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RP Resurgence of Yamatai - Mission 9: Space Is A Graveyard


Head in the Stars
🌟 Site Supporter
🌸 FM of Yamatai
🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
RP Date
YE 45.6
RP Location
Central Fleet Depot
YSS Resurgence
YE 45.6

Glistening with fresh paint in the colors of the Yamataian flag, the Resurgence was ready to launch once more from its dock in Central Uesureya, Yamatai. The massive and stuffy hangar echoed with the determined grinding sounds and a deep hum from the systems of the ship which was already running. In front of the ship, captain Aoba Kuranosuke stood with a steely, wizened look in his narrow and thoughtful eyes.

Right on time, a last-minute pack of self-powered train cars, crossing sunscorched tarmac, seemed to shrug off the summer heat as they lumbered to a halt. Neatly wrapped pallets brimming with rations and vital supplies settled in their shadow. Trailer-sized vacuum-sealed starship containers followed suit, awaiting their turn to be stored away. The formidable, though not unfamiliar, form of Hachirobei Sakuko disembarked, eyeing the ship's contours while Beryl Leyton began the task of loading the supplies with a forklift whose rumbles intertwined with the humid air's whispers.

From the periphery, another ramp beckoned, leading to the shuttle bay — an invitation to the heart of the ship. As the specialists toiled with a sense of urgency only deep space veterans knew, the hangar began to fill with the hum of activity. Crewmembers, fresh from their rides on military trucks and LSTVs, began to drift in. There was a palpable sense of homecoming as they eyed their cabins. They began the age-old dance of settling in to their cabins, with the air thick with anticipation for the journey ahead.

A series of announcments played on intercom speakers as the crew arrived, giving a list of cabin assignments. "All crew without an assigned cabin or needing reassignment, see Santo Hei Fujikawa Okimi," the voice of MEGAMI said.

There was a pep to Mineko’s step as she carried two to-go coffee cups and nearly skipped up to Captain Aoba. She still hadn’t gotten over seeing what a Mishhuvurthyar had done to him, but she had reviewed the revenge the captain had gotten on them the next battle when she was off of the bridge and her respect for the captain had only grown.

“Nice to be back, Captain,” Mineko said and offered one of the cups to Aoba. “Some tea for you, sir! It’s the best I could find for the best that I know!”

"Thank you," Taisa Aoba nodded, accepting the tea and taking a sip. "Welcome back aboard the Resurgence. We launch in ten minutes."

"Happy to be back," Mineko said. With one of her hands free, she was able to offer a crisp salute.

Okimi blinked, having not expected to be put to work before dropping her duffel off in her cabin. Regardless, the word had been given and it was time for the caretaker to jump and worry about how high it needed to be later on. She quickly saluted and nodded to the Captain before moving over next to the shuttle bay ramp, so as to be more visible, and placed her duffle on the ground beside her.

"Okay, Santo Hei Fujikawa Okimi, Cabin Finder Extraordinaire, is now open for business!" She waved energetically at the crew, waiting to see if anyone would need to avail themselves of her services.

Among the first to approach the caretaker was Erika. Dressed in a jacket over her jump suit, she’d already deposited her bag in the room. Instead, she carried a small paper bag and neutral expression. “Hey, Okimi.” the tall silver haired Neko called out.

Okimi blinked, before offering Erika a beaming smile. "Heya Erika! Glad to see you! I hope you enjoyed your leave! Come find me once we're settled in, or I'll find you, and we can see if there's anything I can do to help improve your time with the Resurgence family!" The caretaker nodded decisevely. "Now, I guess you need a cabin assignment? Any preferences?"

"No actually." Erika said with a sigh, instead she presented the bag in her hand to her."I heard you enjoy tea, so when I picked this up from the city I thought of you." The bag was made from a delecate cotton weave, fine enough so when held up to the light the mosaic of tea leaves inside could be seen. Around the top was a red satin ribbon which bound the openting closed. She offered it without any further comment.

The caretaker blinked, having not expected a gift from the white-haired neko. "Wow." She blinked again before a megawatt smile lit up her face and she lunged forward to give Erika a quick hug. "Thank you so much, Erika!"

Erika's eyes went wide as she nearly fell over from the impact, quickly plating a foot back to stop her from toppling over. She planted a hand atop Okimi's head and smiled softly. "Don't mention it." She said, giving the caretaker a moment before attempting to peel her off. "You're busy so I'll leave you to it. But we'll catch up later alright?"

"Oh, you betcha!" Okimi nodded, before quickly sliding the gifted bag of tea into her duffle. Now that her future treat was properly stowed, she returned her attention to her crewmates, looking to see if anyone else was seeking cabin reassignment.

Yuri stepped towards the ship and smiled as she heard the announcement. Okimi was a sweet kind girl, probably the best person for the job. She hurried up to greet her roommate, and noticed the other new person there. "aww! thats so sweet!" Yuri said with a smile on her face as she watched.

Engineer Pidole Henitot gave the captain a salute as she passed by him, followed by her flying blue beetle buddy, and Euikoshi and a crowd of engineering staff (Azumi, Plum, Tomoko, Caihong, Taro, and Norita). Next, Gabriela arrived with Poppy and Kalena. The crew was mostly the same with just a few subtractions.

Yoshiro had just gotten back from visiting with his family. His brother had been keeping up with his big brother. He knew that he was fighting for them and others like them.

Sanda arrived with Trowa and his family. Well, it was her family as well since Trowa's wife was Sanda's sister. Trowa had Elanor Aeon on his shoulders. The little girl was nearly choking him. She really didn't want her papa to leave again. Estrella, Trowa's wife was putting on a brave face, but she didn't want to lose her husband again. But such was the life of an officer's wife.

Estrella and Sanda embraced as sisters do then Trowa kissed his wife lovinly before giving his son and daughter one last hug. Then the two were headed up the cargo ramp, stopping at the top to wave back at the family. Trying to hide the tears that were fighting to come.

Once everyone had boarded and the last of the cargo was loaded, the crew closed and sealed the ramps, doors, and hatches and the ship began to slowly hover a couple of meters off the ground, drifting out of the old hangar and out from under its stained windows into the sunlight and out into the starport's main area. Soon the ship was rocketing up into space, passing Amatsu Yamatai and other space stations along the way and heading for the edge of the Yamatai Star System.

Cabin 5

Yayoi was silent as she unpacked her bag, her focus on the task at hand. She'd learned that Chiasa had left the ship, but didnt know how to feel about that. but knew she'd had to expect it. "yuri better be ready for duty" she muttered to herself as her thoughts went to her daughter, unaware that her daughter was being her usual friendly self to meeting new people.

Sanda opened the door and looked around. The cabin looked exactly the same as she left it. She tossed her duffles on the floor next to her bunk and smiled at Yayoi. "Bueno hermana, ¿qué crees que nos tiene reservado el Capitán ahora?"

Yayoi turned as she heard someone enter, and actually smiled at Sanda, one of the few who she allowed to see it before she replied "eso es para que lo veamos en el futuro, de cualquier manera lo espero con ansias. Quién sabe, tal vez podamos volver a luchar contra nuestro viejo enemigo." Yayoi replied in Sanda's heart language.

Sanda smiled. She was always glad to know that Yayoi had her back and was excited about the prospect of a fight as the Nep was. "Can't argue with that." Sanda quickly unpacked her duffles, storing her few personal belongings and hanging up her uniforms. Her personal weapons were layed out on the bed. A SiZi model 38, a type 33 black, two straight silver blades, one of which had a dragon engraved on the blade. Her engagment blade from Caffran.

Yayoi finished unpacking and grabed her weapons, her rifle, and her hidden blades. She retracted her blade's out, and frowned. "gotta clean that, disrespectful to kill a enemy with a dirty blade." she said mostly to herself as she fished for her cleaning tools.

Sanda snorted. She agreed with Yayoi. Sanda's own blades were always kept presteen and razer sharp. She enjoyed cleaning and sharpening her weapons. She was about to pull out her own kit when she thought she'd rather get a workout in. "Fancy going to the dojo? Maybe get in a sparing match?" Sanda smirked and teased, "I hope you haven't grown soft during the down time."

Yayoi smirked as she heard Sanda speak of the idea for a sparring match. "hermana, you honestly think, i got soft after handling rude customers?" she asked her "sure, i'm open to that, lets go to the dojo, and you'll see how soft i am" she teased back.

Cabin 7

Okimi secured her duffel in the cabin she shared with Yuri and Yoko, finishing her mental conversation with MEGAMI over the necessary cabin reassignments. It was good to be getting straight back into things, even if she hadn't exactly been idle for the previous month. While she thought about it, she asked the Resurgence's controlling intelligence to see about working her in to the XO's schedule for a meeting about taking on additional duties and the extra training Okimi wanted to undertake.

Yuri followed Okimi quickly to the cabin she shared with Okimi and Yoko, thinking she should get her things secured sooner rather than later, knowing her mother would be displeased if she hadnt.

"Heya Yuri-chan!" Okimi smiled at her friend and gave her a hug. "Did you enjoy your leave? Sorry we didn't get many opportunities to meet up or talk, but its been a manic few weeks!"

Yuri hugged Okimi back tightly as she smiled at her friend. "yup! I went to the parade after we got to meet the empress, and the Yui-sama herself, i saw and got to meet many amazing people, and new friends so i am happy!" She said

The caretaker smiled widely. "Wow, it sounds like you had a grand old time!" She shrugged her shoulders. "Not going to lie, I am kinda regretting not sticking around after the parade now, it sounds like I missed out on an amazing experience." Okimi smiled again. "Oh well, there's always next year!"

Yuri nodded her head. "you should have stayed! but your right, always next year, and i hope you can come with me and Luna-chan for when ocean Day happens, Luna-chan says thats a super fun event! who knows, maybe luna-chan would get us another necklace!" Yuri said remembering the Cherry Blossom Necklace she'd gotten.

Okimi nodded at the mention of Ocean Day, having really been looking forward to that particular festival, it being the first time she would be able to properly visit a beach or the ocean. "Oh yeah, that's a date!" She nodded decisevely. "And yeah... maybe we could even make each other a necklace from small sea-shells we find while there?" Okimi was pretty sure she had read that such was something people did when visiting a beach.

Yuri smiled at Okimi brimming with excitement. "yeah! we could do that, i've been practicing so i am sure i'll make a good necklace! and with the shells it will be pretty!" Yuri said as she practically bounced with joy.

The caretaker nodded, joining Yuri in the excited bouncing. "I'm sure it'll be beautiful, Yuri-chan! After all, it'll be from a dear friend and made with love, so it can't be anything less than awesome no matter how it turns out."

Yuri smiled at her friend and nodded her head. "yes! thats true!" she said to her wise friend.


Yoshiro had some nervous energy to work out. "Do I really deserve this award?" He said to himself as he hit a punch bag.

Sanda and Yayoi entered the Dojo. Sanda had changed to her workout clothes, shorts and a black tank top. Yayoi was wearing her standard workout clothes.

