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  • 📅 May 2023 is YE 45.4 in the RP.

RP [Ravenaca's Watch] Shore Leave

Alex Hart

🎖️ Game Master
RP Date
YE 45.2
RP Location
Newhaven System
YE 45.2, DX-01, Newhaven System

Ravenaca's Watch

The New Dusk Conclave was expanding, that much was an indisputable fact. Between a growing synthetic population pouring out of Dawn City, new settlements being built in Daichi, and the Khorsoi Republic and Gunja clans petitioning to join, the Conclave needed new soil in order to both preserve the natural environments of the planets it settled as well as provide living space to its ballooning population.

First surveyed shortly after Section Six's arrival in Sanctum, DX-01 had been earmarked for potential colonization swiftly, but until YE 43 nearly nothing had been done. By then the situation after the assassination of Archduke Pine had calmed down enough to allow for a CAFF squadron, including Ferryman class colony ships, to be sent to begin clearing the pirates who called the system home and settling in their place.

By early '44, the leader of that squadron, one Commodore Emile Liselotte, had been appointed as provisional governor of DX-01, or Newhaven as it was then known. Settlements had been established, built out of prefabricated buildings and the disassembled remains of the Ferryman ships that had carried the initial settlers there.

Towards the end of YE 44, Liselotte had been officially granted Dukedom over the system, moving the administrative capital of the system to the newly arrived space colony dubbed "Port Astionage". It was a shining example of the Conclave's will to settle these still-untamed systems, a 32-kilometer-long cylinder of shining Durandium.

It eschewed artificial gravity and cramped decks in most places with the vast majority of its interior taken up by the living drum, which provided conditions not unlike an "eden" planet, with ideal conditions for habitation. It had city clusters, farmlands, spaceports, manufacturing hubs, and practically everything needed to jumpstart the settlement of a new system.

And it was the destination of the NDS Ravenaca's Watch for its current tasking. It had been three years since the Watch had finished its shakedown cruise by uncovering a hidden pirate presence, a feat it had followed up on by continuing anti-piracy operations for the CAFF, earning somewhat of a reputation as a specialist ship, sent in to deal with particularly difficult situations that the Orbital Guard wasn't equipped to handle.

Now, CAFF high command had seen fit to assign her to Newhaven, to assist the local Orbital Guard contingent with mopping up the last of the system's pirate presence in preparation for Duke Liselotte's plans to settle the outer reaches of the system.

The Watch had entered Newhaven nearly a day prior, navigating through the system's outer asteroid and debris cloud and cruising at two-thirds throttle, as per standard outside of combat. Now she was nearly upon her destination, as Port Astionage shone in the viewscreens across the ships as she made her way in to dock at one of the rotating zero-gravity docking arms.

Firewalker, both her last name and Fire, her shortened call sign lounged in her pod, sipping water from a straw as she watched from the Starbreaker Fighters screen which sent images from the Drone Fighter she controlled’s sensors. Arye was acting as part of the Escort for the Watch, she kept the fighter in line with the much larger ship. She wasn’t the only pilot out there. And her mind was focused on her duties, rather than her sibling who she missed terribly.

Now that they’d made it to the new system, she began moving towards the Hangar bay, so that she could land the drone, and then get out of the pod. She wanted to be one of the first to go through to the port. She landed safely in the hangar and left the pod, and made her way to the airlock.

V115 was off duty as the Watch pulled into a dock at the orbital colony, from within the lounge of the shared living facilities on deck three she was able to watch on one of the monitors as the ship's cameras relayed images of the station. It was rather impressive looking, a testament to skill, determination, and contribution towards their burgeoning nation. The thought put a smile on the operator's face.

With a measure of interest in seeing this center of local government with her own optical sensors, V115 moved from the lounge to head toward one of the hangars. She knew her friend's security detail duty would be ending soon and thus the two of them could head into the station together.

Arye stretched her arms as she walked and as she did she spotted her best friend's approach causing her to smile. She stopped moving so that V could catch up to her. "hey!" she called with a wave.

A smile and a nod were given back from the more stoic of the two before V lightly jogged up to her friend. "No issues on the way in I take it?" she asked Arye even though judging by the other woman's demeanor things had indeed gone smoothly on the approach.

Arye nodded with a grin"yup things went smoothly!" She said feeling pleased that her duty went well. Now they just need to explore the new station. "I guess the pirates ran off, between us and my older sibling's new ship I think the Pirates are afraid of us, though not sure if this is true."

