Brotherhood of Ercedia

A Report To The Black Angels
Thomas Greyburn

Mission Report:
Halcyon Hunter has been neutralized. Braxis was sighted but escaped the compound on foot. No casualties were sustained.

34 women were sighted entering the building with Braxis in the video feed. Only two women were recovered alive; Abigale Greyburn and Stephanie Juror. All the women appeared to have undergone a biological enhancement treatment performed at the facility. Details of the treatment are currently unclear.

The facility was guarded by Halcyon and UF forces under the command of the Halcyon Hunter. Knowledge of experiments being performed was apparently kept from the UF soldiers.

An enhanced individual, female, was seen leaving the facility aboard the Lady in Chains; injuring the asset sent among others in the process.

Requesting that the following message be sent to my family:

“Abby is safe. She will need time to heal before she can be moved. I hope to send her to you soon. Dave’s location is still unknown. Pray for his safety. All of my love – Tom”

An additional, perhaps unusual, request: Due to complications during the operation involving the peace summit our team was exposed to an experimental weapon that wipes recent memories of those affected. As such, I have no memory of any interactions from up to 72 hours before yesterday morning. I would ask that any vital information relayed during that time interval be sent again, as it is currently unclear to me the exact nature of my relationship with this organization.
T.G.

View
No Losses!
-Ryler Rain

There was a steady haze when we woke, like something supernatural descended upon our heads while we slept. After what we have seen, why not? Maybe it was. It would certainly explain the visions.

Every one of us was tired. Every one of us bore an exhaustion from our days of constant danger, and we really had no purpose being back out in the fight. There was so much risk. We simply weren’t thinking clearly. It was apparent when we looked at the map and tried to formulate a plan. It was just so haphazard. I am pleased with how well Castle can come through in a pinch. He has got to be running short on favors soon. Regardless, Karrick again took charge and tried to push through the haze. His hammer-and-nail attitude is very clear, and clashes with the solo-act nature of Grenadier officers like Naraia and I. I doubt he has worked with any in the past. Still, with the extreme exhaustion and foggy-mindedness of the group I am glad that he was driven. A plan was made, and we moved out, leaving behind the young girls and forgetting completely about Erine Fletcher. It makes sense, I suppose. It has been a whirlwind—but this is my point! What if we had slipped? We should not have charged so headlong into the fray.

And then there are the visions. For… well, since the hotel, every time I close my eyes I see visions of death. I see Tom’s head mounted on a wall, dripping. I see Naraia die in a number of ways. Blades, crushings, fire, gunshots, vomiting up organs, I swear I have seen it all. During the planning it was worse. Every few moments it was like I could see her death. I saw Karrick suicide-charging the enemy Halcyon, I saw a drone burrow through Castle’s chest, saw a bullet catch Aeoni in the stomach. I almost vomited, I was so dizzy. As they discussed going through the front door I saw Naraia die clearer and clearer. I shook myself to clear my mind, and since I did not see my own death I figured it was some paranoia, some mania left from erased memories and unplaceable post-traumatic stress. Now that I think about it, Adam and the Riden were fine too, more or less. At least in my visions.

I couldn’t though—couldn’t clear her. Everyone else seemed fade but Naraia… I was sure that Cara and Naraia would die. I tried to suggest that she stay behind, but she was hurt. I could see it in her eyes. She questioned me. Karrick and Tom looked at me. I didn’t want her held behind, and I had to search for the visions, maybe they would leave on virtue of my suggestion, but they were still there. I couldn’t just say that I had some premonition. It would have negative effects no matter how it was taken. So I told her it was because she was a woman, and that women were the targets of the enemy. It was true, I thought. Partially. Most of the death had been our females. Still, as soon as I said it I knew that she would not understand. I tried to signal her with my gaze, my micro-expressions. To my dismay, we must have been apart for too long. No recognition was in her eyes, just confusion and disappointment.

We had too much to do, and I re-focused on the mission. I’d talk to her about it later, she would have to just trust me. That is, unless she really has started trusting Adam more. He has been here more for her. Not something I can really think about for now. I thought again about Cara. If Naraia was going I should give her a shot too. I just feel so foggy.

It was rainy and cold. The sky was covered, and the ground held a low fog that seemed to roll over the ground like ghostly tumbleweeds rolling through an ocean of smoke. Our breath was visible as we moved to collect the trucks that would be our incursion/exfil. Thankfully the Riden agreed to stay out of combat for now. We will need them later. Strangely Naraia didn’t seem to be affected at all by the dreary and chill early morning. Perhaps she was still burning with frustration from earlier. I didn’t want to talk while we were around the others but what could I do? When we finally split up I decided that I would tell her everything later and for now I would just focus.

