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[YSS Shiroyama] Pre-Mission One: Demonic Darwin

SirSkully

FM of S6
FM of Neshaten
Game Master
RP Date
ye 41
RP Location
YSS Shiroyama, Terra Multa
Darwin found himself in a small, rather featureless room reminiscent of something that might be used for interrogations - the recent arrivals to the YSS Shiroyama had been staggered and inconsistent due to the incoming soldiers' previous placements being scattered across Yamatai-controlled space. He had been told to stow luggage in the room assigned to the strange-haired man and then allow two security officers to escort him to where he now sat - two small, folding chairs with a metal table bolted to the ground between them.

He wasn't kept waiting for long though before the door opened once more to reveal a black-panelled Joto-Heisho with a mane-like ponytail of auburn hair flowing down to her pleasantly tapered waist - the scars made her appear more likely a human than one of the SAoY's war-bred synthetics, a particularly nasty one running through her right eye which was grey where the other was blue though not quite a milky grey that hinted to the loss of eyesight.

"Santo-Hei Darwin Schultz? I am Joto-Heisho Kimber Shanks, the leader of the 74th YamaDura Demons you were assigned to," the woman spoke with a small smile yet her eyes had a much friendlier energy behind them, she took a few more steps into the room and looked over Darwin once more before sticking out a hand to greet him - the other rested on the Katana sheathed on her hip.

He felt the dribble of sweat on his temple decide to roll down his cheek, his mismatched brows lost their furrow as the woman's gaze proved to be a hint more welcoming than he would first have thought - and yet it was betrayed by the fingers settled upon the weapon at her side. Marred as she was, there was a distinct beauty in the imperfections - something he appreciated more than one would think sensible. She seemed a change of pace from the others who would resleeve at the smallest bruise or whitehead.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Shanks-Heisho." Darwin pulled himself from the uncomfortable seat and raised a hand to meet that of his new leader. "I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty surprised when I got the message to join your team. Thought I'd be stuck on the Kaiyo for my entire deployment." A small chuckle bubbled out from him. It was uncommon to see a purebred human, let alone one with no modification involved in the Star Army. Normally, they would be cybernetically enhanced or resleeved as a Minkan or Nekovalkyrja of their choice.

The first thing that would stick out to the woman, however, would be the fluffy white hair that jutted from the left side of his head, fanning up and out like a wing while the top of his head formed a black, fluffy swoosh down to the other side. One could almost compare it to the down of a Magpie. "If I may ask a question, Heisho, what brings me to your team?"

"Straight down to business, I can respect that," Kimber spoke as she shook his hand, a firm grip yet far from phalange-breaking before she released his hand and gestured for Darwin to sit - settling down in the seat on her side with a perfectly straight back before the black-panel answered his first question. "If the reports are anything to go off then you, Schultz-Hei, had above-average results during basic when it came to training in power armour - most notably you flew more like it was a fighter~ and being a special operations fireteam we need to move with speed and precision, does that make sense?" the auburn black-panel spoke as her scarred hands settled on the table, digits interlocking as she continued to observe Darwin with those heterochromatic eyes.

"I mean..." He let a smile spread across his face. He remembered how he had pushed himself during those tests. The amount of time he should have spent resting trying to improve his capabilities in the sims. "..that isn't inaccurate. It's hard to resist pushing the suit to its limits with the amount of power behind it." One of his hands found itself scratching a finger up and down his cheek in an almost cartoonish fashion. His eyes turned to the side in an almost embarrassed manner, relishing in the exhilaration of piloting the suit. Before a moment of this could pass he snapped out with a jolt of his head. "I-It does make sense, though, Heisho."

His head sunk a little. "Though I've got to say my experience with the suit beyond training is minimal. I've been keeping sharp in the sims, but hardly ever putting myself in situations one might consider 'legitimate.'"

"You showed promise though and there is no way to know your limits until you push them," Kimber spoke as her own memories began to flow back in, though it did seem relevant to discuss them given the current topic of conversation. "I joined this same team a few years back as a Santo-Hei myself so I know exactly what is going through your mind," the Auburn woman admitted with a small nod, it seemed so much had happened in such a short time but there was nothing to do except roll with the punches.

"Has anyone told you where the fire team's name originated?"

"The 'Yama-Dura Demons?' Can't say anyone has. I didn't consider asking, just sorta went along with it." He crossed his legs and settled his hands on his lap. "I won't lie I... just thought it was another one of those names a squadron picks to sound cool and still strike fear into the enemy. Thinking about it now... Yama-Dura is that alloy of Yamataium and Durandium, right? Can't say I know what they use it for off the top of my head... ships maybe?"

"The demons part I suppose was more of a cosmetic choice than anything but you weren't too far off," she began explaining with that expression of repressed warmth, corners of her lips still upturned in the faintest smile as Kimber spoke. "The Yama Dura part is a homage to the alloy-plated Daisy suits that became almost synonymous with the fireteam, it is cheaper to make as replacement plating and trust me when I say there was a lot of replacement plating needed... you'll come to learn armour is more than just that for us," the Heisho admitted before putting her palms flat on the table.

"As pleasant as this conversation is I do have a few quick questions to get out of the way, would you mind if we moved on to those?"

"Absolutely, Shanks-Heisho." The male nodded. His hands rose to the table and clasped together with fingers laced. "I'll try my best to answer them to the best of my ability." It didn't take much for him to already warm up to Kimber. She seemed to make even this empty box feel like a a living room in a suburb. Hardly what he'd expect from the leader of a team named after monsters.

"Excellent," Kimber reciprocated as she remained straight-backed and cleared her throat, she too was pleasantly surprised by how smooth this was all going - especially when one of the other members of the fireteam had been so flirtatious and suggestive throughout the whole ordeal. "Firstly, human, so am I safe to assume your hair has been artificially coloured? this is not an issue but rather just something I wish to clarify in the likely event we need to go undercover," the woman asked as she continued to study him, eyes narrowing ever so slightly though losing none of their warmth in the process.

His eyes widened like a deer thrown into a highway. "I won't lie to you. It's natural. Nobody knows how, not even I do, but... it turned out this way." His posture stiffened as his gaze wandered away. If her last interviewee was a flirt, it was clear he was the exact opposite. Withdrawn, almost. It were as though he could feel her gaze piercing into him like a knife run under hot water before plunging into a stick of butter. "You can't see it, but my fringe is covering a white wing that I cut down and dyed black just to make things a little more... manageable."

