• 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 One Prologue: When Legends Rise


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Reservoir System
Seven Deadly Virtues
February 15, 2320

Dav sat in Justin's office, sipping a whisky. After the last gig the two had been working on was finished, some of the assets were liquidated. They still hadn't found buyers for the refurbished Charger class dropship Icarus, nor the Foldship, often called the "Booty Call" as no other name had been given to it. The spare mecha, munitions, parts and Daedalus were easily sold and the proceeds were distributed to the whole of the previous company before laying them off. The pilots were given shares, either in choice of mecha or in hard currency.

Dav played with a currency chip, rolling it along his fingers. The Werner was the default coin, now for many years. Such a little thing, but what it represented was powerful enough to move nations.

Dav was restless and so was Justin. Both had their reasons, Dav to right wrongs, Justin to just get away from the daily grind of running the Pawn and Brokerage, Seven Deadly Virtues.
Surely there was room in the sky for them both to satisfy their wanderlust and sense of justice that needed righting.

Justin, with a hard look after Dav stared at him with neotinous puppy like eyes, shrugged and pulled out a data tablet and stylus. They both began to send messages to old comrades as well as a general call out to the various employment message boards. They pulled the for sale signs on the Icarus and the Helios. A quick purchase of a brand new advertisement banner, catering, and some rental space at MECHA's barracks facility in Syndenham completed their initial purchases. They were back in business. Now all they needed were people who wanted to earn a buck, save a damsel, or see the stars.


Leo had left company with his mech, now fully operational. With years of Mining experience, and a working mech, finding a job in the asteroid harvesting field took less than two weeks. It felt nice to be back working in the familiar environment where he grew up in and meeting some old friends. But at night, he was restless. That small sliver of combat he got to experience, that feeling of being in danger and fighting back, while he was terrified at the time was an exhilarating feeling. It gnawed at him as the weeks and months went by. On an average morning, when he climbed into the Sagi to get her warmed up for the day's work, the Sagi's AI pinged him the message from Dav. Leo read it over, and the gnawing feeling came back in force. Quickly typing a reply, he sent it back telling Dav he would get things in order to return to the job. As he sat in the cockpit, another thought came to him. One of his coworkers, a fellow mech miner named Jack had talked about fighting pirates before, and maybe he would want to join in on the new venture. Leo got out his small terminal, and messaged Jack; "Hey, I think there's a new job offer you may be interested in"

Jack's curiosity was definitely peaked by the message. He finished reeling in a smaller asteroid and helped hold it in place as the other miners locked it to into the bay. With that complete the whole group finally got off work for lunch. Taking the time to pull out his tablet between sucks at a disgusting nutrient gel pack Jack responded, "What kind of job?"

"You remember the stories I told you about my old unit, right? Looks like the leader is hiring again"

"Sign me up! I have to finish this contract out here but there's only a week left. Where do I have to go?"

"I'll forward you the details, I'm not sure what you need to do to be recruited but I bet he'll want someone like you to be aboard." Leo typed on the console, and forwarded the recruitment info to Jack.

"Right. I'll see about making it down there. Time to get back to work."

"Same here, you stay safe mate" Leo silenced the communication, and went on to begin work for his shift. But he could barely work, excited that the opportunity to fight had returned.

Xir rejected it's share of the company liquidation returning it to be used towards the rebuilding of the unit for the next phase. the only thing Xir took was a modest amount of money to pay for living in hominid space until it's return and a subspace communication receiver so Xir could know when the Captain needed its return.

Xir Took this opportunity to report back to its superiors in person. it had been entirely too long sense there was a face to face. Xir, Beast and the newly formed bio lab was picked up in stealth away from all civilization on the planet. Dav was the only one to see Xir leave, and had the privilege to see Xir's species Tech up close in it's awesome effect. No questions were asked before Xir's departure at the time because of the shock and awe of what Dav had seen. But Dav new that Xir would return if called, if allowed to do so.

After it's debriefing Xir checked the communication receiver. A message waited it from Dav about returning. With little effort Xir was given permission to continue it's mission. Xir returned to the Unit being dropped off with all that it left with, waiting to be picked up by whom ever Dav sent out into the wilderness that can pick up Beast and the lab. Now comes Xir's next phase, both in it's mission but also with it's respected unit.


Lyon stayed in Landsdown, having no reason to waste his cash to leave the system. Instead, with the money he bought two things. One, surgery that removed any physical remnants of past trauma, leaving behind a fully human physique with scars along his arms and his back. Two, an old exploration vehicle that withstood the sands of time, thanks to its construction during a more idealistic, thoughtful age. The ex-rogue called it the Secretary and made it his home, and shop of operations, in which he drove around the city's dusty outskirts, selling his technical skills to earn a living, while improving his gap in knowledge for programming.

On one fateful afternoon, Lyon was tending to the needs of one of his patrons, repairing water damage on a computer chip. His data pad buzzed with Dav's message. His eyes widened, then smiled. No way was he not going to answer the call. Lyon hurriedly finished up any last diagnostics and practically threw the chip back at the patron. He then closed up the hatches on the Secretary and took his business off the advertisement boards as he made a beeline towards the Seven Deadly Virtues.

Muk had appointed himself as Dav’s personal bodyguard during the months since the “final” mission. Some of his boys had wandered off due to the sudden urge to wander that sometimes overtook younger Atraxians. Those that stayed had chosen to devote themselves to the ways of Bro’seif. They struggled with the idea of nonviolence, though Muk had managed to at least give the violence an outlet. He and his boys had been serving as enforcers for the Syndicate to keep food in their bellies.

Currently Muk was in his apartment lifting weights, keeping his body in good shape. He was listening to an upbeat pop song. The music cut out as his tablet read Dav’s message to him. He put his weights down, careful not to crush his Corgi/Husky mix, Barbfang. “Finally. Was startin’ ta think Dav had gotten soft.” Muk said, bending down to pat the little dog with a finger. “Ya ready to get da boys?”

He stood back up and walked over to his closet where he had a suitcase full of his stuff waiting. Changing out of his workout clothes, he put on his warrior outfit. He threw the massive suitcase over his shoulder, put Barbfang on a little perch he’d bought to strap to his chest, and headed out the door.

It felt cold outside the wind blew between the cottages. Tantus was so tired of not killing people. The company was disbanded. he got one mission in then poof. Hardly any reason or explanation. He caught the next frigate off world and left. He had only been in the Shia system for about a week with no work yet.

He took a long drag from his pipe then exhaled.
He heard the footsteps behind him they were getting closer ducking down a alley he waited hiding up a wall. The figure wasn't large but he was following him. The man's boots gave him away as a Pazienzian soldier. Tantus jumped on him thrusting his dagger deep and severing his spine.

Wiping his dagger he smiled "still got it" he chuckled out loud. Off he went to the nearest tavern. it was his favorite because he could smoke inside. " Barkeep my usual sir" Tantus said cheerily. "You got a message " the barkeep said dropping a data pad beside his drink.

Tantus picked it up and headed to a booth. It was from Dav. He was hiring again. "Bout fucking time" he said aloud. "Well time to get off world again"
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Crouching in the shadows cast by this overgrown forest Min-gi waits. There is the rustling of brush just a few meters away, he takes a deep breath and lunges in. This is the man that he has been hunting, Drax, a vagabond who has been terrorizing local tribesmen. Taking the knife out of his boot with one hand over Drax's mouth he thrusts it deep into his ribs. Once Drax stops fighting Min-gi stands to inspect the body, "I thought you would be more of a challenge" he says to himself. There was a duffle packed lying on the ground next to the body, "let's see what kind of goodies you have brought me."