Yoshiro was practicing his punches and kicks as he thought about the medal. He swung his foot, all the rage against the NMX for taking his father away coming forth, feeling like he did nothing to protect him and his family at the time. "I will gut all of you NMX bastards for what you have done to me!" He shouted angrily and sat down near his duffle bag.

Yayoi had glanced towards Yoshiro as she heard him shout. It was clear to her he had anger in him. it wasnt lost on her because she was the same way with the Rixikor.

Sanda also looked over at Yoshiro. She had mixed feeling about the man. Sure he was a Joto Heisho, but he acted more like a kid sometimes.

Yayoi turned and approached Yoshiro, her mind thinking what she needed to hear, and what she could say as she did so. "Yoshiro-heisho, your anger is understandable, but do not let it consume you, and focus." She said and glancing towards Sanda, as if to say I know Hermana!

"You're right." Yoshiro responded to Yayoi. Sanda, he knew, was not a big fan. "But I feel like every time someone gives me a compliment on something that I do as a soldier i am really a failure."

"You just need to do your job the best you can. No one is asking for more than that." Sanda said.


"Intelligence and science personnel please report to the bridge," Aoba called on the intercom.

Already on her way, Mineko ducked her head when she walked through the threshold of the bridge as if bowing. She stood with her hands behind her back —the to-go coffee cup of her own had been stowed in cabin 5— and her sharp eyes were alert and trained on Aoba underneath her smattering of bangs.

"Reporting, sir," Mineko offered out of habit.

Erika was soon after, using her IC implants to float along the corridor to the bridge, a tactic she used so she wouldn't be out of breath when she arrived. She caught herself on the bulkhead and yeilded to the ships gravity once again before stepping on to the bridge. She gave the captain a silent bow before standing next to Mineko.

"Any idea what's going on?" Erika asked Mineko silently over their link.

"Normally there's some research to be done before a mission can really get going." Mineko replied as she turned to look out for the other SAINT member of the ship. The analyst treasured the more cerebral duties she often undertook aboard the Resurgence and was looking forward to sharing them.

Aoba told his intelligence officers, "Essentially, despite the risks that there's Mishhuvurthyar waiting on the other side, we need to go back to system with the wormhole. When we were there launching probes, the data we got suggested that not only did we find the wormhole leading to the Wakaba's crash site, but also other wormholes, forming some sort of network. It's possible the network was deliberately set up some time in the past," he told them. "I will need you to be taking notes and asking questions as we proceed so we can get a good look at it."

Trowa had also reported to the bridge to examine how the repairs had gone. He couldn't help overhearing Aoba as he briefed the intelligence officers. The idea of going back through the wormwhole where they had engaged that Mishhu fleet wasn't very apealing but if that was where they were to go then they needed to be ready.

"Captain, was the 2nd fleet able to remove all the Mishhu forces out of the area after we rescued the Wakaba? Have they done any scouting through the wormhole?" Trowa asked.

"The Second Fleet has not ventured onto the other side of the wormhole and the system, which we're referring to as the Gateway System for the time being, has been secured while salvage operations take place. In the months since the battle most of the wreckage has been hauled back to Nataria for processing and any leftover enemies there have been mopped up. But there's been a new discovery: One of the wormholes actually has an exit inside the Kikyo Sector itself. So, as a shortcut, I am bringing the Resurgence to its secret location."

"Sounds like a defense planning nightmare." Erika commented dryly, her chin cupped in her hand.

"What data suggests the wormholes have been artificially created?" Mineko asked, not knowing how to scan a wormhole for indicators of assembly, but wanting to know how to.

"We're not sure yet, but it seems too good to be a coincidence that there are hub systems for wormholes. It's not usual to find them close to star systems, let alone in dozens in one place," Aoba explained.

"Can we get telemetry from probes we send to the other side?" Erika asked "It would be nice not to go in completely blind."

"Only if the probes come back through to the origin side. Some of the wormholes exit in extraordinarily far-away locations, though we're still figuring out where those are," Aoba said.

"Which means if the Mushuu have their own defense perimeter set on the other side the only warning we might get is a failure to return." Erika sighed heavily. "All the same, I suggest we launch a few programmed to return before we make the transit, sir."

As the ship's crew discussed the situation, the Resurgence arrived in a little known corner of space where the aforementioned wormhole was located. There was a field of debris around a nearby planet that appeared to be composed of ancient wreckage pre-dating the rise of the Yamatai Star Empire.

"Picking up energy and radiation from weapons fire...long ago," Kalena said. "The planet is covered in old starship parts," Kalena said, scoping out the area with the ship's scanners. "The signatures are hard to read from their known matches, not Mishhuvurthyar. Whoever they were, they died violently though."

"Here's the console I use for intelligence," Mineko said with a guiding hand from Erika to her own usual work station. There was room enough for one to sit and Mineko set herself up next to it to stand. She didn't want to talk over Kalena and used their telepathic link to add, "You connect with SPINE and I'll use the volumetric screen to interface."

Erika nodded, sliding around the chair and and sinking into it. Her body jolted slightly as the SPINE port on her back linked with the ship.

"Space is a graveyard," Gabriela quoted.

"Launch a probe to go inspect the wreckage," Aoba ordered. "We'll check on it later. In the meantime, I want to see where the wormholes go."

"Aye sir. Probe is programmed and away." Erika said from her chair.

"Do you want me to have an away team standby Captain?" Trowa asked.

"Yes, and set condition two, in case we run into trouble on the other side."

"Aye, aye Captain." Trowa activated the ships comms. "Attention. Attention. We are now set to Condition Two. I repeat. Condition Two. All personel report to your assigned areas."

Eirka looked at Mineko with a weak smile and let out a soft chuckle. "Thanks for letting me have a go interfacing with the ship. I think I better go suit up though. Good to tag in?" She said, pulling her self out of the chair.

"Tag me in" Mineko said assuredly. "Might follow you later. Good hunting!"

Erika gave Mineko a thumbs up before floating up and kicking off the deck.

Cabin 1

"Well, that was fast," Cassie laughed, hopping out of her bed and grabbing her AMES suit from her cabin's locker and pulling it over her Type 42 duty uniform. She double checked the seals and grabbed her personal sidearm and reported to the armor bay and then switched to her MINDY armor. As she got ready, so did the others, with Poppy heading to the medical lab and Pidole heading to main engineering in her armored combat engineer suit.


Sanda heard the ship being set to condition two. "Time to earn our pay." She said and ran towards the Power Armor Bay.

Yayoi said nothing as she ran to the Power Armor bay, right beside Sanda.

Cabin 7

With the call over the ships comms, Okimi immediately retrieved her AMES suit. There was no way she was going to risk exposure to hard vacuum again by forgetting to don the environmental suit before the ship went into a combat situation.

Yuri watched and moved to help Okimi into her suit if she needed it. ok, off to the Med Bay i go, to help Poppy-Sempai! so see you soon, Okimi-chan!" Yuri said and goes Yuri speed mode as she shoots towards the medical bay.

"Later, Yuri-chan! Tell Poppy I said hi and I'll come see her later about organising and scheduling some first aid lessons!" She called out after her departing friend. Chuckling at Yuri's ever-present energy, the caretaker finished strapping her holstered NSP to her AMES suit before leaving the cabin and heading for her duty station.

Power Armor Bay

It didn't take long for the caretaker to follow the overly familiar route from her cabin to the power armor bay. With a nod towards Armourer Norita, Okimi crossed to the damage control station and took a quick inventory to make sure everything was present. Once satisfied, the Santo Hei settled in to hurry up and wait.

Yayoi walked into the Power Armor Bay, and immediately went to her Armor. Completely disrobed she climbed into her Power Armor, and activated its systems.

Things had shifted around with the repairs, but Erika's XL MINDY stood out amdist the sea fo suits sized for the regular 33 Nekos. Still with the set up from their last operation. She removed her clothes down to her underware and slid in. Once suited up she asked for one of the techs to remove a shoulder capacitor and replace it with missile pod. She wasn't going to get caught out with insufficent firepower this time. Aether SMG slung around her neck and a pistol on her hip, she took a deep breath before donning the helmet. It sealed with a hiss.

Medical Bay

Like a whirlwind of excited neko, Yuri appeared at the doors of the medical bay, calmed down, if that was even possible, and stepped through. "Asakura-hei, reporting for duty, Poppy-Sempai!" Yuri said into the room, thinking she was there.


The swirling maw of spacetime lay before the ship. The vast expanse of space, so often painted with starry pinpricks against the velvet curtain of nothingness, was suddenly ruptured. A swirling maelstrom of light and dark appeared, its epicenter emanating an otherworldly glow that could not be compared to the simple luminosity of stars or nebulae. The fabric of space-time seemed to warp, twist, and contort, as if an unseen hand was wringing out the very universe.

This was no simple astral phenomenon. The wormhole was a grandiose doorway, an interstellar bridge crafted by either the cosmos itself or perhaps some ancient and advanced civilization lost to the annals of time. Its outer edges pulsed with iridescent hues of blues, purples, and fiery oranges, painting an aurora that seemed to defy the very laws of physics.

Within its core was an almost hypnotic dance of luminescence. Threads of shimmering light wove in and out, intertwining with shadows that seemed deeper than the void of space itself. The brilliance of the display contrasted starkly against the void, reminiscent of the Northern Lights but on an incomprehensible, galactic scale.

To the ships that dared to approach, the sensation was overwhelming. Not just a visual spectacle, the very gravitation around the wormhole tugged and teased at their hulls, a siren's call to the brave or perhaps the foolhardy. For beyond this magnificent cosmic vortex lay the unknown; realms uncharted and stars untouched, awaiting those with the spirit of adventure.

Aoba, confident in his ship's ability to safely enter, gave Gabriela the word. "Proceed into it."

Gabriela's fingers danced across the ship's control panel, her eyes darting between the display screen and the majestic wormhole outside. She had piloted through uncharted territories before, but this... this was a new frontier.

"We're entering on a vector that'll keep us stable, Aoba," Gabriela's voice was calm, but there was a spark of excitement that even she couldn't conceal.

The vessel's exterior shields shimmered, adapting to the gravitational tug of the wormhole. A strange hum filled the air, the very sound of the universe being bent and stretched. Inside the ship, every light dimmed for a moment, only to flare back, illuminating the cabin in an ethereal glow.

Aoba watched intently, the muscles in his jaw tightened. Every fiber of his being was alive with anticipation. The ship was quickly engulfed by the swirling vortex, making the stars outside streak and blur into lines of white against the obsidian canvas of space.

For a few breathless moments, there was an eerie stillness, like the quiet in the eye of a storm. It felt as if they were floating in a vast, endless ocean of energy. Colors, shapes, and sensations bombarded their senses. It was an otherworldly experience, like a dream where the boundaries of reality were blurred.

And then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped. The ship emerged from the wormhole, now in an entirely different region of space. Before them, instead of the space they expected to see, was a colossal space station, of a design none on board had ever seen before. It was massive, easily dwarfing the Resurgence and even some of the larger starships in the Star Army's fleet. The station seemed to be constructed of a dark metallic material that reflected the surrounding starlight in an eerily beautiful display.

"Get me a full scan on that structure. I want to know what we're dealing with here," Captain Aoba ordered immediately, his voice steady despite the shock.

