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RP Resurgence of Yamatai - Mission 10: Lost Souls


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RP Date
YE 45.8
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YE 45.8

Shortly after the Resurgence lifted off from the Central Fleet Depot, Captain Aoba got on the intercom and let everyone know there would be a mission briefing in the wardroom.


Sanda headed to the wardroom to receive the itel for the upcoming mission. She was still carrying the sword she had gotten from the salvage giveaway. She couldn't put it down, it was just so beautiful. She was looking forward to practicing with it. She would need to become much more profesioent with it if she planned to actually use it in combat. Although she was trained in all manner of weapons, but she favored knives for close quarters work.

Yoshiro headed to the wardroom for the briefing and some fruit. He got a pistol and a sword from his salvage and decided that he would use it in a loadout. He arrived at the wardroom and took a seat.

Cassie arrived with Euikoshi and grabbed a seat, taking a moment to see if Rossa had anything cooking. Since it was between breakfast and dinner, the serving counters were empty but there was a french fry smell emanating from the kitchen along with the sounds of clanging pans and knives chopping on cutting boards. A bowl of fresh fruit had been left out for the crew and Yoshiro found it easily.

Erika stood at the head of the group, data slate in hand and ready to deliver the breifing alongside Mineko. Butterflies welled up in the operatives stomach, this was her first time delivering a breifing and with all the eyes upon her felt a little intimidated. She did her best not to let it show, but the occasional gulp might have given her away.

Koyama prior arrival to the Wardroom proved to be convenient as the others began to file in. The first officer had been sitting by herself, a tea cup resting upon its saucer while she looked down at a datapad. The only true indication of her taking note of the other's arrival had been a simple flick of one of her ears in the direction of the entryway.

"Attention everyone, thank you for attending. We've been directed to investigate a planet called." Erika paused and pressed a key on her pad, the computer's voice played over the loud speaker in her place "Mwigflukbajik" Before she continued, "Hence forth will be referred to as "the planet". SAINT has reason to believe deep within 'the planet' there is a Mishhuvurthyar facility that will contain something valuable. As to what that is or what kind of threats we're likely to face SAINT doesn't know." She looks down at the data slate and then back up with a smile "Notes here are to stay on your toes."

Yoshiro grabbed a piece of fruit as he listened to the briefing and started eating his apple. "Nightmares and demons, eh?" He asked rhetorically.

Yayoi walked in silently after checking in on Yuri, who had been upset about the rules regarding pets.

"Chasing rumors, eh?" Cassie commented to Yayoi.

Yayoi glanced at Cassie "hmm?" she asked her.

"SAINT is looking to find more information about the Mishhuvurthyar threat if we uncover anything of substance to these rumors," Mineko said. While looking to Erika, Mineko thought of the mission she had done solely with the other agent and the varying levels of threats that these type of rumors truly held.

Euikoshi chimed in, "The Yamatai Star Empire acquired Mwigflukbajik from Nepleslia two years ago in a deal the Empress made, because of its historic significance to the Empire. It was a huge stronghold for the Mishhu during the First Mishhuvurthyar War, so much so that it took millions of ships and 1.25 trillion Nekovalkyrja soldiers to take it. It was thrown into Nepleslian hands through the peace conference only to be taken by the NMX in the Second Mishhuvurthyar War, and the Nepleslians had to fight hard to get them out of there because it was incredibly fortified. Basically it one of the most heavily developed Mishhuvurthyar systems and there's a lot of war wreckage and UXO there. No major attempt has been made to explore it all so far."

"What are we looking for in that chest? Weapons or technology?" Yoshiro asked curiously. "It seems a bit suspicious to me that they just gave up a planet that easily if they knew that they had all of this stuff on it."

Yayoi was silent now as she grabbed a fruit to munch on.

"The planet received most of the Star Army's offensive capabilities in the first war," Mineko said to Yoshiro. Mineko nodded and looked to Erika, hoping the operative would fill them in on Yoshiro's former question.

"We're looking of anything, weapon projects, resources, technology." Erika answerd, turning to Yoshiro. "Given it was so fortified, its a logical place to put research bases developing their most sensitive projects and as a central supply depot in a logistical network. As for taking easy, I wouldn't consider requiring millions of ships and trillions of Nekovalkyrja an easy ousting. Or are you referring to the Nepleslians giving it up? The operational difficulties in getting to those caches are a significant investment. There are probaly some high level deals to share what we discover with the Neps, but such specifics are," She sighed, "above our pay grade."

Sanda couldn't even imagine that many ships and troops. It truely must have been a hell of a fight. "Is the planet even inhabitable? I would think after that many ships and weapons fighting on it there's proabaly not much left of the place."

"Then are we to go in alone without support?" Koyama asked.

"It's worse," Euikoshi told Sanda. "It's a tectonic lava planet with constant Earthquakes and a surface gravity of 3G. The air is hot and breathable would be a generous way to describe it. The day is only 6 hours long. The Mishhu bases had to be really well built, almost like space stations buried deep in the crust, which is why some may have survived. "They may have tentacles instead of hands but they're good engineers."

Yayoi still munched as she listened to the conversation.

Yoshiro nodded and thought about the amount of equipment and troops in the first battle. it seemed a bit much but considering that it was probably well defended at the time was why they probably needed so many troops. "Still, if they knew about the fact that they had all of this there, why would they give it up so easily? I would figure that they wouldn't want to give any intel to us." Yoshiro said

"Charming." Sanda replied to Euikoshi. "We go where the Empress sends us."

"Sends only us," Mineko added on to what Sanda said, then looked to Koyama. "We'll be going in alone, Shosa. But they wouldn't send us if we didn't have a proven track record, honestly."

Yayoi glanced over towards Mineko and furrowed her brow at her words. "indeed, the ship and her personnel, has proven that much atleast." she said out loud.

"That's why they give us shiny medals." Sanda smiled despite any missgivings she might secretly hold about the mission.

"They give us shiny missions." It was Mineko's turn to furrow her brow as she corrected the statement from her own perspective on the matter.

"Additionally the system is essentially in the middle of Nepleslian territory," Euikoshi added. "If a large force entered the area, things could get tied up in international politics, so it makes sense the Star Army is only sending a single small ship."

Yayoi rolled her eyes. "If it's in Nepleslian space, would we be allowed there?" She asked before she remembered the news article.

"It's our planet to visit," Euikoshi shrugged.

"Just near Nepleslian territory as we bought the planet back this year," Mineko told Yayoi, nodding alongside Euikoshi's shrug.

"Hmm, I wonder how you buy a planet." Chellith mused.

Warmed to talking, Mineko was quick to reply, "Be the Empress. A lot of Neko and Yamataians died there. I'd wager they want to put some kind of memorial there but initial intel dug up that there might be something to investigate before making it open to the public."

Sanda thought about it a moment then asked, "Any intel from the Neps on the place? I'm sure they must know something about it since they were the last ones to fight on the planet. Like maybe where we should start looking?"

"We have some co-ordinates, but the finer points will need to be discovered by us." Erika answered "Investigating this planet is a rather significant investment. It's not in the notes, but my instincts tell me they decided it was easier to let us deal with the UX and high gravity. I'll note that SAINT haven't stated who their source is, need to know, but it could have come from the Neps, and knowing the Neps it would likely be... succinct and to the point."

"I wonder if there's any chance of people in stasis like the last mission," Poppy wondered aloud. "It seems like we do a lot of digging up lost souls," she mused. "With that many ships there could be escape pods left behind."

"Probably not, but over a trillion is a lot of people, not impossible we meet someone who was there." Cheilith said.

"How are we going to traverse the planet? If the planet is just on big lava flow, how are we going to move around without melting like chocolate?" Yoshiro asked.

"Mindies can fly, most of the time we don't do it because well, skeet, but we could go all the way from space to the ground just in them." Chelith offered.

"That is true." He said to Chelith.

"The Mindy can take high temperatures and if needed the photonics system can be used as a short-term lava shield," Euikoshi said. "We could also go in your exploration uniforms provided we can handle the 3G gravity. I recommend taking a break to cool off every hour. We could also deploy our ground vehicles as along as they stick to solid rock and not flowing lava."

Yayoi nodded her head, as she thought that wearing Power Armor would be appropriate, despite the fact she was a Ranger.

"Like Erika said, on our toes. We don't know if there are enemy remnants still there. Guarding what we're looking into or not, they'll be hostile," Mineko offered, though it wasn't fully pertinent beyond talk of what they would be need to don for the mission.

Yoshiro nodded and thought about adding drones to his loadout so he could help his teammates and get intel about what is going on to the right people.

"I can keep an eye on everyone's body temperatures," Poppy offered. "If anyone gets too hot we should teleport them back to the ship or have them sit in a climate-controlled shuttle. It's best to use internal air supplies as well."

Yayoi nodded her head.

"If we've covered everything," Mineko said, clapping her hands and looking expectantly to Erika, then the lightning bolted Nepleslian caught her eye and she said, "Sanda, you have another question?"

Sanda smiled. "When do we get started?"

"As soon as we get there." Erika replied "I'll restate; prep for high G and UXO. I've taken a demo course recently so I should be able to help out with that."

Yayoi almost smiled at Sanda's question. "alright then, i guess its off to make preparations" Yayoi said, as her mind focused on the mission, and less on her daughter.

Soon the Resurgence was in hyperspace, racing towards the war-torn Mwigflukbajik system, where so many had died over an ugly and brutal planet.

Mwigflukbajik System

As the YSS Resurgence emerged from the protective folds of hyperspace, the vast and eerie graveyard of the Mwigflukbajik system lay before them. From the bridge's expansive viewscreen, the sight was haunting; thousands of obliterated ships and fragments of battle stations floated eerily, silently memorializing a battle long since passed. The vastness of space was interrupted by vast fields of broken hulls, shimmering shards of metal, and derelict spacecraft, some still showing the faded sigils of their affiliations.

The pale, molten orange glow of Mwigflukbajik's tectonic lava crust shone menacingly in the distance, acting as an unsettling beacon amidst the sea of wreckage.


Captain Aoba, with his hand gripping the armrest of his chair, ordered, "Battle stations! Helm, get us a path through this debris field. We don't want to join this graveyard."

"Aye aye, captain," Gabriela nodded, as she carefully maneuvered the gunship through the carnage, getting the ship closer to the angry-looking planet.

Power Armor Bay

Yayoi entered the Power Armor bay, and walked with purpose towards her personal Mindy, and removed her outfit. Once done, she entered her Mindy by climbing into it, and checking its systems, to make sure that it was prepared for the Mission.

Euikoshi reported to the armor bay as well, slipping into her Mindy armor suit, which had a thick vertical green stripe on the helmet to show she was the science specialist.

Erika milled about while the other members were arriving. She was already dressed for action, checking her equipment as she sat on one of the benches. Her mindy's helmet was removed and she had a kit laid out on the floor infront of her. It had an assortment of tools, pliers, drivers, cutters, laser scapels among other things for disarming explosives. Like many things, she had been trained for demolitions, UXO disposal was part of that, but she had yet to put it into practice.

Cheilith got down to business working on her equipment, checking each module, especially the extended shield modules that might come in handy if the shields of anyone else got overwhelmed by the lava and heat. Satisfied, she suited up and picked up the massive sword that had become her signature weapon. She had also qualified on the advanced Teleportation unit that let het jump short distances faster so she also used that. "Ready to roll." She announced.

"Away team," Kalena's voice echoed in the armor bay, "We will be in teleporter range in about two minutes. I am selecting coordinates for you that will put you near one of the old NMX bases."

"This looks dumb," Mineko said as she looked at her armor, then to Erika. "This looks dumb, right?" Behind the shoulder weapons a black fireproof cloak had been strapped on. She picked it up and looked at it, obviously enamored, before doing her usual gymnastics routine to dive into the torso of her armor.

Erika looked up and smiled "What happened to 'capes being back in'?" The operative asked rhetorically. "First of all, you look fine, second, even if you didn't I'd take looking goofy over immolation."

"I do look fine," Mineko said, agreeing. Even if she hadn't been able to find any weaponry that would work in atmosphere while asking around the Intelligence depot for the positron rifle, she had at least been able to pick up the cape, a remnant from some long destroyed or forgotten Black Mindy. Once in, she twisted around as if to look behind herself, seeing how much it changed her peripheral vision. The analyst much preferred bridge work to the carnage of many away team missions, but the little addition to her attire seemed to smooth over those hangups in her mind.

Yayoi nodded her head as Kalena's voice spoke. "copy that" she said in response.

Over on the other side of the armor bay a second away team was also suiting up. The "B Team" with some of the new infantry soldiers was going to check out some of the space hulks. The main away team could see Wando and Caihong among them.

Poppy arrived, brushing her big pink hair back and tying it up into a ponytail. "Do you need me?" she asked the team that would be heading for the surface. "I'm happy to come."

"I hope we won't need you." Sanda laughed at Poppy. "If we do that means something has gone wrong." Sanda was already suited up in her Mindy. She had her usal loadout but was leaving behind her new sword. She hadn't had time to practice with it and with all this heat she didn't want to risk damaging it.

"Rather have you and not need you that need you and not have you Pop." Erika said as she looked down at the UXO disposal kit and rolled it up. She then attached it to the back of her suit. Beside it hung a buttpack with her own explosives. The operative then collected Aether SMG and an Aether Wakizashi, trying to stay light but still deadly.

Yayoi considered the potential risks and benefits of including Poppy, the ship's medic, on the away team to the hot lava world. It was a crucial decision that could impact the safety and success of their mission. Yayoi's thoughts raced as they weighed the following factors:
Expertise: Poppy's medical training and skills could be invaluable in case of injuries or medical emergencies during the mission. Her presence could provide essential medical support.

Hazards: Going to a hot lava world posed significant dangers, such as extreme temperatures and potential volcanic activity. Poppy's medical knowledge might help the team mitigate these risks and treat any injuries that could occur.

Mission Success: If the mission required the team to interact with potentially hostile or unknown life forms, having a medic like Poppy could help ensure the team's safety and overall mission success.

After considering these factors, Yayoi turned to Poppy and asked, "Poppy, what do you think? Are you comfortable joining the away team to the hot lava world, given the potential risks involved? Your expertise could be critical, but we also need to consider the safety of the crew and the mission."

"Guys I'd like to be on team A," Cassie said, "Space hulks creep me out," she said, which was only half of the story. Seeing the wreckage was really bringing back a flood of traumatic memories from the time where her fleet was wiped out by Kuvexians and she was left alone in space for hours among the wreckage thinking it was the end.

"Why would you be anywhere else than with us on the A team, Cassie?" Sanda smiled.

"Thank you," Cassie nodded, visibly relieved to be on a planet. "Just don't let me get shot in the butt by Rixxikor like that one time on Hanako's World," she joked.

"A Team, like we can do space hulks whenever, but lava planet? Cool place for a fight scene." Cheilith decided.

"We'll see if you still feel that way after your blood pressure increases about 20 points." Erika said to Cheilith as she passed. "Lets just hope our AG systems can keep up."

"Heavy gravity just means a ground pound is going to be even more awesome." Cheilith said, feeling pretty self assured.

"You know, this mission would be perfect for Abwehrans," Poppy grinned. She got in her suit in one quick and experienced wiggle motion and then closed it up and grabbed her helmet.

"If you need an extra set of hands, just say so and Yuri-chan can come along," Mineko said cheekily. "I know I know, it's 'cause they like the heavy G. I think I just wanted to imagine what more you could accomplish with four arms."

"Planet in teleporter range," Kalena's voice announced on the intercom.

Poppy's eyes darted to her suit’s vitals, checking everything was green. "All green here. Ready to patch anyone up or... do other medic things."

Cassie rolled her eyes with a smirk at Poppy’s remark. "Or 'other medic things'? Seriously? Remind me again why we're bringing you?" she teased.

"Because you love me," Poppy shot back with a wink, getting a chuckle from the group.

Euikoshi glanced around the group, adjusting the equipment on her armor. "We're going into a potentially unstable environment, so let's stay focused, and keep comms clear for necessary info. And remember, the scientific data we retrieve could be invaluable."

"Teleportation will commence in 3...2...1..." Kalena’s voice echoed.

The Power Armor Bay seemed to dissolve around them, and within moments, the away team found themselves amidst the shimmering, heated landscape of Mwigflukbajik. A sea of molten rock flowed around them, and the distant roars of volcanoes echoed through the thick atmosphere. The intense heat immediately tested their Mindy suits' environmental controls.

"Welcome to Mwigflukbajik," Euikoshi remarked, her voice calm, yet alert, "Let's make this a mission to remember."

