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Into Darkness (Firemane)

Tegaea Alcori

Firemane Industries CEO
Character
[member="Laira Darkhold"] [member="Ari Vox"] [member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"]

The Scarlet Destiny sat in space, tethered to the Arx Aeternae. In itself the ship was large and powerful, but beside the massive station it seemed a pigmy.

On board the Arx a grand ceremony was underway. Ranks of soldiers and other crew were formed up, marching on board to take up their posts. Thousands of soldiers, dozens of ships, all bent upon a single goal; discovery.

Unlike certain other realities, Firemane had no peaceful mandate. They would act as necessary to protect themselves, to extend their reach and above all their markets. Primitive civilisations they encountered would be observed, and potentially be given a chance to join the galaxy.

On a platform overlooking everything stood Tegaea Alcori, the leader of this mission. Also present was a select crew of inner circle members who would be attending. Among them was her daughter Elpsis, the (secret) Princess of Alderaan Laira, the Mandalorian ally Ari Vox and Cather Force master Leonina Varkathras. There was also a Sith named Nyssa Vykaris and a purple Twi’lek named Jenulla Tavi, along with other miscellaneous inner circle people who would attend on them.

Also present of course was [member="Siobhan Kerrigan"] to see them off. The length of their journey was a three month shakedown, but if that went well it might well be a year or longer before she was back.

Looking around to Siobhan, Tegaea leaned over. “Sure we’ve got enough troops?” she asked playfully.
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
[member="Tegaea Alcori"]


The long-awaited day had arrived. The Scarlet Destiny would embark on her first shakedown cruise. To boldly go where no Firemane had gone before, discover and explore unknown worlds. The huge vessel was crammed full of soldiers, contractors, explorers, researchers, linguists, doctors and so on and so forth.


Lady Countess Siobhan Kerrigan, Executive CEO of Firemane Industries, would have preferred it if they'd delayed the cruise for another month or two or three. On the one hand she was pleased that her wife had found a new project she was passionate about. Indeed she herself had pushed Tegaea to become more active. Still, the thought of being separated from her wife did not sit well with her. However, she was here to see her off. Naturally dressed to the nines.


Tegaea's playful question made her frown. "I still think you should have taken a squadron of Cylix tanks," she remarked.

"You know those are prototypes still undergoing testing, Siobhan. Issues with the engines," Engine issues, Kaylah Danton, Firemane's Vice President, interjected. In contrast to Siobhan, she wore a conservative women's business rather than a regal dress.

"And Production has informed me that those issues should be resolved soon. We could have easily delayed a bit till then. Its Phrik armour can take a beating and then some. And have you seen the firepower these things have?" Siobhan declared airily.

"I have, though I'm quite certain the Gehenna will suffice for most combat situations. Reliable, rugged, easily available en masse, without costing a fortune." Clearly this kind of discussion occured a lot. "Safe travelling Tegaea. I'm sure the veritable army that has been loaded onto your ship will do its job well if called for."

"And if not, I'm just a few jumps away. I will come with a fleet if need be and immolate anyone who dares to lay a hand upon you," Siobhan declared. Dark Side wives were best, clearly.


xxx


By the time Elpsis made her way to the platform, this section of the Arx was abuzz with hectic activity. Thousands of soldiers and corporate employees were being deployed, equipment and vehicles were being loaded into the Scarlet Destiny. The logistics of the operation were mind-boggling and she was grateful that she did not have to figure them out.


She'd spied her two mothers plus Kaylah on the platform and headed over to them. She'd brought a friend with her. Elpsis had, after several lectures and general wearing own, been persuaded to don a Firemane uniform, though she'd kept it as utilitarian as possible. She would have preferred to wear spacer clothes or simple fatigues, but apparently that was not appropriate. The alternative had been robes and she hated robes!


Except on certain occasions with Tempest or [member="Laira Darkhold"]...but those robes were way more revealing than anything you'd wear in a Jedi Temple. Anyhow, she soon crossed the distance to the three ladied overlooking proceedings in the docking bay.


"Hiya. All ready for the big trip? You look great, Mum," she addressed Tegaea first. Being complimented on your looks by a blind girl was probably a little...odd, but hey it was the thought that counted, right? "Mother," her greeting to Siobhan was a good deal more formal. "Ms. Danton," she addressed Kaylah.


"This is [member="Ari Vox"], a real good friend of mine. We kicked arse on Ession," she stepped aside to make way for the Mandalorian warrior woman. "Ari, this is my mother, Tegaea Alcori, Firemane's VP Kaylah Danton and you already met Sio." Presumably they'd meet in that thread where Elpsis and Ari blew stuff up. Elpsis looked around, trying to sense where Laira was. Presumably the secret Princess was either on the spot or on her way.
 

Ari Vox

I thought this was America, huh?!
Character
[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"], [member="Tegaea Alcori"]

From the platform, the view was awe-inspiring; masses of well-co-ordinated troops and their transports all filed onto the ship with calm exactitude, feelings of general ambivalence forced into the backs of their minds as their duties solidified and orders passed through them. Ari watched with stoic professionalism, an army mobilizing was something that seemed to astound her every time, and yet she kept her face impassive and watched with an air of near boredom.

Nearby were the real stars of the show, the two women whom the Mandalorian had come to identify as Elpsis' mothers. One she had not yet been introduced, the other she had learned to be wary of, and when the introduction was made her, her face gave a subtle change to one of impressed servility, a look she had all but mastered.

