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RP: YSS Kaiyō Mission 18: Nekokaburi


Head in the Stars
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((OOC: This is a JP between @SageShooter [Saya], @Charaa [Kiyomori], @SchererSoban [Wulf], @Noodlewerfer [Kikios], @raz [Aiko], and myself [Eden, Hoshi, NPCs]. The title translates to cat veil with the same connotations as the phrase 'wolf in sheep's clothing'. Enjoy!))

YSS Kaiyō II
Cargo Bay

Some crew had arrived and some crew had left in the last two weeks. The YSS Kaiyō II sauntered along by way of its backup generators running at half power, if the ship was moving at all. While the ship had been running slow due to it having feigned being ready to blow by the crew in attempt to entice the Kuvexian boarders off. It had worked, but the vessel's main reactor had still been offline for quite some time. The conduits that would normally vent the core discharge port were heavily damaged when the venting of the aether generator's discharge while it was running on low power had cycled off of the ship.

The joint effort from the engineering and science team had come up with a feasible plan. The core wouldn't be able to make another emergency venting of the core in the same way again, but it still would mean that the aether generator could be made operational again. Currently it was disassembled in the port corner of lower engineering and a piece of durandium acted as a cover between the discharge port and its conduits and the engineering bay itself. Without Zesuaium below it, the aether generator would degrade its base. The fabrication bay didn't have the amount of zesuaium ready to be molded into the base the generator needed, but the technology of the enemy they faced and that of their own needs were similar enough.

When most of the group arrived, Hoshi was ready to explain. She had assembled a small team, but Eden had been named as their commander, not the captain herself. The little Neko was ready to see them all of them off herself.

The small-statured Neko bowed began with a terse nod when she was satisfied she was ready. To anyone not assembled yet, she began broadcasting what she said to them telepathically. At her real time rate of speaking, rather than in fraction of a second while on the field of battle. Her blue eyebrows knit as she looked around, addressing those gathered with a serious expression.

"Our ship is fractured in its potential and over the last few weeks, this is our chance to right her. Engineer Leka has found what our ship needs and we'll get it." The Chusa's expression shifted to one of inquiry, though a proud smile betrayed her confidence. "Zesuaium can be molded to make what we need, so shape doesn't matter. If you have to learn a slight of hand and steal some Kuvexian candleholders, I don't care. But come back here alive and with something we can use. That way we can all leave here alive and ready to fight another day."

She looked to Eden, nodding shortly as she went on, "You have 12 hours to be out on this station and to get what materials we need. Check in regularly with comms and, only when necessary, use encrypted telepathy and the code language you all know. If Elysians," Hoshi said as she looked pointedly at Kikios. "If they have telepathy we can hear, maybe others have the same or have abilities to go beyond our limits of encryption. Play it safe out there."

Hoshi nodded and looked about, then to the other Chusa gathered. "Eden is team lead, she can brief you on anything else."

"I think that about covers it," Eden said with a wide smile. She did, though, speak after saluting and turning from Hoshi. "I see you all wore something comfortable. Just like the last station we were at, practice your disguise now, something you are comfortable with, though. Make your best human impression. Be a Kodian, if you want! Well, maybe not. Just keep it natural to you." Eden nodded and shook out her shoulders and pushing her hands into the pockets of her wide, onyx colored jacket before she shook her hair and it became more full, color moving over it as her black locks became soft pink. As she looked about, her red eyes were below two soft sprouted ears that protruded above her normal style.

"I wish I could change my height, being shorter like you Hoshi would make the Daur thing more convincing."

Hoshi laughed and said, "You're not supposed to look like a cat girl, that's the point." Eden blinked and scrunched her brows while thinking, so Hoshi went on. "Neko, cat girls."

Eden sighed, shaking her head minimally, "I see no correlation. How are everyone else's disguises. Remember not to look like we're coming from the Kikyō Sector. We also don't have to tell where we're coming from. We're just simple traders looking for a cool metal to sculpt with."

"If only..." Hoshi said, but nodded, look of confidence back, before looking towards the group to see what they were wearing.

"Oh, Kikios..." Eden walked towards the engineer. "I have a box of some costumes you can try on. I didn't want you left out."

Wulf had arrived at the correct time bringing with him some equipment plus as requested his casual clothing. Donning his black leather field coat with underneath a favorite gray sweeter with hood. In addition to this he had a airborne style cargo pants in a lighter army green. To top it off he had his trusty combat boots and a thin pair of sunglasses.

As he listened to Hoshi's and Eden briefing he was prepping the little a bit of equipment he should be able to bring. Grabbing his personal type 28b general service pistol he was loading the 10mm rounds into the 4 clips he brought. Chuckling as he heard Eden say be human. He silently wondered what else could he be since he was one of the rare baseline humans in the army.

As he started to clip and holster his pistol, spare mags and two knife he spoke out loud. "Ma'am what is going to be our insertion point and cover story or are we making it up right now?". He also paused in thought and quickly added "Oh and what is our R.O.E?"

