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"GINGER SNAP"

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"Damn shame about the crew, " said Lark with the lazy drawl, "as for Salvage, I can probably arrange something for you with the council they always need hulls for city expansion. Ain't got much use for working starships though. You might be better off taking it to a coalition world and trying to offload it there."

He takes off his hat and scratches his head looks at Maverick then back to the Apostate finely settling his gaze on Madeline. "You say the cargo is gone and you found the ship drifting. That was highly volatile cargo you have to have heavily specialized equipment to off load that stuff in space. That cargo was very important not to mention expensive and my client is't going to be pleased, no siree, not a'tall."

He looks back at Maverick for several seconds then at the Apostate. "Maverick you think you can find these people? They ain't gonna be here on Sanctuary. This the only ships to make ground fall since your skinny ass got here."

 

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Maverick pursed her lips, then said, "Maybe. Probably, given time. Before we go much further, lets talk about the other elephant in the room."

She nodded at Madeline seen through he glass sitting in the other room.

"Who is she and why is she in there?"

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The Apostate looked back to the glass, twisting his body to face the glass.  "Fare.  You wanna know who she is?  You're grown, go ask her yourself."

Jericho laughed, amused.  "Yeah, people call me 'The Apostate'... that'll go over great on a Coal world.  Whomever is responsible, they had the tools, the talent, and the funding to pull it off.  They're professionals, my money would be on Coalition, by the why's are not coming together.  Seems a bit too brutal, even for those hard in the paint fanatics.  At any rate, if she can find them," he motioned to 'Maverick'.  Then he motioned to himself and Penny.  "We can probably get your shipment back.  Perhaps even visit a little justice on those responsible"

"Why don't we back burner the ship for now, if your people are willing to take us on for getting that cargo back, then you can hammer out those details while we're taking care of the job.  If not, we can discuss what to do with it."

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Anna's lips quirked into a smile. The Apostate...crazy presumptuous name, but then 'Maverick' wasn't exactly throwing rocks from a concrete house, was she?

"Alright then. I'll need to see the spot it was taken from. Might need to visit the place you found the ship at too...but we'll avoid that if it was just drifting in deep space, cuz that'd be a biiiiiiiitch to find again, I expect."

She held out a hand to the Apostate. "Permission to come aboard?"

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Penny furrowed her brow and cut her eyes at her dad but remained silent.

"My associate is very enthused and That cargo was more valuable than well it was worth a lot so I am going to take you up, but I'd like to know who she is. You see we look pretty simple and even back water here but this entire city is made up of starship hulls and it is just as wired as the C-World. It's just that we don't let everyone or anyone tap in. Least wise not til we know em," said Lark.

"So, your ship is a know commodity and you only list your daughter and yourself as crew.  Why don't we bring her out here and see who she is. If you don't mind Captain."

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"If I minded I wouldn't have said 'go ask her yourself'." He replied.  He swept his arm wide, motioning everyone to walk in the direction of the Madeline and stop asking him inane questions.  "Unless you need me to show you to the door and instruct on its operation."

He looked to Penny, shaking his head.  "This is why we don't dock very often."

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Madeline may have been brooding, but her situational awareness would have had to be pretty terrible to not pick up on the increasing series of gestures and focus in her direction. Time to face the music, whatever the hell it was. She stood up and smoothed out her jumpsuit, walking over to the door and pulling it open to enter the room with the quartet of Apostates.

Blue eyes, the implant in her left eye ever so slightly bluer than the one remaining one she had been born with, scanned the room, exits, people, and weapons accounted for in that sharp sweep, a frown dancing on her lips. Old discipline masked that unease, voice even as she looked to the Apostate and fell into parade rest, "Is there a problem, Captain?"

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"Not near as I can tell."  He replied casually.

"These people seem to need our help more than we need theirs, but are getting all jittery over who the woman on the other side of the glass is.  They keep implying that I should tell them, I keep telling them to go ask you... so," he gestured to those waiting. "Could you please put these people minds at ease and introduce yourself so I can get on with my day.  I'm on a time table and would like to be out if here before my daughters judgemental, scathing glare burns a hole through me."