"Interesting genetics... but it is good to have that on record," Kimber noted with a small sound of surprise before she moved on to the second question, a little bit more of a personal one. "It also says here that you are not a fan of soul transfers though have a copy running around somewhere due to one of the Kaiyo II's more adventurous missions - while I foresee no reason to have a third Darwin running around I must ask if you'll co-operate when we make ST backups of all the team members," she inquired, head tilting slightly to one side and causing the auburn mane to shift with her.

"It was... a weird situation..." His eyes turned to the floor. "We were posed with the possibility of never coming back and I... didn't know how I could break it to my family that it would be the case. I hated it. I still don't like that a fake version of me is wandering around. But I needed somebody who could go home and see my mother and father. I hear he's currently helping them in the flower shop. Despite that... I could never see him as me... and I could never see another body of mine as me..." He rose a hand to his chest, his eyes narrowed on hers. "I will cooperate. I won't stand in the way of the needs of everybody else, but..." He shook his head back and forth as though scanning the air for the words.

"...I can't say I know how to phrase it. It all seems so... off to me." He didn't want to monologue. He didn't know how much he was supposed to say. "Just know I refuse to possess any body besides this one I'm in now unless push comes to shove. If I fall in combat and must be revived, so be it.. just so long as that body is human. That's the closest to it being me that I can think of."

It was clear that a nerve was touched in him. An oddly paranoid nerve raising its hackles like a cornered hound.

The Heisho's eyes had widened slowly during the small monologue that ensued but she remained silent throughout, thinking it best for one of her soon-to-be team members to get whatever might trouble them off their chest during their respective interviews - she gulped quietly, taut neck bulging out momentarily before the heterochromatic team leader spoke. "I appreciate you telling me the full reason but I have something that may put your mind at ease, if only a little," she began, regarding the man with a friendly and sympathetic though serious look as Kimber spoke.

"The Shiroyama's Shosa is a human who has been such since before the great plague and we share the view that in the unfortunate event a soldier falls then they should be put in an exact copy of their original body, blemishes and all unless stated otherwise - and I know we have only now met face to face but rest assured I would never abuse the trust my team puts in me," the black-panel continued to admit, her words having weight and emotion behind them as a contrast to how Kimber's demeanour had seemed somewhat suppressed earlier in their conversation - it seemed almost like a mother telling her child she would always be there for them.

The look of a scared animal seemed to fade from him. Though significant, it still wasn't complete. "That's... good to hear." He shifted his weight. "Truth be told, it wasn't uncommon for me to be urged to switch bodies while I was at Fort Hajime for training. Any time I'd ask questions about how I could improve as a pilot, it always seemed their first suggestion was to become a Minkan or a Neko..." He raised his hands and eyed his palms. He took to doing this frequently when he was stressed. It was grounding. Something he knew good and well was real. "A pretty easy statement to make if your entire life is the result of doing that very thing but... I never got why one could hold so little sentiment to what they're first hard-wired into."

"I'm just glad you understand that sentiment of mine, Heisho. I'm... sorry if I got a little passionate there." A wistful smile curled on his lips. It was obvious that he needed that kind of reassurance.

It was then that he blinked and the childlike expression was erased in favor of slight panic. "I-I'm sorry, this was meant to be an interview to join your team, I... I shouldn't be unloading all of that on you right now. That... probably doesn't reflect well on me as a soldier, does it...?" he flashed his teeth in a smile so wide it shut his eyes.

"You have no reason to apologise, this was meant for me to get to know a member of my team better and I'd say it is working, no?" Kimber answered back as her demeanour slipped back into what it was when she had walked in the room, though her heterochromatic oculars did look off to the side for a moment before returning to Darwin with a statement.

"I do have one request regarding all this though, just that you do not judge others too harshly for swapping out of their old bodies, everyone has their reasons - for instance, one of your colleagues has simply done it to better express herself, though being born as Nekovalkjyra they don't have the same kind of attachment you or I have to our bodies. So I just ask that you respect people's choices and them to respect yours, how does that sound to you?" the samurai-esque woman asked before going silent, looking across the small space and deep into Darwin's hazel eyes.

"I may be opinionated on the subject but that's only in the context of my own being. Everybody else could do what they wanted. Heck, they could resleeve into Misshus for all I care... if that's a thing. No less, I won't disrespect what they do with their bodies. It's like what my dad told me when I went out late one night as a kid. 'I don't agree with it... but I don't want you to suffer for it.'" He smiled. "I really like all of them, really. Don't want to be one, but... they're good people." He held the eye contact before slowly breaking his gaze away. A silent game of chicken to see who would blink or avert their gaze first and he was the loser. "It's funny, though. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if none of that resleeving happened. Like... what if we just were... us. What it was like in the past."

Once more, he turned his head from side to side. "It's probably a really silly thought given nowadays, isn't it?"

"Wise words, Darwin, wise words indeed," the woman spoke with that same soft smile as she listened to his words, if they were true then it seemed like he'd be a great fit with all the other members and for that Kimber was glad - it didn't seem like there were many if any so far that would cause problems but who knew what might happen down the line.

"Who knows what might or might not happen if soul transfer technology wasn't a thing, we may theorize but never truly know~ though I'm glad to hear there won't be any troubles with that from you," Kimber continued to give her input on the matter, finding that this official conversation was feeling more and more like a casual catch-up and somewhat thankful for it - it was rather pleasant even.

"Would you mind giving me your hand for a second, please?"

Darwin was taken aback for a sec. The gesture seemed odd, though he wasn't going to hold back from doing so. He couldn't tell if it was what she asked or the way that it was more of a request than a demand that had him reeling.

"Uh...." He extended his dominant hand - his left - forward, with the palm raised up. For a soldier, the skin was fairly soft, though a callus could be seen on the side of his knuckle where he would pinch a pencil or pen. The side of his thumb bore a single white streak. It was a scar from when he had swiped his hand across the thorn of a young Honey Locato tree. "Sure,I... don't see why not. Is there something the matter?"