Eden nodded towards Wulf, "I thought it would make some semblance of sense if we were art commissioners. Clients and the buyers of the resources for the artist. The resource the artist needs can be the metal while the clients," Eden looked towards Kiyo, then back to Wulf. "They can be a couple. Saya and myself may very well be the buyers, charged with securing the metal while you two are here to make sure it is finalized as well as some sight seeing along the way." Eden mused as she looked at the odd supplies in the cargo bay before answering, "We'll be entering through a docking port on the station. That's why the ship has gotten such a change of appearance. Signatures and general recognizability of the ship will be handled by the bridge. We don't have much information on the station. It is independent and not much Kuvexian presence is actively on it, but the trading hub is a short distance from the ports, about two hundred meters from where the ship will be. We should use force as a resort after the last resort. Defend yourself, but keep our covers intact while doing so."

The now-pink haired Chusa sighed, "You know how to throw a punch, get someone off of you, or disarm someone. It's a challenge to do that and make it look like you had no idea that you knew how to do it. As far as I want that whole station concerned, your combat boots and tough leather jacket don't reflect who you really are, but a facade. We'll know the truth. Use codewords in the case of SNAFU and we'll rally back at the ship."

As the Captain and the Chusa both explained the situation to those gathered, the blue-skinned Neko stood there, processing. She knew that she’ll have to hide her tail and her ears, she didn’t think she’d be able to make a convincing Daur and having another one might bring too much attention. Her arm came up, which held her other arm, which the fingers were close to her mouth in that thinking position that sometimes happened.

She thought of the possible way to get metal until the outside conversation distracted her and she looked up. “Brilliant idea! Chusa!” she said, smiling as her arms fell. She looked at Wulf, then back to the group. Her tail lifted and was soon wrapped around her waist, and she got something with a skirt she could cover it with. She then picked up a Toque and looked at it, before she puts it on, making sure I covered her ears. “There we go.,”she said, then her skin began to lose its color, and her hair also changed its color. “There.. so how do I look?’ she asked the group, though in truth she’d prefer to hear Wulf’s opinion, but to be polite she asked everyone else

“So if we are going undercover, then Wulf and I should think of undercover names, at least I should, since Kiyomori is obviously a Yamataian name, at least according to my mother. So for me, how about Jayne or maybe Jay.

"Ooh, I like that. Jay could be Wulf's nickname for you." Eden finished with, "Very cute."

The nerd parrot looked at Eden. "You do?" Kikios asked. "Could you show me them?"

"Have some costumes and clothing for you?" Eden asked Kikios. "I do... Now to find something that doesn't detract from your crest." She had moved to a relatively small container amongst the many looming boxes of the cargo bay and clicked it open, then stood aside for Kikios to get in. A couple of odd clothing pieces were on top, like a string bikini set and a flowing cape made of rugged, yet silken material.

Wulf listened and was looking at kiyo. Seeing her change both her skin color, and hair made Wulf's heart sink a little bit. Though she was beautiful no matter what it still pinged her not being her but alas the mission.

Hearing Kiyo Wulf gave a quick nod, "Looking good Ki." Then quickly correcting him self, "Jay". Smiling he moved over and whispered into her ear "Still prefer the blue angel."

Saya for her part had arrived to the briefing in some fairly comfortable clothes. A teal turtleneck that had small holes for her thumbs at the ends of the sleeves, a pink pleated skirt that rested at her knees with black tights underneath and a small pair of flats, it seemed she went for comfort over anything truly tactical. Of course under the back of her shirt rested her NSP, hopefully hidden well enough under the heavy fabric of her turtle neck. She had listened to the briefing and panicked as she was told to come up with a disguise yet wound up having the same idea as Eden, her form shifted to look more Daur than anything. Of course it helped she was shorter than Eden, so she looked more the part. Pink hair and fur on her tail turned to a more reddish orange with a cute white tip to her tail and ears, she was nervous for the mission, yet all the same seemed like she wanted to accomplish something as she sat silently.

"Oh, goody!" Kiki said with a clap. She watched with intent until Eden opened the box. Seeing what Eden had put inside, the B-cupped cockatoo froze and went pale. "Oh... umm..." she sweated. "Are you sure about this?"

"There are a few other things in there," Eden said, rummaging a hand around to show that the bucket had most of the same, though a long black piece of black material caught her attention and she held up the garment. It was a full body, black suit of a shiny material.

*Kiyo looked over at Wulf, unable to help herself but wonder how he felt about her appearance before he whispered to her ear. She moved in and gave him a kiss, “Same here, but don’t worry, your blue angel will be back’ she said to him and smiled.

"I'm not sure that's going to work with... err..." she flapped her large white wings to indicate the problem.

Smiling as Kiyo gave him a quick kiss he wondered if they would get in trouble for being on duty. Quickly he looked to eden "Sorry Ma'am just practicing in charcter" he kept his smile on his face as he blushed a bit.

"Hmmm, then the-" Eden stopped misentence to look over at Wulf and Kiyo with an expression of poorly hidden exuberance. "Carry on, you two. Kikios, the smaller garment will have to work, then." She put the black suit back and rummaged around, showing a few different patterned bikini tops and bottoms. "There are a couple different capes, too. They'd look cool flowing between your wings, I think."

