• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Chapter 4 & 5 Intermission 5: Unwelcome Newcomer

Ray of Meep

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Co-authored by: Acewing13, Ray of Meep (GM), Ikate Keda Studios, TheCountryWarrior

???? A.D, fifteen days after the incident at the market center

Silbern System, Stahl Belt, Nikolaus Otto dwarf-planetary system, Magnuski Station

Beatrix hummed to herself as she turned into the mess and headed straight for the food, picking out a couple of muffins and a container of yogurt. After adding a glass of orange juice, she turned and looked around to see what seating was available.

Juan sat by himself, wearing a hoodie and sweatpants of nondescript color, eating mac and cheese that had cooled off by now. He just sighed, and looked at the table, drinking root beer like it’s water.

Bee blinked a few times and walked over to her teammate. “Hey,” she said, looking across the table at Juan, “This seat taken?”

He looked up at her, and forced a small smile. “Nope, and I doubt anyone would come by to take it. How’ve you been Bee?”

“Good,” she said, putting down her tray and taking a seat. “Been exploring Magnuski while we’re here. Rented a wingsuit and did the drop from the spine again, this time without breaking equipment. Fun stuff. You?”

He shrugs, looking back to the table. “Mostly just my job. Then I’ll come back home, do a grand total of nothing useful. Wait to sleep, then go to work again. I don’t need much anyway. Glad to know you’re having fun.”

“Yeah,” Beatrix said, stirring her yogurt. “So, you haven’t been doing anything with Joan?”

Juan scoffed, and ate more cold mac and cheese. “Nope. Haven’t seen her in a while actually. Do you have any other plans for tourism in future?” Juan says, not too subtly changing the subject.

“Uh, I mean yeah,” Bee said, raising an eyebrow at his attitude. “Plenty of stuff to go see. What do you mean you haven’t seen her in awhile? What happened?”

Juan looked back up to her, confused. “You didn’t hear?” He grimaces at the thought, and rolls his eyes. “Her ex is back. And she’s been staying with him. And thus I haven’t seen her in a while. And therefore I’m sitting here alone.”

“Huh?” Beatrix asked as she furrowed her brow. “He just shows up and she’s back with him? How’s that work? He left her with the two kids, for who knows how long, and comes back and gets welcomed with open arms? Really didn’t take Joan for being that forgiving,” she added, eating some of her yogurt.

Juan looked back to the table, choosing not to eat his cold food anymore. “I don’t know. The bastard is trouble, but I don’t know if I’m being an asshole and just jealous, or if I have good reason. I think I have good reason to dislike him. He sent Joan into debt with legal fees, left his two children to start a bar that had a high chance of not working, and he was shoplifting when Joan found him. She’s all ‘I don’t want my kids to think their da’s a failure!’ but the bastard abandoned his children. That goes against every scrap of human decency in the entirety of human history, and the jackass is being welcomed back by the bosses like he’s an old friend. His kids aren’t gonna see him after being abandoned and go ‘this is fine!’ Jacob remembers what the bastard did! And-” he stops, and sighs. “I’m rambling. I can’t do anything about it, so why the fuck do I bother?”

Bee sighed as she put her spoon back in the yogurt. “If this is what happens when I play tourist for a week...” she said with a facepalm, trailing off with another sigh. “Sounds like she wasn’t happy with you bringing this stuff up, so wouldn’t help if I drop in and ask what she’s smoking.”

“I brought every conversation we’ve had about it, every grievance she herself has had to her attention, and she said I was a threat to keeping her children. He’s legally allowed to see them as long as we’re here, and we’re trapped here for some political bullshit reason. Despite everything she’s told me, she’s back with him! What did I do wrong?” He takes a deep breath, and slumps his head forward. “He’s trouble, Bee. No man can betray his own flesh and blood and not find it just as easy the next time. He abandoned them, took every cent he could force out of Joan, and fucked off across the galaxy. There is no way in hell he’s gonna be any help here. When the chips are down, if he had to choose between himself and all of us, he wouldn’t even think twice about throwing us to the wolves. There’s no way he’d give enough of a fuck.”

“I don’t know,” Beatrix said, breaking off a piece of a chocolate muffin. “I mean, there’s got to be some reason she thought this was a good idea.”

“What was a good idea?” An unfamiliar voice asked, a tall man looking mildly familiar approaching them with a tray. “Beatrix and Juan right?” He asked, looking between the two. “Was hoping to get some time to actually talk to you guys, but with the wild shifts and everything, been hard. Mind if I take a seat?” He asked, apparently rhetorically as he just sat down next to Bee. “So, you two are Joan’s teammates, huh? I’ve heard a few things floating around, you all work well together?” He asked, digging into his own food.

“Uh, yeah, we’ve done pretty well,” Beatrix said, shifting her seat to make more space between them. “I’m sorry, who are you?”

Juan had frozen when Tyler had arrived, feeling such a deep inner rage at the idea of this asshole near him, but he activated basic conversation mode to avoid conflict. “Yeah pal, you can’t just sit near women you don’t know like you belong. How do you know us?” Juan played up the ignorance, just waiting to hear how this waste of oxygen explained himself.