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"I see. However you choose to respond to their need, I hope it doesn't cause problems with our deal," Madeline responded softly, eyes flicking over the group again before she responded to the unspoken question, "Madeline Volkov. Soldier. I shoot things that need shooting when they need shooting. The Captain and his daughter here rescued me from a bad situation, and in return for some... payment they're giving me a ride part of the way home."

The protectorate sniper almost smiled at the thought of the spider morph's carcass being sold for scrap by these people, the tiniest measure of first justice for her squad.

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SANCTUARY

70 LY from Sol

 

Madeline was quiet for a moment her eyes moving up and down taking the measure of the young woman...girl really, before her. Finally she gave a little shake of her head.

“And that matters why?” Without waiting for the reply she faced the Apostate. “I don't want to sound ungrateful Captain but I do need to return to the coalition. If I understand your about to go off on some sort of treasure hunt Which kind of means your not taking me where you promised.”

“If it's about pay I can make some arrangements and get you at lest class2 rate for the duration.” Lark broke in with a smile for the attractive woman.

“This isn't about money. This is about the loss of a protectorate starship and the deaths of my squad. I need to get them home.” Volkov said her anger bleeding through

Lark raised his hands “Didn't mean nothing soldier, and before you go getting all worked up. We ain't as backwards as you think. This city is made of Starships and we have all the integration that implies and we aint some backwater inbred rubes. I know you been trying to access our feeds we aren't as open as your coalition be we do have more of the amenities than you would think by the way we look. I can see to it that your mates get Home and I can see to it that you get a chance to report what happened to your superiors.

This job is very important to my client and he has very deep pockets. What do you say?”

 

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"Honestly, Madeline," The Apostate said calmly, despite the shot she took at his integrity.  "I was hoping you might want to assist us.  After all, the operative word in 'Protectorate' is 'protector'.  As a soldier of such, it's your duty to see to it that whomever is responsible for this piracy and slaughter answers for their crimes.  Be their victims apostates or citizens, these people don't seem to care overmuch whose life they claim as they rob and steal.  I seem to have set my expectations a bit too high."

He shrugged, uncaring.  "If you'd rather be home, I'll see to it you are there as soon as possible, as were the terms of our agreement.  I can look into this situation afterwards."

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"Definitely too high," Anna says to the Apostate. "The Protectorate only cares about protecting one thing, and it isn't people. We're probably better off without her."

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"Either way," The Apostate spoke with the tone of a disciplined man.  "The choice is hers, not ours.  Her rank and title mean absolutely nothing out here.  If she decides to help us on a little side job, I sure as hell am not in any position to rat her out to her superiors."

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It took a mountain of willpower to reign in her insulted pride and regain her equilibrium. Madeline shot Lark her best glare of icy contempt for his attempt to bribe a Marine of the 2nd Legion and ignored the lippy nameless girl, eventually nodding. She hadn't known the 'job' involved killing more pirates.

"Pay me in enough supplies to last the job, send my squad and a report back before we take off, and I'll help stop these pirates. Your... money will be worse than useless if I make it home myself when we're done," Volkov returned flatly, expression grim, "If they have anything to do with the ones who stole and delivered the thing that took out my squad, they have a debt to settle with the 2nd Legion as well." 

The mission was back on, and this was as close to a resupply as she'd get.

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Anna frowned a little at that and gave Lark a look, then shrugged.

"Alright then. Lets see what the cat dragged in. Lead the way to the ship, and I'll see what I can piece together."

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Space above the planet of Sanctuary Lark's voice....

“Well the Ginger Snap isn't just a freighter she's a special one built for smuggling very special cargo. And that cargo couldn't have been taken off in space like you described.

She was carrying 24 containers of Grade-A Antimatter that's a hundred and ninety-two cells, each one had to be individually powered with uninterrupted current. The 'Snap was special designed to smuggle antimatter and she has secret connections that only government sanction carriers are allowed to have.”

 

The two Ships rose gently on their contra-gravity drives and push for the depths of the outer system where jumping would be possible.

 

“So You can see how your version of the story has a bit of impossible added in. To take that cargo off in space would be almost impossible. Which in my book means that probably isn't what happened That ship had to offload on solid ground where that sort of cargo could be handled.

Now that don't explain why you found her in space where you did but if there ain't any clues on the 'Snap then your gonna have to retrace her jumps. Either way your gonna need her with you.”

