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RP: Bahram Wing [Bahram Wing Prelude] VANguard Deployment Ranger

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ON, El Bazr Asteroid Field, Training Yard

Welcome to the El Bazr Field Training Field Section 'Khi 7', young Vanguards. You are current attending a live-fire exercise that will be an examination of your Powered Frame theory and piloting ability." A slightly coarse female voice chimed into the hangar of the small space station. "For many of you, this will be your first sortie in a VANDR, but don't worry. The unit will adjust the complexity of the controls to your skill level, and should be no more difficult to maneuver in than your actual bodies."

"For safety reasons, I have locked weapons and propulsion. Feel free to walk around the bay and try out your electronics, however."

Zus Looked about. It was true, and a little weird; All her senses were now the VANDR's, and she was no longer aware of herself within the cockpit. Of course she knew that she was definitely there, but her senses had changed. She Felt a little bigger, but somehow more aware than usual. Taking an exploratory step, She noticed it was as simple as walking, and thus continued, taking several more before turning around to face her Comrades.

Zalus engaged the VANDR and lifted his right arm. The mech responded to the signal and complied. He took one step out of the rack and looked back and forth around the room. "I am ready whenever you are."

As Reovan's senses expanded to all the new information that her VANDR was sending her through the interface plugs she looked around the hanger in wonder. /This is amazing,/ she thought as she looked at her companions taking their initial movements in their own VANDR units. Cautiously she took her own first step forward, the nervousness quickly disappating at the ease with which the giant machine moved.

"Please proceed through the electrostatic barrier field and exit the station. Your propulsion will be unlocked once you've cleared the station by at least three hundred meters." The voiced replied, this time coming in directly through their communication systems. The signal would be heard differently this time, almost like a voice coming from inside of their heads. "I will await your arrival at a navpoint marked ten kilometers out from the station, near a cluster of ferrous asteroids."

"Affirmative" Zus acknowledged over the communications. Picking up her pace, the Young Vanguard jogged through the barrier field and out past the station. Once three hundred meters away, the young Eyr Ranr Engaged her propulsion and Launched towards the Navpoint.

"Yes sir," Reovan parrotted as her VANDR made it's way out of the hanger and out until the propulsion systems unlocked. As soon as it unlocked she boosted into the sky and began to make her way toward the confines of the mission operation zone. /Very smooth,/ she noted, enjoying the high speed of the vehicle.

Zalus walked towards the exit and passed Reovan. He pated her mech on the butt as he walked by. "Hope you have a good time out there dear!" He said as he moved out of the room and took off to the nav point after Zus.

"Always do," the dark-skinned Sund Wakir replied playfully to her fellow pilot as she made her ascent into the upper atmosphere. "Hope you don't mind eating my dust," she added as she pushed the VANDR to higher speeds and blast past Zalus, further egging him on.

"Good show so far. No collisions or messing around in communications, which puts you about three notches higher in my book. Great use of the hand manipulators and boost system." The female voice said playfully as they arrived. Sensors indicated the the source of the signal was a red and gold Erla VANDR sporting some aesthetic modifications, with the inner channels of its armor glowing a faint shade of orange instead of the light electric blue typical of the So-M1. "I am Vayranr Faiza Sasztreizi, Frame Officer. Name and rank, please."

Zalus drove on faster to catch up. "You are going to get it when you get out of that VANDR girl!" he called to Reovan. Zalus went quiet when he saw the officer's armour and floated into a sort of attention stance. "Zalus Ka'salm reporting ma'am."

Zus Sort of shook her head at the antics of the other Vanguards, having arrived a while before, she responded to the Vayranr "I Am Vayshirin Zus Storhan" With some sort of bow to accentuate the greeting.

"Vayshirin Reovan Mehta reporting," the young Sund Wakir sounded off, ignoring Zalus' banter as she focused now on the officer in front of them and the custom VANDR she was flying.

"Divine presence at our engines. We will first begin with melee trials to test your ability with the CIVWS." Faiza explained, as a small group of cylindrical buoys were deployed from a small observation post and began to move about in a slow and random pattern. " Please shift your leg manipulators to Long Blade and your hand manipulators to Short Blade. I will begin to demonstrate."

The red and gold unit raised its twin arm blades and began to saturate them in a dense particle field, causing them to glow in a faint blue light. Moments later, its image seemed to invert and blink out, caused by the forces of the intense compression and warping of vacuum space. Light itself was bent and pulled in an unusual manner, as if the plane along which it traveled have been pulled like taffy, and it was simply following a straight line along distorted space. But all that occurred in an instant, and as quickly as the Erla VANDR had vanished, it had reappeared and cleaved three buoys in half using it's arms and a swift bladed roundhouse kick.

Zalus followed suit and took out two with a slash from his right arm and he kicked into another buoy and sent it into another buoy which only knocked it off course. The Eyr Ranr recovered into a defensive stance ready for his next attack order.

Zus, realizing what the Vayranr had done, engaged the MASC-drives, boosting over to the Buoys faster than light, Appearing beneath one, doing a bicycle kick with her sharpened feet and sending the pieces flying at two other buoys.

