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Insatiable Curiosity (The Reboot)

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    "Likewise, sir," Leon replied, saluting his superior, before he settled himself into place, positioned to cover the Bridge in its entirety if it became necessary.

    The Utahraptor had actually been an NCO (a Master Sergeant, to be precise) with the League Marines prior to joining the Insatiable Curiosity, with a brief stint as a fairly successful bounty hunter in between. Being given a commission had been a surprise, but he had soon received all of the training needed.

    The special-forces invitation he'd turned down probably helped explain why Captain Canaan had decided to give him a commissioned rank.

    And possibly part of why he'd been given so much trust.

    Leon had indeed been nervous about teaching his CO at first, partially because he had only just received accreditation to teach swordplay a month prior to being asked (and Rick Canaan was his very first student on top of that).

    Yet it worked. Leon found that he enjoyed teaching the art of swordplay (though giving his superior officer orders still felt strange), and soon understood that he was giving Captain Canaan the very same thing he gave the crew.

    Someone to be their rock.

    "Sounds good, sir," he replied to the Captain's request, his crest feathers bobbing as he nodded. His practice blade and exercise clothes were still in his gym locker, so he wouldn't need to go to his quarters to retrieve it.

    "I'll be ready, sir," he confirmed.
    Arratra's Signature
    Fanfiction


    Deviantart


    Insatiable Curiosity

    Major Leon Stormstrider

    Varatyr Scorchtalon

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      Sabre-toothed dragokitty flicked one of her long, pointy, fluffy ears and nodded taking into account what was said. “People that live on that station should fight for it if they want to free themselves from under the crime syndicate. Such things when given are far less cherished... but they will need our help, and so they will not be the only force 'on the ground'.” She made slight gesture with her hand and the representation of the station before them “zoomed out”. Several places around the station's docking area started flashing yellow. As the names beside the blinking yellow arrowhead markers showed, those represented ships docked at the station.

      “As I mentioned earlier, several freighters worth of combatants will deliver boots on the ground. Mercenaries, good professionals with experience in such operations. They will spearhead the assault. Along with a few squads of locals formed from the people that proved most capable and driven, serving as the guides. I believe you will also have your troops on standby? If so, they can lend a hand... and some firepower. As for morally dubious actions, like shooting child soldiers... well.” Her expression darkened, her voice while still energetic and professional took some sad undertones.

      “Most would not do that, but there are some that do not care what combatants are thrown their way. They will remove them, all the same, if it means securing their freedom. People driven by their goals can be scarier then the 'villains', especially when they believe in some righteous cause. That's why we are debating starting a local war, are we not?” Her smile was crooked, fitting the self-deprecating tone of her last sentence.

      “People got quite desperate there, and some of them were not saints to begin with. Those with more developed moral compass will stay behind, securing sections that were liberated, helping other civilians not involved in the fighting and treating the injured. They will also help distribute vacuum rated 'NBC' soft-suits we have provided, amongst the population. It might help mitigate the damage if we do not manage to disable the fail-safes in time.” Odolana slowly returned to her, seemingly, cheery self as she continued to speak.

      “Your group presents our best chance to execute this more cleanly. Under your false personalities, exploiting the 'trust' that has developed between those bandits, you will be able to strike deeper than my infiltration teams probably could. It could give as a real chance to actually pull this off with relatively small casualty rate. I remain cautiously optimistic.” With another flick of her hand the representation of the station shifted slightly. Several internal locations were highlighted, and long arrows, symbolising troop movements, snaked throughout the image.

      “Our assault will focus on capturing and holding security stations, enviromental control nodes, and station's intranet nodes. We believe that in case of an attack, emergency bulkhead doors on the station will be used to slow down and contain the threat. If we can take those points fast enough we can gain control of, at least, a portion of those bulkheads and points of resistance. Using them to our advantage. If we fail, the fighting will be significantly prolonged. In that scenario, surgical fleet action will provide help to our grunts, clearing out bulkheads and pockets of resistance when required. Obviously our assault teams will be wearing, at minimum, combat ready vacc-suits for that eventuality. To make that an option however, station shields must be disabled. Either by sabotaging the field generators themselves, disrupting or taking over their control or depriving them of power. The last option would require a trek on the station exterior, to sever the power conduits feeding power from the solar panels to the station. Back up power on the station alone could not carry those shields for long.” The display showed some more arrowhead markers in space around the station. For a few seconds lines connected with the station, and points that were previously blocking the troop's advance were marked with red crossed out boxes.

      “I know, that non of it will be easy. Fights in such an environment always turn into a mess. So you must be ready to make heads or tails of that mess and adapt to the situation as you go. All our ground teams will. But this action needs to be taken, we need to at least try. That station is a powder keg. If we do not detonate it in a controlled manner, it would explode eventually and sooner rather then later. Claiming many more lives of the local populace.” She finished speaking and raised her ears, directing them at the group. Her hands formed a loose “pyramid” that connected with the tip of her snout, a sign she was now reflecting over everything that was said. Watching them intently with her fiery eyes. Waiting for their opinions.
      Terrapun's Signature
      "A smart machine will first consider which is more worth its while: to perform the given task or, instead, to figure some way out of it."
      Stanisław Lem "The Futurological Congress"

      "The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."
      xkcd

      Comment


        Victorious listened to the further explanation and watched the various displays along the ship.

        “I’d be lying if I said I liked the idea,” she said once Odolana had finished, “But you’re right; this situation is never going to get any less screwed up than it already is now. I’d rather not roll the dice at all, but if we absolutely need to, I guess the odds are stacked as much in our favour as they’ll ever be.”

        She hefted her weapon over her shoulder and looked over to Daryn.

        “So what do you say, Commander? Are we rolling these dice?”