Its strange, but as soon as we were in the car I felt cold and clear-headed. I was back in what I knew, and despite my concern for Raia, I knew that she could handle it. She would be fine, and I just needed to focus on my part. When things went wrong, as they were bound to, I would have to be on my game. I let Karrick lead. Karrick opened fire pretty much the first chance he got.

It was a firefight after that. Press. Cover. Move. Cover. Move. The routine came back, and with it the cold clarity of battle. We moved quickly and efficiently. We took out our targets, and I stayed close to Karrick. Castle left to do his own thing, but I couldn’t manage him. At some point Tom was not behind my shield. The enemy was straightforward, and I focused on protection almost exclusively. The target came out like he was a golden-robed god looking down on his rebellious subjects. After a combined attack from the four of us, concussion, rended air, and projectiles easily overwhelmed his shield and he fled, his hubris and arrogance turning to terror. We pressed. Karrick went to confirm the kill and asked me to seal the barracks? door. Again, I agreed, so I let him remain in his position of leadership. I will talk to him later.

My thoughts turned to those in the back. Naraia, Holt, Adam, and the newcomer Black Angel. They seemed to be doing well, despite lots of fire and a clear sound of Naraia’s shotgun constantly going off. Someone said something about a demon, and I smiled. Naraia and the Black Angel had no doubt faced worse. I was worried about Rourke or other augs attacking, but I had a job to do here and no one had asked for help. I sealed the door with a thin layer of rock. I was quite pleased with how well it worked. I have not really worked with rock before, but it worked out.

Something across the hall created a wall and blasted holes like it was nothing. I was startled, and moved to help, when the combined weight of several dozen men tried to break the door down. I could hear then carving up the walls, like a hive of angry ants working to get through. I suppose some of them are dead now. Shame. I fused the silica and rock in the wall, creating a layer of stone through the walls and door. It took a bit of energy, but kept them at bay. Gunshots flew from other sources, and we fought as best we could, but shortly Karrick confirmed the kill, and we turned to leave.

I stepped over the poor girl from the base. Tira? She had been shot in the chest, but Castle was right behind me, and he almost never refuses a pretty girl. I instead walked outside to clear a path out. Three enemy combatants were about to engage with Ram’s car, so I knocked them down the hill with a blast, holding them down with invisible force while the others made their way outside. My heart ached when I saw the scooter Tira had taken to catch up with us. I would have felt terrible if she had died. Tom saw to it that she survived.

We managed to all get out in one piece. Its a Lighted miracle. Well, alive. Perhaps not in one piece. Holt took a good blast to the face, and several of us were injured, but we rescued four enemy defectors thanks to Karrick, Tira who still needs medical attention, Tom’s sister, Lt? Juror, and the Black Angel girl. I can’t remember her name at the moment.

I’ve given Naraia some time to vent. I need to go talk to her and explain. And then get some sleep.
-Ryler

View
MEN

[Begin Voice Log: MEN]

One word. MEN. Sometimes they frustrate me to no end with their ideas of putting me into a box and tucking me away for my own safety. First Kerrick and then Ryler. Kerrick’s concerns I can understand and to some degree, I will try to appease him since he didn’t suggest I stay completely out of the fight. Ryler on the other hand, I am more disappointed in. Since when has he ever suggested I stay behind on a mission because I’m a woman? He’s never done it before. I’ve been through hell and literal high water ever since waking from stasis and we took our first mission to protect Erine’s transportation to UF hands. I’ve had to make some damn hard changes from being an engineer to being a survivalist and I think I’ve done a pretty good job staying alive on my own. And I’ve saved his sorry butt on loads of occasions too! Gah! growl, pacing

Heavy sigh That’s not very fair of me. We’re fighting an enemy that targets women and I get that Ryler doesn’t want me to be targeted but I know what it’s like to be one of those experiments. I’ve been in those showers and when I told him about it, he brushed me off like it wasn’t a big deal. Granted, we were in the middle of trying to escape a ship that eventually exploded and we got separated, but that’s not the point. The point is that I know the danger. I’ve lived through it and I want to stop anyone else from suffering through it too, so if I have to take down one man in the supply chain to make an ounce of difference, I bloody well will.