Giving a quick salute he turned back to face Kiyo. As he kept his smile he gave Kiyo another once over " Well glad I'll be seeing her again". As he thought a bit trying to refocus his mind on the mission. He thought "I think for us still using Wulf as my name works, it's for sure not a common name and less chance of a slip up". He scratched his goatee a bit. "What do you think Jay?"

Saya spied the two love birds getting in a moment and giggled behind her hands, hidden by both flesh and cloth though the happiness in her eyes wasn't tough to see.

Eden noted Saya's half-hidden laughter by leaving Kikios to changing with a small prompt that she could use the power armor bay for privacy while she went towards Saya, sighing with her elbows folded.

"Do you think I should have a tail, too," Eden asked in a sigh. "To match? I wouldn't want someone asking us if we're different species and getting tongue tied, personally."

Saya steepled her fingers just above her lap as she looked up to Eden from her seat and thought on it for a moment before she nodded. "It would probably be a good idea ma'am. I know members of the race you are portraying typically have at least one tail."

Kiyo blushed at the realization of what she exactly had done, though Wulf was quick in explaining it away as being in character and it was for her because she loved this man beside her. But she didn’t know if Eden or Hoshi knew about her relationship with this gorgeous example of a man. Eden told them to carry on, which made her smile, then she saw Saya’s face, and she remembered out of those she knew, her sis Gravity would be the one likely to tease her not Saya.

She looked at Eden as she asked her question “I love having a tail, it’s so awesome” she commented as she leaned lightly to Wulf

Eden's brows raised, mouth open a little. She looked to the still-present captain of the ship before a look of consternation set in. She nodded once and produced a small poof of fur above her burgundy skirt, which was no longer than Eden's own outstretched hand.

"I can be stunted... in that department only." Eden said.

Kiki backed away from the crate and nervously chuckled. "Uh... C-Chusa, is a disguise like this really necessary?" she asked, wary of changing into only a bikini and cape.

Holding Kiyo, Wulf looked to see what distracted her from his question's and followed her view. Seeing Saya giggiling he blushed a bit more and tried to hid his face a bit. As he tried to refocus on the mission he was noted a bit distracted by the whole scene in the bay.

The medic nodded a little as she looked over the tail with a discerning eye as she pondered something. "Any way to make it look damaged? Frazzeled or otherwise injured? Could explain the length." She asked as her blue eyes wandered back up to Eden's face.

Kiyo blinked her eyes, Eden had a tail, or was that a part of her disguise? She didn’t know, but she did see that Eden seemed to be embarrassed by it so she said nothing. Before she remembered Wulf had asked her a question. “I am used to calling you Wulf, of course, I’ll likely call you Darling too obviously,” she said to him, before looking to Kiki . She felt bad for her and wished there was something she could do to make her feel more comfortable.

"No need," Eden said to Saya shortly and her look of dismay settled on the entrance to the cargo bay.

Keeping his happy thoughts Wulf refocused a bit. Again thinking on the mission, "Ok so we are art commissioners". Pondering a bit more. "Jay do you know anything about art?"

Kiyo thought about it, “Well, I have seen some paintings before, and I have seen metal-based art but nothing like a professional I think I know somethings, heh that’s thanks to one of my batch sisters actually!"

A tall, silver-white haired girl with violet eyes interrupted Eden's concerned gaze toward the cargo bay door. She looked a lot like Ketsurui Aiko because, after all, she was Aiko. But she'd hidden her pointy Neko ears by way of volumetric disguise and changed her colors just enough to make her look a bit less like Yamataian royalty. She wore a dark navy blue frock coat with a standing collar and diagonal seam that cut from her left shoulder to right hip, the lower edge of which fell to just above her knees, over a pair of close fitting blue-grey pants that were still roomy enough to stack up in little wrinkles over her thick legs. Her now-white hair, usually dark and worn flowing free behind her, was threaded with maroon ribbon and wrapped several times around her neck. It hung like a loose scarf over her shoulders would, contrasting sharply with her muted outfit while making her porcelain skin look even more chalky and pale than it normally did.

Aiko raised her chin in a slight, quick motion as she met eyes with Eden as if to salute the Chusa, trying to maintain the less formalized demeanor she'd practiced for the upcoming mission.

"I did not keep you waiting," she said, definitely not apologizing nor really asking.

Saya's eyes widened a little as Aiko entered and the faux-Daur scrambled to her feet to bow to the Ketsurui woman. She was always nervous around the family and it showed with how the medic held her bow.

Wulf pondered a bit more on what Kiyo said. He thought back to his time at the orphanage and they mostly talked about art in a symbolic way. This was mostly having to do with civilians and teaching the future generations about conflict or as military objectives in war. As he listened to Kiyo he replied “Well you might more of a idea then me my dear”.

Eden's steely gaze towards the cargo bay entrance, having been met with Aiko's, shifted as she gave a curt nod to the public relations Neko.

