  1. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Knife was a problem, but for the moment Koenig seemed just as unenthusiastic about getting stabbed as she was. He yanked out a blade of his own – the one she’d got them all after their first tour – and pulled Kasai to her feet.

    His bleeding lip was forgotten. Two pomang or one, it hardly mattered to these Belters. They’d a bone to pick, and not much care whose dusty corpse they pulled it out of.

    Two against one. Already she liked her odds better, and she could swear Akane had stridden past while she was still rolling around in the garbage.

    But that was neither here nor there.

    Whatever the Lieutenant’s opinion was on the Pit, it served a purpose. Kept those killer instincts sharp. And they had to be damn keen, outsmarting a knife.

    A Belter threw the first punch. Eager, fast. They had reach, she had flexibility.

    And training.

    Koenig was keeping the knife tangled, and Kasai went about breaking a fucker’s nose with the wall.

    Just like old times.
     
    #61 Irkalla Kasai, Jun 29, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  2. Irys Akane

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    She didn't have any practical experience of being in a knife fight, of which she was glad. There was a good way to avoid being slashed and stabbed in a knife fight and that was to not be in one. Or to bring a gun. Ot wear a full mech suit.

    If you were really quick you might just cut your forearms cut. If someone got a grip on you with a free hand then you were definitely getting stabbed. She'd seen some footage from an internal OPA skirmish. It wasn't a prolonged movie action scene. It had been brief and brutal.

    The second belter took a step towards Koenig. A low chord rang out, followed by a tinkle of broken glass. He shook his head and turned towards Irys. A flash of steel. He did have a knife, but also the sense to have kept it concealed.

    He looked down at the neck of the bottle in Irys' hands. Then he charged towards her. The intelligence officer turned smartly on her heel and ran.

    She didn't need to go far. Reality caught up with the belter. His first two steps were straight. The next few were not as he veered sideways and tumbled down into the gutter. He started to stand again but his arms were shaking. It didn't matter how thick your skull was, concussion was a bitch.
     
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  3. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    First, fourth, or fiftieth, the fervor of a fight fails to fade.

    Kasai could scarcely hear anything beyond the drumming of her own heart, the hiss of her own breath.

    Her opponent got a good gut-punch in before she kneed him in the groin. As he keeled over Kasai twisted a hand into his spiky red hairdo and rammed his scowl into the concrete wall. He twitched, slid down, and didn’t move again.

    “Skip—”

    She turned around in time to intercept a stumbling Koenig. He was clutching his side, dark red staining his shirt as it pulsed out between his fingers. The Commander sneered over his shoulder. The Belter with a bloody knife sneered back.

    “Pashang fong, ówala.”

    He recoiled for a moment; then his scowl deepened. “To mi na kang showxa deting mi mowsh du, paxoniseki.”

    Kasai didn’t have a knife. But Koenig did, and he was pressing it with slick fingers into her palm. “This is your last warning. Leave.”

    The Belter took a step forward; she took a step aside and threw the blade into his chest. He let out a surprised wheeze as air escaped his punctured lung, then promptly collapsed.

    “Skip—” more emphatic, now. Kasai took on more of his weight as Koenig sagged onto her shoulder.

    “Shut up. I didn’t let you die on me then, I won’t let you now. We’re getting you to Nergal.”

    He spluttered up a bloody chuckle. “You named it Nergal? Ffft. You cheeky fu—”

    “Shut up. Akane?”
     
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  4. Irys Akane

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    She heard the subtle harmonics in Kasai's voice. The lieutenant looked up and pieced together why she sounded like that. Her gaze panned back down to the furious belter between them. He was crawling towards her, trying to regain his faculties and get back to his feet.

    If it was a ruse it was a good one. He had already dropped his knife. Irys' gaze flicked between him and the Martians on the far side and back again.

    She couldn't quite imagine how unpleasant it would be to get stabbed, but she needed to act. Watching every motion carefully she timed her approach. A swift kick caught the belter under the chin and then she unceremoniously stamped on the side of his head.

    "Stay down," she muttered under her breath. It was only when she came within a few feet that she saw the blood on them both and realised Koenig had been stabbed.

