Lords of Polaris

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Lords of Polaris

Post by The Melancholy Spirit on Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:01 pm

Episode One: Welcome to Pax

A pneumatic hiss resonated throughout the room as the door shut. Nikolai swiveled his head to glance over his shoulder. The stark white walls that composed the narrow, corridor-like room were seamless, as if a door had never existed. The line of bodies stopped moving after he had taken a mere few steps into the room. An indirect silver-white light shown from above and reflected off every surface; Nikolai had the feeling he was standing in an endless void, some sort of opposition to the standard black hole.

Others in the room spoke in hushed whispers. Nikolai paid them no heed. For the first seconds he stood examining the room. The instincts of situational awareness were futile. He knew even while allowing the response to continue even when the static filled, filtered voice was broadcasted into the room. For all their darting, his eyes found no source.

The voice spoke in a dragged-out monotone, explaining why they were brought together. Each of them was an off worlder, as much as the term was applicable to the now fully self-reliant station, and from some level of combat experience background. The voice, sounding far too much like an AI for Nikolai’s taste, read off a profile of each of them. A dossier that had likely been assembled long before any of them had been contacted.

“Those who accept will form a nonexistent black ops team. Officially, you will be just another of the many mercenary groups scattered across the station. Entirely self-funded, doing standard mercenary work during the times we do not call upon you. If you accept a chip will be implanted into the back of your neck where your spinal chord connects with your brain. A precaution to prevent any betrayal or rogue attempts.”

Nikolai listened closely, absorbing the words as the voice went on about details. In time the voice called his name. He looked up at nothing.

“Nikolai Keldian, do you accept our offer?”

He bowed his head. After a moment he gave a nod, licking his lips. He then looked up once more. “Yes.”

The voice spoke the name of the man next to him. A growl emitted from his throat, which was about level with Nikolai’s eyes. Nikolai glanced toward him just as the man defiantly gave his response. The room filled with another pneumatic hiss. Nikolai glanced up, seeing the barrel of a moderately large automated rifle slip from the ceiling. He closed his eyes briefly as the room filled with the ringing of ballistic shock. He felt warm fluid hit his face and exposed right arm. A thump prompted him to open his eyes, and he looked down at the now unrecognizable form of what a newcomer would be hard pressed to guess could have once been human.

Nikolai closed his eyes again and shook his head. Two responses later and the rifle fired again. His world black against the lids of his eyes, Nikolai counted the responses. When all was over there had been five others to agree, leaving seven shots fired in total. A hissing filled the room, similar but not identical to the pneumatic noise of the door and rifle trap. Nikolai needn’t open his eyes to know the room was filling with gas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nikolai awoke staring at a dark, water-stained ceiling. He slowly sat upright, finding that he had been placed on a tattered couch in a small room. His entire body ached as the effects from, what he could only guess was numerous drugs, wore off. He reached a hand back to feel the bandage around his neck. Nikolai rolled from the couch and moved to the nearest window. What he looked out upon was a dismal scene.

The station had tilted away from the white dwarf it orbited, casting the artificial world into the dark of night. Nikolai stood in the third tier of what had once been a warehouse, downtown in one of the numerous grand metropolises that speckled Pax Cyreon Station. The street below him was littered with debris and trash of all kinds, both inanimate and organic alike. Shrouded figures moved about with cautious glances, groups huddled into corners around fire barrels. Nikolai sighed inwardly; he knew the sort of place all too well.

Moving from the window he examined the rest of his room. It was a barren hellhole. There was the couch he had woken up on, a desk against the far wall near to a closet and a chest. The doorway was open, covered only by a ragged and stained cloth. The only other thing occupying the room was him, and his belongings, what little that he had, tossed haphazardly against the couch. Nikolai examined them before leaving the room, thankful that his new employers at least allowed him to keep his out-dated and weathered armor.

What little money he had would do nothing more than feed him for the next few days. Something told him the others he now lived with had little else in that regard. Likely it was part of the reason they were recruited for this task. They seemed, from the dossiers, to be a ragtag team of lowlifes fleeing from one thing or another. Overall the war was to blame, sure. But each had a personal reason beyond that.

Nikolai strapped the holster for his pistol around his right thigh. Checking the weapon, and the few clips he had to spare for it, he slipped it into the holster and left his room. Experience told him there wasn’t time to waist. It paid to know, and know well, those you would be fighting alongside. Instinct told him they would need to get acquainted as soon as possible. Build a make-shift chain of command among there little group and go find work. The voice had told them their first mission was to secure a foothold as mercenaries. That meant odd jobs for whoever would hire them.

That part was going to be difficult. As far as the universe was concerned none of them existed anymore. At least not as whom they once were. Nikolai didn’t need to look into a mirror to see the subtle changes in his eye color, or watch the readings on a scanner to notice his genetic had been modified just enough to turn out an unidentifiable registry. As far as the universe was concerned, Nikolai Keldian died in some back alley firefight on Pax Cyreon two weeks after he arrived.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Digital Muse on Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:29 pm

Her eyes snapped open and she drew a sharp hissing breath when she realized she was still alive. The dirty, fly-specked ceiling was unfamiliar. Looking around Tia St. Jean realized she wasn’t in her last ship. She wasn’t in the lab, her home for the last year, either. She woke on an ancient, metal-framed bed that protested loudly at nearly every unconscious movement she made. Her head still spun when she tried to sit up. So Tia, or T as she was sometimes called, lay back down and turned her light brown eyes to inspect the run-down room she found herself in. The walls were made up of half-rusted corrugated tin and some plywood. A filthy window allowed some filtered light into the room. Besides the bed, a battered trunk was shoved against the wall. Her own name was stenciled on it; Chief Petty Officer St. Jean. She hadn’t seen that in over a year. Where had that come from?

Her chest, back and arm hurt like hell. The Nanites in her body still building and strengthening her musculature to accommodate her cybernetic left arm. Slowly, a new pain made itself known; this one at the base of her neck. With that pain, the memory of the meeting came flooding back. Tia remembered the sterile white room with other hard-looking occupants. They’d each been called out to be given the chance to live or to die. She had been stunned how many had chosen death. After the first man had died, she’d jumped to her feet to protest, but the rifle in the ceiling had swung to point at her threateningly and she’d taken her seat once more.

It was like it had been before she’d been thrown into cryo. People around her dying messily and nothing she could do about it. Why not accept, Tia wondered? Why not live so you can learn how to escape your situation at another time? She just didn’t understand the will to survive being so beaten down. When her turn came, she noted two things. Her cybernetic arm wasn’t mentioned and her time in cryo wasn’t mentioned. Her skills were only generally glossed over. At the time, she didn’t really have time to puzzle out the reasons why, but she knew that somehow she’s find a way to exploit that someday. As gas filled the room, and her head sank to her chest, she swore to herself someone was going to pay.