"If I saw the Watch coming, I'd hide too. Still, pirates are bottom feeders, and where there's a food source we'll find them." V115 commented flatly. Though her expression seemed to shift to one of a more relaxed nature before she continued. "Enough about work though, I think I actually feel rather interested in getting to see this station. A little exploration sounds fun."

>Arye nodded her head in agreement, and grinned. "indeed, I'm interested in the station as well, shall we go and visit? I can't wait to meet new people here" She told her friend and then turned to walk to the tunnel entrance.

>"My next shift isn't for several hours, so sure," V115 replied to Arye. As she kept pace with her friend, V looked at her and added, "Meeting new people huh? Any ideas on who you want to meet?"

Arye shrugged ”who knows, we don’t know who else is here, they could be like those boys at that bar, or they could be good.” She said as her mind went to the thoughts of relationships. “we shall soon see” she told her friend as she led the way into the station and found themselves in the tower.


Port Astionage - City Cluster 1

A man went flying out of one of Port Astionage's more seedy bars, taking one of the doors with him. Another followed a moment later, himself accompanied by near maniacal laughter from inside.

Riot stepped outside of the bar next, covered in no less than three of the fleet's non-synthetic grunts.

"I said - apologize to the lady!" roared Riot, her face as fiery as the hair on her head.

One of the men on the ground sat up, rubbing at a bloody lip. "All I did was give her a little pinch! Come on!"

The operator raised a fist, finding one of the men still attached to her arm. She gave him a stern look and he let go with a meek "sorry".

She turned her look to the man on the ground. "And she didn't like it! Now go apologize or I'll carry you in and make you do it!"

Deciding, at last, that being polite was the right thing to do, the man walked himself back in.

She turned and looked towards the port, satisfied with a job well done and eager to join her new post aboard the Watch.


Port Astionage - Docking Tower 4

The Watch coasted into its assigned dock space, drives on minimum power as the ship's Ghost avoided the streams of shuttles and large freighters. Once in place, robotic arms extended themselves from the docking tower and clamped onto the ship magnetically.

The ship shook very slightly as this occurred, and numerous airlock tubes extended from both the ship and the dock, meeting in the middle to form tunnels that crew and cargo could move through to and from the station.

Arye looked around the area with interest. There were so many people here, and many races too. She recognized an Operator easily enough, and she saw an Elysian, but she couldn’t tell the species. She did notice the cute little cutie in her arms before her attention and sight went elsewhere. The humans were noticed too, but despite her first encounter with a human, she still felt excited to meet another “Alright, looks like we are in Docking Tower 4” she said as she spotted the sign.

Unlike Arye, V wasn't too interested in meeting people, well save for those with a reason for her to get to know them. Like fellow pilots or those selected to come aboard the Watch. She fully expected to meet neither of those two categories of people here but hey fate was a fickle thing. "So we are," she replied to her friend before her eyes scanned the area for anything of architectural interest.

Of note in the area immediately surrounding the Watch's disembarking crew were the numerous other docking terminals, the large floor-to-ceiling windows that covered large parts of the walls of the deck they were on, as well as the massive bank of elevators that would at the center of the deck. These would if so desired, take them 'down' towards shopping centers near the towers' peaks, or 'up' to the base of the Docking Tower and the zero-gravity tram that ran the length of the colony.

V's eyes settled upon the rather large windows, while one part of her admired the view of space and the Raveneca's Watch the other part of her shivered at the thought of how such large windows were probably structural weak points that could send people hurtling into space if they failed or were attacked. Not that she made mention of this stray thought.

"Hey, check that out," an Elysian woman said as she nudged her sandy-haired companion, pointing up through one of the many windows decorating the tower's interior. Through it, the Watch was clearly visible as it aligned itself with the mobile colony's rotation.

"They're finally here, Alex! Not as late as I expected, too." She seemed to almost be impressed by the vessel's timeliness as she spied its approach. Araxie Patton's wings twitched in familiar excitement as she also tried to turn the babe in her arms to give him a look at the vessel.

"It's certainly a step up from what we used to parade around in back on Osman..." The young man said as he looked up. The man had the slim but well-built body of someone who constantly worked out, but never to an extreme, and stood with the gait of someone who was in or had seen military service. "And I suppose the paint scheme has grown on me after all these years."

Nearby, Riot grinned at the ship as it docked. The ship would be her home soon and, she hoped, the source of many worthy battles.

Her mind raced with the possibilities as she placed one open hand on the glass, eyes filled with determination. When the moment passed, she turned to look at the couple.