"Beginning scans of the structure Captain." Trowa annonced as he brought up the ships scanners. He was also scanning the surrounding area to see what else might be in the system.

"Should we engage active scans?" Mineko asked worriedly. "Let's keep them passive until we know if anyone's still on there."

"That is probably a good idea." Trowa agreed and turned the active scanners away from the massive structure.

"Seeing what comes up on unified field energy sensors in just a moment," Mineko muttered.

"Well, it's...rather large," Euikoshi said. "Sir, permission for full scans?"

"Do it."

"You are certain, sir?" Koyama added her voice to the conversation on the bridge. She had her own reservations at prodding things she did not understand. And this station was suffice of to say entirely out of what she defined in her understanding.

Aoba just gave Koyama a nod.

Even before Koyama had spoken, Mineko had tapped the MEGAMI to begin the more intensive scans. Though they could give away the position of the Resurgence, the high powered sweeps would tell them more about what they were looking at than visuals and low intensity mass scans alone could muster.

The station was constructed with technology far beyond the current knowledge of the Star Army. It was powered by a form of energy unknown to them, its readings unlike anything their sensors were designed to recognize. The station's structure was riddled with compartments and corridors, some large enough to accommodate whole starships.

But the most concerning thing was the complete lack of life signs. The entire station seemed to be abandoned, with no indications of inhabitants. Not a single blip on the radar, no signs of energy usage indicative of life support systems. The station was massive, technologically advanced, and completely deserted.

"Captain Aoba, we're not picking up any life signs. The station appears to be deserted," reported Euikoshi, a tone of incredulity in her voice.

"Interesting..." Captain Aoba muttered, his eyes narrowing at the sight of the colossal structure. "Keep an eye out for any changes. We need to understand what we're dealing with here."

"Sir, I have one ship on sensors approaching the station," Euikoshi said. "It is in rather poor condition."

"Send the armor team to the station immediately. We're not losing salvage rights to some space hobos," Aoba said with a chuckle.

Trowa agreeded with Koyama. It would probably be better to take things slowly. Especially since they had no idea what in the galaxy they were dealing with but he said, "Aye Captain. I'll prep the Away team."

"Sir, if you don't mind, I'd like to further analyze the station with the away team." Mineko said, basically asking to be excused from the bridge.

"Of course," Aoba replied, granting permission for Mineko to join the team.

The more scans they did, the more it was obvious that Mishhuvurthyar ships had been through the area, though there was no sign of them presently.

Koyama, meanwhile had begun to check their astrogation charts to plot points of reference to their current location.

The station was so far away from known space that the ship's computer was still running calculations trying to find any familiar stars at all. They were obviously in a vastly different part of the Kagami Galaxy.

"Picking up Rixxikor chatter on the comms from that ship...something about your mom..." Kalena said, then blushed.

"We're so far off the galactic beaten path. But the Rixxikor are still near?" Koyama wanted to swear but instead settled for disgust.

"I guess that's what happens when you have exceptional reproduction and millions of years to spread," Gabriela shrugged.

"Literal galactic pests." Koyama responded.

"Let's beat them to the station," Aoba encouraged the crew. "Them being on our turf is much better than us being on their turf."


((OOC: JP by Wes, Charaa, Ame, Cowboy, iaincarter, Sunny D, Yoshiro, Soban, Soresu))
Power Armor Bay

Yoshiro thought about what Yayoi said to him. As he put his power armor on he started feeling better than what he felt like twenty minutes ago. Once he finished putting on his armor and gathering his weapons, he uttered a piece of a poem that he had read when he was a child. "By blood shall we die but by blade shall we be remembered." He whispered as he took a deep breath to focus his mind on the task at hand.
YSS Resurgence
Power Armor Bay

Okimi watched as the combat team entered the Bay and began suiting up. She wondered what the Resurgence had gotten itself into this time and couldn't help but wonder what excitement awaited them while she stood next to the damage control station like a silent sentinel. It was a pity that she was stuck behind doing nothing much to contribute while the others were putting their lives on the line once more. Something about the situation made her nekovalkyrja blood want to boil at the thought of what felt like cowardice on her part. It was almost like she was back in the same headspace she had been trapped within before meeting the Empress.

But, crucially, she wasn't. In fact, a visit to the Star Army Training Administration during the month of leave had reminded Okimi of something she had seemingly forgotten. Before she was trained as a caretaker, the Star Army had trained her to be a soldier and had she received no further training, that is exactly what she would have been upon entering active service. Everything she needed to contribute more was already within her. All it had ever needed was for her to accept it and do something about it.

So she did.

"MEGAMI," She transmitted wirelessly to the Resurgence's Computer. "Please attach my my combat certifications to a request for assignment to an armor team and transmit to the appropriate officer aboard." Okimi wasn't sure if she should take her request via her nominal department head, the XO, or the department head of the combat teams, whoever that was, or straight to the Captain. Fortunately, MEGAMI would know, so the caretaker left it in her capable hands.

"Request acknowledged and processed. Assignment request transmitted. Will there be anything else, Santo Hei Fujikawa?" Swiftly came the calm, polite reply of MEGAMI across the wireless connection.

"No, but thank you for asking MEGAMI. Have a pleasant day." Okimi always tried to stay friendly and polite when dealing with MEGAMI. Honestly, it wasn't that hard most days to imagine the Resurgence's computer intelligence as a digital member of the ship's crew. With the channel closed, the caretaker let herself show a small smile at this personal victory. Even if the request was ultimately denied, she had at least taken a step in the right direction. Just in case though, she began calling up the memories of basic training, reviewing them at the speed of thought that only a digital brain could offer.
((OOC: Thinking we should try and organise how we plan on going about this. Willing to delete/edit if this is inappropriate.))

"Elster to the away team." Erika said after she had finished checking her equipment "I'm thinking we should discuss our approach before committing. Stand by for an encryption key to access a private channel so we're not gumming up the open network with our chatter. Elster out." Every inbox aboard the ship then had a message with a long alphanumeric sequence attached delivered to it entitled 'Resurgence's Department of Expeditionary Acquisitions.'

"My MINDY is equipped with a P-Four-Double-Zero-Three, so I can take a few units along with me in case you think your back slot would be better with something else." Erika continued over the private channel. An image of the station was projected into the channel, with the bay in question highlighted. "I've calculated the Rixxikor's vector and determined they have a high likelihood of heading to this hangar. We could set up defensive positions there and wait for them, or teleport to the exterior of the station and try and warn them off as they approach. We can also try and find a suitable location to transport deeper inside the station. Those are my thoughts."
Resurgence, Power Armor Bay

Sanda hurried into the Power Armor bay and began to suit up. Unlike some of her neko crewmates, Sanda put on a sealable body suit before climbing into her Mindy. For the Ranger, she was completely prepared and conferrable ditching her Mindy suit if need be. But as this was a space station with potential exposure to a vacuumed, she needed a sealable suit on incase her Mindy failed.

Once her suit was sealed and Sanda had run her checks she removed her helmet and took a moment to shake out her hair before tying it into a pony tail. She then took her standard loadout of weapons. Plasma Rifle, SiZi revolver, two bayonets and a backup Type 33. On her armor she had two shoulder attached weapons. A gauss cannon and a shotgun. That would give her a nice range of firepower for whatever they came across. She was also packing a shield like she had on her beloved Daisy suit. For the time being it was strapped to her back out of the way.

She was ready to go. It was then that she received a transmission from one of the new girls, Erika. She smiled and nodded to her. "Not a bad idea to make sure we're all on the same page, but we can just talk out loud. I'm pretty sure everyone who is going on the away team is already here."


Trowa was on his way to the Power Armor Bay to suit up and once again lead the away team. He had been doing that a lot lately but if he was honest he was also enjoying it. As much as he loved piloting a starship like the Resurgence the chance to get into some close combat and actually get his hands dirty was appealing to the old one eyed Nep. Well, he wasn't that old. Just a good bit older than most of the other crew, save Aoba.

As he reviewed the footage of the Station they were rapidly approaching, he got received a message from one of the ships caretakers, Okimi. Trowa read the request with some surprise. He thoughtfully reviewed the caretakers combat certifications as he walked, rubbing a hand over his trimmed beard as he did so. He wasn't sure why the a caretaker suddenly wanted to join an away team with a very high likelihood of going into combat. Maybe it had something to do with that Blood Medallion the crew had received. Could be that had awakened a warrior inside the little caretaker. In any event, Trowa thought he'd give her a chance.

"Santo Hei Fujikawa. Report to the Power Armor Bay and suit up. You're joining the away team."
YSS Resurgence
Power Armor Bay

Okimi blinked, the order from Trowa-shosa having caught her completely by surprise. The caretaker had been certain that her request would have to be reviewed, then she'd be called in for an interview and if she passed all of those checks, then there would be proving her qualifications in using the Ke-M2-4 Mindy and associated hardware as well as passing some kind of combat assessment. As it turned out, not so much.

The caretaker immediately started walking towards Norita-hei, knowing the armorer would be the best place to start. As she walked, Okimi mentally communed once more with MEGAMI to ensure her battlestation was correctly updated and that Engineering would be informed that she was no longer available for damage control actions. Reaching the red-haired Minkan, she bowed to the Jôtô Hei.

"Excuse me, Norita-hei. Trowa-shosa has ordered me to join the away team." She smiled wryly. "As I have had no need before now for a custom-fitted suit, I was hoping you could point out which of the unassigned standard Mindy's you recommend for my use."

The Resurgence's armorer smiled and tilted her head, indicating that the caretaker should walk with her. "Of course, Fujikawa-hei." A quick check of the armor bay's inventory and the relevant maintenance logs had the redhead nodding. "Here we go, take unit three here." Miriam stopped next to one armor rack in particular. "It's not the newest suit we've got, but it has the best maintenance record." She decided to test the young caretaker. "You need a hand suiting up?"

Okimi took a moment to stare at the motionless Mindy, hanging on its rack and had to suppress a sudden spike of mirth as she wondered if this qualified as an off-the-rack fashion statement. In response to the armorer's question, she shook her head. "No, but thankyou for the offer. I took a refresher course in Mindy operations only a couple of weeks ago and everything from basic training is still up here." She tapped the side of her head before something occurred to her that the redhead could help her with. "I don't have time to go change, so would you mind terribly stowing my gear until I return?"

At the minkan's affirmative nod, Okimi immediately began stripping down. First came off the AMES environmental suit into all its component parts, followed swiftly by her bra and panties. She quickly folded it all into a neat pile, placed her holstered NSP on top and placed it into the container Miriam had rustled up. While Okimi knew she could have kept the bodysuit on, the caretaker was a little worried that even such a small impeding layer between her skin and the Mindy's Hemosynthetic Interior Insert would lead to lowered performance. Considering this was for all intents and purposes a trial under fire, Okimi really wanted to stack the deck as much in her favour as she could.