"No, No~ nothing is the matter, Striker One," Kimber spoke as she placed a small circle of material into Darwin's hand, a 074th Yama Dura Demon unit patch bearing what appeared to be a head wearing a balaclava, ballistic goggles and of course a red Oni half-mask. "This is one of the unit patches with the old logo until my daughter is finished up with the new design but I feel the symbolism of me handing you this for now should be sufficient, yes?" the Amber-haired SAINT field operative spoke with that same air of muted warmth, though a little more of the warmth bled through as she closed his hand around the item.

He didn't bother with the peculiar name she had throw his way. It had a nice ring to it - almost prophetic. He sunk his fingers into the patch. "Maybe a little more than you think. Hate to say but it's stuff like this that makes me at least a little sentimental." The human's hand pulled back to his end of the table while his eyes bounced from the patch to the eyes of his higher-up. "I won't let you down, Shanks-Heisho." The boy lit up in front of her, his smile blooming to each side like unfurling vines. This patch in his hand, still warm from her own grip, told him everything he needed to know. He was a demon. A fighter. The newest addition to her team.

"I'm not going to lie, I have a lot of expectations of you and everyone else under my wings, but I wouldn't have picked each of you unless I knew you could take it - time will tell but I am hopeful, but please, do feel free to just call me Kimber or Shanks or whatever feels the most comfortable," Kimber nodded back to Darwin before speaking further, a moment of silence to let that sink in.

"Are there any questions you have? I'll answer to the best of my ability."

To call him unintimidated by the unspecified level of effort would be a lie, but that seed of fear seemed to only be dredged out of the dirt when she extended an offer that he would have never considered.

A first-name basis. Not even with honorifics tied to the name. A hard habit to break of course, but one he would respect all he could. It were as though he felt he'd have a harder time getting used to that display of equality than he would the tribulation-paved road that she had set him upon with a pat on his back and a patch in his hand. The infantryman's face softened. His thumb traced the seams of the patch. "It's funny. This all went so much smoother than I expected. When I heard I was being transferred into a team known as the Yama-Dura Demons on account of needing a Mindy pilot, had my stuff locked away and then was placed in a room like this. I... didn't expect the end result to be me smiling like a fool while my superior offered me a patch and a smile of her own. But to say I'm complaining would be well, wrong. I can't say I really have any questions besides...

"When do I start?"

"I understand where all the stigma and such would come from, but we rain hell down on our enemies, not each other - that being said your team mates might bicker and squabble from time to time, hopefully it will be a rare event, families get on each other's nerves from time to time but we have each other's backs when we need them," the woman elaborated before moving to answer Darwin's question, it was one she had expected and was more than happy to reply.

"As soon as the rest of the team arrives or when something drastic needs to happen, hopefully not the latter but you should feel free to meet any of those that have arrived already - as few as they may be we are hoping to get everything in order by the end of the week, no other questions?" Kimber asked, just to ensure the lad knew exactly what he was getting himself in for, and that he knew it wouldn't just be catgirls running around in black bodysuits... though to be fair that might be a part of it.

He paused to think. As eager as he may have been this seemed to be his only opportunity to see exactly what he was leaping into. "I guess now is the time to ask what exactly I'll be doing. I know you need someone to suit up, but are there any specific roles on the team that you need me to fill?" He scratched his cheek like it would reveal his next question before she could even answer the first. "Just so I know my place and... don't get in anyone's way."

"Well," Kimber began to speak, one combat-marred hand resting over the other as the heterochromatic black-panel explained Darwin's role - the fact he wanted to find out just how to best fit in with the team was something the auburn woman appreciated. "I could see you fitting into the role of a cqb specialist or alternatively even recon if you'd prefer that, personally, hitting hard and moving fast - maybe with counter augmentation pods on your legs but that is just a suggestion, what do you think about that?"

The human listened intently with a thumb pressed to his bottom lip. Close-Quarters work always intrigued him, but his memory of getting pummeled during training by his counterparts was as fresh as yesterday. CQC was often relegated to those with more attachments, more modifications. He began to wonder just how much of him would still be attached by the end of his deployment, begging the next question: "You do mean attached to my Mindy's legs, yes? You won't be carving anything into my actual legs any time soon?" He couldn't help but laugh at the silly nature, but it was a genuine concern.

Her smile widened ever so slightly for the briefest of moments before Kimber began reassuring Darwin, "To your suit, of course, apologies for the confusion," she finished with a small nod after the moment of amusement had passed.

His laugh bubbled forth once more. It was warm, yet withdrawn despite the honesty behind it. It was the kind of laugh one would make if they were told a cheesy joke whilst held at gunpoint. "Well that's good to hear. I'd rather keep all my limbs until at least one mission, you know?" He dropped his hands to the table, the fingers intertwined once more. His posture seemed to reflect that of the woman in front of him, yet there was a slight slouch.

"I could probably fit either role as you see fit. Sorta flip flop between them depending on what's necessary, though I heard we have a team of Scouts for recon purposes, right? The Ravens?"

"That is correct though as a special operations fireteam we act as a semi-autonomous combat unit so there might be times where we don't have the 109th Imperial Ravens available to do scouting for us - that being said we already have a sniper and a designated marksman that could take up that role so for now I'm thinking you become the team's close quarter's combat specialist and then if we need recon done you might be one of the candidates to take up that role - understood?" Kimber spoke as her hands moved to smooth out her uniform's jacket over her tight and athletic body, a crease or two had formed and she couldn't have that.

His eyes couldn't help following the path of her digits, and he found himself staring if only for a breath. His head shook as his gaze returned to the blue and grey orbs in the Heisho's head. "Loud and clear, Shanks-Heish-" He stopped himself with his teeth catching on the hiss of the "sh", slipping the statement back after a moment of deliberation. "-Kimber. I'd be more than happy to be in the thick of it if you need me to be."

He could never get over how snug the uniforms always were on everybody. Sometimes he wondered if it was done on purpose by the higher-ups as even the formalwear uniforms always contorted to the bends and curves of the one clad in them. Though in retrospect, it might pay to be form-fitting in zero-g environments.

"I'm glad to hear that then, and it seems everything is taken care of for now~" the black-panel began speaking before she looked off to the side for a moment, clearly pondering something but shortly her eyes returned to Darwin. "Were you planning on returning to your cabin and unpacking after this? if so I'd gladly walk you back but otherwise I'll leave you to your own devices if you wish," Kimber offered, she wasn't sure if the young man had ever been on a Kisaki-class before or at least if he had been then it wasn't documented - so it seemed like a nice enough gesture.