"You two - er, three," she corrected, looking at the babe for a moment with mixed feelings, "going to be aboard her, as well?"

She stuck a hand out in their direction for shaking. Her arms, like the rest of her, had a dense, muscular build like a professional boxer. Her eyes and tall metal horns would give away what she was easily enough, as well as the fact that her toned, manufactured muscles were mostly decoration, no matter how much they seemed to fit her.

"Hmm, nah, we've done enough time as it is," the chocolate-and-honey-haired birb piped up as her head turned to meet the Operator's gaze, quickly identifying what Riot was with interest. "We're here on a bit of a vacation for ourselves, and I saw that the Watch was coming today - always been a knacker for little coincidences like that!"

With her free hand, she offered a shake. "Araxie Patton."

The operator shook the offered hand delicately, her eyes lingering on the child in Araxie's arms as she took extra care not to jostle the small thing during their greeting.

Something about her name- and that of her companion - felt like it should ring a bell, but she couldn't place it. Riot gave a mental shrug.

"I'm Riot," she said with a big, warm grin. She liked introductions. "As in, 'a violent public disorder caused by a group with common intent', but also something that is 'wildly funny'. Weird how it means both, right? Anyways- it's great to meet you, Araxie!"

"Heh, funny indeed," the Elysian mused.

She turned her hand to the other person. "And you're Alex, right? I feel like I've heard your name before, but I'm not sure why."

The man took Riot's hand, giving it a brief and firm shake. His hands were calloused, but not overly much. "I've been getting that a lot lately, it's a bit of a surprise these days, to be honest. That aside, that's quite an interesting name you've got yourself," He said in response, "Judging from it and those horns you've got, I'd guess you chose it yourself not too long ago?"

"That's right," she replied. "Did a tour on one of the patrol ships, but I'm still pretty fresh compared to some of our veterans."

She jerked a thumb towards the ship. "Not for long, though."

"So-" she said, consciously avoiding staring at the child they had with them. "Vacation, huh? That's -"

Riot struggled to come up with something for a moment, searching for the right thing to say, but not really able to empathize. Fighting and piloting WERE her vacation. It was the time in-between that she didn't enjoy.

"-nice," she said, eventually, putting on as pleasant a smile as she could force.

"Oh! Look!" she continued, by way of distraction. She waved at V and Arye. "Might be some more of the ship's crew?"

"A pretty good chance of it! Feel like taking a walk before we part ways, Riot?" The hummingbird didn't seem too inclined on being left behind unless Riot really lived up to her name about the company. As the trio walked, she stroked the blonde patches of hair atop her child's head.

"You bet," she answered with a smile, happy to move on to something that wasn't likely to lead to insulting someone she'd just met. She turned her attention to the newcomers.

Arye took note of the windows, and wondered if those were merely screens, false windows that projected from sensors. She knew certain ships and at least one Station that had that done. She hoped that was the case there otherwise that was a mega structural weakness. Her attention went to Riot, who waved at them. She smiled and waved back, before she made her way over toward her.

As she approached, she took in the woman’s appearance and thought she was beautiful. “First potential friend there, ” she commented to V and turned to make her, approach her, and the couple. “Hello there! I’m Arye Firewalker, this is my friend, V” She said choosing to speak for the two of them. “I couldn’t help but overhear, yup! We are members of the ship's crew! We’re pilots in fact for the smaller vehicles.”

Somewhat distracted by her contemplation of the windows, V did not expect Arye to suddenly move towards the group that appeared to be mid-conversation. Now a step behind her friend she walked at a rather brisk pace to catch up and managed to do so just as Arye was doing introductions.

V was obviously an operator much like the redhead who had waved them over. Her own hair was a brilliant rainbow of blue and purple hues, very obviously metallic in nature. In addition, she had two small red horns protruding from her forehead that also marked her as an operator. Though, unlike Riot, V was rather diminutive comparably. Of course, anyone who understood how their species worked would know that in that smaller frame was still a woman who packed a punch.

Eventually, she added her own voice to Arye's, "Ensign V115." There was a bit of a stiff pause and then she added, "Though most choose to call me V."

"We'll, Arye and V, it's nice to meetcha! Maybe we'll get to fly together."


After a short transit from their docking bays, the small group made their way towards the base of the docking tower, eventually finding themselves riding on a tram that was, judging from the notable lack of much gravity, very near to Port Astionage's central axis, where the centripetal acceleration from the colony's rotation was nearly zero.