    "We're got people on the way," she said quickly, that typical calm slipping away again. "Where..." she started to ask, but now she could see where the blood was coming from.
     
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  5. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Kasai ignored the unconscious Belter on the floor as they approached. Her shoulder ground and whined as she set Koenig down. She ignored that too.

    “ETA?”

    The man was scowling, jaw set as he pressed his fist into his side. His pale clothes were all soaked through, red going on black. Without a word she picked up the Belter’s knife and cut long ribbons out of his shirt. Not like he needed it anymore.

    “Up.” Koenig lifted his hands, and Kasai quickly worked to tighten the makeshift gauze. “Now give me the contact.”

    “Wh— what?”

    “Give me the contact, Lars.”

    He wheezed out a laugh; grimaced his regret. “Jesus fuckin’ Christ, Skip. It’s on my terminal, name of— name of 505.”

    The Commander zipped his suit open, yanked the device out of the inner pocket, looked it over, and slipped it into her pants. Then she stood. “Good. Now for our favorite part of war.”

    Koenig grinned. “The wait.”
     
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  6. Irys Akane

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    "Will Helix be here soon?" Irys asked.

    Koenig gave her a look that suggested the question had been especially stupid. He followed it by shooting a glance towards Irkalla as if enquiring about her odd choice of counterpart. Anyone else might have missed it.

    Desk job. A few more tours and she could live like a normal person again. Bring cakes into work. Go drinking and dancing on a Friday night. Not get shot.

    "They're on a cart, but ten minutes out. Should we get away from here? How is the bandage holding up?"
     
  7. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Kasai pursed her lips in a valiant attempt to stifle a scoff. She’d learned to laugh in shitty situations between her first and second tours as a marine; because what the fuck else are you gonna do when your buddy’s bleeding out and you’ve run all out of meds? Cry?

    Fuck that.

    “No.” A beat. “To both. The more we move him the more he’ll bleed. And I swear, Belters can smell that shit like… what’re they called again? Sharks?” She frowned at the men sprawled in the alley. So far none of the passersby had noticed (or wanted to notice), but they couldn’t rely on the selfish nature of Ceres.

    Even if it was boundless, Kasai couldn’t run that risk.

    “Keep an eye on him,” she gestured to Koenig, who had gone quiet in favor of biting back the pain. “I’ll move those so they ain’t so obvious.”

    A couple overflowing dumpsters were leaning drunkenly on the wall further down the street. She grabbed the nearest Belta by the ankles and began dragging him over.

    And it wasn’t even the worst day she’d had in this shithole.
     
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  8. Irys Akane

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    Sharks? Oh the thing in those old horror films. Irys hadn't even realised they could smell blood, but she had never been a great study of biology. Maybe she wouldn't step into earth's oceans if she ever got to visit.

    Irys leaned closer to Koenig, but he was keeping his hand pressed firmly to the wound. There wasn't much more she could do now. She wasn't she if she was keeping an eye on him in case his condition got worse or in case he went to leave again.

    "That one is still nearly conscious!" Irys called out. The one who had chased her was squirming on the ground. They could stamp on his head to put him down, but there was a good chance that would be fatal. And there was an even greater chance of permanent brain damage. It wasn't as if she had brought handcuffs.
     
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  9. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    She wiped her stained hands in the second one’s shirt, then shoved him over the edge. The garbage inside hissed as it let loose a cloud of stink and dust. The Commander tugged her jacket over her nose as she beat a swift retreat.

    Her eyes flickered from Akane to the man on the ground. He was shaking his head; gathering his bearings with the glazed gaze of concussion.

    Kasai dug a heel between his shoulder blades – his jaw bounced off the concrete with a nasty crack. Her knee followed, then the weight of her whole body. She wrapped one forearm around his straining neck; yanked it back with the other.

    He squirmed. Wheezed. Scraped at her arm with crooked, dirty, slackening fingers.

    The moment he went limp, Kasai released the chokehold. After adding him to the pile, the martian slumped down next to Koenig. She gave his pale face a cursory glance, mouth hooking up into something resembling a smile.

    If you squinted.

    “Too fucking stubborn to die.” He grunted. Kasai slivered an eye open and took in the grim Lieutenant. Her smile split wider. “Ain’t got much love for the field, do you?”
     