 

The Ataraxia opened the jump portal and both ships vanished

 

Spoiler

After going through the ships logs ana discovers thatt the Ginger Snap did jump into the same system that Volkov's men were killed on about one week prior to the events that have occurred to the PC's. I left it as the ships leave sanctuary in case you all wanted to add anything if not just pick it up when the ships arrive back at the moon. the plan is to let anna go through the bunkers computer system o see if she can find anything out.

 

 

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A ship was not a thing of metal and tempered glass and hollow places for people to scurry through in between them for Anna. For her it was a construct of light caught in cables, like a vast spiderweb of glittering energy frozen in space and time. She barely noticed the bulkheads and control panels and seats as she walked through it all. Unseen to any but herself, her persona, her avatar flitted through the walls as if they weren't there, following datatrails and diving into network nodes like the old Earth aquatic mammal it resembled, and having just as much fun doing it.

It took only minutes to roll back the clock and tell the sad tale of the Ginger Snap, as captured by its onboard systems. For all the carnage, there wasn't much to say.

Anna met the others in the common room.

"About a week before 'the Apostate' here found the Ginger Snap, it made landfall on a suspiciously nondescript planet in HR9038. Prior to that, there's a flight log and itinerary, but it's all garbage. Someone on the ship was covering their tracks. For some reason they didn't wash HR9038 off the record. My guess, given the circumstances, is that they never got a chance to. That kind of deep data removal and alteration takes time, and it doesn't look like they had much between leaving that planet and winding up a drifting hulk."

She nods at The Apostate. "There's two extra bodies you found compared to crew records. The headless ones. Everyone else was registered to the ship, though their personnel records are definitely faked. There's not really anything else to learn here, I think. Next stop would be HR9038 and hope we can pick up the trail from there. Whatever was on that ship that got them killed came from there."

(OOC - Software roll for when we get to the bunker to give Nina time to decide what Anna finds out when we get there. Software in bunker: 1d10 9 1d6 4 Ah, so close to an ace!)

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Anna had spent most of the jumps trying to put the corrupted data from the executions in the cargo bay of the Ginger Snap, but whatever had been used to shred them had done so on a more thorough scale than any shredder she had eve seen. She gave herself only a 1 in 10000 chance of recovering anything useful.

Volkov had felt like a fifth wheel pretty much ignored by the “apostate” and the ship, Penny tried to be nice but her father kept her busy and that left the computer bitch. She was in the small cubicle Maverick used, she was always asking questions about the bunker today she had been silent as she frustratingly worked on some data stuff Volkov on barely understood or cared about. Around her various screens showed replays from the freighters AI memory. Madeline decided she was needed here and turned to leave when something on a screen caught her attention. “What was that?” She asked pointing at the screen

“What?” maverick grunted and glanced back

“I saw something. Is this a recording? Go back about twenty second.”

Maverick sent a command to the system and the screen altered to show the previous 30 seconds.

“There! Freeze it.” shouted Volkove

They both looked at the screen It showed a dark corridor of the Ginger Snap dimly lit by the ships floor lights up in the top corner where the corridor turns the could see what looked like a metallic leg of something that had just passed the corridor.

The blood drained from Volkov's face. The leg looked exactly like the one that belonged to the thing on the moon. The thing whose parts lay in the cargo hold. The thing that killed all of her comrades.

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"You people built more than one of those things?! That's exactly why you can't be trusted with all this freedom you go on and on about! Without a Protectorate to rein you in, you're all just one transhumanist away from creating the next technophage and wiping us out for the final time," the marine exclaimed, cradling her face in her hands and muttering in Russian,  "God in Heaven help us." 

She was suddenly acutely glad she had stripped and maintenanced her weapons in some of her earlier free time, personally sorting through the box of ammo she'd been provided and assembling clips full of slugs that were free of defects to even her exacting sniper's eye. She'd need them to deal with more than one of the brutes. Or one that could shoot back. Or one in the close quarters of a ship. God help them indeed.

She looked back up at the image on the screen, fixing it with a killing glare.