Stepping forward the Mandalorian reached out with a curt hand and made to embrace [member=[/FONT]"Tegaea Alcori"]'s hand should she so choose.

"Pleasure to meet you ma'am. Quite an assembly you've made here," To the VP she nodded with an equal measure of courtesy, and finally her eyes fell upon [member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]. They'd met previously, no handshake was necessary. "And a pleasure to meet you as well Ms. Danton," Sio received a nod and a smile. "Of course it's always a pleasure to see you as well ma'am,"

With the pleasantries exchanged, Ari made to step back to where she had been. Compared to the others her attire seemed modest, utilitarian even. A white button-down fit her frame rather trim, and beneath it was a simple pair of brown slacks, bound at the ankles and followed by a pair of black tactical boots. Beneath it all was her hermetically sealed suit, it's collar tucked just beneath the collar of her button-down, and at her hip was the final piece; The T-visor seemed to glint, glow with life in the luminescence of the space.
 

Laira Darkhold

Well-Known Member
Writer
RESINT had dispatched orders and the team they had selected had arrived in short order, Laira had been told what all was expected of her. The redhead wasn't certain she would actually have to do the long list that Captain Ul had sent, hours of personal training, firearm maintenance, marksmenship exercises, and busy work while in transit almost everyday. Either the captain overseeing the RESINT group was out to try and prove something to the brass or she was crazy, maybe a little of both. A lot of times officers sent those kinds of dispatches solely to look like they were strict and demanding, pushing their team when in reality they allowed autonomy for their subordinates.

The others on the list seemed nice enough when Laira had met them, lots of defected Death Troopers made up the critical skills operators Captain Ul had brought along, though the occasional GAG officer or Republic Special Forces veteran. "You can go with Probabat Shun and greet the Firemane command team, the rest of us will load up the equipment and see what the quarters we've been assigned look like. Report at oh five hundred hours." The Captain's low purr of a voice caught Laira off guard, she hadn't expected someone with such a violent past to be a young woman with short cropped hair.

"You mean fifteen hundred?" Laira asked, raising an eyebrow. Certainly she didn't mean five in the morning, that was ludicrous considering they would just be in space with no crew responsibilities to the Scarlet Destiny.

"Officers meeting at Oh, Five, Hundred miss Darkhold. Don't be late." The Captain scowled at the redhead dressed in spacers trousers and button-down shirt with a few too many buttons unfastened, "And wear a uniform."

The Lieutenant in charge of the Critical Skills team patted Laira's shoulder kindly. He was a tall man in his late thirties with greying stubble on his face, "Don't worry about her too much. She'll just work us hard at first and then ease off. She wants us cut and then rested is all just in case anything happens."

"She's going to be upset when she realizes I don't have a uniform." Laira grinned, doing a little spin to show off her outfit to the older man so he could see it at every angle. "This is about as close as my wardrobe gets to 'military standard'. Thanks Tor, I guess I'll see you guys too early in the morning." With that, the jedi princess started making her way out of the cargo loading platform and towards the platform where all the Firemane girls had gathered to say their goodbyes and launch the vessel. A robed Givin was already waiting for her near the door, the exoskeleton around his three eyes closed tightly despite not being in vacuum.

"Probabat Shun, I'm just a little tardy. Shall we?"

The givin didn't say anything, simply turning to enter the room ahead of the Redhead and bow to the Lady Kerrigan and Alcori respectfully, but without bending too low. He was the silent type, used to staring out windows during long Hyperspace trips and preferring seclusion. Plus as a Givin he likely had a bit of a superiority complex. Maybe it was best he didn't speak much.

"Hiya." Laira said cheerfully with a wave at all those arranged. "Its good to see you again Miss Kerrigan, Miss Alcori. Looking hot Elpsis, the uniform is doing it for me." It could use some tailoring to better show off curves and tighten up around the waist and chest, but it did give Elpsis a certain appearance Laira hadn't seen before, and she quickly decided it was flattering. She knew some of them, like Siobhan and Tegaea, they had met over dinner when Elpsis had brought Laira home for a weekend not long ago. Tegaea seemed to like her enough, even if Siobhan seemed to regard her disparagingly. It didn't bother Laira much, she was used to being looked down on by one noble or another for her antics and so one more didn't weigh on her conscious too much, especially not with Elpsis distracting her and keeping her quite content. The others she didn't know too well, a Pureblood Sith Elpsis had mentioned once or twice, the Firemane officer that was in charge of Elpsis much like how Captain Ul was in charge of her, and a Mandalorian woman she didn't recognize. She stuck out her hand to the woman, "I'm Laira Darkhold, a friend of Elpsis. I'll be joining in I guess and helping the RESINT folks chart some stuff. This behind me is Probabat Shun of the Body Astro Navigant." The Givin nodded once more and continued his strong silent demeanor.

[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]
[member="Tegaea Alcori"]
[member="Ari Vox"]
 

Tegaea Alcori

Firemane Industries CEO
Character
[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"] [member="Laira Darkhold"] [member="Ari Vox"]

Tegaea listened to the technical discussion between Kaylah and Siobhan. She did not intervene because the decision had already been made.
“I will keep in touch with the Enlightenment every day, the connection has been tested. With the fleet I have with me I should be able to hold off pretty much everything except a full Battlefleet.”

But then her daughter appeared. Shock horror, the girl was wearing a uniform! That made Tegaea smile a little wryly, knowing she couldn’t see her do that.
“Yes, all set, thank you, sweetie, you look very respectable today as well.”