As the Vayranr performed the example run and devastated the inert buoys, Reovan was suitably impressed at seeing the display of the VANDR's close combat capabilities up close and in person. /Now, time to experience that for myself,/ she thought as she curled and stretched her long fingers around as she willed the Aerudirn into the appropriate blade shapes at her-- or rather, at the VANDR's arms and legs. After her Eyr

After her Eyr Ranr compatriots took their turns, she was up, concentrating and directing her MASC drive to propel her almost instantaniously towards the nearest set of buoys, destroying them with a quick one-two combination of arm-swipes followed by cartwheel kick bisecting the final target.

"Not bad, not bad at all. Remember that your MASC Drive's tactical jump ability is one of the defining features of the previous generation of units, and should be used liberally if stealth isn't an issue." Faiza communicated, returning her arm manupulators to a more humanoid hand structure. A series of small drones with guns were deployed in groups of four, each surrounding the recruits in a 1 km sphere. "We'll now begin our laser weapon trials. I'm going to unlock your CELB and LEMB laser arrays, and assign the blocks of four arround you as hostiles. You will have to fire on them with your single-beam weapons long enough to break their shields while fending off slow-velocity colloid rounds. These will disrupt your shields, but cause little damage to your armor or main systems."

"Engage when I give permission."

Zus was a little puzzled, Not having lasers built in to her own body, she did not know how to activate them " Umm, Veyranr, how DO we engage the CELB and LEMB lasers? manuals spoke of using them, but never really elaborated how"

"The CELB, or Compression Enhanced Light Beam, Laser is a medium to long range weapon that is fired with little or charge time for up to half a minute. Simply aim and conciously will your body fire until you can fire no more, or use fast bursts, depending on how you prefer to do things." The officer explained, charging her lasers to demonstrate. The units fired two light blue beams from its shoulders which impacted against one of the shredded buoys, causing it to buckle and vaporize as metal superheated, searing it until the remaining object was a hunk of glowing blackened scrap surrounded by a faint cloud of metal dust.

"O-okay...' Zus responded, looking for one of her "enemies" and getting a lock on it, but not yet firing "When can we start?" she asked, somewhat Quizzically.

Soon after, the elongated lenses on her VANDR's thighs projected dozens of smaller laser beams over the other pieces of the wreckage, scouring their various surfaces with precision. "The LEMB works the same way, but can target multiple targets or points at once. It also has no charge time and can fire multiple beams for extremely long periods of time. Use it as a point-defense weapon."

"Right" Zus said, repeating the instructions in her head. Focusing on the buoys, she fired a large number of CELB bursts at one, while simultaneously grazing several other buoys with the LEMB's.

Zalus began to charge his CELB and then turned to target one of the bouys. When Zus opened fire on the bouys Zalus followed suite and disintegrated the drone he had targeted. He quickly shifted location and fired upon the next target. He continued fire untill there was nothing left to fire upon. "Nice shot zus"

Reovan's glowing orange eyes darted around as she mentally marked each one of the drones as enemy targets. In response her VANDR unit overlayed a display of red LOCKING rings. "Return to the sand," she whispered, biting her lower lip with a grin as CELB and LEMB lasers poured from their ports on the sides of Reo's organoid and skewered the four enemy orbs and left only their tattered wreckage behind.

"Excellent work so far. Now try it on a moving target, or two." Faiza said, praising them. Her VANDR blinked out of sight as it entered compressed space, appearing on sensors several hundred kilometers away. "I will be remotely operating the drones you will be facing now."

Soon after she said that, a swarm of twenty training drones filed into the asteroid field, breaking off into small groups and circling around the trio VANDR with about a kilometer between them and their targets. Reovan and Zus could each count nine around themselves, while Zalus would find that he had eleven drones bearing down on him. After a few moments, the drones began deploying dozens of wine bottle-sized missiles leaving small blue particle trails as they danced and swarmed towards the trainees' mecha.

"Engage the enemy. This would probably also be a good time to learn that you have excellent shield systems."

Zus' VANDR merely nodded it's head in response, Mimicking what Zus herself would have done. When the bottle-like objects began flying at her, however, she knew what to do, the LEMB's flashing light all over the place, targeting the missiles as quickly as she could. At the same time, she charged her CELB's, taking aimed shots at some of the farther drones, figuring the nearer ones would be more on alert and therefore harder to hit.

Her attacks proved to be effective in destroying the incoming missiles in front of her and on the side, but the barrage had come in from all sides, and another wave of missiles had been fired by the still-functioning drones. Missiles crashed into her VANDR's rear and mid-lower left side, causing negligible electrical discharges. While no actual damage was felt, her VANDR's NI deliberately dropped shields on the collision points and reduced the effectiveness of the areas that had been hit. As her rear sensors and left MASC funnels had been hit, she would have to compensate for reduced preemptive capacity and lopsided propulsion.

Zalus fired a short charged shot at one of the Drones then used his MASC drive to jump away before the missiles would impact his armour. He fired upon the next few drones before they let off another volley of missiles. He would continue the same routine of Fire and jump until he destroyed the drones attacking him. "I guess the robots just love me! I get move following me then you two doves!"

Despite the numbers being stacked against him far more severely than with his wingmates, he fared well. His attacks crippled half of the drones and by moving, caused the pattern of the missiles to become more manageable for his point defense weapons. The remaining five drones approached him from bellow, firing a screen of practice missiles and moving in a rolling spiral pattern to reduce the chances of being hit.