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"Disbanded governments are the ones who created the technophage, sweetheart, governments who went on to work in your Houses and your Protectorate, so careful where you throw those stones.  The people giving you orders, and yanking your leash are more than likely the same people who wiped out our planet.  The Apostates?  They just want to get away from all that and live a life they choose."  Jericho stepped into the room and looked at the feed, adding his own two cents to the conversation.

He squinted at the image, trying to make sense of it.  "Now, that's not to say some idiot doesn't go and build something here and there they they probably shouldn't have.  Now, if you can get your shit together Madeline and stop praying to invisible, absentee father figures for a moment, why not unfuck yourself and tell us what that is, and why it seems to have you so scared.  Because the pieces of something similar are in the cargo hold, and if it's an issue, we need to know."

"While you do that, I got something to say."  He leaned against the wall and folded his arms, his obvious cyber arm seemed to almost blend in smoothly with the interior of the ship.  "Real talk ladies, I don't trust people easily.  Certainly don't trust you and I don't expect you to trust me, it's the nature of the verse.  As you may imagine Penny and I don't get many visitors, let alone passengers.  However, since it's been awhile since I've worked with others, I suppose I have some hurdles to cross and things to come to grips with.  Now, I know I ain't the easiest man to get a long with, so I'm willing to extend a bit of an olive branch as a professional courtesy."

He passed them each a small gun metal finished card, metal, but light weight and credit card thin.  "These will grant you access to the ship.  Nearly full access, certain systems will still be restricted to you without my approval but you should have more than enough access to work and crew of four is easier than a crew of two.  Let me clarify what this means: this ship is my Earth now.  Keep that in mind if you plan on doing something stupid, because if you ruin the home of me and my daughter, well, there won't be much out here in the Black that'll save you from what comes next.  Rules are simple: I don't care about who you are, where you're from, or what you've done or who you've done it too.  On this ship, we are the center of your universe and you work for us.  Your loyalties are to this ship and its crew, first and foremost.  Once you you leave and go back to your life your free to do as you please, but here, we look out for each other and that's nonnegotiable."

Not one to dwell on words, Jericho looked to Madeline.  "So?  What do we need to know?"

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Madeline nodded her head, discipline choking down a few choice words that rattled through her head. Personal satisfaction wouldn't get the creators of these monsters delivered to Coalition justice.

"The apostates in the bunker we're going to woke up one of these zombies," she began with a wave at the screen, "It killed all of them single-handed. When my team and I arrived to secure what intel told us your pirates stole, it then killed six of seven members of a Marine assault squad without a scratch far as I could tell. Only grace and luck allowed me to miss finding the thing inside the bunker and instead take it down at 900 meters outside. Which still took 3 on target shots from a rail rifle before it stopped moving."

"These things are human enough to panic and try to use a plasma weapon in a vacuum, so they aren't robots. And if your transhumanist is willing to 'sell' these shells to someone half as bad as your pirates or work with them..."

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"Sorry," Anna interrupted sharply. "I couldn't hear you over the sound of all the conclusions you were jumping to. Look, this image is from awhile ago. The thing on the Ginger Snap could have been the same one you killed."

She accepted the access card with a nod at Jericho. "Thanks."

"That said, wouldn't be a terrible idea to go over the remains we have access to. Knowing is nine-tenths the battle, so they say."

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"They say it's half the battle," Jericho corrected gruffly.  "Mox."

"Yes, Jericho?"  The holographic image of Moxie, the ships AI, appeared before all of them.  It had been the first time they'd heard his actual name spoken aloud and if he was bent on keeping secrets, he sure didn't flinch when Moxie called him out.

"We're heading over to the 'Snap'.  Need to look at something.  Keep an eye on things here and make sure Penny is doing her chores."

"As you say, Jericho, We will monitor your progress from here,"  She faded out in a blip of digital pixels.  "Do be careful.  I've not the time nor the patience to locate another simple minded cretin to keep me properly maintained."

"Yeah," he blew her off and pushed off from the wall.  "I love you too.  Okay ladies, let's get geared up and expect the worst.  Air lock in fifteen."

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Anna got up from her seat. "The ones saying it's half the battle are just seeding disinfo to make sure no one else learns the real ratio." She shot a finger-gun at Jericho.

"Gonna go get my shit. Meetcha at the airlock."

