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Everything posted by Madeline Volkov

  1. Sounds like you might have an idea in your noggin, Nina, but I'm going to drop a thanks, too. Twus fun running and gunning with my Sister of Battle through the cramped guts of a space ship.
  2. So many questions and no time to have them answered or question the fortuitous solution to her dilemma. "Do it. We have ground to cover if we're going to make it back to the airlock in time," Madeline replied easily before letting go of the cord to her antimatter pod and sprinting for the exit to the space. She kept one eye behind her as she hit the first corridor, long training steadying her footfalls in the disheveled ship. The sight of the first closed hatch in her way made her frown, adding seconds to their run for each and every barrier between them and the airlock, closed during their hunt to warn them, now hindering their progress. She hoped that Anna could keep up without help, because with her having to stop and pull every single door open... This was going to be far far too close for her taste.
  3. Okay, Anna sounded like too much of an idiot to be a mastermind plotter. That ruled out one problem. "Something like that," responded the Legionary flatly, "Even if everyone your shadowbroker deals with is a saint, letting you walk away with that much antimatter guarantees me a court martial at best if I get back alive. But I made your employer a promise, and a Legionary keeps her word. Five out of seven alive and whole isn't a bad deal." Those zombie bastards in her squad better appreciate this. Her parents were starting to ask when she'd settle down and start a family, anyway. Assuming she could with how low her Rep would be when this got out on the optimistic possibility she got back to Luna in more or less one piece. She relaxed somewhat, still holding the cylinder in place, "And that lid would look like..?"
  4. That... was a lot of antimatter. And raised a lot of questions Madeline wanted answered before she'd let a bunch of Apostates run off with it. Anna couldn't see the Protectorate Marine's face, but her voice hardened to match her frown, "You knew this was here. How? And more importantly, what guarantee do I have your... 'employers' won't use it to do harm to the people I've sworn to protect at the cost of my own life, Apostate?" Given the other woman's hacking prowess, here and now was the only chance she'd get an answer to her satisfaction, to assuage herself that the price of survival wasn't putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk if so much as one spoofed AR signature made it past the Legion. Here and now? All it would take was one punch and a final leap of faith.
  5. The Protectorate Marine frowned behind her helmet, really wishing there was a decent AR matrix running so that Anna could have passed her more precise directions, but needs must. Hands steady enough to pick off a target a kilometer out reached out to catch the swinging cable as it came around, magnets in her boots securing her in place. Anna was the combat engineer in this situation, and she hadn't gotten this far in life doubting that the combat engineers knew their business. At least when it came to keeping a ship alive. Guess she was fighting an electrical fire now. Thunk. The cable was caught half a foot above the cylinder, it's momentum bleeding off like a metronome until the motion was small enough to let her free hand shield it's orbit. "Done," she monotoned over the radio.
  6. Madeline had been through enough damage control training to recognize that blue generally equaled electrical arcing and that electrical arcing equaled bad, especially in an unknown ship. That realization galvanized into imedaite concern as she heard Ana stir, thoughts for where exactly on the line between Protectorate and renegade they stood. Things were very, very simple when space was the great enemy and your own systems only a tick behind that in danger. Get the potentially injured person out of the space. *Then* come back with the right gear to contain the disaster. "Ana, we need to clear the space and make sure you're okay. Can you move?" she vocalized through her coms, extending one hand towards the Apostate, ready to heft her up and carry her if needed. She kept one eye on the sparking potential disaster in progress, hoping her armor would be enough to keep her mobile if something exploded.
  7. Huh. This is now apparently going to be a thing. Well, it's been fun, guys...
  8. Dizzy but conscious, Madeline pulled her pistol and swept the room for threats, trying to shake off whatever had hit them. She sucked in a breath as she spotted the smashed remains of the spider bot's torso. God willing, that'd mean the thing would stay dead long enough to be disposed of safely. There certainly were enough pieces of the thing scattered about to put even the most robust drone down. Still. This thing was an autonomous drone? Renegades able to field squads and legions of these things? She shuttered to think it. It would be another war. Having ensured that the scene was safe as she could on short notice, she made her way over to Anna's limp and beaten form, feet clunking solidly into place as the magnets re-engaged with each step. The protectorate marine knelt by the other woman, and started looking her over for worse injuries than bruising, thoughts running through the slightly more complicated procedures of military first aid when you might not know if your fellow soldier had a pulse or not. "Volkov to All. Robot down. Anna down. What's going on up there?" she put out over the radio, hoping that link was still up and running.
  9. The power-armored marine froze in place, featureless visor giving nothing away as she processed the thought of hundreds of nanite-forged drones pulling themselves out of the hull like fungi if this thing had managed to kill them, leaving the ship with just enough internal workings to slam into another colony and repeat the process anew. Eventually she managed to suck in a breath and get her mental feet back under her. Damned Apostates. "Try and finish up your examination quickly then. We're chucking this thing out an airlock at the nearest star before it repeats that trick if you don't mind," Volkov replied softly, shifting her grip on the spear so that it's shimmering bladed tip was pointed back at the murderous drone.
  10. Volkov waited a heartbeat or three, just in case the thing was waiting for Maverick to withdraw her swarm before rising, magnetically clipping her rifle to her back as she dropped her cloak and shimmered back into full visibility. Out came the spear from her belt and a faint series of clacks presaged it's extension to it's full length. The armored redhead took a reverse grip on the polearm, ready to use it as a lever to force the zombie onto it's ruined stomach. Before she got to that bit of physical labor though, she prodded the synth's neck with the butt of the spear as one last precaution, finally relaxing enough to speak aloud, "If this... thing has a chip like I think it does, I'd like to take it back with me when I go home. This creature and it's brood need to face Coalition justice. That okay with you?"
