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Synchro Frame: Conception [IC]

A Zai RP Mecha Action Drama Sci-fi Animesque

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#41
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Melissa

 

She could tell Adelheid was lying, but the Commander would talk when she was ready.  Melissa got up, putting her tablet away.  "Thanks for everything, Commander," she said excitedly.  "And I hope you feel better.  My door is always open."  Melissa wanted to give the Commander an encouraging hug, but she knew it would end badly.  She strolled out of Adelheid's office, past the mess hall, and found her way back to the barracks.  She passed Johan's room, sighing contently.  On top of a rather successful meeting with Johan, Saviour would be receiving some much needed love.  The team had returned to base safely, and though some tension lingered, it was a better day than it had began.  Opening the door to her room, she softly closed it behind her, before flopping giddily onto her bed, spreading her arms wide as she jumped onto the mattress.  Melissa grabbed her pillow, and held it close to her, hugging it tightly.  A smile crossed her face, as she lie there on her bed.  The moonlight pierced through her curtains, spreading a silver light throughout her room.  It was late, and she was pretty tired.  A yawn escaped Melissa, and she felt herself drowsy.  She stripped down and got into her sleeping tee, and a pair of white short shorts.  As she leaned back to her pillow now, she reached beside her bed for her trumpet, and softly played.  A brief tune, and Melissa fell right to sleep, dropping her trumpet at her side, as her face buried into the pillow.

 

Zalwara

 

He sat back at his nightstand, dagger in hand.  He sharpened it with a personal whetstone, sliding it cleanly across the blade in long strokes.  The moon was out tonight.  How unusual. He opened his port, letting in a cool breeze.  The cool air settled on his neck, sending a welcoming chill down his spine.  This air was perfect, and it would fit the essence of the night.  Quietly he remained seated , sharpening one blade at a time.  Out of his collection of 200, he favored the short sword, katana, black dagger, and hunting knife.  He took the most care in sharpening those blades in particular.  The only other blades Zalwara ever took equal care of, was his cutlery.  If a knife ever dulled, he would be very upset.  Thinking of this, his stomach growled, as he hadn't eaten that evening.  "Mm.  I'm hungry, but I'm lazy," he said to himself.  Sighing, he got up from his chair at last, and strolled down to the kitchen.


lhRwFoL.jpg

 

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#42
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As the advancing night crept slowly over the Dark Tide, the fortress's crew began to change shifts, switching over to the evening's typical skeleton crew. Her six flight decks moved to their standby configuration, with the two groups of three decks on each side stacking on top of each other, leaving only the top two flight decks still operational. On the bridge, the night crew took their positions, settling in for yet another night of inaction.


The Dark Tide was currently located deep behind Terra Firma's lines on the east coast of the former United States, comfortably situated amidst the decaying rubble of previous centuries' urban sprawl. Thanks to the region's relative disuse by SAF and by extension Shell as a whole prior to the war, it had been very easy for Terra Firma to establish control of it almost 3 years ago, and ever since then it had proven to be one of the Surface's most defensible areas. Now known as the Juggernaut Line, the region had become home to 6 large Terra Firma ground bases, several smaller installations, and at any given time was the home territory of no less than 6 of Terra Firma's 17 massive Spirit of Motherwill-class carrier fortresses (of which the Dark Tide was one). In short, the Juggernaut Line was quite possibly one of the most militarized areas on the planet (second perhaps only to Terra Firma GHQ in Australia), and the core of Terra Firma's military might in the western hemisphere. Crossing the Line was a death sentence for any SAF Force attempting to operate within the area, and the Juggernaut Line was one of the few air-spaces on earth where no Shell dare fly.

 

"Sir, I’ve got an unidentified contact on radar. Approaching from the northwest at high speed."


The ranking officer on the Dark Tide's bridge at the time, Capt. Robert Archer, sat up, looking mildly concerned. He was a shorter man, a little on the pudgy side and vaguely resembling a pug dog, but the intense stare he usually wore gave him an air of strength, and those under his command learned quickly that he was not one to be trifled with. Though outranked by Admiral Yoshino and Vice-Admiral Adachi, he was technically the Dark Tide's commanding officer, and often served as the fortress's second-in-command when Takeo was on the bridge and Zalwara was out flying a combat mission. Archer had the utmost respect for both men, though he was sometimes annoyed by the lack of authority he had over his own boat. As such, he rather enjoyed taking command at night, even if there was rarely anything to do. He turned and spoke to his radar man, an inexperienced cadet who had recently finished his training, hence his assignment to the night shift. "Check your database, you should be able to match that radar signature to something we have on file. Have you received an IFF code?"


"IF-what, sir?"


Robert pinched his brow. "Identification Friend or Foe code. Its a transmission code programmed to be picked up by our radar to let us know which contacts are ours. If something doesn't give us the right code, its likely an enemy. What do they teach you kids at the academy these days?"


"Sorry, sir." The cadet looked both apologetic and a bit scared, obviously not used to being in the company of such high-level personnel. Robert broke his characteristic intensity to flash a reassuring smile.


"Don't worry about it too much. Just focus on your job. Now, what have you got for me?"


"Just this one, sir. Large enough to be a Combat Frame, but it’s moving much too fast... about mach 1.2, and it’s on a vector that will take it right to us. No IFF code yet, sir." There was a pause before the cadet spoke again. "What kind of frame moves like that, though?"


"Not your average machine. All active hands to yellow alert, just in case. What's the ETA?"


"Roughly seven minutes, sir."


Archer turned to the only operator currently on the bridge. "Get a frame squad on standby. I want to have some sort of response ready for this thing, just in case.”


“Roger that, sir.” The operator then proceeded to order one of the Dark Tide’s numerous squads to the flight deck, their frames ready for a quick takeoff and intercept.


---


A light breeze flowed gently over the hills that surrounded TRAP HQ, rustling the needles of the few pines that remained standing on the barren landscape. The sun had set hours before, giving way to a brilliant pageant of stars, joined that night by a nearly full moon. The breeze gave the cool autumn night air a bite, and thanks to the comparatively bright light of the moon and the stars one would be able to see their breath. On the roof of the rustic hotel structure that served as the above ground entrance and disguise for TRAP’s base sat Gavin Decker, taking puffs from the electronic cigarette that normally served to fill his pocket. The roof was where he usually ventured to be by himself, as few of the personnel on base ever ventured into the hotel, and few of the ones that did knew how to get on to the roof from inside.


The day’s events had weighed heavily on him. Despite his inquiries that appeared to indicate the contrary, Gavin was all too aware of what had been bugging his commanding officer, and frankly the subject troubled him as well. The Twins, despite their insubordination, were correct. Lauren’s disappearance was suspect, and the fact that they’d been able to recover the Canis’s cockpit intact meant that there was little-to-no chance that Lauren had actually been killed in that engagement. In all likelihood she was alive, somewhere. Best case, she was in good health and simply had not been found yet. However, there was also another possible scenario, one Gavin would rather not think about.


He was sure it was on Addy’s mind too, though she would never have admitted that fact to him. Actually, despite their shared responsibility of commanding TRAP, there were few things Adelheid actually let Gavin in on. For the most part, he took care of whatever she delegated to him… as well as a good portion of other work that was his alone. In other words, despite the fact that they got along rather well, their relationship was strictly professional.


It bugged him.


Gavin sighed, then sat up and pulled a wallet out of the same pocket his E-cig had been residing in but a few minutes earlier. Beneath all of of his security clearances, the crumpled bills and the uncountable number of late-night cafeteria receipts, cleverly hidden behind the rigid, rectangular piece of plastic that was his ID badge, was a folded, dogeared photograph. A picture of himself and two people he cared deeply for, standing triumphantly on the shoulders and head of the machine that would go on to become the first Synchro Frame. One was now long gone, a sad reminder of the ferocity of the war, and the other was currently several meters below him underground, probably totally unaware of how he felt about her.


Then again, that was probably for the best. Those sorts of feelings had little place on the battlefield, especially for someone in a command-level position like Gavin’s, where he was more or less responsible for the well-being of all of those under his command. For this reason he’d done a very good job of hiding his feelings for Adelheid behind his usual friendly attitude and teasing.
 

They’d met during the early days of the SF development program, back before the Allegorical Manipulation System had been perfected and other theories on 1:1 control were being tested. Gavin had volunteered as a favor to Altomare Weiss, the third person in the photo, and Adelheid had been selected as a promising test pilot candidate. They’d gotten off to a bit of a rocky start at first, but after a few weeks of testing the three of them had developed a friendly working relationship. Thinking back on it now, Gavin had probably started to fall for her back then, little by little. Maybe it was her drive, he’d never seen someone as passionate about frames as she was.  Or maybe he just found her attractive. Either way, he’d somehow come to care for this aloof, somewhat foul-tempered woman who, despite her stressful job somehow managed to put aside just enough of her frustrations each day to put up with his teasing, and was always there to help him dodge unnecessary paperwork or get a cup of coffee with him when he needed it after a sleepless night of maintenance, orders forms, and chores.