With that Anna headed back to her cabin, spartan as it might be. Some of her gear was there. She figured the card the Apostle had given her would probably give her access to the gun locker. She went out that way last on the way to the main airlock to show up at the airlock kitted out and ready to go.

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Scary

That is what an empty ship is like and even more so when you half expect some boogy-thing to come out of the darkness all spinning blades and tearing pincers. The three suited figures moved into the dark Ginger Snap, while the ship had atmo now since it landing at Sanctuary the powere was still only running on essential systems and  to allow the Ataraxia to use he thrusters, which meant no lights and no heat.

Volkov lead the way being in combat armor and with more robust weapons, Jericho was guiding her over coms while he and Anna hung back. Volkov went slow her nerves taut she played her light over every inch of the coridor in front of her and when Jerich call for her to stop suddenly she dropped into ta crouch and raised he weapon.

"Hold up! That hatch up ahead on the right, that should be closed."

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Madeline hated boarding new classes of ship. No matter how much you studied before hand, the noises they made were always strange and potential signs of something broken that she didn't recognize. Let alone when they were... quiet. A ship had a soul in it's own way beyond any AI installed in in, and when they were running dead, vibrations and lights and heat down or off, that soul always felt wrong, her combat instincts kicked up that extra notch.

At Jericho's announcement, off went up and up went the light screen camouflage, Yaga triggering the IR modules without a word and washing the world in shades of dull red.

"Roger. Do either of the spaces ahead dead end on us? Last thing I want to do is corner this thing before you two can arrive for support," the Coalition Marine breathed over the coms, rifle at ready position and sweeping the passage ahead of her. Oh, the irony in which she was playing the forward heavy to a group of Apostates.

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"Yes.  All of them.  You're in an enclosed metal container floating in space, genius." The Apostate entered into the ship slowly behind Madeline, prepping his rifle.  "This p-way will lead us straight to the back of the ship, there's a ladder and an elevator.  We'll take the ladder down to the cargo and engineering spaces.  From ther-..."  He paused as he noticed something through the feed as well as his own investigations.

"What?"  Maddie asked, quietly.

"All of these bulkheads were closed when we disembarked, every chamber was sealed." he said.  He raised his rifle and took a more cautious posture.  "Moxie, begin scans, lock down the Ataraxia.  Penny, gear up, get on the bridge and lock it down."

"Confirmed, Captain." Moxie's human-like but still obviously digital voice responded over the comms.

"Something is awake on this ship," he said in his gruff, no nonsense voice.  "We don't leave until it's found."

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Madeline crept to the open hatch and crouched low bringing her weapon to her shoulder then with one swift move stepped in and to the right of the opening swinging her weapon in quick arcs to cover the whole of the small infirmary.

It was empty of any sort of robot monster or any other humans but the place was a mess someone or thing had been in here looking for something.

"It's clear but the place has been ransacked." She said as she moved through the room looking for clues. "Looks like whoever did this took some surgical tools and a power saw." Madeline slid the drawer with the empty foam cutouts of the missing tools closed. "That's all I am sure is missing..."

Suddenly the Ginger Snap shook and the artificial gravity produced by the Ataraxia cut out leaving them weightless.

"Dad! Are you alright The 'Snap's broke loose!" came Penny's frightened voice over the suit radios.

In orbit above the desolate moon the Ataraxia still under orbit keeping trust had already pulled several kilometers away from the now drifting Ginger Snap which had taken on a slight roll from the force of the separation. penny saw movement as she adjusted the Camera pointed at the rogue freighter. The young girl gasped as she saw something moving on the hull of the other ship. "What is that?" her fingers flew across the command board bringing the moving object closer on the screen and better focused. The multi armed figure looked much like the thing Madeline had killed on the surface but with more arms and  two cannons mounted one on each shoulder. " Moxxi can you identify that object is it a robot or a sleeve?"

" I'm sorry hon. I don't see anything and I'm too busy right now to play games. Commencing Emergency Deorbit Thrust now!" droned the semi- amused voice of the Ataraxia AI.

"Moxxi No!" Penny screamed as the Ataraxia shot toward the surface of the moon with ever increasing speed!!

Jericho and the others heard the exchange over the radios, all of it. Then they heard the sound of several loud metallic bangs on their own ship. That something Penny had seen was inside the ship now.