"Ketsurui Aiko, thank you for joining us. You haven't kept us waiting at all. Kikios holds that achievement," Eden said, looking towards the box of costumes to be picked from. "But we'll be underway shortly. I trust you have heard the briefing." To the rest of those there, Eden spoke, "Ketsurui-chui will not be utilizing a false role. She is here to make sure our public relations go relatively smoothly. While Saya and myself are the buyers on behalf of our clients, Wulf and Kiyomori, Kikios will be the metal expert and Aiko will be here to make sure it all works well."

Eden looked past Aiko momentarily, caling out mentally to her samurai bodyguard, who responded in kind through the invisibility of her Eihei body.

Wulf took one more glance at the team and inside let out a sigh of relief knowing there was a bit more back up on the mission. Though he worried about some complications with the princess being there he decided to put his faith in the captain and Eden.

Aiko gave a slight nod in response to Saya's show of respect and then made her way over to a nearby cargo box to sit, legs demurely folded even though she was wearing pants. She crossed her arms, too, but not too tightly as to press the NSP holstered under her bosom into her flesh.

"Yes, Chusa," Aiko responded, acknowledging she'd been briefed. "I'll just be over here until we are ready to depart."

"Alright," Eden nodded, looking to Hoshi.

"O-okay okay," Kiki gave in, taking some of the items Eden had provided, a little embarassed. She walked away where no one would see her changing and put on her costume. The crested bird came back wearing black boots, a pink bikini, and a red cape draped over her wings.

Kiyo smiled at Wulf, then turned to look at the others, noticing Saya’s bow before she spotted Aiko. She almost didn’t recognize the woman, and she bowed her head in respect before she looked to Eden as she spoke. It was humbling to think about things and she felt ready to get the show on the road, she hoped things would be successful. She looked at poor Kiki, who truely did not want to wear the bikini.

As he watched everyone bow he wanted to smack him self for not doing sooner. Bowing to the princess he followed suit with everyone else. Wulf completed it then looked at everyone including Kiki.

Hoshi tucked her hands behind her back and said to those in the crew, "Good luck. I would grant you Yui's blessing in this, but I believe you already have such present. Regardless, we need to fix the ship and this team is our hope to do so. I wish for your success." She nodded and turned, then spoke again while looking back to them, "Oh, twelve hours. Then we will send in extraction teams." With a terse nod, Hoshi turned again, patting Eden's shoulder before she left.

"Let's all get on the cargo lift, then," Eden said. "I sent word to Gravity to take us in to the station when it looked like we would be finishing up soon. Seems like we'll be ready to depart from our ship momentarily. Is everyone ready?"

Nodding to Hoshi as she left before giving her a quick “Thank you ma'am”. Looking back to the rest of the group then locking on Eden he gave a thumbs up “Love Bird one ready to go”. Chuckling at the code name he hoped it would keep the mood light before the dangerous mission.

Kiyo gently squeezed Wulf’s hand as she listened to Hoshi then Eden, speaking to them all, before she nodded her head at the final question. Thank you Ma’am” she said to the leaving Hoshi, be She grinned at Wulf’s words of Love bird one ready to go “She giggled before she spoke “Love bird two ready to go too,” she said then.

Saya nodded to Hoshi as she stood but otherwise remained silent.

The team descended together as the cargo lift mechanically moved itself down. The docking bay they were in had a few empty and a few filled slots where other ships repaired, refueled, or simply rested. Eden moved with confidence off of the lift and it ascended once the team was off of it to be nearly flush with the Kaiyo's hull, different than it normally looked but believable enough.

The aliens present were sparse until they left the docking bay through a revolving door and were in a series of bustling hallways. Some of the same globular aliens that the ship had saved on their quasi-religious station were moving with the crowd of humanoid and differently shaped aliens, alike.

As they descended the lift and walked out into the station, Saya's blue eyes scanned left and right in a touch of wonder at the sights around them. An odd sight that caught the medic's eye seemed to be... Someone shooting a music video? Three girls along with a dozen or so people around them with cameras were singing among some crates. They danced about in an obviously choreographed manner amongst the crates, over top of them, singing all the while. She watched the spectacle yet kept up with the group at the same time.

As he followed the rest of the team he held Kiyo's hand even as they moved into the alien station. Though he was not present on the mission that involved the religious aliens due to a previous injury he read the reports from it. As he walked around he saw several statues some that matched the previous reports as well as some he never saw before. Looking around he also saw some where a bit more liberal at some he could only think meant fertility some maybe for trade? As he looked around he also saw some that was mismatched with the others and he thought they might be Kuvexian's showing off what might be nobility.

In his mind Wulf thought though it was independent they might be trying to show off to a ally. As he walked slowly and not to rush he held onto Kiyo and spoke as he looked “Oh my darlin Jay it looks like we came to the right station”. He kept the smile from earlier as they walked.

Kiki, clad in her bizarre disguise, descended along with them and saw the station. With her outfit alone, she looked as alien as the rest of the aliens in the station. "Where to first?" she asked.

Kiyo not only held Wulf’s hand in her own she also leaned close to him giving all who looked the impression that she was his lover. The disguised former blue Neko gently rested her head to her love’s shoulder as she followed everyone into the station. She felt in awe as she got to see her first sight on a new Station that clearly wasn’t Yamataian. “Oh yes, Darling! We sure are!” she said as a smile was formed on her face as her eyes took in the sights around here. There were so many aliens she hadn’t seen before.