        -

        ((Hey everyone, just a note that I’ve discussed it with Rick, and I’ll be taking on Sohdakin for a few posts, and then he’ll likely settle in to being a background NPC or something similar))


        Haheen listened carefully to Sohdakin’s explanations about the rail. He nodded appreciatively; if Sohdakin assured him it was safe, then that was good enough for him. After all, when he had been concerned about an ambush at Security, it had been Sohdakin he had called upon as backup.

        He trusted the dragon.

        “Right you are,” Haheen said, and he waved Yanktee and Kel inside, telling them “I’ll join you two in a moment.”

        Then, when he was alone on the platform, Haheen becomed Sohdakin close. The great dragon crouched himself down to lower his head to Haheen’s.

        “I’d rather not alert anyone to this, but I worry that releasing the captured supersoldiers might be on the agenda of this new threat,” whispered the rat, not wanting even Yanktee to overhear, “I need someone I trust stationed with them, and while I’d trust Griffin in a heartbeat, I’m not confident with his current condition. Could you set out and ensure they are still safely contained?”

        Sohdakin gave a single, confident nod.

        “Of course!” said the dragon, and in lieu of a salute, he clapped the rat on the shoulder. Despite his heavy armour and far superior size, the strength of the pat was calculated and friendly – exo-skeleton armour became like a second layer of scales once you’d spent enough time in it. Haheen gave the dragon a rare smile of gratitude, and then stepped inside the train. As the doors closed and the train sped away, Sohdakin turned and set off to the cells.
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        My Insatiable Curiosity RP character - Haheen Jaquoi

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          "Okay, gotcha! You're on the way!"

          It was Zeeke. He'd called Haheen again as soon as the rat had gotten on the bullet train.

          "You'll be here in three minutes. Which I think will be enough. Morry's armed himself and gotten himself into a closet. The drone I got watching our bad guy, is showing him going from one possible access point to the next. Morry's locked himself in there tight, though, so all our 'friend' is getting, is frustrated."

          There was a pause.

          "It looks like he's given up. He's looking around. Wait..."

          There was another pause.

          The bullet train continued to speed toward the destination Haheen had set for it. A full thirty seconds went by.

          "Damn!" Zeeke said, finally speaking again. "He's given up trying to get in. He's going for a WiFi node instead! If he gets into it, he might be able to route backwards through it back to Maintenance's computer system."

          There was another pause. Then, "Not if," Zeeke grunted, exasperation in his voice. "He's in. He's got a route wand out and is using it on the node. Morry! You've got to try to lock him out of your system!"

          Zeeke swore an oath. "You're thirty seconds out!" he reported to Haheen.

          Yanktee confirmed it. He nodded grimly at Haheen. He had his carbine slung, one hand up on one of the rails in the bullet train's ceiling, his other up and he consulting his wristwatch.

          "Morry can't hear me! He didn't bring an array with him when he locked himself in his closet!"

          Zeeke swore again! "He's routing around the lockout protocals! The systems in Maintenance are coming online again!" A briefer pause this time. "The doors to Maintenance are opening!"

          The bullet train's track's ribs flashed by, passing scintillating flashes of light in through the pod's windows. They began to slow. Yanktee took his carbine down, checked its arming status again. He nodded for Haheen to be ready. The pod pulled into the station, decelerated to a fast stop, fast enough to make Haheen and Yanktee lurch forward a little against their handholds. And then the pod's doors opened.

          When they did, both Yanktee and Haheen found themselves surprised to be greeting by a full squad. Sergeant Grimthin, the greyhound Haheen had met the day before up in the corridor where there had been a shootout, was at their head. There were eight men. They were all armed with carbines.

          Yanktee blinked at the dog. "How did you know to...?" he began.

          Grimthin forestalled him. He looked at Haheen and said, "We picked up on the chatter, Sir. I was in the area so I organized as many guards as I could, and here we are." Grimthin and his men, all looking grim, and all who gave Haheen and Yanktee nods, hefted their carbines, and almost as one, flicked off their safeties.

          "We're ready, Sir. What are your orders?"
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          A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

          SciFur Players: Alienbird, Arratra, Daryn, Rick Canaan and SliceofDog

          Comment


            As the meeting went on, Daryn’s gaze kept going back to Argril. He seemed to split his time between looking over those assembled and pawing at one of the maintenance lizards that occasionally popped out of a maintenance conduit. There was something to the behavior that Daryn had seen before. Something child-like, something... The penny dropped into Daryn’s skull, rolled around for several moments, then began self-propelling itself around, ricocheting off the inside of his noggin. The dog was playing, amusing himself while the adults in the room discussed things. Argril wasn’t a blank automaton as he had thought, he was simply a puppy. This changed how he was going to have to handle the situation. In a sense, it was good news. He would have to speak with Ventarus afterward and coordinate with him. For now, though, there was still much to sort out regarding the mission itself.

            He had clearly missed something due to the ballistic vectoring penny, so he had to replay the last few sentences back quickly to catch up. What was being described was about as messy of a situation as he could think of. Getting onto the station under a false-pretext was the easy part. Daryn would have to at least play the Shadow-Banker initially. There was no way that Sandar would not want to meet them right away. It was tempting to make a move right then and there, but that would risk Sandar’s safeguards going off. So the three of them would have to meet-and-greet with the despot.

            “There are so many things that need to go right for this to work, and I am certain that at least a few of them won’t. Our first priority is getting ourselves ensconced on the station. If we look and sound the part we’re trying to play, we might just be given the network access we need to use the station’s network. Or at the very least, guest access. I can do some subtle probing from there to find out what we’re up against as far as security.” he paused, looking over to everyone, “Once we’re settled, then we can start putting our plan into motion. I need a hardline access-point. If one of your people on the inside can provide that, it will make things much easier. The RI in my suit will help in infiltrating their systems and finding those safeguards. It might be possible to disable them, or if not, it’ll help us figure out where they are.” he nodded to Odolana on the screen on the wall.

