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Insatiable Curiosity (The Reboot)

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    Leon didn’t give any signs that he’d made his realisation, not allowing his focus or readiness waver in the slightest.

    The tiger knocked away Leon’s hand, but he did so carelessly, not realising which style the deceptively simple counter came from.

    Leon flowed back into his stance as Oberton retreated. When the tiger came in with The Ram Batters Down the Gate, the raptor immediately countered with Whirlwind on Ice, whirling, one hand pushing Oberton's hand safely across his chest, the other arm whirling around at his temple.

    The move did have an additional effect, however; not only did Leon’s elbow slam into Oberton’s temple, but the raptor’s stiff, heavy tail slammed into the side of the tiger’s abdomen.

    As Oberton staggered, Leon, recognising his opportunity to end this, pressed in hard, hooking his leg around the tiger’s as he turned, pulling with his leg and pushing with his other hand.

    The tiger, already off-balance, wouldn’t be able to avoid toppling, and Leon capitalised, seizing him by the wrist and rolling him over to pull both hands behind his back. Leon’s knee pressed into the small of Oberton’s back as he shifted out of range of his toe claws.

    Leon pulled a length of cut-resistant cord from his belt pouch, and tied it tight around Oberton’s wrists, preventing him from being able to reach it with his claws.

    “I never did give you my name, did I?” Leon said after a moment, “Major Leon Stormstrider. I’m a Fourth-plate in Tinkeno.”

    Like other martial arts, clawfighting styles used coloured belts to denote levels of training. However, rather than using tabs on a black belt to denote levels of mastery, clawfighters used small plates of metal affixed to the outer surface of the belt.

    Traditionally, two plates were required before you were permitted to teach students.

    Leon was waiting until he earned his fifth before he actually started teaching classes (likely to the Curiosity’s Marines personnel), partly out of worry he wouldn’t be a good teacher; the Captain was an exception, since it was one-on-one instruction, and had been swordplay, not Tinkeno, though it had helped with Leon’s confidence in his competence at teaching.

    (OOC: I hope I didn't overstep here,)
    Arratra's Signature
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    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3129425/Arratra

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    Insatiable Curiosity

    Major Leon Stormstrider

    Varatyr Scorchtalon

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      Daryn was about to greet Victorious when everything seemed to just happen. One moment he was about to say "Hello." and the next he found himself staggering backwards, trying to catch the Caribou and make sure she didn't land so hard.

      His mind was racing, as was his heart. Things just got very, very real, and what surprised him the most was that he was not surprised at all. He had been right. His mind seemed to split into two at this point, outwardly terrified and shaking. Inwardly, he knew that he had taken precautions for just such an event. He hadn't completely trusted Odolana, and so his infiltration had taken that into account.

      He let Victorious down as best he could, and his hand brushed past the dart as it went by. With luck, it would be enough to dislodge the dart and keep the full dose of the poison from going into her. He wasn't counting on it, but it was worth the attempt.

      He got up and raised his hands, putting them behind his head. Then backed up and turned around as instructed. If they had wanted them both dead they could have done so already. No, he was supposed to be a bargaining chip. His life for Rick's cooperation. He was getting rather irritated by this role. The sort of people that would put him into it had no scruples. He'd already lost his wings for the same reason.

      Well, as he cooperated with the two rogues, he knew well that his scripts were still running. One of those scripts was set to prompt him for action every two minutes. If he didn't respond, his team would get an automated SOS message. He didn't have to say or do a thing, because he'd set this in motion already. The professional part of him still saw a way out, still believed that things would be able to be worked out.

      He wanted to get a good look at Odolana but was only able to manage a glance before he had to turn around. What would his visions tell him? That is if they appeared at all. At the very least, he'd get a piece of information that might be valuable or help him through this.

      Meanwhile, the forward facing part of him let out his frustrations in the form of sobs. Soft, yet terrible. He was trying to stifle them, but several did escape his beak. As did the tears. He wasn't acting, he wasn't playing a part, he wasn't pretending to be scared. He really was scared. He didn't know how he managed not to give into that fear completely. All he knew was that he was operating in two very distinct modes at the moment. Perhaps it was having suspected Odolana to begin with, and having that confirmed didn't send him down a spiral of despair. To these two though, he had been cowed, as they no doubt had expected.

      Everything came down to the plans he had set in motion, and the competence of his teammates in following through on his warning, if it went out. He'd done what he could ahead of time, now things were no longer in his hands. If he had his suit, he'd fight them off, but he didn't, and there wasn't much point in wishing for what wasn't possible. Things were going to play out as they would.
      Daryn's Signature




      Commander Daryn SkyStrike
      Ascenseon - The Avian Planet

      “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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        As the elevator rose up, Haheen felt the rabbit’s nervous gaze on him. The rat didn’t turn around, instead staring directly ahead at the doors that would open at the top, but somehow the rabbit’s furtive worry reminded him of Captain Yanktee. Haheen blinked slowly.

        “Don’t worry,” he said quietly to the rabbit, without looking over. It was a small gesture, but not one that came naturally to the rat. He started to wonder if Yanktee was having an effect on him.

        That was when the doors opened. Haheen heard the rabbit audibly gasp at the sight. He knew then that this story would be told in that family for generations to come. ‘The day grandpa was invited into the quarters of Captain Canaan himself’. Haheen wondered, briefly, whether he would even still feature in the recollection after a few tellings, or whether he would disappear into the background behind the enormous clock and the grand carpet. He allowed himself the slightest of smirks as he imagined the rabbit telling his children in a decade’s time about when “Captain Canaan requested me personally, inviting me in and shaking my hand!”. It was fascinating how these powerful figures shaped the lives around them, so much like a sun catching rocks in their orbit, altering the paths of other entities without ever realising.