"I won't lie, I think I might want to at least look around the station. Get a bit of a feel for the layout." Darwin tossed a smile her way, feeling a hint underprepared not knowing what it was like aboard a station like the Shiroyama. "If you've got a bit of spare time, would you be alright with showing me around for a bit? Or at least point me to someone who can do that? I was kinda shepherded into here the moment I got onboard." His hand sprang from the desk to curl into the hair on the back of his head, scratching the scalp underneath the black and white fluff. "I'd rather not get lost on my first day. Doubt the others would let that go once they hear about it."

Kimber once again pondered for a moment, mentally going over her schedule for the day to see if there was anything that would stop this plan in its tracks, unless any unexpected visitors showed up before they were supposed to then this would work out - the Heisho gave yet another small nod and rose to a stand at her height of an average 5'7", auburn mane flowing behind the woman as she spoke. "I can show you around a bit, no worries there, ready to see the station?"

Darwin wasn't too much taller than her - a mere three inches. His broad build became apparent, and one couldn't help but wonder how he managed to fit inside of the lithe frame of a Mindy suit. One could almost catch a twinkle in his eye as he kicked off into a standing position with a clap of his boot against the floor. "As I'll ever be!"

He didn't know where the excitement came from. He didn't know if it was the opportunity to leave this greyed out box or the fact that he was going to be spending time with his commanding officer in a manner one would find more akin to that of a friend, Maybe it was the chance to learn what life is like aboard the station? Regardless, his enthusiasm was more than apparent as he twisted around and made headway towards the exit of the room.

"Grand," the Heisho reciprocated as she too moved towards the exit, taking long strides until she caught up to Darwin's eager pace and was able to normalise her own - as they walked she kept her left hand gently resting against the hilt of the katana strapped to one hip, other hand swinging past the purple 12-shooter on the opposite side. "Every Kisaki is manned by a crew of 450 though ours can hold a little over 4,800 individual personnel in comfort thanks to our setup,: Kimber began to explain as they entered a well lit and almost sterile looking hallway that was almost synonymous with Yamataian design.

"You've seen the Ship bay already so we can skip that for now and move on to the other sections, there is a transport system that will take us over to what is considered the main armoury around here - where everyone but the 74th keeps gear armour most of the time," the woman continued to explain as she gestured towards a nearby monorail that was currently picking up passengers from this part of the station.

"Geez, more than ten occupants per crewmember, huh? These must have been built for some pretty big endeavors... though it makes it a big target too. How well-defended is it?" In the vacant-colored, sleek halls, all that one could pay attention to were those that stood inside. This one in particular seemed to lack many individuals besides -as far as he knew- the two humans.

He tried to not make it obvious as his gaze traced along the outline of his commanding officer, gliding along to the length of the koshirae that held her blade. Its sleek black paint job complimented the hilt of its blade, and seemed to perfectly match the belt around her waist. His own hand fell to his belt. Tracing along its edge to the empty holster that normally contained his type-33 service pistol. The one that was confiscated upon his arrival for security reasons.

"Indeed, to protect all the people on this station, the stations next to us and the people below we have enough FTL-capable Aether Missiles to remove Terra Multa from existence if the need arises... of course we hope it does not but we have the capabilities," Kimber spoke as one blue eye looked sideways at Darwin, noticing where his gaze drifted though saying nothing on the matter as they continued - the monorail's doors opening up as a flood of personnel exited to begin swapping over shifts, the black-panel moved between the people and avoided them with ease as she entered the vessel before turning to say one more thing to Darwin.

"If you were wondering where we keep our gear, it is technically on-base right now but specifically it is stowed in the Buccaneer, a Chiaki the 74th operate out of a lot of the time and the ship that sometimes acts as a ferry for the 109th - though it is our asset to do with as we see fit."

"I've heard of Chiaki-Class destroyers, though I've never been on one. Guess I'll add that to my list of things to look forward to." he slipped through the stream of workers all disembarking like a salmon navigating a river, grabbing a hold of one of the handrails the moment he was close enough to wrap his fingers around the smooth metal. "Also, I've yet to ask before I even decided to hop aboard your crew. I maybe should have already asked this but... what is our mission, exactly? As the 74th?"

The doors slammed shut with a hiss and the entire vehicle kicked to the side, pushing the monorail forward through its housing. Darwin shuffled his feet to maintain balance, feeling like a daruma doll that had just been whalloped by a child. "I overheard we'll be embarking on a planet known as Terra-Multa." He looked to the woman once more. He had a slew of questions all bouncing around in his head, and he felt guilty for dropping them on her one by one. the conversation ultimately began to feel like a very one-sided game of 20 questions.

Kimber seemed almost unaffected by the sudden momentum of the vehicle launching, remaining upright with one hand on her sword and only the slightest sway as she looked towards Darwin with a good hint of surprise across her lightly tanned features, "I~ assumed somebody had briefed you on the way here or prior, apologies, I'll look into it later but will happily answer now. With the currently ongoing war we have been deployed to this station with the ultimate goal of ensuring it does not fall into the Kuvexian's hands as well as ensuring everything continues to run smoothly, being as resource rich as it is I'm sure you can see why it would be bad news if we were to lose this asset~ that and the Kuvexian's history of slaving..." she trailed off somberly before looking out at the planet far below them, green, vibrant and full of life.

The windows of the tram revealed in full detail the planet the station orbited. His face reflected back to him in the black of space behind it. She had a right to be upset about that possibility. From what he knew, the Kuvexians were only out for conquest, and a planet like this with resources abound would be reduced to a mining asteroid in mere weeks if they were given a chance. "...It'll be just another rock for them to harvest." His fingers tightened around the rail at his side. "I can see why they need a task force out here to keep an eye on this place while research is conducted."

Darwin took a deep breath to give him a second to process what his goal was. The Demons were sent here to protect this planet. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't at least a little bit intimidated by the prospect. The planet looked so much smaller than he imagined from where they stood in orbit. "I'm assuming nobody told me for security reasons. All I knew about was the planet below's name."