With so many small targets her way, Reo strained to get the LEMBs to target as many as possible as she materialized a Vector Barrier in front of her VANDR on her left arm and formed a CIVW blade on the right. As she braced for impact against any missles the LEMBs missed she powered the MASC drive for a jump through compressed space and targeted the nearest drone. As soon as the first volley hit she leapt past the second wave appear suddenly directly in front of the first drone and sliced it in two and prepared to make another jump hopefully before Faiza or the drones could change thier targeting. Staying fast and ahead of the game was the plan.

She effectively crashed into the front of the missile fire and broke the effectiveness of the spaceborne Cantabrian circle. Her attack neatly sliced the targeted drone in two, and many of the unskilled drones had been struck by friendly fire as the cloud of projectiles shifted to meet the movements of its target, while many of the bottle-sized missiles simply crashed into eachother as they all closed in on her. Reo had managed to outrun most of the attack, taking two hits, but decimating a third of the enemy drones.

"Shit" Zus muttered, feeling as if she had failed something. She turned around as quickly as she could, and decided to try making limited jumps while just taking potshots at the remaining drones. Obviously hampered, Zus Knew she would never make the mistake of remaining a stationary target again. After every few shots, however, Zus would change it up by randomly choosing a drone to attack head on with the CIVW.

The slightly desperate ploy would work out well, as Zus managed to destroy seven of the attacking drones and dodge all of their missile fire. The accuracy and distance of the jumps would be slightly hampered by the damage the left side, but she managed to avoid a potentially fatal high-velocity collision with the neighboring asteroids. Behind her was a swarm of nearly a hundred of the missiles which she had continuously evaded through her maneuvering, and in front, the two remaining drones, who had run out of ammunition, and broke away from each other to avoid destruction.

Zalus fired upon the forward most drone as they approached. He waited for them to get close enough then used his MASC drive to jump into the middle of the formation and slashed and fired upon the remaining drones. "I'm sorry my robot friends but I'm don't playing with you today."

Spinning around, Reovan's adrennelain surged as the high-speed maneuvering caused her heart rate to spike. She could feel the pressure of the two missiles that managed to hit her craft as she tried to control her breathing. Making multiple MASC jumps in such a short period was a strain on her perceptions, but she endured it this far, why not go for broke. Her VANDR unit flared out it's left hand, creating CIVWs blades on it and the one on her right arm. This time she started by targeting one of the further drones and tried to kick it with a MASC-assisted leap to it's side. Now that the drones were getting thinned out, no doubt Faiza would be having an easier time controlling them and so Reovan was going to have to quickly designate her new targets and hopefully fake-out the Vayranr.

The tactics themselves would have worked, were the drones not flying in a staggered formation especially for the purpose of being able to catch the recruit attempt to jump out and strike one of the mobile missile platforms. She destroyed the drone she had attacked , but was now a very appealing target. Two of the drones were in effective weapons range, and the remaining three would be close enough to fire in twelve seconds.

Zus, not knowing that the remaining drones were empty, took a gamble and turned around, engaging every single CELB and LEMB simultaneously, letting off several shotgun-like bursts at the cloud of missiles following her, before using her slowed MASC drives to move out of the path of anything that remained.

Her targeting computer rapidly and accurate tracking the multitude of tiny targets, Zus's hail of laser fire ripped through the cloud of missiles. When she blinked out during her MASC jump, the missiles lost their lock and switched to dumbfire mode, long enough for them to crash into one of the drones before they regained lock. Numbering less than 12 now, it would take less than a single volley of LEMB laser fire to negate the immediate threat they posed.

Zalus jumped over to the drones attacking Reovan and tore the blade that formed from his arm into it and fired upon one of the other drones. "I Thought you might want some help there hun!"

His' attacks destroyed the two drones, but now Zalus was in weapons range of the hostile missile platforms. Firing in delayed unison, the three units launched their remaining payload of 32 with a 1 second interval between, before immediately fleeing.

It didn't take long for Reovan to realize she'd flown right into a trap with the orbs all already pointing their weapons at her as she arrived at her desitination. She didn't have time to come up with a new strategy so instead she fell back onto her earlier one and just let the CIVW blades retract as she formed a new Vector Barrier and held the shield in front of her as she tried to dodge the missles by flying up and around

The LEMBs she set to take out anything that came in range as she tried to fly as close to the drones as possible as simply try to outrun and outmaneuver the missiles themselves.

Her the combination of her shield and aggressive laser defense staunchly defended her from the remaining missile attack, and managed to wing on of the drones and send it careening into another, missed the opportunity to score any more kills as the remaining enemies were out of her effective weapons range. Normally, she would be able to strike them at the meager distance of a hundred thousand kilometers, but the metallic asteroids reduced her maximum targeting range.

Zalus waited for the missiles to get close and then jumped through the wealest point in the volley of missile with his blade infront of him to help sheild.

Having broken through the missiles relatively unscathed, Zalus was actually the closest to the remaining drone, and had a clear view of it at a distance of six kilometers.