        The Captain had certainly altered Haheen’s life irreversibly. It was not through the grandeur of his room, though, which was barely spared a glance by the rat, who had seen much opulence in his lifetime. No. It was the man himself who Haheen was looking at as he stepped into the room; a tall, powerful figure that commanded utter respect. Gone was the tiredness that Haheen had witnessed earlier when he had called Rick. Now, it was as if the horse were carved from marble. It was hard to imagine any force being enough to bring him down.

        Given the events of recent days, Haheen hoped that impression was matched by reality.

        When Rick’s eyes landed on Haheen, the rat threw a sharp salute. That stare lingered for a moment, almost causing Haheen to break his gaze. Was he being… assessed? Would he be found wanting?

        As soon as those thoughts had crossed his mind, the stare was replaced by a smile, so quickly that Haheen started to wonder if he’d imagined the earlier expression. Rooted to the spot by that thought, he was only spurred into action by the invite by the Captain’s invite in, which he responded to with a nod and a walk to the table. He appreciated Rick’s directness. No doubt the horse had worked out Haheen’s distaste for small talk. Straight to business suited him just fine.

        “Please accept this bottle of Raveshian Scale Ale as my gift to you,” Haheen began, giving the rabbit time to lay out the food, courtesy again, and then leave the way he came. Haheen made a mental note to drop by with a tip after the meal. The kid had done well. “The taste is unique among all drinks of the galaxy,” Haheen continued, explaining the beverage to Rick, “and while some have been known to kill for another sample, others use it as a punishment drink at lavish parties. As such, please don’t feel the need to drink it all if it doesn’t suit your tastes. I shouldn’t be offended if you shared it with Ventarus or Salvatore, who I can imagine making good use of it.”

        When he had finished, Haheen popped the cork from the bottle and poured a small glass for Rick and a smaller one for himself, leaving the bottle within Rick’s reach in case he did want more. Then, settling down by his food, Haheen looked across to his captain.

        “Now, if it suits you, sir, to my main point; I am concerned about tensions on board the ship. In particular, the situation with the Templars of the Light. I fear if we respond to them with a crushing force, we will only invoke further violent retaliation, and possibly find them allies among those sympathetic to oppressed faiths. However, if we do nothing, the more radical elements of the organisation could spread throughout the ship. Especially because of some of their more…”

        The rat paused, glancing almost nervously at Rick before continuing.

        Local beliefs. I don’t suppose M’nonk spoke to you about his justifications for attacking you?”
        SliceOfDog's Signature
        My Insatiable Curiosity RP character - Haheen Jaquoi

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          "I am aware," Rick replied. There was no nod, only a slight look downward, the Captain's fingers touching the glass with the ale Haheen had poured him, they turning it slowly.

          He looked up. His eyes met Haheen's again.

          "Mister Conser sent me the video footage you found. To say that I was not slightly taken aback by what I saw, would be a minor understatement. I had been worried that the Congressman's visit aboard my ship would result in polarization amongst my crew, but if this got out, especially to those people, we could all find ourselves being forced to answer questions..."

          Pausing, Rick took up the drink and sampled it.

          He glanced at the glass, then, intrigued by its flavor, then set the glass back down.

          "That we may not have answers for."

          Rick gave a soft sigh, his shoulders slumping slightly.

          "Without proper context, what is in that footage is very easy to perceive as..."

          Another pause, Rick obviously searching for the right word.

          "Diabolical," he said finally.

          That made him snort a soft chuckle. It wasn't the laughter of derision or a snort of dismissal. It was one of mild disbelief.

          "With everything we have going on, it would just stand to reason that the Universe would see fit to ensure we didn't find ourselves with too little to do, wouldn't it?" Rick shook his head slightly. "If only I could wish that Cortez had never visited my ship."

          That prompted another soft snort. "But wishes are like harvesting apples. We have a saying among my people. 'During a bountiful apple harvest, you could wish that none of them would fall and hit your head, or that you crush none underfoot during harvest, but you got on with it, because the apples rot if you wish for too long'."

          Rick sat back. He had dismissed the rabbit, sending him back down to the bridge with one of his bodyguards - Quake, who had been on duty - so Rick began serving himself from the dishes the rabbit and Haheen had brought. He took several moments to select his food and fill his plate with it, using the time to think.

          Stewed bell peppers and rice, with caramelized carrots, steamed broccoli and diced apricots. The food selections marked Rick as Vegan. Not by choice or lifestyle in his case, but by species requirements. Finally, his plate full, he said, "But I agree. Anything we do to discourage the rumors will only give them traction. In addition, if we give the rumors time to grow, they will swell to a point to where they will limit our choices about how we can respond. Which may leave us no choice but to respond with force. Which I agree would be the last thing we should do."

          He took up a forkful of his food, took his time chewing, then followed with another sip from the ale.

          "We're all in this together, Master at Arms," he said, then, dabbing at his lip with the corner of his napkin and looking at Haheen. "If we begin fighting amongst ourselves, we begin doing the AI's work for it. We need a solution. We need one quickly. One that will, like you said, leave us with other hopefully more productive options."

          Rick glanced then at Haheen's plate, which hadn't any food on it yet.

          "But enjoy your meal. We can discuss options after dinner. And while we eat, I will attempt to explain a few things for which I also think you wished to visit me for."