            “Those shields will be the lynch-pin, and one way or the other we have to take them down.” he glanced over to Garran, “An EVA sabotage mission is definitely a possibility. I think though, that our best bet is to take control of the systems that operate them. I don’t think damaging the shields even so far out would be a good idea, given the level of crazy that has already followed us. We might end up there and need to defend the station against an attack, and that won’t work so well if we’ve disabled the shields ourselves.”

            He glanced around the room at everyone, noting Argril was looking into a mirror, fascinated by his reflection, his tail wagging. “Those will be our priorities. We determine what anti-revolution measures Sandar has and bypass or take control of them. Then we take control of the shields to give our troops an easier time. Everything else is likely going to move so quickly that a blow-by-blow plan won’t hold up.”

            He wasn't sure about any of this, of course. He was an IT person, not a covert operative, but he was the Curiosity's new XO. That was a position he was still trying to adjust to. He was having to think in ways he had never had to before. He'd just agreed they should assassinate the station's head, after all. That was a far cry from a few weeks ago, where his biggest worry was deciding on when the best time to deploy the new wireless nodes was. It was what it was, and though he felt unsure of himself, he kept the uncertainty off his face. Nobody was sure of what they were doing in this room, but he was the Commander. He had to be the one that at least 'seemed' to know what they were doing.

            He again looked around the room, “Thoughts? Questions?”

            Daryn's Signature



            “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob

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              Rick blinked at the image of Daryn he was watching up on the Bridge's main transparency. He was still watching the discussion that Daryn was in with Garran and Salvatore.

              "Damn," he said to himself, admiringly.

              It wasn't something he would have thought of on his own. Don't destroy the station's force field. Instead, take control of it.

              Rick found himself very pleased to have underestimated his falcon friend.

              And with that, he realized he may be underestimating a lot of the people under his command.

              Not without cause, however.

              When Rick had started hiring for the Insatiable Curiosity, he had planned to operate her only as a free trader. A powerful one, yes, but only as that - and not as a combat ship. Therefore, he had started from a list of friends and close acquaintances he'd made over the years, selecting them for that, and because they were experts, or at least well versed in their various fields. If any combat did arise, Rick had planned to rely only upon the Insatiable Curiosity's overwhelming power to handle it, thinking that he would probably never need real combat-proficient spacers under his command.

              Recent events had proven how grave of a mistake that that may have been, though, and perhaps how shortsighted it was. Rick was beginning to learn, however, and indeed to understand, that despite the error of this way of thinking, he may have after all, some people under his command who were able to think quickly and effectively in the kind of situations they were finding themselves in.

              Take Daryn for instance. He was only an IT specialist. Truth be told, he was one of the best in his field, probably one of the absolute best. But he had been only that. He hadn't seen a day of combat in his life prior to the recent events in which the Insatiable Curiosity was now embroiled. Rick had begun to worry, greatly, over the past few weeks, that he was going to be forced to make all of the crucial decisions on his own. And realized as he was thinking it, how inadequate to that task he would be.

              Oh Rick had a head for military thinking, yes. He counted himself as a brilliant strategist. One of the League's Great Captains - a title bestowed upon but a very few in the annals of League Naval command. But he was one of the Great Captains because he knew how crucial it was to rely upon others for help with critical decision-making. The idea of making decisions all on one's own, dismissing the opinions and ideas of those below one, was a completely ludicrous one. Many a naval commander had found themselves blown into the stars for this folly, or if they were lucky, only having their commands yanked out from under them for it.

              Rick found himself sagging with relief against the handrail that overlooked the bridge's lower section, with Daryn's words. He looked up, his eyes fixing once again back up on the transparency - and upon Daryn, Garran and Salvatore thereupon.

              He did have good people under his command. Maybe they actually could make this work. And make it work well. With hopefully minimal loss of life, maybe they all emerging from this whole MIACH thing with whole skins, before it was all through.

              "You're one smart bird," he commented, and felt himself smile.

              Hope. It was such a precious thing. And Daryn, bless him, had just given Rick cause to start hoping again.

              Just then, Lyran piped up from below.

              "Sir," she said. "I've got a patch into what is going on with Petty Officer Conser and his pursuit."

              Rick took his eyes from the transparency and nodded down to the Ensign. Petty Officer Conser was Zeeke - the Felexian who was coordinating the pursuit of the other Felexian. The supersoldier Felexian.

              "Report," Rick called down to her.

              "Sir, Mister Conser has tracked the target to Maintenance Central. He is coordinating with Misters Jaquoi and Yanktee. They've just exited a bullet train near Maintenance and have been met by a squad. However, Mister Conser just reported that the target has managed to infiltrate Maintenance's lockdown systems. He's opened the doors to it and appears to be heading inside."

              Rick's hackles rose! He felt a ball of ice form in his stomach! If that creature got into Maintenance Central...

              "Patch me through to Mister Jaquoi!" he said. "Now! Ensign!"

              An instant later, Haheen Jaquoi's face came up on the main transparency.

              Rick was almost frantic. "Master at Arms!" he said urgently. "Get to Maintenance Central without delay! If that Felexian is able to patch into the main systems in Maintenance, he could kill everyone aboard this ship!"

              Rick was gripping the handrail so hard his knuckles would be seen as turning white, if not for his black fur.

              "Without delay!" he repeated. "He is to be stopped! At all costs! Do not let him gain control of those systems!"

              Rick then turned frantically to Stormstrider.

              "Mister Stormstrider!" he said. "Lockdown protocals. On the double! Isolate the Bridge immediately!"

              Rick had been afraid before, but this was real fear. If that Felexian got control of Maintenance's systems, he could conceivably open every airlock and vent the whole ship. Or if he wanted, divert the ship's fuel gasses into the ventilation system, suffocating everyone on board in minutes.