Funny how the one person I would expect to have my back on this is the one person who can undermine my confidence just by suggesting I don’t go on a mission. I was ready to be a team player, help where I could, cover my crew from any angle then, wham! Out of the blue Ryler tells me I should stay in the safe house with Iliya and Aeoni. He gave Cara a choice of going but had had the audacity to suggest that I stay behind. He wouldn’t even take the time to explain his decision to leave Aeoni behind when she was willing to fight with us. He was just going to leave without talking to her. I was so confused. Naturally my brain tried to figure out a compromise. The team needed me so maybe I could stay on the outside out of the way. I mentioned this to the group and I’m grateful for Nichole’s counter argument that I’m not just a woman, but a woman with a gun. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to coax my wounded pride out of my befuddled state. I had a gun but what was I good for?

I withdrew and let Kerrick continue making assignments. I didn’t volunteer to take any specific position. I half expected him to leave me out of the listings all together. I was relieved when he didn’t. He assigned me to the northern entrance of the facility, to take out sentries and to gain camera access into the facility so the guys from the south could have visual on the inside. I was with Adam, Holt, and Nichole. Visibility was really low due to the heavy fog. For Adam and Ram to be useful with their ranged abilities, I had volunteered to paint targets for them with a laser. Honestly, things couldn’t have worked out better for us on our end. We were stealth itself. I can’t say the same for our group on the south. Not even a minute after I asked Adam to take out a sentry on the landing pad did the alarm go off. So much for stealth.

The alarms caused many of the crew from the docked Lady in Chains at our entrance to come out. Holt had cloaked himself and was running around somewhere on the platform so I decided to perch on top of the Lady and cover him when his camouflage ran out. Vendrana had taken my design for some metal wings and had improved it and sent me the prototype so I was able to actually fly to the top of the ship without detection. They’re pretty cool. Anyway, one of the crewmen of the Lady was a hedge demon. I didn’t know where Holt was but I hoped he was careful enough not to get stuck on one of the spikes that suddenly shot up all over the platform. I told my side what we were facing and held my position of surprise until I saw Holt uncloak by the door and shoot the four men in front of him. I had attached the laser pointer to my shotgun and focused that on the demon. I told Adam and Ram that I had the target painted. They shot and after a beat I shot. Five sniper bullets and a shotgun blast practically at point blank range took him to the ground. haha That was a beautiful moment.

The demon threw a spike at Holt but missed. He did get his two remaining buddies and ended up sucking the life from their bodies to feed his own. Holt disappeared inside with Nichole and I painted the demon again as he stood up. I fired twice at him and hit. The sniper rounds fired around him. Overall, I shot him six times. I missed once because an augmented crewman came at me on the wing of the ship and I tried to adjust my aim for that guy. Ram and Adam ended up taking out that guy so I was free to launch myself off the ship directly at the demon, shooting him in the face for the killing blow. I got some of his blood on me, which I still have since I haven’t cleaned up yet, and wore it as a badge of victory. Adam had made it to the platform and I think that just the sight of us taking the demon down scared the crap out of the rest of the crew because they just closed the door to the ship, leaving us alone.

The southern group inside the facility weren’t very forthcoming with details about how things were going for them so I was going to head in to help them when Juror came barreling out of the door, right into me. I grabbed her, thinking she was on a crazed dash out the door. I thought she didn’t recognize me because she punched me in the face and threw me to the ground. Man, that woman has a mean punch. I’m going to have a bruised cheek for awhile. It wasn’t until after a strange woman came out of the same door and strode confidently toward the Lady, entered and took off that I realized that Juror might have been protecting me. She actually helped me up and apologized for hitting me. According to Juror, we were in danger. If that woman came from in there, there’s no telling what other havoc she caused to our party so I turned to Adam, who was standing by us, and asked him if he could get Juror to the get-away vehicle. He nodded and I passed Juror to him.

I’m glad Adam had been there. He had my back while I focused on taking out the demon and he, at least, hadn’t voiced any silly ideas about me staying behind even if that thought may have crossed his mind. I knew Juror would be safely out of harms way with Adam as I went back in to try to help evacuate our teammates. As valiant as that idea was, I was pretty useless after that point. I did pull Nichole out of the building and set her on the platform in preparation to be taken to the get away vehicle and went back inside just as cops landed on the platform outside. Their arrival forced us out the southern entrance so we all shuffled that direction. We had apparently collected some new recruits and Tiera had been shot. The wounds looked like they were from a Halcyon drone and she was in pretty bad shape. I volunteered to pick her up and take her out to the truck where Tom looked at her on the ride to the safe house. He was able to stabilize her before turning his attentions back to his sister. Poor girl. Looks like she went through what I did. I hope she survives.