Among the belongings was a data pad the most recent notification being from a merc group known as the Blood Cross shows that they are hiring. "Hmmm, this seems interesting, would probably be a little more interesting than protecting these tribes anyway" thinking aloud.

Checking all of Drax's pockets before leaving and packing everything into the duffle Min-gi decides that he will make his way to the nearest shuttle station and get off this rock.


After waking up from a unexpecting nap that's was too long. In his opinion he found out that the company he was with disbanded. A little disappointed he when out and found a new gig with a descent aeroframe company that made military aeroframe for there military. he thought to him self if he can blend in and learn how the aeroframe function mechanical and structurally then would have a better chance of being able to make his own with the new knowledge they might give to him move forward with his plans on building his own aeroframe.

when three months go by after hearing about the company being disbanded, He gets a email from the former leader of the company and send it under the group name of Blood Cross. He's reads the name of the email and it spikes his interest a little because he remembered the battle him and Dav went through with all his other companion. As he reads the email that Dav sent him. He read where and when they are meeting up to formally join the Blood Cross. After reading the email Joshua went straight to the manager over him and told him "that the time has come for him move in life and explore what's out there a little". he grabs his gear and stuff out of the locker room and left the company he worked for. Free


Steven left the Company with choice of mecha parts, having time to be hired in a mecha repair shop . Being a major innovative mind, Steven renovated more mecha on his spare time in his garage. Gathering more and more mecha part over the time of being out of the company. He tried to come out of his shell more trying to open up to the people around him. He kept a keen eye on syndicate affairs but stayed out of they eye range knowing he could be of importance to them being back on Vice. It was strange to come back to the place they left. Steven kept food in the belly by repairing and upgrading military and private mecha. This life not one with adventure but one of consistent work and good pay. But having access to mecha from across the galaxy allowed Steven to learn more piloting the mecha, Steven thought to himself "it was much different than being an engineer, to be able to tinker and touch the items you are building piloting is necessary"


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Reservoir System
The Greater Sydenham Metropolis
February 21, 2320

A tall wall surrounded the facility, excluding prying eyes. Only a large metal gate, now currently open, would allow entrance via vehicle or mecha. A smaller wooden building sat nearby, supposedly meant to allow human sized visitors access. Justin, an old hat at recruitment, sat under a rented awning near the bus depot beside the main MECHA facility and in the shade of both the wall and the not so inviting guard building and welcome center.
His dark leather duster brushed the ground as he breathed. He sat upon a folding metal chair of unknown age, rust spots visible on the legs. An equally old metal folding card table sat in front of Justin, a brand new data pad rested on the table in stark relief to the other ancient objects. the tablet, table, and chair were aligned precisely with the main facility. Once just a collection of warehouses and rent-by-the-hour motels, the Sorano family had purchased and renovated this area from the previous slum lord. Once bandits, gangs, and prostitutes, the population of this new fief were given new positions and work. Bandits were recruited for security, gangs into logistics, and the prostitutes into service oriented work. Proper virtue for the newest family in the Virtu family.

Justin had been through this act before. His old pirate outfit had done the same method of recruitment some years ago. And as he suspected, it would attract the same sort of adventurous spirit. He had but to wait as the word was spread by his contacts in the underworld. To be sure, some of the old Forge members would return. But more would be new to the forge, or whatever Dav was calling his vigilante brigade. He didn't really care about the name. He was impatient. All he cared about was to get off planet before Jimmy's sister Sophia found out her "sugar bear" was about to fly the coop. Dodging her advances for a more permanent arrangement while he let her sleep in his bed was getting to be more difficult. Please let enough desperate saps sign on so we can be on our way was all Justin thought as the first bus from the city arrived and the new recruits stepped off the warm and dry bus into the cold wet air...

Muk arrived with his remaining boys in a rusty, beaten up old stripped Atraxian technical. He stepped out of the back and walked up to the awning with his huge suitcase and his dog in a harness on his chest. “’Ello, Justin.” He said, as four more Atraxians jumped out of the vehicle. The last Atraxian drove off and parked the technical in storage, then sprinted back to join the rest.

“Glad da boss is ready to roll out. Been itchin’ to get in Doomcrakka and do some damage, and spread da Word.” Muk said cheerfully. “Need me ta sign us up on da pad?”

Leo also got out of the bus, rubbing the sores in his neck. Having to ride in passenger vehicles for the past four days in seats that were not built for his height was not an enjoyable experience. He approached the table, and signed himself on the pad. Nodding to Justin as he went into the meeting hall.

Justin was never fond of Atraxians. Too disorderly and fanatical for his taste. But this one was more of an exception. Justin liked the big green guy, despite the whole preachiness that was his way. Justin sighed before nodding and responding, "Yes, Muk. You have to sign the pad. Dav's orders. You know how fussy he is about his paperwork."

Jack got off the bus while staring at his data pad. He looked at the bus stop several times to make sure this was the right place. After confirming his location was in fact the right one he took one look around to see where the hell he was supposed to go. After standing there like an idiot for a bit he caught the words 'Doomcrakka, Muk and Dav's Orders'. Recognizing those words from Leo's stories and his message he walked up to the awning and waited for the mass of Atraxians to leave.

Muk nodded and picked up the pad. He signed it with his thumb and instructed his boys to do the same. “Know what ya mean. See ya in da hall.” He said, and he walked into the meeting hall with his boys.

Jack walked up after the mass of muscles and teeth that made up the previous client left. "I'm here to sign up for the Blood Cross?"

Justin sized up the newcomer, a speculative look in his eye. "Are you now?" Justin replied. "And what sort of man is this that wants to join this warband?"

All in all he wasn't much to look at, short and scrawny with very sparse, if utilitarian, clothing. The possible applicant didn't return the speculative look as he seemed to run through a few ideas in his head before opening his mouth at all. "One that has a mech, a need for money and some combat experience."

Justin smiled at the scrawny specimen in front of him as he handed the tablet to Jack. Justin said, "Read the terms, lad. If you are agreeable, make your mark at the bottom."

Jack did actually read the terms and conditions before signing on. This doesn't mean he understood most of the legalese but it was enough for him. He pressed his thumb onto the line leaving about two days worth of rock dust and dirt on the tablet before following where the big mass of green things went.

Lyon rolled up in the Secretary. For a treaded vehicle, it was rather large, plenty of surface area that once hosted scientific instruments were now left empty. He climbed out from one of the hatches, donning a sleek leather cloak in contrast it once was. Lyon also now sported a pair of tough boots in anticipation of the terrain he'd have to traverse in in the near future. He pulled out his data pad to check if this was the right place, but stowed it away as he saw Muk and his retinue, then followed in.

Justin waived the pad at him with a grin. Clearly all were meant to sign.

Lyon took the pad, signed it, and handed it back. "I assume you're Justin. Are you handling the gang's inventory?" He thumbed at the Secretary. "The lady's tough, but she's a tad naked right now. I need to prepare armaments for her as soon as possible."

Justin let out a deep belly laugh before he replied, "This isn't a five star hotel, Lyon. I'm helping Dav out with the paperwork, not parking equipment. We will get everyone settled after the initial meeting and we can get a tech to park it in a berth or something."

Letting the throttle out on his newly acquired M-990 fusion bike he won from a hot head at the local club. Tantus was feeling good. Life was getting back in order working for Dav meant something. Cutting the bike off he walked up to Justin grinning.

"Hello sir is this where I sign the agreement?" Picking up the pad, he signed with a clawed finger. "There done". Grabbing his pipe from his pocket he lit up walking inside. Smelling to see who all was there.