              "Mister Starkle!" he said, turning back around. "Full alert! Seal all ship's doors! Set condition Zulu throughout the ship! Alert level One!"

              "Aye, Sir!" Starkle replied at once, and set immediately to work. In the next second, alarms began blaring throughout the ship, red beacons coming on on every deck, filling every corridor with red warning lights.

              "Miss Lyran! Get Lieutenant Commander Hammond online! She's in Engineering! Tell her she is to do everything she can to divert control from Maintenance to Engineering! And if she can manage it, to shut down all power to that whole section of the ship!"
              Rick Canaan's Signature
              A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

              SciFur Players: Alienbird, Arratra, Daryn, Rick Canaan and SliceofDog

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                Leon listened to the reports in silence, giving an appreciative nod at Commander Skystrike's ingenuity.

                Ice filled his veins as they were informed of where the hostile Felixian was going. When ordered to seal the bridge, he didn't even pause to acknowledge; instead, he exploded into motion, ramming a fist down onto the emergency lockdown button.

                Immediately, the bridge doors slammed closed, before being further sealed off by the huge slabs of metal that were the blast doors, which slammed together with a clang.

                The other guards shifted nervously at that. They'd never seen this outside of drills before.

                Leon didn't blame them for their nerves; he'd never faced a situation like this before either. Even in the Marines, he'd been the one doing the boarding.

                "Bridge is sealed, Captain," Leon reported, "I'm isolating the life support for this area. I can't be sure they won't be able to bypass it, however," he added in warning, "I recommend having environment suits prepped."

                He paused for a moment.

                "Should I break open the emergency equipment lockers, sir?" he asked.
                Arratra's Signature
                Fanfiction


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                Insatiable Curiosity

                Major Leon Stormstrider

                Varatyr Scorchtalon

                Comment


                  The entire hangar filled with rotating red lights, bathing the great chamber in scintillating sweeps of bright crimson.

                  Sansiqual, standing outside the diner with Curio and Chuck, looked up, and then back into the chamber, dropships parked down both its sides in neat rows. More than anything else, his face set with annoyance.

                  'Now what?!' that expression said.

                  But then it turned to real alarm when the reason for the alert blared over the hangar's PA system.

                  "Burn it all!" he called, his face now set with something more akin to determination.

                  "You two!" he said down to the Fennec and squirrel. "Into the nearest dropship with you, and bring any personnel you can grab into it with you! And seal yourselves into it!"

                  With that, the big rhino took off running. He moved with a surprising turn of speed for someone so large, although a limp was evident in his stride. Chuck could see right away where he was headed, though. He was running for one the hangar's computer consoles.

                  As Curio and Chuck reached the nearest dropship, grabbing some half a dozen confused and alarmed workmen with them, Sansiqual reached the station.

                  Breaking the station's Emergency-Alert glass, he pulled its emergency lever. It was a big, red, T-shaped thing. Immediately, heavy blast doors began slamming closed inside all of the hangar's outer doors, great, heavy slams that went down the length of the chamber. Right after that, Sansiqual's voice came over the chamber's speakers, the big rhino having activated the emergency PA system.

                  "I don't care what you're doing. Stop, right now, and get inside the nearest dropship. I repeat! Get into a dropship. Seal it up and don't come out again until I tell you! I'll have the ears of any man I find outside one. Now move! Into dropships with the lot of ya!!"
                  *****




                  Rick looked grim.

                  "There may not be time," he told Stormstrider regretfully. "Besides, we're on our own air supply, it controlled from here. But you may pass the order to the rest of the ship."

                  Rick gestured his raptor Captain to the bridge's conference room. "There's a fully connected array in there."
                  *****




                  The small cat found a vent that exited out into the corridor in the station's back, opposite from where those people were approaching. A bison, a rat, a dog with a squad of eight - and they were probably there to try to stop him. They couldn't stop him, though. Mustn't. He must get that diagnostic turned off so he could get back into contact with his controller. His controller had been lost to him the moment that that other cat had told the fat one in this room to turn the diagnostic on.

                  He needed to get it turned off. And then, if he could, set it so that it couldn't be turned on again.

                  His controller had promised him rewards for success. Had told him if he was successful with this, he would be given a new directive, one with even greater rewards. He needed to get that diagnostic turned off!

                  A lot of what he'd been told to do before had been odd, but he'd done them. Kill those two people and leave footprints for others to find. Making the footprints had been odd, especially the one of that caribou - the hours he had spent observing her, the photos he had been forced to take of her feet before he had been able to get one with enough detail to be able to make a replica of one of them. But his controller had said it was important. Had transferred LUTC into his account with every success. The only thing he had done which made any real sense to him, was that night he had revived the dog. Argril had been happened upon by that Salvatore person and killed before he could respond. Reviving one of their own was necessary and made sense. But the rest? It was all stuff that made little sense to him.

                  But they didn't have to make sense. Didn't need to. They were orders, and orders were orders. His controller had the bigger picture, and failing to do what it wanted might disrupt bigger, grander schemes. He could only imagine the punishments for doing that; but he preferred not to think of it in terms of failure and punishment. He preferred to think of it all as success and reward. And if the controller succeeded in its plan that was too big for he, little Teboken to grasp, then the rewards would be grander even still. Possibly too grand for one such as he to imagine!

                  But first, he needed to get his controller back online.

                  He entered the Maintenance control nexus. It was a big chamber, computer consoles lining the fore wall in a great arc, lockers and other equipment along the aft wall. There was a door in the center of that wall, and one on either side of the chamber. The first order of business was to get the doors to the nexus closed. He didn't know how long it might take him to figure out how to bypass whatever lockouts fatso had put on his systems, so he'd need to make sure he remained undisturbed for at least a few minutes.

                  Just then, alarms started blaring in the chamber, they accompanied by sweeping red beacons coming on.

                  He cursed! Just what he needed! Pretty soon the whole ship would be descending on him - he fully aware that no doubt, the alarms were about him!