With the armoured suit's chest and abdomen plates fixed in their open position, Okimi easily jumped up to grab the bar at the front of the rack. Using the new point of leverage she athletically twisted and compressed her body, swinging around until her feet lined up with the opening in the Mindy's chest. Happy with her alignment, the caretaker pushed backwards, sliding herself feet-first into the immobile power armor until properly positioned and her SPINE interface connected with the Mindy. Okimi repressed the shudder at the coldness of the interior which had been matched with that of the armor bay. That discomfort only lasted for a moment though as the suit activated around her and the biosynthetic flesh within rapidly heated and adapted to her form. Within seconds, Okimi felt like every inch of her body was receiving a warm hug.

With a rising sense of excitement, the caretaker closed up the suit and pulled the helmet down until it sealed into place. The Mindy's onboard computer had synched up with her own OS and between one moment and the next, Okimi lost the sensation of her neko body as she became something more. With all the internal checks coming up green, the caretaker released the Mindy from its armor rack. With a nod of appreciation towards the watching armorer, Okimi crossed to the racking containing the various weapons and equipment available for use with the power armor.

Deciding to keep things simple for this first sortie, the Santo Hei selected a Ke-M2-W2913 Aether/Scalar Submachine Gun as her primary weapon system, its various modes of operation allowing her to be combat effective against a variety of targets. She also retrieved the meter-long aether saber bayonet and attached it to the lug on the underside of the gun. A couple of spare BU-M20 battery magazines were secured at the upper leg hardpoints to allow for ease of access. Finally, Okimi picked out an empty Ke-M2-W3000 general equipment pack and attached to the dorsal hardpoint of her armor. After all, the away team might need something to securely store items for bringing back to the Resurgence and as the junior of the team, it made sense to her mind for Okimi to be the pack mule.

Satisfied that she was ready for action, Okimi inclined her head towards Norita-hei who she noticed had watched her every action like a hawk. From the reassuring smile and returned nod, the caretaker could only assume that the armorer was satisfied too. Smoothly twisting, Okimi turned and crossed the Bay towards the rest of the power-armored crew, more than ready to take this massive step forward in her life.

"Santo Hei Fujikawa, reporting for away team duty." She spoke to those gathered, looking for Trowa-shosa amongst them.
YSS Resurgence - Bridge

The bridge of the Resurgence was alive with activity, each crew member focused intently on their respective tasks. The massive alien station seemed almost to taunt them with its silent mysteries.

"Euikoshi, find a suitable docking point or any open bays. We need to gain entry," Aoba ordered, his eyes never leaving the massive construct.

The Resurgence glided smoothly through the blackness of space, its sleek hull reflecting the scattered starlight. The closer they got to the station, the more the enormity of the construction dawned on them. Its vast scale was truly astounding, dwarfing any other spacefaring construct they had ever encountered.

"I'm still trying to get a fix on our location via our astrogation charts." Koyama announced while a frown creased her lips. "MEGAMI currently has no idea where we are at present but she is working the problem." She wanted to bite her tongue on remarking they might have sent a probe through the wormhole first. But what was exploration of the unknown without a little danger?

"Let's try something else..." she began to reference the YSE's list of known Pulsars. As she added this to the MEGAMI's tasks, Koyama also monitored the feeds from the armor team and recorded them.

The Resurgence neared the alien construct, and the vast, gaping entrance of a docking bay came into view. Perfectly geometric shapes, completely symmetrical, gave the structure an oddly elegant appearance despite its intimidating size. The entrance was bordered by soft, luminescent lights, which guided the Resurgence like runway lights for an aircraft.

Aoba's voice came over the ship's comms, addressing the whole crew. "This is a moment of exploration, discovery, and potential danger. Stay vigilant. Stay coordinated. We're in this together, and we'll come out of this together. Let's see what secrets this behemoth holds."

The ship gradually came to a stop, hovering just before the docking bay. There was a palpable tension in the air, the weight of the unknown pressing on everyone.

YSS Resurgence - Shuttle Bay

Yayoi approached the shuttle while in her Mindy Power Armor.

After grabbing his aether SMG and extra ammunition Yoshiro headed to the shuttle in the shuttle bay.

Okimi felt her excitement begin to level out as the time for deployment neared, and the natural professional soldier lurking within ever Nekovalkyrja asserted itself as she prepared mentally for upcoming battle. Falling in behind the rest of the Away Team, the Mindy-clad caretaker followed the others across the Resurgence's central corridor towards the shuttle bay.

"Okimi, didn't realize you were part of the team. Welcome aboard. " Yoshiro said as helped her on the shuttle.

"Thank you, Yoshiro-heisho," Okimi replied. "I visited SATA during leave, looking for some career advice and they reminded me that I was a Star Army soldier first before I ever began my Caretaker training. I took a Mindy operations refresher course, so it was only natural to request a PA assignment. I look forward to working with you all!"

Yoshiro smiled at Okimi and boarded the shuttle. "We are glad to have you with us, Okimi." He said.

Yayoi said nothing as she spotted the caretaker joining them. She knew of course that even caretakers were soldiers and likely would go on missions if possible.

Beryl Leyton arrived in the shuttle bay and began firing up her shuttlecraft, "Barrels of Fun II." It was a stealth Ke-T7 similar the the one lost in the fight against the Mishhuvurthyar in the previous mission. She was dressed in an experimental armored skinsuit. "Yoshiro-Heisho, Yayoi, Okimi," she greeted the away team as they entered the back of the shuttle. Its interior was lit with red light and it had high-strength fabric seats on the sides and an open space in the middle for cargo or extra power armors. As they boarded there was a familiar clanking sound with each foot step. After a moment, Pidole joined the others in her Mindy armor with its custom beetle-pod on one shoulder. "We'll probably run into a lot of doors that need opening," she explained.

"All right infantry, and Rangers, take your seats and buckle up, we got a mission to complete!" Yoshiro said as he buckled in.

Yayoi walked into the shuttle, and took her seat. The ranger silently prepared herself for the battle ahead of her.

Okimi quickly seated herself in response to Yoshiro's order and locked her Mindy into place.

"Still room, right?" Mineko asked with a soft teasing tone as she double checked that her buttpack was clipped into her Mindy. The SAINT analyst was followed up by the operative as well and the pair took a seat in Beryl's shuttle.

"Don't leave without me!" Euikoshi called out, rushing into the back of the shuttle. "This kind of thing is a scientist's fantasy!" she cheered.

Once everyone was loaded into the shuttle, they took off and made the short trip to the station. There was a rush of air as the shuttle exited the shuttlebay's air containment forcefield, and then the silence of vacuum. Within a minute, the shuttle hovered over the deck of the alien station's docking bay.

Abandoned Station

Pidole and Euikoshi leapt out of the shuttle's open back door to land on the surface. Immediately Euikoshi pulled out a handheld scanner and began walking around pointing it at things, while Pidole looked for some sort of controls.

Yoshiro calmly jumped out of the shuttle and used his sensors to see if there was any immediate danger.

In her eagerness, Okimi tried to jump to her feet without disabling the restraints on her Mindy's movement and took a moment to wonder why she hadn't moved. With a wry snort at the rookie mistake, she disabled the restraints and followed after the rest of the team. Once on the deck of the dock, the caretaker couldn't help but turn her head to-and-fro, trying to see everything in the strange, new environment.

Yayoi silently and stoically left her seat, and walked out of the shuttle with the others, her eyes glancing around the room, taking in the sights.

"This place is enormous," Pidole observed, looking around with the flashlight of her NSP. The vastness of the station was evident even looking at the docking bay alone, which was easily large enough for a ship like the Resurgence to set down and land.

"Got something," Euikoshi said, looking at her scanner. She walked over to a large, burnt lump of flesh near one side of the bay. When she shined her flashlight on it, she saw something she didn't like.

Yoshiro took a look. He did not like what he saw!

Sanda had exited the shuttle and had imideitly dissapeared. She move quickly and silently around while the rest of her team focused on the dead Mishhu, she was hunting for live ones.

Yoshiro could see the destroyed skull of a Mishhuvurthyar. The creature's organs and tentacles were splattered around in a heap and it had charring marks on it.

Yayoi blinked as her screen's adjustment allowed her to see the Mishuu skull. "wow.." she said as she poked it, but Mishuu dead which meant it wasnt a thread anymore.

"I want to find out whoever burned that thing," Mineko said, scanning what she could of the remains Yoshiro found, knowing it was likely futile. "My enemy's enemy is my friend or whatever the phrase is."

Just then a small starship rushed into the bay, coming down for a landing. It was covered in grime and rust and strongly resembled a dumpster. After perching on a flat spot on the bay, steam poured out of its underside and a hatch on the side came open and out came a short, skinny purple insectoid.

"Contact!" Okimi called out, levelling her aether SMG at the unknown starship and looking for potential cover in case things devolved into a firefight.

Mineko was sure not to look as if she was drawing any weaponry —her Mindy could fire something from its shoulder mounts without making her look hostile to whatever trash collector had just landed. She double checked with Erika before waving a hand out.

"Do you speak Trade?" Mineko asked over her armor's speakers.

Yoshiro looked over at the ship.

At Okimi's warning, Yayoi turned, and spotted the strange ship, her eyes blinked, behind her helment and she pulled a face as she watched the creature come out. please dont be a cousin to the Rixikor or a Rixikor! she thought but there was no mistaking it.

As the Rixikor ship set down, Sanda moved up silently behind it. If they started trouble, she'd cut them down from behind before they even knew she was there.

"Sheeeit, of course we speak trade," the Rixxikor said, shouldering some sort of particle submachinegun. It waddled over and looked around at the team members. "Who are you?"

"Have you engaged the Mishhuvurthyar here?" Mineko asked, hoping to get friendly with the Rixxikor before it started asking to barter information for snacks or worse.

Another one of those cannibalistic crazy monsters! damn it all! Yayoi thought but said nothing out loud due to having more sense than that

"The what?" the Rixxikor asked, moving to the Mishhuvurthyar corpse. It began crouching down and eating some of the remnants, using its powerful and razor sharp arms to slew off chunks of flesh.

"Big squid monster, we found a dead one," Mineko asked as she followed the Rixxikor's movements. She was thankful her expression was hidden as disgust screwed up her face behind the Mindy visor.

Okimi was very thankful that her Mindy's helmet obscured her face so that nobody could see just how utterly repulsed she was by the actions of the insectoid alien. Honestly, the caretaker was feeling a little nauseated at the uncouth display taking place before her.

"Oh, that's what they're called. Sheeeit. Those things are trouble. Very...hostile...anyway who are you?" the bug-person asked, stuffing its face with necrotic tissue. Its mouth had two tiny arms that hung off of it that grabbed the meat as it chewed.

Use a damned plate or something! Yayoi thought as she watched the display.

"Heisho, the captain wanted salvage rights. The Rixxikor muddles that. What are your orders?" Mineko turned to the armor team lead, Yoshiro, and said over their channel. "Okimi-hei is in charge of introductions," Mineko said over speakers as she looked to the caretaker and swept a hand regally in her direction.

"We have to get those salvage rights, Mineko but this is my first time dealing with this." Yoshiro said. "Any suggestions, Mineko?"

By this time about a dozen more Rixxikor had started skittering out of the junky spaceship, all armed. They began to search around the area for additional sources of food.

