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  • 📅 February and March 2024 are YE 46.2 in the RP.

RP: Neshaten Division 5, Case 03.5: Interlude

Kiln'da got a rather grim response to his question but.. well it was best that bandage just be ripped off right then and there. Good men and women he served with now gone. "Was this built with off world help? this place is so.. different than the Gam'trosha." He had asked this during their walk to the secure room.

Once inside however was a different story the moment he saw a fleet admiral, past navy training kicked in high gear. He stood up straight to even the tip of his tail and saluted. Yes Admiral understood." Again this.. technically wasn't different that all he had to sign on the last ship he was. Only that time he didn't feel like the slightest sneeze would have him erased form all recorded and body ejected into the void of space.

"'Welcome' to the Null-fleet? Is this going to be a new joint operation? Or should we get ready for new uniforms?"

He wasn't going to lie.. he really had wanted to be out in space, but he had a feeling the Null fleet was not an Exploration and Science minded Branch of the navy

The self-proclaimed Admiral's sterile expression lifted slightly, hints of a sly grin slipping through as the Operators threw their slew of preliminary questions their way.

"Very few people who are erased have any sort of say in the matter... that being said, as long as you comply and don't try to pull one of my crew's guns on us, you're perfectly safe. I'd even go so far as to say you'll be sleeping in your own beds tonight, just try and play nice~" the ash-brown Daur promised, arms folding behind their back as the supposed admiral took a few steps forwards, heeled boots tapping against the hard flooring.

They were... tall, quite tall, even standing a little taller than Operator DePolanskaya, and this was clearly some attempt to further assert dominance. As if the situation wasn't already one-sided.

Rustling and shuffling could be heard behind the dividing walls that kept prying eyes away from the rest of the bridge, hints of conversations about whether they should or shouldn't proceed with something, a door could barely be heard sliding open and two sets of significantly heavier foot-falls followed in their wake. But the admiral turned to Kiln'da and nodded.

"It's not a She’tanora Class Hybrid Exploration Vessel like the Gam'trosha, this ship is a one of a kind, while there were some inspirations from elsewhere it was constructed in one of the Kingdom's hidden shipyards by hands that could be trusted to keep a tight lid on it all. We work in the shadows to further certain agendas with full autonomy from the Kingdom's rules, morals and gaze. The fact nobody outside of a uniform or a grave knows of our existence is why we're so effective, I'll admit that our plans for you folks originally had a different ending, but the algorithm has changed its mind, so here you all are. From now on you'll just barely be able to perceive our nudges, that's the extent of our partnership." As the Admiral spoke they'd began slowly pacing from one side of the group to the other, the infodump about Kiln'da's previous posting was another obvious power move, casting aside any doubts the team might've had about how deep this thing's roots ran.

Then suddenly the air grew heavy with a pregnant silence, information was processed and attention returned to the contracts at hand for a few of the Operators. In essence it was a few pages of iron-clad legal jargon relating to non-disclosures and relinquishing of rights, scary stuff - but maybe solace could be taken from the fact that these were all listed as consequences of if someone were to break this agreement.

The muscles in Kyet's neck tensed as she swallowed and fixed her posture, preparing to ask a question.

"You have enough sway to keep us here... why are we standing here before our comm~ Leo, before Leo was able to stand here alongside us? Surely he should be present for something of this magnitude?"

The admiral sighed, hints of crows-feet showing as the skin around their eyes tightened. It was a mix of admiration and annoyance for the shapely operator being persistent enough about the white-haired fox who lay in a medically induced coma a few hundred meters away.