= = =
OOC: JP by Wes, Charaa, Cowboy, Sunny D, Ametheliana, Soban, Yoshiro
Mwigflukbajik, Planet side

As the bright lights of teleportation dissipated Sanda looked around. So this was My-wig-flap-jack or whatever the hell you called it. Charming. The first thing that the Ranger noticed was the heat. She could feel it even through her suit. Not overpressing heat, not yet anyway, but you could tell it was hot. Even in a suit that was designed for extremes.

Sanda first did a quick head count to make sure everyone was present then swept the immediate area visually to check for contacts other dangers. Seeing non, she quickly but very carefully moved a short distance away from the group. That way if they were suddenly attacked they couldn't all be wiped out by an AOE weapon. This also allowed her to get a read on the terrain. Sanda had trained on every terrain imaginable, swamp, desert, ocean, forests, even volcanic, but this was something different. The very ground seemed warm to the touch and if you stood in one place for two long you left glowing footprints.

"We need to find more stable ground." She advised the others. Activating her camo, Sanda flew up into the air to give her a good view of the area. The heat of the planet should help mask the heat generated by active camo. Until proven otherwise, the Nepleslian was going to treat this place as hostile. From her vantage point, she spotted what looked like better, more firm ground around which appeared to be the remains of a structure. "Make your barring N by NW about a half klick. Recommend we fly over but stay low to the ground.
Erika nodded in agreement and kicked off the ground as her ICS system came to life. At the same time 6 NSB drones emerged from the little hive mounted to the operative's thigh. They spread out in direction Sandra had indicated, scanning the surface for UXO or any other surprise the hell world had in store. As her Mindy's environmental systems were already struggling with the heat, Erika's mind had already drifted to the onsen she was going to take at the end of it. Or maybe an ice bath.

The away team's Power Armor suits glowed subtly as the cooling systems kicked into high gear, compensating for the sweltering heat of Mwigflukbajik. The ground beneath their feet was stable, but the occasional tremor reminded them of the planet's volatility. Each team member’s HUD highlighted the terrain's topography, potential hazards, and mission objectives with pinpoint accuracy.

Yayyoi was silent as she observed what her mindy HUD was showing her, about the planet she was moving on. Though rather to prevent falls, she used her Mindy's hovering technology to keep herself stable.

Erika's NSBs continued to their position slowly, throughly scanning the surface as they went before finally coming to a rest some 250 meters ahead of the pack. "I'll take point." the operative said, "I've got my bits scanning for UXO and any other surprises. You see me stop? Suggest you stop too."

"Don't have to tell me twice," Mineko said from behind. She was staying close to Erika's tail, using the other agent as a sort of cruise control. Meanwhile, Mineko was keeping her sights on the HUD and its updates as far as any new information the team received.

Yayoi nodded her head silently, at Erika's words that came through her coms.

As they got closer to the base they could see it from a distance, with circular hub structures on the surface, like big black wine corks plugged into the surface where they extracted metals and energy from the lava below. Although some were heavily damaged by previous wars, some of them looked in surprisingly good condition due to their Zesuaium construction. All around were huge circular pits where previous structures had been before they were destroyed. Now they were simply bottomless pits to magma-hell. A sulphrous mist hung in the thin air.

"This looks like a happy place." Cheilith commented.

Erika's drones approached each building as they came into their path, a scan beam passed over each structure as they passed. The data lit up on Eirka's HUD, showing a wire mesh overlay of the structures, even behind terrain. The important parts she filtered out and relayed to the others. An old shell here, an antipersonnel mine there. Nothing so far that caused a major diversion to their course.

Cassie followed, her sensors scanning the horizon for the old NMX base. "Stay sharp," she cautioned over the comms, her voice steady and commanding. The Mindy suits, advanced as they were, gave them an edge in this harsh environment, but the dangers of Mwigflukbajik were not to be underestimated.

Euikoshi monitored her scientific instruments meticulously, the data streaming in real-time. "Geothermal activity is off the charts," she reported. "The crust is thinner than we anticipated. We’ll need to watch our step."

Poppy, now fully aware of the gravity (both literal and metaphorical) of their situation, kept her medical scanners active. "I'm on standby for any heatstroke or burns. Keep hydrated, everyone," she advised.

Yayoi watched through the HUD of her Mindy as she also received the images the drones were sending to everyone. Her focus turned towards the MINDY's heat systems, just to make sure everything was working.

"What step? I'm floating." Erika replied, though sought out the straw in her helmet for a mouthful of water.

Their path to the NMX base wound through a desolate landscape that was both terrifying and awe-inspiring. With each step, those who chose to walk could feel the power of the planet rumbling underfoot, the raw energy pulsating from the magma that bubbled and spat at the planet's surface.

"Its almost peaceful." Erika said, despite a voice from within telling her she'd regret those words in short order. "Like sitting in a sauna. Higher G is like being in a blanket."

"Feels snuggly," Mineko agreed without thinking from behind. She kept her eyes on the scanner, lighting up with interest when they had traveled close enough to get more information.

The structures at the base, while showing signs of heavy damage on the surface, hinted at deeper secrets. As the away team surveyed the area, the remnants of technology long silent began to tell a story of survival against the odds.

Erika's NSBs were the first to pick up anomalous readings—unusual thermal signatures that didn't match the natural geothermal activity of the planet. The patterns suggested a network of tunnels beneath the surface, possibly inhabited.

"Hey Euikoshi." Erika called out, redirecting the data from her drones. She sent the wire-mesh overlay that displayed the tunnels below. "Think this is the place? I'm getting a maintained atmosphere, like someone's maintaining life support."

Yayoi, analyzing the same data, noticed something else peculiar: the presence of carbon dioxide spikes in the atmosphere in specific locations—indicative of respiration or perhaps combustion.

Mineko cross-referenced the detected anomalies with historical data from the base. "These emission patterns are consistent with those from refugee hideouts during the war," she proposed.

"Sounds like we need to investigate that." Cheilith said.

"hmm.." Yayoi said to herself as she noticed odd things, namely the carbon dioxide. "someone might be alive here" she said outloud to the away team.

"How could anyone live here? This place is awful," Cassie grunted.

"Where there is a will, there is a way." Cheilith replied.

"Survivors may have adapted these structures for long-term habitation." Mineko added, "At least it means wherever we've got to go is more liveable than the surface."

"It's a dry heat." Erika commented with a shrug, smirking under her helmet.

As they approached what seemed to be an entrance to one of the more intact structures, Cassie noticed wear in the material not consistent with environmental damage. "Look at these," she motioned to the edges of a doorway, where the metal seemed polished by repeated contact, "Something's been using this entrance regularly."

Euikoshi's equipment began picking up the faintest vibrations through the rock, rhythmic and patterned like footsteps or machinery. "There's definitely movement down there, too methodical for random seismic activity," she confirmed, her eyes locked onto the readouts.

Poppy was quick to add to the speculation with a medic's perspective. "If there are people down there, they may need medical assistance," she said. "Who knows what conditions they're living in."

As they ventured inside, the structure's interior betrayed further signs of habitation. The power was long dead, but the layout was intuitive, designed for occupancy. Door mechanisms showed signs of retrofitting, crudely adapted to function without the base's original power sources.

Then, Yayoi's suit detected a faint network of electromagnetic fields running through the walls—too weak to power the base but possibly enough to sustain life support systems.

"Hey, my suit is detecting something, a faint network," she alerted the team. "Might be enough for life support." Yayoi finished as she moved forward.

Privately to Erika, Mineko said, "Going to feel pretty bad if right after we find a bunch of refugees we start asking them where we can find rumored treasure. I don't think I have the diplomatic chops for that."

"Is what it is." Erika replied with a sigh. "A few survivors don't register but secret cache of prototype enemy tech? Can move a ship at least. I'll do the talking if you like."

"Only one way to get over it," Mineko replied tersely. Having lived amongst all sorts before joining the Star Army, she certainly felt a pang of sympathy if there were really people just trying to survive down here. She knew what her job entailed and would do it, but knew it wouldn't feel great to do so.

The most compelling evidence came when the team stumbled upon a cache of what appeared to be recycled technological components: pieces of old Mishhu, Star Army and Nepleslian power armor, tools made from repurposed metal, and containers that seemed to be used for water or food storage. There were thermal suits as well. They were crude but functional, telling of a people determined to survive.

"Well, well, what do we have here" Yayoi mumbled to herself as she took note of the recycling area. She examined the items in any way she knew how, trying to find some idea the people that left this. But one thing she felt was familiar was that these people, they were survivors.

"Looks like someone's been maintaining all of this old stuff, I could probably make a bit off them if they were salvage." Cheilith noted.

"The suits are humanoid at least," Euikoshi grinned. "Not squidlike," she added.

The sound of voices—muted and indistinct—echoed through a doorway sealed not by any advanced mechanism, but by a simple barricade. It was the irrefutable proof of life; the descendants of the original colonists had indeed carved a niche for themselves in this unforgiving world.

"humanoid, my kind of people. " Yayoi commented to herself, then she began to hear noises.

"Let's meet the locals." Cheilith said, heading the direction of the sounds.

"I'll give this a go." Erika said, placing a finger to the side of her helmet "That way they can't say we didn't knock." The operative then mentally set her comms to broadcast, picking a frequency that wouldn't get too far, but enugh to prenetrate the building. "This is Hei Elster of the Star Army to any surviors. If you can hear me please respond. We have a team in the area ready to assist if required."

"We're friendly. Well, unless your not, but that's your call." Cheilith added.

Amongst the Star Army frequencies, Mineko spoke to Cheilith. "Try not to confuse the situation with a normal salvage operation." Under her mindy helmet, she was closely monitoring her HUD. If the survivors chose to power up weapons, they'd know. Better to note their actions as un-friendly than voice concerns over it.

"It's a high stakes salvage operation, I know, but the sort of people who will survive her are straightforward and might not trust some high-faluten diplomat-speak." Chelilith responded.

"I'll send a bit forward to see if I can get eyes on." Erika said in agreement as one of her small drones darted through the barracade.

The barricade was airtight.

"Never mind that then." Erika said, flinching as her bit bounced against the door in an attempt to execute her command.

Cheilith walked up, looking for the obvious stuff, and then raised an armored hand and knocked at the entrance.

There was a brief pause, the sort that drew a collective breath from the team as they awaited a response. The silence of the structure seemed to deepen, absorbing Erika's transmission into its very walls.

The seconds ticked by, and then a voice crackled over the comms. "Star Army?" The voice was incredulous, tinged with a wariness born from years of surviving against all odds. "You're... actually here?"

Though her eyes couldn't be seen, Mineko's expressive gesture as she looked to Erika was apparent. She was obviously expecting the other SAINT agent to continue communications with the refugees.

"Yep, you want a ride somewhere cooler?" Cheilith asked.

"We have medical personnel standing by, and some room aboard our ship if you require transport." Erika replied with a professional but compassionate cadence. Under her helmet the operatives eyes darted to Cheilith, though she didn't say anything. "Do you have a proper airlock established inside so we can come in, or do you have some procedure so as not to contaminate the internal atmosphere with that of the planet?"

Yayoi had been listening to the voice that responded, and she recognized the tone, the disbelief in their voices, the same ones she'd had.

"Take notes, Cheil-chan," Mineko said in internal comms to the random personnel she had never seen on an away mission before today. She had fortunately been there when they were picking up medals at the Empress' palace.

There was a rustle of activity from the other side of the barricade, and after a few moments, a portion of the obstruction was removed, revealing a face weathered by the harsh conditions, but unmistakably human. Eyes that had not seen off-worlders in a few years scrutinized Erika and the team with a mixture of fear and curiosity.

"We don't have much," the figure began, "but if you bring peace, you're welcome here."

The team stepped into the light of the underground dwelling. It was dim, lit by bioluminescent fungi that clung to the walls and ceilings, a natural adaptation to the absence of sunlight. They were met by faces of all ages, their clothes a patchwork of materials that told stories of improvisation and survival.

Yayoi observes the human, but she didnt verbally comment though.

Poppy moved among the crowd, her medic instincts taking over as she checked for signs of illness or malnutrition. She whispered to Yayoi, "We'll need to do a full medical checkup; who knows what conditions they might have developed down here." Plus a check for Mishhu parasites, she thought to herself.

"Impressive what you've done here." Cheilith said, looking around at the specifics of the things that had done and taking some mental notes. "I'm Cheilth."

"You can call me Erika." The operative said, her voice now coming from an external speaker. "These are Mineko, Yayoi, Poppy, and Eukoshi. And obviously Cheilth." She pointed to each in turn with an open palm, though to the figures they were all indistinguishable in their silver armor, save for height. "How many of you are there?" At the same time she was checking her atmospheric readings to see how stressful she'd find removing her helmet to show her face.

"I'm no medic, unlike Yuri, but i do agree" she whispered to Poppy, but ready to assist if she needed to.

"After being down here for so long is there anything you can tell us about it?" Mineko asked the figure, getting to the brunt of the mission while she saw Poppy and Yayaoi getting to helping those survivors from her suit's peripherals.

The leader, an elder with steel in his gaze, stepped forward. "I am Jorhan," he declared. "We are the descendants of those who were left behind, the forgotten ones, abandoned by our enslavers the Mishhuvurthyar. We've heard stories of the Star Army, of the galaxy out there. But we had no idea if anyone would come..."

His voice trailed off, the sentiment clear. The arrival of the away team was a lifeline to a people out of time, a connection to a home that had become a myth. "We have seen a lot of death and there are not many of us left. There is very little food here."

"We can evacuate you if thats your desire. Or provide you with some supplies if you intend to stay. Its lucky we found you at all, we're here on a survey mission." Erika said. Her atmospheric report came back as marginal, and she opted to keep her helmet on.

"Tell me...if we stay, will the Mishhuvurthyar return? If we go...will you take us somewhere safe from them?" Jorhan asked Erika.

"I can't offer promises," Erika said, shaking her head, "but I can say, with us you'll be safer and more comfortable than if you remain."

"Captain," Mineko said, turning away from the fungi-lit room to speak into her comms up to the Resurgence. She wanted to test if comms even worked first. "This is Mineko-hei, come in."

The Zesuaium walls of the complex seemed to block some of the signal but subspace was able to get through to the ship. "Resurgence here, this is Aoba."

"We have a group of survivors from the war down here looking to get off planet." Mineko said. "Can we have a landing party come down with one of the shuttles to bring them up to the Resurgence? We'll need a surplus of enviro suits to move them to the surface."

Yayoi turned her focus on the survivors, taking note of the environment and what they had access to.

"I'll have a recovery team down there shortly," Aoba promised Mineko, nodding to Gabriela offscreen to get it set up.

"We seem to attract these missions, Captain," Mineko said. The analyst had gotten used the drill after so many rescues. It made her voice sound more confident but also pride edged in to her words. She knew the Resurgence could not only handle helping others, but did often. The knowledge of such made her heart feel a little more weightless than it normally did.

Aoba nodded. "We do. But remember we still need to accomplish the primary mission."

"Aoba also had the same words of wisdom as you, Poppy," Mineko informed the team. "Watch our step."

Yayoi blinked as she heard the conversation around her.

"Sounds like some evacuation shuttles will be here soon." Erika said to Jorhan as she lowered outgoing comms within her suit until it was background noise. "While we wait, is there anything we should know about the area? Dangers, other survivor communities... hidden facilities? I assume to survive here you must have stripped just about every structure in range."

"There is a place where the Mishhu survived as well, and it is very dangerous," Jorhan told Erika. "A huge factory of some kind, made years ago."

"Sounds like my kind of fun, which way?" Cheilith asked.

Erika tensed a little at the news, though the armor provided a buffer against her body language. "Thank you, thats very handy information."

Coming back to the group, Mineko could tell Erika had a handle with Jorhan and approached Yayoi. Speaking quietly as she handed the soldier what she needed to administer aid, she asked, "Is this anything like Hanako's World for you?"

Yayoi nodded her head. "yeah, almost exactly like it." She noted that the difference was that there was no need for environmental suits.

"I bet it's a bit bittersweet. At least you get to be on the other side of aid this time, aye?" Mineko asked.

Yayoi nodded her head in agreement, atleast she had been.

"I'm going to leave you in the hands of Poppy and Yayoi now, they'll preform medical checks while we wait." Erika said before standing upright, shifting her coms to team and deactivating her suits external speaker. "Elster-hei to team, in case you missed it, the survivors confirm Mishhu presence at a structure they call 'the factory'." she said as she moved back to give the medical team some room.