Whatever the reason was, It had been eating at him lately, especially now with TRAP having suffered its first casualty. It was oddly frustrating. Of all other people on the base, the only one he really shouldn’t get close to was the one he was most concerned for, and he knew that the correct course of action was to keep it that way. Besides, he doubted she’d even be interested in him. After all, laid back and cheerful wasn’t really her type. But still, as he looked up into the night sky, stars and Shells glistening against the blackness, he couldn’t help but wonder what she would say if she knew…


---

As the Argonaut squad made its way toward the unidentified radar contact, the men inside the frames were apprehensive as to what they would encounter. Should it indeed be an enemy of some sort, it would have to be very powerful to have penetrated this far into Terra Firma territory by itself. Though their machines were powerful, they knew that 5 Argonauts would stand little chance against an enemy Synchro frame, and with the speed the target was ingressing at, it was highly likely that this was the case.


They’d stayed silent for the most part, as they were all tired from being awoken after hours and were focussed on the target ahead. However, the lead pilot then broke the silence with the ETA.


“T -minus 45 to intercept!” The target was on their onboard radar now, coming in just as as fast as it had before. The argonauts slowed and spread out, hovering in midair and waiting for the target to close.


“30!”


The frames’ weapons were out now, all aimed and ready to fire on the target. Suddenly, it increased speed, accelerating to over mach 1.4 and blowing past the Argonaut intercept team, making a beeline for the Dark Tide. Those onboard quickly manned their battle stations and prepped more frames for launch. However, before the unprepared fortress’s guns could open up on it, the mysterious machine had breached its defense line. Now in much too close to be reliably hit with any weapons save the Dark Tide’s AA guns, the unidentified machine descended rapidly toward the central superstructure of the Dark Tide, flying by the command tower and shaking its structure (and by extension those inside), with its exhaust. Before any of the shocked gunnery crews had a clear chance to open fire, the machine came to a screeching, sparking landing on the flight deck, its IFF code now broadcasting. Stunned and bewildered, Captain Archer recoiled in his chair as a voice came over the radio.


“This is Shark-1, Lieutenant Drayden Seidrich reporting for duty. I've got orders forms with me here from high command that I think you’ll want to see.” The voice of Terra Firma’s ace pilot was growly and condescending. He was obviously quite satisfied with having duped the entire ship’s defense grid, and thanks to both his special combat designation, as well as the orders forms he was carrying, he was able to do so with impunity. Archer, now fully recovered from the tower buzzing, growled back at him. “Roger that. Store your frame in the hangar and deliver those orders to the admiral ASAP.”


“Yes, sir. Will do.” The smile on the Vid-com was wide and malicious, sending a bit of a chill down the younger cadet’s spine.


“Who was that, sir?’


The captain turned, fixed his cap and sighed. “That, son, is a man you don’t want to meet on the battlefield. He is unpredictable, undisciplined, and, unfortunately for me, he may very well be unbeatable.” Another sigh followed. “It looks like we’ll have to put up with him for awhile, though.”


“But sir, why would command give someone like that so much authority. He could have gotten himself shot down or damaged the ship. If any of our frame pilots did that, they’d get thrown in the brig or worse.”


“It’s complicated. He’s a synchro frame pilot; a rare resource, in other words. Pilots like that get sent where they’ll be most useful. Command tends to think the drawbacks of giving them free reign are outweighed by the benefits of having them participate in combat. Sometimes though, we end up having to work with loose cannons like the Lieutenant.”


“Is he really that effective? I’ve never seen one in action before.”

“I’ll put it this way. Two or three of those machines can be more effective than 50 combat frames. Imagine if, just now, he’d been a SAF pilot. Everyone on this bridge would have both been killed, and the Dark Tide could have sustained quite a bit of damage. It pays to be able to fight fire with fire, so they say, and that’s why we often get sent one or two pilots like that when this fortress gets assigned an important mission. I expect we’ll be leaving here in a few days.”


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#43
Maeriberii Haan

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"Oh, hey.

Yeah, it's been a long day here. There's been some...yeah, I'll tell you the details later. I'm not really in the mood to do that right now.

 

But anyway, when can I expect the shipment to arrive, hm~?

 

Alright, that seems reasonable enough.

 

Hey, you know, I have something great in my mind, I'll send the detail via mail later. No, no, no, it's not one of my crazier ones, I've been thinking about this for a while. I'm just planning to revive an old design-

 

Yes, you seems to have guessed it correctly~

 

Now-"

 

"You seems to be pretty busy, Aeolia."

 

Seeing Aeolia talking cheerily on a monitor as she entered her room, Adelheid just sighed and went straight towards her. Her tendency from going cheerful and friendly to scorning and generally a pain in the ass in just a moment still unnerved Adel, even after how many years she had been forced in working with her. Noticing Adel, Aeolia's smile disappeared, and after saying a short goodbye to the person across the screen, she closed it and turned around.

 

"Can you at least knock on my door first?"

 

"It's open."

 

'W-well.., anyway, you seems to have completed the post battle report right there. Just put it on the table over there for now."

 

Without saying anything, Adel did so as ordered, though her face made it clear that she didn't quite appreciate Aeolia ordering her around.

 

"Also, about the enemy Synchro Frame and battleship, don't worry too much about it. I got enough information from the battle data and footage taken during the battle.

 

But...let's talk about something else now. I guess the true reason you're here is because of the twins?"

 

"Yes."

 

She proceeded to detail how the meeting with the twins went, about their investigation, and about what they found, or the lack of anything that they found. Aeolia listened to her closely, and she was seemingly quite amused by what she heard. By the time Adel finished her story, a grin formed on Aeolia's face. She knew about the other reason why Adel was here, aside from trying to convince her to bail out the twins. She was partially responsible for the mess, actually.

 

"Well, it's definitely not my problem whether your forgery of information ended up screwing you or not, though I believe you can just chalk that to incompetent investigators if Lauren's really alive, probably.

 

Buut, I think I'll let the two slide this time. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't punish them, though."

 

"It seems that you change your stance on that really rapidly." Adelheid replied flatly.

 

"Nah, I just can't be bothered enough to do all the paperworks right now, and besides, I've seen you suffering enough for today~"

 

Seeing that Aeolia was now clearly teasing her, Adelheid started to try taking her leave from the room, definitely unnerved by her roller-coaster-like mood.

 

"I guess it's time for me to take my leave. Goodnight."

 

"Hey, don't be so hasty!

 

Since I'm in a good mood now, let's go and get some drink. My treat. Despite of everything, we still need to celebrate Lauren's little brother's arrival here, no? It's probably too late at night to invite everyone, but if we bumped into someone along the way, we probably should drag them."

 

"Seriously, you're really disturbing.

 

But sure, I guess."

 

---

 

"That's the last of the wreckage. We can now start transporting them to the Dublin base for them to be identified, and for the wreckage to be recycled."

 

"Understood."

 

"Thirty seven, huh?"

 

"Have you crossed over that data with the Dublin base, Ira?"

 

"I'm still trying to establish a contact with them."

 

"I see."

 

After hearing that, Annerheim slouched on her seat, visibly pretty annoyed as her eyes stared into the ceiling of her ship. The fact that her ship arrived too late to save those people really made her disappointed in herself. It was her fault after all, as she was the one that sent the order for these men to march towards their death, without even achieving anything aside from pushing the enemy back temporarily. 

 

If only she had just ignored the enemy just this once...

 

"Captain, I think it's time for us to launch now."

 

"Alright then. Order all units to return to the ship, and prepare the engines!"

 

"Roger that, captain."

 

---


giphy.gif

 


#44
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Zalwara

 

He lay in his room, after finishing his coffee, when there came an uproar.  "What imbecile--" alarms blared, and Zalwara scrambled to his feet.  He jumped into his uniform faster than you could say, 'we're out of coffee!' and was at Takeo's door.  He was about to knock very loudly when the door bolted open, and Takeo flew out and past Zalwara.  "Let's go see what the hub-ub is about."  After a brief sprint, Zalwara and Takeo found themselves in a rather peculiar situation.  As they arrived on the flight deck, Zalwara and Takeo moved their eyes to the center of the commotion.  While everything had calmed, sensors had cleared, and alarms had been silenced, they couldn't help but feel uneasy about this new figure suddenly boarding their vessel.  The duo had arrived just in time to hear the whining of a Synchro Frame bombarding the Dark Tide in the wee hours.  Zalwara made a sour expression, while Takeo brought about an almost forced smile.  He was pleased that Drayden was alive and well, but his sudden appearance did not bode well for this crew.  Takeo elbowed Zalwara, spotting the look on his face.  Zalwara scoffed, but admitted to himself there was nothing he could do.  There weren't many pilots who could best Zalwara, let alone keep up with him.  Drayden just happened to be one of them.  They had only dueled once before, but that was all it took for Zalwara to find himself back in that place he hated to be:  helpless.  His expression eased as he shook his head.  Making his way to the Captain's seat, he poured himself a cup of coffee.  Taking a sip, he raised his Styrofoam cup.  "To what do we owe the honor, Drayden?" he said softly.  Takeo nodded in agreement.  "This is  quite the surprise, Drayden my friend.

 

I would assume someone of you caliber would be off on a more discreet, special mission," he said dryly.  Takeo meant those words.  He was the most astonished at Drayden's arrival.  He heard about the order forms.  Something from the big wigs.  But why would they send TerraFirma's ace on a delivery mission.  Surely any old sap would do.  Something was off.  Takeo would play relaxed as he waited for Drayden's reply.  He analyzed the situation carefully.

 

The calamity not long ago.

Lack of engagements on many sides of TerraFirma.