"He'll get the whole schpeel when he awakes, Kyete, and he'll have a chance to review recordings of this whole exchange... to put things bluntly it's a lot easier to put you lot somewhere you can be found with a lot less questions than it is for him, it'll take time, precision surgery on a missing person isn't something that can be explained away on a whim~"
Yinri had been silent, but not unobservant. Truth be told, she first caught herself considering if this organisation was loyal to the Kingdom- And then had to consider how loyal to it she actually was herself. Her conviction in fighting for it was purely because Kingdom Fall pretty clearly had some dream of genetic superiority, and the possibility of genocidal intentions. This situation was far less clean cut. With technology like this, the rest of the Neshaten probably wouldn't stand a chance against any potential bioweapons they could develop.

But they were standing here talking... So that proved something else was the motivation...

"Yah keep talkin' bout this algorithm like it's yer boss. Does that mean y'all on some completely separate command structure?..." Their husky voice approached the question carefully. It sounded a lot like they were being commanded by one of those abhorrent, non-organic alien artificial intelligences. But she wasn't going to outright confront them. "We... Are gonna need a cover story for why we have been gone... How'er long w'eve been gone, ya understand... We just turn up again after that battle with our comrade missin', looks a lot like we have gone AWOL... Or even done somethin' treasonous... Don't think tha' serves either of us."

Her tail fluffed and her metal hand flexed, trying to address the cold feeling of unknown mechanisms watching over them.

"...'Course, depends what ya all wanted us for, 'in all..."
Kil'nda did look around a bit more as he would live to know how all these things around him worked. The things he had not seen before that is. So much highly advanced tech he had to make sure to just keep still and not wander off to things he wanted to know more about. "Well Alright then getting some sleep in my own bed tonight would be nice if we're not being sent into space then. He states as he was a bit disappointed he wasn't going into space again, on the other hand he was pretty sure he preferred the mission his other ship had been on, than being a top secret military vessel.

Pretty sure they will make a story, or give us whatever we need not to get found as court marshaled for being AWOL. He says as they wait to be dismissed or shown the next impressive things in store for them. He was quite enjoying himself so far,, even if he had to keep himself looking rather calm.

The admiral didn't exactly answer his question, but the dismissive you don't have a choice grin spoke volume enough. Cirillo sighed and put digital ink to paper. Kind of pointless dying here now when I could just die trying to escape later, though no reason to do that if this doesn't end up being an evil shadow organization. They claim to be on our side, so we'll see how far that goes. He couldn't say the admiral's brag of having full autonomy from the Kingdom's morals gave him much hope though.

He let his allies ask about the tech and algorithm as they were far more knowledgeable there than he was, though was plain to see things felt very out of place here. Finally, after nearly causing his hand to cramp from all the signatures, he handed back over the datapad with a rather sharp, silent glare.
"Null" Fleet? It seems quite real to me.

Arynn heard a lot being talked about with an algorithm, choices, secret shipyards and projects. It wasn't a surprise that the lil' tech-fox was picking all this information up using the frankly frighteningly oversized ears she was gifted with. She decided to speak up at what was an otherwise passing comment about the Division's fate.

"When you say you had different plans for us, how extensive were those plans? They way you say it implies you were planning to interact with us already. Chancing to leave Division Five alone isn't exactly a plan, after all. That algorithm of yours must be quite impressive, but I would be correct in believing that you will not elaborate to us any details about it?" The fox fired off her two inquiries in succession before going back to squinting at the documents she was busy signing, spending a few moments on each page to get the general information hiding under an unholy amount of lawyership jargon.

Wait, does something like Null Fleet even need lawyers?
The admiral's thin lips slowly curled into a crooked little predatory crescent as they listened to what the, ultimately captive, members of Division 5 had to say. It was good that there was little trust towards these shadowy figures that'd scooped the survivors up, it meant the Null Fleet were doing their job well, being an unpredictable blade in the shadows. The disgust, the distrust, the fear - the admiral fed off it like a leech on an artery, and despite only metaphorically holding a blade to each of their throats, the admiral's presence was intimidating enough to make more than a few hairs stand on end.