                  The alarms, though, had another effect.

                  Teboken sensed movement at the back of the room. One of the storage lockers was opening. Only a crack, but it had been enough to catch the small cat's attention. Teboken slowly took his laser wand out of his hip pack. Fatso was peeking out to see what all of the fuss was about, was he? Well, Teboken would have a surprise for him.

                  An ion bolt flashed out of the crack in the locker! Its thundercrack report was the only warning Teboken got. But he was fast. He leaped off of the console, the bolt missing him only by a whisker's width, its closeness making every hair on his body stand on end! From the floor, Teboken shot back. He didn't have a target, only the crack in the locker's door, but it was enough! He swept his laser up almost the whole length of the crack. A satisfying scream came from inside. Then, the fat tabby Maintenance supervisor pushed the locker's door the rest of the way open, but then toppled to the floor, a long black line up one of its arms and half its torso. Dead - his ion pistol clattering out of his hand and halfway across the floor.

                  Teboken smiled with grim satisfaction. The idiot thought he could get me, did he? Laughable. He was so fat he could barely move. How did he even hope to be fast enough to be able to catch Teboken, the Amazing Cunstin off guard? Ha!

                  But then Teboken froze. He had turned back to the consoles, prepared to leap back up onto them, to get back to work.

                  "Burn it all!" he cursed!

                  The tabby may have missed him, but he hadn't missed the consoles! Every cursed screen on the consoles were dark! Tendrils of blue smoke were rising from several of the consoles, themselves. He had missed super-fast Teboken, sure enough, - oh yeah. But no matter how inept he may have been otherwise, he had managed to fry the very systems Teboken needed to get his controller back online!

                  And then Teboken cursed again. Boots were running down the corridor outside, and they were getting close!

                  "Burn it all! Burn it all twice over and again! Blood and bloody ashes! Without his controller, what was he supposed to do next?! Well, first order of business was to get the hell out of here. He turned back toward the nexus' rear door, the one through which he'd come before all of this Light-cursed debacle, prepared to leap back through it to disappear again. Maybe there was another system that was connected enough he could patch into. He'd need to find it, and fast.

                  And that is precisely when the shadows of the guards coming for him, spread across the deck just outside one of the nexus' side doors, more shadows spreading outside the other doors, too.

                  He was caught!
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                  A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

                  SciFur Players: Alienbird, Arratra, Daryn, Rick Canaan and SliceofDog

                  Comment


                    “I understand, sir” Leon replied, his expression grim, yet determined.

                    Striding into the conference room the Captain indicated, Leon took a deep breath to steady himself, then opened the PA.

                    “Attention all hands, attention all hands,” he called, his voice resounding across the ship, “Emergency drill Foxtrot Romeo. All crew and passengers are to don environment suits. I say again; all crew and passengers are to don environment suits. Please remain suited until an all clear signal is given.”

                    “Emergency drill Foxtrot Romeo” was a bit of spacer slang/jargon referring to a “false drill”, a trick used to keep civilians calm, orderly, and most importantly safe in an emergency, by making them think they were just performing a routine bit of emergency readiness training.

                    Any spacers on board as passengers would understand what it meant, and wouldn't tell the other passengers.

                    Closing the line, Leon took a breath, before stepping back out onto the Bridge proper.

                    “The word is out, sir,” he stated, “I just hope the suits won't be needed.”
                    Arratra's Signature
                    Fanfiction


                    Deviantart


                    Insatiable Curiosity

                    Major Leon Stormstrider

                    Varatyr Scorchtalon

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                      "Ah, well, Xerians are all allergic to normal caffeine. It's not lethal bu..." Curio had started, still looking over the small model and how well it was fixed by Chuck when the lights all turned red. Automatically Curio reached down for his rebreather and then remembered he was not on his ship where the emergency mask was installed and this was not a breach alarm.

                      His big ears perked up high and listened to the PA and watched the entire hangar deck crew freeze on the spot and listen along with him. "Yes Sir." Curio answered to the Chief and started a calm jog to the nearest drop ship and attempting, despite his size, to get others to follow him. He had been in O² loss situations, breaches and at one point a (luckily prevented in time) reactor critical alert so he had gotten good at setting his fears and his objective mind apart and only listening to one of them. forwards to the bridge of the ship and parking his rear in the pilot's seat and starting a flight check of the ship, without turning it on, just in case they had to bail out from the IC.
                      "Chuck, make sure no stragglers are still outside and then strap yourself in since we might have to take off without warning..."

                      It was then that the blast doors in front of the dropship slid shut and Curio really hoped there was a way to open them if needed. He felt like he would hear that clang of metal on metal for a while still in his subconscious. If his bird had been ready he might have hopped in her but he had no idea how flight capable his falcon was. Another thing he missed was his personal firearm since he did have it checked in when he came aboard. It was nothing fancy but a way to protect himself just in case would be nice. Like himself and his ship it came from a more tactile part of the galaxy and probably was going to be replaced once he got his full kit of pilot gear.
                      Hopefully that'd still be a thing and this alert would soon end.
                      Miqu's Signature
                      Curio Valence Character Sheet

                      Curio Valance Backstory

                      Orbona, Doomed Orbital FAQ

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                        Rick gave his guard Captain a nod. One of approval. That had been good thinking on his part - not unduly alarming the passengers but ensuring that ship personnel would understand the urgency. The nod, therefore, spoke volumes. 'I made the right choice in promoting you' it said. And 'That was well handled'.

                        It was all Rick had time for at that moment, as he was trying to listen to a report from Starkle when Leon had come back onto the bridge.

                        "Sir," Starkle had been saying. "Everything in Maintenance Central just went dark. Environmental sensors picked up the signature of a blast from a 606, and then every system in Maintenance went down."

