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RP: 188604 Mark of a Warrior

K

Kim

>> 188604, Before the PP Attack briefing.

The type 30 space yacht requested clearance to land on the largest landing pad that could accommodate it in Osman city.

Mark and Jack waited near the pad that sat atop The academy, one of the nicer locations in Osman and located at the edge of the city it was named after. It was there as a way of easy airevac if the need ever arose, and as a means of easy transportation for the instructors who taught there and worked at S6. "Clearance has been granted, you may begin your descent to the marked coordinates.", Jack said as they watched for the ship to appear.

Jack wore more.casual clothes than usual, his black muscle shirt, black jeans, and his usual leather jacket. Mark wore his outfit he was known to wear. A pair of black jeans as well, a white tank top, and his usual dark blue button up dress shirt which he wore completely open.

"Copy," came the soft feminine response. Within a few minutes, the large vessel landed and the two passengers disembarked. The dark haired nekovalkyrja was wearing a knee length red dress with conservative flats alongside a taller, lithe blonde woman with long elf ears that was wearing a well fitted burgundy blouse, tucked into her dark, tight jeans and boots with a black duffel bag slung over her shoulder. They talked quietly to one another as they walked away from the large vessel.

Mark and Jack looked at each other.

[Should we be worried they're whispering?]
[I don't think so.]
[What's with the duffle bag? She staying?]
[I don't know, guess we'll see.]
[And the Neko?]
[Miss Ketsurui.]
[Wait what?! THE Chiharu, goddess, mother of Nekos? Oh this outta be good.]
[Why? You a fan?]
[No, just excited.]

The two finished their neural chat before speaking to the approaching women. "Welcome Miss Ketsurui. It's been a while since your last visit." Jack said kindly as they neared.

Chiharu bowed politely to Jack, her long hair fell forward with the movement, as she rose her crimson eyes appraised Jack and the man with the similar face beside him. "Hello again, Jack. I see you have a brother with you. This is my old friend, Saesal Kanazaraethas."

The blonde elf beside her considered them with amethyst eyes before she flashed a friendly smile as she offered her hand in greeting, first to Jack and then to Mark. "Afternoon."

Both men gladly accepted, before speaking again.

"It's nice to meet you Miss Kanazaraethas. Actually, he's me back from the dead.", Jack gave with a grin, "Though we have decided to be brothers to make things easier."

"It is a pleasure to meet you both, I am Mark Oaklen. I've heard a lot about you from both Jack, and the crew of the YSS-Kaiyo." Mark gave with a bow, before giving a kind smile that held more warmth then that of Jack's.

Chiharu smiled. "It's not entirely wrong, I've met many in similar situations. How is your family taking the news?"

Saesal winced as Jack gave her last name an attempt. "Please, just Sae is fine." She gently tossed her shoulder length hair as she shook her head. "It's hard to be a part of Yamatai and not know about Megumi's champion but that doesn't get mentioned too often except by us old timers." She grinned a bit as her gaze met Chiharu's for a moment before it moved back to the two men.

Chiharu offered a polite smile to Mark. "I can imagine. My legend proceeds me, even out here on the outskirts."

Jack almost winced at the question which Mark almost mirrored himself, "I think Isabelle took it the hardest."

"I spent six months with the crew and received some samurai training. For the duration I suffered from amnesia, hence the new name. In a way it was a blessing. It gave a new Outlook and allowed me to decide on who I was without a mold. Captain Hoshi was very kind and is very caring of her crew. I left a copy with them on their new mission, though sadly I still had things unfinished here. I left a lot of friends behind, and some who were more. Last I heard my copy enlisted." Mark explained, "Me and my daughter Chlorate are living here now as I help my brother with his goals."

"We find our truest selves in the reflection of a clear pond. We have the opportunity to see the blue of the sky above us as it relates to us," Chiharu replied with a gentle nod. "It's good that you have found a purpose and a place, several from the sound of it. I understand how it feels to be adrift, though my place as Vice Premier now firmly keeps me in perspective of who I am in the present. I wanted to visit a bit and give back some news on what I promised the last time I was here and talked with Jack and Alex. I am still looking into Uso's concerns."

Saesal watched them silently as they continued their conversation.

"Well I hope you don't mind me tagging along, I am now co-director of S6, and someone has to be around to counteract my brother's grumpy aura.", Mark said leaning on to Jack's shoulder.

Jack rolled his eyes, "Mark has started helping me run things lately which has helped ease the work load considerably. How about we move in doors to the lounge?"

"I have no issues with that, I have a little bit of time before I am supposed to return," Chiharu replied lightly. Saesal followed after taking in the scenery. "Sae's purpose will be better explained inside. She's an... observer for now."