She turned her attention next to Ari. A Mandalorian, but presumably not one which was part of the ‘genocidal ravager’ crowd or the ‘purge all Force users’. That put her in a minority.
Tegaea took the hand, shook with a firm grip. “A pleasure, Ms Vox. Elpsis has spoken highly of you, so I’m pleased you’re coming along with us.”

And then Laira. Not in uniform, but that did not bother Tegaea much right now. However, she would get someone to get the Princess a uniform so she had one.
“Ms Alcori, we are married, remember?” she said lightly. “And greetings to you Probabat Shun, your skills too will be very helpful.”
The Givin remained impassive, but did nod a fraction.

“Excellent, some last introductions. This is Nyssa Vykaris, a Sith but not part of any Sith Order, she’s a friend of Elpsis’. And finally this is Leonina Varkathras, she is heading the Order of Fire contingent on this expedition.”
The two nodded their heads.

“Excellent, well now we are all met, all introduced, I think it’s time to move aboard. Siobhan, I’ll be in touch every day. It’ll be fine, I promise,” she said, giving her wife a kiss before turning to go.
 
[member="Tegaea Alcori"], [member="Ari Vox"], [member="Laira Darkhold"]


Siobhan gave Ari a curt nod of acknowledgement. The Mandalorian seemed tough and sensible...and consistent. Unlike most Mandalorians. For a change, Elpsis was properly dressed. Next was Laira, whose attire was still too casual for Siobhan's tates. "Good to have you aboard, Ms. Vox," Siobhan remarked.


Meanwhile, Elpsis was more welcoming. Laira's comment about her choice in fashion made her smile. She wasn't keen on formal wear, but compliments were nice. "You like it?" she made a pose. "I may have a special one for...private times, if you're good. Ari and I met on a mission. Blew up Sith lackeys together. Ari, Laira's a Ranger from Alderaan and my girlfriend."


Well...Elpsis' relationship arrangements were more than a little unconventional due to her promiscuitry and penchant for sleeping around a lot, but it was the best term. Anyhow, she gave Laira a kiss and briefly wrapped her arm around the other redhead's waist. Nyssa just gave a curt nod.


"I'll see once the aboard the ship, Elpsis. There are some matters we will go over. Training for the acolytes and integration into the crew, for one," Leonina spoke up, interjecting into the conversation. Her tone was not unkind, just the no-nonsense sort you expected from officers.

"Yes, Mis...Colonel. I'll be there," Elpsis responded.

"Military ranks, remember," Leonina added. She gave her bosses a respectful nod and turned away. The Order of Fire operated on the basis of a dual rank system. It made it easier to figure out where this or that Order member stood in the hierarchy, especially among regular soldiers. Being able to swing a lightsabre did not make you an instant commander.


"Colonel Varkathras is an experienced officer, Elpsis. I expect you to follow her instructions. Keep your mother safe," Siobhan interjected sharply. Her expression softened when she turned to Tegaea. "I will not let you go...without saying goodbye to you first," she insisted. Without waiting for a response, she simply followed her wife.
 

Ari Vox

I thought this was America, huh?!
Character
[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"] [member="Tegaea Alcori"] [member="Laira Darkhold"]

More faces appeared and voices spoke up, it all seemed to make the woman's head swim. She soaked in what she could, confident that with time those around her would become as familiar as Elpsis was- more perhaps given the time frame for the mission they were undertaking. Nodding to the various faces, Ari couldn't help but smirk at the mention of Elpsis' partner, cautious eyebrows raising every so slightly.

"A Ranger? I'm sure we'll get along well," She took the offered hand with a firm grip around the woman's forearm, a traditional manner in Mandalorian culture. She thought back to her own family, to the faces she had left behind and the faces that had disappeared from existence. Neither party were very dissimilar from the other, it all just boiled down to the memories she still held in the vaults of her mind.

Around them people were leaving, taking their cues from the two Matriarchs and heading off to their respective duties. For her part, the Mandalorian stood silent and waited for word from the one face she actually recognized, Elpsis.

Elsewhere Ari's droid companions were at work setting her accommodations and meeting with Firemane employees, or rather Rawlins was doing as much. The protocol droid knew little about what exactly he and his master were doing here, what the plans were for the future or what his place in anything was. For the moment he only concerned himself with preparing for his master's return, and then hopefully a short discussion about what exactly was going on.
 

Laira Darkhold

Well-Known Member
Writer
Greetings were being passed about, instructions to Elpsis very similar to her own from a Firemane officer. It seemed both the Fire-princess and the Alderaani Princess were going to be sent through the ringer in an attempt to force them to mature. Hopefully Laira was up for it, growing up she'd trained and done enough physical training to the point she had begun to enjoy it, so just maybe she could handle Captain Ul's heavy-handed schedule. It certainly didn't hurt Laira's ego or self-confidence to be introduced as Elpsis's girlfriend, despite their very different views on relationships.

Laira took hold of Ari's arm with a strong grip, mirroring the mandalorian woman's gesture fairly well, though admittedly she was a little rusty with her mandalorian culture and traditions. Two cultures was hard enough to keep track of, much less remembering when to allow them to slip through and when to maintain her spacer characteristics. "Vo urcir ner vod." The redhead said with a wide grin, dropping the Mandalorian language into the conversation. "Don't get too excited though, I don't know much Mando'a." Her father's language wasn't one she had spent a great deal of time mastering, though she could understand enough to be mildly conversational.