Euikoshi kept on scanning but Pidole kind of clamped up and nervously stared at the insectoid away team.

Okimi, mechanically and slowly, turned her Mindy's helmet to look at where the Analyst stood. Now she understood what was meant by cruel and unsual orders. Still, the word had been given and being Santo Hei meant hers was not to question why, just to do and die. With a sigh, Okimi reached deep and went full caretaker mode as she moved towards the purple insectoid.

"Sheeit. You don't know about this place being haunted, do you?" the first Rixxikor asked, narrowing its big green eyes at the away team.

"Oh no! Haunted? Do you mean, like, real ghosts? Have you seen them? What do they look like?" Okimi spoke to the alien in the most exciteable voice she could manage. One of the early lessons the caretaker had learned was showing vulnerability was often a good way to be underestimated and an overconfident opponent was more likely to give away extra information.

As Yayoi spotted more Rixikor arriving, she found herself repulsed, angered and her desire to kill the bugs grew.

Noticing Yayoi and her anger as he turned he gave Yayoi orders. "Yayoi you will keep your bearing. Do not start anything." Yoshiro said over comms.

"hai, dont worry, i got it" Yayoi replied over calms

"No te preocupes hermana, los tengo flanqueados." Sanda sent Yayoi directly. She was hidden in the shadows behind the group of Rixxikor, ready to blast them if they started anything.

Yayoi smiled as she heard Sanda's voice. She knew she could count on her.

"Who are these softskins?" one of the Rixxikor asked another. "Are they...edible? They look like they could be edible."

"We're something of ghost hunters," Mineko offered. "We can help you out with your problem here, but you'll have more if you try to eat us. A lot more." With that addition, she rubbed her tummy and gave a thumbs down. The SAINT analyst was really thinking about the second fleet's massive casualties, losing 102 Sharies just to save the one when they rescued the Wakaba. The response to the Resurgence crew getting eaten would likely be as disproprtionate.

After getting its fill of Mishhuvurthyar guts, the first Rixxikor explorers introduced himself. "I'm called Tyxxar the pathfinder. And I'm only here because I know my eggs are safe. This is not a safe place. There is a great evil that lives here. Once we eat, we go. Sheeeit, only a fool would stay here."

"We're less than safe ourselves, you could say. What's this evil?" Mineko looked to Yoshiro, checking in with him that he didn't want to cut in with discussions with the Rixxikor.

Tyxxar shrugged, "Well, there's more than one...first there's the entity. Then there's the experiments, and finally the soldiers...also the old machines and their servants. Sheeit..."

Okimi tilted her head at the alien, wondering if it had provided the solution to their current situation. "Hmm, why not leave us to enter this place and maybe we could bring you back any food that we find?"

"Found the airlock to the next section," Pidole noted. "Attempting to restore function."

"In the past, Star Army soldiers from the YSS Eucharis managed to basically bribe hundreds of Rixxikor by throwing them a barbeque," Euikoshi told the team. "We have extra food supplies on the Resurgence. If the captain authorizes it, we could send these guys on their way with packs of rations or canned goods," she suggested.

"I think they might be military," one of the Rixxikor said, looking at the matching hinomaru patches on the team's arms. "Hmmmm."

Yoshiro thought about the barbecue. "See if the captain will authorize it." He said to Mineko. "I don't want a fight if I can help it."

Trowa's voice came through the Away teams comms. "Away team. What is your status?"

Yayoi was surprised at what she was hearing. throwing the rixikor a barbeque. Thats an odd thing, but then they'd had to give food to the last one they encountered. She thought it made sense. "Resurgence, this is the Away team, status, uh we've encountered a Rixikor" Yayoi reported..

"Some of our team are wondering if we can send them on their way with foodstuffs," Mineko added.

"If it will satisfy them, that's fine. I'll have Hachirobei prepare a 'refugee care package' to provide food to these hungry aliens. If they have knowledge about where we are and what this station is, see if you can get them to talk before they leave," captain Aoba replied over the team communications channel.

"Captain authorized it," Mineko said over speakers to Yoshiro, hoping to set the stage for what they were about to offer. She herself was skeptical of the plan and there was no guaruntee it would satisfy the Rixxikor who were already on their way out, but it was an easy enough allottment and no skin off her teeth as she wasn't a big eater anyway. Mineko almost laughed aloud as she thought how undoable it would have been to give away food while Emiko had been on the ship, but contained herself.

In a few minutes, a second shuttle arrived and Sakuko transferred a bunch of non-perishible foods to the Rixxikor explorers, including large amounts of peanut butter, cheese, and so forth. The Rixxikor began begging her for coffee and she gave them the shuttle's supply of coffee grounds, which they began to eat directly out of the bag. As promised, the Rixxikor then began to pack up and were getting ready to leave, except for one, because the Rixxikor pathologically disagreed on literally every decision.

Okimi felt her sense of nausea increase. She thought eating necrotic tissue was bad enough, but, seriously, who could enjoy the taste of coffee enough to eat it like that? The caretaker was also privately worried about them setting a precedent. Hopefully they wouldn't be inundated with more Rixxikor ships with crews looking for an easy meal.

Yayoi was very glad for her training, as she used it as she watched the Rixikor eat, and move out. But she noticed one didnt seem too.

Sanda was more concerned with their surroundings than the Rixxikor eating habits. She had one eye on her surroundings and one eye on the Rixxikor. Ready to strike as soon as one stepped out of line. She noticed one not following the rest and sort of casually aimed her weapon in that direction.

"How's the airlock function coming along, Pidole-san?" Mineko asked.

"Ready to move," Pidole told Mineko, with a hint of pride in her voice.

The Rixxikor junk-ship lifted off, filling the bay with obnoxious and defeaning jet noise for a moment, and leaving only a cloud of smoke and the one random Rixxikor too stubborn to get back on the ship.

Though Mineko had told Pidole she was the best and went towards the airlock, she had stopped just short of going through and instead inspected the controls Pidole had restored. She both wanted to get information on the make of the station and didn't want to head out without Yoshiro's lead.

The controls were in the form of a softly-glowing touchpad with an unfamiliar alien script on it. When not in use they retracted into the wall so flush that they were nearly impossible to see.

"How'd you even spot that?" Mineko rhetorically asked Pidole. "You have quite the eyes."

Yayoi was about to turn her attention on the controls along side Mineko but she found her attention on the solo Rixikor since it was alone, and wondered what it was doing there.

The solo Rixxikor went over and began eating Mishhuvurthyar scraps that Tyxxar had left behind, voraciously clawing at the obviously rotten carrion.

Yoshiro noticed that Rixxikor eating the rotting carcass. He went over to talk to him but he had the mission to complete. He followed Sanda into the airlock.

Sanda eyed the remaining Rixx but decided he wasn't worth her time. Instead she headed for the door Pidole had just opened and examined it. Taking a look down it with her rifle held up and ready.

The corridors were wide and very dark, and they could see screens along the sides of them the way spaceports had advertisements along their walls.

"Permission for Blade and me to check it out?" Sanda asked Yoshiro. She and Yayoi were Rangers and had the most experience in steathily taking point.

"Roger that, Sanda." Yoshiro said over comms. "Engage in combat as you see fit."

Yayoi heard Sanda's request and heard Yoshiro's response.

"Copy that" Yayoi replied, pleased with this move.

Sanda mearly nodded and waved Yayoi to follow her.

Yayoi nodded and moved to follow Sanda, keeping her eyes peeled for danger and any other threats.

The away team's footsteps echoed through vast, cavernous halls of the abandoned station. Though vast and sprawling, the air within felt dense, oppressive, and almost suffocating. The walls, forged of dark, almost obsidian-like metal, seemed to undulate ever so slightly when observed from the periphery of one’s vision, but when stared at directly, were as solid and immovable as stone.

The omnipresent gloom was punctuated by erratic flickers of what might have once been orderly rows of luminescent lights, now reduced to the inconsistency of dying fireflies. Their dim glow cast eerie, elongating shadows that danced on the walls, floor, and ceilings, making the metallic corridors seem alive with phantom movements. Every so often, a panel would spark erratically, sending blue-white tendrils of electricity crawling briefly before succumbing once more to the darkness.

A chilling silence dominated the station, but every now and then, the quiet was broken by distant, unsettling sounds: the low groans of the station's superstructure, sharp clatters like distant footsteps, or soft, whispering drafts of air that sounded eerily like muted voices. These ambient noises echoed from impossible distances, creating an atmosphere of foreboding uncertainty.

The very architecture of the station seemed to defy logic. Hallways twisted into themselves, creating disorienting labyrinths. Some chambers were vast and domed, ceilings reaching impossible heights and adorned with unfamiliar symbols that pulsed weakly with their own internal light. There were doorways that led to nothing but sheer drops into abyssal depths, and staircases that spiraled endlessly upwards, only to end abruptly in walls of the same black metal.

But perhaps the creepiest feature was the inexplicable presence of frost. Even in the cold void of space, inside the station, thin layers of ice formed on surfaces, fogging the air with a thin, chilling mist. It formed patterns, crystalline fractals that looked like outstretched hands, clawing at the walls and floors, as though the station itself had tried to resist some insidious force from within and failed.

Sanda and Yayoi kept ahead of the away team. Checking for booby traps and enemies as they advanced. Sanda barely made a sound, but even the slight click of her weapons against her armor sent ecos resounding off the tomb silent station. It was slightly never wracking. Sanda had never know such silence.

"Think the entity the Rixx mentioned is just ice?" Mineko asked. She was only half joking as the puzzle of what Txxar had said the station held had been gnawing at her while they traversed the winding passageways encased in cold.

Okimi followed the rest of the team, sweeping her vision and aether SMG around in case of an ambush. This station was starting to creep her out something fierce with its irregular design and sheer alien wrongness. The caretaker was immensely grateful that her Mindy's biosynthetic interior kept her comfortably warm because the station certainly appeared to be a frozen hell.

In one particularly large chamber, the away team found a series of pedestals, each holding a translucent cube. Inside, swirling, nebulous mists seemed to display glimpses of unknown galaxies and stars, as though each was a window into a different universe. Yet they were cold to the touch, and emitted a low, mournful hum, like the song of a lonely whale echoing in the deepest ocean abyss.

Euikoshi pulled out a camera and began documenting them and the room for later analysis.

"The experiments," Mineko said as she followed in Euikoshi's wake. First she peered in to the first and then second see-through box. Her eyes lingered on the contents before she took out her science scanner. She was checking first for a basic life form detection within the tiny contained nebulae, then wanted to move on to ionizing radiation, wondering in a peculiar way if gamma rays would show up—a wavelength only present in the hottest and more energetic objects and that wouldn't (or shouldn't) be found in tiny boxes aboard a space station. She was disappointed to find the emissions near that of a volumetric screen rather than a tiny contained universe

The station wasn’t just abandoned; it felt forsaken. As if some great calamity or dread had befallen its inhabitants, forcing them to flee and leave behind a shell that had since been reclaimed by darkness and cold. It was a place of awe-inspiring grandeur, but also of haunting desolation.