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  10. Irys Akane

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    Akanes's mouth formed a circle as she gave Irkalla a blank stare. She looked down at the blood seeping between Koenig's fingers. Sheet her gaze drift across the detritus they had slumped amongst. She looked back over at the dumpster, a scrap of fabric from the last one's shirt trapped in the lid. All images she would unfortunately have to review again over the next few days.

    Irys ran her fingers through sleek, jet back hair. The intelligence officer managed to smooth out her expression at the same time.

    "You're asking...if I don't love...this?" One eyebrow dared to perk a fraction of a centimeter.
     
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  11. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Kasai made a sound like a bit-back scoff. Her head rolled back against the wall, eyes closed again.

    “I meant…” she waved at the dumpsters. “Plenty of spooks that love crawlin’ through gutters and chasing down the,” a real snort, this time, bad guys.

    She peered down at her bruised knuckles, at the glint of the knife that still hung loose in her grip. “They all end up like him sooner or later.” She stuck a thumb at the pale Koenig between them.

    “Hold on to that lack o’ love, Lieutenant… you’ll—”

    Whatever Kasai was going to say died in her throat as a small patrol of martians rounded the corner and jogged into the alley. Kasai pushed off the wall, pushed down the splitting ache in her back and knees and jaw, and strode forward.

    “This man needs immediate medical attention.”

    “Corpsman!” A woman rushed from the back of the group and sprung out her field kit next to Koenig. The man at the fore nodded to Akane, then turned back to Kasai. “We should get out of here, ma’am. Some of the Belters out on the street are getting nervous.”

    “Agreed. The docks are closer than the HQ.” And less prone to attracting unwanted attention. “We’re taking him to a ship.”
     
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  12. Irys Akane

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    There probably were plenty of individuals in the community who would enjoy a fistfight in a back alley on the job. A select group of people who didn't have quite the same logic and evolved fears working correctly.

    Who wouldn't want this job? She thought to herself as they started the journey towards the nearest lift to take them down to the docks. Helping to support a wounded man with his blood spilling over her uniform.

    Even if she hadn't signed up to be in the field she was still a Martian. That meant she took Koenig's weight without complaint. She took each step as it came while the squad kept them safe. As a people they had one goal that stood above all else: to make a blue Mars. Hard work, fears and personal discomfort were all nothing compared to the monumental task they all worked towards. A goal she would never see completed.

    No one blocked their path. Comments were made. Some kids shouted their joy as seeing a wounded Martian. There was no love lost between the belt and Mars right now.

    "Don't go fainting now," Akane muttered as she felt Koenig go weak at the knees. "Hey!"

    As the doors to the lift closed he buckled and all she could do was slow his descent to the ground.
     
  13. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    The corpsman let out a string of muttered vulgarities as she followed Koenig to the ground. Her hands were a blur, making sure the straining heart continued beating, the wheezing lungs continued breathing.

    Kasai watched the whole debacle pressed against the metal wall of the elevator. Her jaw was set, her arms crossed. Now that more competent hands had taken over the burden of a bleeding man, cold detachment settled back over her features again. For the scant few centimetres separating the dense group, the Commander might’ve been light years away.

    The lift chugged along, numbers ticking steadily down until it finally ground to a stop. She shouldered Koenig along with Akane without a word, and soon enough they were dragging his feet through the familiar corridors of Nergal.

    And the streaks of blood in their wake fit right at home with the color scheme.
     
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  14. Irys Akane

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    She hadn't even washed the blood off her hands. Irys tilted the whiskey glass away from herself and looked dispassionately at the russet-brown stains across the backs of her knuckles. Irys sighed and took a sip before placing the glass gently back on the table.

    "Who was the contact her gave you?" she asked quietly.

    Koenig was in the infirmary now. He was sedated and being scanned to see if he needed further surgery. There was going to need some paperwork to explain this. He had been one of theirs. No reason to suspect anything if Kasai went to talk to an old associate, she thought to herself. Right now she wishes she could turn off her thoughts and just let what had just happened sink in.
     
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  15. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Akane was drinking when she found her in the abandoned mess. The sight elicited a tired chuckle of surprise – she joined her with a glass of her own. For a time, they dulled the edges of the day in silence.