Sudden appearance of an ace pilot.

 

Something was most certainly off.  But it favored TerraFirma, Takeo was sure of it.  His forced smile became realistic, as he gathered the information he had sorted.  Takeo opened his palms to Drayden.  "I'm excited to see this," he said with a grin.  Zalwara glared at Takeo.  The old man had figured something out, and he was keeping it for himself.


lhRwFoL.jpg

 

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#45
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Drayden gripped a small suitcase in one hand and the descending rope latch from the Hammerhead’s cockpit in the other, jumping down from the rope when he was about 5 feet off of the ground.  

 

"To what do we owe the honor, Drayden?"


He looked up from the ground to see the Admiral and Vice-Admiral had both made their way out on to the flight deck.
 

"This is  quite the surprise, Drayden my friend." Drayden made his way forward, putting the suitcase down on the tarmac temporarily and giving Takeo and Zalawara each a handshake in turn. His grip was tight and a bit painful, the kind of handshake one gives when they wish to be intimidating.  “It seems me and my squad have been reassigned here, Admiral. My wingman will be here with the rest of the combat frames once they finish working the bugs out of the other SF command’s been working on. Shark Squad will be acting as an independent combat unit under Vice-admiral Adachi’s direct command while we’re here.” Drayden looked in Zalawara’s direction. As a pilot, Drayden respected his skill, though the two men didn’t see eye-to-eye. After that, well, it looks like they’re deploying us to the front in Europe. From what i’ve been told, Dark Tide is taking over as the european force’s flagship while the Spirit makes her way back here for repairs and refitting.” Drayden grinned, he was excited to see more action after having been stuck at HQ for a solid two weeks. “Anyway, all of the specifics are in this orders form. Not for my eyes, so I suppose one of you will just have to fill me in once you read it. You’ve got room for my Frame, i hope?”


---


Having decided to retire for the day (and in doing so hopefully avoid interacting with anyone else), Leo discreetly made his way out of the cafeteria, making sure to stay out of Heinrich’s sight as he did so. Though Leo had made the decision to take his food to his room, to his dismay he could find nothing appetizing to eat, and so was forced to go back empty handed. Just as well though, he wasn’t feeling very hungry.


As he made his way down the dimly lit, wide hallways that made up the interior of TRAP’s base, Leo kept his head down, avoiding eye contact as much as possible with anyone he came across. It took him a few minutes to remember the way back to his room, but after a few wrong turns and reroutes he finally found the correct door. One swipe of his keycard and he was inside, and Leo quickly locked the door behind himself.


The interior of Leo’s room was rather sparse, with unadorned white walls and simple, sterile-looking furniture, the only signs of habitation being Leo’s now mostly empty luggage in the closet and the disturbed state of the bed sheets, which weren’t quite made anymore. Despite the bright, unnatural light of the fluorescent lamps on the ceiling,  the stark state of the room made it feel somehow cold and uninviting, and it made Leo frown a little as he made his way over to his  dresser, on top of which was an old boombox radio. He turned it on, letting the disk inside play, went over to his bed, and sat down.

 

BGM: Rooster


Leo remained motionless for several minutes, staring down at the floor as the days events played back in his head. It felt almost dreamlike, and he figured that it hadn't quite hit him yet that this was all real. It felt like it was all happening to someone else, like he was somewhere in the background, watching it all unfold. Maybe it was because he was still focussed on the loss of his sister, wherever she was, or perhaps this was some sort of defense mechanism his mind had put up to help him cope with the days events. After all, he’d almost died but a few hours earlier.


He almost died.


The gravity of the thought, the finality of what it meant, at last hit him like the rushing waters of an ocean wave. There were no do-overs out here. No second chances, no opportunities to try again. From now on, Leo’s life, and possibly the lives of those around him, would depend on how well he handled his machine. If he failed, it would mean a painful, fast end. Leo shivered. He could only imagine what it must have been like for Lauren or those Myrmidon pilots to look death right in the eye, and then to have the last sensation they would ever feel be the agonizing pain of being vaporized by plasma or splattered by some gigantic bullet or worse. The thought of it happening to him sent waves of fear and disgust up his body, like being sick to one’s stomach and freezing cold all in one sensation. Confronting his own mortality was something he’d never done before, never even considered thinking about before. Just a few weeks ago his biggest worry was whether or not he’d studied enough to pass his algebra test, and yet now his life could suddenly and violently end at any point. Worse still, there was no way to avoid it. He'd been forced her against his will; used as a tool to operate a weapon he didn't understand in a war that had little meaning to him.


Before he knew it, tears were streaming down his face and sobs were despite his best efforts fighting their way out of him. Between them, choked words escaped his mouth, his innermost thoughts making themselves audible. “Lauren… what should I do? I’m scared… I just wanna go home...”


He slumped over on his bed, holding one of the pillows up to his face to muffle the noise he was making and letting all of his pent-up emotions from the past few weeks out, crying himself to sleep.

 

-FILE 01: Complete-

 

Ending theme


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

~Opening Theme~


FILE 02: VIOLENT WAVES

BGM: Welcome to the Earth


"At conception, there were infinite possibilities; limitless outcomes diverging from a single instance where, once, all was whole."


The year is 2220 A.D.. Humanity has abandoned its earthly shackles and taken flight to live in paradise amongst the clouds. However, those left behind  on the surface wage violent rebellion in order to bring about a new world order. In the midst of this upheaval, brave warriors take to the skies, waves of flowing destiny washing over their gleaming steeds.


“Leo! How many times do I have to tell you to just grab the rifle on auto! If you try doing it manually you’ll just miss and waste your time. Frame hands aren’t made for precision you know!” Gavins voice, loud and full of static, blared in Leo’s earpiece as the Canis’s hand fell short yet again of the equipment rack, grasping at the air rather than the grip of the fang rifle attached to the equipment rack.


“But then I’ll forget to switch the arm controls back to manual again. I don’t wanna get caught shooting on auto si-”

“Don’t make excuses! Just remember to switch it back as you’re walking to the catapult. If you need to launch quickly then every second you waste could mean the difference out there. The limb controls will do all of the work for you if you just let them. Trust me Kiddo, I kind of know what I’m doing here, remember?”


There was a groan over the radio before Leo responded “Fine, I’ll try it again.”


‘You’ll try again- what?!’


“SIR! I’ll try it again, SIR!” A loud, frustrated, emphasis on the word ‘sir’ told Gavin that Leo was nearing the end of his patience with that day’s training. It had been two weeks since Leo first arrived on base, and during that time it had been decided that Gavin would personally train Leo, based on his performance in the aerial engagement in Scotland and Gavin’s own experience as a pilot. Thankfully, TRAP had not seen any action in the past two weeks, and as a result Gavin had been able to devote a good deal of his time to helping Leo get used to both piloting and military life. Luckily for the both of them, Leo was a quick learner (even if he was a bit obstinate and entirely lacking in military discipline), and his AMS compatibility allowed him to adapt to operating the Canis easily. He hadn't quite gotten the hang of some of the more basic tasks involved in operating a frame yet, but once Leo got the Canis airborne, he was now able to keep up with the rest of the unit and hold his own in a dogfight if need be. He’d even been able to land a direct hit or two on Gavin in their practice fights, which was very impressive for someone of Leo’s limited experience.


“Alright, one more drill and then we’ll break for lunch, alright?”


“Roger that.” Leo’s voice boomed down from the Canis’s head microphone as he motioned the synchro frame back into its storage cell, the frustration and boredom still evident in Leo’s voice. Though he was probably unaware of it, Gavin’s training had done wonders for Leo over the past few weeks. The daily training regimen, despite its severity, kept Leo grounded and on a schedule, and already the heavy workouts and pilot’s high protein diet had had a positive effect on him. In addition (though Leo would never admit it aloud) having someone to talk and interact with who was genuinely invested in his health and well being had done wonders for Leo’s mental state. Though the events surrounding his sister and his current situation still affected him greatly, having Gavin (as well as the rest of the unit) around took Leo’s mind off other more depressing things. He lose himself in a day’s work and take his mind off of why he was there, and whether Leo knew it or not, this was a boon to him.


This time, Leo managed to switch the Canis’s arm controls to automatic, and the machine’s operating system too care of taking the fang rifle off of the rack successfully. Leo, for his part, remembered to switch the software back to manual mode, and made a successful catapult launch before quickly turning his frame around in mid air and landing back where he started.


“That’s how you do it right, kid. Lets grab some chow eh?” Gavin, for his part, rather enjoyed his duty. Sure, Leo was obstinate and didn’t always listen, but in that way he was a lot like the other young pilots in TRAP. Besides, the kid was growing on him. Leo was a lot like his sister: intuitive, smart, and despite what Leo would want Gavin to think, he could tell the kid was starting to enjoy flying. It was amusing seeing Leo emphatically deny taking any enjoyment in learning to fly the Canis, but the childish grin Gavin saw on the vidscreen every time Leo learned a new maneuver told him a different story. Just as well, Leo definitely had a talent for piloting, and he was picking things up remarkably quickly. Plus, training was always a superior alternative to dealing with Aeollia and her endless menial tasks and forms to file, a job he did not envy Adelheid for having to undertake while he and Leo were exercising or doing combat simulations. In short, though he was a frustrating, obstinate teenager who would much rather be strumming out riffs on his guitar than waking up at dawn and running a few miles or doing drills, Leo was growing on him.