          The significant look Haheen received told him he was about to get those answers. About the Abraxian and why he had done what he'd done.

          As Haheen began to serve himself, Rick began giving him those answers.

          "I don't know a great deal about them," he began. "But nobody in the League does." A thoughtful look. "Apart from perhaps Mister Skystrike." That produced a slight smile, but which was at once followed by the flicker of a worried expression. Daryn was still on his mission, wasn't he. It was gone in the next instant, determination to trust his XO and to have faith in the abilities of his people, replacing the worry.

          Rick went on.

          "What we do know, though, is that they are a benevolent race. Or maybe a more apt way of putting it, might be to say they couldn't spare the time or energy to bother themselves with us." A small smile. "Much the same as we can't be bothered with a harmless ant colony we might find in our back gardens. All we do know, is that they are an ancient race, some believing them to be among the first ones to achieve sentience in our universe. From what League science and anthropologists have been able to gather, it has been made into popular belief that they are over a dozen billion years old. Cortez, and his joining his race to the League, has been only a very recent development, it happening within only the last twenty or so years."

          Rick paused here to have a couple more bites of his food.

          "Which is a story which has its own significance. Daryn, Commander Skystrike, was the first in the League to have actual contact with one of their kind in what many believe, to be several hundreds of thousand of years. Nobody knows why for sure. Not even Daryn. But he believes that the Abraxian he encountered had somehow become injured, and had found itself on his homeworld. Daryn was but a young man then, still an adolescent. I think he was sixteen or seventeen when it happened. Either way, Cortez never told him why he was there, and has never offered an explanation since. But what he and I both believe, is that it gave the Abraxians a new perspective on us. Personal contact, spending time with one of us. He and Cortez formed a bond."

          Which made Rick sit back.

          "Which, as we have been led to believe, may be verboten in their culture. We don't know for sure. But we suspect that it caused a rift in Abraxian culture the likes of which they hadn't experienced in millions of years. The rift was so profound that it caused them to divide into factions. There is the old guard, those among them that believe that going on the way they have for billions of years is the only way, and now a conservation faction, of which Cortez is a part, and which he himself may have started."

          Rick sat forward again, taking the time to have a couple more bites of his food. Then he said, "They have a faith, the Abraxian people. Call it more a logic of existence, if you will. They believe in balance. We, with our comparatively feeble understanding of how the universe works, understand it only as a vague concept. They understand it at a more fundamental, perhaps even profound level. It also dictates their cultural imperative of non-interference. They believe if they become directly involved with any lesser species, it could set a balance-restoring event into motion that would destroy any lesser race they paid that special attention in. They even believe that their direct involvement in the natural development of the universe could find the universe itself destroyed."

          Rick raised a hand, gesturing with it, adding a shrug. "They're concepts too difficult yet, for any of us to fully grasp. All we have are the principles. Newtonian law, physics. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, that sort of thing. They're concepts we apply to our daily lives without really thinking about them. But the Abraxians, they understand them at a level the same as you and I understand the importance of having air to breathe, food to eat and water to drink. If we don't pay the required level attention to them, we die. Balance is given the same level of concern by they." Another shrug, a smaller one. "It could also be said to go back to the old adage that 'Power invites challenge'. The Abraxians fear, or perhaps know it at the level of a fundamental reality - and that if they exercise any small portion of the power they hold, they could invite challenge that could wipe out everything. Which is why, as we understand it, that Cortez and his people taking a specific interest in us, divided them into factions."

          Rick ate a couple of more forkfuls of food, then, and wiped the corners of his mouth with his napkin, thereafter dropping it next to his plate and leaning forward on his elbows.

          "But Cortez is still an Abraxian at his core of fundamental beliefs. Not even he, with his 'love', I guess you could say, for us, would permit him to go too far. Which is what brings us to what he did to us."

          Rick gave Haheen a small nod. Rick knew his Master at Arms would know what he was talking about.

          "In his mind, no doubt, Cortez believed he was taking an unfathomable risk by doing what he did. It would also insure, logically, that he would do no such a thing without purpose. Great purpose, and a purpose which would be of ultimate benefit to us."

          A spread of Rick's hands.

          "If he wished us harm, trust me, he could have. No. He wished to give us something to help us. And he wished to do it in a way that he hoped would not disrupt balance too far, or invite too much challenge."

          Rick raised a brow at Haheen.

          "Do you know what the gift was Cortez gave you?" A small smile. "Daryn, he's seeing visions which are relevant to those with whom he interacts. Me?" Another small smile, but which was followed almost at once by a small frown.

          "That requires a little explanation." Rick had looked down at his plate, in thought, but now returned his eyes back up to Haheen, his lip quirked downward with the reflecting going on his head.

          "I was sitting in the interrogation observation room while you were questioning M'nonk, so yes. However, I think that is only the beginning of it."

          Rick sat back again. He looked disturbed. He rested an arm over the back of his chair, let out a soft breath. "M'nonk is an expert tactician. He's been in the League Marines for over twenty five years. He taught classes in shipboard engagement and boarding procedures for six of those years. He knew I was coming, Master at Arms. If he so chose, and logically, he should have been ready for my arrival, if his intent really was to kill me. But he wasn't. If anything, it was like my arrival caught him completely flatfooted."

          Rick gave Haheen a slight shake of his head, his eyes like augers.