The tram moved slowly at first but gained speed fairly quickly, causing some of the less prepared passengers from the spaceport to drift towards the rear of the cabin before they managed to grab onto one of the handholds located all around the tram.

Gasps emerged from many of the passengers as the tram passed out of the more dimly lit spaceport and into the open air of the main cylinder. From the perspective of the Ravenaca's Watch's crew, as well as the other passengers, cities, and farmlands stretched out below them in every direction they could look, lining the inner surface of the colony so that there was no true sky except for the digital windows which allowed light inside.

As it was day, these massive strips of sky were lit in a sky blue color, with digital clouds sometimes drifting across. However, digital clouds were not the only ones present, the group soon realized, as they passed through a cloud that was orbiting around the central shaft of the colony that their tram rode along, the cabin shaking slightly as it was buffeted by the more dense water vapor inside the cloud before emerging back out into the "sunlight".

Their destination was now within eyesight, especially for the Operators in the group with telescopic vision, a network of small structures floating in the microgravity surrounding the central axis of the colony, suspended in the air above the surface miles below.

Arye was silent as she looked out the window, her right hand grasping good and hard on the handles keeping her stable. She felt she had a good view of the environment outside the moment the train moved from a dimly lighted area to a brighter one. She thought of her sibling, who hadn't been able to stand the suddenness of the lighting change, before the accident that caused them to become a cyborg deer.

Now she knew it wouldn't be hard for her sibling. Her thoughts moved on from Kali, and instead to the farmlands, wondering what it was like to be a farmer. Arye loved being a pilot, especially to a Starbreaker so she wouldn't be interested in changing careers for anything but she didnt stop her curiosity.

V followed the others onto the tram, noting the various handholds she was quick to find one and establish a firm grip. Once they were underway her synthetic muscles easily held her in place such that she could barely pay attention to that and instead gaze out the windows over the "land" below. It was rather inspiring, the scale and the thought of what it took to create such a thing. Though she had little mind for building things or for inventing things, she found inspiration in her chosen occupation from this grand view. Protecting all of this, ensuring that the peoples of the NDC could thrive wherever they chose to do so. That was what it was all about, for her at least.

Breaking her vision away from the scenery she looked to see what her traveling companions were doing. "Quite the view..." she commented to none of them in particular.

"Yup!" Arye replied in response to V's words.

"Any ideas on what we should do at our destination?" she asked while looking to Arye. "This kind of leave is a little different than what I normally do."

"Well.. shopping does sound fun, or sampling the food, though it is likely we already had that. And like before I want to meet new people too if possible. I'd say... stick with me and we'll see new things, if your open to it" Arye said.

"Arye, we've been together nearly since our creation. If it's you I need to stick with that's fine with me," V replied.

Arye simply smiled at her before she turned to look as the station approached.

The tram began to slow as it approached its station inside the floating structure, its occupants now able to see the fine mesh netting surrounding the structure, surely put in place to prevent wayward occupants from pushing off of a surface and finding themselves falling to the colony's surface.

The zero-gravity mall they found themselves in was surprisingly large, given how tiny it had looked from several miles away. Shops and walkways spread out for a bit over 100 meters from the large central axis, and the tram terminal was large enough to have a dozen trams embarking and disembarking at once, passengers milling around in the microgravity.

AR signs, as well as more basic physical ones, provided directions to shops, food courts, and even to taxi pads from which small shuttles would allow transit from the colony's surface directly to the mall itself.

A few signs of note were the food courts, the main avenue, and, interestingly, sports and swimming were listed as an area of the mall.

As the tram doors opened V turned to her traveling companion and motioned for her to go first, "After you Arye."

Arye was momentarily distracted by the size of this new area given how tiny it had looked, though she noted everything can be seen to be small from far away. She smiled at V as she offered her first steps and accepted as she didn't want to cause a delay. She stepped out into the hustle and bustle and grabbed V's hand so that they didn't get separated as she led the way through. Her eyes taking note of the signs for direction.

The grabbing of her hand took the normally quite aware V by surprise, her lips moved to protest but as her friend began walking straight away she had no choice but to follow after lest she wanted to be literally pulled along. Hand gripping that of her friend's she followed Arye's lead.

Taking note of the signs, among various other things displayed in her augmented mental heads-up display, she took note of the one that mentioned a place to swim. Physical activity was definitely her thing and the idea of a low-gravity pool seemed rather intriguing. There was a slight hiccup in that she had not exactly brought swimwear but they were heading to a mall so maybe that could be rectified.

