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RP: YSS Miharu Mission 3: The sound of machina

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Retired Staff

With nebulous gases parting before Miharu's distortion field bubble, the experimental vessel emerged from the Great Southern Nebula and made transit to the perimeter of the Bowhordia star system while keeping as low a profile as possible.

Discreet scans of the system showed that many of the ships within had left recently, not more than an hour before Miharu made its own entrance, leaving only an handful of ships behind to guard the planet which had so far spelled the defeat of the two previous expeditions made to it. With most of Eve's forces away, it seemed like Kotori's gambit could possibly work and that it was Miharu's turn to challenge the nightmares of Bowhordia.
Bowhordia System, Nadir point
YSS Miharu NJ-X1-00

"System layout and opposition?" Kotori crisply ordered, apparently at ease in her command seat while Yukari, Nyton and Hinoto occupied the other seats.

"Bowhordia's star is a white dwarf orbited by three planets at a distance of 2.7, 5.5 and 9.2 Astronomical units," Hinoto replied, the white-maned, gray-eyed sprite pleasantly concise in her recitation of the sensor recordings they had. "There is no significant other planetary body and there are thirty-two comets recorded to make passage within this star system; none of significance for our operation."

"Bowhordia Prime is our target, a terrestrial planet having a dense atmosphere. The surface of the planet is mostly mountains or desert, very rich in iron deposits which has for the most part turned to rust on the upper layer. Temperature is very hot thanks to greenhouse gases - there is very heavy cloudcover, strong winds and frequent electrical storms. The atmosphere is breathable but only for a limited time,and the planet current only supports a bacterial-level ecosystem. Planetary gravity is 1.4 G and has no moons."

"The base we are looking for is nestled in a mountain range near the north pole where the magnetic interference is at its greatest," Hinoto continued. "The Ayame-class cruiser SS Obekemono is currently in geosynchronous orbit over the area and there are signs of shuttle traffic going and leaving the planet. No escort ship has currently been deployed."

"I can't imagine the way down in a Lion shuttle must be very pleasant in those storms," Kotori commented, running her fingers along one black hank of hair. "What about the other two planets?"

"The second planet is a gas giant, mostly composed of hydrogen, helium and a surface layer of metallic hydrogen. It has a very powerful magnetic field, very strong winds and a gravity of 3.2 Gs. On note is an extensive asteroid ring made mostly of rock and ice along with 76 moons."

"The third planet is a planetoid with enough gravity to be round, but really amount to being little more than a big asteroid composed of rock and base metals minerals. No interest relevant to our mission."

The Taisa nodded and flipped the length of hair she had been caressing behind her shoulder. Things seemed to be going according to plan so far and her crew had about taken all the time it could afford to be ready for the coming operation. It was time to start. "Claymere-Taii," she said, standing up. "I transfer control of the main bridge to you - assemble your personnel on Hoshi and standby for separation. Control priority will until then be assigned to the main hull's monitor room."

"Miharu, summon Saito-Heisho to the monitor room. As for you, Suzuka-Shosa, you're with me," Kotori finished as she edged toward the bridge's door and made a beckoning gesture coaxing Yukari to follow.
"Yes Taisa," Yukari said, leaving her headset on her head and getting up from her seat. Walking was slightly different in the jumpsuit uniform she was wearing, not to mention with the large revolver she'd holstered and strapped to her thigh, but she managed with enough professional courtesy to not appear too silly looking. She joined the Taisa at her side and followed out of the bridge.
"Roger that, Kotori-sama." Nyton said as he acknowledged her orders. He was already suited in his DAISY minus the helmet in anticipation for the ground mission ahead. "Miharu inform Murasaki-Chui and Ketsurui-Shoi to join us on the bridge. All other Armor team personnel are to be standing by in the launch bays."
Kotori gave Nyton one last, grateful smile before leaving with Yukari. Her stride picked up to become driven and purposeful, though the expression she turned on Yukari seemed confident. "Are you okay?" She asked her executive officer in gentle concern.
Taking note of the smile Nyton could not help but lament not getting a chance to talk to Kotori before the mission start. I will tell her after the mission then. All we have to do is survive. Easy enough. he thought to himself.
"Yes, Kotori," Yukari replied as she walked. "I will worry about my relationships once we have defeated our enemies. Otherwise, I will have no relationships to worry about."
Kai was in the armor bay of the Hoshi, Suited up in his Dasiy and carfeully folding the clothes he had thrown off to put the suit on. There was a small amount of time before the actual mission started, and he didn't want his uniform to be all wrinkly when he came back. Finishing the small task, the Yamataian made sure and did a double check on everything, and due to his efforts, the machine was working at near factory specs, which he assumed was a good thing. next he checked over his weapons once again, making sure he had everything and that all the moving parts moved properly. Satisfied with that, he stood still and surveyed the rest of the Bay, looking on to see how everyone else was faring.
Tom Freeman was checking his armor's configuration for a final time. Everything seemed ok.