Anyway. I was feeling pretty good about the whole mission. I kept out of the way so Kerrick and Ryler should have been happy and I was able to kick some demon butt so I was happy. Kerrick even asked me to get in touch with the leaders of the Brotherhood to make a report. I told him that I’d have to do it from the Brotherhood safe house plus we needed to pick up Iliya and Aeoni. I was planning on just flying there to make the report and then fly the others back to the main group.

Apparently my plan wasn’t good enough. We reached our destination in the trucks and got out. We were at the ship and before I could go to the safe house, also with Tiera so she could get healed by the old couple, Tom took Tiera, saying he was confident he could preform the necessary surgery she needed in the med bay and then Kerrick was saying that we were going to use the ship to go pick up the other two. You can’t just hover a ship over a town to make a pick up and NOT get noticed by everyone below, even if we are cloaked. We aren’t silent. And how am I to make a report if we use the “swift exit” plan?

Again, instead of having my back, Ryler has the gall to look between Kerrick and me and while still looking at me asks, “Is there a problem with the plan?” like I was the problem. Excuse me?! Fine! You guys figure it out. So here I am in my room, venting my frustrations which isn’t helping. I need to go build something. Alone.

[End of voice log.]

View
Clearing my head.
-Cara

Dear audio log,
I work with strange people now. All so different, yet passionate. Its strange. I wonder what Sam would think of them, a lot. I miss her. I didn’t even know her that well, but after you fight with people, alongside them, for your life… You get to know their soul I think. I am sorry for whatever happened to her, I know it is partially my fault. Why would… never mind. I knew her soul, and I will remember her that way. I still question some of these new people. I haven’t fought with them much yet. Of course, some of them I have already fought too much with. Adam is too haunted to settle for anyone I think, though he clearly has a thing for Naraia. If he and Ryler fought I would fabricate some old fashioned popcorn, because I don’t know who would win. Me. I would win—watching the prize fight of the year!

Naraia is fantastic. Like a sister. I would follow her to any end, especially after the incident on mining colony K. I am pretty sure Des, Illya, and Ryler feel the same way. The new people are different. Mr. Castle is cute, but I feel like he has lied too much to trust. I feel like if his precious cultists told him to he would betray us and be done with it. He is cute though. I distinctly remember him saying something about cat ears being his type so I am not worried. Then there is …what was his name? The other Riden? Ram. Ram seems stalwart and stubborn, and seems loyal to Des for some reason. I like him. Tom and Karrick are soldiers, one career the other a farmboy. Both trustworthy, provided they know enough to feel comfortable. I fear Karrick has a hero complex that will get him killed, and Tom is just stup— uh… passionate enough to run headfirst into a trap to save his siblings. And then there is Holt. Now that is a man. A Brotherhood wraith, and maybe a Black Angel, though I haven’t seen a tattoo. He nearly secured the entire haunted space station by himself! And he is clever! I mean, Castle always knows somebody and knows how to talk, right? But Holt just stands there in his old fashioned trench-coat like a gentleman spy from the movies. Woo!

And somehow we all survived the events we forgot. I am sore in places that don’t make sense. I feel like I was crushed, or folded like an accordion. I hurt everywhere. The only one we lost was Vendranna, though I don’t think she was with us for some reason. I’m sure we all did heroic things, and Des threw another car door, and Ryler picked people up with his mind so Holt could kill them with some exotic weapon Castle pulled from who knows where… and DES and RAM TOPPLED a… whatever-its-called! Sovereign drone thing! Its like flipping a building! Somewhere they have to have security footage of us.

Speaking of, how are we going to get out clean from this facility? We plan to kill a former UF guy and who knows what else? Someone better come up with a plan. I can’t stand for anyone else to die. Ok, I feel better.

gotta go,
-Cara

View
A New Life
-Samantha Maylle

I was afraid for an agonizing amount of time. For most of the year abroad, then after the attack, the escape pods, the pickup, the time spent on Helt. Then boarding ANOTHER ship? But now, here on this station, I think they called it Station 22? Here, strangely I feel safe. As if nothing could go wrong. It seems so well defended, so hidden. No Halcyon could ever find their way aboard. Even if they did, there are so many weapons and people here!