Turning from the Mandalorian, Laira continued smiling as the conversation went on. "When have I ever been good, Elpsis? Don't set such impossible standards for me, my CO will have enough of those I'm sure. Once the dust settles I'll introduce you both to Captain Kira Ul, my superior for this mission. She's nice," Laira paused for a moment, planning to correct the very generalized and incorrect statement with something that still served as a compliment. Despite Laira's rebelliousness, she could respect someone like Captain Ul. "Well, she's good at her job." The givin snorted behind her, as though stifling a laugh.

The matriarchs took their leave, as did most of the other stragglers and companions the command team had brought along. It seemed to be down to the three young women and the Givin Astronavigator who seemed to be statuesque behind the redheaded ranger. "So, what's next? I don't have to report in until morning, so I'm up for a drink and getting to know some new friends a little better."

[member="Ari Vox"]
[member="Tegaea Alcori"]
[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"]
 

Tegaea Alcori

Firemane Industries CEO
Character
[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"] [member="Laira Darkhold"] [member="Ari Vox"]

It seemed that Siobhan would be coming aboard to ‘say farewell’ to her wife. This was only fair, and Tegaea led her into a private suite. As befitted Tegaea’s standing and command of this mission, the suite included a meeting room, dining area, bathroom and attached to one of her bedrooms. That way, if meetings went long she would be able to sleep there rather than going back to her proper on board villa.

She took Siobhan’s hand when they were inside. “I’ll be alright, Sio, promise,” she said gently, then leaned forward to give her a kiss.

XXX

The Destiny had a lot of crew, and so therefore it had a lot of places to relax. One of these was the ‘24/7’ on Deck 24, Sector 7. It was an officers only bar, and this was its first day of operation. A pair of bartenders were waiting as the party entered.

“Welcome, ma’am, can I get you something?” one of them asked Elpsis, as she was the only one of the group in uniform.
 
[member="Tegaea Alcori"], [member="Laira Darkhold"], [member="Ari Vox"]


"You better be," Siobhan insisted, pulling Tegaea close. "You're my greatest love, my sun and stars." Even the Lady Kerrigan looked embarrassed after coming at her wife all lovey-dovey guns blazing. So she did the sensible thing and pulled her wife into a deep, passionate kiss. Clothes were soon removed.


xxx


Shortly before this day, Elpsis had been 'convinced' to finally accept a formal rank in Firemane's military hierarchy. Until then she'd managed to get by without one, but it seemed her days of freedom had come to an end. Oh, the horror. She was clearly being repressed.


As a result, her olive green military uniform sported the single gold star of a Second Lieutenant. This was the lowest commissioned officer rank. Essentially, someone with that rank was a training wheels officer who was expected to do as she was told and listen to the grizzled, more experienced NCOs who, unlike the greenhorn fresh out of the academy, actually knew what they were doing.


Anyhow, it allowed her to enter the 24/7 bar without name-dropping her parents. Some of the officers glanced at the newcomers, most just focused on whatever they were doing. The Sith in the group got a number of suspicious looks though. "Hiya. Drinks for my friends and me would be nice," Elpsis said sweetly, flushing slightly when the barkeep called her ma'am. "Corellian whiskey if you got it."


She turned towards her buddies. Presumably they'd make their own orders. "So...excited?"

"No," Nyssa opined. She had a rather deep voice.

Elpsis elbowed her slightly. "You're a big ball of sunshine."

"We will run into volatile xenos, you will do something idealistic and silly."
 

Ari Vox

I thought this was America, huh?!
Character
"Su'cuy vod," Ari mouthed, the words coming out with a modicum of enthusiasm as befitting of a typical greeting in her culture. It was short, sweet and to the point, a perfect summation of the one-time Alor's temperament. "You speak well in the tongue," She offered and released the Ranger's had shortly thereafter. Stepping back from the group she once more turned her eyes upon the sight of dwindling forces, their numbers winding down as troops got sorted and boarded the ship before them. Soon they too would be below deck, amid the hustle and bustle of the teeming vessel's compliment.

The matter of activities arose amongst the two other women, the prospect of drinks looming amongst the others. For a soldier of her calibre, one would sometimes be surprised to learn that Ari was, in fact, sober, the call of release found at the bottom of liquor bottles compelling but refused obstinately. They tended to make her already fragile psyche worse, the visions she often saw turned up to eleven and deeply concealed emotions would bubble to the surface.

Yet still the Mandalorian complied, relegating herself to tagging along with the others in order to strike up camaraderie with her contemporaries on the vessel. Once at the bar there was little she could do but place an order for a simple glass of water. The excuse of being on duty rose to the forefront of her mind, but she tucked it away with the raised eyebrow of the bartender, opting instead to lay the truth out there for the others.

"I don't drink," There was a shrug of her shoulders and a coy semblance of a smirk upon her features.

[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"] [member="Tegaea Alcori"] [member="Laira Darkhold"]
 

Laira Darkhold

Well-Known Member
Writer
Laira was a little bubbly at the bar, "Jawa juice for me, I've got an early morning." The bartender didn't take but a moment to return the very simple mild alcohol to the redhead, allowing the Jedi Princess to return to the conversation, noting Ari didn't plan on drinking. "That's alright honey, you don't have to drink to have a good time." She didn't plan on getting plastered, more concerned with just having enough to ease off any stress and get loose with her emotions and inhibitions. That kind of drunk was fun.