"Copy that," Mineko replied. "Come on Yayaoi-sama! It seems like we're going to be getting ready for the bitter part of this bittersweet mission."

The evacuation shuttles arrived shortly and the team was able to take a break before the next phase of the mission. The process of getting the survivors out of the complex and onto the shuttles was methodical and cautious. Yayoi and Poppy went about conducting brief medical checks on the survivors, ensuring they were stable enough for the trip and noting any immediate medical concerns that would need to be addressed once back on the Resurgence.

While Yayoi's experience with aiding those from Hanako's World gave her a silent understanding of what these survivors had been through, the current situation also highlighted the stark differences. Here, the environment was harsher, the signs of long-term survival more pronounced. It was evident that these people had not just survived; they had adapted to an existence few could endure.

= = =
((OOC: JP by Wes, Charaa, Sunny D, Ametheliana, Soban

We can do some shipboard JPs between now and next Tuesday))
YSS Resurgence - Bridge

A dull rumble of the ship's systems filled the air as the Resurgence's bridge crew performed their duties. Kalena monitored the ship's systems from the weapons station on Aoba's right while on the left, Gabriela kept an eye on the surrounding space, noting how little traffic there was in this area. Captain Aoba was in the center, surrounded by several volumetric screens as he sat in the comfortable Type 35 Starship Chair. Looking down at the empty stations on the lower levels of the bridge, he drafted another request for additional personnel, although he knew the Third Mishhuvurthyar War was causing a shortage of active-duty personnel to assign to ships due to the Star Army trying to create as many starship crews as it could.

YSS Resurgence - Shuttle Bay

Sakuko's shuttle slipped into the bay and came to a rest inside carrying a full load of refugees and the various personal items they'd been unable to part with. As the door opened on the back of the shuttle, caretaker Julia began distributing humanitarian supplies to them and assigning them temporary cabins, while Away Team 2 provided security. Although these people were refugees seeking asylum, they were former Mishhuvurthyar workers and the Resurgence crew had to exercise due caution in case some of them saw Yamatai as the enemy and wanted to cause trouble.
YSS Resurgence - Shuttle Bay

The YSS Resurgence's shuttle bay had transformed into a bustling hub of activity and humanity as the refugees from Mwigflukbajik began to disembark. The air was thick with tension and relief, punctuated by the soft hum of the shuttle's engines winding down. As the shuttle's rear hatch slowly opened, the lights of the shuttle bay filtered into the craft, illuminating the weary faces of those who had survived against the odds.

Julia Meadows, clipboard in hand, greeted the first of the refugees as they stepped onto the deck, her voice a warm and welcoming contrast to the sterile environment of the shuttle bay. "Welcome aboard the YSS Resurgence. We're here to help. Please, follow me to the VIP cabins where you can stay during the voyage to Yamatai," she directed, her tone both comforting and authoritative.

The refugees, a tapestry of species and stories, moved with tentative steps. Some clutched tattered belongings, while others held tightly to loved ones, their eyes reflecting a blend of uncertainty and hope. Children peeked curiously from behind their guardians, their innate sense of wonder momentarily overcoming the exhaustion etched into their small faces.

As they filed out, Poppy, the ship's medic, was already among them, her scanner in hand as she moved from one refugee to the next. "Let's make sure everyone is healthy and safe," she said, offering reassuring smiles and gentle touches as she worked. "Don't worry, you're in good hands now."

Sakuko, the shuttle pilot, stepped out last, her gaze scanning the bay with the vigilance of a seasoned officer. She nodded to Away Team 2, who had taken up positions around the perimeter, their presence a silent promise of security.

Captain Aoba, watching from the bridge, felt a swell of pride for his crew. They were more than just soldiers and explorers; they were a beacon of hope in a galaxy too often darkened by war and despair. As the refugees began to settle in, he turned his attention back to the mission at hand, knowing that the Resurgence's work was far from over.

The bridge was alive with the soft beeps of consoles and the quiet murmur of officers communicating with various departments. Aoba's fingers danced across the holographic interface, sending requests for additional support and resources. The war had stretched the Star Army thin, but he was determined to ensure the Resurgence remained a vessel of sanctuary and strength.

Back in the shuttle bay, Julia continued her work, distributing food, water, and blankets with the efficiency of someone who had done this many times before. She directed the refugees to the temporary cabins that had been hastily prepared, each small space now a temporary home for those who had lost so much.

As the last of the refugees left the shuttle, the bay doors began to close, sealing the ship from the void of space beyond. The Resurgence was more than just a ship; it was a symbol of survival and compassion, a testament to the resilience of those who called her home. And as she prepared to embark on the next phase of her mission, she carried with her the lives and hopes of all those she had saved.


Erika, Mineko and Sanda had remained on the surface. The blistering heat of the planet was dulled by their Mindy's environment system, but the suits were showing the beginnings of fatigue. The primary issue was dust and debris landing on the metallic shell, interfering with heat radiation. At that moment it was only half a degree discrepancy between set point and reality, barely enough to register, but would become a problem after a time.

The trio of women made their way towards the Mishhuvurthyar facility, hovering a meter above the ground via their Inertial Control Systems. Erika brought up the rear, though the NSB drones were a few hundred meters ahead. They were spread in a wide arc scanning the ground for UXO. Mineko was in the middle, in communion with the Res's MEGAMI which sent her up to date orbital images of the structure ahead. Finally at the head was Sanda; Rangers led the way. Without the cognitive overhead of linking with a separate system, she was free to rely on her inbuilt sensors; the mark I eyeball.

"New heading, 173." Erika said over their comlink, having detected something suspicious under the earth ahead.

The trio made a lazy turn to the indicated direction and continued for a time, before Erika gave a new heading. As they got closer Erika gave more and more corrections, and the earth became pockmarked with a few small craters, some still marked with fresh carbon.

Minkeo called up next, saying that they were only a few meters from the ridge line. Sanda slowed down, her feet coming to a rest on the ground. Erika and Mineko followed suit, and they continued the rest of the short distance on foot. It turned out to be a little longer than they anticipated as at the ridge line there was a particular concentration of UXO, some with power emissions coming. Erika concluded they were trying to dissuade peaking over the ridge. They did finally find a gap however, wide enough for the three of them to slide up to the edge on their stomachs.

Erika sent one of the small NSBs over the ridge while offering command of another one to both Mineko and Sanda, giving them their own disembodied eye to control. The round bunker entrance didn't initially seem guarded, however the small drones quickly detected the glint and gleam of sensor arrays. The majority of the surveillance network were old targeting pods, salvaged and haphazardly wired up back into the circular bunker. There was a large loading bay door along with a smaller one to the side of the main structure, while all around the wrecks from old vehicles and fighters had been dragged to make defensive positions.

Sanda's gaze darted between the different emplacements and noted some salvaged heavy weapons mounted to some of the debris. "We'll be sitting ducks for indirect fire here." She said

Mineko once again consulted the footage coming from the Res and pointed towards an elevated part of the ridge line. "Perhaps we'd be better off there? Gives us a bit of elevation and cover against the big guns."

Erika took a glance at the outcropping before looking back at the facility. "I can promise you that mound will be loaded with IEDs." she said, she then took another look, her eyes narrowing under her visor. "I could pre-detonate them with my own charge, but we run the risk of missing something and setting up. Just have to give me a moment to give it a quick scan before we all set up."

Sanda joined them, "Lots of cover between that ridge and the entrance." she commented.

"I have a P4003 teleporter attached to my Mindy." Erika said in response. "They get too dug in you and I can jump into their back ranks and flush them out."

Sanda nodded. "Alright, sounds good. Let’s call it in first to the Captain before we get to work." she said, sliding back down the ridge.

Yayoi had snuck back to rejoin Sanda, having never wanted to leave her battle buddy, and sister behind though, she needn't worry, as she had trusted people having her back. But she'd returned anyways using stealth, and returned to Sanda's and the others side.

YSS Resurgence - Power Armor Bay

"So what's the word?" Cassie asked, "Are we going go home and drop the people we found off or are we going to hit this NMX base before they have a chance to evacuate?" She looked around hoping one of the other team members had some answers. Honestly she felt confused about things because it was a little unclear what the plan was. She called the bridge on the radio, "Hey, I know this sounds bad but remind me who is the mission leader right now? What do you want me doing?"

"Thunder to Resurgence. Sorry for the confusion. The spooks and I did a little bit of recon. We've believe we've found where the Mishhu have holded up." Sanda radioed in.

Aoba replied, "I need Yayoi to help get the refugees settled so I'll have Sanda handle this leg of the mission," he told the team. "Trowa will coordinate the team from the bridge or on site as he prefers, serving as the mission operator. Cassie, I want you to join the team on the surface."

"Wilco," Cassie said, teleporting down to the surface. She slowly peeked her head out of the crater she'd chosen, looking for her teammates.


Sanda nodded and looked over at her teammates. This was going to be interesting for sure, but they had fought longer odds than this and the team hadn't been near as bonded as they were now. She smiled at Cassie and was about to make a joke about her trying to sneak out and cool off when suddenly...

Suddenly some of the doors to the old NMX facility began to open and a squad of four Ripper power armors floated out, hunting for targets.

"Enemies spotted," Mineko said, seeing them through the NSB more than her own eyeline. But she positioned herself to be ready.

"Just tell me if they look like they've spotted us. Really don't feel like getting a face full of shrapnel this afternoon." Erika said. She was far more concentrated on the mound they had selected to set up on. She had a couple of drones deeply scanning the earth in front of her. When she found the IED's she had prophesized would be there she took out a couple of sticks of explosives near the enemy charges.

The reconnaissance mission had taken a more dire turn as the enemy presence became clear. Sanda, Mineko, and Erika, now joined by Yayoi, Yoshiro, and Cassie, braced themselves for the imminent threat. The Ripper power armors, relics from a war long past, still stood as formidable adversaries. They moved with a haunting, almost spectral grace, their weapons systems alive with the promise of destruction.

From their vantage point, the team could see the Rippers patrolling the perimeter of the base, their movements methodical and precise. It was clear that any approach would be met with fierce resistance.

Sanda studied the Rippers and their movements. They were patrolling to close to be able to sneak past them, although Sanda would maybe have tried if it was just her and Yayaoi. But with this many people it was just too great a risk. "Maybe we could have someone to distract them and make them move to an open area where the rest of us could overwhelm them with fire?" Sanda spoke quietly, even though her voice was only sent through her teamates helmets. That sounded like a solid plan to her, but who would be the bait?

Yoshiro had armed himeself with his katana that he had gotten from the salvage along with his dual aether blade smgs. "How many of them are there? I can be the bait if you think that it is a good idea." He said. "But whatever we plan I can help with."

"The explosion will draw them enough." Erika said as she slid down the mound. She found herself back on flat land and dusted herself off. "I suggest that position be the bait while I and some CQB specialists teleport close."

"That could work too. I'm equipped with a teleporter. Although those things are pretty tough up close." Sanda informed.

"We could try to time it so we sneak it when they're not looking," Cassie suggested. Meanwhile, she was in communication with the Resurgence. “We have visual on enemy Rippers. Requesting further intel on their patrol patterns and any weak points in their defenses,” she said, her fingers dancing over her Mindy’s control interface.

"As I said, the explosion won't be sneaky. But it will be down to timing. I suggest waiting until all their weapons are trained on the position, then 'port in behind." Erika said before looking at Sanda. "Is your's a 4003 or a 3000 series?"

Sanda tried to look over her shoulder to see the teleporter device on her back. She couldn't because of her shoulder weapons. "I can't see what I've got. But it'll do the job."

Mineko was quiet as she watched the Ripper from several vantage pointsincluding her own, now. As much as she believed in her team’s abilities with close quarter battle, she liked the tactical advantage to sneaking. Taking in the imaging from the Resurgence as she tried to track the Ripper’s moevements. If they were patrolling in a pattern, she wanted to be able to track it or find a chink in it to help her team sneak in when the enemy armors truly weren't looking.

The Resurgence’s MEGAMI responded with a stream of data, revealing a possible entry point. “There’s a service entrance on the far side that’s less guarded,” the ship's AI relayed. "The enemy patrol seems focused on the main door."

Yoshiro was watching the enemy patrol as well. He was waiting for instructions for what he should be doing."Do you need me to do anything? I can help with anything you need." he said.

"I bet if we alert the first squad, more will come out," Cassie speculated. "Which we may or may not want depending on whether the plan is to lure them into the gunsights of the ship."

"I don't like the idea of leaving a patrol outside we might have to deal with later but you do have a point." Sanda said taking a look again at the patrol and the service entrance that the Res had pointed out.

"If it gets too hot and heavy can we call in an orbital strike?" Erika asked "You think they might even just surrender given we can nuke them from orbit?"

"Even with a ranger, we should still be able to sneak in," Mineko said, happy to rib Sanda in between the serious discussion at hand. "If we perform an orbital strike, we could destroy whatever we're looking for."

"It's the Mishhu. They never surrender," Cassie told Erika. "Only the abandoned NMX Nekos and slaves do, but never the leadership or actual Mishhuvurthyar. They're fanatical about killing us, right?"

"I know, just a joke." Erika said.

Sanda looked over at Mineko. "Oh es así ¿verdad?" She appreciated the challenge from her roommate.

"Si, si," Mineko said, her tone lilting as if each syllable made up a laugh, not a single word.

"Uhhh, Away team this is Resurgence, Kalena speaking, we're looking at a very suspicious hatch buried in the dirt near you, do you see a spot with a large metallic plate that is starting to open up?"

"Roger that, Resurgence. Looking now." He said and after a few moments he found the hatch. "Away team to Resurgence we found the hatch"

As they were talking a huge aether cannon rose from the ground at pointed into the sky. A brilliant burning orange-white light crackled from between two large prongs, casting shadows over the terrain. The squad of Rippers moved to defend it.

"Away team to Resurgence, be aware that there is an aether cannon here!" Yoshiro said.

"Evasive manuevers!" Aoba's voice ordered in the background of Kalena's radio call. The giant cannon fired into the sky.

"Ah Miércoles. Take cover!" Sanda yelled as she moved back from the giant cannon.

"I'm guessing it's not treasure we're meant to find but that technology," Mineko said as if to herself as she worked the sensors on her suit and backed towards wherever her team was going. She was focused on getting a reading of what the prongs were casting up into the sky and not much else.

Yoshiro took cover with the rest of the team. "I knew this was something that the Mishhu did not want us to find. This was going to be risky either way."

The explosion of the Resurgence was bright enough that the team could see it from the ground.

"Come in, Resurgence," Mineko said, mind whipping about to in her HUD to locate the ship in the sky, trying to find any information besides what her eyes had told her.

"Oh shit!" Cassie shouted, shocked. "We need to cut the power to that cannon now! I'm rushing to the service entrance! Maybe we can find a switch or something!"

"New plan. I'll teleport in close, drop some explosives on the weapon then teleport out. Any issues?" Erika asked.

"Be careful. The Mishhu have tightened their defenses around the cannon." Yoshiro said to Erika.

"I-I'm not carrying explosives," Mineko said as if in a dream. "I'll shoot it after they're placed."

"Away team, Resurgence, we took a serious hit, Aoba requests you disable the gun," Kalena's voice said over the sound of alarms.

Mineko breathed out a sigh of relief hearing Kalena's voice through the raucous sirens that came in through comms. She followed Cassie whose form had rushed to the service entrance they had found earlier. It was the only way. Surely the Resurgence couldn't take another hit like that.

Sanda had froze up when she saw the Resurgence explode in the sky. Her mind refused to process it. Trowa, Koyama. Gone? It was like she had been punched in the gut and had all the wind knocked out of her. Then dam broke and the red mist descended. She didn't hear anything from her comms. She just raised her plasma rifle and ran to the top of the ridge.

"Sanda, get your head in the game. The Resurgence is all right but they took heavy damage." He shouted. "we need to draw fire while Erika teleports and drops explosives to depower the gun!"

"If we're going to go with planting explosives." Erika said. "I need everyone else on the ridge drawing their fire and one to cover me. We're in atmosphere so they'll hear me teleport, but shouldn't take long for me to place the charges. 10 seconds at most."

"Not with Cassie in there," Mineko said simply to Erika. The analyst had followed the Joto Heisho to the chink in the patrol's armor at the service entrance to the facility.

"She did what!?!" Erika said. "Shit."

"We have to trust her," Mineko replied back, taking stock of Sanda going tank mode and Yoshiro shouting at her.

"Sanda get down here!" Yoshiro shouted, knowing it was futile.