Arye slowed to a stop when she saw that they were past the crowds, then turned to look at her friend. "Sorry about that! I didn't want us to get separated and lose each other as we navigated the crowds. This place seemed interesting, and I have a few ideas about where we could go.." She said.

"Oh um... don't worry about it, no harm done," V replied with a rather neutral facial expression. However then a smile was formed as Arye mentioned having ideas, "Well then where to?" There was the slightest hint of actual anticipation in her voice.

Arye smiled with pleasure at seeing the smile on V's face. "well, we could get something to eat or... we could go to a certain store. I saw a sign for low-gravity pools that caught my attention. I don't have a swimsuit so I at least need to make preparations for that." She said while unable to stop herself from thinking about V in a swimsuit. She chose not to express her thoughts, as she didn't want to bother her.

"Did I leave a communication port open?" she asked with a smile, "I was thinking something so similar it's like you were able to read my mind," came the conclusion to her rather lame joke. "I barely brought anything with me, so I'll need to get something as well." As for Arye's thoughts well V was rather oblivious to any such feelings that her friend and sometime wingmate might have had.

Arye couldn’t help but giggle as V had stated how she could read her mind or ask if she’d left a communication port open. “I see, then we shall go together then.” she said to her with a smile on her face and turned to the signs. “ok.. stores we want are... there!” she said and began leading the way once again.

As the group began to make their way towards the stores, in order to obtain the swimsuits they'd need to visit their intended destination, the zero-gravity swimming pool, they might notice the two tourists who had accompanied them inside the tram catching up after being separated from the CAFF crewmen they'd met.

It wasn't long before Riot found herself in the same spot, driven by her curiosity for what "real" swimming would feel like. The day had already held many surprises compared to what she'd experienced in the simulations that she'd been raised in. Food had been a particular joy and she often thanked her makers for the ability to taste as she'd shoved various street foods into her mouth.

When she realized she'd run into the others once again, she gave them a wave.

"Hello again! If I'd known this was where you were headed, I wouldn't have wandered off on my own! Ha!"

V115 gave a wave in greeting and then added, "I'd absolutely be lost were it not for Arye here. Malls, shopping, food courts? Not my preferred space so to speak. So if you want though, stick with us and I'm sure she'll find something fun to do."

Riot gave her a nod, giving a delicious-smelling skewer of meat a thorough bite. She spoke with a full mouth, but covered it with one hand in some sense of propriety.

"Mm- sounds like- a plan."

The coppery-red head indicated towards the pool area with a sideways tilt of her head as she finished chewing. "Guessing you're here to swim, too?"

There was a slight pause and then an admission, "Well soon, first we need to go buy some swimwear. Didn't exactly bring any off the Watch."

Arye nodded her head "Yes! as much as I wouldn't mind swimming without, I don't think others will approve" she said with a blushing giggle.

Riot shrugged. "Naturals and their hang-ups," she said, then thought about it some more. "I think clothes are fun. Kind've like painting a fighter red, but for your body."

She motioned them towards the stores, leading the way with good-natured bravado. There were a variety of stores that sold swimsuits and accessories, so she chose one that had the most appealing options to her in the store's front windows.

It wasn't long before she appeared before the others wearing a white halter top and boy shorts, showing off her statuesque muscular form. If the halter top wasn't the type that tied in the back, she could easily be mistaken for someone headed off to a beach volleyball world championship.

She turned this way and that, flexing her muscles and enjoying the way they were put on display.

"Whaddya think? Find anything you like in the store?"

"I've never thought of it that way before, but I suppose there is some semblance of truth to that," she replied in regards to dressing being like painting a fighter. Then with a bit of shrug to Arye she let Riot lead the way to the stores.

Where Riot was tall and appeared to be ready for volleyball, V was rather short and had chosen a rather more revealing set of swimwear. It was a matching pair of bikini briefs with a top more akin to a sports bra that zipped in the front. Funnily enough, the main color was a mixture of gray and red as the swimwear had an NDC flag print style. A bit of a flashy perhaps more patriotic choice than an alluring one but it suited her body frame well. The little gymnast wouldn't be mistaken for a volleyball player but she might draw some eyes all the same.

"It's not standard issue but I think this will do..." she commented.

Arye found herself in awe of how V looked in the swimsuit. But she focused on her self-control. "y.. yeah! you look cute in that!" she said with a blush on her cheek as she turned to focus on her own shopping.

Riot gave V a grin and a thumbs-up. "I like it! Very practical, good combat power."

V115 looked a little confused at Arye's comment, "Do I?" she asked with a small tilt of the head as she looked down at her form. "I appreciate your words all the same though."