"Completely separate command structure? absolutely, is the algorithm our boss? no, it's the output from a hive-mind of digital constructs living on an array of elder-strain lunebaren crystal quantum processors, it processes countless data streams every second to provide us with models and predictions to a scary degree of accuracy... to answer your question it serves the role of an oracle, an advisor, allowing us to achieve our ends no matter how disgusting you may find the concept~" they offered as a very base-level explanation, the admiral's voice rising a few excited octaves as it became apparent that this 'Null Fleet' had access to what was basically a chained best beyond comprehension, for better or for worse.

The admiral let out a quiet chuckle and took a moment to compose themself, falling back to those more muted mannerisms as a few wrinkles were straightened out of their black uniform.

"It pumped out a cover story, explaining how with fried comms equipment you sought shelter in an abandoned shack and patched yourselves up, you're still going to need to march to a rather quiet road and get picked up by some long-hauler. But it's perfectly reasonable, it's better if you don't know Leo's cover, makes it easier to believe if you are genuinely clueless," the admiral smirked again, eyes tightening into devious slits.

"You should be thankful, our machine very rarely contradicts itself, but I'm sure you much prefer this outcome to the original one... beds are typically more comfortable than coffins~"

That last bit of information got a few throat-clearings from the surrounding members of the shadowy fleet and a scoff from Kyet, whose hand balled into a fist, she brought that arm back and took a step towards the admiral~

Her hand stopped suddenly, and the curvy operator heard one of the dividing flaps whoosh before registering the sharp pain in her wrist, letting out a yelp of pain at she began processing what was happening. There was a hand wrapped around her forearm, a large hand, and it was attached to something tall~

Standing shy of 7ft was what one might initially assume was a big Daur. The man's relatively lanky limbs were clad in grotesquely defined muscle groupings, orange fur just barely peeking out from under the sleeves of his black jumpsuit as he stood between the Operatives and the Admiral, blotting out the nearby overhead light. Though his pale face wore deep shadows they could still note a few oddities about his sharp features, the tip of the man's nose was black and leathery, framed by small fangs pressing out of his maw and more tufts of orange along the man's jawline, there was almost no sclera visible with those enlarged iris and pupil. Large ears and a healthy tail finished his menacing appearance, hand not budging even a hair as it squeezed down on Kyet's wrist harder, getting another scream of agony from the Operative.

This thing was clearly no Daur nor Laibe, but a cousin of some sort, though adrenaline and Kyet's pained screams made it hard to perform much critical thinking. The black-clad Admiral barely even flinched, in fact, they were almost enjoying the brutality of it~
Kil'nda looked about and his ears twitched hearing all about how they had a super predictive AI that it would seem the group managed to defy the odds against it's outcome of them dying. "Really? Well guess there's only so much an algorithm can foresee. It'd be best to have people go over whatever it foresees then before executing an an idea, just incase." He states still looking about.

Yes it seems the hitch in the admiral enjoying the looks of disgust and distrusts, was that one of Division 5 was a technophile, with a longing to explore the stars. "Sorry to say I won't be to much help. I'm more of a Vehicle and Mech guy, not an A.I. programmer. Though I suppose I do work on targeting systems now and then." He states.

He was just about to ask if they had any new types of sniper rifles he could test fire while they were here before things got crazy as Kyet was soon throwing a fist at one of the admirals only for their arm to be caught. "Ah! Hey what the hell Kyet!" He calls but then shits his tune.

"Alright let her go! I think you made you're point and unless you want us staying here even longer around your med bay it's best you don't snap her arm!" He calls out. He hadn't the time to actually analyze what manner of creature this was right now he was trying to deescalate the situation and keep one of his team members form being killed for her reckless action.
Yinri was still considering how this group's natural nature-defined morality was being ground up into some AI-mulched corruption sausage, when the aggression started coming to the head, and their large brown eye snapped back to reality.

The reaction to this unprovoked aggression was immediate and almost automatic- The stocky fox sidestepped faster than one might presume the short orange thing could, grasping the trolley handle on the volumetric desk with their metal hand, and then booting the bottom hard enough that it came off.