"Guys, you're not going to believe what they got in here," Cassie said as she descended down into the base through an old ventilation system, looking out through the vents at something she'd never seen before.

"I hope I can believe it," Mineko said, not wanting another surprise from this installation. She looked back at her team and had her AIES keep track of those not in the installation. The analyst looked at Sanda's movements in particular grimly.

When Sanda reached the top of the ridge she opened fire on the Mishhu. As soon as she had their attention she went flying off at top speed in the opposite direction of the away team. Trying to lead them away.

The original 4 Rippers stayed put near the big gun, but a second 4-PA squad of them emerged from the main gate and went after Sanda, trying to close the distance and catch her with their gnarly aether lances.

"All right, come on. We are going in to disable the gun." Yoshiro ordered the rest of the team as he followed Cassie into the opened hatch.

Sanda never stopped moving. Using both her feet and her suits flight capability she fired and moved. Fired and moved. Never letting the Rippers get a clear shot at her, but also not letting them fall too far behind. Despite the red mist clouding her eyes she had a plan and was leading the Rippers into a trap.

Be careful out there, Ranger. Yoshiro thought to himself.

Seeing the rest of the team follow Cassie into the structure, while Sanda went off on her own, Erika made the decision to back the ranger up. With the same gusto she kicked off the ground and sped after the other woman.

"Away team, Resurgence, we've lost main power and have limited fire support capabilities for you. I can manually target one AA gun if you need it." Kalena offered.

"Roger that Resurgence." Yoshiro said. "All right team let's go and disable that gun and get back home!"

"Let's disable that gun so we have a home," Mineko added. She was close on Cassie's tail.

Yoshiro followed the rest of the team and watched around for enemies and making sure that no one would get injured.."Cassie, be careful over there. I don't want you you getting hurt."

Sanda's armor, a blur against the molten backdrop, was a testament to the relentless training and determination of a Star Army Ranger. The Rippers, relentless as ever, pursued, but found themselves outmaneuvered at every turn by her agility and tactical acumen.

Sanda found what she was looking for. She had noticed it earlier when she had been scouting with the others. A rocky overhang that hung over a lava pool. There was a thin crust over the pool, concealing the deadly molten rock below it. Sanda put on a burst of speed as she rounded the corner. She had a few explosives with her. She hoped it would be enough. As she flew by the overhang she wedged her explosives against the rock the kept going a short distance away. Before turning and opening fire with everything she had. If she had timed it right, the Rippers would fly right into her barrage and pause just long enough for her to trigger the explosive that would send the cliff breaking down on top of them and into the lava below. That was her crazy plan anyway.

Erika stayed on the rangers tail, taking cover behind the overhang while Sanda planted the charges. The operative had a vauge idea as to what her plan was, and did her best to draw the attention of the rippers away from her. She took a perch and began firing her Aether SMG down at the group of rippers in short bursts. "Sanda! Tell me before you do what ever it is you're going to do alright?" The operative called out.

"Focus, Cassie," Aoba urged. "Find that control room or power source. We need to shut down that cannon before the Resurgence takes another hit."

"Yes sir," Cassie replied to Aoba and Yoshiro. She descended until she could what looked like an engineering space full of power transformers, and she just started going nuts with her aether saber, turning the peacefully humming electrical room into a hell of arcs and fire. The lights went out throughout the base and the big gun outside began to lose power.

"Just kill them all!" Was all Sanda had time to respond before the Rippers rounded the corner. Sanda opened fire and hit the trigger.

"Roger that." Erika replied, not skipping a beat as she continued laying down fire on the enemy.

Sanda's crazy plan worked just as she had intended it. The Rippers rounded the corner and hesitated as their prey had stopped running and had opened fire on them along with someone else. That moment of indeceition was all the time Sanda needed. The explosion send a rock slide crashing into them. The thin crust of gound at their feet crumbled under their weight and the fell into the boiling lava below.

Sanda took a deep breath, trying to clear her mind. She nodded her thanks to Erika. She would need to by the spook a drink when they got back to the ship. "Come on. Lets get back to the others."

"Good job Cassie, now let's get out of here" Yoshiro said. "Let's kill those Mishhu." He said and drew his katana and an smg.

"Yeah, lead the way, let's take out those remaining Rippers," Cassie said, following Yoshiro back up to the surface.

Yoshiro led his team back up to the surface. He started shoot and slashing at the Mishhu attacking them. "You will rue the day you decided to mess with a ranger and the Star Army!" He called Kalena to target the AA gun on the aether cannon.

"Looks like they're still guarding that big gun," Cassie pointed. It looks like it has power for one last shot!"

Hearing that Erika teleported forward towards the gun. A boom came from her rentry into normal space a few meters away. She reached into her pack and grabbed a shaped charge casing along with some explosive which she hastily stuffed in. As she hit the surface she adhered to the metal casing and looked left and right, using her Mindy's augmented vision to spot the most vulnerable part to strike. There was a large heat signature from a cylindrical object which Erika supposed was the capacitor or battery with the remaining energy. She quickly dashed down its length, her sheilds flaring as the rippers began to turn and open fire upon her. She slammed the charge down on the structure, placing a remote detonator inside before teleporting away. Another boom came from her translocation, then another from the shapped charge, which cut through the casing and into the heart of the gun. A third explosion, much brighter, sent a shockwave across the field as the energy in the capacitor was released all at once.

On the Resurgence, Kalena's fingers danced over the manual controls of the AA gun. "Locked on your signal, Yoshiro. Just say the word."

"Wait a minute Resurgence, Erika is placing explosives on the gun now." Yoshiro said.

Cassie slapped Yoshiro on the shoulder, tagging one of the last Rippers in her AIES and requesting Yoshiro target it with her so they could take it down faster.

Yoshiro did exactly that and opened fire on the Ripper. Smiling evilly as he emptied the magazine into the Ripper.

As Yoshiro fired with Cassie at the Ripper, his connection to the Resurgence AA gun was still active and a rain of aether came down on the Ripper from the sky like a bolt of lightning, completely and explosively tearing it to pieces.

Sanda teleported a second behind Erika just in time to see the rain of destruction on the Rippers. The Nepleslian born let loose a cry of victory as she raised her rifle into the air.

Mineko had been searching about the inside of the facility, trying to fulfill SAINT's mission objective even with the power center torn up and power out. She finished up her peek into the Mishhuvurthyar base just as she heard the chatter from Kalena and Yoshiro. It was the best time than ever to leave for where the others fought.

"Resurgence, away team. Thanks for the assist. That was a hard enemy to take down." Yoshiro said to Kalena.

Cassie looked around and didn't see any more enemy forces. "Looks secure! Hell yeah everyone!"

In the darkness Mineko could see something unexpected...

( be continued)

= = =
OOC: JP by Wes, Cowboy, Charaa, Sunny D, Ametheliana, Yoshiro
= = =
YE 45.8

After navigating through a labyrinth of dark, abandoned corridors and engaging in a tense battle with the dilapidated yet still lethal automated defense systems, the team stood before the massive vault door. The air was heavy with the scent of ionized metal and burnt circuitry—a testament to the fierce skirmish that had taken place.

Erika, with her expert knowledge, had managed to override the last of the security protocols, and with a deep, resonating thud, the vault began to open. The team braced themselves, weapons at the ready, for whatever might come next. But what greeted them was not an enemy, nor a trap, but rather a discovery that would shake the foundations of their understanding of the Mishhuvurthyar.

Inside the vault, they found an enormous chamber filled with stasis pods. The soft hum of power and a gentle pulsating light from the pods were the only signs of life. As Erika led the team inside, they counted the pods—hundreds, maybe thousands, each containing a Mishhuvurthyar.

But these were not the fearsome warriors they had been briefed about; they were civilians, many of them children and elderly. It was a stark contrast to the warlike image of the species that had been seared into the collective memory of the galaxy.

Euikoshi, stunned, approached one of the pods and wiped away the frost to peer inside. A peaceful face looked back at her, its owner in a deep, artificial slumber. "These... these are not soldiers," she whispered, her voice carrying through the comms.

Cassie was equally taken aback. "They're refugees," she concluded. "Survivors from the war, perhaps?"

Euikoshi was already scanning the room, her scientific mind racing with questions and theories. "This changes everything we thought we knew about the Mishhuvurthyar during the war. What were they running from? Why were they left here?"

As the team delved deeper into the vault, they discovered logs and personal items. It became clear that this was not a military facility but a sanctuary, a last refuge for those fleeing the horrors of a war that had consumed their society.

The most shocking revelation came when they accessed the central database. The logs showed that these Mishhuvurthyar had sought asylum with the Yamatai Star Empire, but their request had been lost in the chaos of the war. They had chosen stasis as a final, desperate measure to survive, hoping that one day someone would find them and grant them the peace they sought.

Euikoshi, examining the database further, found a personal log of a Mishhuvurthyar scientist who had overseen the vault. The scientist spoke of regret, of dreams for a future where their children could live without fear. The message was a plea for understanding, for forgiveness, and for a chance to coexist.

The discovery was monumental—not just a hidden facility, but an entire population in stasis, a forgotten footnote in the history of a bloody conflict. It was a treasure trove of cultural and historical significance, but also a tremendous responsibility.

Cheilith looked around, "Civilians? But that's impossible." She said her neko mind refusing to comprehend the concept.

"It doesn't line up with what we've come to expect from their social structure," Erika said, looking into one of the pods, "But there has to be some industry working in the back ground, keeping their technology competitive with Yamatai."

"I thought they had slaves for that." Cheilith responded.

Erika simply shrugged, smiling under her helmet "Honestly I'm as baffled as you are. However pretending like you have an idea as to whats going on sometimes helps." Her focus then shifted away from the pods to the spaces between, providing security while others continued to investigate the pods.

Sanda looked around the room, her mind struggling to understand what they were seeing. She was tired. Physically and emotionally exausted. The fight and the heat was begining to wear her down but she stayed sharp. "I don't know what the hell I'm looking at. But we need to call it in before we do anything else."

Sanda took a step away from the rest of the group and called up to the ship. "Captain we have found what the Mishhu were guarding." She paused, unsure how to even phrase it. "You're not going to believe it." She managed then sent up images from her helmets displays so that Aoba and the Resurgence could see themselves.

Yoshiro was listening to the message. "Is this common in their society?" he asked "I didn't think that they could rebel or run away?"

"I thought they were all escaped bioweapons that turned on their creators?" Cheilith asked, history before she had been born wasn't her strong suit.

Euikoshi explained, "this is very rare in Mishhu society. Apparently they're from the First Mishhuvurthyar War, before the Mishhu began to use Nekovalkyja and other species as their servants. Back then it was puely various types of Mishhuvurthyar and there were one or two times civilians were encountered, mainly at their final or capital bases."

Mineko had been quiet, hunched over the logs as she quickly flipped through them. What she could not read now, she would try to parse out later and would certainly be sending to Intelligence. It was so much to comprehend, she had stopped taking in what her fellow away team members were saying, filtering out what Euikoshi and Erika were saying from the rest of the shocked crew.

"What could their leaders have done that they would decide to turn on them?" Yoshiro asked, confused.

"Maybe they were just looking for a way to survive the war in the face of imminent destruction, much like the Concordians were," Euikoshi speculated, giving a shrug to show it was only a guess.

"I feel torn, if they really are civilians, then we need to protect them. It's just that I'm pretty sure that Mishhu civilian is a contradiction in terms. It's probably a trap." Cheilith argued.

"But they were being guarded by the fighting Mishhu. They shot at the ship and almost destroyed it." Sanda commented as she continued sending data to the Resurgence.

Cassie grunted. "You know that the Mishhuvurthyar military isn't going to come for these Mishhuvurthyar. They've moved on and evolved and they don't seem to have any empathy, remorse, or care for their fellow Mishhuvurthyar. Even if we were to outright return these civilians to them as a gesture of goodwill to try to show that a peace is possible, I feel like the Mishhu simply wouldn't care. Hell they might even eat these old Mishhu..."

"Heads on a swivel just in case. There were Rippers here so they might come back knowing that we were here. They may show no empathy to their own people but despise us to the extreme." Yoshiro said. He drew his katana, just in case.

"You got it Heisho." Erika replied, her NSBs scattering through the maze of pods creating a perimeter. "If I might suggest though, we have 3 options, leave them, destroy them or take them with us. Just go through the pros and cons of each, then make a decision. Personally, while the Mishhu have moved on, there is a chance these induviduals could provide some intelligence we don't know."

"Agreed." Cheilith said, hefting the Greatsword of the Ice Queen Mountains that the empress had given her.

"We could also choose not to decide or push it up to the higher-ups. It's a Yamataian planet, as long as the stasis equipment is working fine, we could save the decision until later, or after the Third Mishhuvurthyar War," Euikoshi pointed out. "They would be fine on ice."

"Intelligence that might give us an edge in the Third Mishhuvurthyar War." Erika countered with a shurg as she returned to concerns of security.

"I'm trying to push it up to higher-ups if our damn ship would respond." Sanda said testily. This whole situation was so above her pay grade it made her head swim.

"She took a hit; comms might be getting repaired," Mineko said without thinking. Her eyes and mind were still on the information the Mishhuvurthyar had left behind. "Give it a minute."

YSS Resurgence Colonial Relocation Area

Yayoi was silent as she made sure all of the colonists had been escorted safely to the ship. She was itching to get back, return to the team, to Sanda, but she remained patient.

Yuri was busy checking how they were medically. Like Yayoi warned her, she was aware of their medical status.

YSS Resurgence - Bridge

"I can hear you," Captain Aoba told Sanda, sounding unimpressed.

"Sorry sir. Just fatigue talking." Sanda came back, embarassed that she had let her emotions slip, especially in the field and while talking to the Captain.

"The Resurgence is too full of the previous refugees to load up these Mishhuvurthyar civilians and still dealing with the damage from that big anti-ship weapon. I am going to request that the Star Army send another, larger ship to evacuate them safely, one with the facilities to give them a debriefing. From there I assume they will get to apply as refugees and they will get a chance to start a new life in Yamatai. With luck, it will show both sides of the war that there are ways we can live together, which may help the war end sooner. Also..." Aoba added, "We should avoid mixing these two groups of refugees as they probably would kill each other."

"Roger that. I'll see to that, sir." Yoshiro said."I'll make sure that they don't fight or hurt each other."

Kalena chimed in, "Sir, message from Taisho Irim, she says we have permission to kill all Mishhuvurthyar who are not known citizens or residents of the Yamatai Star Empire."

Aoba made that, "hmm," sound he did when he was thinking of a solution.

"So are we to commit war crimes to keep the peace? Are we truly that cruel?" Yoshiro asked Aoba. "Does the Taisho even understand the pain she would cause?"

"This is a planet of the Yamatai Star Empire. Have Euikoshi upload the database from the Mishhu vault and send the list of Mishhu names to the Department of Immigration as previously unknown reisdents of Yamatai," Aoba told Kalena. "Maybe it would be different if this was an unknown planet, but it is our planet now, so these are our people now. Message Taisho Irim that we have successfully recovered lost residents of the Empire and thank her for the clarification. She gave permission, not orders, because she trusts our judgement." The captain smirked a little and then said, "All away team members may return to the ship. Today we saved some lost souls without losing our own. I want to complement all the crew on keeping their heads cool in a difficult situation." to Yoshiro, Aoba simply replied, "She will do anything for victory."

"Nice plan Captain." Trowa said. He was impressed by Aoba's cool head and reasoning. It was times like this that he really felted honored to serve under him.

"Of course but if we had to actually go through with it, would you pull the trigger on people who just want to survive?" Yoshiro asked.

"We're soldiers of the Star Army of Yamatai, Heisho. We follow orders. Just be glad that you didn't receive that order." Trowa reminded Yoshiro. "We can disscuss 'what if's' later. Right now you need to get your team back to the ship in one peice."

"Roger that sir." Yoshiro said. he felt a bit of guilt for questioning orders but he wouldn't have felt right if he didn't say anything.


Knowing the chatter from Aoba was going on, Mineko turned to Erika, "Is this really what you think SAINT has sent us to find?" Valuable had been the descriptor on the rumor and Mineko agreed they were, but she wanted to dig deeper.

Erika shurgged, "Personally I was expecting something in relation to the wormhole network. I've been looking for anything additional with my NSBs, hidden access points, strange machinery, but so far nothing. Maybe we look for a main computer and go through its logs?"

"Been doing that," Mineko said, sounding a bit defeated.

"All clear," Cassie said, after looking around and not finding any other hostiles throughout the old Mishhu facility. "Oh shit, one problem, if the power is possibly cut to the stasis pods from me blowing up the electrical center earlier, so it looks like we should probably do something before we leave like have Pidole hook up a portable aether generator."