Jack lead the way inside and on a short elevator ride down to the lounge located on the school's fifth floor. It was rather nice and contemporary in aesthetic. Book shelves lined one wall, there were leather upholstery couches and a few recliners, a couple coffee tables, a kitchenette with two food vending machines. The walls were wood paneled, the floor carpet, and a few potted plants were placed about contrasting the spots of nature with the glass panel like vid screens. The faint smells of coffee and cedar were easily noticed as they entered and chose seats.

"So what do you mean exactly by observer if you don't mind me asking?" Mark asked curiously after sitting.

"Kinda jumping ahead aren't you? Let her have a chance to talk, she'll tell us when she gets there," Jack said giving Mark a disapproving look.

"It's good to be curious," Chi replied brightly as she looked up at Saesal. The Elf woman stood about 7 inches taller than her. Saesal gave a short nod in response to the unvocalized question. Saesal set her duffel down beside the couch before she took her seat.

The nekovalkyjra settled on one of the couches and smoothed the hem of her dress down before she crossed her legs at the ankles."I was unable to locate Amit's parents based from the information that you provided me, Jack. I was unable to locate records of a child going missing within that time frame you gave me or locate the incident from PANTHEON's records... I just don't have enough data to work with. I am making the assumption that his appearance was also modified when he was initially taken or.. the age is different."

Chiharu frowned, her voice was apologetic as she continued, "I am still looking into the old manuals and reaching out to the surviving technicians to see if I can find an answer for Uso's problem. But for the third, Saesal is an old friend of mine from the wars. She's been freelancing for a long while and she might be able to provide you some assistance."

The blonde elven woman finally spoke again, her voice was somber, mature as she met Jack's eyes. "I am a huntress that has taken to other types of game, as it were. There is a surprising amount of work for freelance security contractors even with Yamataian laws outlawing mercenaries. I am willing to assist in the retrieval of your son, if you are willing to accept my assistance in this matter. I owe Chi many things, this is just a small favor for a good cause."

"That doesn't surprise me, I was a merc before what I am now, and my sister was a hired gun for twenty years. She is ex-SAoY, and one hell of a sniper. There will always be a demand for someone to somebody else's trigger sadly." Jack said with a nod after this was revealed.

"What kind of assistance are you offering exactly? I believe it would be important to know before choosing to accept." Mark asked now leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and his chin on his over lapped hands.

"I'm capable of sniper work, infiltration and demolitions work in addition to fire team support. There isn't much call for archers, lancers or swordsmen these days, but I am flexible in what I can do to assist," Saesal replied calmly.

Mark grinned as Saesal listed her skills, "I like her already."

Jack gave him a look before responding, "Any help would be gladly appreciated. Right now we are pulling any and all data we can on Psychopomp and their assets. We've also agreed with Uso that all bases will have to be hit simultaneously, or they'll go to ground."

"I have to abstain from the actual planning of the operation," Chiharu interjected. "Yamatai is not involved with the affairs of USO or Psychopomp. So please, hold off on further discussions with me here. I just wanted to give you an update."

"Understood, I'll see you back to the pad Miss Ketsurui. I thank you again for your assistance provided, and for trying. It means more than you you could know. With all hope, we can bring Amit home before Issabelle gives birth. I want the whole family home when the twins are born." Jack said getting up to accompany Chiharu to her ship.

"I'll fill in Sae on what data we have and answer any questions she has. Go, get home to your wife she needs you now." Mark said giving Jack a smile, though he couldn't hide the touch of sadness to it.

Chiharu nodded and smiled, "I'm sorry that I wasn't able to do more for you. I have faith that Sae will be able to contribute to your rescue efforts. I will be in touch but do be careful, Jack."

Sae gave Chiharu a wave as the nekovalkyjra walked with Jack back out of the lounge. She offered Mark a small smile, watching the other exchanges quietly before finally adding, "You said you had information for me, Mark?"

"Since Miss Ketsurui's last visit we've been making an effort to send out C5 drones to scan the local systems, and have found several bases. We're also checking near these more thoroughly for any installations we might have missed. Once we're sure we located all major bases, we plan to mobilize. We are unsure exactly when, but we are preparing in the mean time. S6's fleet has expanded from 7 to 37 vessels, and we've finished training of 100 more troopers. Our air and armor are being supplemented with new autonomous systems. Smart drones if you will. It's reduced training time by reducing the needed number of people needed." Mark told Sae.

"Mostly green troops then? Are we making the assumption that these bases only contain combatants then? There aren't any families of employees there like the Star Army keeps their families together on bases?" Sae asked thoughtfully as she processed the information. "What do the defenses look like? And are you all prepared for repercussions in the event that they are being sponsored or protected by another group?"