          "I don't believe he was caught off guard at all. I think he was dealing with a conflict of such proportions that it was completely outside his sphere of experience. If that elk had of wanted, he would have been well more than ready for my showing up. And you would be attending my funeral right now, instead of sitting and having dinner with me. He would have laid a trap for me and my guard that would, without question, have succeeded. He is that good. Why he didn't, why he wasn't ready, was because, I believe, a direct result of the gift Cortez bestowed upon me." A shrug, another small one. "This is only speculation on my part, but it fits. M'nonk couldn't act the way he wanted because he was forbidden to. By... I don't know what one might call it. Quantum Entanglement theory put to use to prevent certain thoughts from coming to full fruition, maybe? We do believe, after all, that the Abraxians understand quantum dynamics at a level to which we could never hope to aspire within the next million years. But it leads me to believe that when a person considers doing me harm, they are unable to follow through with it."

          That produced a small smile. A wry one.

          "It isn't a theory I am eager to attempt to prove, mind you, but it fits. I have read M'nonk's record. There is not a single engagement of which he was in command, that failed. There was something acting upon him, something that was influencing him, interfering with his thoughts for doing me harm. And that something, I believe, is what Cortez did to me."

          Rick paused here. He just looked at Haheen for a few moments, searching his eyes, reading his expressions, gauging how he might be taking all of this in. Finally, he said, "I saw the cut footage of your encounter with Cortez. I am uncertain why he would cut the footage like that - maybe to ensure we'd find it and in so doing, recognize the significance in it maybe? I don't know. But one thing I am certain about. If Cortez did something to you, it was to help you. To help us. If you aren't certain, then find out. Discover what it was. And do it quickly."

          Rick's expression left little doubt that this last was not just a suggestion.

          Rick gave a small nod.

          "Whatever it is, I have little doubt that it is relevant to our situation. And it is meant to aid us. Daryn and his visions. Me and people unable to deliberately do me harm. I also saw that Ventarus received a like visitation. When he returns from his mission, I intend to instill in him the same imperative. You?" A wave of a hand. "Who knows? It may be something to directly aid you in your role as head of security. Have you experienced anything odd lately?"

          That made Rick nod. Haheen had been unable to suppress a flicker of reflection from coming to his face. The profound feelings of safety he had experienced during his moment of vulnerability, when Yanktee had come near.

          "You have." Rick gave Haheen another nod. "Tell me what it was, then we can try to understand what it means together, and how it might benefit us."

          *****

          Odolana wasn't among the people that emerged from hiding in the server racks. Only the two wolves. Daryn did see visions and auras around the wolves, however. They both had visions above them that reflected small amounts of uncertainty, but also determination, this latter empowered by their devotion for whom they worked.

          "We're not homicidal lunatics," the first wolf said, motioning for Daryn to back up. "You do as we ask, and nobody will get hurt."

          The second wolf, stooping down, took Victorious' supine form up by her shoulders and pulled her the rest of the way into the room. Stepping over her, then, he closed the door and locked it. He then proceeded to take up Victorious' arms and cuff them, then drew her legs up one by one, drawing them up over her back, cuffing them as well, and to the cuffs he had fastened her arms with, hogtying her.

          Just then, Daryn's automated SOS went out.

          "Shit!" hissed the first wolf. He had evidently heard the alert go out over his comm unit.

          "What?" demanded the second, looking up sharply from binding Victorious.

          "He's got some kind of automated SOS programmed into his routines! One just went out!"

          The second wolf nodded, apparently unperturbed by the development. Calmly, he took a syringe out of a slot in his armor's chest harness. Pulling its cap off with his teeth, he injected it in almost the same place Victorious had taken the dart.

          She gasped awake almost immediately.

          Putting the cap back on the syringe, the wolf just as calmly put the syringe back into his harness. He then took a standard sized ball peen hammer out of a ring on his belt harness. He looked at Daryn, still stooped over Victorious, who was now coming fully awake beneath him.

          "Call your people," he said calmly. "Tell them it was an automation you'd set up and that you forgot to get to it in time." He raised the hammer over Victorious' right elbow, raising it high enough to indicate a telling blow if he brought it down.

          "Do it," he said. "Do it now."
          Rick Canaan's Signature
          Captain Richard S. Canaan
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          Insatiable Curiosity Roleplay Information:
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          A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

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            "Sounds good, you guys keep tight down there. Close quarters like that someone could toss a det-pack up in your leg joints before you even knew they were there," Garran responded to the power-armor pilot. He had seen it happen personally, it was impressive how indigenous resistances could adapt to damage even the most robust weapons the League fielded. "As for the music, I think our bird in the sky is responsible," he continued, trying to keep the impatience from his voice, it was easy to feel secure in the super-market full of heavily armed Curiosity marines, but Skystrike had no such luxury. Garran recalled Argril with a command, watching as the large dog assimilated the last power-cell he had collected. As the dog approached, Daryn's automated SOS arrived Garran's blood ran cold as he the basic messaged looped. "Damnit, Skystrike's in trouble. We have to move," he growled over COMs. The Curiosity Marines and Battle-dress were already headed to the mire, even then a large group would move too slow. He looked to Argril, then to Leon was who was still locked in combat with the Tiger.

            "Argril find the Commander, protect him at all costs," he ordered, his muzzle curling around his fangs. He pulled his side-arm and aimed it at Leon's opponent. His finger curling on the trigger as he waited for an opening to fire without killing the Major. Damnit Leon we don't have time for this, he thought to himself.
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              "Understood, Sir," Rian replied, saluting again with his mech's right arm.

              Turning the goliath machine, then, he started off toward the station's core and its central elevators, his second Daedalus following him, and he barking orders to his eight marines.