"When you are all done, get ready to go home." Yoshiro said.

YSS Resurgence - Armor Bay

Once the stasis pods were stabilized the crew was given teleporter coordinates to come back to the Resurgence's armor bay. They had just accomplished yet another mission successfully; this one had been shorter but no less important. It seemed the war was already creating a lot of refugees and suffering, some from this conflict and others as echos of the wars before it.

Yoshiro got out of his armor and went to his quarters. He expected to be chewed out by the captain for questioning his orders. He didn't feel right not questioning the orders to kill civillians but he didn't feel right questioning them either.

Sanda finally made it back to the ship and took off her helmet. The cool air of the ship felt so good. Her hair was matted and damp with sweat. She untied the pony tail and shook her head to let it free. She then took off her armor, no easy task it turned out. The heat and the fight had done more damage to the suit than she had believed. Once out of the suit she just sat on a bench in her shorts and tank top and put her head in her hands. She needed a moment to just cool off and wrap her mind around all that had happened.

Norita came jogging over to Sanda. After a moment of looking over the damaged MINDY she just said, "You must be my job security," with a chuckle.

Cheilith took off her armor, she felt a strange attachment to the Mishhu civilians they had rescued. Yamatain Civilians, she reminded herself. Thinking of them as anything other than the enemy felt weird. She noted down the information about them and decided to see what happened with them.

Cassie arrived and crawled out of her Mindy suit as it opened, held by one of the many armor racks. She stretched out her arms, causing her claws to extend from her fingers. "I'm glad we didn't get too banged up this time. Good shooting everyone. I think we did a lot better teaming up on those Rippers with focus fire."

Yayoi appeared in the Power Armor bay as she heard the away team returned.

"I don't think I fired my gun once," Mineko admitted sheepishly.

"I managed to get a couple with my sword. But yhea, pretty easy combat this time around." Cheilith added.

"I blew up a big gun!" Erika said, pleased with herself.

Sanda snorted at Norita but managed a smile. "You keep fixing them too quick. I'm trying to sit out a mission becuase my suit's damaged but in never stays damaged long enough."

"I heard you firing neurons," Cassie told Mineko with a grin, making a "big brain" hand gesture.

Mineko made a soft little sound out her mouth in thanks, then added, "Sanda was tanking them all for us, there was no need."

The mention of Sanda's 'heroics' made Erika grimace as she took a sideways glance at the ranger. She sighed and let the thought go.

"how'd the mission go? sorry i couldnt be there" Yayoi said to Sanda.

Euikoshi almost immediately buried herself in tablets to do more research on the few sightings of civilian Mishhu. "Fascinating..."

"Nothing I couldn't handle." Sanda said looking over at Yayoi. "I hope you had a nice break on the ship." She teased.

"Hey, I bet those burgers are ready now," Cassie suddenly remembered. The gray-furred catgirl was always thinking about food.

Yayoi almost smirked at Sanda, just almost. "heh." she said simply in response.

"You should be there with her next time," Mineko said to Yayoi. "You can help us know how to get through to the berserker side of her brain if it happens again."

Yayoi raised an eyebrow "berserker side?" she asked for clarification

Sanda shrugged. "I'm Nepleslian. We go crazy sometimes." She didn't really want to talk about it at the moment and hoped no one would press the issuse right now. She needed some food and a shower. A cold shower.

"We all do." Bowing her head a bit, Mineko mirrored Sanda's shrug and said, "Maybe we can go over it in the cabin. Nothing worth airing out right now." She didn't like the idea of talking about something that could have either been a highly polarizing moment for Sanda or more the norm in such a public way. She had been worried on the battlefield, but didn't need to spread that worry elsewhere.

Yayoi nodded "ok" she said simply, before turning slightly.

"Maybe we'll do a little self care tonight, too. I doubt they've got steam facials in Nepleslia," Mineko said. "It'll make anyone feel a world better."

Sanda nodded, grateful for some space. "That sounds good to me. Besides, I'm starving."

Cabin 6

Trowa was on his way to the Wardroom to check on the away team when he noticed that Yoshiro had headed straight to his quarters. Trowa had known Yoshiro a long time and knew that the man was proably worring about how the mission had gone and whatever had gone wrong was his fault. Trowa decided that he would stop and see him.

At the door to Cabin 6, Trowa pressed the door alarm indicating that he was there.

"Come in." Yoshiro said as the door opened. "Hello XO. To what do I owe the pleasure?" He bowed to his old XO.

Trowa stepped into the cabin and glanced around. He noticed the model that Yoshio had bought and built for his brother and smiled at it. "Quite the mission wasn't it." Trowa said as he moved closer to examine the model.

"Yes it was."He said with a sigh. He was expecting a chewing out by the captain for questioning orders but Trowa was here instead. He felt a bit better for that. He saw that he was looking at the model he was building for his younger brother.

YSS Resurgence - Wardroom

As chef Rossa set up the burger buffet, a new face was at her side, one with a pig-like nose, purple feathers, and long ears. This short-statured chef was a Phodian, a species native to the planet Ohara.

With her trusty Rectal Infuriator hotsauce, Majnun followed the smell of delicious food. When she peeked her head into the wardroom she noticed chef Rossa and a short Phodian setting up. "Would you two like help setting up?" she mentioned quietly.

"Hello, I'm Julix, chef extraordinaire!" the Phod said, offering a wing with a clawed hand on the end of it to shake. "I'm a new transfer from the YSS Komainu! It's okay, we've got it all handled!"

Yuri was getting her food, when her new friend senses were tingling rapidly. This cause her to turn, a big innocent cheshire grin appearing on her lips and flew towards Majnun. "hiiii, I'm Yuri! you're new right? Wanna be friends?" Thats when she realized the Phod was new too!

Smiling towards Julix she responded, "Hi! I am Majnun, hopefully one day clerk extraordinaire." she paused briefly. "This is my first command. Well alright, I will be around if you would like any help." she offered cheerfully. Hearing someone talk to her she turned towards the sounds source, "Hello Yuri! I am new, how did you know?" she said excitedly. "I would love to be friends!!! Do you like spicy food?"

Yuri grinned happily "i know lots of people on the ship, i make sure to meet them, and become friends." she said though leaving the thought of eventually having a army of friends. "Oh yeah, spice food! mom's bar has the spiciest hot sauce in the galaxy too." she said. Not realizing Majnun had the same hot sauce.

Majnun smiled immediately feeling comfortable with the crew after having already made a new friend. "Sometime I will have to go there! What is your mom's bar called?" she inquired quietly pulling out her bottle of Rectal Infuriator out for Yuri to see.

"The Kakushi Nekoba, or in trade, the Hidden Neko Den" Yuri said before her eyes widened. "oh my! thats the one she has!"

Poppy had a huge smile as she glided into the wardroom, easily recognized by her voluminous cotton candy pink hair, pretty face, and vivid green eyes. She pulled out a pink soda can and held it up. "Guys! KZ named a soda after me!" she bubbled. "It's Dr. Poppy!" Poppy was telling the truth, she really did have a can of Lovefruit-flavored cabonated beverage with her name on it. "Honestly, I never expected this!"

"Oh wow, sempai! congrats!!" Yuri said with a proud smile on her face, as she applauded.

A wide grin spread across her face when she heard that Yuri's mom also utilized this sauce. "Well then I shall definetly have to go sometime! Would you like to come with me?" she inquired before turning to Poppy excitedly. "What?! That is awesome!" Majnun exclaimed. "What does it taste like?! We will need to order some to keep on hand for the crew!" she uttered gleefully. "If, if that is okay with you?" she asked Poppy.

"Sakuko is already on it!" Poppy told her.

Yuri grinned at Majnun "sure! and as the owners daughter i get a discount same with star army members." She said.

= = =
OOC: JP by Wes, Cowboy, Charaa, Sunny D, Ametheliana, Yoshiro, Soban, Nakshatra
Cabin 5

Mineko hadn't needed to shower or clean up, having only barely exerted herself on the mission by chasing Cassie. She had also foregone dinner, wrinkling her nose at the smell of greasy burgers and fries before even stepping foot in the wardroom. Instead, she'd set to work in the cabin she shared with the rangers and other SAINT agent.

Alone for now, she was sitting with her knees tucked under her on the floor of the cabin. She was bundled up in regal blue sweatpants and matching hoodie that her thick hair spilled out of on either side of her neck. On her bunk were a few datapads strewn about and she was looking between each of them simultaneously. There was a set look of focus on her face. She was simultaneously doing the mental work of categorizing and looking through and creating a database of the logs they had found on the civilian portion of the Mishhuvurthyar base while also doing as much research as she could on the planet of Mwigflukbajik. Almost at a tempo, her finger tapped one of the datapads as she confirmed the receipt from her digital memory to the PANTHEON connected device. Meanwhile her other hand slowly scrolled along the second pad on her bed.
Cabin 5

Sanda had headed for the Wardroom first. She was starving. She silently grabbed her plate of food and sat down without even noticing that there were new people on board. She wolfed down her food and washed it all down with a pitcher of water. She had earbuds in her ears that was blasting music and drowning out all other sound around her. Classic Rock N Roll.

Next stop was the shower block. Along the way she saw Trowa coming down the corridor. He started to say something but before he could Sanda had wrapped her arms around him. Trowa was quite surprised. This was a display of emotion that his sister-in-law rarely showed. The fact was Sanda had been so sure that Trowa had been killed when the ship was attacked that it had made her go completely berserk. The Ranger was very close to her sister and the idea of her sister losing her husband and Sanda's niece and nephew losing their father was too much for her to bear. So she had attacked four Rippers without any regard to her own safety. Luckily, even through the red mist, as Sanda called it, her instincts had taken over and she had fought smart, leading her enemy on a chase to a place of her own choosing.

After a moment, Sanda released Trowa and continued on her way to the shower block as if nothing had happened. Trowa watched her go with a bemused look on his face, shrugged, then continued on his way towards Yorisho's cabin. In the shower block, Sanda took off her closes and just stood under the water for several minutes, enjoying the cool water after the heat from the planet below. It had been a tough fight, but they had come out of it alright. Sufficiently cooled off now, Sanda turned on the hot water and washed her hair and lighting tattooed body. It felt good to wash away the grease and sweat out of her hair. Feeling refreshed, she turned off the water, dried off and dressed quickly. Just some workout shorts and tank top but with her wet hair she felt cold so she threw a zip up sweatshirt on. She then wrapped her wet hair up in a towel and replaced her ear buds. With the music once again blasting she tossed her dirty close in a laundry hamper. She'd kept her belt with its weapons attached to it and tossed it over one shoulder.

Sanda was feeling like a new woman now. One of her favorite songs was playing and without realizing it she started singing along. At first it was just under her breath but the farther she went the louder it became. She couldn't hear herself, the music was too loud. Poppy probably would have warned her that listening to music that loudly was bad for her ears but she was too caught up in the music at the moment to notice anything. By the time she reached the door to her cabin she was singing loudly.

"Shot through the heart! And you're to blame! You give Love a bad name!" Sanda sang coming into the room. She was so into the music she didn't notice anyone else was in the room. She tossed her weapon belt onto her bunk. Unwrapping the towel around her head, she started to squeeze the water out of it but the guitar solo was coming up. She dropped the towel and her wavy wet hair hung from her head as she began to play an air guitar. As the solo ended she jumped onto the desk and yelled "WHOA! Shot through the heart! And you're to blame you give love a bad name! Bad name! I play my part and you play your game. You give love a bad name! Shot through the heart!" Sanda spun around on the desk and opened her eyes and suddenly became aware that she was NOT alone in room. That Mineko was sitting on the floor with a bunch of datacards around her. Sanda recovered quickly and jumped off the desk as if nothing had happened and killed the music as the song ended. Picking back up her towel she sat down on her bunk and began drying and brushing her hair out. After a moment Sanda asked, "What are reading?"

Majnun's features lit with joy as a smile spread across her face. This friendly interaction with the crew only served to further her hopes for this new adventure of being in the Star Army. Poppy's exclamation about Sakuko made her think for a moment. "That is good to hear, I cannot wait till it gets here!" she responded as internal thoughts about her hot sauce supply continued within. Caressing her chin in thought she looked off for a moment, "Speaking of Sakuko this reminds me, I may need to see if she might be able to acquire more hot sauce. I fear I might not have brought enough." she mused cupping her chin in the palm of her hand momentarily.

When Yuri agreed to go with her to the Kakushi Nekoba she was happily surprised dropping her hand from her chin to meet her other hand, clapping in excitement.
"This is so exciting! I am already thinking about what to try. So silly, I know." she paused shocked by the kind gesture of discounts for Star Army members. "What a kind gesture! Do you have a favorite dish that is served there?" she asked Yuri curiously.
Majnun's enthusiasm was contagious, and Yuri couldn't help but smile at her genuine excitement. "I'm glad you're looking forward to it! And don't worry, it's not silly at all to think about what to try. The Kakushi Nekoba has a wide variety of dishes, so it's only natural to be curious."
Yuri thought for a moment before responding to Majnun's question about her favorite dish. "Well, I'm a fan of their ramen. The broth is rich and flavorful, and they have different toppings and noodle options to choose from. It's a classic, but they do it really well. Besides that, their sushi is also quite delicious, and the presentation is always impeccable. Honestly, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu."
She then leaned in slightly, as if sharing a secret. "But if you're a fan of hot sauce, you might want to try their spicy tuna rolls. They have just the right amount of kick, and it's a personal favorite of mine."

Yuri chuckled, "And about the discounts for Star Army members, it's a nice perk. I think they appreciate the work we do, and it's their way of showing gratitude. It's a great place to unwind and enjoy some good food after a mission or a long day."

Yayoi quietly approached the Wardroom, appreciating the bustling atmosphere as crew members gathered for meals and social interactions. The hum of conversations filled the air, blending with the clinking of utensils and the occasional laughter. It was a comforting backdrop to the daily life aboard the YSS Resurgence.

As Yayoi neared the food station, she noticed her daughter Yuri engaged in conversation with a fellow crew member. A sense of pride and warmth filled her heart as she observed Yuri's natural ability to connect with others. Yayoi knew that Yuri's choice of a medic career was well-suited for her empathetic and sociable nature.

Suppressing a smile, Yayoi continued towards the food selection, her mind already set on a quick meal. She appreciated these moments of camaraderie among the crew, recognizing the importance of forming bonds in the challenging environment of space. Glancing back at Yuri, she marveled at her daughter's enthusiasm and dedication to building connections within the tight-knit community of the starship.

With a plate in hand, Yayoi intended to savor a brief moment of respite before returning to her duties. The YSS Resurgence was more than just a vessel; it was a home for its crew, a place where relationships were forged amid the vastness of the cosmos.

After swiftly obtaining her food from the Wardroom, Yayoi made her way through the busy corridors of the YSS Resurgence, navigating the starship with a practiced ease. The rhythmic hum of the ship's systems surrounded her as she headed towards Cabin 5, her designated quarters.

Upon reaching her cabin, Yayoi entered and closed the door behind her, momentarily shutting out the ambient sounds of the ship. The familiar surroundings provided a sense of comfort and privacy. The soft glow of control panels illuminated the room, casting a warm ambiance.

Here, she spotted Sanda, and Mineko. who she nodded her head too.

"Oh, of course," Sakuko nodded. "I will submit it for approval right away. The bottle says 'one drop is enough to traumatize an ordinary human being', so one case of 24 should be enough to last us a long time, right?" A holographic teal screen briefly appeared in front of her, projected by her small triangular projector on her uniform, showing the request form as she filled it.


The Resurgence left orbit headed home to Yamatai for fixes and to drop off this latest group of refugees they had rescued.
YE 45.8

Central Uesureya, Planet Yamatai

A cold and steady wind rushed through the YSS Resugence's hangar, while heavy rain fell outside from a gray and tumultuous sky above. The gunship, still partially disassembled in the places where it had been hit by the planetary defense weapon, sat quietly perched in the center with her main gun sticking out into the storm.


Captain Aoba called everyone to the wardroom for a brief meeting.

"Good morning everyone, thankfully the ship's repairs have been approved and we will be back out there in short order. The refugees from Mwigflukbajik, both the humans and the unusual Mishhuvurthyar civilians, have been taken to refugee facilities as they start new lives with the support of the Yamatai Star Empire. I also got an update on the Concordian refugees and they are doing well and many of them have expressed interest in becoming Yamataian citizens joining the Star Army, based on our crew's efforts to help them," the captain told them.