Steven got off the bus, breathed in fresh air from the ride finally coming to a stop, it's been long awaited, three long months. Excitement showed on Steven's face when coming to Justin to sign into the pad. Steven exclaimed, "How's it been Justin, long time no see?"

Justin glanced at the young pup. This was the part he didn't like. Talking to the new pilots who just didn't get it. Couldn't even jump out of a dropship correctly. Justin stood up and took the pad to accept the application. he extended his hand to the young, skinny pilot and took his hand in his large, meaty paw. A deep, knuckle cracking grip remined Steven of the size difference. Justin growled as he smiled, "Welcome back, boyo. I hope you do well this time through. Go ahead and get yourself in the meeting room. I will make sure Scott knows you are back."

Stepping off the shuttle out side of the walled city Min-gi turns to the driver "You couldn't take me inside?" he says with an annoyed tone. "No sir, I am to busy today, then he closes the door and drives off. "Well, shit." looking around to find a way in he sees a small wooden building against the wall beside the massive gate. As he starts making his way to the building he notices a bus pulling up to the gate, thinking that they may be here for the recruitment he jumps on the back of the bus and rides in with them. As the bus arrived at the station he hopped of the back and began looking around, it took no time to find the awning next to the mecha facility.
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With no one having come to pick up Xir, Beast, and the lab, Beast is seen approaching from the distance towards the bus stop holding a strange looking structure that resembles a turtle shell in Beasts arms. With the mildly freaking out bus passengers seeing this 30-foot-tall quadruped creature stop right next to them, Beast lowered its head where Xir disembarks from a blue hatch that opened on the beast’s forehead head. Justin being familiar with Xir’s appearance seems unphased, however those close by are struck by the oddity of the creature before them. Xir is a 7 foot tall quadruped itself with an additional two arms that come out of its shoulder at the torso. Extending from Xir’s back are also two tentacles. Xir has no discernible mouth or even nose. The skin on Xir is a sheet paper white tone with the texture resembling scales. It’s walking motion has a strange fluid step to it that seems to have a weird combination that you would see on a snake and a feline simultaneously. Like a strange outline along its arms, body, and its 3 eyes, is a blue florescent glow. Xir gave a respectful nod to the other former company crew that had already arrived before approaching Justin and the table. The two tentacles are brought up to the protruding bones coming from Xir's skull and the tentacles being to rub vibrating tones that all could hear. “Good Morning Justin, it seems Dav didn’t get my message for the need of a pickup. That’s ok. Are you the one signing us back up for the Blood Cross unit?"

Justin stood and extended his hands to hug the once alien creature, now brother in arms, a huge grin spreading across his face. His twin beard tails waggled as he responded to Xir, "Dav is helping a settlement with a small bandit problem but assures me he will be here within the hour. He asked me to sign in everyone coming back as well as any new recruits. He should be back in time to lead this evenings welcome ceremony and induction of new members."

Xir embraced Justin mimicking the odd behavior so many humanoids seem to do to encourage comfort or companionship. A behavior almost completely foreign to Xir's race. Responding to Justin, "I hope the Captain took support. I see many of the old company isn't here, and I see at least one new face here. Are those missing with him?".

Justin shook his head as he responded, "He said he would be fine. Just some bandits in technicals he said. Chuan went with him as backup as well as Scott. As for those missing, some elected to not return."

Xir shook it's head in understanding. "Some humanoids seem to struggle with the duty and commitment to the whole. I hope my former comrades well. As for us, what is the plan for our unit, or should I wait until tonight for the Captain to tell us?"

Justin replied, "I'm not sure. I know there is to be a quick induction ceremony for the new recruits into the warband and then gear stowage and lift off at 0400. Supplies and fuel have already been purchased and loaded, save the frames from the main hanger and the three out with Dav. I think he means for this to be a milk run, short and sweet. Some trouble with a Vendetta between a pair of minor houses. The details will be opened after we get aboard and underway."


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Reservoir System
February 21, 2320

Dav maneuvered his Dark Horse around a number of trees as he squatted and fired. His movements were practiced and fluid, as compared to both Chuan in a Puma and Scott in another Tiger. Where as Scott kicked rocks and overturned trees and Chuan often missed directed range fire, Dav barely disturbed the surface of road or missed a shot. The temperature in his cockpit was middling warm, the old alcohol based thermometer reading 50 degrees Celsius. The cooling system in his chair was working fine, sending cold chills down his spine. his combat gloves, synched with the AI, tracked his targets highlighted by his rapid eye movement scanned by his helmet heads up display. He held his fire from both his shoulder mounted missile launchers and his large magrail cannon. the plasma and laser cannon attached to his right arm was sufficient for this job, with the help of Scott taking shots and Chuan providing countermeasures and defensive fire. working in an arrow formation, Dav lead the two through the quickly scattering formation of enemies. Chuan and Scott, both rookie pilots at best, let the onboard AI handle as much as possible.

Justin's intel was good, as usual. As reported, the bandits were operating with refurbished technicals and a handful of old battle tanks. Dav brought sufficient missiles to deal with the
battle tanks and conserved the fire on his magrail cannon. In truth, Dav was getting bored with this exercise. He opened comms to both Scott and Chuan as he turned command of the warmachine over to "Sweetie", his AI. "Her" response was, as usual, a chipper drawled "Sure honey. Anything for you, babe." He watched as she assumed control, the ghost in the machine coming to life before linking with the other two machines and unleashed hellfire and brimstone upon the fleeing bandits. The awesome power of the all terrain battleframe was demonstrated once again. Bandit vehicles and bodies alike melted like butter under a blowtorch. in an instant, over a hundred sapient lives were extinguished. In truth, only a well disciplined force or another battleframe in the hands of a capable pilot could match the destructiveness and versatility of the modern battleframe. Once "conventional" forces were the mainstays of the Great houses. garrisons of a million men, with rank upon rank of soldiers, armored fighting vehicles, and various flying craft filled the barracks and hangars of all the Great houses. But that was before the invention of both the Vendetta and the Battleframe. Need an armored fighting vehicle that can perform as well on the fiery surface of Ira as well as upon the frozen ice halls of Acedia or the ocean depths of Vice? Even in space the battleframe performs, if barely adequate. With an average height of ten meters and more firepower than a squadron of ancient battle tanks, the battleframe is the premier weapon of the modern era. Only their expense and expertise in maintenance limited large numbers of battle frames to be deployed by the Great Houses of Reservoir in large numbers.

Dav said, "We done enough to go home and get some grub before we shower off, Chuan? Scott?" Scott responded quickly, looking to get out of the quirky exchange he often found himself in. Scott said, "I'll take the grub if ya buyin, boss. But ima gonna leave that showa to yah missuses, if ya don't mind." Chuan laughed like a yipping chihuahua, both at Scott bowing out and at Dav's offer. Everyone knew Dav was overly modest in front of the "troops" but relaxed much more when a mission was completed or in the presence of either of his wives. As a convert to Broseifism and as a symbol of interracial harmony, Dav had married both the foxlike Chuan and a local human migrant named Jessica. Dav, as was his way, loved and cared for both of them, even though Chuan was what the humans often derided her as a rescue. Little did they know, they were right. Chuan WAS a rescue. A rescue from an Atraxian mob boss running an exotic club of females.