              "But what about the Commander?" one of the marines asked Rian, running to catch up. "He's sent an SOS, Sir. He may need our..."

              "The Lieutenant Commander has things well in hand, soldier," Rian was heard to reply. "He has his work to do, as does the Commander, and we have ours. Now get into position and await my orders."

              "Aye, Sir," the marine was heard to reply, hurrying to join the other marines.

              Argril had only given one brief nod in response to Garran's instructions, and by the time Garran thought to look for him again, he was simply... gone.

              Finally, when Garran was able to look back toward the security office, he saw that the fight between Leon and his assailant was apparently over, Leon the victor, and the tiger on the floor beneath him, his wrists being secured. The tiger looked like he was down for the count, a nice pretty lump forming on the right side of his head. Everyone knew that Stormstrider was good, but that had taken all of ten seconds to be decided. That tiger had had what - twenty five kilos on the smaller raptor? Size though, was seldom a factor where skill in close-quarters combat was involved, though, as Leon had just proved amply.

              *****

              "Their dog is on the move!" came Odolana's voice crackling over the wolves' radios. "You need to get Skystrike secured and do it now! If that dog gets in there with you, this is all but over! Do you understand?! Over!"

              "We understand, ma'am," said the wolf standing over Victorious' hog-tied form. He raised the hammer higher. He looked at Daryn.

              "If I bring this down, she loses the use of the arm. Call them. Do it, Sir. Do it now."
              Rick Canaan's Signature
              Captain Richard S. Canaan
              _________________________________
              Insatiable Curiosity Roleplay Information:
              Glossary of Terms
              Important NPCs
              Ranks Aboard Ship
              _________________________________
              A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

              Comment


                Daryn had a lump in his throat and he felt as if he was about to vomit again. Though it would likely just come out as dry-heaves given he’d already emptied his stomach earlier. He started to visibly shake and his voice quavered as he replied, “Do you think they’re going to believe that everything is fine if I send a voice message in this state?” he asked with as much dignity as he could manage, given the circumstances.

                “Fine, just stop. Put the hammer away. I’ll send them a text, just let me get to the terminal to do it.”

                He would hope that the wolves were at least sensible enough to realize that he was definitely right about what he said. His team wasn’t stupid, they’d figure out something was wrong quickly enough.

                He looked down at Victorious, shaking his head. He knew what he should have been able to do. He knew a real Commander would have been able to assess the situation and put a value on her arm in relation to the mission’s success, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do that. He didn’t want to see her hurt.

                He sighed as he began to type his message to the team. He hated to do it, but what choice did he have? He had turned out to be a liability to this mission, and there was no way to sugarcoat that. XO of the Insatiable Curiousity?! He was just a farce. When he got back to the ship... If he got back to the ship, he would have to resign. That forward facing, base part of him was threatening to win out and become the real Daryn.

                That professional part of him, at the back of his mind, that part of him that he could one day become had other ideas. He typed the message, his fingers shaking, hitting the shift key for letters that don’t need capitalizing. To anyone watching, it would just look like his nerves and anxiety were getting to him, which they were. Argril was on his way up here, they wanted him to stop his progress. He couldn’t be sure that Garran would do on getting this, but he could at least give them some intel. If Garran didn’t spot the hidden message, his new interface system might. One thing he did know was that if Argril wasn’t stopped, or seen to be turned around, he’d likely be dead in the next few minutes. He hoped that Garran would understand and take appropriate measures.

                Hey!

                sOrry about the Sos. was Talking to
                vic and forgot i had A script running. everything’s Good on this End.

                He hit Ctrl+Enter and the message was sent. It was at this point that he remembered Knife’s ‘Ghost’ in the machine. He thought to himself, “Well, now would certainly be a good time for a little help.” He didn’t expect any miracles, but maybe, just maybe the Jaguar might be able to help. It was a slim hope, and one he didn’t really hold out for. Realistically, Garran was the one who would control whether he got through this, as he certainly didn’t seem in control of much of anything anymore.
                Daryn's Signature




                Commander Daryn SkyStrike
                Ascenseon - The Avian Planet

                “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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                  The first wolf watched closely over Daryn's shoulder.

                  "He's sent it, Sir. A convincingly enough looking message, too."

                  The second wolf nodded, lowering his hammer.

                  "Ma'am," he said then, keying his mic. "The Commander's cooperating. What's the status on their supersoldier?"

                  "Still on the move," Odolana's voice replied. "Though he doesn't seem to know exactly where the Commander is. He's just rode an elevator up to the administrative level and he's looking around. Wait. Right then. He's inspecting Sandar's body."

                  "You got the lion, then?" interrupted the wolf.

                  "Yeah. He's down."

                  "Well, just have the mechs take out the dog, too."

                  "Not an option," Odolana replied. "It took all five of them to do it, but three of them got reduced to smoking wrecks and the other two are barely functional."

                  The wolf barked a soft curse.

                  "Don't worry," Odolana told him. "Our plan's still in motion. Now that you have the commander cooperating, get him started on the rest."

                  "Understood, Ma'am."

                  Lowering his hand away from his mic and ear piece, the wolf looked up at Daryn.

                  "First thing you gotta do," he said, "is relax. We told you, if you do like we ask, nobody will get hurt. We meant it."

                  As if in demonstration of keeping this promise, the wolf dropped his hammer back into its loop on his belt.

                  "Now," he said. "You're going to turn all of the station's controls over to us."