Yuri smiled as she listened to the Captain's words, as pride in her mother and the other away team grew within her.

Sanda sipped her cup of coffee. She still wasn't totally convinced with the whole idea of Mishhuvurthyar civilians but that was way above her pay grade and not her concern anymore.

Yayoi remained silent, emotionless as she listened to Aoba's words.

Majnun quietly contemplated the work she might need to do in assisting the civilians not only become citizens of Yamatai, but also members of the Star Army.

"In the meantime," the captain continued, "It's the end of the year so I want everyone to make sure you are squared away. If you haven't had a medical check, get one done, and also we have a new clerk, Zanjabil-Santo Hei, to make sure your paperwork is straight. I will authorize any reasonable awards from this last mission, as well as requests for schools and qualifications or certifications. If you've checked all those boxes off, you are free to enjoy some recreational time on planet Yamatai. As usual, please keep a battle buddy with you at all times when off the ship."

After her absence, Koyama's eyes narrowed ever so slightly at the mention of Yamatai's old enemies. She hadn't been present for some time having placed a request for leave via Aoba. But, as she sat and listened, she'd mirrored the lightning-bolt tattoo'd Ranger. Albeit she was drinking a particularly strong tea instead of coffee.

Yayoi realized it was a while since she'd backed up her ST, so made a mental note to do so sooner rather than later.

The analyst for the ship raised her hand before she spoke, "Do we have a new mission before the end of the year?" Mineko had enjoyed her time planetside, but was beginning to feel the yearning to be out on the open waters of space where she and the Resurgence got the most out of their time.

Silently the iromakuanhe clerk flicked her eyes over to Captain Aoba as he mentioned her name. She paid rapt attention to the directions he passed to the crew, making mental notes of all the things that would need to be accomplished.

"I don't know if we will be able to start it this month or if we'll be starting it next year and spending the year-end holidays here. There seems to be a bit of a starship technician shortage because the Star Army is equipping and building so many ships right now so our repair crew is smaller than normal. Our ship technicians like Pidole are assisting the shipyard staff wherever possible," Captain Aoba told Mineko. "But the short answer is yes, there is a mission. We have quite a stack of them."

Yoshiro was listening to the briefing quietly. He was eating an apple and sipping some tea while he was listening to the mission briefing. He was happy that some of the Concordians wanted to join the Star Army because of what they did for them.

Koyama lifted her hand slightly, her cup resting in one hand. "I will assist in repairs of the ship, sir." His XO offered. She'd after all begun her career as an engineer.

Yuri quietly sipped hot chocolate as she listened to Aoba's words some more, she was a medic, not a technician, so she knew she couldn't help. She thought about calling Luna and asking her to guide her through repairs.

Sanda frowed slightly. If she had to stay on Yamatai, then she probably wouldn't get to see her fiance. She didn't like that idea. It had been too long since she had seen him. Well that was to be expected when you were engaged to someone from a different military.

"That's good to hear, captain," Mineko said with a beaming smile.

Majnun's eyes fluttered over the crew associating faces with names that she had encountered before, creating a list of others to interact with that she had yet to meet. It seemed everyone had settled in with snacks or beverages, her on the other hand, she was daydreaming about what to put Rectal Infuriator on next. Perhaps she might be asked to pull some technicians if the need became too great, or she might be called upon to volunteer herself.

"That is all for now," captain Aoba said. "If anyone needs anything I will be over in the corner by the library to talk for a few minutes. Enjoy your breakfast."

Yuri nodded her head "i better go back to work.. gonna have to help Poppy Sempai with back ups." She said to those around her, namely Majnun.

The First Officer nodded as Aoba retreated toward the library. Koyama allowed her gaze to sweep over the assembled crew and then to one of her earliest friends aboard the ship. "So," she began, "What have I missed?" she asked Sanda. Of course she knew much of it already via reports, but having the other woman's perspective had proven an asset in the past.

Sanda moved over towards Koyama and smiled. She held out a beautiful katana that she had received from the last chance salvage. On the handle was a Yamataian symbol that read "Arc". "I got this sword. It's the most beautiful sword I think I've ever seen. When I first picked it up... It shocked me." Sanda, whose name literally meant Thunder and was covered in lighting-bolt tattoos had been quite spooked then intrigued by the blade that would dare to shock her.

In response to her new besty Yuri's commentary, Majnun offered a nod with a warm smile. "Let me know if you need any help! I will check with you later if there's any paperwork you need done." After offering parting words to Yuri her eyes flicked over the crew once more noting Koyama speaking with Sanda. That was when she remembered that the Captain had mentioned breakfast and her eyes shot wide open with anticipation. She headed to acquire some treats observing the library corner as she selected a small assortment of breakfast meats.

Koyama tilted her head a little as Sanda held out the weapon. Taking it from the Nepleslian Ranger, the Neko seemed to test its weight and balance before even drawing it. "Where did you come across it?" she asked then snorted at the irony of Sanda being 'shocked' by the sword.

"I got it from the Last Chance Salvage, it was in a box with a bunch of other random stuff. But I was drawn to the blade as soon as I saw it. I can't explain it. You know me. I'm a knife girl but after seeing that blade... I'd like for you to teach me how to use one." Sanda requested.

Yoshiro looked at Trowa and decided to ask him to be his battle buddy. "Excuse me, Shosa. I have something to ask you." he said "I want to visit my family but the captain said to bring a battle buddy. Would you be mine?"

Trowa smiled. "I plan on spending as much time with my family as well. They'll be here by the end of the week from Jiyuu III. So that will work out great. As long as we leave the ship together and come back together we'll be fine."

"Thank you Shosa. I finally get to see my family and get to see my family and get to see my father again." Yoshiro said. He went to get ready to go and see his family. "Sho will definitely be glad to see me. Would you like to come and meet them Shosa?"

Trowa nodded. "I'd be honored to meet your family Yoshiro. Do they live on Yamatai? We could head out this afternoon if you like? I've got to arrange billets for when my family gets here and we can knock out both at once."

"Yes they do. My little brother is a fan of the Star Army and he will be fanboying so hard on you,especially when he figures out you are the shosa of the Resurgence." Yoshiro says with a laugh. "Sure that sounds like a good idea.

"When my family get's here you will have to meet them as well. I'm pretty sure you've met my wife at some point but my son just a little over one so I'm sure you haven't met him before." Trowa smiled. He was so looking forward to seeing his family again.

"I would be honored too meet them as well." Yoshiro said with a smile." I don't remember meeting your wife at all but I would be happy to meet her as well."

"No? Hmm I was sure you had at some point. No matter. It'll be fun regardless." Trowa smiled. "Elanor Aeon, my daughter is 6 now. She's already talking about getting a tattoo like her mother. She wants a Plumeria gunship, like the one she's named after. The old Aeon."

"You honor the ship and her captain. I just wish that I knew what happened to her. She gave me good advice when I was under her command." Yoshiro said "I would have liked to thank her for what she did for me. She did a lot and so did the crew. Anyways I am going to go get packed so we can go as soon as we can."

"Isa Katae? She was promoted to Shosho and became deputy director of SA personnel." Trowa laughed. "We'll have to send her a picture of us or something. Let her know how big an influence she had on us."

"We should." Yoshiro said with a smile. "We'll get a picture of us and our families while we are there seeing them. Well, I'll go and get and packed. I'll meet you in the shuttle bay asap."

"Will do." Trowa agreed. He headed for his cabin to get his stuff packed.

Mineko ambled towards the corner of the library that had hardbound books, looking from some of the volumes she had already picked up already to those she had yet to. She hated being interrupted while reading, but Aoba had only just made his way there—plus, he had asked for the company!

"Reading something mission-specific or for yourself?" Mineko asked Aoba.

"I am simply making myself available," Aoba told Mineko. "But, if you want a recommendation..." Aoba said, picking up a book called "Zen Lessons on the Art of Leadership" and placed it on the table. "I have my own copy of this in my cabin and it is lovely reading, and useful advice from ancient times that rings true even today."

"I'll take that recommendation, sir," Mineko said as she ran a finger over the spine. "Thank you."

"Also, sir," Mineko had turned, but only halfway and spun back around to face Aoba with the Zen Lessons pressed against her black jacket. "I'd like to have a bridge seat for the next mission, if that's okay. As far as my role goes, I'd like to see if I can make more of a different from the ship. If there's a place, of course!"

"That is perfectly fine," Aoba replied to Mineko. "If nothing else, there has been a certain lack of coordination in some of our recent away missions and it would help if you could make sure all of the team members are on the same page so we do not end up with breakaway groups getting themselves into difficult situations, and so forth," he offered.

"A bit of mission control detail, then?" Mineko asked with a smile and then a half bow. "You've got it, Captain. Have a relaxing read and thank you!"

After placing three drops of the hot sauce on each piece of meat not at all regretting future consequences, Majnun partook of the delicious sustenance. Seeing as most people had paired up she figured she would get a headstart on that paperwork likely waiting for her. Quietly she slipped out of the wardroom to get a headstart on the workload.

Euikoshi stopped Majnun at the wardroom doorway and asked, "So you're going to get our medals done for us?" she asked. "I would like to propose asking around for the happy command award and see if there is enough crew members to support it. If so, it would show the captain we are glad to have him and grateful for how the mission ended. If not, I guess just don't tell him," she chuckled.

"I'd support a happy command, I've been very happy here." Cheilith agreed.

Majnun stumbled back a few steps before offering Euikoshi a friendly smile. "Hai Shoi, That was actually one of the first things on my list to complete!" she responded excitedly. "I will certainly look into that, would you be the first to recommend the commanding officer?" she inquired with a smile. It would be so exciting to get this started to do something for the crew. She then looked to Cheilith and grinned, "That makes one more required, if you wish to recommend the Captain" she looked to Euikoshi.

Koyama drew the blade from its sheath only enough to get a better look. While Sanda explained, she made a small noise of approval. But just before re-sheathing it she allowed a thumb to run across the edge drawing a small trail of blood along its edge. Afterward she sucked at the thumb, wiped it clean on a napkin and returned it.

"Ah..." Koyama began and looking a little embarassed, explained, "OId habit and tradition." she explained wiggling the thumb. The shallow cut had already healed. "You are comfortable with its weight and balance?" It wasn't exactly a yes or no to Sanda's request.

Sanda nodded. "I've held hundreds of blades in my life, maybe thousands. Some were average quality and some that were crafted by masters. Aside from my own Straight Silver blade, I've never know a blade to feel so natural in my hands. But I know enough to that I am no where near compatent with a sword the way I am with a knife."

"A blade like that," Koyama jestured with her cup to the katana, "Is a different beast than knives." She could only ever recall the Ranger using knives. "But if you want to learn... I can teach you." With a nod she sipped at the beverage again. "Just be warned, you may come out bruised body and or ego. Perhaps a broken bone or two." From her tone she didn't sound like she was kidding.

"We will start simple. And not with that. You won't hold a live blade until I say. My teacher did not hold my hand, nor is she holding my child's. So I will do the same with you."

Sanda smirked. "If I wanted easy I'd have asked someone else to train me. I want the best you've got and no holding back. Just try and break me. I'm up to the task. I'll do whatever you ask of me." Then something Koyama said clicked. "Wait. What? What child?"

"Hm?" Koyama responded as she made to take another sip. "Why did you think I requested a leave of absence? I did not want to have my youngling aboard the Resurgence in case we ever entered combat." But she waved a hand, a small volumetric screen popping up between the two. It displayed a little girl, ink black hair, milk skinned and with eyes a shade or two lighter than Koyama's own. She was staring up shyly, face half buried against a shirt. It seemed she was being carried. Likely by Koyama herself.

¿Para qué diablos todas las personas que conozco tienen bebés de la nada? Sanda thought but then smiled as she saw the picture. "She's adorable. But why did you want to have a kid in the first place? If you don't mind me asking? Seems to me like a bad time to have a kid with another Mishhu war taking place."

"Does a potential parent need a reason to have a child if they want to?" Koyama countered. "Koyuki is as safe as one could be on Yamatai. Especially in Malifar, with my teacher for the time being until her other parent comes for her." Smiling at the screen it seemed she almost wanted to place a hand atop the youngling's head despite it only being a figment of solidified light.

"My own mother's reasons were much the same. Except drawn perhaps more for longing and a little lonliness and pain. She could not do the things a normal parent does for their children. Bound by duty as she was. With my daughter I told myself I would make up for what I lacked as a youngling myself."

Sanda thought about it then shook her head. "I suppose not." Although Sanda was curious why neko's had babies alone instead of the normal fun way of getting them but she didn't press that point. She smile again at the picture. "She's very lucky to have you for her mother."

Koyama merely smiled at the compliment. "I cannot take all of the credit. Her contributor is as much a part of her as I am. I merely carried her." She'd unintentionally answered the question on Sanda's mind.

Sanda had been in the middle of taking a drink of her coffee and Koyama's comment made her choke a little. She coughed a few times trying to clear her throat. "Her contributor?" She laughed between coughs. "That's one way to put it. Was he dreamy?"

"She," Koyama corrected placing the empty cup on the table. "Contributors can be male or female." She explained a wry smile in place. "But you could say she was, she did seem to prefer my cabin over her own. Tachiko was a blanket hog, constantly kicked me in my sleep, and by Chiharu I was somewhat thankful she transferred just so I could go one night without a foot slamming into my face."

Sanda just shook her head. "You Nekos. Wait Tachiko? The mission specialist that was briefly assigned here on the Resurgence?" Sanda laughed again.

"Just so," Koyama said tartly, "I've only ever come across two people I would consider having a child with." She paused a moment and looked to Sanda, "Tachiko was one, the other was perhaps the only man I ever found attractive and had the qualities in a potential partner."

The picture of the youngling was replaced by a man, Nepleslian in appearance gray haired, but still of an age to Sanda. Hawk-like, ice blue eyes seemed to bore into the Ranger showing a frightening level of intelligence. "His name was Nyton. Nyton Claymere."

"Now that's more like it." Sanda said sizing up the man in the picture. Not bad looking at all. Not as cute as her own man, but Sanda was little bias on that note. Still not bad at all.

"He was my first crush." Koyama stated. "He had a head for strategy, yet absolutely hated chess." With a little chuckle she continued, "I would annoy him constantly to play just to aggravate him."

"So what happened to him?" Sanda asked.

Koyama took a breath and looked toward the ceiling, "This was all when I was perhaps a year old? A year and a half? I served on the same ship as him. But..." she sighed, "Let's just say I allowed my pride to override my commonsense when it came to my skill as a engineer. I left the ship. Was reassigned to the Sakura ll afterward." With a shrug she placed her chin on a fist, "Haven't seen him since." Koyama left out almost all of what happened back then. Only providing the bare bones version.

Sanda felt honored to have Koyama share so much with her. She had missed the first officer being around. She glanced at her sword on the table then back up at Koyama. "Alright. Nice talk and all, but when do we get started?"

Koyama lifted an already arched eyebrow, "When I say," her voice stern, then narrowing her eyes. "First lesson, patience. You won't be swinging that sword anytime soon. I will have to have proper bokken made to approximate the balance and weight of that blade."

"I gathered that much already. I did some research of my own first you know." Sanda said, a little cocky but not very much. "Why do you think I asked you. You've been trained by the best and I know... what they make public about how that process goes. I know I won't be using this sword for a while but that's why I want you teaching me. This is the best, most special sword I've ever held and I want to be worthy to wield such a blade."

"Research," Koyama sneered, "That won't help you, Sanda. Only experience will."

Zanven Brax was pulling into the hangar where the ship was being repaired...he had been gone for a long track of time and honestly he was happy to be coming back from a isolated mission due to his piloting skill alone. Seeing the damage done to his second home he was rather taken aback, but he brought the shuttle down and into a smaller hangar to land and get to the remainder of the crew. After getting everything turned off Zanven took off to the area where the he signed in and was given a scan as well as his bag given a look through make sure everything was good. After it was all good to go he was told the captain had called for the crew for a large meeting in the mess hall and he gave them a slight bow in respect before taking off into the ship, so he could put away his clothes and make it to the mess hall.

After about ten minutes he was quick to get to the mess hall where he could just make it in and look be honest he needed a familiar face or...his girlfriend that he had not seen in...months..."fucking hell...I really gotta take this relationship in a different direction." He said as he Rand a hand through his now a little bit longer hair. He went a little absent minded for a moment.

:Heyo! Where you been?" Cheilith asked her roommate waving him over to sit next her.

Majnun looked in the direction that Cheilith had waved, then she looked back to Cheilith. "Do you think he would recommend the Captain for the award as well? Perhaps if he come over I will ask." she contemplated somewhat quietly.