About six thousand refugees are here now. They are saying that we were the last of the refugees from Helt. They have another 120 from Arcane to recover, but that is it. The rest went to the colonies or Chelonia (even though they were told not to).
I wish I could explore, I wish! There is so many wonderful technologies —oh! And history! I bet there is amazing history! I wonder what all happened here!?

I feel like a petulant child, but I have lost a lot. I want to explore. I want to try to contact Bren (I hear they have a media hub here). I want to have a room to myself away from Jorid but everything is restricted! I am tired of being another passenger. I want to be special! I saw this man with a crazy scar over his left eye—that guy has class! A face that says “don’t mess with me, I’m crazy”! I just have a ponytail. Bren would like it. I died the tip silver, like we talked about. But still! No one runs from a silver ponytail! (sure I could draw my Redset, but technically sidearms aren’t allowed for civvies and a) I guess I am a civvie now and b) a .45 would probably get confiscated immediately)

So, here I am. A prisoner. In paradise. Gods I am lonely.

Ugh, here comes Jorid again.
Bye.

-Maylle

View
Ercedian Intelligence Report, HC-S SMS001
Security Code ***-*******-****

Commander Richards, it is my assessment that report 2128-M was absolutely correct—at the time—but the situation has changed dramatically. There was no contact with Agents Shade, Petryn, or anyone else. Elias himself and about 40 crew have been recovered from escape pods that had been damaged and caught in the decaying orbit of Skaath. One pod was beyond retrieval, already having fallen planet-side. In accordance with your wishes, final words were recorded from the survivors on board, and the craft was obliterated before it could be captured.

Regarding the aforementioned report, the Röntgen radiation has ceased entirely. We are still detecting major bursts of Gamma and Alpha wave radiation, as well as some unidentified fluctuation that only registers on the Correlion “scanner”. The crew thought it was worth noting that while the shields were down to pull in crew from the rescue craft, their was a sort of “depressive” or “numbing” sensation coming from what we assumed was the planet. When the shields were restored it seemed to stop, however at least two crew members have become erratic, then violent after reporting the sensation. The entire rescue team and the recovered survivors have been quarantined immediately, and the bridge has been sealed and shielded since the incident.

Local radiation seems to have sterilized a large area except for one forest which seems untouched. According to the readings, the area is bathed in radiation of multiple types, registering well over 100 Sv. Apart from the apparently immune trees there appears to be one Kryp that, as best we can tell, is patrolling the area, seemingly unaffected by the radiation. It seems larger than normal. recommend surgical orbital strike before further (preferably robotic) exploration. One UAV we dropped was downed by some sort of energy weapon unlike what we have seen before. Footage enclosed.

The facility is damaged by an apparent accident or attack that has caused the east-most wing to be destroyed. No life signs are present. The “cave” appears to be sealed. I can detect no apparent threats apart from the radiation, however if I may speak more informally; my officers and I have been haunted by terrible nightmares and, something I can only call a ‘haze’ of fear and uneasiness. Something is wrong here and the whole planet knows it. Large patches of life are simply missing from across the planet, running in rings, like a spiderweb of scars.

Ma’am, it makes our skin crawl and we would all like very much to go home.

T.D. Captain, 4122h, – Juvia 21, 00:04 214692:675

View
Red Mist
-Braxis Lodlaw

Braxis wore a satisfied look on his face, but inside he was swimming with anticipation and ecstasy. The moments before they realized, until right before the water would hit them—that was so sweet. He relished the taste of it. Sierra had finally come around. He had to submit her to the playroom before she calmed down, and even then it had taken time. Almost a week. But his stamina and patience had always been better. And now those too were augmented. He dug his fingernails into his palm, feeling new muscles flex beneath the skin as he watched through the one-way window.

The shower-rooms were small enough, a locked chamber to hold the towel and decontaminate, and the shower-tub itself. The construction was simple enough—all self-contained in a single shipping crate subdivided by a bulkhead. The back section held the humors that would be used. He wasn’t sure how they were made or mixed, but they were clearly potent. Already two of the girls were curled up on the floor of their own crates. One girl actually lit on fire. The witchdoctor that managed the operation had said they should leave her until she had ‘exhausted all fuel’ Charlie wasn’t a major loss, so Braxis didn’t care. She was too young for most work anyway.