Arye smiled at V's reaction and made a mental promise to give her deserved compliments, especially calling her cute so she gets used to it. Arye looked at the choices of swimsuits and chose a two-piece space-themed one and moved to get changed.


As the group from the Watch approached their chosen destination, the swimming area came into view. It had been previously partially obscured by other buildings and the hub axis of the colony itself, but was now bared for the party to see.

The swimming area resembled a large oblong droplet of water, but on a grand scale. If someone had taken a raindrop and scaled it up, the appearance would not have been too dissimilar.

Surrounding the water was a set of pylons, lit up with lights indicating 'caution' and a symbol for an EM field generator marked both in paint and in AR. These pylons, the more technical-minded of the group might guess, helped contain the water to make sure it didn't drift away.

Finally, a layer of soft netting floated along the outside of the swimming venue, curving up and "over" in all directions from their perspective. Inside the venue, swimmers darted through the blob of water, some attempting to pass through its center before surfacing on the opposite side.

Others still rested on the netting or climbed along it in order to move about without going into the water. Some were even sunbathing, if you could consider it that with no real sun present.

Arye found herself in awe as she looked at the new sight before her. Her eyes took in everything including how people got into the water so she moved forward to mimic their actions. Jumping into the water was pretty odd to the Operator, and made a mental note to talk about it with her adopted father and elder sibling.

The "pool" if one could even call it that, left V115 feeling a state of intrigue. She vaguely understood the physics of liquids in low gravity but to see it in person was something else entirely. Part of them instantly became attracted to the more daring among the swimmers. She wondered how hard it might be to pass through the center and of course decided to find out. After entering the pool area with her new friends, she was quick to follow on Arye's heels. The sensation of entering the water was strange, her buoyancy felt much akin to planetary water but the way it reacted to her entrance was different, to say the least.

Arye observed the new zero-g water and began swimming, all the while wanting to see how that would be different from normal water. She'd read about water on a gravity world, and in fact had gone swimming at the harbor in the capital so she had experience. The Operator knew this would be different, very different.

Indeed it was, as both operators found the water to be behaving quite differently to what they might have experienced in their VR upbringing during the Initialization phase of their birth, or afterward in physical space. It seemed to cause them buoyancy, but only for a moment as they entered.

For that brief moment, surface tension pushed them back towards the surface of the water as if they were still in gravity, where the density of a body might buoy them upwards before the weight of their operator bodies caused them to have to put in more effort to stay afloat if they did not use their Orchestra system to simulate a buoyancy similar to a human.

In this zero-gravity environment, however, there seemed to be almost no resistance at all once their bodies had broken the water's surface. The air bubbles they brought with them, as well, did not rise to the surface but circulated within the water due to currents.

This was, for all its strangeness, an environment where an operator could swim just as easily as any human would be able to.

V115 let herself continue downward toward the center for a little bit before swimming back up toward the surface, upon breaking the surface she looked around for her friend to see how she was handling things.

Arye couldn't help but giggle to herself as she saw how amazing this water felt to her. She watched the bubbles and noted how they didn't seem to go up to the surface like she'd seen before. Then she got a new idea, and turned herself so that she was on her back, wanting to see if it would let her float there without sinking when she didn't try to swim.

Ayre's attempt worked, leaving her floating inside the water. It was very similar to being on a spacewalk, she might think, but with more sound and much less dry. Without the need for breathing, Ayre would be able to stay down there as long as she wanted to.

As V looked around the surface she didn't find her friend, with a cool calm approach she changed her search parameters and stuck her head back underwater to search the depths. Upon seeing that Arye seemed relaxed enough and to be having fun, V went for what she'd wanted to do initially. Angling herself towards the center she began to swim towards it.

As she went she noted the various air bubbles floating around in the water, and the other swimmers. Though the closer she got to her goal the more focused on it she became. She wanted to see what it felt like to cross the central point.

Arye smiled as she laid there, floating, and eventually closed her eyes to rest them before opening and glancing at the bubbles and giggled again. looks like there are planets floating around me hehe

Riot was in awe of the sight, watching as the others entered the water. It seemed like a grand time, but maybe lacked her preferred amount of gusto. She had seen a few others dive in at this point and, while she had no real experience doing non-combat dives, it didn't seem hard enough to merit a quick stimulation to figure out the right way to do it.

Instead, she simply took a few steps back, then got a good running start. She leapt, straightened out, and hit the water completely flat. It boomed in response, a powerful "thwack" sound erupting along with a ring of water from where she had hit.