Sakuko was excited to see Zanven again and she came over to him and have him a warm, strong hug that lasted a while. "Hello stranger," she whispered in his ear with an expression of contentment on her face.

Zanven saw the waves and as he was about to wave in return he heard the very familiar voice in his ear as a hug was wrapped all around him. Sakuk...his strong friend, a hell of a fighter, a hell of a team player, and most importantly...she was like family to him as she was one of the first to hang out with him when he first joined the ship. " Ya is likely that I hit that stranger title if I keep having to leave to pilot even more, but I know I am home with my team...friends...and family. It is good to see you Sakuko, I am sorry I haven't been here to help." Zanven said as he ended the hug and scratched behind his head for a moment. He knew that soon he would have to go to see his roommate as well. He got along with that crew member like true family.

"I'm just glad you're here," Sakuko told Zanven. "Want me to get you some waffles?" she offered.

"Hmmm," Majnun thought to herself. Turning her head slightly to look at Cheilith she flicked her gaze between the new arrival and the woman next to her. "Perhaps I should get around to asking the others about the recommendations. However, before I go, is there any clerk related tasks you would like me to check up on for you Itto Hei?"

"Not at the moment, but I would like to know how an Iroma decided to join the army." Cheilith responded, wanting to get to know her better.

"As you wish" Majnun paused a moment. "Oh!" she exclaimed. "You know you are actually the first to ask me that question oddly enough. I traveled to Yamatai to expand my adventure horizons and a friend in the Star Army convinced me that enlisting would be the best way to do that." the iromakuanhe smiled. "Why did you decide to join the Star Army?" she inquired just as intrigued on getting to know her fellow crew.

"I was born to it. We didn't know when the Kuvexian war was going to end, so I was created just in time to fight at Glimmergold with these knuckleheads. I've kinda been here ever since." She shrugged, "You'll definitely have adventures on this ship. You got any family, relationships with anyone?"

"Are you going to order us a Yule tree, Sakuko, or do we have to go out and bring one back?" Gabriela asked from her table. She had a sausage on her fork that she waved around as she talked.

"We should totally make an away team and get one from somewhere in the Ice Queen Mountains," Euikoshi grinned. "Wait, are live trees allowed on ships? It might be a fire hazard...I should know this..."

"Either way works," Sakuko told Gabriela, still holding onto Zanven by his hand.

"I'm quite famished." Zanven said with a chuckle and felt his hand grabbed as there was some talk for a moment and he just remained in the drive as he moved a lot more lightly than what he used to. "Besides the ship can handle a lot, I mean it does handle living trees with some of the tall workers around here from what i've seen." He said with a light chuckle as he rubbed his stomach. If he was caught on having to keep to instant food bars anymore, holy hell he might be going hunting at an ally planet when they were in harbour next.

"Oh goodness" Majnun responded jovially looking around once more at the aforementioned knuckleheads. "Here? No. I do have some friends though! I should get around to asking the other crew for recommendations, you can come with if you would like?" she offered to Cheilith before heading over towards Sanda and Koyama. On her way over she sent a communication to Yuri about the award recommendation.

Sakuko nodded and loaded up a nice tray of breakfast food and brought it back to Zanven. "Your waffles, made by Rossa, and fresh strawberries! That's something we don't always get when we're off planet. Also, did you know we got a new Phodian cook? His name is Julix."

"Thank you!" He said as the food was laid out before him and he was given the news that he knew about the banquet style meals didn't always happen, but did work better than being a pilot for a rather computer powerful enemy that the empire threw him at. Regardless...when he heard that there was a new Phodian cook his eyes widened. "Is the ship hiring for lost lives...or is this for an upgrade?" He looked at Sakuko and kind of leaned in like he was asking something confidential.

"It's an addition," Sakuko said, "We were understaffed before. Whether it is an upgrade depends on how good his food is," she joked.

"I can live with that for sure. Food makes us hard workers that's for damn sure!" He said with a chuckle.

Medical Lab

Poppy went through her lab with Beryl Leyton and the two came up with a list of inventory and an order for new supplies. There were a lot of new medicines on the market this year thanks to Advancer Industries and Poppy was determined to have a supply of them all, plus the new medical kits they made looked useful. Beryl nodded with a warm smile and placed the order through Star Army Logistics. As she headed out of the room, Cassie came in to get her annual checkup as the captain had requested. Soon Cassie was on the scale in her underwear, getting measured.

"153 centimeters tall, and 51.5 kilograms...a little higher than last time," Poppy observed. "Sit here while I take your blood pressure..."

= = =


Charaa, Wes, Ame, Nak, Cowboy, Soresu, Soban, Zanven, Yoshiro
Shuttle Bay

After he had packed his clothes and the mecha that he was building for Sho, he went down to the shuttle bay and to meet with Shosa Trowa. He waited for his shosa and stood, ready for the second trip home to see his family.
Wardroom - Majnun

Majnun approached the two women who were discussing amongst themselves, hoping that she would not be interrupting something too important. She slipped in next to Koyama and Sanda, "Pardon me Shosa and Itto Heisho, but I have been tasked with asking the crew a couple post mission questions. I do hope I am not interrupting something important, if so please send me on my way." she paused for a moment looking around to make sure Captain Aoba was not in ear shot so as to ruin the surprise. "A few crew members have recommended Captain Aoba for the Happy Command Award and I was wondering if you two lovely ladies would be on board to recommend him as well?" she glanced around inconspicuously before continuing. "Additionally, if you have awards you need for this last mission please let me know! I will get on putting them in as soon as possible." she gave both women a large friendly smile.

Sanda glanced up as one of the new crew came over. An Iromakuanhe. Sanda hadn't seen too many of them around. Just a clerk though. Someone Sanda would have to watch over while in the field. Maybe she can hold her own. I'll have to get her in the dojo and try her out. Sanda thought.

She smiled when Majnun mentioned awards. "Yes. I'd support recommending the Captain for the Happy Command Award." She paused and grew thoughtful as she thought about what awards she was due. "Let's see... A mission and combat award for the last mission. Also a Rescue award since we rescued those people. Come to think of it, I don't believe I got my ribbons for the mission before that. So that would be another Combat and Mission award. Which means..." Sanda started counting on her fingers. "That makes ten missions, so I'm due another Experience award. Plus we found that space station which is an Exploration award. That was a rescue mission too wasn't it? Yes. Ok so Two Mission Awards, Two Combat Awards. One Exploration, One Experience award (10 missions), and Two rescues. That should just about do it."

Walking from Aoba with book pressed to her chest, the SAINT analyst had heard Majnun's question and interjected after Sanda's detailed list.

"I'm more than happy with Captain Aoba's command," she whispered to overly avoid the man in question from hearing her. "Mark me down as being all for it! He's kind of the best. Nice to have you aboard, too. I've only read, but your cultural subgroup is adventurous, yes? Expanding and going out of the Commonwealth's established colonies is not abnormal for them, yes?"

She was partly learning about Majnun, partly comparing what she knew of the Iromakuanhe against the lived experience of one to test the veracity of what she had read. In the back of her head she was also imagining Sanda Hoshi with all of her awards pinned into her hair like kanzashi.

The news that yet another crew member supported awarding Captain Aoba for the Happy Command award made her quite joyful. She had only recently arrived onboard the YSS Resurgence, but it really seemed that he was very well loved by the crew. Offering Sanda a smile she responded, "Thank you." Majnun rushed in a raised whisper turning to noting the awards Sanda would need her to put in for. Her green eyes glittering with amusement as she watched finger counting ensue, her eyes briefly darting to the analyst that approached. "Alright, I have gotten those noted to put in for you. Please feel free to let me know if there is anything else I can help with!" she uttered cheerfully to Sanda before looking to Mineko.

Now that she had finished talking with Sanda she figured she could address the analysts support while giving Koyama a few more minutes to think on what awards she might need. Offering the SAINT analyst a warm smile she responded, "That is the consensus I am getting from people so far! It is super neat to know that my first command is under someone who is respected by his crew." she nodded affirmatively emphasizing her statement. "I have you all marked down for it! Thank you for the warm welcome, I" pausing a moment, caught off guard by the next statement the woman uttered. Tilting her head curiously pondering just how exactly this person she had never met purported to know which cultural subgrouping she came from. That is her appearance alone would not narrow things down to one specific group, perhaps this person had seen her records? It certainly would be something to be wary of in the future.

Smiling to the analyst in a friendly manner she answered, "Hmm, well at least I am! I cannot speak for others as there are most assuredly some who do not see things the same way as I. It is heartwarming to know that as I am a new crew member, you took the time to learn about my culture. Perhaps I may return the favor by inquiring about your book?" she respectfully gestured to the book that the analyst had pressed to her chest. Hopping excitedly as she just remembered something out of the blue, "Oh! While I am thinking about it, is there any awards that you need me to put in for you? I have gotten around to a few of the crew so far." There were certainly others who she would need to talk to, some would probably need to be messaged for their award data as they were not in the wardroom to speak with.

"Thanks for that, interesting. I knew a Iromakuanhe guy with a kebab stand back in Kyoto but never felt comfortable asking him about the nitty gritty despite some curiosity. Now that it's my job to know more, why not ask, right? My book? I wouldn't know a thing beyond the title and the captain's recommendation," Mineko said, but she did slide a hand off of it so that Majnun could read the title: "Zen Lessons on the Art of Leadership".

"I wouldn't know much about that, either." Putting a finger up to her chin, she stared off wistfully as Majnun asked about medals. "Never paid much attention to that. What's your favorite food dish from back home? Then I'll be out of your hair."
YE 45.8

Medical Lab

Dr. Poppy Pink ran her hands through her luxurious piles of cotton candy pink hair and tied it in a pony tail before touching a control panel and picking up one of the ship's phones to dial the intercom. "The medical lab is available for updates to your medical profile and mental backups. If you have not had a checkup in YE 45 yet, please present yourself to me soon," she said over the ship's speakers in a cheerful voice. "It's not optional." she added as a whisper before hanging up.

Yuri walked towards the Medical Lab, as she prepared to do her duty. As she did so, she wondered when was the last time she'd updated her Medical Profile and Mental Backup. She gasped with a blush as she realized it was a while.

Majnun waltzed down towards the Medical Lab after getting the first rounds of awards arranged in a to-do list. Wondering if Yuri had a chance to see her message about awards she jumped when she heard a small gasp. "Yuri!" Majnun hollered waving to her in a friendly manner. "Are you here to get checked out to?"

"Good morning," Poppy said as some new faces started to arrive. Cassie was there too, just finishing getting dressed, looking a little flushed. She gave a little wave to the newcomers.

"I gotta get to work, but uh, i don't remember the last time i got checked, so as a good medic trainee i probably should" Yuri said to Majnun, with a smile as she waved to her new friends greeting. "Morning, Poppy-sempai! Cassie-sempai!" Yuri greeted with a smile on her face, though changed as she saw Cassie looking flushed a little.

"Same! There is a lot to to around here for sure. I got checked out before training started, but it would probably be a good call to get an update." Majnun responded to Yuri before looking over to Poppy. "Oh! Good morning" Majnun grinned, "Here for thee ol check up and to see who needs what awards put in for." she wrapped up the quick speech energetically.

Poppy nodded. She was wearing a white doctor coat over her teal uniform. "Okay, please undress to your underwear and hop on my scale and we'll get your height and mass. Then we'll get a DNA sample and get a backup copy of your mind in case we need to respawn you."

Cassie winked and chuckled as she left and skipped away down the corridor.

Yuri blinked as Cassie chuckled, and nodded her head to what Majnun was saying. Yuri began to follow orders of her sempai silently.

Majnun raised an eyebrow as Cassie chuckled, winking back innocently as the woman skipped down the corridor. Swiftly she removed her uniform in an expert like manner, setting it down in a reasonable place before waiting her turn for the scale. "Ready Doctor!" she said cheerfully.

"Alright, you are 180 centimeters..." Poppy said, while leaning in to adjust then read the scale. ",and weigh 64 kilograms in 1g."

"180 centimeters and 64 kilograms, sounds about right! Where would you like me to go next?" Majnun asked the cute doctor.

"I'd like you to get a brain scan on the Mental Backup System, which is over the bed there," Poppy pointed with her whole hand, "I am legally required to inform you that this backup will be stored in an encrypted format solely on this ship's memory banks in isolated offline storage with a physical encryption device key stored in my safe. It will not be connected to the network and will not be scanned without a warrant. Citizens of the YSE are limited to 3 backup copies by law. You have the option to request deletion of your backup file at any time. Do you understand these rights and consent to the procedure?

Majnun happily trotted in the direction Poppy's hand pointed. "Goodness, they make you say that for every individual? Thats a mouthful. I mean yes, yes I understand and consent Ma'am".

"After the Mishhu attack on the Soul Transfer system during the Third Battle of Nataria we had to institute more measures to protect backups," Poppy explained. Once Majnun was on the mental backup and transfer machine, there was a buzzing sensation in her head. After a few minutes, they had a complete copy of her mind, stored on a data drive, which Poppy placed in her safe.

"This will only hurt a little," Poppy said, popping Majnun with a medical scan tool to inject some nanomachines that did a checkup process and also recorded a backup of her DNA so they could make a replacement body or body part such as a replacement arm, if needed.

Majnun took it all in stride, taking time to fully understand what Poppy was saying to her about the Soul Transfer system and the Misshu attack. Majnun's face fell into the most solemn expression, which was then interrupted by her nose wriggling due to the buzzing sensation. "Well thats not exactly ticklish now is it?" the Iroma uttered playfully. Majnun watched as Poppy placed the copy into her safe.

Majnun's gaze followed Poppy curiously as she approached with the medical scan tool. Her body hopped a bit as the nanomachines were injected into her body, "Youch!" she exclaimed.

"I think you're the first Iromakuanhe I've met," Poppy said, eyeing the horns on Majnun's head. "Or scanned. It wasn't designed for Iromakuanhe but it seemed to work alright under settings for humans. Close enough, as they say?"

"Oh dear, that's probably the second time someone's said that. Y'all don't see many of us around here then I take it?" Majnun asked carefully noticing Poppy's attention on her horns. "It seems to have worked okay so far" Majnun said cautiously expectant that something could go wrong at any moment.

"No, almost never. I'd love to take a look at some of your unique species' physical features if that is alright. I see you have glowing eyes," Poppy said, staring into Majnun's eyes with her vivid green eyes for a moment of curiosity. "And what are these little nodes at your joints for?"

"Do as you wish doc! I am happy to help in whatever way I can, just please don't do anything permanently damaging." Majnun held Poppy's gaze respectfully as the medical doctor checked out her eyes. "Oh these?" Majnun chuckled softly as a plate opened briefly to show Poppy the port. "These are for the administration of liquid medication and plug sockets for neural interfaces. Though I am not sure how well they would work with everything here in the technology regard." Majnun answered readily, willing to help medical personnel understand whatever they needed to ensure survival.

Cheilith popped in the doorway. "Hey!" She said waving to everyone. "You said I should swing by?" She asked Poppy.

"Sure, we're just finishing up," Poppy waved, "This crew gets hornier all the time," she joked, noting Cheilith's horns on her head by gesturing with her hands above her own head, feigning horn shapes over her pink hair.

Majnun's face brightened up as another crew member arrived. "Hi!" she returned Cheilith's wave with one of her own. "You here to go through fancy exams to?" Majnun asked curiously, before bursting into laughter reaching up to touch her own horns. "The hornier the merrier" Majnun chuckled admiring Poppy's display. "If you could have horns, what color would they be?" Majnun asked Poppy.

"Black latex," Poppy answered immediately and seriously before getting back to work. "Let's get your measurements first and then we'll get your mental backup and do a nanomachine scanner checkup and DNA backup," she told Cheilith.

"Excellent choice," Majnun responded with an affirmative nod before getting back over to her clothes.Swiftly dressing herself into her uniform she headed towards the door, "Summon me anytime if you have more questions." she said absentmindedly to Poppy. Majnun paused briefly looking to Cheilith, "It was nice seeing you again! Hope everything goes well." Majnun offered in parting before bouncing back out the door to her next task.

"It's nice seeing you too!" Cheilith said to Majnun and sliding onto the table. She wondered if the mental backup would hurt more than it did last time. "So you been up to anything interesting recently?" She asked.

Shuttle Bay

Trowa arrived in the shuttle bay wearing his uniform. He decided to pack light for now and have his other things sent over once he found a place for his family when they arrived. It would look better that way then carrying a bunch of bags while in uniform.