Dav had purchased her debt almost immediately upon hearing about her old life. What john wants to hear about a working girls past she thought at the time. Apparently, Dav was the sort to do that. With the freedom granted by Dav, she committed herself to whatever project or crusade Dav did. When she tried to initially buy her debt back from him after taking his job offer as a dropship pilot with additional favors, Dav denied her. DENIED... her. No man had ever denied her yet kept her around. Treated her as a fully sapient organism with feelings. She still remembered his response that day. He said, "Work hard, little fox Chuan, and I will grant you the freedom to leave as you please." That he also had a superiorly fit body and a kind smile didn't hurt his appeal. That day, She made it her life's work to worship the man and the mind that was Dav SteinBar. Did he have flaws? Sure. But she didn't see them and he didn't seem to see hers. She was brash, aggressive, hypersexual, and territorial. Once a foldship commander in the service of House Castità, she was accomplished in space operations. That she had failed in a merchanting deal gone bad as well as losing a prince of the house to space pirates, death was too good a result. Only the demeaning life of a parlor harlot would satisfy the wife of the Pilastro. With her rescue and promotion, as Dav's space-ops commander, she ruled the both the Dropships Icarus as well as the foldship Helios. She also kept his calendar and, with the help of his other wife Jessica, handled his domestic needs. She would never let another female of any species get their claws, fangs, or whatever into the man and woman she loved, a very closed triad.

"Chuan, are you there? Respond please." Dav chirped in her ear, bringing her back to the here and now. "Yes, love. I'm here. I would love to have a shower after some grub. And don't get those fried grubs like you did last time you said grub. You know I don't care for the salty sort. But you have to promise to brush my fur as well as feed me. It is my turn you know."

Scott just shook his clean shaven ebony head, glad to be a confirmed bachelor and man of science and food rather than women. No matter what race or augmentation they have, women were trouble and expensive. He shuddered to think of the expense of keeping up one woman in a manner she was accustomed to, let alone two. That both worshiped the ground he walked on both unnerved him and controlled nearly every facet of his life chilled him. Dav could have it. Scott would take a finely grilled fat bass and a new frame actuator to tinker with any day of the year than deal with being domesticated. Gods alive, he hoped there wasn't any more women folk in this new batch of recruits. It was almost more than he could bear.

Not long after the agreed upon time, the triplet of battle frames returned to the carry all and began the short flight back to the main MECHA facility. With the payment deposited in the Blood Cross coffers for the clearing out of the bandits, They were ready to go back into space.
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Reservoir System
The Greater Sydenham Metropolis
February 21, 2320

With the setting down of the Carry all, Dav had Scott and Chuan handle overseeing the transfer and stowing of their gear. Dav kissed Chuan on her muzzle, her nose warm and moist, before pressing his forehead to hers. Then he was all business, his imposing presence directed towards the meeting hall; the new and the returning warriors of the Blood Cross.

Justin, seeing the carry all land with Dav's signature paint schemed Tiger, the Dark Horse, started to gather the milling about warriors with a loud bellow. They had been feasting for the last hour and Justin was counting the coin as each platter of mutton and flagon of mead flowed from the adjunct kitchen. Run by the Sorano family, as were nearly all business in this part of Sydenham, MECHA catering and fine dining were one part reputable business, one part household attaché, and one part Virtu mob family. Justin knew the rates they charged. That's why Dav did this job for them, to cover the expense of this welcome ceremony. He surely hoped the Blood Cross warriors appreciated the gesture. Only Dionysius would know how much this cost.

Justin, seeing no one heeding the call, grabbed a passing flagon of ale. In. One deep draught, he emptied the large steel pitcher. With a deep belch, he began to rhythmically pound the table with the pitcher as he began a rousing sea shanty.

Dolly, in the most jovial mood the miner had been in the past year, added his attempts at singing to the sea shanty. Though whether what came out of his mouth could be called singing is something best left to the imagination.

With the patron of this feast making the first gesture, Lyon followed suit out of courtesy, gently sipping on a glass of ale, then took a bite out of the mutton. Upon realizing the quality of the meat, and that he's been living rather modestly for the past months, using settling with a box of ramen and a protein bar, the scrawny man dug in, slurping away at slices of the delicacy.

Dav entered the large meeting hall. The hall was adorned with blood red crosses over windows and long half log benches and tables. Dav moved through the hall, shaking hands and deep hugs. With the lady warriors, the hugs lingered longer as well as the lady hands wandering. With neither Chuan nor Jessica in attendance, some thought to make a play for the third seat which was currently unoccupied. When Dav reached the table set for his returning pilots, he made himself comfortable between Muk and Justin. Funny how sitting between an oversized Atraxian and a giant pirate would make the rank and file back away.

"So Dav," Lyon spoke up between bites, "Trying to get your hands bloody again? Figured that you'd settle down and live a peaceful life with your family."

"Never as long as there is evil lurking in the shadows, my friend", he replied.

Smiling with his mouth of teeth. Tantus picked the leg of roasted mutton clean. Savoring each bite, he tasted rosemary, basil, gin-gin, and salt. It was scrumptious.

Drinking the ale down he elated, "I got my mech back, Dav. finally I don't have to borrow. It'll be dropped off soon." With a fat belch, he pushed the scant bone away, lighting his pipe. awaiting Dav's response. Dav nodded. Tantus was a known quality around the Blood Cross. Dav replied, "I hope it arrives soon. Chuan and Jessica are coordinating the final loading and stowage for the Icarus. We leave as soon as they are ready. I'm not brave enough to tell them to wait... Are you?"

"As long as your their to brother." Slamming another container of ale. He took a long drag savoring the moment. "When we get thru with all this I'll check where it is."

Muk had almost finished eating when Dav walked in. His dog Barbfang ran over to Dav and greeted him with a single bark, following him as he found a seat. Seeing Dav wasn’t going to pick him up, he walked over to his bed and flopped down. A whole sheep on a platter had been reserved for Muk, and one of his underlings that was about the size of a small child brought him over slabs of meat. The little Atraxian scurried over with a plate full of liver with a side of brains. Muk patted it on the head and took the plate, thumping it down on the table.

“’Ey, Dav! Glad to see ya finally came to yer senses!” He shouted, stuffing a full half of the sheep brain in his mouth. “We needs to get back at it, like I’s been sayin’.” Muk finished, accidentally spitting a chunk of brain onto the table as he spoke.

Xir sat at the reserved table, on it's hind legs like a cat, at the far end from Muk and Justin. This was mostly to know that it wouldn't be trapped if it needed to move quickly. Using it's tentacles, Xir drank from it's large pitcher of water as well as sucked down plain mushrooms from a huge bowl. Though Xir hasn't been given it's old job back officially, Xir still placed itself to be a cooler/security if needed. That's the natural tendency of it's race and Xir's personality. When Xir's glowing eyes made eye contact with Dav after he sat down, Xir slowly lowered it's head in respect to the Captain then raised it's head up.

Joshua obviously a tad late to the meeting he sign the tablet that he once read and signed before this one and put it back down on the table where he grabbed it from. He turned toward the door where he thinks that's where the meeting is being held at. he turns with a bag on his shoulder and his sidearm in his tactical holster on his left thigh and his case with his rifle in it. He walks to the door of the half and almost immediately he heard Muk's voice and he though yup its the right place and walked in with his stuff in toe and walked to a table were he could sit. he dropped his stuff next to the chair an went to the bar to get a drink and some food And waited for the meeting to fully start.

Steven watching the feast and followed suit of the patrons but making sure to grab a heaping pile of food to sit back down to, the bus drive making him hungry. Steven sitting beside Xir trying to nervously start conversation with the glowing being "Hiya, Xir, Been doing good these past months?"