Her eyes caught a glimpse of a large creature that seemed to walk on his hands and feet, and they had no mouth at least not that she could see unless the thing below is eyes were a mouth. “Oh Darling! I’d like to do some sight-seeing while we’re here,” she said then turned to the others to see what they say, though she knew the plan of course so she hoped she was playing her part well.

It had been years since Aiko was somewhere this bustling, and even then she'd been able to enjoy the experience once. That evening she'd escaped from the palace in Kyoto with William to mingle among the commoners seemed so far away now, and even that time hadn't presented as packed and busy scene as this station did now. Fighting space battles and visiting Star Army installations where everyone bowed to her even though she was nothing more than a Chui seemed less dangerous to Aiko than this place did with its busy halls filled with life from fringes of the galaxy barely known to Yamataians. None of this frightened her, of course, but filled the disguised princess with a sense of awe and solitude that she rarely had time to feel during her still-short life. So she followed with the group of her comrades and examined her surroundings, taking in every detail as much because of her intelligence training as she did for herself.

Having taken in the environment of the station, along with the rest of the group, Eden was pleasantly surprised. She expected a station so close to Kuvexian space to have a larger Kuvexian presence but she hadn't seen a single cave dweller here, yet. What's more, the station appeared more hospitable than she had envisioned it would be. There hadn't been any sort of air of aggravation or cause for alarm and she noticed the activity of the aliens here was one of confidence and trust in one another, despite there being so much activity. She couldn't help but wonder what station security was like, but the concern of where to buy the metal was her priority.

Weaving between the sprouting stalls that were becoming more common as they moved towards the main trade district of the station, Eden started to key in to the vendor that would be best for them. She spotted a stand with what looked like twisted ornamentation made of jewels and metals, but the seller looked dazed and out of reality. Perhaps that wasn't accurate as he did have two limbs sprouting from his temples. Eden was willing to take the chance.

"Kikios, try this seller for us," Eden prompted, discreetly pointing Kikios towards the jeweler.

"Alright," Kiki said. She proceeded forward with her cape gallantly waving behind her. She looked like someone who was just at some sort of convention, or rather, all of them. Pretending totally nothing was unusual, she approached the man and waved, saying "Hello!" She scanned the table for anything that might be Zesuaium. "I was wondering, what types of metals are these made of?"

Looking to Kiki first, the vendor then tilted his head to look at the group she had come from. His arms from both torso and head started moving methodically before he was looking back at her and speaking once more.

"We have Leinve compressed silt, " he said in Trade back to her, showing a shimmering metal turned around a blue jewel that looked rugged and beautiful, almost glowing. "Double ored copper from the grazing plains of Skrumpo and bull alike," he said, showing another piece. "The Renotap's durable and steely Rissure. Not as durable as the Kuvexian style Zesuaium, but it's not like that's something I would have." His arms stopped moving after setting his jewelry back up. "Why? Do you see something you like?"

Wulf followed kiki with his thankfully with the glass's hiding where he was viewing. Keeping up the cover “Oh yes Jay we can do some sight seeing but first like I promised let's get the art piece you wanted for our anniversary”. Holding Kiyo tight he kept his smile as he chuckled.

"Art?" the vendor perked an arm and bent it to cup his ear. "Look no further..." All of his arms spread behind him and below to show the trinkets around him. "I have plenty of art pieces, just the ones you are looking for."

"Do you have any pieces that are really strong and won't bend or break? I have a little brother, he's eh... let's just say I'm afraid he'd find a way to break it," Kiki lied.

"Why, everything," the trader said. "Everything here is capable of withstanding even the most plier-like child! Here, let me bring out one I think you would love-" He bent and brought out a multi-gemmed trinket with intricate wrapping working done around each one. He began to bring it up with three of his arms to hold it next to Kiki's face. "It matches your eyes..."

‘Jay’ smiled as she was held by her man and walked with him, “Yes indeed darling!” she said agreeing with Wulf, and then turned as she heard the vender speaking to them. “ooh!” she said with a bit of excitement of interest as she scurried forward like one of those wealthy types he’d probably seen before. She heard Kiki speaking, and inside she did feel bad considering what they wanted to do with the metal. “So much pretty!” She said smiling as she looked at it all.

"Even if he... say... does things like electrocute things and tries to melt them?" Kiki asked totally smoothly.

The vendor closed his eyes and looked up and to his left, face scrunched. "Not this one, no. It wouldn't work out for that type of thing. Some of these I would not recommend for your particular housing situation... Jeez, you do have it tough, don't you? Let's see... Well, first: what other issues do you foresee coming up with your kid brother and my jewelry? Better to know in advance, I am thinkin'."

As Wulf looked over the pieces he hated to say he didn't know exactly what he was looking for with out it being out of place. He listened to Kiki next to them and hoping she would figure out if this was the volume and the right stuff. As he thought he still kept up the cover “Oh yes very pretty, though don't forget that promise I made for that really big item for our third anniversary”

She nodded her head to Wulf “yes indeed!’ she said as she looked at the items he had displayed for them. There was a happy smile on her face as she looked at the items the art they were beautiful in their own way, and part of her wanted to get something for her side of the cabin, and of course Valkyr’s hoard. She straightened up and turned to Wulf though she still listened to the conversation around them especially Saya’s save.