                  He took a pad and pen out of one of his armor's breast utility pockets. He eased forward just enough to put them in the console right in front of Daryn, the other wolf's weapon still trained on him.

                  "All of your passwords. Write them down, and any other information we'll need to operate the control menus."

                  He stepped back again. Then lowering his weapon, he took a bottle of water out of a pouch on his armor's right leg. It was about half a liter. "But first, drink this. It's just water. You look like you need it. Then, once you've written everything down like we've asked, I'll give you another to give to First Lieutenant Victorious here."
                  Rick Canaan's Signature
                  Captain Richard S. Canaan
                  _________________________________
                  Insatiable Curiosity Roleplay Information:
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                  Important NPCs
                  Ranks Aboard Ship
                  _________________________________
                  A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

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                    ((Limited time tonight, so I'll just do Victorious and will post Haheen over the next day or so))

                    Victorious gasped awake as warmth surged through her body. Her vision reeled and blurred, and she looked around with wild eyes and a gaping mouth as she tried to process her situation. She had gone from looking at the Commander from the doorway to tied up on the floor in the middle of the room. She could still feel the figure hovering nearby. By the time she had worked out what was happening, Daryn was already typing out the message.

                    "No," she croaked, "Don't listen to them!"

                    Too late.

                    What had she just done? Lay gaping as she allowed herself to be taken hostage and derail an entire mission? She should have begged Daryn not to bow to the pressure, should have let them smash her arm to pieces. She was a failure. An embarrassment.

                    Her father had been right.

                    These thoughts dominated Victorious' mind as she lay there. It was only as she heard her own name mentioned by her captor that she was thrust back into the situation at hand.

                    "Don't drink anything they give you!" she growled at Daryn, before turning to the wolf at her side - or as much of him as she could from her position - and spitting. "I've got fluids enough, you flankbiter"
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                    My Insatiable Curiosity RP character - Haheen Jaquoi

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                      Leon used a second length of cord to bind Oberton’s legs, before standing and stepping over the tiger to reach the door.

                      Leon deftly unlocked the mechanical thumb-turn, the motions of doing so well familiar to the colonial, before pausing and taking a second look at the lock.

                      Opening the door, he gave Garran a nod.

                      “Hostile neutralised,” he reported, indicating the bound tiger.

                      “Damn, that was fast,” Varatyr breathed, “What was that? Tinkeno?”

                      Leon nodded.

                      “Yeah,” he replied, “I first learned while with the Marines, and I’ve continued practising since. Still, this is a conversation for later. We’ve got a prisoner to deal with.”

                      He turned, striding over to the bound tiger and giving him an assessing stare.

                      “Now then, Oberton,” he said, “you are our prisoner. If you cooperate, I will see about getting you privileges such as entertainment and better food. Do you understand me?”

                      (OOC:A little short, but the best I could come up with. Hope this suffices.)
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                      Insatiable Curiosity

                      Major Leon Stormstrider

                      Varatyr Scorchtalon

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                        Daryn took the water bottle from the wolf and started to drink from it. From the visions he’d glimpsed of the wolves, he was sure enough there wouldn’t be poison in the water. He looked over to Victorious and shook his head, “Well we certainly make quite the pair, don’t we?” he said with a sharp leftward cock of his head. It was annoyance seeping through, but not annoyance at Victorious, annoyance at himself.

                        He took the pad and pen and began to write down the account name that he had elevated to root. This is the one he had done all of the work on, and if they were to look, it had all of the privileges that he’d given it.

                        However, that second, logless and hidden user he had created earlier, that one he kept to himself. Only he knew it even existed, and if the time came when he was in a better situation, he’d retake the entire system using that. For now, though, it was important he cooperated.

                        Daryn wrote notes on the systems below the account name he gave up. He wrote down how the gas bottles were disabled and recommended firing them off into the star. He noted the backup control system that would get in the way of remotely using the station’s weapons if it were online, which he noted it wasn’t at the moment.

                        Then he noted the key system menus for life support, comms, security and access control for the doors and airlocks. Those systems were actually fairly straightforward since they were meant to be used by general staff.

                        Finally, he handed over the slip of paper, the pen and then pointed at a key dongle sticking out of one of the terminal’s peripheral ports. “Everything is here. The password isn’t something anyone, not even I, could type in effectively, it’s 128 characters long. It’s stored on this dongle. It acts as a keyboard. Just plug it in, enter the username, then tap the button on the dongle at the password prompt.”

                        Having handed all of that over, he looked back to Victorious. His gaze seemed to say that this wasn’t a battle they could have won. Those two got the better of them, and for the moment they’d won. He drained the bottle of water, sighing as his stomach was getting more and more settled.

                        It raised the question of what Odolana’s endgame was, though. The team had been used to do all of the hard work for them. Daryn had brought his A game to take over these systems, and now he had to hand them over. Not that he couldn’t take them back, but still, he continued to ask himself what they were up to.

                        His mind went forwards and extrapolated events. The Insatiable Curiousity was the wildcard in all of this. With the ship still on the board, Odolana would have a hard time maintaining control. Daryn was more aware than most of the potency of the ship, so then he figured that his role was going to be as a hostage going forward. They’d use him to get Rick to cooperate and use Victorious to ensure his own cooperation. To what end, though? What was she planning? There had to be something he was missing. So what would happen once he and Victorious had outlived their usefulness? It was a worry that started to tie his stomach in knots again. He took a deep breath and shoved those thoughts aside. There was one thing that Daryn knew that few else did. Whatever the surprise was for Rick, it wouldn’t work. Unlike himself, Rick actually was a leader. He actually did have the stomach to make the hard decisions. He took comfort in that. Whatever happened, at least that was something that wouldn’t change.