Satisfied that the Missiles no longer posed much threat, Zus picked off the remaining few at a comparatively leisurely pace, while taking carful aim at the remaining drones. Blasting at them with a volley of CELB fire, she immediately boosted towards them with her MASC drives, hoping she was fast enough to catch the drones for melee even with the 'damage' she had taken. Popping out of compressed space, the Wiry blond Iroma aquired target lock as soon as she could and fired at the remaining drones in her vicinity.

She destroyed one of the drones with her CELB beam, and clipped the other on its left particle engine, causing it to spin out of control through a cloud of debris. Now the last drone left, it had Faiza's full attention, and began performing a large number of unconventional tactics. Namely, cutting power to the left and right engines to regain control and rapidly cutting between asteroids, intent on giving the recruits a hard time.


However, before he could even target the drone, there was a bright flash of light and the drone was swallowed up by a rapidly dissapating column of glowing blue particles. Faiza's unit was in view, both hands still cackling with residual particles from the discharge. "I couldn't let you waste your time over anything that boring, after you've all proven yourselves more than deserving of your complete licenses." Her voice piped in over communications, with a hint of the pride in her tone.

The Sund Wakir zeroed in on the remaining drone and, as she saw Zalus nearby, she hesitated for a moment. That's when it went up in a bright flash and the Vayranr offered her congratulations. Reovan's VANDR unit relaxed in response to her actions and the head turned to look at Zalus's frame, but she didn't say anything. Perhaps when they got back on the ground she'd have words with him about keeping to his own targets during training drills.

Zalus stoped and bowed. "I try my best ma'am. What do we do now? Hopefully it will involve food and drinks." Zalus looked over at Reovan and smiled, which didn't translate through the Mecha's head.

Zus stopped suddenly, Somewhat shocked; She had been targeting the drone and had wanted to kill it. However, she was glad of the Vayranr's congratulations, and happy to finally be a full pilot, finally.

"Now then, let's fly back in formation. There's something you should all be aware of." The officer said half-nervously, as if she had something on her mind. Her unit remained on a slow drift towards the station, with tens of thousands kilometers between them inside of the field, for the purpose of allowing the recruits to catch up.

Zus Quickly, and silently complied with her commander's wish, Pulling wuickly into formation. When the Veyranr mentioned something she wanted to tell, however, Zus immediately perked up, intent on the woman.

Reovan's frame made a small MASC jump to catch up with Faiza's organoid and fell into formation behind her. "Our dreams smile on us," she responded, both as thanks for the congratulations and as a hopeful statement of their future perfomance as Frame Runners.

Zalus was quick to fall into formation along with the others. "What might be the issue Ma'am? It doesn't seem like we will be haveing food or drinks." Zalus kept his eyes open and scaned the asteroid field for any issues.

Faiza's crimson VANDR unit turned around to face them. The HUD displays of the pilots would each suddenly have a small rectangular display box appear, showing a mature lightly tanned woman with her hair tied back into a stick bun, floating in an orange soup of sorts that glazed the color of the video feed they received. Her eyes were wide open despite being her actively controlling her pilot, and seemed to unconsciously plead for something that had not been said yet. "You young hotshots are about to be inducted into the Vanguard just as it is plunged into what may be the bloodiest conflict in our people's history. I have friends in the outer colonies, who have seen attack ships and prototype units. Some of them, are on that other side.

The one you'll all be facing."

The young Sund Wakir girl was confused. The bloodiest conflict? What did that even mean? Attack ships in the outer colonies? Had contact been made with an alien species? Her face twitched unconsiously in her cockpit, her brow furrowing as she tried to understand what the Vayranr was saying.

Other side? Ones's we'll be facing? Zus thought, incredulous. "I thought we just protected against bandits? surely they cannot make anything themselves, just corrupt what they find?" Zus, if she could be seen, had a look of bewilderment on her face, something that often didn't last long.

"Well that doesn't sound good... at all..." Zalus squirmed nervously. Who were they at war with? Who would want to fight them besides the bandits?

"Anti-government forces. Suffice to say, that this other side has the capacity to resist an even a fully-armed intervention by Vanguard forces. To dislodge them, there will likely be a war." Faiza sighed. "The first in centuries."

"The sands are shifting unfavorably," Reovan responded grimly. Anti-government forces? Iromakuanhe fighting each other? "What are their goals? Why are they attacking? What do they want?" she blurted out, still very confused at this surprising turn of events.

"Civil war?" Zalus was in shock. The though left him unsettled. "I think I need a drink..."

"There'll be plenty of drinks and answers if you follow me, because you won't get any of either. I've determined that the other side is going to win, based on the data I was sent, and have decided to defect." The officer explained, her unit's hands strange warping into a pair of sharp-looking claws and began to cackle with a light blue particle field. "Think of how much more you can do, to be on the side that finally changes things! To not just be another casualty on the side that lost in the annals of history!

Please... consider the offer."

"WHAT? You're just going to abondon your people, your homeland, for some upstarts? That is not right! Do you have any sense of justice? Do you even know what you are getting yourself into?" Zus's anger was prevalent in her voice, She would not stand for something like this. He r entire family, her life growing up, had been based on loyalty. She was too loyal to let this go by. "I cannot stand for this, Ma'am. If it comes to it, I will make sure You are straightened out, Myself!"