Yoshiro was wearing his casual clothes as he was going to see his family. He saw Trowa in his uniform and greeted the shosa. "How are you doing shosa? It is good to see you. That was a heck of a mission, the last one." Yoshiro said as he bowed.

"Yes it was." Trowa replied. "And I for one am ready for some R&R."

"Just be warned, my brother is obsessed with anything Star Army when we meet him. He will talk you to death about what he imagines he is doing for the Star Army." Yoshiro said with a laugh. "My little sister is bit more reserved because she is shy around new people but she makes an effort to be polite."

Trowa chuckled. "Not a problem. My daughter still asks everyone who comes into my wife's restaurant that is in uniform if they know her Papa or Tia Sandi."

"I see. So I guess that we are in the same boat in a way." Yoshiro said smiling. He looked at his model he had built for his little brother and thought about how happy he would be to see him and his mother and sister too.

"I'll get Beryl to shuttle us down to the base. I can quickly arrange rooms for the family when they get here then we'll go visit your family." Trowa said as he pinged Beryl.

"Roger that. I'll call my family when we get to the base and tell them to expect a guest." Yoshiro said.

Beryl sounded incredulous. "We're already on the base," she pointed out. "You're too used to being in space," she laughed.


As Erika made her way through the bulkhead she was off in her own little world. Pink cat ear headphones cupped her ears and wrapped over her silver mane. She was paying enough attention to surroundings to navigate towards food and avoid obstacles on her way. The events of the previous mission played on her mind. It all went well, save for a few new patched welds in the Res' hull, but she felt they had simply got lucky. Worse, she had froze for a moment, that second Sanda decided to take off. She was looking for the Rangers direction in that moment, and it didn't come.

Sanda saw Erika enter the Wardroom and took note of the headphones over her ears. Wonder what kind of music she listens to? Thought Sanda to herself.

As though to answer the rangers question Erika removed her headphones, and a synthy tune came from the ear cups. As she caught Sanda's eyes she sat down across the table from her.

"Hey Sanda-Heisho. Do you have a minute?" She asked

Sanda nodded as she took a drink of her coffee. "Sure. Got plenty of time at the moment. What's on your mind?"

There was a bit of a pause as Erika came up with the words she wished to use, she shifted around in her seat. Finally with a sigh she just blurted it out. "Heisho, ma'am, forgive me if I'm out of line. But when you charged over that hill into the enemy without any backup, what was going through your mind?" She asked. She was attempting to come across as neutral, but her eyebrows bunched up.

Sanda had been expecting that question to come up eventually but she had rather hoped that no one would have noticed. She set her cup down and made little rings with it on the table, staring absently at it. What had happened back there on the planet?

"I'm not sure anything was going through my mind at the time if I'm honest." Sanda said, still staring at her coffee cup. "I saw the Resurgence get shot at by a huge weapon and then disappear. All I could imagine was my sister crying over the loss of her husband and my niece at losing her Papa and I just... The red mist descended."

"You panicked?" Erika said, her mouth slightly agasp.

Sanda snorted. "Panicked? Never." How could she explain what had happened. "I..." She was lost for words.

"Call it what you want, you had a fight or flight response and it overwhelmed your rational decision making." Erika said, though she was being blunt her inflection was sympathetic. "In that moment I went through a similar thing, its been eating me up too. I was looking to you for orders, when you went I froze, 'deer in the headlights'. It was only a moment but..."

Satisfied with her answer from Majnun (spicy curry was the Iromakuanhe's favored dish), Mineko looked around for the dark haired XO. She stood in front of Koyama and greeted her with a quick bow and question, "How are you, Shosa?"

Koyama's eyes were fixed on a point of her table, a finger curled against her top lip while the other hand tapped at its surface. "Attempting to balance the life of an Officer of the Empire and being a parent, Mineko-hei." Her eventual response was not unkindly but a little distant while she waited for the call to connect to Tachiko.

"Oh," Mineko said, not expecting an answer so honest. But she quickly thought to ask the first officer, "Which do you find is a heavier weight on the scale?"

"Duty to the Empire or that of being a parent?" Koyama asked with a small frown finally looking up and toward Mineko. "I have been in the Star Army since I was three months old. I am ten now. The SAoY has been essentially my entire life. But now," With another long pause she sighed

"You're asking a question that I do not have the answer to. Save that should the day ever come you yourself have a Youngling, you may well ask yourself the samething. And we may have different answers." Blinking, she looked about until finally seeing a screen in front of her conjured from nothingness.

"Time in service goes by a lot faster when you're frozen," Tachiko's voice came over the comms, as it connected while Koyama was talking to Mineko. "And Koyuki's not very heavy at all!" Tachiko's musical giggle is audible. "Koy~" Tachiko catches herself, hearing that Koyama is around other Star Army Soldiers, "Ketsurui-onee-san." Clan decorum was appropriate– Tachiko's promotion to Shōsa herself was sitting on the Taishō's desk waiting for time in grade.

Koyuki was hovering nearby in a Mini-Neko-sized Yamataian Jiujitsu gi.

"Yuki-tan! It's okaasan!" Tachiko summoned the Youngling's attention, directing it to the Fantastic Media Drone hovering nearby with its cameras and microphones.

Having nodded along to Koyama's question and then answer, Mineko had come to her own conclusions and was about to share them when the voice came over comms. Her expression barely changed, but her shoulders snapped tight and she held her book to her chest tighter. With a very slight bow beforehand, she started to back away and out of this conversation between parents.

"To be continued?" Koyama asked, not needing to see Mineko begin to back away before focusing on the woman and little girl on the screen. Her normally reserved demeanor cracking as a somewhat lopsided smile replaced the frown she'd had in place.

With a roll of her eyes at Tachiko's image she propped her chin up on both hands. "And how are my two favorite people in the Sector?" her voice suddenly becoming sweet as her smile widened. "Did that old woman give you any trouble?" She asked, looking from one to the other. She'd left their daughter in Malifar, knowing Tachiko's schedule, her own, the youngling had needed someone to look after her. And she thought of no safer place.

Except Chizuru Saya was a woman prone to some volatility. The old dragon was always accorded her tithe, and she'd feared the pending collision of Tachiko's meeting the Neko who'd helped Koyama.

"Koyuki's learned a lot from her, I can tell." Tachiko gave the youngling, not even but a third of the way through her short childhood, a smooch on the top of the head. "I'd me more concerned about what she's picking up from the Taishō, or, rather, either or both of them. The Empress Emerita and her Consort visited as well." Tachiko did not seem concerned, when asked about Saya. Her old-school Nekovalkyrja, Bushidō-infused demeanor came naturally, and likely eased those ineractions. Tachiko was essentially Katsuko's handmaid, after all. She was used to demanding, insistent, aggressive, exacting, and overbearing, and generally handled it with aplomb.

Koyuki smiled at the camera, and asked, "When's your next leave, Okaasan?"

"Soon little one, soon, Okaasan is busy helping to fix the ship she's on. And doing soldiery things. But I will see you soon! You've got your Okaasan's promise. And when I get to see you again, all three of us will go and have some fun. Sound good, hm?" Koyama almost cooed before looking back to Tachiko.

"None of her bad habits I hope. Saya's pretty much reached her mid-life crisis." She did however move closer to the screen. A thoughtful look on her face at the mentions of the others. "And what did they want exactly?" Asking as she looked to Koyuki. "And you my little one, has the Taisho been teaching you things? Good things? Not bad things?"

Koyuki answered first, clearly far too excited to talk about her grandmother to wait on Tachiko to answer the previous question, "Tsuko-baa-chan was telling me stories about the First War and our home on Taiie." Apparently Heika-Taishō was on a pet-name basis with her granddaughter.

Tachiko visibly winced at the Youngling's words and averted her eyes from the camera. She looked back before her answer. "They just wanted to see their granddaughter, as far as I know. You know the Taishō, she'll cross the sector on a whim without a second thought, and never has just the obvious reasons for doing anything. It's always a four-dimensional layer cake with her."

"Whimsical as ever," Koyama's answer was cut and dry, "But at least she hasn't been teaching her other subjects." She'd mulled over the topic of teaching their child Yamataian history. But it seemed Katsuko had once again beaten her to the punch.

"Did you know your Obasan fought in the First War?" She asked Koyuki, "When I get to see my favorite little lady I will tell her more about her 'kaa-san's big sister."

Koyuki's eyes widened, she got to hear precious little from that side of the family. "But when?"

Tachiko frowned a bit. "Be patient, Koyuki. Don't whine or beg. It is unbecoming." Her admonishment was just as soft as anything else Tachiko ever said, but it seemed effective enough.

"Most of it. Somethings your 'kaasan can't tell you. Because this was before she was born. But, your obasan and her knights fought mean and scary monsters." Koyama waved her arms about in some incredibly poor approximation of a Mishhuvurthyar's tentacles. "But she's right little one, when you aren't with me, you know who is the boss?" Her finger drew in close enough that if Tachiko were in front of her it'd have poked it.

"She is."

Koyuki nodded. "Hai. Koyuki will wait patiently to hear it when Okaasan comes home on leave."

Tachiko patted Koyuki on the head once more, ruffling her hair, but its silky, pin-straight texture meant it fell right back into place. "Mother," Tachiko dropped the honorifics and indirectness, "Brought her a Mini-Neko pistol. I confiscated it, of course. She's already thinking she's a samurai, training and writing poetry all the time. She needs little other encouragement. I know who she takes after the most."

Koyama placed a hand against her face and rubbed it, "Sweet Chiharu, I swear, she's as meddlesome as ever." Only to scoff as Tachiko continued, "I've a mind to sit with your Mother and have a long discussion on parental bounderies."

Tossing a stray lock of hair that had gotten loose she puffed out her cheeks and sighed, "Do you remember the Rangers we had aboard when you did your short tour of duty on the Resurgence?"

"Hai, indeed I do. We attended Giretsu school together prior to my assignment to the Resurgence. What abou—" Tachiko was abruptly cut off by an impromptu Haiku from Koyuki.

"Rainy afternoon,
"Mother will come home on leave,
"We will drink some tea."

That seemed to brighten Koyama's souring mood enough that it brought her smile back. Even a small clap of her hands, "You're getting better!" Nodding approvingly, "'kaasan isn't very good at poetry. So Koyuki must get it from someone else. And she deserves a reward I think. Not another pistol however." Finishing with a wink at Tachiko before continuing.

"Sanda, one of the rangers managed to get her hands on a sword. And has asked me to teach her." Then looking to Koyuki again her smile turned a little toothy, "How hard should your 'kaasan train her new student?"

Having backed away from the two parents' conversation, Mineko turned to see her cabin mates talking. It looked serious so she slid in to sit near them wordlessly, catching Erika's last words that Sanda's rational decision making had been overwhelmed. The analyst's face went steely as she tried balancing empathy towards Sanda and concern for her.

"Yeah, well I guess when you phrase it like that that is what happened." Sanda said a little defensive. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, although it sounded more like a growl than just air.

"Growing up I was always angry. I had two chips on my shoulders and was always looking for a fight. Sometimes, when I got in a fight, the red mist would descend. That's what I called it anyway. I would just go berserk. When I joined the Star Army I thought I had it under control. Discipline and training helped keep in in check. But sometimes, under moments of extreme stress in comes out again." Sanda tapped her mug on the table, more annoyed with herself than with anyone else.

"It seemed to work out in the end," Mineko said, but her voice wasn't approving. "Even if it was really concerning in the moment."

Erika turned to Minkeo and folded her arms. "We got lucky. It won't always be the case." She then took in a large breath and exhaled it. "I'm only a Hei, so you can take this with a grain of salt, but it would have only taken a moment to make sure everyone else had a task to support you in taking out the gun, which would have increased our chances. Going off half cocked can be just as disastrous as doing nothing in that kind of situation."

"If only it worked like that." Sanda chuckled dryly. "But I get your point. That is why it's so important to keep a clear head in battle."

"Is there anything that helps you? Anything we can do to help you keep that clear head?" Mineko asked, recalling the breathing exercise Sanda had only just done during the conversation.

Sanda shook her head. "I've noticed it only occurs during extreme fights. Like at Glimmergold. Or somethings when I've been in the VR simulation too long doing one of my suicide fights. I think it's a Nepleslia survival trait. The body gets flooded with extra adrenaline so that your reflex, strength and endurance are maxed out."

"Sanda, we're a team." Erika said, her expression softening "We all want a Res without hull breaches. You can rely on us to back your play if we're in that situation again. We just need some indication of what the play is."

Mineko nodded emphatically, "For sure. Maybe we can run VR sims with you to get you used to having that backup and support. It's not suicide if you work with your team. I promise."

Erika chuckled darkly "And if it is at least you'll have company in the reconstitution bay."

Sanda sighed, admitting defeat. But she was glad about it. It felt good knowing that there was a team of competent soldiers that were as dedicated as she was. "Sure. Why not." She smiled. "You two just want to analize my fighting style so you can tell Yayoi all my secrets."

Mineko squinted her eyes in a giggle and looked to Erika, then said, "If Yayoi hasn't figured out how to beat you after all these years working alongside you, I don't know if I'd be able to tip the scales. Erika on the other hand might give you a run for your money with my help." Without meaning to, she had pitted them against Sanda instead of with her, though, and backed up. "No-not that we would! We're with you like we said!"

Sanda laughed. "Yayoi cheats. She's a neko. I'm the one who needs the advantage." She eyed Erika a moment. She was a type 33A. A good bit tougher than your average Neko. "I'm not afraid to go a few rounds with her. Nothing bonds people quicker than a good fight."

Erika nodded and smiled widely "Just name the time and place Sanda. Always down for a bit of hand to hand between friends."

Pidole Henitot came into the wardroom, looking exhausted from working all night. Her beetle was nested atop her head in her red hair holding on to the base of her side ponytail. She waved at Erika and went to get some of the fresh strawberries first since they were only available when the ship was in or around friendly space. "It's looking good," she said, "I'll have the ship done by the end of the week," she promised. She had soot and burns on her uniform from all the plasma torch work.

Sanda smiled at Pidole. "That's impressive Red. I hope you get some time to rest after all your work is done. You and the other techs always seem to be working non-stop keeping the ship going."

"Sorry you had to do it at all" Erika added, her expression relaxed substantially. "We'll be faster on the draw next time."

"I'm glad I have a decent section of technicians to help me this time," she said. "Caihong, Tomoko, Azumi, Taro, and Plum have all been doing a great job. So has Bidole!"

"See?" Mineko said, looking from Pidole to Sanda. "Everyone works better with a team!"

Sanda rolled her eyes. "Si, si, si. I get it. I get it."

Planet side, Central Fleet Depot

Trowa and Yoshi disembarked the shuttle and checked into the base. It didn't take long for Trowa to set up a place for his family to stay when they arrived so he and Yoshi set out to meet his family.

Yoshiro called the family shop and told his mother to expect a guest. "Oh my goodness, this is the the first time that I have been home for awhile."Yoshiro said with a smile. He was a happy man and wanted to make sure that his family was okay since he had been gone so long.

"All taken care of Yoshiro." Trowa informed him. "Lead the way."

His mother had sent someone to pick them up and take them to the shop/home. "Our ride is here." Yoshiro said and placed his gear inside the car and got in the back. "You get the seat of honor shosa."

Trowa climbed in. He was already starting to feel more relaxed. It was amazing how just getting off the ship after so long in space could make you feel.

"I used to work at the shop that we are going to. I remember all of the memories when I had my dad here.

"What kind of shop?" Trowa asked from the front seat.

"Just a store where people could by the groceries and items for road trips. When I decided to get my life together my father had me work hard to make it up for the people that I hurt." Yoshiro said. "When I was young, I gave him and my mom such a hard time but when my brother and sister were born, I knew I had to change so I did."

Trowa smiled. "You sound like Sanda. She was a trouble maker in her youth too. Ran with a gang. Did you know when we first met she tried to knife me?"

"Yikes. I used to pickpocket people and pick fights, but I never tried to knife anyone." He said "The people I ran with when I was young never did anything serious like that, not to say picking pockets and fights is not serious but we made sure no one got hurt too seriously.. Kind of weird isn't it?"

"What? That you and your friends tried to start fights and not hurt people? or that Sanda would try and knife me?" Trowa laughed.

Yoshiro laughed as well. "Probably both." Yoshiro said with a grin "I made joto heisho now so whatever my father taught me probably stuck to me like glue as I was growing up."

= = =


Charaa, Wes, Ame, Nak, Cowboy, Soresu, Soban, Zanven, Yoshiro, Yuuki!