Sierra though—she and the new Foxtrot, they would make him a small fortune. He could probably shut down the Arcane and Chelonia operations after this and only focus on Helt. He chuckled with delight at that thought. He could own a small island. Or he thought, a fleet. If the girls died he would be paid full, if they didn’t he would be paid double. And trauma was apparently a catalyst! (As well as being in love, apparently.) He knew at least the first condition was satisfied quite nicely.

Motion at the door in front of him caught his eye. Bravo stumbled into the decon chamber as if pushed, and sat there sobbing as she was locked in and told to strip. He cocked his head as he watched her brown hair stick to her sweat-covered olive skin. He watched as he had before as she slowly disrobed. One last time he admired her soft curves and delicate limbs, still somewhat bruised from… some time ago. She shivered as she cried, jumping as the pneumatic door hissed open to reveal the shower. She hesitated for a few minutes before stepping inside, confused. Here, he thought. Just before it comes.

Bravo looked up, smelling the subtle iron and vinegar from above. She gasped as blood poured down on her from above in a fine red mist, showering her for exactly one second. It was always enough. Apparently they used to bathe the girls in it, but it was too wasteful apparently. After a host was sprayed it couldn’t be tested again—apparently its properties were already soaked up by the victim.

Braxis’ breath caught and his eyes widened in pleasure as he watched her realize. It burned, at first, like a sunburn. It itched. Then things were different. Some felt immeasurable pain. Some indescribable pleasure. Disappointingly she just looked at her limbs confused. But then that final stage. After about 30 seconds every victim felt it. The scraping. Like every cell was being attacked all at once. Now wracked with such a pain, Bravo collapsed and began writhing, holding her chest, her head, her arm, not being able to relieve the pain. Braxis leaned forward on his toes as her screams became loud enough to be heard on his side of the glass. She did have such a beautiful voice. Her writhing became more violent, and uncontrolled, until with a great snap like a tree branch cracking under weight, she bent violently backwards, almost in half.

Braxis laughed once with glee. That was new. He had never seen someone break themselves in half before. He shook his head as two beeps signaled payment on his terminal. It was a shame to lose another one, but quite worth the six-figures and the show. He reached down with his oversized hand to select the next name for sale and paused. Foxtrot. He hadn’t had his way with her yet. She would still make a fine trophy, all of that pride and military training. He teetered as he weighed his options. The door behind him opened.
“Masrõ Braxis?” A small Halcyon face asked.
He cursed in anger at the filthy creature. “WHAT?”
“That is all for the moment, the tanks need to be reloaded.”
Braxis sighed. “Very well.” He could decide in an hour. He walked out to find something to eat. It had been a while since breakfast and he was hungry.

View
Voice Log 1: [[Subject : The World Gone Crazy]]
Thomas Greyburn

Start Recording:
Lieutenant Thomas Greyburn, 82nd Tactical Recon, * cough *
……
*sniffs * Well… I’m not really sure who I’m recording this for anyway, but I figure it won’t hurt much to keep track of recent events before it all turns into a blur… I suppose I should start back ways first though.

It all began to turn strange during our last mission as a squad escorting those civies. They didn’t act like civies should have in a war zone. In fact, they almost seemed excited… right up until the Halcyon drone destroyed the landing pad and killed Garth. Bravo team arrived on the scene too quickly and wouldn’t let me handle my own fething squad member and— *exhales * … well, we lost him.

Shortly afterwards the brass saw fit to disband our squad and reassigned Dev to what he was told was a paper pushing position. I think now that he most likely got snapped up by the UFI now since his records have vanished from the UF database. There was a Dr. Martin that was apart of the civies we were escorting that appeared to hold a little too much sway in deciding where we were assigned next after Garth’s death. I suspect after everything that has happened it’s likely he was UFI as well. But that’s only gut speculation on my part…

Karrick, Juror, and myself were reassigned to the protective detail for the fleet commander at some fundraising gala or whatnot. The operation seemed to be somewhat below board and off the records, which made me feel a little uneasy but maybe that was because most of the communication only went through Karrick, and even now I’m unsure who exactly was giving us our orders and from where.

Well anyway, they dropped us off on Arcane and gave us a few days of shore leave before the assigned detail and Karrick went to receive further orders while Juror and myself found a good place to have a drink.