Spoiler

Oh Boy!  y'all are now weightless, and shit is hitting the fan

 

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"Engaging mag traction system," whispered Baba Yaga in Madeline's ear, the soles of her suit adhering to the deck as the magnets kicked into life. This was bad, if they lost the Atraxia she was in an even worse scenario then she started with. well, not entirely worse. Her team was hopefully already readjusting into their new sleaves as she thought, and if this was a bug hunt on an out of control ship versus an overpowered zombie and only two renegades for back up... Well, she'd expected to die to the blade or the bullet. Best to go to hell with an empty rifle.

"Lord, my mind, body, and soul belongs to Thee. If it is Your plan that I am to die, guide my mind and body that I may end one more abomination in service of Your flock," she offered in a whisper too quiet for the mikes in her helmet to pick up.

"I'm making my way back to you two. Try and find out where the hell it got in so we can go kill it," she offered over the comms, already beginning her stalk, infravision illuminating her path as debris from the looted workshop bounced around her, rifle ready to fill her target with holes if she caught so much as glimpse of it from the corner of her eye. Long engrained training guided her every move through the tumbling ship, reflexes keyed to combat in tight spaces. 

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Shit...this is NOT what I signed up for, Anna thought furiously to herself. The ship was supposed to have been secure! There wasn't time to bitch about it now though. They had to survive first.

"We have to restore power to the Ginger Snap," she said. "Engineering deck. And it'll probably figure we're going there, so..."

Still spinning slowly in midair, Maverick got her coilgun out. Not the little holdout pistol, but the bullpup PDW. It wasn't a particularly menacing looking weapon, but it was accurate, had a high rate of fire, and enough punch to chew through personal armor.

Probably not enough against this thing, but you never knew.

"Buzzy, wake up."

The 'wasp' drone unfolded from its recharging node on the shoulder of her armor and came free, awaiting orders. Anna held out a hand. "Push me over to the wall, big guy, then follow ten meters back and make sure nothing's coming up behind us."

In a gravity well, the thrust produced by the tiny drone would barely have been felt, but in zero G it gave her a slow impulse over to the wall of the Ginger Snap's corridor. From there she could use handholds to pull and push herself along. It then whisked back to watch their asses.

But since they were now officially being stalked by something that would probably get the jump on them at some point...it paid to be careful.

When Anna had been human, interfacing with a swarm of espers had been basically impossible. The amount of data you had to wrangle was pretty nuts. There were millions of the little things too coordinate. Even the bog-standard mindset didn't have the processing power to do it. It took a little something extra.

She tuned into the swarm hive, and concentrated to sync up with the nano-bots. The 'soft' limiters she'd left in place in her mindset were overridden, and the esper swarm went active.

Something like black smoke came pouring out of her forearms. In zero-gravity the espers had complete control of their movement, causing the swarm to curl around Anna and start circling her in complex patterns. As she moved, the swarm moved along with her. Unlike Anna, they could see every way at once, could react even faster than her overclocked mindset.  They'd always been enough to keep her safe until now.

Esper Lord - Defense: 1d10+2 8 1d6+2 8 That's an Ace, but since it's already raised I shan't bother rolling and rolling explosions. There's no special result for getting super high, I don't think. The Defense power gives -2 to attack rolls against Anna, on a raise it's -4.

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"Penelope, I trained you for this,"  he said calmly into his mic.

"Dad, I-," there was a silence that seemed laced with sobs of worry.  With a sniffle her voice seemed calmer, but no less worried.  "I'll see you soon, Dad.  I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry," he replied.  "Be better.  Follow your training." 

"Let's get moving," Jericho said.  He floated, unconcerned with the lack of gravity.  Gravity or no, they still had a job to do.  He reached out and gripped the ceiling where a conduit pipe ran across its length.  There was a creaking sound as his cybernetic hand gripped the pipe and bent it slightly.  He straightened himself against the lack of gravity.

"Focus up."  He pulled himself along the ceiling, 'throwing himself' several feet at a time down the corridor.  If he was worried about his daughter, he didn't show it.

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They arrived at the ladder it went up and down Jericho  mumbled something the others couldn't make out.