Tia sat up carefully and noted she had on the same jeans and white shirt she’d had on when she’d gone into the meeting room with; boots and all. She waited for the dizziness to pass before gingerly rising from the bed. T pushed her long, dark hair from her face and opened the foot locker. Everything was there; her old uniforms, weapons, gear, pictures, all of it. It made her frown. Why had they given her the old things and not new gear? She wasn’t even certain her old tech gear even worked anymore. She examined her shotgun and side arm and found them cleaned and loaded. It gave her hope. Standing, she put on her shoulder holster, added her Springfield and headed out of the small room to figure out just where the hell she was and why.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by quakernuts on Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:46 am

The meeting that Xavier had been forced into had turned out to be a lot worse than what he was expecting. First of all, he had been told there was work to be had, and second, that the paycheck was huge. One or both of these thing has been wrong the moment he saw the second man stand up and defy whoever the voice was. A second later, and his head exploded as a sentry gun appeared from the roof to end the defiance. So it's either accept some unknown mission, or die. Well, I always liked a challenge. A few more people, some of them still defying and still dieing, and it came down to him. The voice gave a brief overview of his skills and history, highlighting on the fact that he was an explosives expert. When asked if he would join, he glared at the gun. For a moment, he didn't answer. Finally he shrugged towards the weapon. "As long as I get to blow shit up and you don't kill me, I don't give a fuck what we're doing."

"A yes or no answer will suffice Mr. Keller." The voice droned on, completely monotonous. Xavier gave a breath sigh, before continuing.

"Yes, your highness!" There was a slight pause, making Xavier wonder if he had pissed off the boss. However, before the pause became overly evident, the voice moved on. Xavier watched as even a few more decided that their honour won over their common sense, and watched as a bullet won over their soft skin and innards. When all was said and done, six in total, including himself, had decided to join up with whoever was behind the gun. It wasn't until the gas started filling the chamber that Xavier started getting worried. He had no way out, and no way to defend himself against this new threat. As his vision started to blacken, the only thing he could think about were the numbers of ways he was going to blow up whoever filled the room with gas. Considering he survived of course.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xavier awoke to a drop. His body fell off the bed, and crashed his head onto the floor. After a slight bit of disorientation, he sat up to find out just where the hell he was. The last thing he could remember was gas filling a room, then he awoke in this half star hotel room. Scratching the back of his neck, a slight prick of pain forced his hand away. Feeling again gingerly, he could feel scar tissue where there shouldn't be. He then remembered something about a chip being implanted at them, and quickly his temper rose. "Fuck!" Was all he could manage, since he had no way of getting at the person that inflicted this upon him. If he ever found out though, he would make sure they would be getting more than just a boot up the ass.

Xavier stood up slowly, getting over the dizziness quickly. As he looked around, he found that some of his gear was stashed on a small dresser just beside the bed. His disarming kit was set upon it's surface, along with his armour neatly placed and perfectly fine. Looking down at his thigh, he found that his Epsilon repeater was still there, and this quickly set his mind at east. Well, they didn't take my gear....only my pride fucking assholes. Other than those things, the room was largely uninteresting. Piece of crap bed with crap walls and crap furniture and crap lighting. Well, that pretty much summed the place up.

It was crap.

Well, there had to be more to the building other than his little slice of heaven. So, with a double check to make sure his pistol was on his thigh and loaded, he opened the door to find himself in one of the biggest living rooms he had ever seen. Looking out the windows to his right, he could tell he was at least one floor up from ground level. The room he had entered had a couple of patchwork couches, a couple of lazy chairs, a brown coffee table that had seen better days, and a small Television hooked up to the wall. Xavier looked at the little machine with an amazed look on his face. "We have a fucking T.V? Oh yeah, we're fucking state of the art badasses, that's what we are...can't even afford a god damn holo-vision." Shaking his head at this revelation, he quickly found the remote control for the tube, and plopping himself down in one of the easy chairs. As he flicked through the channels, he realized that a lot of them were either pure static, or about some political bullshit that he didn't care about.

"Don't even get satellite...This place is fucking spectacular..."
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Guilty Carrion on Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:44 am

Waking up from a deep sleep is the strangest sensation. A thousand ripples spread at once from your mind, a shock racing down your nerves kicking the body from its pleasant rest into consciousness. Like being dunked in ice water, only to be violently torn from the water a split second later.

His eyelids snapped open, crosshairs snapping over to the light as his body shot up to his feet. With a fluid motion, his pistol snapped up, and a single shot snapped out the suppressor, plunging the room into darkness. Khy panted quietly, his eyes darting about the room as he processed his new surroundings. The wire frame took up the majority of the room, with a small night stand seeming to function as the only dresser he had. His armour and equipment lay heaped in rough pile, obviously discarded carelessly by whoever tossed him here. “Well, I’ve seen worse…” Glancing down at his arm, he winked at the image of Hel. “…course; you coulda swung something a little swankier for your favourite boy, now couldn’t you?”

A cheeky wink later, he was rummaging through his meagre pile of equipment, his hand grabbing the handle of his combat hatchet and pulling it free from the mess. A quick once over showed no damage to the weapon, and he tucked it away into its holster. “Well, if my memory serves, and it generally is pretty solid, there should be some others in this lovely house of mine…” Placing a hand on the door handle, he gave his pistol a quick look, before stepping out into the rather brisk night air. He glanced about, taking note of the room beside his before sweeping his gaze to the landing pad. I wonder what we could get to go there... He examined it for a moment longer, kicking up a small cloud of dust before glancing over to the staircase. "Oooh! Dark building! Sounds like a fuuuunnnn time!" He trotted down the stairs, his eyes watching the corners casually as he descended. As the stairs opened into the lounge, Khy blinked once or twice to process his new surroundings. Well, I've seen some shitty places in my life, but...wow. This ALMOST takes the cake. Almost.

Swift footsteps carried him to the back of the couch, and Khy flung himself over the back, landing on the couch with his head staring up at the man. “Now, I don’t know about you, but that complimentary wine and foot rub we got for check-in were heavenly! I prefer a good red one myself, but a white isn’t so bad every now and again now is it?” He grinned at the stranger. “But, enough about my morning, darling, how was yours? Have you seen the rest of our motley band, or are we going to be stuck with each other for the rest of the day?”
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Shadow Moonseye on Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:54 pm

Icy eyes snapped open, the grimy ceiling slowly coming into focus. Groaning, the woman raised her hand and rubbed her face, digging the heels of her palms into her eyes to run off the last remnants of sleep. A dull pain throbbed at the back of her neck; she didn’t need to reach around to know that there was a bandage there.

“Fuckin’ A, they really got the good stuff.” She muttered, voice still thick from sleep. She sat up carefully, her eyes searching the room she found herself in. It was small, barely furnished. Dirty walls, dirty floor, creaky rusted cot which she sat on, tiny desk. Her armor was piled haphazardly in a corner with her weapons, and her spare clothes were stacked on the desk top.

“What. The. Fuck.” Sydney’s eyes darkened and she swung her legs off the leg, planting them firmly before standing. “That’s my fucking gear!” Long strides quickly carried her across the room. “If I find out which fuckface threw it here I’ll tear ‘em a new one.” A frown etched itself deeply into her features, and she knelt to separate everything.

Head bent to the task, her temper cooled, the familiar motions of cleaning and checking her gear bringing a cool sensation of steady calm. How many others could she expect here? Six, counting herself. Where was here? An older building, probably rundown and crappy judging from her own room. Most likely in a rundown part of the city. They weren’t assigned roles--that meant they had to establish their own chain of command. The sooner, the better. Everyone’s skills would need to be made known, and an evaluation of all equipment. A list would have to be compiled of what they had and what they needed. The list would then need to be prioritized. They’d need to find out if they had orders yet, and if they didn’t then they would need to start finding jobs to cement themselves in the mercenary world and secure some income…

Sid nodded to herself and straightened to observe her handiwork. Each component of her armor was freshly cleaned and carefully laid out on the desk top, her weapons having been stripped, cleaned, and tenderly laid out in the same manner. Perfect.