Looking down on the small human, Xir realizes that it has had little to no interaction with Steven. Understandably, the technology is completely incompatible. Which triggered a thought, I wonder if it is as incompatible as My race has always assumed. Xir responds, " I went home. It was long past time to check in. Do you have any new projects in the works to add to the unit?"

Steven smiled " always! So Xir have you ever thought about making a bio mechanical mecha before, I've seen lots if designs of mecha in my shop that I worked at for some time, it's an idea, always in the back of my mind, what do you think about it?"

Xir took a moment obviously think about it. " To what end Steven?" Lets see where this goes.

Steven started "if the difference between the beast and our mech is flesh and steel, how far fetched would it to integrate biological parts into our mecha, here is an example " if we trade out our targeting systems and out for biological sensors, EMP and ECM would no longer affect our mecha" I understand saying and doing these two things are harder than theory" Steven paused gathering Xir's ideas and wisdom

Xir looked down on Steven. “It shows great character young Humanoid that your first request is technology that would be passive by nature instead of weapons. Unfortunately, this unit hasn’t proven to me yet that they are trustworthy to use my races technology. Yes some of it ii basic like sensor’s but eventually you will see technology unlike anything you have ever seen. When or if the day comes that you and the Blood Cross prove to me and my superiors your trustworthiness, then and only then will we give that technology freely. I’m sorry young one. That Is my final answer on this.”

Tantus exhaled " Sorry to interject but also bio weaponry has it's own mind its living. You humanoids have a habit of trying to tame or control things. Entire races have been created because of the recklessness. Me personally I'm happy with Xir having the only bio weaponry in the cross."

Steven looked at both Xir and Tantus " this is true, I cannot argue a blaring fact, but both innovative and the hardheaded will is something us humans are very adept at even in the worst of times. I do agree that it is best to keep with Xir, I respect that your decision Xir.

Tantus smiled "Good man. But I like the gumption you had. I'll try to look out for anything you might could want tech wise." Slapping Steven on the back, he walked off.
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Reservoir System
The Greater Sydenham Metropolis
February 21, 2320

Dav feasted with his warriors for a short time. He packed in the calories and fluids to replenish his reserves burned during the short skirmish earlier that day. Roasted meats were chased by electrolyte replenishment sports drinks. He never knew when the next battle would happen and had seen careless warriors succumb to dehydration faster than enemy weapons. Dav resolved long ago to never be one of those sort of warrior. After eating his fill, Dav stood. Gesturing to his self appointed bodyguards, Dav walked up a hastily constructed platform heretofore unused.

Muk finished chewing, swallowed, and stood up from his large wooden chair. He gulped down his mead, belched loudly, then slammed his massive flagon on the table. He grinned, exposing two rows of razor sharp teeth. With a renewed vigor, he walked over to the podium and stood behind Dav on his right.

He walked to the podium centered in the middle and turned the microphone on. A shrill noise emanated from the hidden speakers, alerting the company something new was happening. A pair of drunken marines ignored the call, beginning a fist fight over a shield maiden's attention, her face and arms scarred from fire and battle. Dav directed Xir to quell the disturbance with a nod.

Already in motion as Dav gave his command, Xir made surprising speed to the two-fighting marine’s. With a single whip of Xir’s tail at one of the men’s legs, he landed hard on his back. The second marine in utter shock looked up at the intensely glowing creature in front of him, he raised his hands up in surrender taking slow steps back. The first man on his back rolled away from the threat in agile manor connected to his military training, but thought better of pushing back on this strange creature in front of him. Xir decided it was better to continue standing among the crowed for the duration of the Captains announcements and briefing of the newly signed on Blood Cross members.

After the room quieted, all eyes were upon Dav. Dav pressed a touchpad laid upon the podium. Dav strode around the podium as the lights darkened. Slowly, the lights bathed the room in a blood hue. A hidden projector cast the flag of the Blood Cross upon the walls.

Dav spoke, his solemn tone clear a penetrating. He said, "Welcome back, warriors of The Blood Cross. It is time to renew our blood pact. Time to forge new bonds. Time to welcome new warriors. Time to train and time to ready our weapons for glory and honor. Gather the Wokeskalds. For honor!"

Dav drew his dagger in his right hand, his left bare. Jessica and Chuan brought out a heavy, wrought iron brazier. A golden bowl sat above a coal fed fire, the small flames almost invisible. Once the hearth was placed before the Locidas, Dav drew his blade across his palm. The blade cut over several similar scars easily, drawing a well of blood in his palm. He held the bloody hand over the brazier, a drop escaping his palm, sizzling on the hot metal. He said, "My lord Bro'seif, hear my calls and witness my offering to God. I seal myself to your shield, that I might defend all of sapient kind." Another drop fell as Dav rotated his hand slowly, closed and palm down.

He continued, "Saint Bellerophon, witness my offering to God. I seal myself to your sword, that I might slay the monsters plaguing sapient kind." Dav released his hand, a pool of blood falling from his outstretched hand. Flames and steam escaped as the protein laden fluids connected with the searing metal. Dav raised both hands in fists, blade in his right hand. Before any could react, Both Chuan and Jessica drew blades and repeated Dav's oaths, seasoning the brazier with their own blood. Others filed up the platform in succession. They spoke the oaths, spilled the blood, and showered the brazier in offerings.

Lyon stood up and subtly followed suit, raising his chalice, then set it down, before picking up a dagger offered to him on the table. He walked over the brazier and quietly spoke the oath to himself and sliced his own hand, dripping the blood into the brazier. Lyon then wrapped the wound with a handkerchief.

Muk walked up to the brazier and held up his cybernetic left hand. It twisted and turned until it became three sharp metal claws. He drew a claw across his right palm, drawing a well of green blood. He held his bloody hand over the brazier. “Lord Bro’seif, hear my calls an’ witness my offering ta God. I seals myself to your shield, that I may defend all of sapient kind.” Muk boomed.

Drops of green blood dripped into the flame as he turned it over, still closed. "Saint Bellerophon,” he continued. “Witness my offering to God. I seals myself to your sword, that I might slay the monsters plaguing sapient kind." He opened his hand. A rush of green blood hit the brazier, releasing a cloud of smoke and filling the room with an earthy smell. He wrapped a cloth around his hand and returned to his spot behind Dav.

Jack came up to the brazier holding his rather plain combat knife in his right hand, carefully cutting his left palm he let the blood drip into the heat. He spoke the oath before pressing his fist to his chest and then to his elbow before stepping aside and pulling a small wad of gauze out of his pack and wrapping the cut.

Leo followed the others, cutting his left hand open and repeating the oath as the blood drippled onto the brazier. Upon finishing it, he beat his fist against his chest twice, them once against his elbow. A Miner expression, one that symbolized agreement

Shifting up the steps to the brazier he removed his coat from his left shoulder grabbing his dagger he slit a 3 inches hole in his arm. The orange blood flowed down his arm. He recited the oath. The first droplet hit the hot steel and ignited. "Relax it's the magnesium in my blood." The blood stopped flowing the hole was healing fast leaving a small scar.

Joshua takes his Combat knife out and Walks to the brazier and cuts his left hand that he squeezed to ensure that blood flowed from it hit the brazier and repeat the oath like the other comrades he saw doing it and when he finished the oath then beat his fist against his chest when he finished and then stood with his comrade that he hadn't seen since the long nap.