Her mismatching eyes blinked a few times, silently, before Kimber lifted up her gaze and turned to better face the man next to her, "I'll be honest, they have never gotten close though recently things have been too quiet for my liking~ I just hope my gut feeling is wrong," the auburn-haired black-panel spoke before shaking her head slightly. "It is a rather beautiful planet though, no? I should warn you her beauty is matched only by the lethality some of the wildlife can be prone to~ never go wandering off alone when you are planetside and always carry your sidearm," Kimber continued as she reached into the breast of her jacket to retrieve an NSP, which was promptly handed back to Darwin after security had taken it off of him earlier.

He puffed out a sigh of relief upon seeing the weapon, it's blue surface glinting in the light of the monorail. He spun it on his finger before propping it in its proper home at his hip. The color clashed with his infantry uniform, but he didn't seem to mind. Something about the weapon was quaint. Simple. Sure, it didn't pack as much a punch as the revolver she carried on hers but it did the job at least fairly well. "This little guy is probably going to come in handy then - kami forbid I ever have to use it. Then again I don't think I'll be in my armor every time I'm down there, will I?" He bumped his eyebrow up at the possibility of being deployed without having suited up and trying to come up with what situations would call for an unarmored pilot.

"Just be smart, don't stray too far from civilization and you will be fine - but no, not every deployment will require a suit of armour but it will depend on what comes our way, though I should note when off-duty you can freely make use of the shuttle system to travel between the planet and both stations. We have a notable security presence in all three places though be warned the other stations are less regulated," Kimber advised him, she would have time to come up with a more thorough explanation of the do's and do nots of this deadly paradise once everyone had arrived but for now it would suffice.

"I feel like I should also mention that, if you need anything at all, come speak to me and I'll see what I can do about it - my team's needs are my top priority," she offered as their transport began to decelerate.

"I'll keep that in mind. And a similar offer comes your way, too." He curled his lips into a smile. "If you have anything you need me to do, I guess it goes without saying that I'll do what I can. Leader of the team or not, don't be afraid to ask for a favor." He felt goofy making such a statement. As somebody who is told what to do by her, he should already know that she'd be making requests from him on the regular, but from the casual nature of this entire encounter, he had begun to feel a bit more on equal terms with this woman.

Though he had an odd feeling this may only be temporary. For when push comes to shove and the team is finally at full capacity, she'll most likely have everyone going on all cylinders 24/7.

The doors of the monorail parted while the crowd split up to let the passengers onboard step off. "We should probably get off now before the folks boarding lock us in." he chuckled.

"I appreciate the offer though yes, we should get going," Kimber spoke back with a bit more warmth than usual as she began to walk forwards, gracefully stepping between the people without touching them in the slightest - not even her protruding sword bumped anyone as she began to lead Darwin into the armoury section of the ship - half to show him where the others kept their gear but also to check whether or not the armour had been moved here against her request.

Darwin was a lot less graceful trudging through the crowd as they closed in around him. He had to shove his way through different workers all swarming in like pirhanas closing in on prey. When he finally breached their rear flank, he almost tripped over his accumulated force. A huff escaped his lungs before he puffed his way in Kimber's direction, just barely keeping up. "So... how many sections of this ship are there? and... are those rails usually this busy?" He spun around a little ways, both thumbs jamming over one shoulder in a hint of exasperation. In the event of an emergency, a method of transport like that seemed at least slightly inconvenient if not inefficient.

Kimber decided to pull off to the side a little and stop momentarily to let Darwin catch his breath as she spoke, "An orbital weapons platform is beginning construction today so there is a slight rush though usually things are a lot quieter yes, and if you count the eight hangars as two sections then in total we have seven sections on this station," she informed him, eyes drifting off towards a heavily armoured door.

"Sounds like things are gonna be pretty crazy for the next while. Let's just hope nothing makes this any crazier." He hoisted his back to prop him up straight. He approached the door and pulled out his communicator, swiping it across a panel that was beside the hefty hatch. "If you don't mind me having a peek in...?" He looked to her postemptively, only realizing now that it may have been the equivalent of opening a door in somebody's house only to ask afterwards.

While he preferred the intimacy power armor provided when it came to flying, he had a soft spot for larger craft. Ones built for heavy intership combat. Seeing what sort of machines lay behind door number one was all he could think of.

"By all means go ahead, it is an armoury and you are enlisted in the Yamataian Star Army afterall so~" Kimber trailed off a little as the massive door's hydraulics hauled it open to reveal rows and rows of SAoY gear, a from crossing the auburn-woman's lightly tanned features as her heterochromatic gaze narrowed across the room to where a distant red-panel was working on a rack of armours.

"And of course they ignored my request, though this seems like a good time to meet your information warfare specialist," the team's leader sighed with some hint of disappointment, she didn't agree with the fact that some of her inquiries were pushed back just because the Yama Dura Demons worked alongside the station's personnel as a semi-autonomous unit rather than being fully tethered to the Shiroyama but it was hardly the first time and at least this was something small. Though Kimber waited for Darwin to look about a bit, it was his first time on a Kisaki afterall and there was no real rush.

He stepped tentatively past the hatch, his hand grazing along the smooth metal wall at his side. The equipment was gathered in neat rows that stretched farther than he could have ever imagined inside of a space station. It was like a warehouse - though the term "hangar" was a lot more accurate. "Your request...?" He had stepped beside the chassis of a Ke-T7 "Raccoon" Shuttle. A modest craft that he recognized from the docking bays of his training facility. He remembered the crowded insides where soldiers would be lined shoulder-to-shoulder. To call it comfortable would be a stretch, but it wasn't intolerable unless on long transport missions.

He dipped his head to the side to look at the woman, then twisted his gaze around to that of the red-panel in the distance, eyeing power suits intently. He began to wonder when he'd get a hold of his power armor once more. Knowing he had hardly gotten to know the suit back on the Kaiyo, he was excited to see what the new one may hold in store for him.

"My request to have our armours stored on our ship, so that they are more readily accessible for us~ I am going to to have a word or two with my daughter about it but feel free to join us when you are ready, Darwin," Kimber explained with a small bow before she turned on her heel and began taking measured strides over to the red-panel one could infer was the daughter in question - though with black hair, elven ears, faintly purple skin and deadly curves tucked underneath the red uniform the two women certainly didn't look related by blood.