Nimble fingers strapped the holster for her side arm to her right thigh and lifted the handgun from its place on the desk. She slid the clip out double checking to be sure it was loaded. Things could get tense when they all got together and Sid would not go in unprepared. The clip was slammed home and the gun placed securely in its holster.

“Let’s go meet my esteemed colleges.” The former Solider cracked her knuckles and rolled her shoulders before pushing the fabric hanging that served as her door aside and beginning her sweep of her level. Ground floor: it was almost deserted, the rooms empty and dark. Aside from the room directly across the hall from her own. There, she earned a grunt when she knocked.

“Up and at ‘em. Its time for the meet and greet, everyone’s upstairs.”

There was no direct response, so she turned and headed up the stairs. Would everyone be up? Or was she the first? She guessed that most would be up or waking up: the government would probably have timed it so they all awoke at the same time. They wouldn’t want to risk their newly acquired assets by leaving them defenseless in forced unconsciousness.

Sid came out into a large lounge room that took up most of the top floor. Three were already out in it. Two on the couch, one standing out of the way. A forth had just came in from his room, same time as she had left the stairs. She took a second longer to look them all over, then grinned.

“Well, if you aren’t the sorriest lot of assholes I’ve ever seen.” Her eyes flicked to the T.V. “How you all liking the stellar accommodations?” She snorted. “Fucking love it."
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by The Melancholy Spirit on Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:36 am

“Up and at ‘em. Its time for the meet and greet, everyone’s upstairs.”

Päivä only half heard the words. She groaned again, not wishing to open her eyes. Her head throbbed painfully, as if someone thought she were a melon and tried to crack open her skull with an axe. She reached up with a hand, blindly fumbling in the darkness. Her calloused fingers struck a wall, a cold and rough surface. From the angle of her bent arm she could tell she was close to the wall. Thinking she had the room, she attempted to roll from one side to the other. Her back as the last thing touching the cot before she hit the floor with a thud and a loud grunt.

She cursed into the ground, planting both hands firmly against the floor and pushing herself up to her knees. Slowly she opened her eyes, looking upon her knew quarters. The sight far from pleased her. She reached up and rubbed her temples gently. She did this for a moment, resting on her knees and sitting on her ankles with her eyes closed. The empty void that her eyelids offered was more comforting than the waste bin she’d waken up to. After a few minutes she pushed herself to her feet, mostly to avoid the stern voice that had prompted her to get up. That was all she had really caught from voice, that and the speaker was likely a woman.

Her gear wasn’t hard to find. Resting at the foot of her cot, clumped together carelessly. Päivä didn’t bother with checking most of it. She checked her pistol and slipped it into the holster that was quickly strapped to her thigh, through on her jacket, and headed out the door. The woman was gone, likely up stairs with everyone else.

When she reached the second floor, Päivä was sure that it had been a woman that had prodded her to get out of bed. She wasn’t exactly happy with that one, who looked like she could likely snap Päivä in half. Not so much so because she was much larger than Päivä, though she was larger, but because of the way she carried herself. Most of it seeped of too-clichéd military bravado. It made Päivä’s stomach churn.

Everyone was looking in her direction. Less so at her than the woman that had woken her though. Päivä wasn’t sure what she had missed, but she had the female the woman had said something to garner their attention. The group were a motley crew if she had ever seen one. There was a more uniform look to pirate gangs and slave traders than there was to this bunch. Päivä smirked. At least that fact should make things somewhat interesting.

“We just going to stand around staring at each other all day or get the ‘Hi, how are you? Pleasure to fucking meet you’ shit over with?” she asked.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Digital Muse on Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:18 am

Tia entered the main lounge are about the same time as a few others. She had to wonder at the timing of their anesthesia wearing off at relatively the same time. An obvious military lifer bellowed a greeting at them all; “Well, if you aren’t the sorriest lot of assholes I’ve ever seen.” The man that entered at nearly that same time as the military woman was a light-tan skinned man with very long black hair who looked at each occupant as if weighing their potential for violence. On the couch two other men sat, one who had displayed a bit of bravado in the initial meeting with shaggy hair and a soul patch while his companion sported a mohawk with red streaks in it. The final party member was a slender woman with auburn hair and a slight attitude. But then, given their circumstances, they likely all did.

The thought that screamed in her head more than anything was how horribly they all stood out. Horribly. It was an assault to her ordered, military mind. She continued from the doorway of the room she’d been deposited in toward the lounge. Unconsciously, she hugged her left arm tightly against her abdomen, as if it had been broken. The weight and ‘disjointed’ feeling of the cybernetic limb were still a very real issue for her. She didn’t feel the need to shout about her presence, she was perfectly certain they knew she was there. She’d wait to see how things shook out before she spoke up.

Her eyes flick to the old-fashioned television set with a quirked brow and a soft grunt that might have meant anything. Finding a chair, she flopped into it bonelessly, then rotated her arm in a slow circle as if stretching the muscles beneath the skin. Quietly, she inspected each of the room’s occupants. The loud woman was obviously military. The others would have been harder to peg if she hadn’t been read their dossiers in the ‘selection’ room. The man with the soul patch was explosives, the auburn-haired woman was a medic, while the other three were assault and insertion. She’d have to decide and quickly which one she would have to ally with so she could do her own job. She hated having to do things this way; no chance to build a rapport or sense of trust. She wondered if she’d be able to enter that perfect state of concentration she’d need to keep them all alive.

While they all stared at one another with that same clinical appraisal that she subjected them to, she decided she should at least introduce herself. “Seems like we’re all in this shit storm together.” She paused and shrugged, “Tia or T. Security and electronics, Tech.” That was it in a nutshell. No family, no history anymore. That caused a twinge, even after a year. “Anyone got any brilliant ideas what to do from here.” In her mind, it was time to start surviving.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by quakernuts on Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:40 pm

Xavier had been having a grand ol' time watching some rerun of some extremely old Earth cartoon involving a five foot rabbit eating a carrot and slapping a hunter, when someone decided to join him. Instantly, his gun was up and pointed at the man, but after he started talking, he was no threat. He was either a complete dumbass, or along for the ride as well. Claw returned his pistol to it's rightful position, and turned up the T.V. to drown out the man's words, but no matter how much he turned it up, his stupid still somehow leaked into his ears. Finally, with an exasperated sigh, Xavier waited for the man to finish, and looked him dead in the eyes.

"Are you gay or something, cause I don't swing that way. Go find a stump you can hump or something." Oh this was going to be a wonderful job stuck with Mr. Viking here, and whoever else decided to show up. Xavier didn't say anything else until a woman decided to walk in, and make her presence known in such a kind and wonderfully warm tone of voice.

"Well, if you aren't the sorriest lot of assholes I've ever seen!" Xavier looked back at the woman, and was surprised by her size. Sure, he was shorter to most people anyways, but she was still built pretty solid. Most likely ex-military by her stature, posture, and air around her. "How you all liking the stellar accommodations? Fucking love it!"