                        Rick frowned. He hoped it meant what he thought it meant, and thought that it was likely, but knew that there was no guarantee that it was the case. The Felexian could have just locked the systems out. The firing of an ion pistol may have just been a coincidence, not the systems, as Rick hoped, being knocked out by it.

                        "Miss Lyran," Rick called down, addressing his communications officer. "Any word from Jaquoi?"

                        "Negative, Sir," she said, turning her head and looking up. Her ears were partway flattened with worry, her face set with anxiety. "Not since he acknowledged your order, Sir. Should I try to reach him again?"

                        Rick's lips drew to a thin line, his own ears going partway back. "No," he said. It was everything he could to keep anxiety out of his own voice. "Jaquoi is a good officer. We'll just have to trust him to do his job. Interrupting him from doing it won't be helping any of us."

                        Lyran nodded uncertainly, and then started to turn back to her station, her tail betraying just how nervous she was.

                        She was scared. They all were.

                        "Miss Lyran," Rick said, calling her attention back up to him again.

                        She turned back around, looking back up again.

                        Rick gave her a grave nod.

                        "He is a good officer," he said.

                        She gave an uncertain nod at this - wanting to take heart at the reassurance, but unable to let it fully quell the fear, either.

                        "We are talking about a man," Rick said, holding Lyran's eyes. He flicked his gaze briefly over to Starkle, who was looking up too. Returning his gaze to Lyran, a steady gaze, he said, "who freed an entire slaver colony practically on his own."

                        Lyran's ears started to come up. She was clearly taking heart at the words. She gave her Captain a nod.

                        Rick nodded back, nodding down at Starkle, too.

                        "If anybody can get us out of this, it will be him." Then, he gave another nod, this one resolute. "Stations," he said, his voice firm. "If he needs us, he'll need us to be ready."

                        That received firm nods from both Lyran and Starkle, they then glancing once at each other and sharing firm nods, they both then turning resolutely back to their stations.

                        *****

                        If it was a weapon Curio wanted, Chuck would be able to show him where there was a pair readily available. There were two Dado 606 ion pistils stored in the cockpit's center console. It took a code to open, but Chuck would know it. They were there as part of an emergency kit - the kind of kit any pilot might need in the event of a crash landing. They, along with emergency rations, a first aid kit and a supply of water, would be found a pair of extra power packs for each weapon as well.
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                        A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

                        SciFur Players: Alienbird, Arratra, Daryn, Rick Canaan and SliceofDog

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                          Haheen's heart was beating faster than it had ever done before. He had just acknowledged Rick's message, and he had seen the pure fear in the Captain's eyes. And if Captain Canaan was afraid... Haheen shuddered to think what the true stakes of the situation were, and how close they may be to losing everything.

                          "We have to go now!" the rat told Yanktee, Kel and the squad of guards, "Weapons out!"

                          Then, after a brief hesitation, Haheen added an instruction he had spent his whole career trying to avoid. With the most begrudging of sincerity, he added, "Shoot to kill."

                          Leading the way, pistol in hand, Haheen half-jogged to Maintenance Central, his eyes scanning every doorway and every crevice on the way, trying to find where the cursed cat might be hiding. When they got close, they heard two shots in quick succession, the second followed by a scream. Haheen stopped where he was, holding up a hand to indicate for the team behind him to slow as well. He gestured for them to raise their weapons, and they moved the final few feet with steady preparedness. The cat was inside. And they were closing in on him like a noose.

                          Surrounding the doorway, Haheen waited until everyone was ready to unleash hell on the creature inside. Then, with another silent gesture, he gave the command. He spun around the corner, scanned for the first thing that moved, and unloaded his pistol in its direction.
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                          My Insatiable Curiosity RP character - Haheen Jaquoi

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                            Jesse was sitting at her console, having just finished the diagnostics routine on the Helix. All was well with the drive. It hummed along, reverberating through the ship like a constant presence. Here in Engineering though, it was more like the heartbeat of a huge, powerful beast. It was mostly resting now, but it could spring into action at a moment’s notice.

                            When she thought about her position, she wouldn’t have imagined herself, even a year ago in such a high-ranking and high-responsibility position. It still felt daunting to her. She was picking things up very quickly, and the documentation that she had access to was top-notch, but she was just waiting for something to happen that would be beyond her ability to handle. Something that hadn’t been planned for or written about. She shook her head, trying to clear it of the doubtful thoughts. There was very little she could do about a situation like that, except just doing her best. There was no sense in fretting about it, that would just lead to ulcers and stress headaches.

                            As she was about to get up to get a drink, a rather disturbed looking Lyran popped onto her station’s screen. Re-route control away from Maintenance and lock it down if she could? She nodded to Lyran, as confidently as she could manage. “On it.” she said simply and got to work.

                            There were two parts to this. The first was to connect to Maintenance. From Engineering this was easily done, as Maintenance was a sub-net of Engineering. Engineering could get access to Maintenance, but Maintenance could not get access to Engineering’s main systems. She could see the logic behind Daryn’s decision there. An Engineering Tech might need to temporarily lock down the maintenance systems to perform an operation, but the reverse wasn’t true. There was no reason any of the maintenance systems should have control over the Helix or Power Delivery, for instance. It meant that the first task would be relatively easy.

                            She connected to the Maintenance network and found that someone was poking around in there already. As she was about to issue the shutdown order, the intruder stopped trying to infiltrate the system. Then the main Maintenance computer went completely offline. “What in Epona’s Mane?” she cursed. That wasn’t normal. She’d have to send someone down there to find out what happened. For now though, not having the Maintenance computer operational meant that she could just route those systems to her console without delay or hassle.

                            She did just that, and then shut the rest of the maintenance network down, setting up a restart procedure keyed to her own access credentials. Now if someone wanted to start those systems back up, she would have to provide the unlock key. The disruption to the ship itself was minimal. The lights, ventilation, and air purification systems all went dead for ten seconds, then once her console re-established itself as the controller everything came back up.