“So what’s on the menu in the caf today anyway?” Leo’s voice broke gavin out of his train of thought.


“I honestly couldn’t tell you. Make sure the Canis is locked down right and then we’ll go eat, alright?’


“I locked it down already.”


“Ensign, that's an order. Go check it over.”

“Yes, sir.” Leo grumbled off. He didn’t like being referred to by his new rank, or being ordered around, but he’d already learned the hard way that it was a bad idea to disobey an order from Gavin. His punishments usually involved extra miles at night, something Leo often barely had the energy for, or worse still, assisting Aeollia with her paperwork. Leo shuddered. Being a go for had never been so terrifying, and he would infinitely prefer to spend his evenings in the company of the other pilots on base. Despite having gotten off to a rather awkward start with most of them. he was much more comfortable around the rest of the unit now, though he couldn’t really shake the feeling that they felt more sorry for him than they did treat him as an equal, and that bothered him a bit.

 

As per usual at lunch time, the cafeteria was abuzz with activity. Most of the personnel on base had finished their morning's tasks, and had gathered to socialize and eat while they had the chance. Elsewhere on base, pilots and technicians busied themselves with keeping TRAP's machines up and running, while the command-level personnel saw to it that the base was kept informed of the war's progress and any mission data that was pertinent. 


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#46
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Takeo

 

Taking the suitcase from Drayden, Takeo nodded, motioning towards the hangar.  "Leave it where you may, Drayden.  Mind the paint," he joked as he turned back towards the ship's innards.  He turned his head back, speaking over his shoulder.  "Zalwara."

 

"Admiral."

 

"I'll leave you to the rest.  I want zero disturbance while I review the documents.  In the meantime, make sure Drayden and company--wherever they may be--are comfortable."

 

Zalwara nodded silently, his face still in his coffee.  Takeo disappeared below deck, and Zalwara waved a hand at the hangar.  "Our tech's will take good care of you.  Speaking of which, where is Shark Squadron right now?"  Probably overlooking the Dark Tide in the middle of night, hiding above the clouds.  Zalwara didn't expect someone serving under Drayden to make themselves known right away.  He shrugged his shoulders.  "Well, I'll have rooms prepared for you.  For now, you can take the lounge.  I'll send someone for you when everything is in order."  Zalwara began to head back to his room, when he got curious.  He was finally catching on to Takeo's thoughts.  He pulled Drayden aside.  

 

"What do you make of the commotion out in Europe anyway?  I'm sure you've heard.  We don't know specifics, but I figure you may have.  Think the sudden move has more to do with it?"  Zalwara raised his head to the moon, then looked back to Drayden.  "Meh," he said shrugging again.  "Sleep on it, I guess.  Last thing I want is to stir some mess up.  See you at dawn."  Zalwara waved as he disappeared below deck, and headed straight for his room.  When he had returned, there was already a Private waiting at his door.  "Sir!  Admiral Takeo has already had several rooms prepared, sir!"  Zalwara shrugged, cracking his door.  "What're you tellin' me for?  Go get Drayden."  "Sir!"  The Private took off, making his way to the flight deck.

 

It wasn't long before Shark Squadron's presence was felt.  The crew could feel the tension in the air, and their new orders from Takeo hadn't even come in yet.  There were 5 Argonauts-- Command -types, the lot of them--and another white Synchro Frame not immediately recognized.  The pilot of the Synchro Frame was female.  The tech's waiting above deck to wave down the Shark Squadron were as bewildered as anyone else at this unknown female.  Her frame was the first inside, followed by the Argonaut pilots.  They were directed by Private Jules, who directed the pilots to their personal quarters.  Upon bringing the unknown lady Synchro Pilot to her room last, Jules was surprised to see Admiral Takeo coming forth.  He stopped in his tracks, saluting the Admiral and addressing him.  "Private Jules," he said approaching.  "Sir!"  "At ease."  The Synchro Pilot, however, did not acknowledge Admiral Takeo, and disappeared into her room, closing the door behind her.  "Get some rest."  "Uh, sir?"  "As of 0800 The Dark Tide will be setting sail.  I want all hands on deck at 0600."  Takeo was making his way to the main deck, preparing to reiterate the announcement he had just given Private Jules.  In just ten hours, the Dark Tide would be making an incredibly long journey to the Eastern part of the world.  A smile escaped Takeo.  The call of the ocean excited him, now more than ever.

 

The Dark Tide, 6:00 A.M.

 

The call had gone out one hour earlier, giving the crew time for breakfast, dress, and standard checks.  They were busy as soon as the clock struck 6 a.m.  Frames were cleaned and checked thoroughly, the engines were in tip top shape, and the Dark Tide's daily inspection had gone well.  Admiral Takeo continued to direct, as the engines roared to life.  At approximately 7:59 a.m., The Dark Tide began to move.  One hour later, the Atlantic Ocean was in view, and the Dark Tide had claimed it's territory.


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#47
Asriel Dreemurr

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As busy as the Cafeteria was when they started serving lunch, there were two figures present that were not normally seen at that time.  Johan found himself on one end of the room because Melissa had managed to convince him that he needed to eat something sooner rather than later, and Heinreich was around because he'd gotten word that the cooks had tried their hand at preparing something near and dear to his heart.  Of course the two found themselves somewhat uncomfortably close to one another, a situation made doubly awkward for Heinreich by the fact that his brother was trying to be romantic and failing pretty horribly.  Really, it was just painful to watch for him, but Johan just kept trying new ways and failing each time.

 

Of course neither brother was exactly happy with the state of the food.  The thin-sliced, fried meat had wound up overcooked and thus all but impossible to chew through, the potatoes served along with it had not been seasoned, and neither could be sure what the vegetable with it was.  Johan felt rather fortunate to have Melissa there to distract him, even if he wasn't having any luck.  So far he'd wound up spilling a drink on her, smearing food on her face when they'd first sat down and he'd tried to feed her, and then realizing that the food was terrible when he'd succeeded in doing that.  Right now he was trying to work out something else, but was interrupted when Heinreich loudly voiced what everyone in the chow hall was probably thinking.

 

"This food sucks!"  The crimson-eyed pilot stated as he stood up rather quickly from where he'd been sitting and lobbed a handful of potatoes a little ways into a trashcan.  While a good number of the personnel around him voiced their agreement, the mess officer, one Lieutenant Beaumont, didn't seem to take kindly to it.

 

"If you think you can do better with military-fūcking-issue rations, then be my guest.  Otherwise shut up and eat."  That set off quite the loud verbal exchange between the two that quickly degenerated into them shouting back and forth in languages the other couldn't understand.  As a mater of fact, just as Leo and Gavin entered the room they got the opportunity to see the two men loudly insulting each other's heritage in German and French respectively.  Heinreich had also since walked away from his table and the Lieutenant had made his way out of the kitchen, the distance closing between the two of them while those around them started egging the two on in the hopes that the confrontation would distract them from what had proved to be really awful food.



#48
Astolfo

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TRAP - Somewhere on Base…?

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Mira lied down and sighed. The quick scuffle she had wasn't enough to calm down her burning competitive spirit, once it had started up. On top of that, a huge ship from the enemy's side had forced a retreat, due to it being extremely tough, as well as packing a powerful cannon. Grumbling, she did a kick-up and started walking towards the cafeteria, after noticing the time. She brightened up when she noticed the newbie, and was about to give him a friendly tackle, when she noticed the lieutenant commander right next to him, and decided it would be a better idea not to. Last time she pulled a joke around him, she ended up having to do rigorous exercises for hours. Pouting, she just walked up to him, peering to see if she was interrupting anything important. Giving him a pat on the shoulder, she leaned in, pressing herself right up against him, whispering in his ear. "Hey kiddo, let's do some special training after lunch." Winking at him and grinning widely at the intentionally misleading phrasing, she started brainstorming the vast possibilities of hellish training exercises, and was about to go socialize at a random packed table when a rather interesting commotion was unfolding.

 

"Hm, that twin has a point." Watching the quickly devolving argument, she decided she didn't care who won, as long as there was an interesting beat-down, although she realized most likely the lieutenant would come out on top, being superior, and the twin having started a conflict because of his attitude. It would certainly be amusing enough to watch though. Peering at the newbie - who she was still leaning up closely against - and the second-in-command right next to her out of the corner of her eyes, she considered what the consequences of cheering the twin on would be, remembering the rigorous exercises, and wisely chose not to.





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#49
Maeriberii Haan

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"This food sucks!"

 

Aeolia was finishing her meal in the cafeteria when one of the pilot of the Drachenrand, which she assumed to be Heinrich, exclaimed loudly about how they hate the food he didn't even bother to finish. The food is not -that- bad, Aeolia thought. While it's still pretty far from fancy, it's at least edible, unlike several other instances. But then again, it's Heinrich. Aeolia still wondered about why the hell did she let the two pass almost unscathed back then, and if it's not for the fact that she'd hate to break her deal with Adelheid, she'd definitely give them hell without much afterthought.

 

"If you think you can do better with military-fūcking-issue rations, then be my guest.  Otherwise shut up and eat."