    She slid the terminal out of her jacket and swept the contact up into a hologram. “Five-o-five,” Kasai articulated, slow and sharp. “Whatever the fuck that means.”

    Trouble was, they both knew damn well what it meant. Not the name, perhaps, but everything surrounding it – going behind the backs of MNI, contracting with Belter outsiders, disregarding orders to disregard… Kasai closed her eyes and massaged her temples. She didn’t need this headache, but she couldn’t drink it away either.

    “It’d be best if this… exchange didn’t happen on the ship. A secure connection near the Ceres communications hub should be harder to track.” She splashed another measure of amber into both their glasses. “Tomorrow we see where we stand.”

    Or float.


    “You alright, Lieutenant?”
     
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  16. Irys Akane

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    They had no idea whether this would lead to anything or not. She was already preparing herself to find nothing at the end of this rabbit hole.

    Irys looked up at the commander. Irkalla didn't like the situation either, but she did what any captain did and picked a heading. Something about her cropped, stark white hair and piercing green eyes seemed to add to that aura of forceful calm.

    "I'll be fine ma'am," Akane replied. The last few brushes had left her slightly shaken, but this wasn't the time for complaints. A Martian wasn't afforded time to complain or assess their feelings when there was a job to be done.
     
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  17. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    Her only reply was a shallow nod. Will be does not an am make, but such was Martian life; doubly so for those who served.

    Of course, everyone served.

    Kasai turned her gaze down into the shimmer of amber. It clung to the sides of the tumbler, glinting red in the half-light. She wondered sometimes how it would linger on glass if she were on Earth; if it would trickle, or if she would never see to enjoy the sight at all.

    “Get some rest, Akane.” She stood, then paused at the hatch. “There’s sleeping pills in the medbay if you…” she trailed off with a mild frown, “well, just in case. Good night.”
     
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  18. Irys Akane

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    Irys gave a weak smile and half a nod. Kasai might have seen her struggling slightly. What was she to have done about that? Whoop and holler like a marine at the joy of backstreet knife fights? It was fine. It would be fine.

    When they were home and on shore leave she could think it all through. Or even on one of the boring stretches, if such a thing would ever come back to them. Back home on Mars and she could have a drink, do something stupid again and be Irys again.

    She stayed at the table for another five minutes and then walked for the lift. The ship was under Ceres highest spin here, a little over point three. She didn't head straight for the deck where her temporary room was. She took a detour via the med bay.



    The frame around the Nergal looked like the scaffolding around a skyscraper under construction. The lift taking them up the outside of the vessel towards the docks gave them a good view of the damage to the ship. Irys chose not to point it out.

    "He's stable I heard?" she asked as they continued upwards.
     
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  19. Irkalla Kasai

    Irkalla Kasai That’s ‘Commander’ to you.

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    A grunt of affirmation was all Akane got as Kasai clung to her coffee with religious fervor. Ceres was anything but their usual port, and ship time was almost a quarter of a day ahead.

    Her body did not appreciate it.

    She chucked the crumpled cup into a recycler as they stepped out of the lift. Green eyes swept back and forward across the docks, but the only thing alive at this hour was the graveyard shift. And they looked it too, shuffling around like a bunch of those brain-hungry monsters from old Earther movies.

    Kasai cracked half a bitter smile.

    “You find anything on our friend?” she asked as they headed for communications. Like any commanding officer, she hated entering a new theatre without intelligence.

    And like any commanding officer, she just had to deal with it when it happened.
     
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  20. Irys Akane

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    "No," Irys replied with a shake of her head. "But a few friendly conversations revealed that Mars has deployed some serious weight out here recently. Spooks with big connections. Four Scirocco-class assault cruisers are less than a day out."

    Movements had been made before the Nergal had been hit. That didn't mean that the attack had been aided by Mars, but it was what she would have expected to see if it was the truth.

    Irys looked up at the docks coming down to meet them as they approached the ship's nose. The truth. It seemed a long time since that attack itself. Even setting out on this little endeavour seemed old. Likely because of the back alley stabbing that filled the intervening space.

    "Koenig didn't give you much, did he?"
     
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