"Oi! Don't push 'yer luck! We are still soldiers yah know!" Yinri might have been some inferior progenitor cousin to whatever this hybrid cyborg was, but she could still look menacing enough with an improvised metal bat. The fox approached sternly but cautiously, ambiguously capable of doing some damage as long as this strange soldier had one arm occupied. "You think we are afraid of gettin' into a scrap with you? Just 'cause you got some fancy tricks? Put 'er down!"

Probably a really stupid thing to do. But that was espirit de corps for you.
Command Deck? HQ? Something

Arynn was permutating the details of the algorithm that this Admiral fellow was describing. It was, to her mind, something attainable... If at least believed to be theoretical still, or more accurately, not attainable yet. The fact that it's here now could either be propaganda's doing, or the result of outside interference - given what Null-Fleet's general situation and motive seems to be, more likely the latter. Too bad the contracts prevent her from helping anyone with this. She was busy flicking her ears about as the situation's tension rose to beyond-palpable levels, with Kyet's cry of pain snapping the fennec's focus back to reality.

"There's no sense spilling blood here!" The miniature model commanded - not just to her companions Yinri and Kil'nda, but also to the partially entangled duo of DePolanskaya and the monster-bodyguard, whom had the full focused attention of Arynn's twin emerald orbs. "Step back, or we end up making things worse for everything we chose to protect." The little techie's voice was firm and strained, as she attempted to defuse a situation that she herself already had opinions on.

Arynn grappled onto Kyet's free arm in an attempt to wrest the oversized agent back into the (relative) safety of the Division 5 team. What those of ken vision could see, though, was that she was trembling.
A few of the null-fleet deckhands were nervously side-eyeing each-other as the yelling started up, partially drowned out by the pained screams of Kyet as that hand continued to steadily clamp down on her arm harder and harder.

Though Yinri's brandished weapon, Arynn's struggling and Kil'nda's pleading was cause enough for a few security personnel to spring into action, bringing the conical barrels of their stubby shotguns level with the operators. This was the security team's job, the justification for their presence on this most secret of secretive endeavours - but things didn't usually go this far off the rails...

A moment tense moment passed, one that lingered uncomfortably long, before the leering admiral broke the chaos with their ever-menacing presence.

"Enough," was all it took for the towering, seemingly mutated, monster of a Daur to release his grip from around Kyet's grip and silently fade back behind the dividing curtain like the good lapdog he seemed to be. Kyet's eyelashes fluttered with relief as she stumbled back into Arynn and Kil'nda in all her pillowy glory, knocking the small fox over and nearly taking the sniper with them as she fell into unconciousness. The damage had been done, her forearm was a crooked mess of red marks and bruises beginning to form, their knowledge of combat medicine told the team there were more than a few breaks~

The security team took this chaos as an opportunity to move in and restrain the Division 5 Operators, delivering a heavy fist across Yinri's jaw as the pipe was ripped from the small cyborg's grasp, the mass of black-clad bodies moving to strap cuffs onto each of the operators.

"Take them to the brig, debrief them and send them on their way, here I thought we could maybe resolve things in a civil manner..." were the last words they'd hear the admiral's haunting voice utter as the team was forced to retrace their steps back down that long, long corridor.

As promised, the team would find themselves picked up a few days later, but anything after having the specifics of their cover-story crammed down their throats was a blurry mess of needles, strobing lights and sequences of ear-curling beeps. While they each had a script to stick to it was hard to not let their minds ponder on what the fuck they'd gotten in the middle of. While those few questions they'd been permitted were answered so much more was left unknown and buried beneath a sea of non-answers and vagueness. The worst part wasn't even that their arguably questionable story was believed, it was that they now felt eyes staring at them from every shadow, every seam in the pavement hid a sea of daggers and every corner was listening to their thoughts.

But at this point, who would believe them?
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