"He also likes to make these contraptions to hit things with electromagnetic radiation." She quickly added "...He's a weird kid."

The vendor lowered his gaze with bulging eyes. "Very weird kid..."

Saya had held back as the others spoke to the vendor and used the time to try and psyche herself up. She was terrible at this sort of thing, the espionage and the like, but... it was like her games! Her eyes lit up as she stepped forward. "I apologize for my friend, she tends to get tongue tied at moments. Her sibling tends to like to experiment with things, it's a hobby of his and it tends to be destructive unfortunately. But he is doing it to test the materials and get and idea of just how strong things are..." She leaned in a little closer to the merchant with a smile. "Personally I think he just likes to see things break, but he puts it off as he likes to try the strongest stuff out." She gave him a small wink and moved back to standing straight up. "So, we are looking for your strongest metal you have, or if you don't have something strong enough to stand up to..." She waved to Kiki to highlight her specifications. "you could maybe point us to someone that could help us out?"

In her chest her heart thumped a mile a minute and she prayed she wasn't sweating, but somewhere in her mind she wondered if she would see a dice roll...

Saya's forthcoming attitude made it easy on the vendor to know he had lost a sale. "If you don't want my art pieces because they're not up to your liking, you can talk with Ra'Xlat over there." One of his arms pointed across the thoroughfare to an eight foot tall man with a rotund pot belly and long lavender hair streaming down his back and shoulder that was standing idly in a semi-circle of smaller aliens. He looked a bit bored but after being pointed at by the jewelry vendor, looked towards the group of people that were not looking at him. The vendor went on, "He doesn't sell but can set you up with the people that do."

"Yes, what she said is right. So sorry about that," Kiki said.

Saya looked over her shoulder to the man the vendor had pointed out, following his hand to spot the lavender colored man. "Ra'Xalt? Thank you! If we can get a good enough deal on the material we need, I'll make sure we come back and buy a few pieces. I know my friend seemed interested in some of the jewelry." Saya threw a thumb over her shoulder to Eden as if to point her out before she gave him a finger wave and moved on with a smile. She was sure the others would follow close behind, though when out of ear shot of the Vendor Saya let out a heavy breath and looked to the others. "That was scary..." She admitted.

Taken for none the wiser, Eden just smiled and nodded to the vendor, wondering if her wife would appreciate the jewelry sold by the many-appendaged man.

Wulf kept up with the group with Kiyo. “Oh let's follow our metal expert Jay”. Keeping up with the group he waved to the vendor they left.

Kiyo nodded her head in agreement with Wulf" yes indeed lets' she said and likewise waved to the kind vendor, as she walked with the others. She hoped this new guy could help them with what they needed. She couldnt bare see the Kaiyo so damaged like it had been.

"Saya, your approach may be just the right amount of forward for this man, how about you take the lead on getting us talking to the right people," Eden said in a low voice to the daur-looking medic.

"E-eh?" Saya looked up to Eden with a plead in her eyes, but sighed in defeat and nodded. "O-...Ok." She let out another sigh and tried to get herself back into character. As they neared the vendor Saya smiled again and nearly skipped up to the man. and the surrounding aliens. She wanted for a break in the conversation before she pushed her way in. "Mr. Ra'Xalt? I aplogize if I'm interrupting anything, but we were sent to you about finding some metal from that gentleman over there." Saya turned to point out the vendor and gave him a small wave before she turned back to the taller vendor. "I need something sturdy, something strong that can withstand heavy..." Saya took a moment to think on it before she looked to Kiki, snapping her fingers. "Elec... Electro... What was it again de-Oh! Electromagnetic Radiation."

The man regarded Saya for awhile, looking down at the woman, then at her companions, wordlessly. His expression changed to approval while he nodded, then pressed a button on a small device attached to his belt and a door three feet behind him opened. As it was between stalls and vendors, the semi-circle of people around him -who had all grown quiet when it was Ra'Xlat's time to reply to Saya- shifted so that Saya's group could go through in a single file line.

It could easily be a way to trap them or hold them captive, Eden thought as she looked to the stairs going down just behyond the door. She was willing to take that chance, confident as she was in her team with her.

"Thank you," the pink-haired Chusa said to the tall man and she walked to the door and up the stairs.

As Wulf followed the group he wondered if this was how they might die? Wulf wasn't a pessimist by nature but recent events on the ship had left him wondering a bit. As he followed them down the stairs he glad he had his pistol so if it was a trap he could give a bit of a tap back.

Kiyo chose to remain silent since she didnt have anything to add to the convorsation, so she followed her group to the man, then to the stairs before she climbed them. She looked around silently as she did so.

The dimly lit stairs opened up to show an empty room with a sole door. Eden knocked on the door once and it was opened.

"Who're you?" asked a man that had no describable difference from a human, save for his oblong and sharp tooth-filled mouth that seemed to be permanently open.

"Rax'lat sent us. We're looking to buy," Eden offered.