The only thing that the two seemed to have in common was their ability to drop a man dead at a glance. Though he wasn't sure that was a specific trait. that could be passed genetically. If anything, it might have something to do with that "expression" that his superior had mentioned before. He'd take a second to ponder whether or not he should approach, finding the chance for the two to speak without any sort of interruption to be the most polite way to approach things.

Then again-they were by the power armor rack. The very thing that interested him the most in this room.

He brushed a strand of onyx hair away from his brow and made his approach, his standard issue boots making soft claps against the metal floor of the hangar. He was quiet the whole way as he attempted to make out what the two had begun to say and find an opportune time to speak up.

"...then I'll go have a talk with the logistics officer and see if he can't fix that for us, though thank you for taking the initiative, Val," Kimber's hushed words could be heard as she reached out one hand to gently ruffle the shorter woman's raven hair, which got a giggle out of the red panel. There was a very clearly genuine smile on the Auburn woman's face for once and a lot of love in those heterochromatic eyes before they snapped sideways to regard Darwin and retook their usual demeanour.

"Come join us, Darwin - I would like you to meet your information warfare specialist and my daughter Val~" though Kimber's introduction was shut off as the curvy Neko in question whipped her head around to see the guy for herself, immediately taking a liking to his hair as she began speaking. "Vinyl! well, my actual name is Valerie but I like Vinyl too!" the violet woman spoke energetically, quite a contrast to the saint operative - who gave Valerie a little look before the Neko nodded and dialed it back a bit.

"Nice to meet ya! your armour is huge~" the Neko continued as one hand was thrust out to poor Darwin.

He was caught off guard by the sudden spark in the room. The smaller, curvier soldier nearly jammed her fingers into his chest. The two couldn't have been more night and day. One reserved in both nature and appearance, the other a lot more outgoing. Two poles and yet the latter is the daughter of the former. Only two members in and the obvious dysfunction is as glaring as the sun through an unshuttered window.

The edges of Darwin's lips pulled up into a small smile, his eyebrows curling to each side in an almost sheepish manner. His hand slipped forward to take a hold of her own and bob it up and down. "Santo-Hei Darwin Schultz. Pleased to meet you, Val- er- Vinyl." Her bubbly nature came across as strangely addicting. Like a soda pop, but with a bit more kick. "And... Come now my Mindy isn't THAT big compared to the others." He was wrong. As far as he could tell, he had the most bulky Mindy on the Kaiyo, one built for a human male and not a lithe Nekovalkyrja or Minkan. It came across as a bit embarrassing at times, but he never verbally expressed it. He put that effort into adjusting his diet and his workout schedule, the fat trim on his body lessening since his last mission.

"...Though I have been... trying to fix it..." His eyes turned to the side with a slight red tint appearing in his cheeks.

"Oh, nonono, don't worry - you hardly look unhealthy so I'm sorry if I made you feel bad about it, I'm sure you are in awesome shape! Human bone structure is a weird thing~" Valerie trailed off as her elven-styled ears drooped slightly, an apologetic pout on her violet face as Kimber watched on silently for a moment, placing a hand on her daughter's shoulder.

She was just so used to seeing lithe, built-to-be-skinny synthetics like herself all over the place... with the exception of the two soft lumps that made up the Neko's prominent chest and the swell of her hips, "I uhhhhhh~ I should probably get back to it... nice to meet you though, Darwin!" Val spoke as her golden eyes drifted back to the rack-mounted power armour and Kimber went to speak, though the Neko hadn't left yet.

"Maybe that would be for the best, Val."

He blinked, surprised at how he had managed to pinch away the flame that lit that purple-tinted sparkler. He rolled his lips side to side and looked to her as he tossed an idea back and forth in his head. He wanted to make it up to her, but he didn't think this would be an opportune time to drop anything as a means of making it up to her.

His smile returned as he brought his hand up and dropped it atop her head in a soft pat, his hand moving side-to-side to gently tousle the hair.

In all fairness, he had no idea why he thought it would be a good idea to do such a thing to somebody he had just met. A gesture like this tended to be one he avoided unless directly invited and yet something had told him it was his only option to recover the mood... or just cast it out the window in an awkward fashion.

The hand dropped away, and yet his doubts had not wiped away that soft smile on his face. "Don't worry about it." He hummed. "Glad I got to meet you, Vinyl."

The shorter girl's eyes shot back to Darwin and lit up as her mouth formed a cute little 'o' shape upon initial contact, quickly changing back to a more than happy smile as a giggle rolled out Valerie's lips - Kimber wasn't too used to anybody without cat in their genes or herself offering the bubbly infowar specialist such a gesture so was caught off guard by it, chin tilting back slightly with a few surprised blinks but choosing to say nothing else on the matter.

"O~Okay yeah! you too!" the Neko almost purred before she broke out of her Mother's loving grip and went back to kneeling down near the toolbox, continuing her job of decoupling this section from the rest of the rack. "Well~ that was~ Darwin, what part of the station would you like to see next? maybe we could swing past the command module and ensure your clearance is all up to date?" the katana-wielding mother with a black uniform inquired after seeing her newest subordinate pat her daughter's head, thinking on that for a hot minute though offering Darwin that same reserved smile all the while.

He turned his attention to the woman as his hand dropped away from the girl's head. He couldn't help but notice how soft her hair was underneath his palm. One side of him was proud he had made the move, as the smile that had stretched across her cheeks made it more than worth it. The other realized what sort of peculiar impression it had made upon his leader. Darwin's smile became a hint more nervous, like he had begun to stare down a wolf that sought to tear out his throat.

His voice faltered and his arms slipped behind his back. "Absolutely. That... that might be the best course of action. It may have been sheer luck that my datapad worked out here." He didn't know if she held contempt behind that smile. Something about it began to feel at least a little off. "Besides, it wouldn't hurt to meet the other higher-ups on this station, right?"

"Indeed," Kimber simply replied with, gesturing for Darwin to follow her glorious mane of Auburn hair once with a flick of her chin in the desired direction as the heterochromatic woman's hand settled upon the blade at her side once more. "How did you find your previous posting's cabin situation, Schultz-Hei?" she inquired as they walked, hair bouncing gently from one hip to the other almost hypnotically - the thing was barely kept regulation length and this was when it was tied up so one could only imagine what it must look like when left to freely flow down the woman's back.