                        Daryn was not feeling good about the possibility of being blasted into atoms by the ship, but at least it would be a quick end. Still, the two parts of him were beginning to find a balance. He was still scared, certainly, but as the wolves looked away and focused on the notes, he gave Victorious a slight rightward tilt of his head, his beak opening ever so slightly and a bit of a glint returned to his eyes. He’d not yet given up, and neither should she.



                        Daryn's Signature




                        Commander Daryn SkyStrike
                        Ascenseon - The Avian Planet

                        “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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                          One thing Rick would tell Daryn in a situation like this, was that you just went with it, did what you could, and waited for the opportunity.

                          That Daryn had little choice, and that this was an impossible situation for him, there could be no doubt. No sane person would knowingly see another person hurt, however, regardless of the outcome in the immediate moment.

                          "You might die," Rick would tell him. "The person they're using might die. But if you live, you'll need to live with your conscience for the rest of your life. Do what you know what you can live with. If you change who you are just to change the moment, then you'll be someone you won't be able to live with when it's all over. The opportunity will come. Wait for it. Don't betray who you are. If the moment doesn't come, and you die, at least you'll die knowing you were true to who you are."

                          Both guards nodded at Daryn with stoic approval.

                          "Like we said," said the first, passing the paper to the second. "We aren't here to hurt you. You give us what we want, you'll both walk out of here."

                          When Daryn looked at him, he saw an image flash above his head. It was of that same wolf, and he was holding his hand up next to him, as if swearing an oath. He meant what he had just said. Believed it and wasn't lying.

                          "Odolana," said the second wolf then, nodding and reading the paper.

                          "Did you get that?"

                          "Yep," she said over the comm. "Get it all entered and tell me once you're in."

                          "Understood, Ma'am."

                          Gesturing to the other wolf to move Daryn to one side, who did, the second wolf positioned himself in front of the console at which Daryn had been working.

                          The first wolf, as the second did this, took out another bottle of water and gestured to Victorious' tied form with it, motioning for Daryn to give it to her.

                          "I'm in," the second wolf said.

                          "Good," replied Odolana. "Did the Commander give you everything?"

                          The wolf went through some of the menus for a few seconds.

                          "Confirmed," he said. "It's all here. The Commander was telling the truth."

                          "Good. Patch me into the station's PA system. Then route all of the station's weapon's control systems and force field emitters to me."

                          "Done and done, Ma'am," said the wolf, working fast through the menus.

                          Suddenly, Odolana's voice was blaring over the station's PA system.

                          "This is Odolana Stonewing. I have seized full control of your station. All Station Treffpunkt personnel are to lay down their weapons and surrender immediately. I have full control of all outer and inner weapon systems, also all station control systems. If I detect any person carrying a weapon, I will open a clear path from them to space. If they're wearing a vacuum suit, I will track them with the station's internal weapons systems until I am able to find and vaporize them."

                          There was a pause.

                          "All invading forces from the Insatiable Curiosity. I do not require the same of you. However, it has come to my attention that you have Argril in search of Commander Skystrike. I have him pin-pointed on internal scanners. Furthermore, I have Commander Skystrike and First Lieutenant Victorious in secure custody. If Argril does not cease and desist at once, I will immediate kill both. He is to return to you, Lieutenant Commander Ventarus, and remain with you for the remainder of your stay on my station. Furthermore, you and your people, and he, are to begin disarming and collecting weapons from station personnel at once. If any of my people are so much as injured by any of the station' people, both Commander Skystrike and First Lieutenant Victorious will be immediately shot. The same goes if you or any of your people do anything to any of my people."

                          There was another pause.

                          "Lieutenant Commander Ventarus, I am able to see you on the station's CCTV system. Look to the nearest camera and give me a single nod if you understand."
                          Rick Canaan's Signature
                          Captain Richard S. Canaan
                          _________________________________
                          Insatiable Curiosity Roleplay Information:
                          Glossary of Terms
                          Important NPCs
                          Ranks Aboard Ship
                          _________________________________
                          A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

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                            Garran stood silently, his face mask polarized to hide his features as he looked at the thoroughly beaten and restrained Tiger. Odolona’s message had been heard. He felt a ping of mental concern from Argril. The dog was still carrying out his directive, but with a hesitancy that indicated he had heard Odolona’s threat. Garran remained silent of a heart beat before taking a long breath. The betrayal had been a possibility considered, though it appeared Argril was not the play. Instead, it had been the Commander.

                            He had to admire the simplicity of it. All the military might and resources of the Curiosity bested by two operators and a handgun. A well-executed play that he wished he wasn’t on the receiving end of. Yet, all was not lost. Hostage situations only worked as long as a status-quo was maintained. If Odolona killed either Victorious or Skystrike, then there was little to stop Rick, Garran, and Argril from hunting her down. She could hold the Station hostage, but her cause and ideology would make that an unlikely move for her.

                            The clock was ticking. The Station felt like it was over pressurizing as the moment of decision came. Argril, stand-down and return to me, he ordered mentally before quickly adding, we’ll get him back don’t worry. He then quickly keyed his suit to the secure tight-beam channel between him and Leon. “Don’t answer, my suit is sealed but if you talk the Station’s surveillance might pick it up. Odolona has leverage, but we’re not out yet. I need you and your friend to work on getting us a way to speak to the Curiosity without eaves-droppers. I don’t know if it’s possible, but look into it. I’m going to see what kind of space to operate in” he said. Keeping his voice calm.