O’Henry’s? O’Malley’s? … don’t rightly remember the name of the place… in any case, it was there we met our current company, or at least part of it, including the big beast of a fella named Des; although he’s very friendly in the right situation. Handy with a car door. *nervous chuckle *

Des was introduced to us by Naraia, who introduced herself as a UF major, which may have once been technically true but turned out to be a bit of a stretch considering she is ultimately considered AWOL by the brass, and then Cara who didn’t really introduce herself as anything that I can recall… she looked like someone who could handle herself though so I assumed she was some UF special unit or something assigned to the major… also wrong on my part…

Note to self: Be more vigilant in validating ID’s of unknown persons. [Note added]

Anyways, Naraia mentioned some mission that they were on to uncover some underground kidnapping ring and asked if we’d be willing to help… I’ve never been the best at saying no, but Juror seemed to be ok with the idea, so we accompanied them to those floating pools and boy… what a place… definitely a bit out of my pay range but by light those drinks were good! Not that I had much time to enjoy them.

Not long after arriving Juror went missing right from under our noses at the table. She was even on the inside of the booth and we didn’t see her go.

This was where things started to really go downhill. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for the mess. Juror didn’t deserve what happened to her…

After a useless chase we circled back to the bar then eventually to Naraia’s ship while I tried contacting the brass to report the incident, or even Karrick, but nothing went through. Not even the missing persons report I filed which rewrote itself as soon as it was submitted.

At some point we picked up Dick and his Riden friend who turned out to be part of the Sons of Andar group, I’m not sure when… everything started to blur together in the moment trying to find where Juror was taken. We also finally found Karrick at a motel who greeted me with a hot and fresh knuckle sandwich… I still owe him for that…

Note to self: Give Karrick back his knuckle sandwich. [Note added]

Dick seemed to have info from his network on Juror’s location so Karrick and I, with the help of Naria’s team, used that info to extract her from an underground portion of the performance arena near the floating pools. They were doing something to mess with her mind down there… she was guarded by a few thugs and some disturbing mutated looking person down there which Naraia took the liberty of blowing off its head. I got nicked by a stray bullet in the process but thankfully it was something Karrick could handle. I need to be more careful. If I go down hard there might not be anyone there to patch me up right…

We extracted Juror to a safe house where we were able to recover for the night from our various souvenirs taken from the fight. Dick must have drugged us with something fierce while we slept since I had the strangest dreams that night… disturbing dreams. Nothing like I’ve ever experienced before, including that one time Karrick convinced me to touch that nasty goo on that one mission that was apparently some sort of hallucinogen… matter of fact, I still owe him for that one too…

Note to self: Take Karrick on a trip. [Note added]

The next morning, I woke up first to some noise upstairs. Turned out Naraia had her own dreams that were just about real enough to stab her in the side… however that works…

Something in my dream made me want to check a few things about Naraia and her crew. I learned after a basic search that most of them were not at all what Naraia said they were. Her pilot Adam was former UF and wanted for several murders in Amaranth. Cara was a wanted criminal as well. Naraia was listed as AWOL and definitely not an acting major. They later explained themselves, or at least Naraia and Adam did… Cara wasn’t present for that and even they seemed to be unaware of her record. Still… I don’t much like being lied to.

I didn’t have much time to stew on it though since it was right about then that I saw the news that my home had been attacked and out of nowhere I got a call from Dave and Abby on their tiger cruise saying they were in danger and were boarding escape pods. Fething pirates… I may be good at patching people up but I’m a mite good at ripping holes in ‘em too if I want…

It seems the whole world is falling apart now. Not sure where I fit in all of this, but I’ll be light burned if I don’t try make it right where I can.

Aft— * bang * * bang * * bang * What th— Pause recording: [Recording Paused]

[Resume Recording — Time elapsed == 2.31 minutes]

*yawn * Ah, I think I’m running out of fuel here to finish this… maybe after a few hours of much needed shut-eye I can finish up the details before I forget ‘em…

In case I can’t, short version is Juror left to join a relief team and is now captured by a corrupted branch of the UFI, we failed our protective detail and were unable to save the fleet commander from a mass poisoning terrorist attack, although we were able to save a young girl with unique abilities from being transported by the UFI to be tested like a lab rat, and Karrick and I are now burned by what was left of the UF, or UFI, before the Halcyon decided to disband the UF all together. Light… it really all sounds like a crazy dream when I put it like that… maybe I’m just going crazy… either that or Dick slipped me another shot of crazy juice…

As for currently, I am aboard Naraia’s ship leaving the region of space around Arcane bound towards unknown coordinates. And I haven’t slept in what, 36 hours? Easy to lose track of time out here…

Anyways, this is Lieutenant Greyburn signing out,

End voice log: [Voice log completed]
[Saving]
[Transcribing text file]
[ Save complete]

View
To the Station
-Adam Dardell

I lied to Naraia. I think she knows I did. Certainly she has noticed other things. After the last couple days it is just too much to handle I think. I have got to get her to her husband. So much has happened, and she needs some stability. Erine told us the station was a priority, but not the order per se. I made a call, and I think it was the right one, I just don’t know if Naraia would think the same—she has a tendency to become fixated on a particular goal.