In a way, it was hard to take his eyes off of the waterfall of hair that cascaded down past her shoulders to her rear. It were as though it were tailored for those near her to not lose attention. He didn't know if she was aware of this effect it had on people or not, but he didn't want to tempt fate. Often times, he'd tear away his gaze, and yet his cheeks would bear their signature flush that proved that even where his pupils pointed may have been dishonest. "I won't lie it was a little awkward at times. There have been many... instances where I was placed alongside both male and female counterparts who... well they weren't exactly subtle in some of their behaviors. It's been uncomfortable at times, but I've grown at least somewhat used to it. Why do you ask?"

Her head slowly turned to the side as she regarded Darwin with her singular grey eye once more before it pivoted back to look where she was walking, once more choosing to say nothing to indicate whether or not she had seen where his eyes travelled, "Just inquiring for future reference really, if you'd like I can try to keep the second bunk in your cabin free until you find someone you might wish to have as a room mate?" Kimber offered with a small smile as she touched a panel that opened yet another massive set of blast doors to reveal another mag-rail station that was currently empty besides them - no transport in sight yet.

"It's a possibility. I won't lie the time spent with roommates has made the idea of a room all to myself seem a hint alien." He laughed with a slight smile. He was nervous to look at her. The things he had seen, heard and experienced in his time on the base and on the Kaiyo left him feeling a hint antsy at the idea of what his housing situation would be like. He remembered how his first ever roommate had tried to seduce him, and how he had basically feigned ignorance solely to keep from ruining relations. "Though, at the same time, I can trust your judgement if you want to fill that room. Space on the station is limited regardless of how big it is, and we're only allotted a portion of it, aren't we?" He raised a hand to his cheek to let his finger scratch at it.

"Recently personnel have been reallocated between our assets in this system, so there is enough wiggle-room for more than a few people to have solitary rooms here if they do so desire - for the time being at least," Kimber nodded once more as she strolled forward towards yet another input terminal, her fingers gliding across the surface before it gave a happy beep and she stood back, gentle warning lights indicating transport was now on its way before the black panel took up position next to Darwin.

"You need not give me an answer right now, mayhaps after you have become acquainted with our version of a bridge crew but just think on it for a moment," Kimber finished, seemingly pleased with the man's answer.

He hummed as he looked at his feet. He noted how the lights of the ceiling glinted off of their polished toes. He could hear the sound of the transport echo faintly through the tube, and the hum of the lights, electrical and cold. Darwin's hands found themselves tucked in his pockets, one even fidgeting with his communicator. "So, uhm..." He rocked back and forth, trying to pull the words out of the air. He couldn't stop thinking about the moment prior. "Though, I don't know if it'll be easier or harder if the others are as nice as your daughter." He let out a small chuckle, but found himself freezing. "N-Not that I want it to be your daught- I- mean not that I wouldn't want her to be..." He cut himself off with a sigh, shaking his head and shifting from foot to foot.

"...Sorry, I'm... not the best with these kind of things." At this point, he didn't know if he could look at his higher up for the time being. If anything, his primary goal was more the first impression than anything.

Kimber responded initially with a nod, but the sigh afterwards hinted more to what the protective mother's thoughts about all this and her daughter - turning to face Darwin more fully with a soft expression before she spoke, "Valerie is may be my adopted daughter but she is her own person, if you wish to inquire about having her share a cabin with you then that is up to her to decide," the Auburn woman's expression dropped into something far more serious as she spoke, their transport sliding into the station beside them.

"Though if you ever take advantage of her kind-hearted nature or wrong Valerie in any way then you will know suffering like you'd never thought possible, are we clear?" Kimber's expression gradually softened towards the end of the little warning as the tram came to a halt and opened its doors to reveal the rather vacant interior - she did not break eye contact with Darwin and awaited his response, mismatching eyes having a fire behind them that revealed a fraction of just how far Kimber was willing to go to protect the violet girl.

Darwin's amber orbs widened, his back arching away and his hands rising to his sides with palms forward. "N-nonono, of course!" In a way, his expression was best described as that of a puppy. If he had a tail, it'd be tucked between his legs. He understood her concern. He was talking about the possibility of staying in the same room as her daughter, a notion with intimacy that one would only expect from those with a bond rivaling siblings or even couples at times.

His posture softened and his shoulders seemed to droop. It were as though the spear she had jammed through him left him hanging in place. "We- we're clear as crystal, Shanks-Heisho." His hand rose to grip the back of his neck, scratching at it. If anything, he felt less defensive and more hurt at the notion that he'd attempt such a thing. Though he couldn't exactly blame her. A man had come into her team and was bold enough to not only show affection to but even suggest rooming with her own daughter within mere hours.

If anything, the one with regrets was the monochrome-haired man at the end of her gaze. The one who could hardly even keep eye contact. A moment passed. The first warning ding of the doors rung out, signifying mere seconds before the doors were to close. "...Clear as crystal..."

"Good, I am glad we have come to an understanding," was all Kimber gave as her initial response before the Auburn Operative strutted over to enter the transport pod, hand still on the Katana's handle as she gestured for Darwin to enter with a flick of her chin, holding the door open with the other hand, "~because she would most likely agree if you asked her, I can already tell she thinks highly of you, so just keep what I have said in mind."

The boy blinked as the words sent his head into a spin. He couldn't tell whether to be honored or frightened, but the doors of the transport ringing twice more to signal seconds before closing prompted him to position himself at his superior's side, his hand once more gripping the reflective steel post to keep him upright. "I'll... give it some thought no less..." He smiled gently. "We... we can't go rushing these things, now can we?"

"At ease Darwin, you've done nothing wrong yet and I have a feeling you'll keep that level head of yours," she attempted to reassure the man while taking her hand away from the door and causing it to finally shut, while Kimber did not want those under her command to be scared of her there were a few ground rules that had to be enforced sternly - maybe a hint of fear was healthy but it was not how she liked to do things for the most part, with very few exceptions, respect was a much more powerful influencer anyway.