"Ok, did the Queen bitch die and you took her place with ease, or are you just naturally this way?" Xavier then turned back to the T.V. "Eh, and the accommodations aren't that bad. I mean, how many times do you get to see a rabbit eat steroid induced carrots and slap a hunter who not only sucks at hunting, but obviously got punched in the teeth as a kid and couldn't afford dental care." Xavier returned to watching T.V., hoping to have a few minutes of uninterrupted carefree bliss, but that wouldn't happen as another woman entered the area. Her attitude was as bitchy, if not bitchy...er? than the other one.

'We just going to stand around staring at each other all day, or get the 'Hi, how are you? Pleasure to fucking meet you' shit over with "

Xavier tossed his hands in the air, and threw the remote across the room towards the t.v. "Well first off, I wasn't standing or staring, I was watching Bugs Bunny! Thank you for interrupting!" Xavier was about to continue until yet another woman decided to speak up. This one seemed a lot more on the calm side, and simply stated her name and expertise, and asked if anyone knew what to do next. This calmed Xavier down slightly, and he took a breath. "Alias is Claw..." He pointed to the triple slash-like scar on the left of his face to clarify. "And to put it simply, I blow shit up in multiple, and spectacular ways, as well as prevent myself and others that I deem worth saving from blowing up as well." He stopped for a second, before pointing back at Mr. Viking. "You're not on the list."

With that, he turned back towards the tv, once again losing himself within the slap stick humour of a kid's show. "As for what to do Tia, I suggest you find someone else to ask. I blow shit up for a reason, and that reason being because I get pissed off and want to blow shit up." He gave one last look to everyone else in the room. "Now unless you bitches have something else to say, I suggest you either get your shit in gear and figure out what to do next, or join me in watching some juiced up bunny kick some hunter ass!" With that, Claw shut his mouth, and returned to watching the tv.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Guilty Carrion on Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:00 am

Khy beamed wider as the man responded, sitting up as the footsteps on the stairs came to a stop. A muscled woman stood before him, her gaze serious and unyielding against his own, more carefree version. “Well, she’s no stump, but, that’ll work.” Nudging his elbow into the man’s side a little harder than necessary, Khy didn’t miss a beat as the woman spoke.

“Well, if you aren’t the sorriest lot of assholes I’ve ever seen. How you all liking the stellar accommodations? Fucking love it."

“Well, I’d prefer it if I could bunk with you, but then I’d have to share with your vibrator. I’m not much for that.” There was little chance for her to respond, as the rest of the team entered the room in short order. Winking at the brute of a female Khy flung himself atop the couch, sprawling precariously across the back of it.

“We just going to stand around staring at each other all day or get the ‘Hi, how are you? Pleasure to fucking meet you’ shit over with?”

Rolling his head to address the woman who spoke, Khymera stuck his tongue out before responding. “Hey, if you’d like to do some jumping jacks or something, I’d be happy to stare. Actually, could you both do jumping jacks? That’d make my day soooooooo much better.” Another girl spoke, keeping her introduction short, sweet and simple and rather devoid of details. Well, all the better, he supposed. Soul searching really wasn’t how he wanted to spend his first day off in…wait, when WAS the last time he had a day off?

Stroking his beard in thought, Khy almost didn’t catch the couch guy’s witty little comment about his list and someone‘s vacancy from it. “Psh. I’m nowhere near the explosions, so I don’t need to be on your retarded little list, ‘Claw’.” Sitting up with a laugh, he looked down at the man. “And why Claw? I mean, fuck, you don’t even have a robotic hand or anything!” With a flick of his wrist, the ‘Viking’ pulled his hatchet up, grinning wildly at the man below. “I could always help ya get one if the mood strikes you! It wouldn’t be any trouble, really! Just a quick ‘CHOP!’ and bam! We race you off to the nearest drug den and get you some horribly mangled looking claw thing!”

Before any retort could be raised, he leapt to his feet and jumped fluidly over to the coffee table, spinning on his heel a few times before grinning like a madman at the collected group. “Khymera is the name! I make people dead! Sneakier than a bloody cat and more lethal than a fucking battle cruiser!” Every word was emphasized by a swing of his hatchet, twirled about his fingers with the grace of an expert handler, although it was difficult to image him as anything beyond psychotic. Giving it a final spin, he placed his foot on the side of the TV, and sent it crashing to the ground, shattering the screen into a hail of glass shards and turning the floor into a barefoot nightmare.

A moment passed as he regarded the destruction, before shrugging nonchalantly. “Shit’ll rot your brain anyway.” Hopping onto the couch with a laugh, Khy glanced at Tia. “You hungry? I’m hungry. Anyone else hungry? I’m gonna find some food.” Slipping past the grouchy lady, the miniature hurricane headed for the stairs, happily listing what wondrous foods he might find in their fridge, bobbing his head to some unknown tune as he went.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Shadow Moonseye on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:38 am

How they expected this group to be a functioning unit, Sid had no answer for. Attitudes ran high and watching the brief interaction between them she could tell there would be problems without a strong command structure. Maybe even with a strong leader at the head.

‘Claw’ had an insolent attitude and mouth to match. Seemed like he’d have a come-back for everything. Judging from his introduction, he wasn’t leader material. Hopefully he could keep his trap shut and do his fucking job when told. The fem from downstairs sounded like Sid on a bad day--she’d need to be watched. Tia, in contrast to everyone else, sounded surprisingly calm. She wasn’t leader material though, as she asked who had ideas on what to do next. The last one to speak…he definitely wasn’t going to be their leader. His actions were unpredictable, if not down right psychotic. If he was that much of a loose cannon now, then he’d pose a severe liability on missions.

As ‘Khymera’ moved past her, Sid’s arm shot out and she clamped a heavily calloused hand on the back of his neck. She hoisted him with a barely perceptible grunt, stopping the erratic young man in his tracks.

“You’re not going anywhere, Khymera, until you’ve been fucking dismissed.” She swung her icy gaze across the other members of the group. “That goes for all of you.” Her voice offered no compromise as she continued. “My call sign is Valkyrie. My name is Sid, and you will call me Sir. Clear?”

The former ODST dropped her captive unceremoniously, waiting to see who, if anyone, would voice their complaints to her inserting herself into the command position. When no one challenged her, she let a half smirk twist her lips. “Good. Now, we were in the middle of..”

Below her, Khymera inched forward, still heading for the stairs. Frowning, she stepped forward and planted a heavy boot in the middle of his back. “You haven’t been dismissed, solider.” Her voice held a steel edge to it, sharp and hard as a blade.

"Paying attention? There's a novel concept. Shame no one ever seems to do it. Oh, and stop calling me soldier. I'm not a dumbass jarhead like fatso."

Her frown deepened at the man’s quip, and she sharply dug the heel of her boot into his back. “You’re a solider now, boy. Playtime‘s over, you‘ll follow orders or I‘ll make you wish you had.” She looked back up at the others, keeping the man firmly pinned to the floor. “We were in the middle of our introductions.” Her gaze slid pointedly over the fem with the attitude and the thus-far silent man with the braided hair. “Only ones left are you two.”
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by The Melancholy Spirit on Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:45 am

Nikolai had kept his distance from the group for the time. Watching them in turn, examining their behavior. It didn’t take a psych professor to tell at least a couple were at odds with each other already. Furthermore, they were disorganized. The one thing that could kill anyone in combat was disorganization; no matter how greater your numbers might be in comparison to the organized enemy.