"Wow, Nyssa may have pegged you Elpsis." Laira said with a laugh, barely downing part of her drink without sputtering it everywhere. The two redheads did have a bit of idealism in their bones, something that time would replace with deep cynicism if they weren't careful. "But don't worry, I'll rescue you if you need it and it'll work out in the end." She smiled at the Sith Pureblood, grinning widely.

The Givin who had accompanied her had remained quiet and complacent until that moment. "Unlikely." Earning him a mild glare from the redhead. "Unlikely, in that you would be able to claim any responsibility for a rescue mission when you are not the Team Leader or the Mission Specialist. I'm sure you'd be a part of it, but I can't imagine any documentation supporting that you rescued anyone." His voice was cold and impassive, making the statement as a matter-of-fact not up to debate and without accusation or emotion in his inflection. "But I do concur with Miss Nyssa's theory. All psychological evidence supports it."

Another mild glare, but the Jedi Princess didn't let the Givin's negativity bleed into her conversation. "Very excited. Lots of alone time, lots of exploring, what's not to love?"

[member="Ari Vox"]
[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"]
[member="Tegaea Alcori"]
 

Tegaea Alcori

Firemane Industries CEO
Character
[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"] [member="Laira Darkhold"] [member="Ari Vox"]

The black curtain descended to protect the kiddies from seeing this touching moment however. Fear not though, genocide, wars and killings would soon arrive to provide good wholesome entertainment.

Meanwhile, the bartender swiftly produced drinks. She smiled at Ari. “Not just alcohol here, sweetie, try a Firemane Twist mocktail!”

She whipped up an interesting fruit concoction with red, orange and yellow swirled together.

Shortly though the time would come. A loud voice blared over the intercom.

“All crew to your stations. All visitors to depart and receive sign off. Main engines will begin cycling in T-minus 20….”

In her suite, Tegaea had managed to clean up and get dressed in a business suit. Her aides had suggested she wear an admiral’s uniform, but she had turned it down. She was not a solider, she was the person in charge, but she was not claiming she was a military genius. She’d wear her suit and that would be that.

She turned to Siobhan and gave her a final kiss.

“You’d better get going love unless you want to be stuck on here with me….”

Not that she’d mind that, but someone needed to run Firemane!
 
[member="Tegaea Alcori"], [member="Ari Vox"], [member="Laira Darkhold"]


And so the fade to black curtain was lifted. Siobhan was in a better mood now. She groaned when she heard the voice blare over the intercom. "I suppose I have to. Before Kaylah kills all my projects in the name of obsessive beancounting and streamlining." Siobhan had quite a few prestige projects.

  • Phrik battle tanks
  • Siege engines
  • Stygium cloaked warships with Isotope-5 generators, Baradium missiles and magnetic pulse launchers
  • High-tech plasma cannons
  • A Dyson Sphere
  • Vyper Jetbikes
  • Battle carrier
  • Space elevator

And so on and so forth. Perhaps a certain someone could sub a few of them. This one likes presents. Anyhow, Siobhan got up with evident reluctance. "Be safe, my love. Go boldly where no Firemane has gone before and find some cute alien babes to enjoy yourself with. I love you," she gave her wife a big hug, then turned and limped out of the door.


xxx


It seemed Ari was abstinent. "Oh," Elpsis said, feeling a little silly. "Well, I don't need booze to get you to lighten up and enjoy yourself," she said cheerfully. She glanced towards Ari. "Nyssa does enjoy dishing out a good pounding." Lame innuendo was obvious and lame.

"Exploring is the act of going to other worlds to encounter the same idiocy you already know from home. Any people you encounter will either be advanced enough that foreign contact has nothing to offer them or so primitive that they expect the star people to solve all their problems," Nyssa retorted.

"Come on, Red, where's your sense of adventure? Who knows what we'll run into. It may surprise you. You did volunteer for this mission, after all."

"Because it amused me and it would be a better use of my time than being cloistered in a garrison."

This could have gone on like this for a while, but sadly their stay at the cantina was interrupted by the aforementioned voice over the intercom. Elpsis sighed and finished her glass. "And on that note, duty calls. C'mon, to the bridge, girls. Gotta be professional and stuff," she said the last bit more to herself, straightening her uniform jacket. Their journey would take them to the huge exploration ship's command deck.
 

Ari Vox

I thought this was America, huh?!
Character
The drink was interesting, it appealed to Ari's cold and calculating eyes anyway. Swirling fruity colours made her think of deliciously foreign berries, the juices of exotic flora that she'd not experienced in many years of her hard, regimented lifestyle. Even when she'd taken her role as a Bounty Hunter, the woman was adamant that she not enjoy herself. Asceticism had become a chief tenet in her belief system without a real conscious effort, and as she lifted up the fruity concoction she wondered at that and more.

Why was she punishing herself so severely? Where in the grand scheme of the universe was her retribution? She thought of The Rebel Alliance, it's shining morality acting as a detergent for washing her ragged and filthy heart, thought of the satisfaction she'd felt on Ession standing shoulder to shoulder with Elpsis and other fighters as they repelled wave after wave of the nearly robotic Corporate bodies. It seemed the truth lay there, somewhere at the root of her being there had always been a fighter and while part of her had once been a wolf and other parts were in ways sheepish, she longed at her core to defend the later and battle the former.

She was a sheepdog through and through.