The mess officer, Lieutenant Beaumont was quick to reply to Heinrich's complaint bluntly. What followed would be an interesting display of the two insulting each others' lineage in their native tongue, But before the two made physical contact with each other (which Aeolia would really be interested in seeing), Leo and Gavin had entered the room. With the two there, Aeolia stood up, and cleared her throat before speaking to most of everyone on the cafeteria. Normally she'd eat alone when there's little to no people there to avoid annoying contact with others, but this time there's something she wanted to tell everyone about.

 

"May I have your attention for a short while, please?

 

And Heinrich, Beaumont, I swear if you two brawled here I'll personally find a way to make you two a cannon fodder."

 

She passed a quick glare to the two's direction before returning her attention to everyone else.

 

"But anyway, on to the important stuff.

 

The Boss, I mean Adelheid, you may all notice that she's not here right now. But yeah, she, along with Feng and probably some other pilots left earlier for you who haven't noticed yet, due to a sudden order from the Shells. And as expected, she appointed Gavin as the man in charge here.

 

Also, I am still expecting those monthly expense report from those of you that are responsible in cataloging that, so if I'm not receiving those this evening, I'll also make sure the monthly supply will arrive late, and thus, you all will eat progressively worse food from what you eat now.

 

One more thing. I haven't received any training reports as of late from any of you. I'm also expecting those to be either placed on my desk or sent to me this evening.

 

And that's all for now. I expect you all to finish what's served in your plates now, or else..."

 

After finishing the announcement, Aeolia returned back to her seat, and continued her lunch like before as if nothing had happened at all.


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#50
Dad

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Melissa

 

She sighed, all the while chuckling at Johan's attempts to be romantic.  It was adorable, but unfortunately turned out disastrous.  Suddenly, Heinreich read the minds of the many in the cafeteria, as he blurted out, "This food sucks!"

 

It wasn't until Heinreich began to argue with Lieutenant Beaumont that things got heated . . .properly.  Their argument eventually spilled into a multicultural and very colorful bombardment of insults.  Aeolia, however, had had enough of this.  Speaking up and silencing the commotion, she returned to her meal as though there was never any commotion.  This got Melissa thinking, as she abruptly grabbed Johan's hand and darted towards Heinreich.  Mira had also entered her line of sight, and Melissa dragged the twins towards Mira as well.  Gathering them in a team huddle, she lowered their heads, and began to whisper.  "We should fix some real meals.  Let's go into town!" she said in an excited hush-tone.  "There's lots of options, and I'm sure a cool meal will really rally everyone.  Even Aeolia," Melissa said giggling.  "Who's with me?"  Just as Melissa finished her speech, Johnathan was approaching from behind, grasping the last bit of the conversation.  "Er, Melissa--hey!"  She pulled him into the huddle, and Johnathan was suddenly apart of this crazy idea that would likely get them all into trouble.  "You're apart of it now, Johnathan," she said putting the young Private into a chokehold.  "Ack!  Okay, okay!  But what are we even doing?"  Melissa went over everything again, with a bit more detail.  She began to devise a plan of two man teams to cover more ground and gather more food.

 

"I'll go with Johan," she said first.  This was a better opportunity than she had expected.  "Maybe Mira can go with Heinreich?"  Johnathan raised a hand, which Melissa pulled down.  "Don't make it obvious!" she said said in a loud whisper.  "What's wrong?"  

 

"Well, if Mira goes with Heinreich, I'll be all alone."

 

Melissa stared at Johnathan.  "What?"

 

"Well, I mean, you said two man teams and--"

 

"I bet there's chocolate in town, Johnathan.  Lots of it."

 

"I'll run this mission solo.  Good luck team," he suddenly said boldly, and unafraid.  Johnathan had a huge problem with chocolate.  He loved it.

 

"Well?  Are we ready!?"  She was excited to do something so unusual for herself.  


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#51
BANZAI!!!!

BANZAI!!!!

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"Hey kiddo, let's do some special training after lunch."

 

Leo's face grew red as Mira leaned in uncomfortably close to him, pressing her body up against his, and whispered in his ear. He knew she actually meant combat training, though her phrasing nonetheless brought... other thoughts to his mind. Either way, this was compounded by her invasion of his personal space, something that, until he had arrived at TRAP, Leo had never really had to deal with on a regular basis. Combine this with Mira's looks, and her tendency to be very physical in her interactions with just about everyone (though Leo especially, presumably because he was both new and they were closer in age), and the end result left Leo noticeably and hilariously frazzled. all he could really manage was an affirmative nod before Mira's attention was drawn to whatever was going on but a few yards down the hallway in the cafeteria.

 

Gavin, for his part, had hardly noticed the blue-haired girl come toward them, as he himself was much too focused on the commotion he observed coming from the cafeteria, and as such, as Mira came up to talk to Leo, he had moved on ahead into the cafeteria just as he heard that oh-so-wonderful voice yell out. "May I have your attention for a short while, please? And Heinrich, Beaumont, I swear if you two brawled here I'll personally find a way to make you two a cannon fodder. But anyway, on to the important stuff.

 

The Boss, I mean Adelheid, you may all notice that she's not here right now. But yeah, she, along with Feng and probably some other pilots left earlier for you who haven't noticed yet, due to a sudden order from the Shells. And as expected, she appointed Gavin as the man in charge here. Also, I am still expecting those monthly expense report from those of you that are responsible in cataloging that, so if I'm not receiving those this evening, I'll also make sure the monthly supply will arrive late, and thus, you all will eat progressively worse food from what you eat now. One more thing. I haven't received any training reports as of late from any of you. I'm also expecting those to be either placed on my desk or sent to me this evening.

 

And that's all for now. I expect you all to finish what's served in your plates now, or else..."

 

Gavin laughed. "Well, I guess she did my job for me, for once... In typical Aeollia fashion, anyway." Deciding that he need not intervene, Gavin made his way to the buffet line and grabbed lunch. Unlike a good portion of the people in the cafeteria, Gavin didn't mind the food at all, having had to suffer through much worse cooking on one of his previous assignment. It was no gourmet meal of course, but definitely something he could manage. As he took his tray back toward a cluster of tables, he found a few of his subordinates in some sort of huddle. He put his food down for the moment and quietly stuck his head in so that no one but those across from him in the circle would notice his entry, winking at anyone who did see him in order to prevent them from acknowledging his presence.

 

"So guys, what's the super secret huddle for?!" Gavin spoke loudly and enthusiastically, hopefully making anyone who was unaware of him jump.

 

Leo, for his part, had calmed down (though his face was still a bit rosy) and gotten his own tray of food (which he wasn't very satisfied with, but ate greedily nonetheless having worked up an appetite from the morning's training). He stood awkwardly outside the group, not really knowing if he should stick his own head in or just watch the spectacle unfold.


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#52
Asriel Dreemurr

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Lieutenant Beaumont and Heinreich were just about to come to blows, when the mess was promptly interrupted first by Aeolia's arrival on the scene and her threat to treat them as cannon fodder, and then by the arrival of Gavin a few moments afterwards.  The two wound up glaring at each other and going their separate ways with a few muttered threats that neither was likely to follow through with.  Soon enough though, Heinreich found himself being dragged off by Melissa, who was actually quite strong now that he thought of it, along with his brother.  In fact, before he realized it the lot of them were pulled up in a huddle and his brother's sweetheart was putting together a plan for them to head to the village down the mountain from them.
 
"I'll go with Johan," was her first suggestion, to which the young man tried to respond before she went on, "Maybe Mira can go with Heinreich?"  Neither of the twins had much objection there, in fact Heinreich shot the girl a wink in the huddle, but Johan was still trying to get something out.  Every time he was about to speak though, he was getting cut off.  Still embarrassed from his earlier failings, and now nervous at the prospect of spending what could well be the entire day with Melissa, he wasn't quite managing the nerve he needed to cut in.  A quick glance to his brother told him he wouldn't be getting any help, but it did manage to galvanize him a bit.

 

"Not to put a damper on this idea," Johan began, turning to look towards the woman he was smitten with, "but are we sure it's a good one?  I mean we'd have to leave the base, and it's likely we'd be recognized.  I mean it's not-"

 

"So guys, what's the super-secret huddle for?!"  Gavin was about half a second from getting socked in the face by a startled pilot, but thankfully Johan managed to realize who it was before doing something he'd regret.  Honestly, the Lieutenant Commander was lucky he'd come up directly in reach of that twin rather than Heinreich who might well have punched him anyways.  Actually, by the look in his eyes there's really no "might" about it.

 

"Well, Vizekommondant," began a now freshly recovered Johan.  Really, the sudden intrusion had done him a little good.  "Melissa was just suggesting that we head down into town for some real food, and I'm not sure how good of an idea it is.  I mean, we won't exactly pass for locals."

 

"Johan, you think too much."  A smiling Heinreich was met with a glare from his brother, before a certain new pilot was noticed.  "Probie!  Don't just stand there, get over here."



#53
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Melissa

 

Melissa groaned, feeling rejected.  She grabbed Johan's hand and looked into his face, as she put on her biggest, best puppy face that she could muster.  "But Johaaaaan," she moaned, trying to convince him to tag along.  It was risky, but there was fun in it!  Nothing like getting your adrenaline pumping while spending time with your best friend.  Their relationship was now open, known to most of TRAP, but Melissa was proud of it.  It was easier to be herself, which made her stronger mentally and emotionally.  Turning her head back to Heinreich, she nodded towards his twin as if to plea for his help.  Suddenly, the group was open to one other as Leo became a subject matter.  This made the group one man stronger, and would now provide a partner for Johnathan on his mission for the sweetest of chocolates.  Melissa got a bit more excited, letting go of Johan's hand in favor of motioning Leo towards the huddle.  