When the large woman started to take charge, Nikolai took it as a sign to take notice of her above the others. She carried herself with a confidence, sternness, and an overall aura of ‘I’m your superior in every way’. It wasn’t a surprise to him when he recalled her profile. It brought back memories he had long pushed aside, memories that held no semblance of patriotism,; only a knife to his pride as a warrior. Working as a merc in the years since helped to heal that wound.

Still, she was taking charge. He took her actions as a good thing. She seemed competent enough, so far. None of the others seemed like they were the sort to take charge, or at least do so to any effectiveness. As for Nikolai, it wasn’t a job he took to without distaste for it in his mouth. Drawing in a deep breath, he decided to introduce himself as Sid so kindly suggested.

“Nikolai Keldian, callsign Ronin. Former sergeant in the Veourix R.I.S.O.”

Near to the largest of the women, the one in the leather jacket groaned loudly. “Fucking military types,” she muttered. “Päivä Järvi, former corporal. Pilot. Field medic. Anything else you want to know, Valkyrie? My measurements, perhaps? Maybe my erogenous zones? Or more practical things, like what ships get me all hot in the nethers?”
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Digital Muse on Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:58 pm

Though Sid or Valkyrie was caustic and too ”in your face” for her taste, Tia felt more at home with her. She was used to a chain of command and fit well within one. Even if it was a Marine. That thought almost made her smile. She watched Kymera bounce off the walls and her brows raised in alarm. He was the one that would surely get them all killed. There was no way he could be relied…ah…Sid had his number and her heavily booted foot pinned the lunatic to the floor like a butterfly pinned to a collector’s mat. God preserve them all. She thought.

Her eyes then moved to the last pair to introduce themselves, the medic Paiva who seemed to be yet another in the crew with attitudes a large as the white dwarf they orbited and more quiet and prayerfully stable, Nikolai. He gave as few details and attitude as she had. Perhaps she’d found her partner after all. Time would tell who Valkyrie would assign him to baby-sit.

As Tia looked at the group, they were evenly mixed men to women, and her attention was drawn back to Paiva. Military types? If Tia remembered the woman’s dossier, Paiva had been military herself. Hadn’t she? Her brows furrowed slightly in thought and offered to the woman, “I have some experience in medical procedures…should you need assistance.” Her voice was gentle, smooth, almost unnoticeable when she spoke. She didn’t really want to explain her knowledge was first hand. Just offered it out there.

Finally, she looked back to Sid. “We’ll need a Face to make contacts,” She waved a hand to indicate the group. “Most here don’t exactly blend in.” She shrugged again, “I’m not from here, but I can learn if anyone has some names. And I don’t tend to let my mouth write checks my ass can’t cash.” It was lingo older than time itself it seemed. Oddly out of place, but the meaning was obvious. “I haven’t gone through my gear yet. But, we might need to work some deals somewhere along the line for supplies too.” Tia was throwing things out to see if anyone had anything useful besides spite and insanity to add to the mix.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by quakernuts on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:32 pm

Xavier didn't bother to really listen to anyone else, seeing as everyone seemed to be having PMS on the exact same fucking day. He was enjoying his show, despite the viking's constant interruptions and general what-the-fuckery. The man started making fun of his nickname, and it took all of Claw's patience, which wasn't much, to ignore the man. He feared that if he started talking to him on a regular basis, his IQ would drop into the negatives...twice. It wasn't until the man started swinging his hatchet around that Claw reached for his pistol, only to have the T.V. knocked to the floor, and him act as if it didn't happen. Claw's face instantly went red, and had it not been for the Queen Bitch, he would have shot the man in the face. He got up, his hand on his pistol but not yet drawn, and angry glares shot at Khymera who was now stopped by the military woman.

He had to let a grin slide as she pretty much ordered him down, until she started insisting things to the rest of the group. When she insisted that she be called 'sir', he gave a short laugh. "Well yeah, you could pass for a man, glad you know. But, if it makes you happy, absolutely..." Claw sat back down in his place. "Bitch." Khymera tried to move again, and was stopped once more by Sid. Even before Khy was done saying his sentence, Claw was already giving a comeback.

"For someone who thinks himself top shit, you know fucking nothing, do you? I was never a soldier, I was a law enforcement. Pariah Special Tactics Squad." Then Claw got up, and looked over at the man. "And, I ain't fat! It's called muscle! Something that your wiry frame couldn't make if you pumped steroids into it and taped balloons to your biceps!" Claw sat back down, muttering several other things before finally going quiet and listening to the other two introduce themselves. For Nik, nothing needed to be said. For Pa...Pai...whatever the hell her name was, he wanted to slap come C4 on her face and tell her. 'Does this get you hot and bothered?!'. Instead, he decided to smile and look back at her.

"Well, you're measurements are bitchy, your erogenous zones are 'could care less', and the ships that get you all hot and bothered are Don't, Give, A, Fucking, and Shit. See, I know you already." Claw then just rolled his eyes, and relaxed a bit more on the couch. When Tia started talking, a gasp erupted from Claw as he looked over everyone. "Oh my god, someone with some common sense, who would have thought we would have found that here. I mean, Khy's been digging for years apparently, and all he found was two brain cells to bounce around to somehow come up with the ability of speech and nothing else." Calming himself visibly before continuing. "Tia has a point, it's what we're here for. She seems like the most...normal one here. I suggest her." Claw folded his arms, fully expecting an argument to the whole thing.
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Guilty Carrion on Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Khy lay on his belly, eyes contently watching upwards as the woman ordered the remaining group members to speak. Dark eyes flicked casually over to the man, before settling back on what likely was the result of a very intense workout regiment, and it most certainly had paid off. At least for him. Course, the question was, what would she do if she caught him looking? Try and stomp him for real? That’d be entertaining to see her try and do. His hand lightly brushed against the handle of his hatchet, before settling down beside it. Never hurt to have something ready, now did it?

Content in his security, if one could truly call it that, his eyes returned to their lecherous work, allowing for a quick journey over to the woman who had come up from downstairs. This was certainly shaping up to be much, much better than his previous gig. No restrictions, no over-bearing handlers…and women. Could anything detract from this?

The fat guy. He had to talk and ruin it. Grumbling quietly to himself, Khymera didn’t bother turning to address the man. “Oh, law enforcement. Limp dick cousins of the jarhead. My mistake, fatass. And if anyone should be lecturing me on muscle, it should be miss stomp up here.” He jerked a hand up at Sid, grinning wide, although the group wouldn’t really be able to see it, considering his face was towards the stair-well. “She’s got enough leg strength she could probably snap our heads off with her thighs. Gives oral a little bit of a risk, ya feel me?”

A slight increase of pressure was his response from her, and he perked up ever so slightly at the jacketed woman’s response. “Oooo! Ooo! I want that. Share! Pretty please?” Pausing once again to address fat man, he snickered loudly. “Now, I don’t want to insult you, but…pissing off our medic? That is a whole ‘nother level of stupid, right there.”

More talking. Hel, this meeting was taking forever. All he wanted was some goddamn breakfast! Was that too much to ask? A little omelette or something before they decided to dive into their day like a rabid bulldog? Maybe some bacon…it had been awhile since he had tasted the delicious meat. Oh right, they were supposed to be doing something right now, weren’t they?