A burst over the intercom snapped Ari from her reverie. She'd been staring at the Firemane Twist Mocktail in her hand, beads of sweat running down the sides of the glass and across the bare skin of her fist. With a sudden flurry of movement, she made to chug the glass- second-guessed her abilities and slapped the glass back down onto the bartop with a look at the bartender.

A thumb over her shoulder and a chagrined look were all the Mandalorian offered, abandoning the half drank twist and tagging along behind her gaggle of female associates. Onwards they moved, to the bridge.

[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"] [member="Tegaea Alcori"] [member="Laira Darkhold"]
 

Laira Darkhold

Well-Known Member
Writer
"Oh she does now?" Laira asked with a wide grin, catching the innuendo as it was said. She wasn't quite as open as Elpsis, or at all really, but she could still laugh about good jokes around a few drinks with anyone. Laira was the personable sort that tried to get along with everyone she encountered on friendly terms, and a lot of her self-confidence came from the admiration or acceptance of others. "Well, I'll take your word for it, for now."

The voice over the intercomms cut the bonding time off a little, and Laira nodded. "Alright Probabat, I need to get you settled in and meet you guys up on the bridge I suppose." She was mostly musing to herself since the Givin was very much a brickwall to talk to, his culture praised mathematicians and his guild took it a step further and praised astronavigators specifically, considering more gifted individuals superior to others. In the Probabat's case, he was an expert at sensing, manipulating, and nullifying gravitic fields to the point he could likely crush a person into a small ball or yank a passing vessel out of hyperspace. For people like that, it was hard not to be arrogant and exude a sense of superiority. It was understandable, but that didn't make him any less annoying for it.

The redhead smiled and waved at the others before sauntering off with the givin in tow behind her. Laira had no intention of easing off her naturally flirty personality and walked through the corridors of the ship sliding her hips from side to side and offering most people she passed a warm and welcoming smile, sometimes a wave until she wove her way through the maze of passages to the small area that the Resistance had been afforded. It was small, with a barracks, common room, armory, simulator room, and whatever else the small group of twenty might need set up much like a Starfighter Squadron Pilot quarters. "Sorry we're late, I went and had a drink with a few friends and socialized a little." She said as she walked into the common room.

For the most part the Death Troopers were behaving themselves, cleaning weapons and checking gear meticulously apart from the trio of Galactic Alliance Guard deserters. Tor Stalgis was in charge of the Assault Team which had a lovely mix of deserters and criminals he vouched for, he himself was a Death Trooper once associated with a project he wouldn't talk about, but the surgical scars covering his back made it obvious it had something to do with physical enhancements. The tall muscular man turned to face her, fumbling with a shirt as he did, it was pretty clear he wasn't used to having women share barracks space with him. "No problem, we've just been settling in. Nothing to report yet."

"Kira in an office?" Laira asked nonchalantly giving the man a once over with her grey eyes, smiling as he quickly pulled the shirt on in response.

"Yeah, but she's already hit the sack. She wants to map the ship in the morning and identify escape corridors and all that stuff. Familiarize herself and all that."

"Isn't that a little paranoid?" The redhead's eyebrow arched upwards as she spoke, finding a locker to lean upon as she spoke with the Death Trooper.

"More than a little, but its kept her alive so she'll get no complaints from me." He tossed a black uniform at the Princess, "Here, you can wear that if you want. Its a one size fits all, but it matches ours. Space worth enough if you need it."

"Thanks but no thanks." The redhead rolled up one of her sleeves to the elbow, revealing a skin tight black suit underneath, "I wear a skinsuit underneath this, it can be pulled to be a sealed suit if I need it, plus I like the clothes I wear. I wouldn't have packed them if I wasn't going to wear them."

Stalgis laughed, but did accept the answer he was given and shrugged. He wasn't much to press the issue over something that didn't matter. The Resistance, for all its attempts to appear as legitimate as possible was little more than an insurgency not bound to military protocols or procedure. If the pretty redhead teen wanted to wear tight trousers and keep a couple buttons undone he wasn't about complain or force her to cover up, even if her presence made him a little uncomfortable. "Well, Cix is geared up to escort you to the bridge when you are ready. Shun is settling in and the Doctors Three have gotten comfortable in the lab Firemane was nice enough to give us. Just sit in on the meetings, you're supposed to handle all the go between with Firemane so Kira and I can handle the operational responsibilities."

"Not sure how they are gonna feel about me being followed around by a Death Trooper in full gear. I'm a big girl, I can handle my own walking around a ship."

"I'm sure you can, but I could also use him to relay any tactical information you might miss."

"You sure his helmet having recordings of me and all the Firemane hotties has nothing to do about it?" A sly grin crossed the princess's face, met by a stern glare from the older man. "Fine, fine. I'll take him with me." Stalgis snapped his fingers at a black armored man carrying a rifle, who fell in alongside Laira and two steps back from her as she made her way back through the maze of passages towards the Bridge of the ship. Cix was quiet, his distorted breathing a little disconcerting, but he seemed more robotic than anything else. Steady rhythmic breathing, even paced steps, and not a word, meanwhile the redhead more sauntered through the halls until she arrived.

[member="Ari Vox"]
[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"]
[member="Tegaea Alcori"]
 

Tegaea Alcori

Firemane Industries CEO
Character
[member="Laira Darkhold"] [member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"] [member="Ari Vox"]

The bridge of the Destiny was the size of a reasonable sized house. From the front viewing platform down rows of operators to the rear areas given over to huge banks of controllers, it was manned for well over a hundred individuals.