The man's mouth narrowed, then he opened the door fully. Once inside, they could see they were in a low-lit series of rooms, mostly consisting of an open floorplan that allowed those on Kaiyo's team to see a few aliens posted at doors and a centrally occupied table where four or so members sat, along with a good number of other furnishings. One of the members at the table turned to see who had made the noise when coming in, then turned back around. They were playing some sort of game at the table with portable volumetric screens in hand. A woman with a small stature stood from her chair and threw a pair of presumably dice onto the table.

A small mammal scurried from beneath the table to greet the newcomers with affection, like a puppy meeting strangers. The mammal had a shaggy coat and eyes peeking out from beneath a mop of hair, but few other notable features until Eden bent down to pet it, noting the strange webbed feet of a duck on the creature, which it used to get closer to Eden's face by resting them on her leg. A long-haired tail wagged.

Wulf waved as they entered and his bad feeling rose up a bit... “Hello!” he said while trying to keep up a naive smile. “I was hoping you fine, wonderful people could help me out, i'm looking for a...“ he paused a bit. “Oh jeez what was it called,” as he snapped his fingers a few times, “Zesuaium!”. Snapping it one more time and pointing “Heard you might be the place to shop for me and my wife Jay here.”

The game that had been going seemed to take a pause at Wulf's words. The heads at the table turned to the short woman who had just rolled dice. She closed her four eyes slightly, then nodded to the door nearest the group. The members slowly got up and left, one of which had to come close to the group to get the mammal to listen to their calls to stop looking for pets from Eden and to come with him. His stench when he was close was like that of old foot-mashed eggs. When they were all gone, the woman spoke in a slow, gravelly voice.

"What did you say you want?" she asked, standing to walk towards them.

Wulf shifted a bit as the egg rotted person left and then looked at the woman approaching. Tilting his glasses a bit, “ Zesuaium it's a wonderful metal and it's a bit hard to find”. Letting go of Kiyo “Where I'm from it's worth more then gold and I really want to make a wonderful statue for my wife here”.

Kiyo smiled as she listened to the convorsation playing the part of the wife. Then at the mention of what he wanted to do with the metal, she smiled,"My Darling has amazing ideas, and especially amazing skills." she said as she planted a kiss to her loves cheek.

The woman's four eyes squinted as she looked at Wulf, then Kiyo, "And where are you from?"

Hoping to use a uncommon name he knew “Sjet, It's a nice little red world I don't think you've heard of it”. Mentally figuring a lie mixed with some truth might work. “Though if you had i'll be very impressed”.

"No, I believe you wouldn't think I had heard of Sjet," the woman said. "Zesuaium, for an art project? Not too far fetched..." She looked to Kiyo and her top two eyes closed fully as she looked at the love bird. "Is there an occasion for such a gift or...?"

Looking to Kiyo after the kiss he smiled before turning back. Remembering what he said earlier. “Third Anniversary actually.” Keeping the smile he tried to study the woman still wondering what she thought.

A smile grew on the short woman's face and she turned, walking back towards the table she had been previously playing at. "I am Relaa Boyar. Come, sit. If you want to buy on this station, find a place of safe harbor on this station, find a job on this station... do just about anything on this station, I would be the person to set that up for you. Nothing happens here without my knowledge." Her face had grown stern. "Zesuaium is not something that moves often here. It's Kuvexian-military grade merchandise, you know. You must be aware how costly it is to get, let alone to buy?"

Kiyo stayed with her man, and listened as the woman spoke to them. Clearly she was someone of importance here, however she still hoped that she can help them. "Certainly, nothing is too costly for us, " she said in response. She pondered how to make it seem that she and Wulf were the clients and the group their assistance, in finalizing the deal. "which our companions know well, " she said finally.

"Some cost," the woman said, steepling her hands, "is not what you expect to pay."

Taking the offered seat the woman had given, Wulf looked her over “Yet sometimes the price is well worth the sacrifice and toll if it's worth it.” Keeping that smile, “I really do love her, so what is the price of this?”

"You love her," Relaa said. "But I don't think you are married..." Her voice had gone up and the small woman had gained a smile across her face. "I am a Graal. It is why my skin is this grey shade, my eyes are so aplenty, and why I can gauge your emotional state. I do recommend staying together, though. The affection and attraction is there. But do not lie to me much longer if you want to hear my price."

Saya saw the conversation start to spiral and quickly stepped up with a smile. "I apologize for them. They are so in love I swear it seems like they are already married. We are interested though in hearing your price."

Relaa looked from Saya, back to the couple Kiyo and Wulf, to Eden and then Aiko. Her eyes flicked momentarily to far back in the room, then looked to Eden once more. "You're capable people, aren't you?"

Eden replied squarely, "Yes, we are."

"Now that's the first honest answer I have gotten," Relaa said enthusiastically, all eyes squinting in crescent moon shaped over her wide smile. "I may look young, but I have grandkids. I don't think I can expect any of you to know how it feels to lose one of your grandchildren, but one day you may. I know the feeling. A week ago, my son was visiting a Kuvexian settlement and his daughter, Oleera, was taken from the group they were with by slave traders in exchange for his unpaid debts to the people they work for."