“I say captain silence. He’s more intimidating, doesn’t seem to talk more than necessary, and makes him the best candidate in my eyes.” Khymera shrugged, stretching out his arms and legs, getting comfortable in his place on the floor. “But, whatever gets me breakfast. I don’t really give half a rat’s ass beyond that.”
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by The Melancholy Spirit on Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:38 pm

Päivä ignored both men. She let herself fall back into the wall, head tilted back and eyes locked on the ceiling. They had somehow shifted over to who would be the face of their operation. He would go out into Pax and get them work. Work they needed to get the place up and running, put food in their stomachs. And, more important, put high security locks on their doors. And a shock collar for the dog. She raised a hand to rub her temples.

“Shouldn’t we just send out whoever is going to be leading us?” The question was rhetorical. She had dealt with military; usually someone had a superiority complex and had to be in charge of everything. So far that seemed like the barking she-giant pinning the dog to the floor.

On the other side of the room, Nikolai shifted his stance. Finally they were getting somewhere. Move past the teenage angst styled nonsense half the group was consumed with and get to business. Figure things out, stop sitting around on their hands. They were stuck in this job now, stuck with each other. Better to just get to work than hang around complaining about it.

“I agree,” he responded. “Though it might be good to go as a group. Send out half the team so we can show our strength in diversity.”
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Shadow Moonseye on Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:32 am

More bickering. They sounded like pre-pubescent teens from her days in the orphanage. Or like the bitching from the first week of boot. Alright, enough of this shit.

“Tia, Nikolai; you’re our faces. If we need to present a larger force when setting up a job or meeting with a client we’ll do so. Until then, work together and find us some income.” By far they were the two calmest members of the group--so that made them the best candidates for the job. Between the two of them they should be able to dig up a few jobs. “I want jobs lined up yesterday. And don’t be picky, we need anything we can get.”

Sid folded her arms across her chest. Half of this group are trouble. I might have to assign them babysitters during missions. Fuck, why couldn’t there have been more ex-military who had made the cut? Or at the very least people with less attitude. She shook her head slightly, a frown tugging the corners of her lips down. Hopefully she could keep them from killing each other or disintegrating into petty squabbles mid-mission. She didn’t exactly relish the thought of dying because half her crew couldn’t get along for more than five seconds.

“Päivä, Khy; I have a job where you can both make yourselves useful: Take stock. I want a list of what we have, what we need. If anyone has a special need, tell them. If you don’t, its your own damn fault that we won’t get it. When the list is completed, bring it to me.”

She cast a stern gaze over the group, focusing on each face--with the exception of Khy who was still firmly pinned beneath her foot. “I don’t care who you were, or what you did. You’re all part of this team now, whether you like it or not. So start fucking acting like it. If any of you cause any problems I will not hesitate to deal with you as I see fit. Understood?”

She didn’t wait for a response. They’d learn, or she’d make them. “Dismissed.” She lifted her foot, allowing Khy to scramble away. “Except for you, Claw. We need to have a little chat.”
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by quakernuts on Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:07 am

Part of Claw wanted to simply shove the military woman off of Khy so that he could stomp him to death, and the other half simply wanted to shoot him on the spot while he was pinned. His hands were forced into fists, veins bulging from his arms as he fought every urge to shoot the man. Limp dick cousins? Pissing off the medic? Claw couldn't even realize what this guy was saying. Here he was, acting like a rabid dog and being put down by a woman, and he was insulting him? It would have been funny had Claw's mind not already been set to murder mode. He pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose, and squeezed hard as he forced his eyes closed. He knew he wasn't the calmest guy, and that he had an anger issue, but this guy wasn't making things easier. "How about you shut the fuck up dipshit, and this place will go a lot smoother." Claw managed to calm himself down long enough for some orders to be issued around the place by the Amazon. He didn't hear his name, and perked up after she said dismissed. Only then did he hear his name, and then he rolled his eyes. He watched everyone go to their duties, leaving them in the room alone. "What the fuck you want?" Claw asked, making his irritation of the matter absolutely clear.

"There a fucking reason you went to pull your weapon on Khy?"

"Other than the fact that he's a complete psychopath and hitting every single nerve that I have in my body? Yeah, a few. In the end, what's it matter? I didn't pull the gun, I didn't shoot him, and he is still breathing. I wanted to, but I didn't. Are we done here?" She stepped right up into his personal space, trying to use her size as a pushing point on the smaller man.

"Know this, Claw. If you ever pull a weapon on or otherwise threaten a members of this team I will remove you. I suggest you learn to better control yourself. Next time I won't bother pulling you aside." Claw looked up at the woman, gave a smirk, before planting a hand on her chest, giving plenty of warning, and only pushing her enough to make her take a step back but nothing else.

"Let me get this through to you." His voice had changed from that of an angry man to one who was dead serious. "I disarm bombs that could level cities for a living, often standing at point zero for the entire time until it is disarmed, or I am dead. You don't scare me, nor will you ever. You want my respect, you will fucking earn it." Claw looked her in the eyes, waiting for any sign that she might attack, and finally added. "The weapon will remain holstered, and I will follow your orders for the sole reason there is no other. So don't go getting all high and mighty." His voice returned back to the angry man with a chip on his shoulder. "So do you have a job for me, or am I to simply be left to make something that goes boom?"

"Yeah. Clean this shit up!"

"Right, cause the broken T.V. is totally my fault for letting a fucking crazy ass viking swing an axe everywhere."

"The replacement is coming from his payroll. I'll be having a few words with him about breaking our shit later."

"Ah, well then it ain't all bad." Claw walked away slightly from Sid. "Fucking psycho ass viking shithead." There was an amused snort from the woman, but nothing more. Claw had his back to her, but heard her head down the stairs and out of the room, leaving Claw the sole occupant of the recreation area. Claw looked down at the broken shards from the T.V., and gave it one more sharp kick.

"Stupid ass piece of shit. I blow shit up, not clean it up! I am definitely demanding a janitor first pay check we get."
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by The Melancholy Spirit on Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:43 am

In truth, he was moving before the foot really left his back, slipping out from under it with cat like grace. He hopped into a crouch with ease, casually winking back at Claw before a single push of his legs sent him clear down the first group of stairs. “C’mon, Päivä, shit ain’t gonna count itself!”

Päivä pinched the bridge of her nose with her right hand. She shook her head at Khy’s antics and looked down the stairs at him, glancing momentarily to Val. “He didn’t, by chance, come with a leash did he?” She shook head again and made her way to the stairs. “Or better yet a titanium alloy chain…” she muttered.

“Sooner we do inventory, sooner you can buy one. Careful putting it on, I bite.” His grin widened ever so slightly, before a jump and a kick of his legs sent him rocketing down the remaining stairs. He landed in a easy crouch, eyes flicking over the room before he straightened. “Now then…if I was a kitchen, where the fuck would I be?”

Spinning on his heel, he looked up at the pilot as she descended the stairs. “You came from down here, any idea which way?”

“I don’t have a damn clue,” she shrugged. “Queen Steroids up there grouched a demand that I get out of bed, so I headed up the stairs. Your guess is as good as mine, why don’t you use that nose of yours?”

"I was hoping I wouldn't have to resort to logical reasoning..."

Her eyes narrowed as her right brow rose in an arch. “Why do I have the feeling your logical reasoning ends up with me in thigh high boots and a latex thong in the red light district after midnight?”

"Hell no." He turned on his heel, picking one of the doors at random. "My room is more the sufficient." He placed a booted foot on the door, and shoved it open, glancing about the darkened room for a moment. "Don't worry. I'd buy dinner first...which door now?"