"Actually the first two hundred were green locals, this group however were either mercs, Rag vets, or other personnel who have had past experience. As for base occupation, no, we're expecting non combatants, both affiliated and not. Orders will to be to secure any unarmed prisoners and to prep any civilians being held by them for evac. Now we don't have a ton of data on the place, but so far only a small orbital defense platform has been detected, and ground defenses are sketchy at best. It's a decent sized facility, but given the environment and the base's layout, we shouldn't have to deal with much at one time. As for the last question......if there are any groups backing them, we would most likely be knocking out a source for their arms and biological weapons. I don't think anyone will publicly come to Psychopomp's rescue given the likely shady evidence such raids will reveal. If there is retaliation, it will most likely be a shadow, or proxy war." Mark explained giving a grin as he talked about his troops with a sense of pride, but became serious after.

"Forgive me, I am unaware of some of your local jargon. Rag? And what sort of biological weapons are we talking about? Particular agents if airborne would be devastating and would warrant environmental containment suits to interact with and further decontamination procedures." Saesal's expression was thoughtful.

"Oh, sorry, I'm referring to the local PMC Ragnarok who handles security and a lot of our ground actions. Well from what we can tell, Psychopomp seems obsessed with creating super soldiers and other weaponized organisms. They even made a weaponized clone of me, a man named Lazarus, and the one who took Amit from our home. He practically ate the bullets he was hit with. He was heavily augmented with a metal encased skeletal structure, synthetic musculature system, and extensive gene modification. The plasma scythe and mech he used didn't help either." Mark said feeling frustrated by his absence from this event.

"If he's that strong how do you intend to kill him?" Saesal asked as she leaned forward. "Intense fire usually does the trick or did you have something better in mind?" She tilted her head to one side as she watched Mark's expressions. "I know it's a little personal but how many copies of you there running around?"

"I guess that depends on who gets to him first, me, or Jack. I don't imagine he'll make it quick, but I'd rather strike him down with my plasma blade and be done with it. As for Jack, another me still with the Kaiyo crew, and Lazarus. I honestly don't know past that, and that scares me. If they made one of him, did they make more like him? There are questions his very existence poses. Where did they get my DNA, why do they need it, and some of the things he said. I'm beginning to think I don't want to know some of those truths." Mark said a new expression buried under facade neutralness, one that was a mix of fear and hate.

"Have you made a plan to raid their hard drives before you destroy their bases? It would be wise to pull the data to find out whatever it is that they are doing there. We have laws against this in Yamatai, but I don't have the benefit of a second life, all I have is this one, so I have to make it count," Saesal commented with a soft smile.

"We'll get him back and stop the bad guys. The hardest truths are the ones we don't wan't to face. It'll be a matter of where I can help you gentlemen, from an extraction team, through the scope of a sniper rifle, or as a get away driver or, other." She placed a reassuring hand on his arm and gave it a little pat. She kept it there for a couple of heartbeats before she removed it again and continued to smile. "Are we waiting for Jack or is this the whole of it? I just need a place to crash, is there a hotel I can hole up in until we get this mission rolling?"

"House actually. You saw the neighborhood next to S6 I presume? It will be there. But no we aren't waiting for Jack.", Mark said returning the smile before getting up to lead the way.

"A house? Whose?" Saesal tilted her head to one side for a moment as she looked at him before she pulled her duffel bag up to her shoulder. She pushed the blonde locks back out of the way from the strap and followed after. Her footsteps were soft despite the heavy boots she wore. "S6 is this building? Chi said you are a research group for Uso?"

"This building is a university run by S6. The facility is three klicks east of here. Large black building with extensions and add-ons, sitting next to a suburban style neighborhood. The house will be yours, as we always have empty ones for new hires. It's yours. Yes we do research and development, with a special operations unit and a fleet thrown into the mix." Mark said explaining as they headed back to the elevator.

Saesal paused for a moment before she continued after him. "Mine? What do you mean, it's mine if I survive or am I a new hire?"

Mark couldn't help but chuckle, "No, we're not hiring you. The house is yours to keep, doesn't matter how the mission goes, it's still yours now and after the mission." He clarified.

Sae gave him an incredulous look. "That's awful generous. Are you guys that short on personnel? Am I looking for furniture after I drop my bag off?"

"No, we literally just build them in number, we actually have new people coming in all the time. Plus they've all been furnished.", Mark said chuckling again, "It's also part of our work to build a better home. By building these houses we're providing a safe place for people to live, raise children, and have normal lives. I even built the original house they are based on myself. Back when I was married to Issabelle, I built her that house so we would have a real home. One where we could raise our children."

"I'm sorry, this must be painful to discuss." Sae frowned as the recognition of Mark's situation hit her. "...I guess I can get settled in. How long before the operation kicks off?" She asked quickly, trying to shift the topic away again.

"Briefing starts tomorrow.", Was all he said.

She nodded. "What's the time and location of it? Or is someone coming by to make sure I don't get lost?"

"It will be in the briefing room at the facility, a car will pick you up to bring you there. A man named Kessler will lead you to the room.", Mark said as the doors opened to the main hall before he started walking towards the front door.

"Sounds easy enough. How's the running out here? Or would I be better finding the gym?" She continued after him, glancing around the building as they moved through the building.
 
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