Waiting for them at the front bridge was Tegaea Alcori. She smiled as they appeared and gestured the group forward. Before them was the Arx, the arms of the massive station towering like cliffs above them. The largest mountain or terrestrial cliff could not match its sheet enormity.

“Ma’am, all crew accounted for, and all visitors departed,” Captain Vyron said, saluting.
“Excellent. Let’s get going then. Captain, do the honours.”
“On my mark…detach. Bring us to starboard five units and cycle engines to fifteen percent.”

The Destiny detached from the Arx and gracefully arched away, then forward. Soon they were leaving the massive station behind from the rear view.
“The fleet is formed up, ma’am,” Admiral Karden reported. On the scanners the smaller cruisers and escorts were falling into line whilst a Vindicta Destroyer settled in beside them.
“The Scarlet Destiny is ready to jump, ma’am.”
“To adventure, and destiny then,” Tegaea said. “Proceed to jump location one.”
Soon the ship and its attendants vanished into hyperspace.

XXX

At first they merely tested the ship out, going on small jumps into empty space, practiced manoeuvres and performed drills. These first days were full of excitement and action whilst serving to bond the crew and fleet together.

This time did serve a second purpose though, because it allowed thousands of probe droids to explore and scan nearby systems, expanding outwards in a semi-circular ripple. Anytime a probe found something interesting a small corvette would be sent to verify, and if it was marked as interesting then, that would become the location of the next journey.

The first two times they moved were interesting, though not world-shattering. The first was an icy world where vast reserves of fresh water could be obtained by drilling through the half-kilometre ice sheet to extract the water below. That would be useful, for water was always in short supply on desert worlds.
The second occurrence was a swampy planet where Neolithic creatures were emerging from the ooze. These slug like creatures seemed to be capable of intelligence, but would take several centuries yet to reach true sentience. Tegaea ordered that some samples be taken and the planet monitored.

And then there was planet AM38-1204-4. A probe droid had returned from a mission with startling news. Through a vast asteroid field surrounding the system the probe had found the 4th planet of the system was not only inhabited but settled by an advanced civilisation!

With this news, Tegaea ordered that this system be researched, and indeed reference was found in old Republic archives to the Sivas System, thought lost for centuries. The planet’s name? Tephrike.

Tegaea ordered the fleet to begin a cautious approach whilst they figured a way to traverse the asteroid field safely….
 
[member="Tegaea Alcori"], [member="Laira Darkhold"], [member="Ari Vox"]


Time flies, as they say. The first two planets they came across were...not that exciting. Sure, an icy planet with water in abundance was useful, but not fun. Elpsis got to accompany the expedition and freeze her butt off. She also got to teach tapas to some Order of Fire acolytes in the process. Leonina had volunteered her for that task. The swamp planet was slightly less anooying. Elpsis wrangled a slug.


Aside from these two trips, her time was spent aboard the Destiny. Adjusting to a more regimented, structured life did not come easily to Elpsis. She had obviously participated in Firemane operations before, but only on a comparatively short-term basis. Fortunately, she was a light sleeper, so at least getting up early was less of a problem for her. Much time was spent with drill and training. This was also something she was unused to, for she had never trained acolytes before.


Leonina pushed her hard, urging her to show resolution. She was not the students' best friend. Nor was she a knight. She was a mistress of the order and had to comport herself accordingly. Only then would she gain their respect and be able to endow them with the skills they needed to survive. That argument struck a chord with the empath, as much as she disliked bossing people around. Beyond that, Leonina gave her plenty of bruises during their sparring sessions. Other activities included regular exercise, weapons' training and maintenance. Many times Elpsis returned to her cabin bruised and exhausted, but she persevered. Even after Leonina stuck her in a ysalamiri field to make a point.


xxx


The cold void of space was lit up by viridian and scarlet beams as the Firemane fleet made its way through the dense asteroid field in the most practical way possible: By blasting rocks out of the way. Or simply blowing them up. Those that really needed blowing up at any rate. The vast asteroid field slowed down their approach, but fortunately no ship had been lost.

Suddenly..."Contact! Captain, the scanners have detected something!" one of the bridge officers reported. This one was new and a bit green.

"Ensign, this is the bridge of a Firemane vessel, not a bazaar. You will make your report in a calm, professional manner," Captain Vyron spoke crisply. She was an old school officer.

Suitably chastisted, the Ensign straightened. "Yes, ma'am. Sorry, ma'am."

"Now make your report," as she spoke these words the Captain walked over to the console.

"It appears to be a starship. A primitive fighter, perhaps."

"Lieutenant Traynor, hail them," the Captain ordered the Communications Officer. A message was sent out. However, the unknown starship was not very communicative. Perhaps it lacked the tech to respond to them. Indeed it turned tail and sped through the asteroid field. By modern standards, the fighter craft was appallingly slow.
 

Ari Vox

I thought this was America, huh?!
Character
[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"] [member="Tegaea Alcori"] [member="Laira Darkhold"]

The ship was positively buzzing, and Ari was taking her time with it. Essentially alone on the behemoth with the exception of her droids, the Mando spent most of her time either training or carousing. Generally, the latter arose when she meandered through the bustling hallways or tagged after the friendly face of Elpsis, sitting in on briefings and jumping aboard sorties. Two worlds they had passed by now, two worlds and a wealth of time in-between them.