Päivä stepped up and examined the door he had just managed to kick open. Normally it wouldn’t have been something even remotely possible, not in the manner he had done so at least. She sighed at the poor state of the building. It was a wonder it hadn’t fallen of the hinges. She pressed ahead of him, pushing the door just a hair. A loud creak filled her ear followed by the door slamming onto the floor between her and Khy. She looked down at it, then up at him.

“You’re taking the blame for that,” she scowled. Turning to her left she motioned to another door. “Try that one.”

“Call it a hunch, but I’m going to get blamed for a lot of things.” Stepping over the door, he pushed it off to the side and out of the way before heading towards the door she picked. Gently pushing it open, his grin grew once again when he caught sight of the stove. “Aha! The kitchen!” A quick glance about however, sucked the enthusiasm from him.

The oven/stove combo was rusted to hell, and looked more likely to explode than light, let alone evenly cook the simplest of meals. The sink dripped constantly, a maddening drip drip drip that threatened to tear at the mind of any who stayed in the room for too long. That is, if the dangerously unstable looking mircowave didn’t cause their head to explode first. The cupboards were chipped and peeling in paint, but they were a sight better than the pantry, which was missing a door and a half.

“…I’m beginning to think our ‘employers’ don’t really like us.”

She snorted at the statement. Her eyes fell to the stove, and the things moving in and out of its base. “Looks like we’re going to be eating cockroach-on-a-stick for a few weeks.” She groaned and turned to leave. “You get to report this to Val, I’ll just stand back out of arm’s reach and watch the show.”

“I suspect we’ll have some more supplies than this if they expect us to do anything…well, remotely effective. Let’s find the rest first.” Giving the kitchen one last look, he pushed the door gently back into place. After a moment of ensuring that it wasn’t going to fall off like its partner, he started towards the other door that hopefully lead to another storage. A grumble from his stomach made him growl in annoyance. Now if he wanted breakfast, he’d have to go to a store and get the god-damn stuff for it first.

Shoving the door open, he blinked once at the rather…bare garage. “Not even a car? They hate us.” Running a hand down his beard, he sighed heavily. “This is going to be the pattern for every other room, isn’t it?”

Päivä looked around the room in dismay. It was a garage alright, but as the bearded one said, not even a car. There were barely any tools in the place; just crumbling walls, a broken lift, fluid stains everywhere and a few strewn wrenches across the floor. And a hammer. Päivä wrinkled her face. Who the hell was using a hammer in a garage? Were they trying to tear down the walls? She snorted.

“Maybe they think our demolitions man is a fat ass too and want him to walk around a bit. Maybe you and our employers aren’t so different Khy.” She shook her head, her tone having not lightened despite her sarcastic remark.

“I’m going to be pissed if our showers don’t work…”

“Ha! If our showers don’t work, then you’re sadly mistaken.” He looked back at the room they had passed through to reach the garage, he noticed several tipped over and otherwise useless lockers strewn about the room, along with a few extremely rusted racks lining the walls.

“A little bit of dirt and sweat is sexy, but three weeks of it is not. If I had to guess, this is supposed to be an armoury…but I think the floor in our rooms is probably better than this…” Squatting beside one of the lockers, his eyes flicked over the dark container, although he noticed a few eyes staring back at him.

“Yeah…mine’s staying on the floor…”

“Depends on whether or not you’re both covered in dirt and sweat…” Stepping toward him, she peered into the locker. A slight hint of a smile creased the edge of her lips. “I don’t know, he might keep your armor looking shiny”

“Yeah, right.” Shooting her a glance though, his smile didn’t drop at her sarcasm. “I know plenty of ways to get dirty and sweaty really fast.” Straightening, he nodded towards the last door in the ‘armoury’. “Well, let’s rummage through there, and then track down whatever we seem to be missing.”

“Sure.”

The room they walked into held an oblong oval table, likely used for conferences in the former business. A broken holo screen, hanging from half the ceiling hinges, rested near one of the falls. The projector above the table was tilted awkwardly. Päivä looked at lose cables and groaned. Tia was going to have fun fixing that.

“Those two better find us some work,” she muttered. “Though I doubt that will do much to improve Val’s mood after we give her our report.”

“They want us to fail, I think. I bet there are cameras hidden everywhere to watch us crash and burn.” Running a hand over the table, he chuckled at the large swath he left through the dust. “Well, I still don’t see any showers…but are showers really part of taking stock?”

Shaking his hand to rid it off the thick grey coating it now sported, the merc shot his companion a curious look. “Course, I’m not in much of a rush to get my head torn off…”

“Val’s stock? Doubt it. But she doesn’t seem like the kind of woman who enjoys a steaming shower, to be honest. Let’s just go get this over with.”
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Re: Lords of Polaris

Post by Digital Muse on Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:43 pm

A collab with Nikolai and Tia

The sharp dismissal by Valkyrie was obeyed slowly by the group, but eventually, Päivä and Khymera set out to inventory what Tia feared would be very meager supplies. She stood from the broken down armchair she’d been seated in, hugging her arm against her waist unconsciously. Well. Time to get better acquainted with her partner. “Please god let him be sane.” She thought desperately after watching Khymera’s antics thus far. Approaching the silent Nikolai, she offered her hand in greeting, “Looks like we’re the bread winners. Call me T?”

He looked down at her hand and then back to her face. Through the discourse that had been the first of their likely many group meetings she had retained the highest level of calm among the rest of them. Being stuck with her was far from the nightmare he could have otherwise been tossed into. He pushed himself away from the wall and stood straight before taking the hand. “Nikolai,” he replied evenly. “Considering our lot, I’m inclined to agree. Shall we head out then?”

Tia smiled when Nikolai took her offered hand. Patting her gun, she asked, “Think we should cover up or lay it all out there? They left me a jacket along with my old gear. Damned kind of them, I’d say.” Her smile turned rueful when she said that. “They, whoever ‘they’ are, don’t seem terribly concerned for our welfare. Considering what they went through to recruit us, you’d think they’d give us a bit of a break.” She followed along as Nikolai headed down the stairs, presumably to the street. As they neared the ground level, she asked, “Have you been here before?”

Nikolai took the moment to survey the immediate surrounds first. Nothing stood out of the ordinary or seemed potentially dangerous; just towering hovels in a junk heaped cesspool of a low-town inner city. He turned to Tia and shrugged. “This area?” he glanced around again. “I’m not sure. I arrived just over three weeks before we were… recruited. I’m not even sure it was this city… we could be half way across Pax from where I was for all I know.” On instinct he checked his pistol before stepping further into the street. “As for our recruiters… I’m pretty sure we never existed as far as they’re concerned.”

Tia sighed softly. Nothing about this was going to be easy, it seemed. She frowned softly, trying to fathom why their employers had chosen to throw them to the wolves in this way. Sure it was more than the simple need for anonymity. Was this just a test? To see which of them survived? The very thought gave her pause. Stepping out after Nikolai, Tia drew abreast of him, “Unfortunately, I haven’t even been here that long. I have no contacts at all on Pax.”

She thought back to his dossier as it was read aloud in the recruitment room and wondered if there were any secrets as there were with her own. “Do you have any family? Friends?” She asked as they walked along the filth-strewn road.