Well, sort of. Sure, the armor was fine, but was the pilot? He had spent the last 7 hours performing his tasks and making sure the technical crew was doing theirs, and, although they finished on time, it felt like such a rush job that the engineer couldn't help but feel the creeping sensation of discomfort that arose with not having the opportunity to double and triple-check work.

It wasn't fatigue the pilot felt within the warm folds of the Daisy armor, either. In fact, all the work had left him wired, had given him a release from the strain of the argument he had had with Yukari hours ago.

In a twisted way, Yukari's confession proved beneficial: the Yamataian was far too pissed off to be scared, at least at the moment. His armored hands tightened as he imagined the mocking faces of Nyton and Kotori on drones or neko or whatever the hell they'd be fighting on the planet.

Oh yes, it would be delightful to play a game of whack-a-mole with a plasma rifle.

And it would be glorious to prove to the others that he wasn't a push-over, that he deserved Yukari's love. After all, he earned it with his undying loyalty and sacrifice to her, right?

So... why didn't she feel the same way? Why were things being complicated?

His visor looked down at his forearm. Although he could not see Yukari's ribbon tied there, behind the sheets of metal, he knew it was there, as it had always been.
"Fair enough," Kotori nodded slightly to her executive officer and then launched herself in the gravity-less main passageway, reaching the upper deck and then eating through the steps left to enter the monitor room. It was as spartan as Yukari remembered from the Miharu's maiden flight.

The Taisa settled herself in the center gray-suede chair, bringing out the volumetric displays hovering in the air in front of her once she made SPINE interface with her seat's receptors. The monitor room - much more compact than the main bridge on Hoshi - relied much more on volumetric projections and control through the nekovalkyrja interface system than any other physical controls, keyboards, dials and switches.

Everything was digital, something Kotori had once shared with Yukari was 'not such a great idea' because of the control system's vulnerability to electrical surges weapons like positron cannons could cause on impact - Kotori had ordered the room's wiring and electronics be shielded last time the ship had been in spacedock to try and prepare against such eventualities.

Nor was making the monitor room - effectively a backup control center - based only on state of the art hardware and controls best in regard to Miyoko; the latter was yamataian rather than nekovalkyrja and would need to rely mostly on the volumetric displays and having Miharu pick up her 'button-presses' on the insubstancial windows. Nothing exactly new for anyone used to work on the floating window terminals but it was a little odd to rely on such in a battle.
Yukari took her seat at the left chair, and leaned back into it, letting the SPINE connect with her and arrange her displays as tiny visuals floating along right before her eyes. The white walls seemed particularly bright, and she had to manipulate the colors of the tiny panels to see them properly.

Controlling the ship via the Monitor Room was difficult, as Kotori had silently pointed out. The seat did not have analog sticks, which she preferred, nor did it have a control board, leaving her to create glowing blue volumetric ones that formed around her hands, like mitts. Her fingers danced over buttons that weren't truly there. She was not fond of the style of control, but with SPINE assisting her, it would perform adequately.

The Shosa let out a small breath, and smiled to herself. "Do you truly like my hair in pigtails, Taisa?"
"Wearing your hair in severe and neat hairstyles makes you look more mature," Kotori replied, fingers flying over a virtual volumetric keyboard - she was much more used to it than Yukari was despite their age difference. "The pigtails made you look a tad younger. Braiding the pigtails like I did on the Sakura added a layer of complexity which not only implied youth but also confidence."
"Pigtails equate to confidence ... ?" Yukari's eyes could not be seen behind the visor-like band of displays across her face. It was easier for Yukari to just think data entries than it was to type them, though she envied Kotori's fast fingers. "I have not ever thought of braided pigtails that way."

The Neko raised a hand to brush a sensory data display to the side, bringing up a tactical display instead. She made sure the important points were on it — damage, ammunition, target data — and added modules of her own. "For what reasons did you like my hair that way?"
"It is not liking so much as understanding the advantages of it," Kotori replied as she drafted a text message to Nyton.

Kotori said:
Claymere-Taii, ship control from the Monitor Room has been established. Once Saito-Heisho is on station, we will be all set. What about you?

With it sent, Kotori turned a look to Yukari's visored face. "We nekovalkyrja are asexual and reproduce through self-cloning, but most of us consider ourselves females due to the preference of the human race that brought birth to us along with our desire to conform to human society as well and deserve a place in it... otherwise, how many of us would go through so much effort to ape human behavior and develop the personalities we do? We were made to be weapons to protect and fight for the humans, after all."

"Grooming is something I figured was part of the process that helped set ourselves out," the Taisa added as she allowed her eyes to wander to a rendered picture of the storm cloud covered Bowhordia. "A weapon has no need for hair, and if a warrior was to keep some, she would try to keep it short and unobstrusive. Others would try to mingle practicality and aesthetics and keep it about as long and maintenance light as Kurohoshi-Juni or Saito-Heisho do with their hair."