Warnings went off in her head about excessive collisions and she decided that it might be best if she simply sank into the water for a while and ran those fluid simulations, after all.

As Riot attempted, and succeeded, in executing a sort of belly-flop onto the surface of the water the sound drew attention from the swimming venue as heads turned to investigate the source of the sound and, soon enough after people realized the cause, a few laughs as people went back to their business.

Arye saw movement which caught her attention, and underwater she gave a watery eep as she saw what happened. This caused her to swim up to check on Riot "Hey... you ok?' she asked her her eyes blinking.

The redhead gave Arye a weak thumbs-up with a forced grin. "A..OK."

And she was - Operator bodies were made to handle worse stuff than an amped-up bellyflop. Their ability to handle shame was more or less the same. Fortunately for Riot, she had developed a boisterous armor to manage situations like this.

A dent or two wouldn't stop her.

Continuing to swim towards her target it was like the rest of the world faded away for just a moment. Then at the central point, it felt like direction became meaningless. In that moment she felt nearly weightless and lost but then she continued through to reach the opposite side. Curiosity sated she looked around under the water for her friends before swimming back towards Arye's side.


After several more hours of swimming, exploring, and shopping, the group found themselves at a casual restaurant in one of the cities inside the colony, known as Giersburg according to a local guide. The restaurant had both an interior section and sidewalk seating, and was serving salads and sandwiches made with local grain and a kind of naturally self-pickling vegetable which grew on Newhaven II.

About halfway through the group's meal, a notification came through the Ravenaca's Watch crew communications network.

<<Attention crew in Shore Rotation 1, please return to the ship. Duke Liselotte wishes to visit the ship and the Captain thought it would be unfair to ask the group that just went off duty to come back.>>

Arye silently eat the last of her food when she heard the announcement, and frowned. "aww, but I guess we gotta go back to the ship and meet another new person!" She said with a grin on her face.

"I just hope they give us time to get in uniform, I do not wish to be underdressed for escorting a duke," V commented, as she leaned back in her seat. Having already finished eating she was pretty much ready to move but also knew it would take a fair few minutes to get all the way back to the ship.

As the group began to make their way back towards the ship they began to run into dozens of other shorebound crew members, mostly pilots, and infantry, from the Watch who had shared their shore rotation.

Soon two tram cars departed, full almost to maximum capacity, from the stations across the colony and heading back towards the spaceport. Arye, Riot, and V115 found themselves in one of these tram cars, with a bit less personal space than they might have otherwise liked.

V115 didn't mind to cramped quarters of the tram car, if anything it seemed to almost make her smile. In effect, it was just another sign of the growth of their little nation, from a limited crew shakedown flight to a fully staffed crew with an infantry compliment the Watch was ready to do some serious work. Still, she kept a firm grip upon one of the safety grips as she didn't want to cause any problems should the tram come to a quick stop. No need to bump someone as it were.

Arye was silent as she held onto the railing keeping herself steady.

Soon enough the group found themselves back at the concourse for the docking bay of the Ravenaca's Watch. A portion of the on-duty crew, as well as all of those who had been recalled to the ship from the last part of their leave, had been assembled in the concourse.

Those assembled stood at ease, and V115, Arye, and Riot found their AR overlays giving them instructions on where they were to stand, with the rest of the frame pilots present. There was no sign of the duke yet.

Riot looked around the assembled crew. "Wonder when the bigwigs will show up?"

Arye found her place immediately the moment her AR overlay told her where she needed to go. She placed herself in the at-ease position and waited. "no idea" she replied to Riot.

After a just-barely-uncomfortable amount of standing and waiting in anticipation, the guest of the hour arrived. The tram doors on the opposite side from the assembled crews slid open, and a party of NDC personnel stepped out.

Arye glanced over with her eyes but she didn't move her head. She just stood up straight, and kept her face ahead of her.

V115 had found her position easily enough and waited patiently with the others even as she felt rather uncomfortable being in her off-duty clothing even if her garments were standard issue.

It took nearly a minute for the party to cross the concourse over to the Watch's crew, details becoming visible sooner for the Operators among the crew than those without. An operator wearing an NDC officer's uniform modified slightly to have a fur-lined collar walked at the head of the procession, followed close behind by a group it was clear to see was a small contingent of security personnel, four of them.

Finally, trailing behind in almost a scramble were a few assorted functionaries. One of them, a slightly portly Osmani human with a head of mousy hair made his way to the front of the group before clearing his throat and clearing his throat before proclaiming, "His Lordship the Duke Liselotte of Newhaven."