The question took Nikolai unaware. He blinked several times and kept moving. It wasn’t something he had thought about in a long time. Friends were generally an inconvenience. Family was bred from those on death’s ground, facing the same enemy in the same firestorm. Beyond that there was the woman who gave birth to him. He remembered a name and a face, nothing more. Aside from her there was no recollection of a biological family. He shook his head.

“I had a family once. As far as I know they’re dead.


The man’s answer really didn’t surprise her. She’d guessed they were all orphans in the truest sense of the word. If they died, no one would care; even if they knew. “Same here.” She offered quietly. “I might have family…far removed family. But, none that I’ve met.”

The pair passed several small groups gathered around the ubiquitous oil barrels with burning trash in them. Dark, suspicious eyes watched them as they passed by. Even as they passed beyond the groups, they were watched, assessed and their weaponry noted. Even though none made a move toward them, the hair on the back of Tia’s neck stood up. She hated being out in the open this way.

Nikolai kept a keen eye on their surroundings as they moved through the slums. Part of it a situational awareness drilled into his psyche from military training, the other part making sure he knew how to get back to their base. With each block it became more obvious how obscure their employers wanted to make them. Nikolai’s growing suspicion that they had been placed in the worst area of the worst city on Pax was threatening to be reality. One look at the state of the buildings was evidence enough. A closer examination of the people all but confirmed it.

Still, they were left alone as they walk through the place. Weapons on display, lack of armor, and with a confidence enough on at least Nikolai’s part to catch the eyes of most anyone that looked at them. The game of intimidated the intimidators had worked for him in the past, and also came to him naturally.

After checking several dive gathering spots, places to quench a thirst and drown in escape, they found a lead taking them to the outskirts of the slums and into more corporate oriented sections of the city. Nikolai stopped at a corner, staring at the building for a moment. Corporations were always getting tangled in conflicts with each other no matter what planet or station you were on. From what Nikolai had heard of the place before his arrival though was that Pax was worse than most places. Corporations were also sketchy situations to work with. He glanced back at Tia.


Tia had followed Nikolai’s lead as they stalked through the trashed slum areas of the city. Their openly displayed weaponry made most of the bolder predators cautious, which suited Tia just fine. She had a splitting headache, her new arm was being bothersome and she was in no mood for any conflict. They spent time moving from watering hole to watering hole before anything worth looking into came up. A possible corporate contract they’d decided to check out.

In the back of her mind, Tia wondered if the contract might possibly be against their current employers. That would be ironic. She thought. For that matter, it might be working for their current employers. Who knew for sure? Nikolai and Tia headed for the outskirts of a business district with far more stable architecture and the smell of money. Her companion paused and glanced at her, perhaps verifying if she was still sane. It was hard for her to get a read on him thus far.

She offered a smile, “Shall we beard the lion in his den?” She then stepped into the street to head toward the location given to them.

Nikolai followed without response. He examined the building clear to the front door, trying to get a feel for the corporation. Nothing gave any indication of what they were about, what they made, or anything other than a name. It was displayed on a neon-holo above the door, though the screen was covered in static and more than a couple of the letters were missing or nearly impossible to read. He shook his head, knowing now why they had been given directions rather than a name.

The inside was better, if mildly so. Onyx walls and floors, blue circular lights embedded in the ceiling. Behind the front counter stood a man with a quasi-pompadour haircut, though the sides were shaved, and dressed in a white suit. Nikolai approached him and queried about the potential of work. The man gave a silent nod and turned to screen on his right. After a few minutes he looked back to them.

“One of our representatives will see you in there momentarily,” he said, gesturing to a room to their left. Nikolai glanced to it.

“Our weapons?” The man smirked, motioning with his head for them to enter the room.

“Right then,” Nikolai muttered while making his way to the room. Inside was a small conference table and several chairs around it, darkened windows looking out into the streets making up two of the walls. The rest of the room was bar, lit in a dim luminescent light hanging overhead. A moment later a door slid open, revealing the chamber of an elevator. A single woman walked out, looking much more corporate-like than the man who had greeted them.

Without so much as introducing herself she went on to explain the situation. A rival corporation, a rival at what she would not disclose, had information they needed to get but didn’t have the forces of their own to do so. She explained the task as a simple one, in theory. Break into a compound on the other side of the city to retrieve data and bring it back to them. Nikolai glanced at Tia several times while the woman explained the situation. It was to be a covert mission, one that would require many of the talents in her skill set. From the sound of things this corporation didn’t care if they were discreet or not, but that didn’t make it any easier.

“Do you accept then?”


Tia followed Nikolai into the conference room, noting any cameras and potential hiding places for microphones. There were plenty. She moved to the wall of windows and peered out to the street beyond until the sound of the elevator door sounded behind her. She had expected the woman to ask for introductions or at least to feel them out before simply launching into her requirements for the mission. It made Tia very nervous. It felt uncomfortably like a set up. When the woman asked finally if they’d take the job, she shared a look with Nikolai, remembering that Valkyrie had said to take what they could get. She dipped her chin slightly in the affirmative. Her eyes turned toward the woman and she said, “We’ll need plans, schematics, intel on personnel, defenses, a jack in point and any passwords you have access to, plus any insiders you think we can contact.” She paused, “We’ll also need to know what the pay is, the size and nature of the data and how to contact you once done.”

With those demands, Tia looked to Nikolai to let him add his own list of demands and finish the negotiations.

She smiled. “Simply contact us here, Pax Cyreon’s officials are in no situation to concern themselves with the dealings of lower end corporations this side of the station, I assure you. We also have the security to deal with any attempt to reclaim their data, if they bother.” She looked at Nikolai for a moment, then turned back to Tia. “As for the rest of your demands, I assume your own surveillance abilities are not up to the job?” She smirked. “We had insiders, they were supposed to get the data themselves. Unfortunately their lives were terminated some time ago. We can give you what information they managed to leak back to us, though it is very little. We have the floor and technical schematics, though our information on their personnel and defense is unfortunately dated. It should contain several suitable jack-in points, but you’re going to have to come up with plans on your own.”

“And payment?” Nikolai interjected.

“A sufficient amount, considering the look of you.”

“Our armor and team are back at our base. What is the payment?”

“Four thousand.” Nikolai glowered at her.

“Show us the information.” She gave a nod, reaching into her coat and retrieving a data chip. Nikolai took it and handed it over to Tia to look over using a stylus. The look she gave him when she was done wasn’t pleasant. He gave a nod. “If you plan to send us in this blind, you’ll give us ten thousand.”

She shook her head. “I was instructed not to go above six.”

“You’ll go to eight.”

“Seven.”

Nikolai looked to Tia for her opinion.


Tia looked over that data provided and wasn’t pleased. While her experience was military and nominally far more complete, even she knew what was given was bare bones. They’d basically have to start from scratch. Nothing provided could be relied on, other than the target and the objective. Her look was enough, it seemed, because he immediately began negotiating a more favorable price. When they stalemated at 7000 credits, she again nodded slightly. “We’ll want half up front for expenses, half when we deliver.” Hopefully, that would buy ammo and the data they’d need to make a viable mission out of this.

“Reasonable enough, if you wait in the lobby for a few minutes we’ll send someone down with the credits.” With that she gave them both a curt nod and left the room. Nikolai and Tia made their way out of the room, waiting a few minutes before receiving the advanced payment. After a quick check of the amount, Nikolai handed half to Tia as a safety precaution and they started back towards the base.
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