In the privacy of her quarters- a shared, yet spacious affair -the Mandalorian trained at least three times a day. Whether it was combat drills in a small simulator that had been loaned out to her by request, endurance running in the adjacent gym, or just sparing with Rawlins, her RWW protocol droid, she seemed busy at all hours of the day.

Routine was in her blood and she ran through the daily motions- the grinds and tribulations -like some kind of hungry robotic contraption. Amongst her neighbours and fellow gym rats she seemed to find camaraderie, a feeling that was all at once foreign and yet incredibly familiar. Years spent in the throngs of fellow warriors, battling alongside them and raging like a torrent across the battlements of their foes.

But she kept distant from those near her, the weights of the past still heavy on her mind.
 

Laira Darkhold

Well-Known Member
Writer
Captain Ul was a hard working woman, and she worked the Resistance fighters equally hard. She had the Assault Teams, and Laira by association, running simulations and physical training heavily, along with weapon maintenance. Laira was forced to report for Physical Training every other morning at oh four hundred hours sharp where she was expected to maintain her physique. The redhead wasn't all that displeased about such a requirement, in all honesty she was going to work hard to keep her toned abdomen and the slight bulge of musculature on her arms and legs. It wasn't the activity, it was the time she was expected to preform them.

Nevertheless, the redheaded ranger reported, wearily and sometimes greatly bemoaning the Captain's diligence. She struck the heavy bag, did her cardio every morning, and then hit the weights alongside the team. Luckily, being one of few girls on the team, she never had to wait long before equipment was made available or for a spotter to come and stick nearby the sultry teenager. Then she was allowed breakfast and equipment checks, which thanks to Firemane wasn't awful, they supplied edible food and something she liked was always readily available to her.

Lunch and simulator practice took place every day, again something Laira was used to. Her father had spent her childhood putting her and her brother through their paces, and so the Princess wasn't exactly dainty when it came to sparring. She was rough and tough, didn't mind taking a hit only to dish it back to the man across the cage from her. Also, fortunately most of the Assault Team was made up of Death Troopers, Galactic Alliance Guards, and one or two Republican Guards, none of whom felt the need to hold back or let her win. They put her through her paces as best they could, but she wasn't a slouch in combat.

That fact helped her earn her place among the team, most of the guys having warmed up to her presence and gotten used to her not subtle at all flirtatious nature. Some of them still stammered and sweat when she put on the charm, but most of them waved her off or simply flirted back at the redhead. Lieutenant Stalgis seemed to take on a big brother role over the ranger, occasionally giving her an appreciative glance across the gravity chamber, but also casting dark glares at any of his men that were a little too crass in Laira's presence. Captain Ul however refused to warm up to anyone, treating everyone with a dark distant demeanor, demanding respect and spending as little time as possible around any of the group. When she did show up, her presence was disheartening, quelling any semblance of fun or merrymaking among the group immediately. Sometimes she sparred with Laira, if only so she could practice against someone with Force-Enhanced reflexes and speed, though even then she would only barely speak with the redhead.

Afternoons were either free time or pilot simulations, which were either spent trying to have fun with Elpsis when their schedules allowed for it or blasting fake TIE's out of fake space. Of the two she certainly had a favorite activity, especially when she wasn't exhausted from physical training she tried her best to find other ways to exhaust herself and Elpsis. Though she did feel sorry she didn't get to spend as much time with the blind witch as she had hoped, maybe it was good she wasn't able to be so clingy given the schedule forced upon her.

The first two planets had been field days for the Science Division. Probabat Shun hadn't much cared for them, but he'd documented their existence and studied the fluxes they caused in the gravitational field and the hyperroutes that he could trace around them. It was mostly the other three that had practically squealed with excitement when they had been found. Laira had been forced to spend a day on the ice planet with Doctor Vermal while he took geological surveys of the planet. The world with the slugs had rendered a different feeling, the Iyra Xenobiologist had taken one and dissected before discovering the slug creatures were slowly developing sentience. He had then insisted on taking additional specimen with him for study, which meant Laira had been forced to go into the ooze and find one with the Assault Team while the scientist gave orders. The redhead did get along with Doctor Geva, a falleen Xenoanthropologist who was a flirt, much like herself. And considering they both emitted pheromones the two quickly became fast friends.

~

Boots clicked against the deck as Laira tramped into the Captain's office. "Word is they've found something. Ships on the sensors I believe."

"Your first word to me should always be Captain, I shouldn't have to explain that to a grown woman every week." The young woman didn't look up from her data terminal, no doubt looking over whatever feeds she was getting from the Bridge. "Gear up and get in your X-Wing. Take Cix as your wingman, he's got the best simulation scores. If it comes to it you both can launch and support any Firemane Fighters."

"Captain, Cix doesn't have any real combat experience in a cockpit. Leo or Mac might be better for that." Laira said, clearly sacrastically emphasizing the rank she was forced to say. Leo was her favorite of the group, he'd taken to reciting poetry and bribing her with gifts in the hopes of earning her affections and he was always very chivalrous. His chances were minute, but his antics still made him her favorite of the bunch.

"Cix will never get combat experience in a cockpit if he doesn't get to go on easy ones. Take him, at least he won't be stupid and try to save you if you screw up." She waved the redhead off without a second thought, Laira's grey eyes rolling in their sockets as she turned to comply. The woman clearly had it out for her, never once listening to her advice, and almost every other sentence was something to remind Laira she wasn't welcome or liked.

[member="Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori"]
[member="Tegaea Alcori"]
[member="Ari Vox"]
 
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