"What?" asked Anna

"I said dammit Penny is having to fight Moxie and get control of the Ataraxia, she can't do both, not in the time she has. I have to do something. You two go after that thing I'm going to the bridge to save my daughter." The Apostate said as he push passed the two women and jumped up onto the ladder and started going up to the bridge.

"Perfect," said Volkov, "Looks like it's just you and me." Then she jumped into the ladder and pushed herself down with her weapon pointed in the direction of her fall. Anna cursed and followed.

Jericho made it to the bridge without incident. He knew a thing or two about space ships and everything had been set to standby while they had been hauling the 'Snap, with a few button pushes he had the power recycling and cut in the gravity thrusters and manually took the controls and put her into a dive to catch the Ataraxia!

When the gravity shifted Volkov and Anna had just reached the engineering deck, Jericho had warned them over the suit radios of the G shift so they had been prepared. The Assassin had not had any warning and so was not prepared. With a crash it fell to the deck from its upside down perch on what was now the ceiling, where it had been waiting it's cannons primed and ready to blast the two humans coming down the shaft. As it slammed into the deck it's guns went off scarring the walls with the misplaced shots. quickly it righted itself.

 

Spoiler

it is combat for Anna and Volkov. Action order is Volkov, Anna, the thing. have at it

 

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No gravity to gravity shifts were old hat to Madeline, less so her target tracking her movement even as it got to it's feet. Well, shit. She'd have hoped for her cloak to buy herself the opportunity to take her time on at least on shot. Hopefully her sole-remained back up proved more competent than she had so far. For a heartbeat she considered switching her weapon to it's silenced setting, but the vision of this zombie's sibling tearing through her entire squad without a scratch buried that idea before it could give it's birth cry. Better a dead Gingersnap than a live monster.

She swung up her heavy rail rifle, inhaled and snapped off her shot, the hypersonic slug exploding towards her target, blue eyes tracking it's progress behind her featureless helmet and cloaking field.

Spoiler

Rolling to hit...

1D10+1 => 11 Woot. Exploding Dice... 1D10+1 => 3

So, total 14 to hit... Rolling damage, including +1d6 for exploding dice...

4D6 => 10 so 10 damage with ap 8 assuming I connect.

 

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Anna would have reflected to herself that it was a damn fine thing that the gravity had come back on when it did. That fighting this thing in zero-G, possibly after being ambushed by it, would not have gone well.

She would have, if the fight-or-flight regions of her amygdala were not frantically firing.

With a squeak of treads on smooth ship flooring, she jinked sideways away from Madeline, firing her PDW from the hip as she ran for a stack of crates off to one side.

The bullets from her weapon spattered against the creature's hide, though she couldn't tell if they'd actually HURT the thing.

Hopefully Maddie's much more powerful gun would get this thing's attention. Maverick had much better weapons than guns at her disposal, but it'd take a second to make it happen.

Firing weapon as Anna moves to cover. 5 to hit: SHOOT IT!: 1d6 5 1d6 2

Assuming no penalties, that should hit, so 7 damage: PDW 3 rnd burst dmg: 2d6+3 7

Bennying the damage roll, and gets a 9 PDW 3 rnd burst dmg - benny: 2d6+3 9

Light PDW has AP 4.

Esper Swarm still executing Defense, giving all attacks against Anna a -4 to hit, in addition to possible cover. Maddie, meet the bottom of the bus. :)

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Jericho puts all power into the drive and with one hand preps the docking clamps while the other make minute adjustments to keep the plummeting Ataraxia in his sights.

*********

The two humans dodge to opposite sides of the wide corridor each unleashing their own brand of hell on the momentarily shaken adversary. Volkov's expertly aimed sniper round catches the thing in the upper chest and shoves it back appendages scrambling to maintain balance, the gaping smoking hole now emitting sparks. Anna's wild shots find their mark in a shower of  steel but do not penetrate instead shattering and ricocheting off the thing's armor.  But the wild shots did catch it's attention and the shoulder mounted particle weapon fired at Ana. The swarm does it's job and the robots aim is diffracted and the beam goes wide burrowing into the bulkhead.