 

And before he could get away, Melissa put Gavin into a headlock and pulled him into the huddle as well.  "Since you really wanna know," she said tightly hugging Gavin.  She gasped, forgetting how strong she was and let Gavin go for fear of choking him.  Melissa wasn't muscle bound, mind you, but she could give almost anyone in TRAP HQ a run for their money.  "Er, hehe," she dusted off Gavin's shoulders apologetically.  "Ehem.  Since you really wanna know, we're planning to go into town and get some real food," Melissa said as her excitement returned.  "There's no telling what we could find!"  

 

Takeo

 

The waters were welcoming.  He could feel the sea-salt in the air.  "Status update," Takeo chimed.  Zalwara peered over the command center.  "Nearing the midway point of the Atlantic, Admiral."  Takeo nodded.  "Current speed is 60 kilometers per hour."  

 

"Keep it steady," Takeo replied immediately.  The speed was graceful, but satisfying.  "I'm going to step away for lunch," Takeo said stepping back from the center of the main deck.  "I leave things in your hands, Vice Admiral."

 

"Understood," Zalwara said, saluting the Admiral as he took his leave.  In truth, the last thing on Takeo's mind was lunch.

 

Turning the corner to his private quarters, Takeo opened the port in his room.  The ocean's waves below were so . . . distant.  He couldn't enjoy them as he wished.  Yet, he felt a sense of calm as he watched the bottomless prison below him sail by.  Un-wavered by his own emotions, and not drawn to his own search for 'destiny'.  It was it's own living, breathing organism that never changed.  And yet, unchanging, it was the most influential and powerful organism.  This was why Takeo loved the ocean so much.  It was uncontrollable, unforgiving, and most importantly, bottomless.


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#54
Lunar Origins

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"An oversized child," she thought to herself, glaring at Aeolia over her sketchbook.

 

Although Savannah was four years her junior, she felt equally as brilliant as the brainchild of the AMS system, though she had next to nothing to prove for it.  In fact, Savannah's past was riddled with failures in stark contrast to Aeolia's, which was successful in all the right ways.  How Savannah got into this program, she often wondered, was a miracle, as bad luck seemed to follow her everywhere she went.  An unplanned pregnancy hindered her early college years, her husband cheated on her about a year ago, which was soon followed by the death of a Synchro Frame pilot by her hands.  She still had nightmares about that time in her life.

 

However, things have slowly improved since then.  Her husband begged for forgiveness; she obliged for the sake of her two children and pressed on, as he was a stay-at-home dad and the one they knew better.  She wasn't reprimanded for the failure of the support unit she had spearheaded; although the backlash at her was critical, ultimately it was blamed on the Frame itself and the pilot's lack of training. 

 

Still, her mind would never be at ease over that subject.  Even so, she pressed on, creating more designs to aid TRAP.  Even if Aeolia did steal credit for most of the work she and the rest of the team had finished without her help, Savannah couldn't help but feel grateful for her position when she saw the results pick up on the battlefield.

 

Aeolia finished her little speech, her grating voice finally dying down to leave the room open for chit-chat among the other pilots and researchers.  Savannah had often tried to make friends with some of the pilots, but most of them were just far too young and naive for her to actually make good conversation with.  There was another woman on the research team whom she enjoyed talking with, but that was the extent of her circle of friends among the otherwise close-knit TRAP team. 

 

Savannah's pencil broke as she was rounding out one of the final curves on her sketch and she slammed it on the table.  Her head dropped and she muttered a curse.  Feeling more defeated than angry, she gathered her things and began to leave, not paying attention to where she was walking.  She bumped into a younger boy, someone she had never seen on the team before, and comically fell down.  "Oh!  I'm sorry," she muttered, gathering up her sketchbook.  "My head was in the clouds, I wasn't looking where I was going and I can't for the life of me figure out why..."


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#55
Astolfo

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TRAP - Cafeteria

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Mira had let go of the newbie's arm and simply spectating when Melissa had suddenly came over, dragging the twins with her. When Mira saw that Melissa was considering pairing her up with the troublemaker of the twins, she got excited, because she knew her own wild tendencies could go hand in hand. When the twin winked at her, she winked back, grinning widely. At that very moment, the Lieutenant Commander decided to pop into the the little group, startling her. She wasn't looking forward to any punishments, considering the last one she had almost made her unable to walk for at least half a day.

 

When Heinreich motioned at Leo to come join in, she suddenly remembered about the kiddo - who had just gotten into a collision with some woman - and turned around to yank him into the mini-huddle, causing the tray he was holding to spill. As she turned around again, she noticed Johan and Mel being all romantic, and she just groaned slightly, although this was all in light humor.

 

"Just fūck already and get it over with!"

 

Smiling to let the two know she was just being silly like she usually was, she suddenly remembered that the Lieutenant Commander was right across from her, and with a little 'eep!', she closed her mouth, praying he wouldn't notice, against all odds. Trying to slide out of it, she dragged the newbie and Heinreich into a smaller mini-huddle as inconspicuously as she could. Luckily, at the moment she had said her rather bold joke, Mel had wrapped the senior man into a headlock, which she expected would've muffled the sound, meaning that Mel and Johan would've heard it, and - hopefully - the Lieutenant Commander wouldn't have. Perfect… Turning to Heinreich, she whispered intentionally loud enough so that Leo would hear, but no one outside their small three-person group would.

 

"Heiney, let's take this kiddo along with us. He needs his… initiation… don't you think?"

 

Winking at Heinreich, she sidled up to Leo again, pressing herself up against him rather closely, ignoring his flustered reactions. Seems like the training's going to be delayed a bit… but this is a good chance to have some fun!





Astolfo [CV: Ohkubo Rumi] - "BA-LLL-MUUU-NNN-GGG!"

#56
Asriel Dreemurr

Asriel Dreemurr

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"Just fūck already and get it over with!"  The words brought snickers to a few members of the group, Heinreich included, at the expense of Melissa and Johan.  Though...really it was mostly Johan that was embarrassed by it, and more than a little angry.  His face turned a nice bright shade of red, similar to a beet, and he wound up just opening and closing his mouth several times.  He couldn't think of an adequate response, and he didn't want to start screaming angrily in German at the group.  There'd been enough swearing that just about no one in the room could understand between his brother and the lieutenant.  Speaking of Heinreich, he was about to start trying to get his brother and Melissa to go off some place and take Mira's advice when he found himself pulled away yet again.  Really, being dragged along everywhere was starting to get annoying.  Well, at least Johan was given a chance to get thinking straight and actually talk sense.
 
"Yes, there's no way to know what we'll find in the village.  That's exactly the reason we shouldn't be heading down there.  Sure, it's unlikely that Terra Firma knows any of our faces but it's better not to risk it.  If we're going to go somewhere for real food, we should wait until we get some leave and go to Shell Asgard.  I could show you around, I mean Heinreich and I grew up there."  Thoughts of home brought a bit of a smile to his face, and a contented sigh.  In the mean time, his brother was dealing with something far more interesting.
 
"Heiney, let's take this kiddo along with us. He needs his… initiation… don't you think?"  Now that was something he could get behind, and given the look he saw on Mira's face...well it stood to reason she had something fun in mind.  He found himself looking back and forth between the two of them, some of the only present members of the team that were younger than him, and nodded his head.
 
"Jumpy, you're speakin' my language."  He chuckled to himself, and found his crimson gaze resting on Leo while a wide smile crossed his lips.  "Well, Probie?  Think you're ready for-"  He stopped talking as he noticed someone nearby, and snapped to get his brother's attention.  The two of them wound up looking over towards where a certain engineering tech had been trying to talk to Leo a moment ago, and the realization of who she was snapped into their minds at the same time.  The two of them rather quickly broke from their respective groups and embraced Savannah from either side.
 
"Doktor Schwinn!"  The two of them laughed aloud, wide smiles on their faces as they looked over the woman they'd known since early on in their training.  "We didn't know you were back yet!"  



#57
Maeriberii Haan

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"Just fūck already and get it over with!" Those words brought a small smile to Aeolia's face. As expected, the resulting reaction coming from everyone was quite amusing for her to see, especially Johan's reaction. Aeolia was more fond to Johan compared to his twin brother, mainly because of Heinrich being quite the annoying person to deal with at times, though she really did realize that she had no room to talk about it due to her being roughly similarly as annoying as him, but this hadn't stopped her from pointing it out at times.

 

But, the person she was more interested in seeing was her fellow scientist, Savannah, who was busy with her sketchbook up until her pencil broke. She tried to leave not long afterwards, but she then bumped accidentally with Leo, and the twins noticed her presence before embracing her. Savannah was one of her colleagues during the development of the Synchro Frames and some other things, and Aeolia knew she was one of the better scientist the SAF had access to, but she's not really good with words especially about explaining things, which often caused her problems during her carrier, and not to mention the unfortunate thing that happened with one of her most important invention. Despite of all that, once again she's still one of the best colleague Aeolia had worked with, and she quite appreciated her decision to join in with TRAP. Though, she also knew damn well too that Savannah didn't really appreciate her due to her probably taking too much credit during the development of the Synchro Frame, but it's not really something big enough to be concerned about for Aeolia.