Cruel fate plays on us all, but I know there is a way to be stronger than fate. It lies in her to be that for us. To guide us out of the dark. She is a lighthouse, and I a sailor. No wonder I am drawn to her, adrift as I am on my sea. Her wings are bigger now. They are going to be beautiful when they come in. I dreamed they came in red, but I wouldn’t mind if they did. Well, I hope Ryler doesn’t mind. I am sure he will get used to it.

Cara seems healthier for being around her, as does Vendranna. She just keeps drawing more people to her. There is a choice here… There is a different time in which none of this matters. Wherein if the worst should happen I would consider.

I can see a future in which we don’t need to turn back the clock. If we can stop the bomb, we can survive the past. We won’t need to make the sacrifice I have been preparing for. But in all of the plans, in discussing them, I have begun to think that the future doesn’t matter if I don’t live now. Especially me.

Sorry, this journal entry is going in circles. I’m done for now.
-Adam

View
Lady in Chains
-On a Pirate Vessel docked at Arcane.

The blood wouldn’t come out of the leather. Braxis clenched his wet fist in rage as he realized that he had ruined another pair. At least, he thought, at least Sierra has learned a valuable lesson. She would take a couple weeks to recover, and out of the surgery she would keep her mouth shut. He stripped the wet leather off his hands and relaxed his adrenal glands as he left the “lesson” room, throwing them in the corner where he noted the last pair had ended up. At least he hadn’t gotten a bite wound this time. You had to be extra careful around the mouth.

He stopped as two men walked up to him in the hallway. He felt his rage boil up again. Not just anyone could walk up to him on his own ship. These buyers were awful brash. Probably more of those former intelligence officers.
“What” he barked. He realized he hadn’t cleaned off his face yet, though that was not what had given them pause. A third man walked up behind them, dragging a girl in tow. Ah. Sellers then. Them, he could allow some leeway. His hand unclenched.

“Master Braxis, you come highly rec-” The third officer began, becoming interrupted as the woman he was dragging found some strength to drive a pair of scissors into his leg. To his credit he simply backhanded her and let out a grunt of pain as he removed the bloody implement and looked at it, clearly wondering where she picked it up. Both his leg and her mouth dribbled fresh blood on the ship carpet. It needed to be cleaned anyway.

“Get on with it.” He said, growing impatient despite the excitement at seeing her resist. He relished the challenge of breaking the spirit. He was so good at it.

“Her name is Stephanie…”
“I don’t care.”
“We need her locked away, but alive and unharmed.”

Braxis looked pointedly at her bruises and bloody lip. “unharmed?”

“She will be bartered.”

After I break her I will be sure to get her all healed up. “Fine. 22,000.”
The officer looked angry and his face grew red. “Your rate is 15.”
“You want her unhurt and fed, you pay the 22.”

The officer thought about it. “Fine. Do what you want with her as long as she is presentable and alive. 20,000.”

“Done. Leave her there then.”

The men nodded and turned to leave, the officer limping down the gangplank. The girl turned to crawl out. It was clear her arm was broken. Braxis watched her crawl for five or six feet, then pushed the door switch, watching her rise a mere inch from the edge, and come tumbling back as the plank met the ceiling and sealed her in. She landed at his feet clutching her arm and sobbing in pain through her split lip. You can replace Foxtrot. He thought. He flared his adrenal gland and reached down to her form and took a handful of hair, dragging her behind him down the hall. His terminal beeped twice indicating the payment. He smiled and licked his iron-flavored lips as he crossed into the “welcome room”.

“Get the table ready, then prep Bravo and Charlie for sale!” His sharp orders were returned with salutes as the two crewmen scrambled out of the room. He looked down at the girl desperately grasping at his hand and her hair. Her UF uniform was torn, stained by dirt and mud and blood and ash. Her face was dirty, and covered in scratches. She needed to be bathed soon.

To no one in particular he spoke as he lifted her to a standing position, saying, “And I will give our new guest here the customary tour.”

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.