                            She looked over to Lyran’s face, still on the corner of her screen and grinned, “Done. Maintenance systems are all running from here now and I’ve got a lock set up to restart them from over there. The little blackout was the systems switching over here.” she said to the still perturbed looking Lynx. “The main Maintenance computer went down. What’s going on out there?” she asked, remaining as calm as she could, but it was hard to, given the look of distress on the lynx’s face. Whatever was happening, was probably big.

                            Suddenly, she felt a lot better being in here with its meters thick walls and doors. Whatever was going on, would have trouble getting to her here.
                            Daryn's Signature



                            “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob

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                              Rick, along with his personal guard, finally made an appearance at the Maintenance Station. Ten minutes ago, he'd ordered the standing down of the alert.

                              "Report, Master at Arms," he said, coming to stand next to Haheen - who was standing in the Maintenance station, to one side of it, whilst Beauregard was making a sweep of what was left with two of his assistants.

                              All that had been left of the little Felexian, once all the smoke had cleared, was a single footpaw and part of a tool kit. The entire squad, along with Yanktee and Haheen, himself, had opened up on the small creature with weapons set at maximum. The bedlam from the shooting had been heard four decks up and under, and eight sections fore and eight sections aft. Captain Stormstrider had been forced to order people to make a hole more than once, to escort Captain Canaan back here.

                              It had sounded like God's own thunderstorm had opened up in here. After the alert had been cleared, hundreds of onlookers had come to see what had happened. Rick had finally been forced to tell his raptor Captain to give the order to clear the area.

                              Rick merely nodded when Haheen told him what he had ordered.

                              For a moment, his face was inscrutable, his attention all on what was going on in the chamber. Had Haheen done wrong? Did the Captain want a prisoner for interrogation? Had Haheen perhaps violated standing ship law by ordering what he had ordered? On most any city's police force, if he had done what he had here, he might be up on charges of use of excessive force. Possibly even murder. Definitely up on charges of violating the Kenston Act (Miranda Rights et al). The law, on almost every planet and ship in the League required a police force to permit any suspect chance for surrender, firing only in extremes of fear of one's own life, the life of an innocent, or of fellow officers. Haheen had fired peremptorily. Had ordered his men to fire peremptorily.

                              Rick finally looked down at him. Yanktee stood nearby. He looked sick. He was probably realizing the same things Haheen was.

                              Rick held Haheen's eyes for several seconds. His eyes were like polished marble, so direct so as to seem like they were thinking of nailing Haheen's hide against the nearest wall. Those eyes looked ready to drive the nails, themselves, they set in a face that looked like iron poured into a mold. The only movement, during those several seconds, was a slight lifting of a few strands of the Captain's mane in the room's air currents, and his nostrils slight flaring with his steady breathing.

                              Finally, though, Rick's expression softened slightly. The hard inscrutability became an expression of resignation, softening into one of understanding, even acceptance. 'You did what you thought was necessary' that expression said. 'It is all I can ask of anybody'.

                              Rick's eyes then flicked up to Yanktee. His expression had hardened again, but Rick gave the bison a nod. It was a dismissal. Yanktee gave a soft sigh, gave Haheen a glance, a regretful one, saluted his Captain, then turned and went back out into the corridor.

                              When Yanktee was gone, Rick reached up and pinched the bridge of his muzzle between thumb and forefinger, his eyes closing as he briefly massaged it. Taking the hand away, he looked down at Haheen again.

                              "You may have saved the ship," he told Haheen finally. "Under ordinary circumstances, I could never countenance what happened here."

                              He was holding Haheen's eyes again. Light blue sapphires, one moment sky blue, silver the next. Regret, relief, understanding and dichotomy showing in them by turns. Showing in them all at once - an inner warring of emotions that spoke volumes of the extraordinariness of the situation they had all been thrust into.

                              "You did what you thought you had to," he said, finally speaking again.

                              Rick's expression changed again. He held Haheen's eyes with it again. Determination, his lips a thin line, his face iron for that moment again.

                              "What you knew you had to."

                              That was followed by another nod, the Captain now looking inward. He had started them all on this road, and now, come what may, he had to see them all through. This had been an insane situation. It wasn't the first, though, and undoubtedly wouldn't be the last.

                              Finally, his nostrils flaring, he evidently coming to a decision, he gave Haheen a firm nod.

                              "You did well, Mister Jaquoi. I expect a full report by tomorrow morning."

                              Just then, Beauregard cleared his throat. He had come over, but had stopped a polite distance away. With Rick's final words, though, he had taken a step closer.

                              "Pardon, Sirs," he said, addressing both Rick and Haheen. "I think you may want to see this."

                              Rick's brows rose and he glanced down at Haheen.

                              "Report, Lieutenant," he said, addressing the bloodhound, and giving him permission to approach with a nod.

                              Beauregard, dressed in a white suit, complete with white, over-the-shoe slippers and face mask, the latter pulled down to his chest, stepped forward and held up a clear, plastic bag. In it was what appeared to be a pin-light.

                              "I believe this was his weapon, Sirs," he said to both the Captain and the Master at Arms.

                              "I did a preliminary analysis of it - I'll be able to get a more detailed analysis of it later - but I think this is the same weapon that was used to cut that other supersoldier free."

                              Rick looked down at Haheen again. His brow rose. He looked back up at Beauregard.

                              "The doberman?" he asked.

                              Beauregard nodded.

                              "I did a scan of its focus aperture. It shows as the same frequency that may have cut that carbon-tube enclosure that that..." He cleared his throat. "That Mister Salvatore said he used to bundle the creature in."

                              He had been about to say 'That fox', but had evidently thought better of it, given the mood he was observing in his two bosses.

                              "And?" Rick prodded.

                              "Well, Sir," Beauregard said. He paused to clear his throat again, then hastily went on.