Pidole walked up a set of stairs to a circular "control station" in the large domed room and without thinking about it too much, touched some of the controls, causing a rumble to spread throughout the area as various lights flickered on and air began to flow.

Sanda almost jumped as the lights flickered on and the air began to flow, expecting an ambush. She quickly saw Pidole had pushed a control and was releved, but said, "Next time, give us a warning. Hu Red?"

That's when they saw the first of the defense mechs, a hulking armored behemoth emerging from a folded position in one of the walls, breaking off and expanding into its combat form...

"Contact!" Sanda yelled, bringing her weapons up.

= = =

OOC: JP by Wes, Charaa, Ame, Cowboy, iaincarter, Soresu, Yoshiro
"Sanda, open fire! Yayoi, Okimi get the noncombatants out of here and somewhere safe! As soon as you get done, get back here and help Sanda deal with the mech!" Yoshiro said and sent a message to Aoba. "Resurgence, this is Tanaka Heisho, leading the away team. We are under attack by a mech of unknown origin. I need to evac the noncombatants to a safe place, is there any place we can take them?"
YSS Resurgence - Bridge

"Belay that, hold fire," Aoba answered quickly. "What type of attack? I'm not seeing any..." he asked. "Remember your rules of engagement. We don't necessarily know they're hostile," he explained. "We don't want to be aggressors and start a new war by accident, especially considering what the Empress and the Taisho just told us."

Space Station

Pidole told Yoshiro, "It could just be activating now because I restored power to the room, probably including its charging station or whatever it uses. Maybe let's avoid pointing weapons at it and see how it reacts? And respectfully, we're all combatants."

Euikoshi scanned the robot as it approached, "It's very advanced," she said. "It's made of rearrange-able transforming parts held together by energy fields...same composition as the walls of the station. It could mean the entire interior of station could reassemble into a collection of these robots. Which would leave us considerably outnumbered..."
"Roger, holding fire." Yoshiro said and ordered Sanda to hold fire. "Yayoi, Okimi belay my last orders." He told them. He turned to Pidole and spoke to her. "You're right, Pidole. I am just getting used to command and I want to protect those who I serve with." He said as he holstered his smg and took a calming breath. He had always been quick to assume things that were not always correct. "I seem to jump to conclusions too quickly, it seems so I am glad for cooler headed individuals such as you, Pidole." He sighed, realizing he could have gotten them killed.
Space Station

Sanda already had her weapons up when she was give the green light to engage. She held her fire however. As a veteran of many fights now she had developed almost a sixth sense for danger and combat. Her combat instinct hadn't triggered yet. Oh she was on edge as the unknown robot began to assemble itself and it could certainly be dangerous.

It seemed like her instincts were justified when a few seconds later she received word from the Captain to hold fire. Her finger was off the trigger, but it was still held up and at the ready. Sanda moved back, giving the robot plenty of room but keeping herself between it and her team. She agreed with Yoshiro. There were combatants and then there were combatants. Those whose primary job was to fight and those whose secondary job was to fight. Sanda, Yayoi and Yoshiro fell into that first category, at least as far as the Nep was concerned, although she knew that the others were more than capable of handling themselves.

It was the noncoms who had the expertise in this situation. "You two got any suggestions?" Sanda asked, addressing Pidole and Euikoshi.
A sense of relief had washed over Erika as she saw the back of the Rixxikor. Her first encounter with their kind, but certainly a memorable one. The term “Roach” came to mind. Fortunately, Mineko seemed to have it under control, though when the roaches left one behind the silver haired Neko had the invasive thought of kicking it out of the hangar.

It was an impulse quickly forgotten when the machine began to awake. Erika used her P4003 to teleport behind a bulkhead and brought her Aether SMG to bear. A reticle on her visor overlayed on the machine as the missiles on her shoulder locked on. Her trigger finger flinched when Yoshiro said to fire, but she held steady for the moment it took for Aoba to answer back.

When Sandra asked for advice, even though it wasn’t directed at her, Erika put her two cents in. “Assuming its a robot, it will have an Identify Friend Foe system. If its advanced enough it might be able to interpret hostile behavior. So if we’re doing our best to avoid engagement, not pointing weapons at it might be a start.” she said, lowering her own. She switched the targeting sensors to a passive mode, and despite her suggestion, was more than happy when her micro missiles locked retained lock on the machine.
Space Station

Okimi had barely had the chance to process Yoshiro's order to evacuate Pidole and Euikoshi when he countermanded it. Personally, the caretaker wasn't sure how exactly she would have managed to follow that order if the pair hadn't co-operated. Something told her it wouldn't have been as easy as throwing them over her shoulders and making a run for it with Yayoi laying down covering fire. Well, it was all moot now, so she settled for keeping her weapon held across the Mindy's body, careful not to point it at the deployed robot.

She listened to the others speak but, having nothing to contribute, kept her silence. Okimi continued to look around though, not wanting to be surprised by something appearing in a blind spot. The caretaker's general unease was still slowly rising as the creepy environment continued to grate against her nerves. For a moment, she stilled, certain she had heard someone whispering quietly off to her left, but a quick check of the rest of the away team showed that nobody was over in that direction. Just another dark, rime-ridden wall.

Trying to shake off the uncomfortable sensation she felt, Okimi focused her attention back on to the Away Team's conversation.
Space Station

The large security robot looked at the away team for at least a minute, staring them down with a pulsing red eye shaped like a line that went around its center section. As its rules of engagement did not allow it to fire first, it eventually left the away team on its own and went to look at the shuttle bay, where the lone Rixxikor unwisely shot it for unknown reasons and was promptly reduced to a smoking smear on the deck by the robot's plasma pulse weapons.
Space Station

"You know," Euikoshi said with a shudder, remembering her violent encounter in a previous mission, "If we're on an ancient space station, we're probably going to run into ancient, advanced artificial intelligences...this all very much reminds me of Mission 6 where we captured the machine moon of Samurr for Nalini. And that makes me think, it might be helpful to have someone with us who speaks to ancient machines. One ghost to talk to another, who could translate for us. What if we call for assistance from the Harbinger of Xurrmurrluvormuir-Shalurbrurrkamirrr?"

"Might work.." Yayoi said as she attempted to recall the mission mentioned, or if she'd been on leave to raise Yuri. "Nalini is someone we can trust, unless the moon has corrupted her." She added. She still couldnt believe that the god of the Separa'shan was an AI.

Sanda snorted, "Yeah thats all well and good, but we don't know where she might be. Come to that, do we even know where in the galaxy we are now?" The Ranger kept her rifle pointed in the general direction of the giant robot and kept herself planted between it and her team. The thing had already shown that it had some pretty heavy firepower by what it had done to that Rixx, good ridence to it.

"I seem to recall that last time we met the Harbinger of Xurr...uh...the Essai Ghost AI, that he chopped off three of your limbs," Pidole pointed out to Euikoshi. "Are you sure you..."

Euikoshi turned to Pidole, suddenly furious. "DO YOU THINK I COULD FORGET?!" she snapped, clearly triggered by the reminder of that painful experience. Yelling at Pidole caused Bidole to flare out its wings protectively.

"That's not what I meant, I just mean...can we trust it?" Pidole explained to Euikoshi. "Remember it also put Poppy in a display case to keep as an exhibit."

While the rest of the Away Team debated how best to proceed, Okimi kept her head on a swivel, incredibly eager not to be taken by surprise should another alien robot show itself. And heaven forbid that more Rixxikor show up either. The caretaker wasn't sure she would be able to resist throwing up if she had to watch one eating again.

Yayoi turned her head sharply towards Euikoshi when she suddenly had a outburst of anger.

There was a lot to take in between the robotic sentry and the away team's past experiences. For Mineko's share, she took closer looks at the volumetric screens with their nebulae, making sure to add them to data to analyze later.

The Resurgence's MEGAMI told Mineko that the maps, in her opinion, seemed to be destinations for the station's wormhole network, showing graphics of where each one was supposed to lead to. Perhaps by analyzing them they could see which one was the one that went home. Sure enough, one of them seemed to match the Kikyo Sector. The ship AI labeled it and sent it back to Mineko in seconds with a written thank you.

Tickled by the MEGAMI's clarity and sweet note, Mineko made sure that the captain would have access to the wormhole network before she started looking around the cubes, hoping for a way to access even more information within them.

Euikoshi, still slightly tense from the earlier exchange, sighed. "Alright, if we've possibly got a way out, let's focus on the here and now. Calling the Harbinger of Xurrmurrluvormuir-Shalurbrurrkamirrr might be a gamble, but if we find an AI or something else we can't communicate with, it might be the only option. Despite what happened, that entity did
understand ancient technologies."

"So what do we do in the mean time?" Sanda asked, some impatience creeping into her voice. She didn't like this standing around discussing things while a huge robot that could turn hostile at any moment was there.

Cassie had been scanning the area with her sensors, still uneasy. "I haven't detected any immediate threats, but this place is...odd. As if it's sleeping but could wake up at any moment."

"Then let's try not to be the alarm clock," said Pidole, glancing at Euikoshi to make sure she hadn't ruffled any more feathers—literal or metaphorical.

The conversation hung in the air like a weight, a collective acknowledgment of the risks they faced. Despite the discomfort, the mysteries, and the palpable dread that something unseen was watching them, they were professionals. Each focused, ready, weapons at the ready but minds sharper still.

Mineko's hands had been groping around in the darkness behind one of the cubes, but at Cassie's foreboding words, they comically shot up as she remembered how the bot had powered up at the press of some buttons earlier.

"Got some readings on the wormhole network here," the analyst offered near the little boxes with their even littler galaxies swirling within them.

Okimi nodded in agreement with Cassie's words. She too felt like there was something watching them, analysing their every word and action, trying to decide what they were. She really didn't want to know what would happen if whatever it was decided they were prey-slash-resources-slash-unwanted intruders.

"Nice," Euikoshi told Mineko, glad to hear any good news.

Mineko gave her a gentle smile and a nod. "We should move on to see what other secrets this place holds." Having heard the explosive reminder of Euikoshi's past earlier, Mineko was thankful for something to cheer the scientist up. But there wouldn't be much more to discover if they sat around idly, that the analyst knew.

Yoshiro heard Euikoshi's outburst and resolved to talk to her about it, that is if she wanted to.

Yayoi observed Mineko now and watched her skilled comrade show her skills and capabilities which impressed her. "indeed, exploration couldn't hurt, but i would advise caution." she said to the group at large.

As they journeyed deeper into the bowels of that celestial enigma, the architecture itself seemed to mock the limitations of their Earthly understanding. Twisted corridors straightened into wide halls, the walls awash with colors that defied description, shimmering in hues not captured on any spectrum known to man or machine.

They came upon a chamber that appeared to be a kind of atrium. A ceiling impossibly high seemed to capture a miniature cosmos, stars twinkling in the darkness above them. The floor was a mirror image, so perfectly reflective that for a moment it disoriented them, as if they stood between two infinities.

Sanda held up a hand to the away team as she visually scanned the area. This was a large area that could hold any number of surprises. "Hold here, Blade and I will check it out." Sanda waved Yayoi forward with her and the two Rangers moved to check for traps or surprises.