Zalus didn't allow their Traitor commander to do anything else. He Jumped behind her and slashed into Her and then jumped away while charging his main weapon. "I will not suffer a Traitor amongst us!" Zalus was disgusted by what she had said and kept the hope that she was only testing them.

Was this some sort of test? Some final training? An internal rebellion? The idea was ludicrous. Zus' declaration snapped Reovan out of her confusion. Even if it was a test, the choice was clear. "What sort of dreams are these?" she asked of Faiza, "What is wrong in the outer colonies that would even provoke such a thing? What is so bad that Iromakuanhe would kill Iromakuanhe?" there was anger in her voice, she too was not only but a loyal citizen as well. "I hope, for your sake, that you run while you can." The CIVWs on her arms and legs flared out into long blades as she prepared to MASC jump at the traitor and disarm her.

"The Commonwealth has been standing by while thousands of people on the the fringes die, listening to the prattling of paranoid geezers who think they can escape the harsh realities of the universe by sticking their heads in the sand while their asses bake in the sun!" Faiza retorted, as she evaded Zalus' slash by rotating her VANDR and grappled his arm. The sharp digits of her CIVWS immediately rendered large slices of flesh from his unit's left shoulder and disabled it, while a long blade-pattern leg CIVWS made a shallow slash across its chest piece, causing electrical damage to his torso point-defense weapons. All of this, in the span of a few seconds.

She then disengaged from Zalus' VANDR, tossing it in the rough direction she had predicted Reovan would attack from. "The only reason that the bandits ever become a threat is because they are able to find people from the dregs of society is because those dregs were created by a callous socioeconomic system that can only do right and cannot see wrong! Can't you SEE that?" Faiza continued, as she jumped a few kilometers away armed her missiles. "I've disabled your homing beacons, by the way. So they won't find you if you do decide to die."

Without a word, Zus dissapeared, using the shotgun techniwue that had worked so well earlier. Repeatedly, randomly, she did this, from different distances, angles, and sides. Snarls and growls escaped her with each volley, as she strained to continue this MASC jumping, pure fury driving her on.

Zalus winced as his armour was thrown around and left adrift. "Well this sucks... I thought I was going to be heroic but I get left as floatsam..." Zalus listened to the comms doing on and tried not to see any truth in the Commander's words.

Reovan cut her MASC jump short in order to catch her falling comrade. "Zus!" she sent directly to the Eyr Ranr girl on what was hopefully still a private channel. "I'll take care of the missiles, you focus on her." True to her word, she lit up the traitor's incoming barrage with her LEMB and CELB lasers as she followed close behind Zus' organoid.

Faiza's unit evaded and blocked the laser attacks with its left barrier field, partially deflecting the transferred energy and dissipating the rest before it could inflict much damage. While not using MASC jumps, it had begun rapidly circling around and the two, firing a screen of missiles to cause electromagnetic sensors disturbances and firing off a trio of beacon flares to cause false readouts to appear on the recruits' sensors displays. If they were attentive to the ongoing heat signatures caused by the turncoat VANDR, they might have noticed an extreme and sudden energy spike in both of its arms.

Hoping that being behind Zus was enough cover to successfully hide her intentions, Reovan attempted to MASC jump toward the area beneith Faiza's frame and take out her legs with her own CIVW bladed legs. Meanwhile she let her LEMBs continue to target all and any missiles coming from the rogue organoid. "How do you think you'll get away with this?" she yelled in exasperation.

The woman in the red unit merely answered by projecting a barrier on her shin to stop the attack and flipping her VANDR upside down to fire one of its LCPA cannons. However, the VANDR did not fire, instead creating a small pulse of high energy exotic particle which impacted against the electronics-heavy crest of Reo's unit, plunging her into a sensors blackout. Instead, she fired her particle accelerator at Zus, who was in targeting range and then aimed her remaining charged cannon at Reovan's still blinded suit. "How you think you'll get away FROM this?"

Angered that her attack seemed to be useless, Zus Suddenly changed tactics, and after one of her bursts, instead of simply disappearing and continuing, She charged forward at the Vayranr, CIVW Arms turned into What could best be described as a Lance, She put as much power and momentum into it, as well as turning on her Barrier guard to protect herself from possible counterattacks.

Her charge defeating even the massive energy discharge of the particle cannon at the cost of the barrier's stability, Zus rapidly closed in on Faiza, who did not have even the time to make a desperate counterattack. The young pilot's adapted lance impaled the red VANDR, causing purple and orange fluids to gush out and freeze as the living weapon tried desperately to heal itself. There had been a rupture of the reactor system by the CIVWS' particle field, and as heat levels inside spiked, it became evident that a catastrophic core breach was underway.

"Ah, like that... clever kids." Faiza chucked to herself, as she quickly felt her insides being blown away by the sudden release of plasma from the fusion reactor.

Finished, Zus Shicked the traitor from her CIVW by kicking it off, Boosting backwards a bit to a safer feeling position "Reovan, Get back, It looks like it's too late for her."

Reovan's frame dissappeared and reappeared through a compressed space jump. She had been planning the lateral maneuver to dodge the traitor's partical beam, but from Zus's communication, it sounded like she would instead be dodging a blast that would be far deadlier.