                              "Given everything else we've found, I'm starting to think that our little, deceased friend here, may have been behind a lot of what has been going on lately."

                              Rick's brows rose again, and he looked down at Haheen again.

                              "Zeeke was the one who put me onto the possibility."

                              As if his name had been a summons, the little cat appeared out in the corridor. He leaped then up into Yanktee's big hands, the bison murmuring something to him, then leaped up on Yanktee's shoulder. He then turned to stare at Rick, Haheen and Beauregard.

                              "I see," Rick said, turning back to Beauregard again.

                              "Well, he forwarded the idea of rocket propellant exhaust as a lead. I thought it might be a long shot, maybe even a waste of time, but by then, I had all but run out of leads." He shrugged. "We all had. But..." Another shrug, this one accompanied by a glance at Zeeke up on Yanktee's shoulder. "It turned out he was right. Just now, I received a call from one of my men. They had been instructed to scan for the exhaust signature. They found a nook back in one of the hangar bays, the one we sometimes use for cargo overruns. In it..."

                              The dog's naturally lugubrious face lifted in what could only be called a triumphant smile.

                              "They found one of First Lieutenant Glory Victorious' feet."

                              Rick blinked.

                              "One of her feet?" he asked. His voice had bordered on the verge of incredulity.

                              "A replica of course," Beauregard put in hurriedly, chuckling slightly. "Made with epoxies. Damn near perfect, too. An imprint left with it wouldn't have stood up to micro examination of course, but it was damn close."

                              Beauregard regarded Haheen and Rick with smug satisfaction. "And I was informed just before coming over, that they found residue on the replica that matches what we found on the floor at the scene of the crewman's murder."

                              With this, Beauregard went as far as to hitch his thumbs in imaginary suspenders.

                              "And it turned out that Zeeke was right on all counts."

                              He glanced at Zeeke again, giving him a nod of comradely approval. Rick glanced at him, too.

                              "We found a rocket canister in the nook. The chemical residue left in it was a perfect match for the elements we detected in the exhaust gasses."

                              Rick, despite everything that had just happened, looked impressed.

                              He raised a finger and hooked it at Zeeke, summoning the cat over with what could only be characterized as a smug smirk.

                              Zeeke leaped down immediately and scampered over. Rick lowered his hands, cupping them, and Zeeke leaped readily up into them.

                              Rick raised him up to Haheen's eye level. Zeeke turned to regard Haheen with happy, smugness-filled little eyes.

                              "Master at Arms, I think you need a chief detective."

                              Zeeke blinked and looked around and up at Rick.

                              Rick smiled down at the small feline. His eyes flicked down at him with a pride and happiness he could barely contain.

                              "Mister Zeeke Conser," Rick then said, his voice taking on formality. "For service to this ship and its crew, I hereby promote you to the rank of Ensign, with all of the responsibilities and privileges thereto."

                              Zeeke looked shocked. But just as quickly recovering, he beamed up at his Captain!

                              "T-thank you, Sir!" he spluttered. "It's an hon--"

                              "No, Mister Conser," Rick said, interrupting. "The honor is mine. It is ours. You have shown great dedication to this ship, and to the well being of her crew."

                              Rick gave the feline a firm nod. "You may have just saved the ship. And that, while I am in command of this or in command of any vessel, will never go unanswered."

                              Rick raised his attention back to Haheen. "Master at Arms, I think you'll know what best uses our new detective can be put. I leave our new Ensign in your charge. Mister Conser, along with the new rank, you are hereby formally reassigned to Security. May you continue to serve our ship well."

                              Zeeke looked determined! He stood up in Rick's hands and saluted him. Turning in Rick's hands, he then saluted Haheen.

                              It was all a poignant counterpoint to the stress from which everyone had just emerged.

                              Rick then handed Zeeke to Haheen, or let the little feline leap back down to the floor, as Haheen and/or Zeeke wished, and turned to Beauregard.

                              "Continue your investigation," he told the bloodhound. He glanced then to Haheen, too. "I'll expect regular reports."

                              Zeeke's tail swished excitedly.

                              "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Chief Engineer I need to see to." That said, Rick gave everyone present a nod. "Carry on."

                              Turning, then, he called, "Mister Stormstrider. With me. We're heading to Engineering."
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                              A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

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                                Leon huffed as he slotted his Pad back into its holster, having used it as an impromptu megaphone.

                                He got that they were curious, but did they really have to let it get the better of their manners? With the captain of the vessel they were passengers aboard?

                                Shaking his head, he stepped over to join the rest of the Captain’s retinue, giving him a nod.

                                He watched as the Captain spoke to Haheen, remaining silent, but giving Rick an approving look when he reluctantly admitted that the Master at Arms had done the right thing.

                                And truthfully, the Felixian supersoldier had had a chance to surrender the moment he’d seen the drones.

                                Not that the AI controlling him would have allowed it.

                                He turned as Beauregard approached. When the investigator presented the weapon, Leon’s display feathers flared in surprise.

                                That was the smallest laser weapon he’d ever seen… though it didn’t look like it was large enough to contain both the laser generation medium and a D-sink or other power supply that could generate a beam intense enough to achieve lethal penetration.

                                Or for long enough to cut a carbon-tube enclosure, for that matter.

                                So it had probably been powered by the Supersoldier’s own D-sink… if they’d managed to fit one into someone that small.

                                Then came Beauregard’s statement that the supersoldier had had one of Victorious’ feet, and both Leon and the entire guard group did a double take.

                                Leon smiled slightly as Zeeke was subsequently promoted. The little feline had more than earned it.

                                “Aye, Captain,” he replied, stepping into position behind and slightly to the right of the stallion, following him as he headed for his destination.
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                                Fanfiction


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                                Insatiable Curiosity

                                Major Leon Stormstrider

                                Varatyr Scorchtalon

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