Yayoi nodded her head in agreement with Sanda, and proceeds forward to join Sanda on a scouting mission. She liked the idea, better they get hurt than their comrades.

Okimi stopped at the order, although she was confused it hadn't come from Yoshiro. Maybe they had transferred leadership over to Sanda-san while she had been distracted earlier? Regardless, being the junior on the team, the caretaker decided it wasn't her place to say anything about it and turned back to watch the direction they had entered from.

"This place is amazing," Euikoshi gasped. She slung her rifle over her shoulder and just took a moment to look around in fascination, recording it all for later review.

Thankfully, Sanda and Yayoi didn't see anything that looked suspicious in this chamber. Its walls were fairly pristine and spotless, and there wasn't a lot of traditional features in the room to hide things in.

"You can say that again," Mineko managed to breathe out in reply. Her jaw was hanging open as she looked up, then down at the same scene. "It's mind bending and hard to even start scans... Where do I even begin on this?" Despite her misgivings, the SAINT analyst closed her mouth as she looked down at the science scanner in her hands and set it up for the same scans she had initially taken at the cube room, as if she were expecting the cosmos above to be real.

Yoshiro was watching in case something happened. "Is it clear?" He asked.

"All clear." Sanda called to her companions after checking the immediate vicinity. The room was huge, so it was impossible to throughly check all of it but there was nothing that stood out as dangerous. Sanda kept farther out than the rest of the team. That way she'd be able to react to anything that might suddenly appear.

Yayoi nodded her head in agreement, as she looked around.

Pidole suddenly turned and started staring at one wall in particular. She shook her head once and then removed her Mindy armor's helmet and stared at it some more, walking closer.

"What is it, Pidole?" Yoshiro asked.

"Listen, do you hear that sound?" she asked, straining to hear it more clearly. It wasn't clear what she was talking about.

"Like whispers, just outside your range of hearing?" Okimi asked, wondering if it was like the sounds she had been hearing on and off since entering the station. She had decided it was probably a malfunction in her Mindy's audio sensors, but maybe it was something else instead.

"No, that screaming or groaning sound...?" Pidole said.

Sanda shook her head and said, "Hey Red, until we're 100% sure this place is secure, I think you should keep your helm.."

Suddenly a glowing red figure walked through the wall and pushed Pidole on her ass and then just as suddenly disappeared into another wall. When it was in the room EVERYONE heard the hellish screaming and moaning, but it was gone as fast as it came.

Yoshiro ran over to check on Pidole when he heard the screams. "By the screeching banshees! What the hell was that!?" He shouted.

"Huh. That just happened, right?" Okimi blinked in disbelief at the sudden appearance and departure of the ghostly apparition, doing her best to ignore the tortured noise that had been oh-so-audible for the duration of its presence within the chamber. Although, if it was capable of dumping Pidole onto her behind, was it really a ghost?

"The shit?!" Yayoi exclaimed as she saw something happened, and began hearing things. Her pulse cannon was lifted and aimed.

"¡Santo trueno!" Sanda exclaimed. She brought her weapon up and began to scan the room again.

Pidole breathed heavily, rapidly looking this way and that, her eyes searching for the ghostly creature. As she did this, some of the away team could see her eyes were glowing red. She struggled to slowly rise and began walking, leaving her Mindy helmet where it was dropped. Her beetle seemed very agitated about her.

Yoshiro looked at the beetle and realized something was wrong.

Without saying much, Mineko's expression had darkened from wonder to worry. Her brows knit together in quiet concern as she directed her scanner at Pidole, searching for what was influencing the technician's red-eyed appearance and zombie-like countenance.

"That you in there Pidole-Heisho?" Okimi asked the technician, concern filling her voice. There was no way that suddenly possessing glowing red eyes could be a good sign, right? Plus, Bidole was way too aggravated for the caretaker's comfort. She carefully switched her aether/scalar SMG to stun mode, just in case it became necessary.

"We must..." Pidole said, "...perform the ritual. Come..." she said, leading the team forward to the exit.

Yayoi silently set her weapon to stun, should Pidole managed to dodge Mineko and Okimi.

"Ritual...what is it? Please explain?" Yoshiro said.

Seemingly perturbed by the change in Pidole, Mineko looked to the operative next to her. Erika replied in kind by bending down in a quick motion to grab the helmet Pidole had cast aside.

Okimi sighed and followed closely after the clearly-malfunctioning technician. Hopefully this would prove to be a purely temporary state of affairs. She'd very much like her friend back, for Bidole's sake if no-one elses.

Sanda wasn't liking this. Not one bit. She moved forward and stood in front Pidole, blocking her path.

As if snapping out of a trance, Pidole blinked her eyes, now returning to their normal color. "Wait...what am I doing out here? Where's my helmet?" Her gaze fell on Erika, who was now holding the discarded Mindy helmet.

"Pidole? you okay?' Yayoi asked when she seemed to snap out of what happened. with Sanda in front of Pidole, she knew they could keep her secure.

"Keep this on," Erika said succinctly as she stepped forward and put the helmet on Pidole for her.

Yoshiro was concerned about Pidole but didn't know how to deal with this. What a squad leader he was turning out to be. "Sanda, send a report to Captain Aoba, and ask for a course of action. " He said.

"How did you feel?" Mineko asked, wondering if Pidole was aware of her behavior moments ago.

Pidole took her helmet back from Erika, her hands trembling as she fixed it back onto her head. "Thanks, Erika. And I'm sorry, everyone. I don't know what came over me. One moment, I heard something, and the next, it's like I was floating in a sea of red."

"We need to get her checked out by Poppy, at least," Mineko said forlornly as she looked over to Yoshiro. "If not back on the ship."

"We should also update the Captain of what we're potentially dealing with here. Something that can posses us." Sanda stated.

Pidole then continued to move towards the exit, her voice distant and detached. "The ritual... it is necessary... it will... set things right..." she murmured, her words trailing off as if she were in a trance. "That's what the thing said. Hmm. What did it want to actually do?"

"Agreed" Yayoi said, then blinked at Pidole once more.

Okimi decided it probably wasn't a good idea to suggest touching the walls to try and trigger a repeat event or hope for further explanations to be provided somehow.

The screaming sound came back as the red light filled the room again and once more this enity started pushing Pidole towards the exit, this time more assertively. "Ahh!" the engineer shrieked, trying to struggle with it but her hands went thorugh its body. Her eyes began to glow once more and she said, "Okay, okay, I get it!" to the thing. She turned to Mineko and the others and said, "It wants us to turn the station's power back on, I think. It wants a ceremony to reanimate the sleeping...dead people...? It really wants me to walk this way."

"Como el infierno que lo harás." Sanda said as she tried to grab their red panel. She missed.

Yoshiro tried to help Pidole but the screams stopped him.

With a lowering of her shoulders, Mineko asked Pidole, "Are you okay with doing it? With your own volition?" It was important to her to know Pidole was okay with being used by the entity, but also impossible to know if she was possessed or not in the moment. The analyst's ears were perked for every word of Pidole's answer as if she could tell by an inflection change or the technician's tone of voice if it were really her.

Okimi was trying very hard not to freak out. The caretaker was all for giving this alien intelligence what it wanted so they could leave before they all got possessed. That was when she was suddenly bowled over.

The red light vanished again, this time knocking Okimi over, causing her to experience visions of an ancient army of advanced alien warriors in sleeping pods. Some of them were quite ugly.

"Ugh, what hit me." Okimi shook her head. "And why am I seeing an army of ancient alien warriors sleeping in pods?" She paused. "Wait, did my eyes glow too. Oh wait, you wouldn't see them with my helmet on. Ugh, still not cool though." The caretaker was very carefully trying her best not to panic at the thought of something alien so easily accessing her digital brain like that.

"Oh my stars," Euikoshi said. "I think I know what this place is."

"you do?" Yayoi asked Euikoshi before turning her attention back to Okimi. She'd begun to think they needed to retreat, return to the ship, since what ever is going on is capable of possessing Nekos, not a good thing.

"I think this place is an ark for a past civilization," Euikoshi theorized. "They expected to be wiped out so they left maps, data, survivors frozen in stasis pods, and defended it with robot guards, hoping to arise in an age where there is hope again. These things are some sort of intelligence trying to get us to push the big 'wake up' button for the survivors."

"Yes! Yes, that's what I saw!" Okimi excitedly agreed with Euikoshi's theory, feeling the idea resonate with the visions she had been exposed to. It was all a really advanced kind of alien mayday signal. Nothing creepy to worry about, not at all! A sarcastic portion in the back of her head snorted at her willingness to self-delude.

"Captain Aoba needs to make the call on what to do," Mineko said to the group, then comm'd in to the YSS Resurgence to say: "Some of our crew are being... moved to reanimate people within the station, Captain. They seem determined and we may be helping someone. We would need to turn station power back on to do so. What are your orders, Taisa?"


"This is captain Aoba. It looks very interesting. If we rescue these people, perhaps we could gain allies. It's at least worth looking around some more. Stay alert and continue to report in regularly," Aoba replied.

"From that report it would seem compelled would be a better choice of words," Koyama mentioned to the Captain. "Being able to compel Star Army personnel in such a manner. Taisa, it could well mean the Mindy's defenses are inadequate to prevent such an intrusion."

"If you would take my suggestion under advisement, Taisa, enacting the Scientific Studies Service's protocol on dealing with potential scenarios akin to this may be prudent."


With Aoba's reply, Mineko turned to Pidole and stared at her, almost wishing she still had her helmet on so Mineko could see her expression.

"We have the okay, but you know more than us," Mineko said. "Should we do this? Should we reanimate this army? If you say so now, we won't restore power and we'll get you to med bay."

Sanda wasn't a tech or SAINT or an officer. That was all above her pay grade. But she was smart enough to ask, "Look, if this is some sort of, what did you call it Euikoshi, an ark? And it has a race's entire civilization on here, then shouldn't there be some sort of history or log that we can look at to tell us if these are the kind of people who could potentially become allies or are these the sort of people who will be pissed at us waking them up?"

Pidole looked around at the team, her gaze settling on Mineko. She seemed to wrestle internally with the decision for a long moment. "This is a complex situation. On one hand, there could be incredible knowledge, technology, and yes, allies to be gained here. On the other hand, we could be walking into something far more dangerous than we can anticipate."

Looking to Sanda, Euikoshi spoke up again, "But, if this is an ark, they wanted to be found, right? They left clues and everything. It's almost like a time capsule, waiting to be opened. Perhaps they have something to offer—knowledge, technology, an alliance. It's an enticing possibility. We should find more if we continue to explore the station."

Okimi sighed. Something told her that now they were here and the governing intelligence was aware of them, the choice to leave or not wasn't theirs to make. Especially as it seemed to be able to hijack their neko brains whenever it chose to. "If it counts, I vote we restore the power before the alien intelligence turns us all into its meat puppets and does it anyway. At least doing it of our own volition might earn us some good will?"