                            Next, he switched to the contingent wide COMs. Every Curiosity asset on the Station could hear it, which also likely meant that Odolona could listen in. “Alright marines, nothing has changed. Listen to the lady in the sky, protect yourselves, and disarm the combatants. Keep it cool and everyone will walk away from this. Heroes will get people killed,” he ordered. His uneasy relationship with the rest of the Curiosity’s ground crew would make his order a bitter pill to swallow, but they were well trained. And if they weren’t they would probably pay for it dearly.

                            Finally, he turned to face the closest camera. The tiny electronic eye would have been difficult to spot if it hadn’t been giving off a faint EM-glow that his suit locked on too. He nodded to it once, as instructed. Then, depolarized his face plate. With a neutral expression he gently tapped the side of his helmet where his ear was. If this was a hostage negotiation, he needed to speak to the hostage taker.

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                              Haheen had portioned up his meal in neat quarters on his plate while Rick began to speak of the Abraxians, picking at the food and sampling the different tastes, keenly following his Captain’s comments.

                              However, before long the food was forgotten. Haheen was sat transfixed as Rick explained the true depth of the situation, discussing matters far above and beyond anything that Haheen could hope to truly comprehend in a hundred lifetimes. First, the motivations and machinations of the Abraxians. Second, the gifts! It didn’t even seem plausible! It was more like… magic! Visions and behaviour manipulation!

                              And had some of this… magic… affected him? Had he been granted what Rick called a “gift”?

                              When Rick questioned him directly, a strange feeling came over the rat. His mind fluttered back to that moment in the corridor with Griffon. Even now, he felt an element of that unnatural peace wash over him. His expression softened. His eyes sparkled.

                              Rick noticed. Of course Rick noticed.

                              But how to explain something like that? For some time, Haheen sat in silence. It was not, it would be clear, his attempt to ignore or avoid the question. He was simply trying to put it into the right words, trying to formulate it and process it in a way that would convey the experience in its entirety to another individual. But that, by its very nature, was impossible. It was an experience that no one else could ever understand.

                              Or at least… no one except Griffon Yanktee…

                              Haheen sighed. “It’s… hard for me to explain,” he said, “and I don’t like to admit that there are things I experienced but cannot comprehend. You know me, Captain. I’m a rat of reason, of logic and of evidence. But this… this was not a logical experience. It was more like being in touch with the divine. I was overcome by a sense of peace, of safety, that I can’t put into words. A feeling of home. Of youth. Of opportunity.”

                              Here Haheen paused, and looked down to his food. His tone became almost confessional.

                              “It happened when Captain Yanktee approached me. I think… I think, Rick, that I’m somehow linked to Griffon.”
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                              My Insatiable Curiosity RP character - Haheen Jaquoi

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                                For the moment, the situation was such that Daryn could do very little. He took the bottle of water from the wolf and moved over to Victorious and helped her drink. Seeing as she couldn’t hold it herself at the moment.

                                His eyes were subdued, but the spark of life was still there. He had done what he could, had done what he believed he had to. Was it fair that all of his work was for nothing? Well, perhaps if he had prepared better things may have been different. Thinking like that, though, was a good way of sending oneself into a downward spiral of despair. This was not a normal situation, no amount of preparation could have made it better. You never have all of the variables in your control, no matter how much you’d like them to be, things just develop as they will.

                                He nodded to Victorious as the two wolves work the console and communicated with Odolana. He leaned in close and whispered, “Don’t blame yourself for this. No plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” as he said this, he let her drink and rehydrate. “Now we know one thing for sure, Argril wasn’t the goal. The station wasn’t the goal, either. There’s more to this. Keep your cool and we’ll get through this.”

                                Even as he gave this advice to Victorious, he found it hard to follow it himself. He knew the Curiousity had to be the goal. Did Odolana want the ship? He didn’t doubt it, but he didn’t think that goal was realistic. Perhaps then, the goal was to take the ship off the playfield? Force Rick to bow out to protect his people? How would that work?

                                There had to be more, an element he hadn’t… Oh. The realization hit him like a bolt of lightning. Odolana had a fleet. If it was large enough she might think she stood a chance at destroying the ship. Maybe if they had enlisted allies they might try an ambush. It made sense. She knew when the ship was going to emerge and where. She clearly had the motivation and means to do it. That had to be it. Odolana had to be planning an ambush.

                                Why wasn’t he more upset? He should be distraught for his friend being in potential danger. He knew though, that Rick knew what he was doing. If it came to naval warfare he’d put his LUTC on Rick any day of the week. What he was thinking though was still just a guess. He didn’t have proof that this is what Odolana was up to. Then again, he’d been right about her so far, it stood to reason his guess might be a sound one.

                                Daryn found himself wishing he could get a look at her to see if there were visions around her. He’d seen nothing via the comm screens, which probably meant the person needed to be nearby for him to see anything. It was odd to consider that just a few hours ago he had no idea what to make of this gift, but now he was becoming more comfortable with it. Interpreting the visions was quite easy, at least in the cases he’d seen so far. It was why he believed that wolf, who’d not even given him his name. He was being sincere. Perhaps then, his allegiances could be changed.

                                He looked over at the wolf, who had finished his call and said, “How long had you two been hiding in here?”
                                Daryn's Signature




                                Commander Daryn SkyStrike
                                Ascenseon - The Avian Planet

                                “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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