Eventually, all of her systems reset as residual particles were disengaged from her hull and communications gear, and all sensors read nominal. The heat signature from Faiza's unit had been eliminated , and only a mottled cloud of frozen smoke, debris and oddly colored vapors remained. There was an incoming transmission from the station, to return for maintenance. Oddly enough, Reovan's homing beacon read as intact on system scans.

Now that she could see again, Reovan boosted over to Zalus's damaged organoid and grabbed ahold of him. "Let's get back and report on this," she said to Zus as she engaged her unit's homing beacon. Perhaps the forced system-reset had fixed whatever Faiza had sabotaged on the VANDR.

After Faiza was destroyed, Zus almost spat "Good riddance. The commonwealth has no need of traitors." Finished with her rage, and calming down, Before wordlessly complying with Reovan, Forming up on her. "Yes, Let's. They should know what's going on."


After the pilots finally returned to base and were out of their VANDR, they would have to face the aftermath of what had occured out in the training field. It had been three hours since they had launched earlier that day, and the station's intelligence officer had been assigned to debrief them on the nature of what had occured. At the very least, to make it easier on the recruits, drone assistants had been made to prepare the locker rooms and lavatories for use.

For all they knew, they had just killed someone out there.

Zalus entered the locker room and took off his flight suit. His shoulder hurt from combat. He walked into the showers and turned on one of the fausets.

Zus staggered slightly through the hallways to the locker room, and removed her suit, shakily. The bravado and determination that had gotten her through the battle had worn off, replaced by a sort of weakness that comes after Adrenaline has left the body. She felt like sobbing. Had she just killed their instructor? the woman they had looked up to, whom had trained them? Whom had turned out to be a traitor? She, Zus, Had made the final blow, striking through the heart of the VANDR unit, causing it to overload and eventually be destroyed. Quickly, the Eyr Ranr girl changed into a bathing suit, grabbing a towel and walking towards the showers. A cold shower sounded fitting to her now.

Reovan walked into the locker room last and just stood at the doorway, watching her Eyr Ranr teammates deal with the aftermath of the "training." She crossed her arms as she leaned up against the door frame and waited for someone else to say something first. The stern look on her face made it perfectly clear that she wasn't happy about what had happened either. She wasn't sure that Faiza had to die, after all, she hadn't killed Zalus and Reo was confidant that she could've avoided the partical cannon blast. On the otherhand, Zus probably felt that she was saving her life and Reo did not want to seem ungrateful for that. Everything just served to make the young Sund Wakir girl madder and she flung her helmet across the room. "Nightmares for all of them!" she swore as she stormed in to retrieve her tossed equipment.

Zalus nodded to Reovan as she entered the Locker room. "Well Gal how are you doing? Are you ok?"

The orange-eyed girl picked up her helmet and turned her head abruptly to face the older boy. Her expression quickly melted, it wasn't him she was mad at. She nodded her head in the direction of the showers, "She's the one you should worry about." Reovan opened her locker and exchanged her helmet for a towel and just sat on the bench. "I'll be okay."

As if on cue, a Sob could be heard slightly over the shound of running water. the Ranr had only let one escape, but it had been audible. In response she banged her head on the wall, growling at herself.

Zalus rushed around the corner to see Zus banging her head against the wall. "Whoa girl stop that! We wouldn't want you to hurt that beuitiful face of yours!" Zalus moved over and gently tried to pull her away from the wall. "We are here is you need anyone to talk to." Zalus had a serious expresion on his face.

As she sat there on the bench, her father's words came to her: If you fall, get back on again. Reovan stood up with renewed determination and changed into her bathing suit. If there really were insurgents out in the Colonies attacking, then as members of the Vanguard they were going to have to fight, and probably kill, to protect the safty and well-being of the innocent people out there.

"Talk? You think I can just talk this off? I KILLED someone! not just anyone, Our instructor!" She said, standing straight up in the rain of icy fluid, the water running down her hair and face. If she was crying it was hard to tell. Instead, she simply held up her right hand and stared at it, shaking.

Zalus attempted to pull Zus out of the cold water. "She was a traitor Zus. You did the right thing. But what would you rather do? Stand in freezeing water and hit your head on walls?" Zalus put his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes. "Hurting yourself will not change anything."

Zus roughly pushed Zalus' hands off of her, glaring at him "Leave me alone. If it was right to kill her, then why do I feel so wrong? can you tell me that? can you?" There was desperation in the girl's eyes, as if challenging him to answer her. She knew he couldn't, there was no way he could feel the same way.

"He's right, you know," Reo added as she walked into the showers and hung up her towel. "You might have killed her, but you saved us. My sensors were fried and his, well, you saw what his frame looked like." She wanted to add something like "There was nothing else you could've done," but that tasted nasty like the lie it was in her mouth, so she ended her thoughts there and just turned on one of the faucets.

"How many people have you killed before? You could never have forseen what she did. It must have hurt you to have our instructor tie and betray us. But you need to accept what happened. you will need to kill again. It is the nature of our jobs as runners."

"I never killed anyone before! What do you take me as? a mass Murderer? I joined the vanguard to learn! Not to.. Not to kill instructors!" She seemed to be ignoring the other too, and, after looking about somewhat wildly, an angry noise rising in her throat, the Ranr let out an exasperated "UUGGGHH! DAMMIT" before kicking the wall loudly and breaking down once again, slowly dropping to the floor under her shower and withdrawing into herself, once again sobbing.