"And you want us to get her back," Eden mused.

Relaa said with a wry smile, "I get the feeling from you that this won't be a problem for your capable selves."

Wulf took a glance at Eden before looking back to the woman. Letting his smile drop, “Can you verify that she is still amongst the slavers?”. Stretching a bit then going further, “And where is this settlement located exactly?”

Things had taken a sudden turn. Kiki did a double-take towards Eden, not expecting they would be going to a Kuvexian settlement. She didn't want to ask Eden or the others if they were sure about this right in front of this woman, but this would certainly be a step up from scrounging around a station for the metal. Instead, she asked "What kind of security does this settlement have?"

"And what is the name of the company took her, and what did her father do?" Saya asked.

Relaa sighed, looking less chipper than ever now that she was discussing this. "Graal family lines have an empathic connection that lets me know she is alive and her mood, but more than that- thoughts, wherabouts, conversations. It is too much of a distance for those things to happen. I have some intel, but it's not much." The woman stood and walked towards a cabinet, then shuffled in it. "A Graal child sighted at a market in a port of call some two hundred light years East of the station, still outside of Kuvexia's border. I managed to get the sale list and traced the buyer of who I hope is her. I will add the info to a Volpad here," she said, pulling out a portable volumetric pad.

"The settlement is a bit further from the port of call, low effort security. It's a terraforming project without much headway put into it. yet. My son was there to secure parcels for land develpment. I don't think Oleera is still with the slavers. The company they work for..." Relaa looked through her own volumetric pad that she had interfaced with the one she had gotten from the cabinet and asnwered, "Big Sticks, it's a corporation owned and operated by Kuvexians. My son owes some real estate debts from a few bad buys in the Outward Expanse. Is that everything you have asked?"

Wulf started looking over the material and he didn't like all of it but not only did the ship need the stuff but morally it was right to save this child. Looking over to Eden to confirm the green light he looked back to the woman. “We can do this but we need this material first otherwise we can't save them and be able to bug out”. Letting out a sigh “We will also need a rendezvous point out away from prying eyes think you can also manage that?”

"He's right," Eden added. "We'll need the Zesuaium to be able to achieve our end of the deal. There's no question in my mind that we can. I do think," Eden looked to Wulf and went on, "that we would be better off meeting you back here, on your station."

"I will add the best ways to contact me to the info I am giving you." Relaa said. "Supply me with where you are docked and I can discreetly bring you what you need. I'll also give you two weeks to accomplish the momentous task I have set you with."

"We only need a week," Eden said, thinking of the timetable the ship had for moving into Kuvexian territory.

“You know,” Relaa mused, “you all seem like you could be very capable, even against this station’s neighboring Kuvexian Empire. I have only heard of one other Empire that could be that capable, you know. I always wished I would be able to meet some of the warriors from that Empire.” Her bottom eyes closed while her top ones looked wistfully to a distance far beyond the group, behind Aiko.

The silver haired version of Aiko had been a silent observer of the mission thus far, allowing Kaiyo team to work their personas against this station's denizens to the fullest extent. Their act as art supply buyers would likely get them the materials that their damaged ship so badly needed to continue fighting against the Kuvexians, too. But the princess stepped forward from behind Eden's seat at the table where she'd been standing, filling the empty gap between bodies where Relaa's assuming gaze fell.

"If our transaction is completed to a satisfactory degee," Aiko said delicately, crossing her ams in a scrutinizing way that now seemed customary for her cover persona, "then perhaps we could arrange such a privileged meeting for you. Future transactions can be discussed after master Wulf and his lady Jay receive the Zesuaium for their monument. I am confident that our capable organization can help yours further, though, once trust is established. Of course, we would expect similar favors moving forward."

Relaa's eyes slid to Aiko and then Wulf and Kiyo, under the moniker Jay, then she smiled, nodding, "Similar favors do seem to be in our future together. Now, I had a game going. I am worried my entourage will have started a new one without me while waiting. The Zesuaium will be in your custody within the hour." Satisfied, she handed the volumetric pad to Eden with a smile and stood. She walked around the table and gave a curt bow to the group.

Saya smiled as she stepped toward the back, glad to be off the hook for the conversation with this woman and things seemed to be wrapped up. She gave a small bow to Relaa but otherwise held silent and waited to be led off back to the ship.

Well, that changed dramatically She thought to herself, but once again remaining silent since she was going to let the others handle things from here. It seemed that they might be fighting Kuvexians which she was fine with honestly.

Wulf got up from the table and gave a quick bow to the woman before following the group. “Thank you for your business and looking forward to more in the future Ma'am” his normal voice setting in as he went to leave.

"Thank you Ma'am," the bikini and cape-clad Kiki said with a bow. "We'll get her back, I'm sure of it."

"As am I," Eden said as she looked to Relaa. "Thank you for your trust. We'll see you again under better circumstances."

"Hopefully better circumstances for both parties," Relaa said. "Don't forget to pick up some of that nice jewelry you had your eyes on!" Relaa said and she motioned to a far guard who opened the door to the room where her entourage had gone to, ready to play with them once more.