Arye remained silent as she observed the security detail, then took in the duke's appearance. She didn't know much about the man, but figured he must have the Archdukes Pine, and Oaklen's confidence to be a duke.

Holding her position and keeping an eye on the detail, V115 nearly engaged in her bad habit of looking up people she was looking at but decided against such a thing. Instead, she remained in place with her head still and listened. Probably for the best given the current circumstances.

The operator in the modified officer's uniform looked at the human with an expression of ever-so-slight annoyance. "Sarvesh, sooner or later you're going to have to listen to me when I ask you to stop announcing my name everywhere I go." The man said with a humorous undertone before turning back to the assembled crew.

"I apologize for the inconvenience I've caused you all. When I heard that the Ravenaca's Watch was to be assigned to assist local guard units I wanted to take the chance to offer my thanks in person. I hardly realized so many of you would be recalled from your leave."

Arye remained silent as she observed the interactions. She noted the duke seemed friendly, to the operator. He also seemed like a good man.

V115 watched with her hawkish eyes as the presumed duke seemed to be rather nonchalant about the whole thing. Still he seemed to be genuine in his apologies.

While V115 and Ayre had remained silent, a number of other crew members were murmuring to each other. Their operator ears could pick up various snippets ranging from "...nicer than I expected..." and "...at least he's not talking down to us" to more annoyed phrases like "...interrupt my leave for this?" and one particularly vulgar crewmate who seemed to be talking to himself saying something ending with "...kiss my ass."

Riot tightened her fist. She wasn't the most respectable Operator, but she at least respected the chain of command. The android fought the urge to find whoever it was that spoke up and give them a good beating.

Arye kept her face straight even as she heard the conversation behind her. A part of her wanted to turn around and tell them to shut it, but she being a mature quiet operator chose not to. She knew she couldn't expect others to be like her. Instead, she listened to the Duke speak.

For a momment, V115 wondered where their pride was as she listened in on the surrounding conversations. Then she remembered that she wasn't like most of them, was more by the book, more disciplined, and more accepting of the responsibilities and requirements of her position within the NDC.

Waiting for a moment for things to calm down slightly, the duke resumed speaking. "Again, I hoped to thank you all. Your ship's assistance comes at an important time for the duchy. Everything is still in flux here, and the Orbital Guard just isn't able to handle protecting all the shipping coming into the system while also dealing with the pirate presence. Your presence will be a welcome relief until the facilities for us to house our own garrison fleet can be finished."

Arye listened and processed what she was told. She was surprised to hear that the Orbital Guard couldn't handle shipping and the pirates. But she was pleased that they were. The duke and his people won't have to worry about it anymore.

The slightest twinge of a smile crossed V's lips before dissipating back into her usual resting bitch face. She was glad to be of service, but deep down the root of that break in her expression was because a part of her knew there'd be more chances on this deployment to make up for her mistakes on the shakedown run. More chances to prove the benefit of her kind too.

Looking around the assembled crew for a moment before briefly turning his gaze towards the Watch itself, its broad silhouette serving as a backdrop for the crew. "I'm afraid to say it, but I didn't have much more planned to say, I hardly expected such a reception."

The duke's expression seemed somewhat bemused as he paused for a moment before finishing. "If anyone on your crew ever needs anything, within reason, do contact my offices. It's little more than what I try to offer every citizen here, but I hope to extend the same courtesy to you all while you're operating within the duchy." The operator said, as he gestured to his entourage to prepare to depart.

Arye listened and she couldn't help but ponder if he was willing to go on a date if she called and asked for one. The thought amused her, but her face didn't show her thoughts and feelings. She knew it was likely impossible since she wasn't a noble, or a Duchess.

Perhaps V115 would take him up on that offer should something notable occur during the deployment. Couldn't hurt to get a glowing review of their efforts sent back to command. But she'd save that for if they actually accomplished anything. Part of her half expected the pirates to simply lay low while the Watch was around.

The prospect of combat was something that Riot was excited about. She knew that the opportunity came from the misfortune of others, but as long as the opportunity was there- she would take it. As for the offer- she doubted that she would ever see the man again.

As the Duke left the concourse, the crew began to receive notifications. Of those assembled, those who had returned from their leave were ordered back to the ship for their rest period, and those who were still on duty returned to the ship to finish up their shift.

Arye stretched her arms as she returned to the ship. "Shore leave was fun, I enjoyed swimming with you, and exploring," she said to her friends as she did so.