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. "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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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..."
  17. "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.
  18. 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.
  19. "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.
  20. 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?"
  21. Madeline brooded on the stupidity of apostates and waited for her host to finish his 'business deal'. It had been one thing for a survival bunker or starship to lack an active AR Mesh overlay for her implant to interact with, but this..? A port should be screaming with digital guides, warning, directives, House banners, and a veritable kaleidoscope of ARIDs as far as the eye can see. Citizens shoulder to shoulder, laughing and secure under the protection of the 1st Legion, weaving the living half of the Coalition with every action and every responsible fabrication, their Rep rising and falling as they proved themselves useful to one and all. This place was none of that, dead in the AR spectrum that made her want to hustle to the nearest Protectorate Station so that she could get her hands on a gun, kill those responsible for injuring the Mesh, and give hard-working techs the time they needed to restore the world to the way it should be. What was wrong with these people? The Coalition was open to all, almost too much so in her opinion, so there was no reason for them to live like this. Scrabbling from hand to mouth. Having to *grow* food. So untrusting of one another so as to be forced to trade physical goods or bits of precious metal just to conduct basic commerce. The red-headed soldier had never considered herself old before, but if she didn't meet a bullet, she'd probably outlive most of them and was likely already older than most she'd seen between here and the ship. Lives were important, quality of life was too, and seeing all these idiots hurting themselves and their children by rejecting the Coalition's help for stubborn pride... It made her angry, and killed her hunger. When she got back home and her squadmates were back on their feet, she was going to remember this. Use it to drive herself forward next mission. The angry soldier brooded, ARID halo playing invisibly about her head for those with the eyes to see the allegiance it silently proclaimed.
  22. "Understood, Moxie. I'll be on my best behavior," Madeline replied, unsealing and removing her own helmet. Short-cut red hair, sharp features, and one eye ever-so-slightly bluer than the other were revealed along with a certain amount of body odor from three days of living in the suit. The Protectorate sniper was weary, taking in everything around her as she followed the Agent. It was far from her first time on a guided vessel, but certainly this was one of the nicer ones she'd seen outside of Coalition control. Combined with the niggling sense of recognition about her rescuer... Just who had she gotten a ride with? "Moxie, could I borrow some spare clothes from your ship's stores? My other uniforms were destroyed with our ship, and my armor needs repair and an airing out," she volunteered to the AI, "Speaking of which, there is a ADM launcher located a klick from here that you may wish to loot or disable with 3 functional missiles."
  23. Madeline winced from her hiding place near the entrance to bunker, the rough apostate's voice echoing from her helmet's earpiece with thoroughly unnecessary volume for a noncombat situation. She blocked a final, fleeting temptation to put an electromagnetic slug down range and into his skull. "Here, Captain. 50 meters to your left," she provided over her radio as she disengaged her armor's cloaking system, flickering and flashing into view as she rose to her feet from the cover of some rocks, a figure in black-and-blue light power armor emblazoned with the insignia of the 2nd Legion on one shoulder, visage hidden behind a blank reflective visor. Her rifle was clipped to her back, spear and pistol hanging from her belt with the rest of her personal gear. "Good faith for good faith," Madeline offered as she closed the distance at a slow walk, hands visible at all times, "I even prepacked the thing that killed your... friends and my squadmates on a truck. Being sold for parts is better than it deserves but after I coring it by accident, can't bring the zombie back for trial and proper punishment."
  24. An Apostate ship. Perfect. But she didn't need to ask her Agent the odds that she'd encounter another ship that *wasn't* Apostate out here. Probably bad. Very bad. And the Protectorate was spread thin enough out here that the odds they'd be able to send a rescue vessel before the next crisis flared up and demanded attention..? Even worse. As satisfying as it would be to blow the renegade craft out of orbit when it came into range, she had a responsibility to her squad. "The renegades here were dead before my team arrived, Captain, killed by the thing they stole before it killed all of my squad," she finally replied over the coms, "But, yes. We have an accord, good faith for good faith. My Agent will sent you landing data. Yaga…" "Transmitting, Sargent," replied the harsh voice of the AI as most of the distress beacon faded away to convey the requested info. The marine leaned back in her seat, waiting for his confirmation even as she thought back to the grisly silent labor of lugging the spider hulk's husk onto the truck.
  25. Madeline stared at the speaker for an eternity of six heartbeats, deciding how to reply. Nothing back from Yaga yet, and that could take a while with the mess this God-forsaken system was in. Plan A then. She glanced that flat-black visor of her suit's helmet and nodded to herself. She was a soldier anyway. She'd get off of here on her own honest merits or not at all. Not like she could hide who she was if she got on his ship. "Sargent Madeline Volkov of House Tsarya, 2nd Legion," she sent out into the aether after triggering her own coms, "I am a sole survivor with 5 cores in need of transport to anywhere I can get back to Coalition territory from. The bunker and it's contents aside from me and my gear are yours if you're willing to offer assistance. I am authorized to inform you that my House offers standing rewards for my undamaged return as well." That last part sounded flat and rote even compared to the no-frills delivery of the first part of the offer, part of a remembered brief on the Apostate Repatriation Program. Step two was where the whole plan started to fall apart anyway. So many 'what ifs' to make the planner in her throw up her hands in despair.
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