Steven walked up to the brazier and cut his left hand, repeats the oath confidently, beating his chest, standing with the people he called friends, Steven thought to himself "Its been a long three months that's for sure"

Xir waited to last to swear its oath of service to the Blood Cross. Once it approached the iron brazier, Xir took it a different direction. Placing its hand against the heated brazier, sizzling and the smell of burnt flesh permeated the air. With Xir noticeably struggling to uses the tentacles to speak through the pain it said, “I swear before my comrades and unit that I will uphold to the duty that is passed down from the Preeminent. I hold true that I will protect those here as if they are my racial kin and will place this unit under that umbrella until that duty is released from me by my death or by those who stand my superior.” Xir then removed the now black and blistered palm of its hand from the brazier. Ignoring the shocked look on the faces across the Blood Cross members, Xir moved directly back to its seat where it placed its painful hand into the cooling water of the water pitcher.
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Reservoir System
The Greater Sydenham Metropolis
February 21, 2320

After the blooding ceremony, the company began the process of mustering. Tables were cleared, half eaten meats and plates pushed into battered aluminum trash cans. In moments the hall was cleaned and cleared, the drunken members carried fireman style out of the hall. As one, the group left the hall and began to follow their squad leaders. The mecha and frame pilots gathered beside Dav, as well as the unassigned new Cross warriors.

Dav clapped his hands for attention, eyes beginning to focus upon the leader. Dav said, "If you are a tech or maintenance, follow Scott. He will show you what needs doing. If you are a marine , follow Xir. He will show you what we need for security and personnel stowage. Frame pilots, follow Muk. He will get you and your frame settled in the Icarus. Ship staff, follow Chuan and Jessica. They will get you settled. Liftoff window is in six hours. Briefing is in 24. Lets make it happen people.

Jack both liked and disliked this set of orders. He liked it because it was easy to understand, gave him a goal, and made the order of who to ask questions too clear. What he disliked about this was the logistical problem caused by him having parked his mech in a warehouse near the space port and the issue of transporting the multi-ton piece of equipment to a yet unspecified ship within a six hour timeframe.

Deciding that it would be best to fill in that blank spots in this equation like. Where this ship was? and was there a transport he could borrow? the miner turned to the massive pile of green and muscle and waited for it to do something.

Dumping his pipe out he packed it with dry brown powder. Lighting and inhaling he pulled the pad out his coat pocket.

It light up with life, a dull blue color in his palm. Touching the call icon, Tantus rang the courier. "Evening Nadier. Where's my suit?" An enthusiastic chirp responded, "Hello my friend. Everything is on schedule. We should be unloading in 3 to 4 Hours."

Tantus frowned, "Nadier lets keep it closer 3. I'm on a timeline."

There was an audible Pause, "Yes sir, but there may be an additional charge for the rush."

Tantus felt the anger begin to grow as his voice grew soft, "Nadier, you still running supplies for the clans on Vasiilla Prime?"

"Why yes I am. Why?" Nadier asked, puzzled.

Tantus smiled to himself, "I just thought it'd be a shame if they realized you were supplying them all as they fought a civil war over their land. Have it here in 3 hours. No more money." Tantus cut the pad off and joined the rest of the group for Muk's briefing.

Following Dav’s orders, Muk stood over to one side with his boys behind him. Once everyone had gathered he spoke. “Alright, some of yous' have done dis before. You boys can go on, get your mechs an’ take em to the ship.” Muk said, waving a hand at the door.

“Splats!” He bellowed. “I take dat blood oath seriously. Ya betray Dav’s trust and he might forgive ya, but I won’t. He won’t let me kill ya, so’s I will just break yer arms, got it?” Muk said dangerously.

His expression relaxed and he continued. “Right. Follow me an’ my boys dis one time. Next time ya can do it yerself. If yer mech ain’t in the MECHA warehouse, ya got a few hours ta get it ‘ere. We got transports you can use, ask Scott. If it is in our warehouse, come with me. We’re gonna walk em to the ship.” Muk said.

He turned and gestured to his little Atraxian follower. “Take care of Barbfang.” He barked, and the little guy ran back to the hall. Muk waved everyone forward and led them to the MECHA warehouse they were renting.

“Okay splats, mount up and let’s move out. Bring your mech to the entrance and follow me to the ship.” Muk said. He said, walking to his mech and climbing up into the cockpit.

Using hand gestures, Xir directed the Marines as well as any former unit security guards to follow to the Blood Cross guard housing area. With Xir already easily a foot taller than even the tallest marine, it used blue light from both its tentacle ends in a shocking flash to get everyone’s attention. Once silence overcame the crowed, and some actually went to knee for the back row to see, Xir began.
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With surprising loudness from the tentacle’s rubbing against Xir’s protruding skull bones, Xir spoke to the crowed. “For some of you this isn’t the first time you have heard this, but listen up everyone anyways. Never hurts to have a refresher. I follow 3 simple rules. One!! Never underestimate you opponent. Anyone and everyone is able to do you damage or kill you. Expect the unexpected. Two!! Never take on someone one on one, especially in an enclosed space. Take it outside if at all possible and use back up. Three!! Be Nice… This is not personal. It is just a job. You are securing our place and people. You are the Bouncers for the Blood Cross. You control the situation but BE NICE. I am the Cooler. You are the bouncers. It is my job to decided when things escalate, not yours. In time I might promote some of you to be Coolers once I see you have the skills and temperament to do it, but you are Bouncers until then.”

Xir Continues, “Now on the occasion that we go on missions. I know many of you are marines so you understand mission protocols. This wont me new to you, however for those that don’t have official training, either I or someone I trust will be assigned to you for training or to be your partner.” Xir waits while a bunch of marines make lewd noises. “You are apart of the Blood Cross unit now. It is our Duty to support each other. Protect Each other. It is expected, and in doing so you will have a support that you never knew you could have. Find your sleeping quarters in the security section when we arrive at the Icarus. You will need to be close if needed. I will start individual interviews in 3 hours. Meet back here then and form a line so we can get started. For some it will be fast others it will take a little time. Now get out of here and get settled. Welcome to the Blood Cross!!”

As the rest of the mecha pilots followed Muk towards the warehouse where they stored the mechs, Jack took one look for anyone that was probably a techie or maintenance personnel. It didn't take long to deduce which group it was as, people gathered into their respective groups.

Under the assumption that the quadraped wasn't named Scott the short miner joined the gaggle of people around Scott and waited for a polite time to ask a question.

After a quick get your personal stuff, get to the hangar to load up on the buses, Scott acknowledged Jack with a country drawl, "need some help here, fella?"

Jack nodded hurriedly before talking "Yes I do. Specifically, I need help transporting my mech from a warehouse near the spaceport to the ship. Muk told me you could help?" Jack tried to suppress the reaction to activate his helmet and hide his face as he spoke.

Scott responded, "We will send you with the MECHA carry all. Give me five minutes to arrange it but be quick. The lady Chuan does not like to wait for stragglers. Unlike Dav, she is pirate through and through. Those that fall behind get left behind. Be quick, lad."

after orders were issued Steven grouped up with Scott, and waited for the issues or announcements to be given, knowing how it usually works, especially in blood cross. he did notice a new person, and tried to strike up conversation with Jack " So what made you join blood cross?"

Cutting into their conversation, Scott said to Steven as he wrapped a big bear of an arm around Steven's neck, "Jawing again, Steven? I'm volunteering you to help our new splat out. Go with him and see that he makes it back to the Icarus. I will get the other boys..." Scott laughed a hearty laugh, the alcohol still fresh on his breath before continuing, "to see to your stuff." Once done, he released the young man and opened his communicator to the MECHA carryall.