 

Not really having anything left to do in the cafeteria after finishing her food and doing her announcement, Aeolia decided to leave the room, but not before she approached Savannah and whispered something in her ears.

 

"Hey, may I ask for your input on some designs? It's just some experimental things that the higher ups wanted, and some drafts for mass-produced versions of some of our Synchro Frame's tech. They're still unpolished and far from over, so yeah. Don't worry, I'll give you full credits this time. Thanks~"

 

After that, Aeolia bowed to Gavin before leaving the room towards her own quarters, thinking about getting some extra sleep on that peaceful day.


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#58
BANZAI!!!!

BANZAI!!!!

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"Well, Vizekommondant, Melissa was just suggesting that we head down into town for some re-"

 

Gavin was unable to hear the end of Johan's sentence as Melissa grabbed him and put him into a surprisingly strong choke hold. He could barely breathe for a solid few seconds before she let him go, apologetically dusting him off and giggling nervously. Gavin would have laughed as well if he wasn't trying to regain his breath, but he managed to recover enough composure to give Melissa a look that told her he wasn't angry.

 

"Ehem.  Since you really wanna know, we're planning to go into town and get some real food. There's no telling what we could find!"

 

Gavin raised an eyebrow incredulously. He could more or less plainly see this hair-brained scheme for what it was. One the other hand though, this was an opportunity to raise the team's spirits, which was something that the unit would definitely benefit from. Though it had been almost a month since Lauren Vega went missing in action, the affects of her absence were still felt quite strongly around the base. Morale was still low, and the lack of action recently had made a lot of the personnel restless and easily provoked (Heinrich's confrontation with Beaumont being only the most recent incident). At the very least this was a good opportunity for his pilots to unwind, even if it had quickly and blatantly become a ploy by Melissa to take Johan out somewhere slightly more romantic than the TRAP base, as Mira, who was more or less oblivious to the other end of the huddle, not-so-subtly alluded to. 

 

"Just fūck already and get it over with!"

 

Gavin, having regained his breath, laughed this time. Melissa and Johan were cute together, if nothing else, though Johan could really use a little help when it came to being charming and/or romantic. Still, Gavin couldn't help but feel just the slightest pang of jealousy. After all, surely this would have been a wonderful opportunity for he and Adelheid to unwind (together even, he hoped), but at the moment she was hundreds of miles away on Shell Shangri-la with Feng, Atelier, and Akira. The orders hasn't been handed down to him yet, but there was a pretty good chance that the three pilots that she had taken with her (in addition to Sam, who had been ordered to HQ on Shangri-la a few days prior to Lauren's disappearance) would be transferred out of TRAP in order to more directly reinforce the front lines.

 

This sort of thing had happened to TRAP before (Mira and Feng had previously both been transferred into the unit as other pilots transferred out), though having their fighting force nearly cut in half like this didn't bode too well. At the very least, it took a load of the maintenance staff, who were constantly overworked trying to fabricate parts for the unique machines in the hanger.

 

---

 

Islands weren't supposed to move, were they? They certainly were never this flat and hard.

 

The seagull pondered this as it tried in vain to hunt for any edible morsels left behind on the Dark Tide's tarmac. Unfortunately, the deck of a warship was the last place anything remotely resembling food for a gull could be found. Still, necessity, and more immediately the rumbling in its stomach, dictated that it must continue its search until it could satisfy its hunger... even despite the fact that it could feel the eyes of another creature fixated on it.

 

"Why the hell do you insist on feeding the rats with wings, anyway?" Drayden Seidrich spoke to his wingman in an annoyed tone through chomps of a cigarette as he sat with his legs hanging off the end of the Dark Tide's massive number 3 flight deck, which by virtue of being on the bottom of the port side's stack of three, was a good deal closer to the ocean below than the bridge that towered over them some 70 or so meters upward. For her part, Drayden's wingman payed her grouchy commander little mind as she scattered bread crumbs in a small area, which the hungry gull quickly clued into and began gobbling up one by one. She spoke back to him as she watched, her own tone of voice reflecting a contented sort of disinterest in what Drayden had to say. Though Shark Squad worked efficiently on the battlefield, its members weren't particularly close and occasionally didn't get along, and that was especially so for Drayden and his new AMS-compatible partner. Drayden found her annoying, and her attitude had already begun to grate on him, though thankfully she hadn't done anything to set off his notoriously violent temper yet.  On her end, she didn't much like putting up with him, but did so because it was her job and kept her distance, which was probably for the best. For the moment though, she had decided to come out onto the flight deck to capitalize on the presence of a few birds and maybe have a legitimate conversation with her CO for once, and as such she was in a bit more of an amenable mood.

 

"Even seagulls are rare these days. Any wildlife needs all the help it can get, you know?. I'm just happy to oblige is all."

 

"Shouldn't you be more concerned with calibrating your Charcharias?"

 

"The techs are working on the frame's software right now. Even if I wanted to get to it I couldn't. Besides, you looked lonely all by yourself out here." There was a bit of playful sarcasm in her tone, and it was evident that she was trying to tease him. Drayden laughed a bit. Though he didn't really like her, the fact that she was at least making an effort to get along pleased him for the moment.

 

"Fair enough. Just don't get any crumbs on me alright?"

 

"Wouldn't dream of it." with that, she went back to her birds, though the two pilots did feel a bit more comfortable with eachother's presence after their short interaction. It was a start, at least.

 

---

 

"Probie!  Don't just stand there, get over here."

 

Leo looked up from the tray of food that was in his hands as one of the twins (he couldn't tell which one)  called over to him. Though he didn't really enjoy being in such close proximity to other people (Mira especially after a couple of minutes ago), Leo at least took comfort in the fact that he was being included in things, something that didn't happen as often back in High school on the Shells. As he took a cautious step forward though, he felt someone bump into him, knocking him off balance and almost making him lose hold of his food.  Though Leo missed the resulting pratfall, he managed to recover himself and turn around to see who had nearly knocked him over. It was a rather frazzled looking dark haired woman who was probably somewhere close to Lauren's age who was now busying herself picking up the scattered portions of her sketchbook. Despite having been present at the base for the better part of a month now, Leo had never seen her before.

 

"Oh!  I'm sorry, My head was in the clouds, I wasn't looking where I was going and I can't for the life of me figure out why..." Leo gave her a friendly (if a bit awkward) smile.

 

"Don't worry about it. are you alright?" Before he was able to hear this woman's response though, Leo heard an oh-so-familiar voice mention his name.

 

"Heiney, let's take this kiddo along with us. He needs his… initiation… don't you think?"

 

"God dammit."

 

Before he could respond to anything, Leo felt Mira grab him again and bring him into the group huddle as both twins broke off from their respective portions of the circle to hug the new woman, whom Leo now knew was call Dr. Schwinn. However that pertinent piece of information was quickly put out of his mind as Leo found himself in uncomfortably close proximity to Mira...again. His face, which had just now at last recovered from its rosiness, became bright red once more, and like last time Leo was at a loss for words, simply struggling futilely in Mira's embrace and occasionally whimpering. Having his personal space encroached upon so flagrantly was one thing, but the fact that he found Mira attractive made it all the more difficult for a teenage boy who until now had had minimal contact with the opposite sex, and after two separate incidents of this in such a short time it was pretty clear that it was something Leo was definitely not equipped to handle, though watching him struggle helplessly must surely have been entertaining to watch for anyone looking on.

 

Well, at the very least Gavin found it entertaining as he stood on the other end of the shifting mass of pilots and personnel. He watched and waited for the all to finish meandering (and for Aeollia to leave the cafeteria after attempting to discreetly talk to Savannah about something) before speaking again.

 

"Alright kids! Enough's enough. If you all want to go into town then you can come with me as long as we do it discreetly and we're in and out quick. Wouldn't want to get a mission call and not have our pilots here, right?" He spoke just loud enough for everyone assembled to hear him without arousing too much suspicion, though in all honesty anyone who heard him probably wouldn't have ratted them out anyway. "If you want in, meet me in the hotel upstairs in say.... half an hour, alright? If you're late we're leaving you behind."

 

With that, the Lieutenant Commander made his way out of the cafeteria to get ready and to make sure the coast was clear for him to take the squad out grocery shopping. After all, the last thing he wanted was to have Aeollia find out and reprimand them... or worse still: make them buy her food.

 

---

 

Roughly an hour later, the group arrived in the village that rested farther down the mountain's slope on a flat, plateau like section of the range where the bases of two peaks met. They had gotten out of the hotel without a hitch and made it to the grrage a few hundred meters away where SAF had stored a few jeeps and trucks for the personnel to use in case supply delays forced TRAP to gather provisions from the local towns. Taking one of the jeeps, the group had driven about a half an hour down the slope into town, and luckily for them the market was open and full of whatever that year's harvests had been able to grow. Though supplies were sometimes scarce, the people of the Alps did fairly well for themselves by virtue of minimal SAF ground presence in the region.

 

Having gone into town a few times before, Gavin knew the layout well. The roads of town were mostly unpaved and home to much more pedestrian traffic than automobile, with the main street being occupied by a farmer's bazaar at mid day to take advantage of anyone that may have been passing by.  Luckily for TRAP, this year had been particularly good to the locals, and as such there was a wide variety of fresh goods to be bought. A few blocks away, more modern storefronts could be found selling anything from bootlegged electronics from the Shells to toiletries and sweets, so long as one could afford to pay or trade.