As the cool water rushed over her body, Reovan took a deep breath and started whispering a short sutra to help wash away her stresses. "Those who do sacrifice of themselves become one in the dreams of the Makuori where they contribute to the enjoyment of all Iromakuanhe by their presence and service to us all." She repeated this to herself softly, trying to ward away not only her own unhappiness, but also those of her teammates.

Zalus turned off the faucet and left Zus to cry. "We all need to deal with this sooner or latter. We can only hope that you can get throught this ok then..." Zalus walked into the locker room and sat on the bench.

Zus reached up to turn the water back on, but, despite her height, the girl could not reach the handle. defeated, she gave up simply sitting there and rocking a little, staring at her hand again.

Finished with her shower, Reo turned off her own faucet and headed out of the showers. She paused for a second before passing the Eyr Ranr girl sitting there. She was uncomfortable not knowing what else see could say or do for her teammate and it was making her just a little bit angry again. Taking Zus's towel, she threw it at the girl. "Get up, get dressed and let's go," the desert Iromakuanhe said sternly as she went to get dressed herself.

Defeated for now, Zus pulled the towel closer, drying herself off. The warmth felt good, and part of her welcomed it as another part rejected any form of comfort, but, in the end, the former won out, and she walked back into the locker room, her eyes red and watery, a dark expression on her face.

There had been an arrival while they had been waiting. A tall-ish officer with a cocky grin leaned against the doorway to the briefing room, fussing with a soggy cigarette that he couldn't seem to light, no matter how hard he tried. Dissapointed, he tossed it into a garbage bin, and simply contented himself to glare at the recruits smugly, his light teal eyes affixed to the still changing Zus.

When Zus stood up, she returned the officer's glare with one of her own, distraugh-worried eyes casting an ominous shadow on her face. "What do you want?" She snapped, still not fully herself.

Zalus watched as Zus entered the locker room. "I think a better way to deal with this is a nice hard drink." Zalus kept an eye on the officer as he stared at Zus.

Reovan turned around as she finished getting dressed. "Divine blessings," she greeted the officer in a formal manner. She noticed his gaze at her less-endowed comrade and furrowed her brow, just a little bit jealous of the attention she was not getting. Not that she liked having a lot of attention drawn to her own body, but it was a bit shocking that someone with a body like Zus was taking it away.

"Maan, I almost wish you guys did have some kind of redemption orgy in the showers." The officer said restlessly, making a half-hearted shrug. His attention was now diverted to Reovan, who being the closest, would probably be the first to try a hit. "You'll all just moping over something that couldn't be helped, and even something silly is better than something pathetic."

Zus had nothing to say to that, and simply growled, She didn't like this officer, he creeped her out, made her angry. Her self doubts and sadness bled away as she began grow more hostile towards the officer.

Reovan wasn't hotheaded enough to try and hit an officer, no matter how badly he deserved it. And this guy definitely deserved it. Instead she bit her tongue and glanced over to her Eyr Ranr teammates. She wanted to call him out on calling them pathetic, but she knew he was right. A three on one fight should've been over much more quickly. If they had been more skilled, perhaps then they could've disabled Faiza's organoid as fast as she had disabled Zalus'. So, with nothing to say, she just glared at the asshole, trying to bore a hole into him with the shear force of her orange, glowing gaze.

"Yes! I'd rather you hated me. At least you'll keep on living, especially since I have no intention of dying." The officer exclaimed, almost overjoyed that the two were actually reacting to him instead of moping around. "Alright, so we change the rules for this. I debrief you right here, right now, and we go out for drinks after. You'll... probably need them."

Confusion reigned in Zus' mind. "What?" she asked, completely taken aback. She was still angry, but now confused. Lost, She sat down, Something in her mind clicked. She could learn from a briefing.

Taking a seat on the bench to hear the debriefing, Reovan thought about how wrong this guy was. She didn't hate him, she just disliked him. His attitude disgusted her. Mocking him in her thoughts, going out for drinks with this guy was the last thing the dark-skinned girl wanted to do. Still, a stiff drink couldn't hurt.

"Well... everything you three experienced was real, and there's no undoing it." The officer sighed, sitting on the rim of a laundry bin and placing his hand to his forehead. "But it was real, six Maekardan months ago."

What do you mean?" the blond Eyr Ranr asked, utterly confused "It couldn't have been more than an hour ago" she finished, incredulous.

Reovan nodded in agreement, it hadn't been that long since they were up there and-- Suddenly, the realization came to her. It was a test. Training. There must not have been anyone in the cockpit, it must have been a drone just like those orbs. But, the way it moved was so like-life. And the video feed, that was all falsified as well? The Sund Wakir could barely believe it and just stared with her jaw slightly agape.

"Oh, well yeah. You completely trashed that M1. A little choppy, but you were facing an enemy that knew you well." The officer replied, scratching his head. "Naw, see, what you've just gone through is a reenactment of an incident that occurred about six months ago. Your instructor, Faiza, used an autofunction unit derived from her battle data as her proxy and was using the communications chair in the lower spire to keep the illusion real. I mean, the incident this was based on was real, and those emotions, that shock from your first kill, and those tears that stained your pretty little face. All real."