Spoiler

Robot is shaken and wounded. both Volkov and Anna are unhit.   Initiative is Anna, Volkov Robot no jokers

 

 

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"Good boys," Anna whispers to her espers, and focuses her concentration on the hulking synth shell currently bending the bulkheads in front of her. She wasn't sure offhand if it was automated or had a mindset, and right now it didn't matter. She just needed to keep it from moving to give Madeline a clear shot to finish it off. In her augmented-reality senses, she saw her agent persona dive out and slip across the room and loop crazily around their attacker. Meanwhile Anna's mindset bristled with data being exchanged; the real battlefield was data and encryption and subverted programming code.

If l'outre could break through this thing's secured systems, all she had to do was issue a simple instruction. Stop. A massive-caliber railgun round would do the rest.

Using System Invasion to attempt to hijack the synthshell...Anna has the addon that lets her affect mindsets too, so it's fine if it's not a robot.

SINC to System Invasion the baddie: 1d10 4 1d6 4

Technically a success, but this is contested by target's SINC or Knowledge: Software, so I'll benny it to try to make sure it sticks:

System Invasion bennie: 1d10 8 1d6 3

Much better. If Anna succeeds, she'll attempt to force it to take no actions this turn, and not attempt to dodge or defend itself from Maddie's next attack.

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The creature froze in place, held upright on it's collection of mismatched limbs, and that moment of apparent hesitation from the abomination allowed her that extra few hearbeats needed to sink deeper into the now and bring her weapon back up it cycled into firing readiness once more. Inside her helmet, Madeline timed her breathing to negate it's affect on her steady, gentle trigger pull, weapon tip locking in the wound she had already inflicted on the zombie's shell.

As lightning blessed the projectile towards it's target with divine wrath and the brutality of raw momentum, the Protectorate Marine caught sight of Anna's swarm of espers and came to an instant conclusion as to the 'why' of the monster's hesitation.

If Anna had the eyes to see through the armor's cloaking effect, she would have seen Volkov nod her chin slightly in thanks, even as the round impacted and the marine started to ready another shot.

Spoiler

Aimed Called shot on the already damaged chest armor with the Drop in effect due to Anna's 'Hold Monster' effect. :)

Normal Dice 1D10+5 => 10 and Wild Dice 1D10+5 => 10

Hmmm, one good turn deserves another. Spending a Benny...

Normal Dice 1D10+5 => 11 and Wild Dice 1D10+5 => 7

So 11 to hit. If that connects though...

3D6+4 => 13  So 13 damage with AP 8. Boo. Yah.

 

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The round flew true, the bullet hit and the world lurched throwing Volkov, Anna, and the droid crashing first to the ceiling then to the floor as the ships gravity fluctuated and the inertial compensators stressed...

The 'Snap collided with the still descending Ataraxia with a bone wrenching jolt. In the 'Snaps cockpit Jericho snapped the Grappling clamp trigger, latching the two vessels together once again, and with the other threw the 'Snaps thrusters into over-drive putting incredible stress on the two ships in an attempt to avoid crashing into the moon surface only a few kilometers away!

Volkov recovered as gravity restored and rolled into a crouch bringing her rifle to bear on the robot form against the far bulkhead. She hesitated, the mechanical wasn't moving, seemed lifeless. beside her Anna moaned as she righted herself and looked at the robot as well.

"What happened?"

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Even as she asked the question, Madeline reloaded her rifle and noted the likely spots where a combat synth would likely have a back up system. That had been too easy. No way this godless shell was dead in just 2 shots from her weapon. Much as she'd like to claim otherwise, somethings wouldn't die that easily to anything less than a heavy frame's primary armament. No. In the case that you lacked something like that, you needed to take steps.

You double-tapped. Madeline pulled the trigger at an intact looking potential back up system on the unmoving shell and let the vibration echo through the hull.

You triple-tapped.   Madeline pulled the trigger at an intact looking potential back up system on the unmoving shell and let the vibration echo through the hull.   

You quadruple-tapped. Madeline pulled the trigger at an intact looking potential back up system on the unmoving shell and let the vibration echo through the hull.

The Protectorate Marine frowned as she ran out of targets on the robot's ventral side. Damn it. If the zombie was playing dead, it was playing dead really really well, and she'd have to walk over there and flip it over to finish her six-fold vengeance against it. That had been too easy.  

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