Yayoi crossed her arms over her chest as she process the information she was given. "Sanda does have a point, we'll need to look into the people here, see if they are allies or potential enemies." Yayoi finished her

"Let's continue on. Pidole or Okimi, do you have any idea which way to go?" Liking where Sanda's mind had gone, Mineko agreed by saying, "If we're expected to power up the station, we should be looking for how to do that. It would be the best of luck if they have a history log right next to it so we can cross reference it before restoring those supposedly in deep freeze." The analyst didn't say it, but wanted to add that the last thing they needed now was another enemy on top of the emerging Mishhuvurthyar threat that the Resurgence crew knew all too well.

"Pidole-Heisho said it wanted her to walk that way." Okimi pointed in the direction the technician had earlier indicated.

Pidole nodded and led the way. As they ventured deeper into the station, they stumbled upon a series of chambers that defied their understanding of physics and architecture. The first chamber they entered was a vast, spherical room, with walls that shimmered like quicksilver. Intricate patterns of light danced across the surface, creating a mesmerizing display that seemed to pulse with a life of its own. It was as if the chamber was alive, its walls a living organism that responded to their presence with a light show of impossible complexity.

Adjoining this chamber was another that seemed to defy the laws of gravity. The room was a cube, but as they stepped inside, they found that they could walk on any of its surfaces as though they were the floor. It was disorienting and exhilarating at the same time, a challenge to their sense of up and down that left them feeling as though they had stepped into another dimension.

Another chamber was filled with an array of crystalline structures that hummed with an ethereal energy. When they touched the crystals, they resonated with a sound that seemed to reverberate through their very souls. It was as though the chamber was a musical instrument of incomprehensible design, and they were the players, coaxing otherworldly melodies from the crystals with the slightest touch.

Yet another chamber seemed to be a library of sorts, but instead of books, the walls were lined with thin, transparent sheets that floated in the air, each one filled with symbols and diagrams that were unlike any language they had ever encountered. It was as though the knowledge of an entire civilization was stored within those walls, waiting for someone with the key to unlock its secrets.

As they explored these chambers, they were filled with a sense of wonder and trepidation. Each room was a marvel of engineering and artistry, a testament to the advanced civilization that had created this station. Yet, for all its beauty and sophistication, the station was a ghost ship, its creators long gone, leaving behind only their astonishing creations and the mystery of their disappearance.

Finally the team entered a massive chamber, illuminated by a surreal mix of dim overhead lights and the bioluminescent glow from the stasis pods. The atmosphere in the room felt heavy, as if weighed down by the collective dreams of countless souls sleeping through the eons.

Rows upon rows of stasis pods stretched as far as their eyes could see. Each pod was encased in a high-tech transparent material, revealing humanoid figures within. They were clearly alien but not overwhelmingly different from humans or Nekovalkyrja—the common traits of bipedal limbs, facial features, and overall anatomy were there, though with enough variations to evoke wonder.

"It's an army... a civilization... frozen in time," Euikoshi marveled. Her scanner beeped. "There's a platform elevated in the center of the room, resembling a control station. Should we investigate?"

Yoshiro thought about the situation for a moment. "Investigate, but be careful when you do." He ordered.

"whoa, shit" Yayoi said out loud saying what was felt to be the most appropriate word to utter at this time as she looked around the chamber. "indeed, being careful is right." she said as she stepped forward, her eyes looking around.

"What if," Euikoshi proposed, "We wake up just one of them and bring them back to the ship for an interview?"

Okimi stepped up beside Pidole, feeling something of a bond with the technician, having also been mentally connected to the alien intelligence."Here we go, moment of truth..." she muttered to the red-head. While utterly entranced by the bizarre wonders they had witnessed, the caretaker had filed the memories away to properly experience later. She was too concerned with what lay at the end of their path to properly appreciate those wonders in the moment.

"You think you understand this tech to be able to do that?" Sanda asked skeptically. She couldn't deny that this station was super advanced and beautiful, but it wasn't super reassuring that these might be friendly.

"No, but Pidole might. She could hotwire anything," Euikoshi said. "Even my heart," she added with a giggle.

Pidole just stared at Euikoshi and blinked.

Sanda looked over at Euikoski. Even with her helmet on the what the hell is wrong with you look could be felt radiating off the Ranger.

Yayoi raised her eyebrows. "not the time, love bird" she said with a exasperated sigh as she felt and also radiated her own feeling.

An intense chorus of screams and shouts filled the air and the chamber was lit with an eerie red glowing light as the entity returned, hovering over the central control panel. It slowly raised its finger to point at the control panel. It then went to Sanda and tried to get her to walk to the control panel. She could see visions of an emergency situation in the distant past, thousands of soldiers and civilians evacuating to this station, scenes of destroyed worlds obliterated by an army of killer robots. A crying child dropping her stuffed toy as she was carried by her parents to a lifeboat shuttle. A space military making its last stand...the screaming of a civilization at the brink. The entity beckoned: "Bring us back."

As soon as the entitiy setteled on Sanda she physically jerked, fighting against the unwelcomed invasion of her mind. She jerked her helmet off, for some reason thinking that would keep the voices out. "Sal.. de ...mi... cabeza." Sanda said through gritted teeth. As the visions began playing through her mind, Sanda didn't quite quit resisting so much as began to see what the entity was trying to show her.

Cassie pointed at Sanda, "She's got the red eyes!" she shouted, not really sure what to do. She looked to Yoshiro.

"Cassie, keep your cool." Yoshiro said, trying to ignore the pain from the screams in his head. "She's going to be alright, after all she is a Ranger."

Okimi prepared herself to do what was necessary for the good of them all. If Sanda couldn't make the call, she'd teleport to the control panel and hit the biggest control she could find herself. The caretaker carefully judged the range and held herself on the edge of making her choice.

Pidole told the entity, "You've waited this can wait a little longer, please give us silence and time to consider this," she said, looking into the red light.

The screaming faded away, as did the red light. Now it was time to make sense of it all.

"Euikoshi's plan was sound." Mineko turned from the entity Pidole had pleaded with to speak to her. "If you can figure a way to wake just one of them up. I can be of assistance."

After seeing what the station had to show her, Sanda shook her head and saw clearly again. She looked slightly ticked at the invasion but really that wasn't far off how she normally looked in the field. After taking a moment to retie her hair into a pony tail, Sanda retrieved her helmet and sealed it again. Finally she spoke, "Lets do it."

Pidole nodded to Mineko. "I'll give it my best," she promised.

"We all will," Mineko replied confidently.

"You ok, Sanda?" Yoshiro asked out of concern.

"Oh course I'm fine. I'm a Ranger." Sanda snapped. Her mind had just been assaulted by something she didn't quite understand so she was a little testy. "And in the field its Heisho Hoshi or Thunder. Save Sanda for off duty."

Yayoi smiled hearing Sanda be all professional. "Yep she's fine."

"Right, Hoshi-heisho." Yoshiro said respectfully.

= = =

OOC: JP by Wes, Charaa, Ame, Cowboy, iaincarter, Yoshiro, Soresu

Mineko turned from the crew to look at the central control panel. She was less inclined to hit the biggest red button there as Okimi was and instead maneuvered to look at its undercarriage for any less than obvious way in. Much earlier in their escapades in the station Pidole had said the access panel to get the airlock open had been difficult to find, so she was keen to keep her senses sharp for the smallest change or hint of the same.

As her fingers navigated, looking for an inscrutable seam, she made a wary mental note about Sanda's request. Mineko herself had no clan name, no parents despite being born to one, no surname to affix her rank to. She was just Mineko and she wondered if she had a surname if she would be as keen as Sanda to keep work time clean of her given name. The orphan didn't have much of a choice, though, either way. She just knew Sanda—no, Thunder's thoughts about her own now. It made Mineko a little sad to think about the name she didn't have and the feeling of lack that had filled that place in her heart. As she looked up from the panel, searching for Pidole, her woeful eyes passed over the lightning-bolted ranger for a moment too long.

"Do you want to go in through here or power up one individual stasis pod?" Mineko asked in a low, mousey voice to Pidole.
Space Station

The team moved up to the central platform, where the vast control system lay in waiting. The surfaces gleamed with a cold, metallic shimmer, but the interface itself was like nothing they'd ever seen. There were no clear buttons, no discernible screens—only a series of connected nodes that pulsated softly in a rhythmic pattern.

Pidole approached it cautiously, her fingers hovering just above one of the nodes. The moment she touched it, the node responded with a soft chime and changed its hue to a gentle green.

She turned to Euikoshi. "I think it's communicating through harmonics and color. If I can sync up with the system's frequency, I might be able to navigate it."

As Pidole worked, the others stood guard, their senses sharpened, ready for any unforeseen event.

Minutes felt like hours, but at last Pidole turned to Mineko and nodded. "I've found the release mechanism for one of the pods. I should be able to open one. It says a lot of them have been damage, probably by Rixxikor scavengers eating the sleeping bodies..."

"That's awful," Mineko whispered as if to herself. To the others she asked, "How many are viable? Is the plan still to only wake one?"
"Yeah," Pidole simply replied to Mineko, while looking at Okimi who was standing next to her.

"Damn roaches." Erika said, her eyes fixed on her sector for any movement not of the away team. "I'd still suggest we start at one and see how we go. Find out their disposition first before waking them all up."

Sanda, still annoyed at having been 'possessed' by whatever AI thing was guarding this place said, "Yes, lets start with one. Not that I doubt Pidole's skills, but it's probably better to just wake one and let them wake up the rest of its people."
Okimi looked at the others and tilted her head. "Um, how do we prove that it wasn't us that were eating their people?" Having seen how complex the alien control mechanism was, the caretaker had been forced to give up on her plan of just waking all the sleepers up. She just hoped they wouldn't all come to regret such cautious action and wind up earning the Star Empire a new enemy through their timidity.

Yayoi tried to keep her body still, and not express how disturbed she was at the thought of the Rixxikor. "I agree with Hoshi-heisho" she said just in case Sanda would prefer that while they are on the field, to act professionally with a title. It also made her feel proud to call Sanda with the heisho rank.

"I would also suggest that when we do wake them up, lets not overwhelm them with questions, as much as I'm sure we're all curious about, we should have an appointed person to conduct the interview." Sanda recommended as she checked her surroundings again.
Okimi pointed a thumb towards the resident Intelligence Analyst. "Mineko-hei IS the expert in intelligence analysis among us, so she gets my vote."

"I could teleport them back to the Res if you think it would help." Erika suggested "A more controlled environment, and they'd be away from their devoured peers."

The Nep Ranger shook her head. "I'd imagine that it's going to be a shock to be woken up after so long anyway. Best to at least let them see something familiar when they wake up." Sanda shrugged "Although to be honest, this is a little outside my field of expertise so you might be right there, Elster-hei."

Yayoi nodded "i do think She's correct.. when.. when you all rescued me, seeing the familiar Star Army and not ruins and Rixxikor felt great" she said fully aware she was repeating herself.

Tilting her head, Okimi shrugged. "On the other hand, it could be considered kidnapping. We know nothing about the alien's cultural values. Given the mention of a ceremony by Pidole-san when she was under the influence, for all we know, there is a religious component to the experience. At least here we don't run the collateral risk of the Resurgence and her crew being in harm's way."