"T- Test? This was a test!?" YOU CAN"T JUST MESS WITH PEOPLE'S EMOTIONS ASSHOLE!" Zus said, Jumping up and launching herself at the officer, fist first. An angry roar accompanied the move, which was aimed at the officer's face.

The dark-skinned girl made no attempt to restrain her teammate. After all, she felt that Zus deserved to get a punch in for that. Just like earlier out in orbit, Reovan stood up, ready to back-up her teammate if she needed it, or help pick her off if she got too violent. No sense in having her thrown out of the Vanguard for assault after all she had been through.

"Whoo, YEAH! That's what I'm talking about." The officer took the punch straight to the face without so much as flinching, through his lip began to bleed a little, and it would likely form a nasty bruise. Instead, he merely grinned widely, and pointed down at Zus. "Mmm... you certainly do have a youthful charm, even if you're taller than some of the men I know. But shouldn't that towel conceal your body, instead of warming your ankles?"

Zus' entire body turned red, starting from her face, and she growled again, louder this time, giving the office a nice view momentarily as she kicked off the towel and proceeded to drive a roundhouse straight home into the side of his head. "You're a sick, Sick man" she spat, snatching up the towel and storming away, grabbing her clothes and moving to a portion of the locker room out of the officer's view, where she proceeded to get dressed.

Reovan just folded her arms and shook her head, almost unable to believe that an officer would act as crudely as this man had. Certainly things were quite different here than out in the endless dunes, but clearly this guy was taking things too far.

The kick made excellent contact, knocking him off the edge of the empty laundry basket and straight backwards into a locker, against which he impacted, yet again before finally tumbling into the bin. He clutched his head for a moment, and now quite a bit more bloodied than before, stood himself back up and got out of the hamper. "Jeez... you're an Eyr Ranr and a Vanguard soldier. Nudity shouldn't be that big of an issue.” He said quite exasperated, arms outstretched in puzzlement. Secretly, he was still trying to remember what he had seen before he was struck, before it would all go to waste. “Anyway, I'm not going to be pressing any charges since that would be a waste of a blooded Frame Runner, and I was goading you anyway. Now then, this is where you listen for the rest of it.”

"you obviously know nothing of my family" Zus retorted, walking back towards the officer fully clothed. She sat down, deliberately a good distance away so as to not tempt herself to attack him again. "Now, Spit it out" She said, a hint of disgust in her voice.

Nodding in agreement to the Eyr Ranr's command that he get on with the debriefing, Reovan leaned her back up against the lockers near where the dickhead had comically bounced off of them. She couldn't help but have a slight, smug grin on her face that the guy was only reaping what he had sown.

"Well... basically, you guys kinda screwed up. There was no onus to attack the proxy immediately, though you would have washed out if you joined her or let her get away. But the autofunction unit is programmed to become especially difficult if it is attacked preemptively." The officer explained checking to see if nothing was broke. To his dismay, she had chipped the ends of one of his horns, causing them to look irregular, but luckily, it wasn't anything that couldn't be fixed with some puddy and a file. "You inflicted those feelings on yourselves by immediately resorting to violence and doing it in such a... violent manner. Oh, and don't get too smug, because that first attack was pretty much unprovoked. If I had defended myself right then and there, I would have thrown you over my shoulder and called security to take you away."

"But no, this is the nature of the conflicts you face. You try not to kill anyway because it's bad karma, and a bad thing to do. But if you kill people, you don't let don't let it eat away at you forever. It comes down to survival: yours and that of your wing and comrades is more important that that of your designated target. Of course, you wouldn't have had to go through any of these rationalizations if you had just been calm and reasonable throughout the entire situation. I would have never seen you naked, for one thing." He continued, somewhat more serious and certainly more commanding.

"Normally, I shouldn't even have to offer you an assignment, but I have a good friend from a bad time who needs frame runners, and I know he can whip you people into shape. So how about it?"

Zus now glanced at Zalus, Giving him a miniscule glare, he had been the one that had screwed it all up, attacking preemptively. Zus had been wanting to talk it out when things got ugly. She huffed, deciding to ease up on the violence for the night. her fist was red and her ankle was a little sore. "Where is this assignment?" she asked, with a heavy, exasperated sigh.

Straighting up from the lockers and placing her hands on her hips, Reovan regarded the officer incredulously. Trying not to kill Faiza-apparently-not-Faiza was what they had been trying to do the entire time! Well, except for Zalus, that hothead. It burned her up to get admonished for his screwups, but as a team they all took the good with the bad together. She glanced over at Zus and nodded again, "Yeah, don't be doing us any favors or anything. Especially if your buddy is half the sandrat you are."

"Jeez. I was just told to break the news to you guys, since I was supposed to hand you your assignments, anyway. The station commander is the one that decided that to turn an unfortunate incident into a test of character." The officer sighed. "Vaygraiv Sankhur 'Crimson Hound of Veyrin' Frazig, base commander of Fort Jarizas. You're being given assignments to Bahram Wing, under the command of an old friend. He's a little bland, but a genuine guy." He pulled a small dermal patch filled with what appeared to be a viscous orange liquid from his pocket and tossed it to Zus.

"You'd better put that on your ankle so it doesn't bruise up. Now then, drinks. You all look like you could use them."

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