Steven ignoring the fresh smell of alcohol, smiled big, and said "Will do" to Scott, heading to the MECHA carryall ushering Jack to follow him towards the direction. While walking with Jack, Steven asked " so what do you drive, mecha I mean, with a little awkwardness to his voice and some curiosity"

Jack followed Steven closely as to not lose him in the rush of people moving about. It took him a second to realize he had even been asked a question, but once he had the answer came quickly "A retrofitted mining mech. The type we used to herd asteroids out in the belt." Once they got to the transport Jack gave directions to where he had parked his mech.

Steven quite intrigued, "I've seen some of them, I love the look of them. I've always had a hand in mecha engineering, the technology being as profound and interesting, and as if thinking out loud, And never thought I would pilot the very technology I spent many years helping engineer myself." Steven smiled "well welcome to blood cross, my name is Steven Heartsul" holding out his hand to shake, as a gesture of friendship

Joshua look slightly confused as for Dav did not give any instruction specific on to where he should be head to load up in a aero frame and where are the other aero frames pilots at what what should he be don

Since he was one of the older ones, Leo went on to the Sagi to get it prepped. Leo climbed into his own mech in the warehouse to get moved in, still a it tipsy from the ceremony. He decided to activate the drug injector, usually meant to sharpen the mind during combat but it did help with drunkenness' too. Leo piloted the mech to the ship slowly and carefully, following any of the tech's guidance.

Lyon followed Sagi and separated from the group of pilots, returning a few minutes later rolling up the Secretary and into the Icarus. The ship's hanger wasn't exactly made for handling rovers, but it didn't need to be. He looked around for some spare rope and metal, then got to work mounting wheel stops to the floor where the Secretary was parked, afterwards further strapping it down with the help of overhanging cranes.

Once that was all done Lyon found a spot to mess with his data pad, reconfiguring the Secretary for combat.


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Reservoir System
The Greater Sydenham Metropolis
February 21, 2320

While the MECHA facilities were near the Greater Sydenham Star Port, there was still a broad open space between the facilities and the starport, and by extension, the Icarus. The Icarus was the home away from home for the Blood Cross, a gigantic blood red spheroid of a dropship standing in its blast berth, thick blast shields ten meters tall and over three meters thick of reinforced concrete. Dav was once again in his mecha, the Dark Horse. Through AI direction and waypoint finding, the whole of the Blood Cross was lined up, ready to move out in column. What last minute supplies and personal belongings not already stowed in the Icarus were piled upon a dozen Flat bed prime movers, including the two remaining Eagle Claw Aeroframes not sold. Last minute Missiles, cannon cartridges, power packs, and spare parts, stowed in standard cargo containers. The most valued of cargo, the people of the Blood Cross, filed into half a dozen armored buses. This was a courtesy of MECHA and the long standing relationship between Justin and Jimmy Sorano, head of the Sorano family. This was a reasonable precaution, protecting the people of the Blood Cross. Just last week the Crimson Lions were challenged to a Vendetta from a rival Warband and lost. The stakes: the technical personnel of the Lions. Dav didn't expect such trouble for their departure, picking the graveyard hour for this reason. His people were rested, if still a bit drunk. But better safe than sorry. With a signal, the convoy moved out with Dav in the lead, a short drive or walk of less than a dozen kilometers to their home.

As one, they moved out, quickly traversing the short distance. When they approached the Icarus, Dav and Muk moved to defensive positions as the other mecha and vehicles filed into the spaceship. Berths were marked and filed into personal data pads and communicators. Like an orchestra, Chuan and her personal AI "Buttercup" directed the traffic into the Icarus in an efficient manner.

Lyon followed Sagi and separated from the group of pilots, returning a few minutes later rolling up the Secretary and into the Icarus. The ship's hanger wasn't exactly made for handling rovers, but it didn't need to be. He looked around for some spare rope and metal, then got to work mounting wheel stops to the floor where the Secretary was parked, afterwards further strapping it down with the help of overhanging cranes.

Once that was all done Lyon found a spot to mess with his data pad, reconfiguring the Secretary for combat.

Once Beast, Piloted by Xir, entered the Icarus they found their old birth. Still wired with UV heat lamps above it, and the obvious remanence of the mounting points for the bio-lab where still where Xir left them. Placing the bio-lab in position, unseen claws clamped down on the anchors in the floor and wall. Disembarking through the blue tinged hatch on Beasts head, Xir left Beasts cubby hole set aside from the other mecha hangers. Beast makes a purring like sound in acknowledgment of it being home, before it curled up in the corner of its rediscovered home right next to the bio-lab. Xir activates the UV lamps to radiate on Beast before it takes the lift to the command deck to wait for the soon to come briefing of our next mission.

Tantus switch his mech to auto to follow Xir. It felt so good to be in Ophidian again. The fitted chair and functioning Coolant system was euphoric. Ophidian stepped up on the ramp to enter the Icarus. Inhaling Tantus switched auto off and eased her into her baby near Xir.

Running diagnostics program he grabbed his tablet and exited. Climbing down he whispered " Protect me my find I'll never mistreat you."

Leo made sure the mech was secured down, and climbed out with some supplies he had inside. He almost lived out of the mech bay, so he brought a few things to help with it. Putting up a basic workbench and some cots, a place to store some food and some of his personal belongings, he made sure it was all back where they were before he laid down to rest his half-drunk mind in a cot.

Jack's body sat motionlessly in his mech's cockpit, the hissing and whirring of hydraulics came as he tried to park the quadrupedal mech in a berth made for thinner bipedal mechs. He had some ideas about magnetizing to the wall with two of his legs and sitting at an angle but that seemed like it would be just inviting trouble. The small cameras that acted as Jack's eyes looked at the area designated to him and knew this was going to take a while.

Eventually Jack was able to fit the Galvaneer into the space. It looked a bit weird with the massive railgun pointing directly up and the legs pressed as tight against the body as they were able to, but the mech fit. The magnetic clamps on the feet held it in place as the hydraulics depressurized and Jack exited the mind interface.

After bringing in Jack's mecha, Steven went to Mute, checking over his data pad and sitting in the cockpit, knowing that it has been far too long since the last action he has seen with her Steven thinking to himself "Its been far too long" He moved the sleek blue and silver mecha on to the deck, the mecha giving off a silent hum unlike other mecha of it's variant, it showed pristine craftsmanship. Mute had a crossed out what would be mouth underneath the pilot cockpit glass. The crossed out mouth showed the the use for the mecha, to isolate the enemy. On the shoulders of the mecha showed the sign of the blood cross, while the left leg showed the emblem of its pilot: a coiled dragon.

Muk stood guard in Doomcrakka as the rest of the Blood Cross mechs boarded the Icarus. He checked the readings from his helmet’s heads up display. His neural interface was functional, but his brain hadn’t adapted fully to the absorption of the mech’s information.

Muk’s Crushah had originally been stripped of AI systems and designed so he could pilot without a direct interface. He had learned how much of an edge the AI assistance gave a mech pilot from his battle with Dav and the other battles with interfaced pilots.

Doomcrakka started out as a hodgepodge of mech parts. Now it was beginning to take on its own identity. It was essentially an armored cockpit with arms, a big cannon on one side, and digitigrade legs. One arm was equipped with a chainsaw instead of a hand and the other ended in two plasma cannons. The mech was painted in Blood Cross black and red with silver accents.

Once the last mech had boarded, Muk moved Doomcrakka up the ramp and into its berth. He shut down the reactor, pulled off his helmet and disconnected the jack from the back of his neck. Muk opened the back of the cockpit and climbed out. He walked to his quarters at the end of the mech bay and entered it to take a quick bathroom break.