"Nekovalyrja are all pretty much the same," Kotori rambled as she turned her eyes next turned to a window showing scrolling text of the ship's power grid in preparation to separating from Hoshi. "Proportions and all, and even our faces are not so unique seeing we self-clone. What we do have, however, is our hair and how we choose to wear it. I figure one of our claims for individuality is how we choose to present ourselves. That's why I wear my hair long and take care of it as I do - I feel it helps define my identity and solidify my claim to feminity as well. If my hair would be cropped short, the image I would project would simply not be the same."

She took a look back toward Yukari. "Braided pigtails are elaborate, but I also thought them being so showed a playful side of you and also showed that you cared enough about yourself to take so much effort to style your hair so. Professional, since it would not get in the way of your work, and yet not timid or simplistic."
For the first time since becoming a Neko, Sumaru stood donned in his power armor. The helmet's expressionless image matched the stoic visage on the face under the mask. As the rest of the members of the squad began their preparations, the bound and determined white unit raised its head and the visor caught a glint of light which ran along the reflective surface, the moment made the aspect of the warrior tinted with an austere atmosphere. Time for thinking about anything outside the mission was over, all thought had to remain on the task ahead.

"Wish, initiate spine up-link."

Even his mental voice was resolute as he ordered his Mindy's AIES to connect their bodies and minds. The sudden rush of the union of the two entities, the Nekovalkyrja inside the machine felt a sharp breath catch at the back of his throat. The surge of sensations and sudden extending of his consciousness and body was incredible, Sumaru had felt close to his machine before, but now-- he and Wish were one.
Nyton was still waiting for Sora and Aoiko to arrive after his summons while taking his place along with Hinoto. He was still getting used to taking Kotori's spot which he normally observed from. Hinoto was set at sensors while helm was reserved to Sora and weapons for Aoiko.

I just hope Murasaki remembers to be suited in her Armor as well. We have no time to waste between here and the Armor Bay. he thought to himself. Then the message from Kotori arrived.

Claymere-Taii, ship control from the Monitor Room has been established. Once Saito-Heisho is on station, we will be all set. What about you?

Nyton texted back:
Hinoto-san and I are standing by. We are just awaiting for Ketsurui-Chui and Murasaki-Shoi to arrive.


Meanwhile the Armor Bay was bustling with nervous excitement. Sprites were running about in preparation and assistance. The Mindy team had assembled and were waiting to depart with the Miharu. Masako was guiding those assigned to the Mindys outside of Sumaru's Wish. Ichigo had already prepped her Armor and was standing by inside it. All around her were others in much the same predicament. Her sister Nimura was silently appraising the others with little expression to her face. That is, if it could even be seen. She was already hiding her countenance behind the DAISY's helmet. Mara on the other hand was getting herself ready in a more pronounced manner, excitement beginning to affect her. With a slight hint of nervousness Ichigo walked up to Tom in the hopes to ease her concerns.

"Freeman-Juni, how are you doing?" Ichigo asked, her concern more than obvious in her voice.
Yukari had never put so much thought into hair. It seemed superficial and very deep at the same moment. The analysis was very informative.

"Killing is informative to me," Yukari said simply. "Loving ... and killing. I have learned a lot from those two things, and it feels I learn little elsewhere. I envy you."

There was less for the Neko to do at the moment, without tactical help.
"Are you sure you feel envy for a nekovalkyrja at least three times younger than you are?" Kotori quipped as her eyes returned to her displays; she was keeping watch of the shuttle traffic coming in and out of the Obakemono. "Envy is not just a petty, superficial emotion - it is outright hatred of good being good, hatred of a person possessing a virtue one deems desirable." Kotori's amber eyes turned back to regard Yukari, curious rather than accusatory.
Miyoko strolled into the monitor room a few minutes after the Miharu's summons, settling into one of the chairs and getting cozy--it was going to be a long day, so no point in not at least being comfortable. For once, her mind wasn't filled with thoughts of her imminent demise. The events with the NH-23 Kotori had sent her mind in a dozen different directions... she may not have exactly been relaxed, but it was still something to keep her mind off of the battle.

The Yamataian spent a few moments pulling up her own customized array of sensor readouts and ship status reports in preparation for her duty, not wanting to interrupt her senior officers' conversation.
Yoroko was checking her hand-held weapons to make sure that they would function correctly when the rubber hit the road. "Who would have thought that we would find ourselves in DAISY armors again." Yoroko commented to Kai as she popped the clip off of her SLAG unit, checking to make sure that it was clean of contaminants as well as feeding properly into the device. "You remember that fourth guy in our team during the king of the hill training mission, the guy who got taken out? What was his name?" Yoroko said chuckling. Once Yoroko had finished with the SLAG portion she moved onto the LASR.

Will it be okay? Yoroko wondered as she finished up the LASR, We're killing our own again. But if we don't won't something worse happen? Yoroko sighed and set her rifle down. "Should probably get a shield." Yoroko said before rising to go grab a shield for her DAISY.
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