Darwin nodded, his grip tightening on the bar just enough to turn his knuckles white. It was grounding. It helped bring him out of that panicked corner he had backed himself into. She could see his figure lose its tension, rolling his shoulders and straightening his back. Once more he brought his thumb to a strand that fell from his jet black quaff and pushed it away from his eyes. "Trust me when I say I do a lot better while fighting than in situations like these."

The transport kicked, the station sliding out of view from the windows as it shot out and into its tunnel. The planet once more came into full view below, lighting up the inside of the railway.

"Trust me Darwin when I say you are doing fine, I'm just testing the waters to get a better picture than any document could paint," Kimber reciprocated as she turned on the spot to fully face her subordinate, offering the monochromatic-haired man a sympathetic look, maybe her words had gotten a little too passionate when setting the boundaries but they had come from the heart and she would not go back on them.

"And, quite honestly, I approve of what I have seen so far~ thoroughly," the auburn operative admitted with a small nod that sent her mane of hair swishing a good bit.

The man smiled as he shuffled in place, turning on his heel to lean back on the bar he had been holding. He looked to the older Shanks with a slight chuckle, scratching the back of his head. "The team member who had joined your crew, then within a few minutes of meeting your daughter proceeded to headpat her and then suggest rooming with her?" His bubbling laugh filled out a bit. "By now I'd have thought you or somebody else would have smacked me upside the head, shoved my bags into my chest and then personally hit the deploy button on the next transport back to Yamatai. But, if you approve, I... appreciate it. Like I said before, Shanks-Heisho. I don't plan on letting you down any time soon." His laughter died down. It seemed to have a refreshing effect on the man, as his nervous stature seemed to have all been pushed out for the time being. "If I may reciprocate, I'm excited to see what working under you will be like."

"Well then allow me to reiterate, you know my stance on the bunking situation but everything else makes me think you will be a good fit around here - we each have our own strengths and weaknesses Darwin, and I'm not excluding myself from that list," Kimber began to answer, the thumb on her free hand idly tracing against a scar that wrapped around one of her fingers before she noticed, halted the action and then continued her response.

"And I look forward to seeing you work - beside me, Darwin, not under me."

He watched her sudden, jerky movement, and dipped his head to the side before shaking it, batting away any unwanted dives into the Heisho's personal life - as curious as he was. He gripped the bar behind him with an arm tucked at his hip before offering an expression of comfort. "You have a point. We are only human, after all." Rarely could he ever use that phrase in a way that extended beyond him. Most of the time, the Nekovalkyrja or Minkan would find a statement like that an excuse on his part. But he knew that the flaws were not a handicap. To him, they were proof he was a living thing. "Humans working side-by-side on a team working to stop a bunch of aliens from reducing an entire planet to slag."

Kimber couldn't help but narrow her heterochromatic gaze at Darwin for a moment, not menacingly nor threateningly but rather curiously~ wondering if the man knew the irony behind those words before her features settled back down to their usual muted warmth and the operative spoke, "Humanity is indeed a resilient lot, always able to roll with the punches no matter how hard-hitting they may be - the Shiroyama's Shosa is a testament to that," the Auburn-haired woman agreed before her eyes cast back down to the planet below - placing one damaged hand on the pristine glass as Kimber looked through her own transparent reflection.

"Life is sacred, it must be protected~" she rambled off, words seeming more directed into the void rather than at the Santo-hei she was showing around, a soft sigh leaving the Heisho's lips.

He couldn't help but notice her sudden change in mood. In a way, it felt as protective as she was for her daughter, but in a much more tender, broad fashion. As though she had opted to take this mission to protect Terra-Multa as she would take one to defend her family. He stepped up beside her, but hesitated to do much beyond that, simply gazing upon the world below and its deep blues and greens. In a way, it reminded him of Yamatai, and yet it felt like he was gazing into his home planet thousands of years before he was even born. He had heard he could turn around with a high-powered telescope and see that exact thing, but with that planet mere miles away from where Darwin stood, it felt a lot more tangible.

"You said it better than I ever could." He sighed. His amber eyes softened as the scanned along the treetops that formed a velvet surface beneath the clouds of the planet. "You know... My family back at home runs a flower shop. My mother used to be a botanist and she found she could just settle down and... open up a store while she raised me. My father helped with the deliveries. I sorta... grew up around plant life. Maybe I can take a look at some of the stuff and... maybe see about sending a specimen back home." He paused and then chuckled. "Customs would probably have a fit, though. Never know how these plants will interact with the environment if something goes wrong and the plant gets out into the ecosystem. A-Anyways, when I saw this planet as my transport pulled in, I got... excited to see what may be on it."

The Heisho drew in a somewhat sharp breath and shook her head slightly before tilting her head to face Darwin, the hand remaining pressed against the painfully cold glass though with the way she ignored it one would think the magnetic rails that carried their current transport didn't need to be kept cooled at sub-zero temperatures for optimal efficiency - each glimpse they got through the conduit's large windows was breath taking but right now Kimber's attention was solely on the man beside her.

"We'll call it a small scientific study then, yes? find out how easily one might cultivate some of the plants below on a smaller-than-agricultural-scale," the auburn operative mused, an uncharacteristically large yet still tight lipped smile curling across her sunkissed features.

He paused to look to her. She could see his amber orbs tracing the silvery scar that ran across her blue eye before locking on both. Her smile seemed oddly contagious, as one had curled across his cheeks as well in response. "Yea, it.. it is a possibility." He eyed the planet once more, but he couldn't help but keep turning his attention back towards the woman beside him. "The only reason I bring it up is... well... It always feels so odd looking at everything below and realizing it's so small. Even the tall trees that could grow to the size of towers all become pinpricks across the surface of a planet like this... In a way it's just... it really puts things into perspective how all of it could make such a big picture, you know?"

"I understand exactly what you mean, and let me tell you - Darwin, it hasn't gotten old yet so I would say you have a lot more of these moments ahead of you," Kimber mused before wordlessly lifting her hand away from the painfully cold glass, she was fully aware of his eyes exploring her visibly damaged form but had nothing to say on the matter - he had every right to be curious within boundaries of course.

"It's humbling, especially once you realize that from down on the planet we are nothing more than a speck in the sky - perspective is everything and nothing," the auburn operative let out a low smirk at her own words, mouth curling up for a moment before regaining its usual composure.

"Well, I of all people should know looks can be deceiving - I am a SAINT Operative afterall."
 
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