Once all of the personnel and equipment was aboard the Icarus, Chuan settled into the Captain's chair and ordered "Buttercup" to activate their approved flight plan and obtain clearance from the tower AI to lift off. A thrill coursed up Chuan's spine. She absolutely loved a high gravity lift off, the memory of the tingle of blood rushing to her abdomen. She settled in and connected her mind to the ship's neural interface, an ornate woven gold threaded 4 millimeter thin neuro-cable she plugged into the base of her skull.

When the plan was approved, she indicated to Buttercup to signal the crew and launch with a five minute warning. Chuan commanded her chair laid back as she assumed a supine position. She melded with the Icarus AI, also called Icarus... personified by a young and attractive male [elf] hologram. The minutes rolled by as her incorporeal mind explored both the interior and exterior of the Icarus, looking at the readiness of all systems, both personal and equipment. She found Dav, still in his Battleframe resting in a supine position awaiting liftoff. She caressed his face, sending him an audible "I love you, honey. lift off in one minute. See you for dinner."

Dav smiled but stayed silent, knowing Chuan was already off, back into the ether.





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When the timer expired, Chuan commanded Icarus to lift off at 3 earth gravities.
Like being choked softly by her lover, The Icarus blasted off. A building began to climb, energy building as the Icarus accelerated at a constant three gravities, first overcoming the ambient gravity of Vice, then pushing up and out of the atmosphere. Despite its immense size and bulk, the ship rattled during liftoff. Even with the extensive repairs completed almost 6 months ago, there was still a little play in his joints. Chuan made a mental note and sent out a memo to Scott and his engineering crew to inspect hull struts 58 thru 65.

Up through the thick, wet, Atmosphere the Icarus rose, balanced upon six small stars of fusion exhaust. Condensation formed upon the dense, red, ceramic armored plated hull and collected in the welded seams before evaporating when the Icarus rose far above the clouds below.

Chuan checked her mission clock, started upon lift off. 5 minutes had passed. She checked the position instruments and found they had escaped the gravity well of Vice. She directed the Icarus towards the crowded space berths and orbital docks where the recommissioned Star Traveller awaited them. She announced space maneuvering to the Blood Cross with an additional three minute shelter in place order.

With a slight longing to be rectified later by Dav, she cut the high gravity burn and began maneuvering. She turned and rolled the Icarus, positioning him to connect with the Icarus's fourth docking collar. She let Icarus and Buttercup handle the calculations as well as communicate with Star Traveller for final maneuvering. The Icarus began an almost 1 gravity slowing burn, restoring "normal" gravity to the Icarus.

In Response, the Star Traveller began casting off from the orbital docks, also owned by the Sorano Family. Chuan frowned, little trust held for Jimmy and his hired dog, Justin. The Sorano family was dangerous, as dangerous as any great house and more than a common crime family. They were ambitious, motivated, and supremely manipulative. She hoped they didn't melt their wings flying high for the Sorano family, seeking their fortunes.

Muk finished using the bathroom just in time for the launch. He settled down in his burn couch and connected himself to the harness. A needle popped out and injected him with the cocktail designed to keep people from passing out during a burn. Once they were back in 1G he unstrapped himself and made a sandwich with multiple layers and over three pounds of meats, settling down for a snack.

He turned on last Sunday’s sermon from the Church of the Risen Savior. It was about loving your enemies as you love yourself, a concept he was struggling with. It went against the brutal lessons he’d learned from living on Atraxis. He was beginning to grasp the core concepts of the religion but he didn’t yet see the merit to them. While he ate he listened to the preacher’s words and tried to discern the meaning.

Xir was able to make it to the command deck in time before the launch occurred. Xir wasn’t surprised to not see the Captain up on the command deck. He trusted others to do their job, especially the Icarus commander. Xir having the size and the multiple appendages made it unlikely to find a seat for itself on the command deck, yet much to Xir’s surprise there was one installed sense the last time it was on the command deck. Designed looking similar to a chaise lounge chair, Xir settled placing its chest against the back of the chair and settling its weight down on the body of the chair, the tentacle’s strapped in the buckles to secure Xir for the lift off. Xir really didn’t feel much of the 3 times earth gravity forces on the launch. 3 g was actually closer to the gravity that Xir was uses too. Over hearing talk earlier, Xir wasn’t sure about working for a Vice family or not. The syndicates approached Xir before because of the Cooling it did in multiple bars on Vice. Xir turned them down then. Now it seems that they may have gotten their claws in the Blood Cross. Xir couldn’t help but wonder if this was a good idea.

During the launch Beast slept, enjoying the UV light radiating on it’s skin, charging up its cells. Just to be sure Beast didn’t slide on the sleek steal flooring, it activated a gravity point to help secure itself to the floor.

After the 3 g launch, Lyon met Xir up in the command deck and strapped himself in. His cloak fell in the direction of Icarus' thrust as it docked with the Star Traveller, while his eyes were glued to the data pad. The Secretary was a well redesigned rover. It definitely can't handle any heavy armaments, but it should be able to support electronic hardpoints. The question now is, what's going to be the next mission and what is Blood Cross' current inventory? Acclimating to Xir, a truly alien species, in the background, Lyon prodded at the organization and the ship's database while coming up with a combination of accessories he'll have to attack to the Secretary.

Jack was very lucky that he was still in his cockpits control seat when the ship started moving. Being from an asteroid colony where gravity was more a luxury than necessity, he found it extremely hard to breathe under the three Gs' that the ship was pressing onto him. His seat took the brunt of the force cushioning the relatively weaker human but breathing was still a challenge.

The small pilot did survive the launch without breaking anything or suffocating, but he didn't bother to get out of his cockpick even after the force reduced to a tolerable 1g. Dolly just laided there in his chair and let his ribs loosen up a bit.

Smiling Tantus looked at the mechs squatting from the force Chuan launched with. The pressure was intense but his body wasn't phased. Striking his lighter over and over. The bastard refused to light closing he smiled "For fucks sake should've got electric coil." Off to his quarters he went, waiting for the briefing orders once they docked with the Star traveler.

Leo unbuckled and went back to the bays to make sure all of his things were still secured down. As he checked, he heard something move next to the Sagi. Inspecting the noise, the saw what looked like a long, blue creature curiously sniffing the foot of the mech. When it saw Leo, it let of a small yelp and scampered away, cowering underneath a large cargo container. Leo had never seen a creature like that, it must have stowed away while they were loading up the ship and it had looked quite malnourished. He was eventually able to lure it out with a piece of a protein bar he had, letting the creature eat in hungrily as he inspected it.

"What are you?" He asked aloud as he stared at it. The creature was dragon-like, long with a yellow mane that went all the way to its tail. Short antlers were on its head, along with two long whickers on its snout. It stared it him as it ate, and when it was done it looked at him pleadingly. When Leo stood back up, the creature sniffed at his feet. It suddenly jumped up, surprising Leo as it climbed up his back and onto his shoulder. It sniffed curiously and licked his cheek, which lead to him laughing to even his own surprise. He decided internally that maybe it wouldn't be too bad to keep this thing around, what's the worse that could happen? "Well, I'll guess I'll let you hang with me... Hendricks. Yeah, Hendricks."

Dav acknowledged the shelter in place order via AI message and decided to take a nap and consider the future of the Blood Cross. Several Vendettas had been posted to the MECHA work boards, but he was waiting for a good one. One where the ideals are brought forward. One where there is less of a grey area of corporate competition and more of a defense of the week and downtrodden. He expected one would come down soon. They always do. The powerful couldn't help themselves. The victims wouldn't remain silent.