 

Gavin stopped his jeep at an intersection to the main market road and turned around to those seated in the back seats.

 

"Alright guys, split up however you like,but make sure you keep in touch." He brandished a small walkie-talkie, of which there were several in the back seat. "Lets all meet back up here in, say, two hours, alright?"

 


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#59
Dad

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Melissa

 

Before Melissa had a chance to greet Schwinn, she was flush with red as Mira made an absurd remark.

 

"Just fūck already and get it over with!"

 

Melissa turned quickly to Mira, her eyes sharp like daggers, but she quickly preoccupied herself with Heinreich.  Just then, Johan suddenly pulled away as Doctor Schwinn stumbled into the Mess Hall.  She giggled to herself as Heinreich and Johan's faces lit up upon the Doctor's arrival.  Schwinn and Melissa were nearly the same age, but the Doctor's reputation was much more widely spread.  And in the middle of this fuss, Gavin finally decided to step in and help Melissa further her plans.  Though, judging by his booming 'speech' he was wanting to go into town for something other than food.  Melissa shrugged as she listened.

 

 

"Alright kids! Enough's enough. If you all want to go into town then you can come with me as long as we do it discreetly and we're in and out quick. Wouldn't want to get a mission call and not have our pilots here, right?" He spoke just loud enough for everyone assembled to hear him without arousing too much suspicion, though in all honesty anyone who heard him probably wouldn't have ratted them out anyway. "If you want in, meet me in the hotel upstairs in say.... half an hour, alright? If you're late we're leaving you behind."

 

It took them all roughly one hour to reach the village after departing from the mess hall.  As they reached the quiet village of Biagio, Gavin had the team to split into groups of their choosing.  Naturally, Melissa would snag Johan for herself, and hope that the two hour time limit they were given wouldn't go by too quickly.  Before he could refuse, Melissa grabbed Johan by the hand and began tugging him towards the inner circle where they could get lost in a large crowd together.  The civilians had gathered around the center of town for show, where a man wearing a Jetser's garb was telling a tall tale.  Children giggled as they watched the Jester bounce about, rolling and jumping from large pillars to barrels of hay as he told his story in vivid detail.  " . . .but naturally with every villain--every monster, there comes a hero.  This man's name, was Beowulf!" the Jester said as he made a prideful stance, sticking out his chest and placing a leg on a stone before him, in heroic fashion.  When Melissa was sure she and Johan had lost the rest of the team in the Biagio Circle, she slowed down, nearing the marketplace.  She could tell they were close by the smell of fresh fruit, meats, and herbs.  There were sweet shops, butchers, and fruit stalls everywhere, but Melissa was looking for something else.  Suddenly, a strong sense of starch hit Melissa in the nose, and her eyes grew wide.

 

Around the next corner, nearing the local rice farms, there was freshly cooked pasta being pressed and cut.  Melissa loved spaghetti, and this was the perfect place to get some great ingredients.  There were ripe tomatoes nearby, and garlic and basil would really liven up the flavors.  "Johan!" she said with a big smile.  "Let's do spaghetti.  Lots of it!  We can do meatballs too!  And some fresh bread!?"  The excitement in her voice was like a child's at Christmas.  Melissa had to catch herself from getting to worked up.  She took a deep breath, as she approached the workman who was cutting the pasta.  "Good evening," she said with a chipper voice.  The worksman looked up, a smile on his face.  "Good day, dear.  Would you like some pasta?"  He was a burly gentleman, with a scraggly beard and brown wool hat.  He wore suspenders over a cotton white shirt with heavy brown boots.  He first looked into Melissa's face, then noticed she was blind.

 

"Oh dear," he said softly.  Melissa frowned slightly, but didn't get upset with the worksman.  "I'm sorry dear, I didn't--"  "It's quite alright," she said keeping her mind on the meal.  "How do you sell your pasta?"  The worksman frowned, looking to the pasta, then back to Melissa.  "Er, by the bundle ma'am.  You can buy it raw and cook it yerself, or if you're not goin' far, the fresh boiled batch is best."  It would take some time to return to hq, so buying the pasta uncooked was the best way to go.  "I see," Melissa said assuredly.  "May I have two raw bundles, please?"  The worksman nodded, before catching himself and speaking up again.  "Er, yes ma'am, certainly."  He stepped away from his stall and went into a home behind him, emerging with two bundles of pasta.  Melissa handed the worksman his fee, and prepared to step away, when she noticed one bundle was noticeably lighter than the other.  "Have a good meal mis--"

 

"Just a second here," she said turning back to the worksman.  "In this second bundle . . some of the pasta is missing."

 

"Missing?  No, no dear.  It's all there.  Ya just can't see it."

 

Melissa stopped, sighing heavily.  She was insulted and embarrassed.

 

"Oh, er that's not quite what I meant," the worksman said nervously.

 

Melissa shrugged.  She had completely lost her enthusiasm, and suddenly felt under the weather.  "Don't. . uh-- mm, never mind.  Thanks," she said as she began to walk away.


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Gangsters.  Outlaws.


#60
Asriel Dreemurr

Asriel Dreemurr

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An hour and a half after the meeting in the mess hall, the twins found themselves crammed in the back of the jeep that they had taken down to the village, and finally being released from the confines of that terrible piece of machinery.  Heinreich was about to ask, for the fifth time, why they couldn't have just taken two of the vehicles when the vice commander spoke up.
 
"Alright guys, split up however you like,but make sure you keep in touch." He brandished a small walkie-talkie, of which there were several in the back seat. "Lets all meet back up here in, say, two hours, alright?"  Deciding just to go along with it, Heinreich snatched up a pair of the communicators and stuffed one into his brother's pocket just as Johan was dragged off by an enthusiastic Melissa to go and do whatever the girl had planned.  Chuckling to himself, the von Drackenmoore twin turned about and quickly found Mira and Leo as they had planned.

 

"Well, let's go figure out what we're gonna do for your 'initiation,' probie."  That was all the warning the two got before they were dragged of by the young man.  Clad in a set of civilian clothes that looked identical to his twin's, really the two had dressed identically in dark pants and light shirts, Heinreich pulled the two younger members of the team off behind him in search of something they could do or some place they could work out what to do to the newest pilot.  Instead of taking them towards the end of the market where foods and spices were being sold, and his brother was probably going to do something stupid, he instead led them off towards the end where the shops selling more material sorts of goods could be found.  Humming tunelessly as he looked about, Heinreich looked for any particular store front that looked more interesting than the others.

 

---

 

Across town, Johan had since been thoroughly removed from the rest of the group by the woman he tentatively referred to as his girlfriend.  Honestly he still got more than a little nervous around her, and after the events in the mess hall earlier that day he wasn't exactly feeling his best.  Still, being dragged off where he was surrounded by the sounds and smells of all sorts of food around him had a bit of a comforting effect.  None of it was what he was used to, but all the same he managed to get into a slightly better mood.  Food was one of the things that could best influence his mood.  Hearing Melissa's suggestion that they go about making spaghetti, he separated from her for a moment.  She'd gone off to purchase pasta, and so he ran off to get the ingredients necessary to make a sauce.  It took some asking around among the locals, and more talking than he was admittedly comfortable with, but he managed to get back to Melissa just as she was leaving the stall where she'd purchased the pasta.

 

"Hey Melissa!"  He cried out, carrying quite a few bags filled with everything they could need.  Herbs, tomatoes, garlic, and several spices that he didn't recognize along with a few loafs of freshly baked bread wrapped up in a bag that would keep them warm.  He did work quite fast after all.  "Think this is e-" he stopped as he noticed that her expression had fallen from the energetic smile she'd shown before.  "What happened?"  He didn't wait for her to answer as he made his way over to her and set those bags down on the ground.  Instead of letting himself think, and risk messing things up like he had before, he decided to do something.  Before the young woman could stop him, he'd wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a tight embrace.

 

---

 

Seated on a bench along the main road through the town of Biagio was a man that many called a living legend.  Though the time of his greatest fame had long since passed, Terra Firma had a younger face on their recruitment posters these days, there were still more on both sides of the conflict these days that knew his name.  Clad in his distinctive heavy black coat, and with a cup of tea from one of the local shops being periodically sipped in his right hand, the bald-headed form of Michael Wittman sat.  He and his team hadn't received any new orders from high command in quite a while yet, and so he'd given the lot of them unofficial leave.

 

Nothing much worth noting had happened for a few weeks in the sniper's life, and given the lack of orders coming he half-expected the next communication to be someone on the top brass telling him that he was being promoted out of a direct combat role.  It was something he both looked forward to and dreaded; because the promotion would both keep him safer and let him likely see his daughter grown into a young woman, and at the same time he could not picture doing anything more than leading men into battle.  He was about to sigh, only to see a young man being dragged off somewhere by a young man.  It was a sight that made him chuckle.

 

"Ah, young love."  His voice was smooth and deep, like a fine cup of coffee, and touched ever so slightly by an accent.  Years of working with people from other parts of the world had altered his mannerisms to the point that he really only sounded German when he was stressed, and he did a great deal to avoid being stressed.  On that note, he took another sip of his tea and turned his gaze to the sky above.  It truly was a fine day.






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