“God, how silly of me,” Tyler chuckled, leaning back. “I’m Tyler Page. The other half of Jacob and Miranda,” He smiled at them both. “I’d offer to shake your hands, but I’m a bit of a neat freak and I just washed my hands,” He said. “I’m something of a software engineer, cyber warfare when I was in the military,” He added.

“Oh,” Beatrix said, putting a smile on as she nodded. “Good to meet you. Heard you were around. What’d you want to talk to us for?”

“Yes, why ever would you want to talk to us dirty individuals?” He says jokingly, except it’s not that jokingly in his head.

“Dirty?” Tyler asked, with furrowed brows. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about you both!” He said, looking at Beatrix and Juan with a smile. “You’re the medic right?” He asked, pointing at Beatrix. “And you, are the big guy in charge,” He added, looking at Juan. “Calling the shots and such on missions right?”

Juan had no idea where he heard that, it was Joan that called the shots. He just usually agreed with her. “We share the burden, but Joan’s usually the brains of the operation. If I had to put myself in a slot I’d say sharpshooter, because it sounds better than marksman.”

Tyler frowned a little, that look someone had when they were just told something that went against something someone else told them. “Strange. The way Joan talks, I’d swear that was you in charge, always knowing what to do,” He said, nodding his head. “So you’ve both been under the command of Joan?” He asked, a little shocked.

Juan did not smile. “Like I said, we’re all the same rank. She just has good ideas and we agree 99% percent of the time. Is that so surprising?” Juan had no idea what this jackass was thinking, and he hoped for everyone’s sake Joan just used to not be as in charge as she was to his knowledge in the current time. Otherwise, he wasn’t sure how this conversation would proceed.

“A little, yeah,” Tyler said with a shrug. “Don’t tell her I said this, but when me and Joan were together, she couldn’t even plan dinner, let alone coordinate a team,” He said with a chuckle. “Like, she would second guess her second guesses!”

“Really?” Bee asked as she raised an eyebrow.

Juan felt such revulsion, and annoyance at the same time. “Well, it seems in your absence she’s been better off.” He smiled and chuckled a mirthless chuckle, and the smile never reached his eyes. “Just kidding!”
 

Ray of Meep

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“Seems like it!” Tyler said, side stepping the hidden insult flawlessly. “Good on her. I’m glad,” He grinned, taking a few bites of his meal. “I mean, you guys have clearly seen a side of her I haven’t,” He said with a chuckle. “I mean, I remember going to her combat evaluation the first time around. Her idea of hostile suppression was to stand there shouting, before getting shot.”

“We’re almost always bad the first time around,” Beatrix said, shrugging as she tore off another piece of muffin.

“Yeah, we can’t all sit behind a desk. We have to train and stuff.” Juan shrugged, with that smile that really wasn’t a smile. “Well, we all start small.”

“Fair, fair,” He said, finishing his meal. “Anyway, Joan’s going to be back from her shift soon and I said I’d help her with the kids homework,” He said, standing up, and giving the two a wave. “I’ll see you two around more often I hope!” he finished, walking off.

Juan glared daggers into his back as he walked off, and didn’t say goodbye. He sat there, stewing.

“They just let other random people watch your combat evals?” Bee asked, still stuck on Tyler’s story.

Juan rolled his eyes and moved his bowl aside. “Bastard.” He looked at his bowl, and picked it up. He had nothing to add really.

“There’s got to be some reason she did this,” Beatrix muttered, looking at her muffin. “She’s not this dumb.”

“I wish she wasn’t, but this whole thing reeks of some stupid need for… normalcy? I don’t know. Is it because she’s scared? Of what? He can see his kids, sure, but he’s staying here like he’s wanted. The problem is, no one has told him he’s not welcome because the only one willing to show him how unwelcome he is, is me.” He leans his head on the counter. “Damnit, what am I saying? I sound like a child whining. Why do I bother? I can’t do anything about this.”

“Doesn’t help your case that you’re probably the person most ‘harmed’ by him being around,” Beatrix said, before taking a bite of the muffin. After chewing in thought for a few moments, she asked, “And he’s going to be working with us?”

“I think.” Juan shrugged. “I don’t see why though. He’s a desk jockey that carries himself like a soldier. He’s not a soldier.” Juan grumbles into the table. “‘Neat Freak’, fucking entitled bitch. Be a human and shake people’s hands.”

“Sounds more like a germaphobe,” Bee said with a frown. “And yeah, what’s with that? Is he going to be on the front lines with us or be back at base doing stuff? Second thing could be useful, I guess, but Ulrike or Eberhard could do that if we actually needed it.”

“He’s being catered to. Ulrike and Eberhard don’t need him on their end, and he’d be a detriment on our end. He’s a liability that we can’t trust, but he’s being welcomed like he’s useful. I just hope he doesn’t get us killed.”
“No kidding,” Beatrix said, tapping the table absentmindedly. “Well, we’ll see where this goes. Hopefully he shows his deficiencies before something fatal happens.”
 
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