Mon May 13, 2019 12:53 pm
When Bob hears Maluk's announcement, his brow furrows suddenly - a contemplative murmur escapes his lips, soft as a sigh. "Friend... Enemy friend..." It's a difficult thought for the man to wrap his mind around, for entirely forgivable and understandable reasons: Enemies and friends are two opposing things. For them to be brought together in the same place, well. That would be... practically a miracle. The power of friendship is arguably stronger than the power of enemyship, so therefore, the friendship ought to cancel the enemyship out, were such an unimaginable thing to occur. It's a logical conclusion, and Bob soon follows this exact train of thought, arriving at the same place with an overwhelming sense of amazement. "FRIEND!" Bob suddenly shouts, his face lighting up in an innocent joy. "ENEMY FRIEND!" The enemy ship is now a friend! Bob loves friends, of course, and most especially friends that happen to be big enough to hug without crushing them. (It's a common woe.)
With little to no hesitation, Bob pops the canopy of his CASKET, utterly ignoring the warning alarms and flashing lights, and leaps out into the void, drifting toward the enemy ship. "FRIEND!" the man shouts with glee. "HUG FRIEND!"
As Bob reaches the enemy's hull, he stretches his arms out wide and clutches an armored protrusion, squeezing it in a tight embrace. "Friend," he murmurs again, gripped in a simple, childlike bliss. He imagines that if the ship could, it would hug him back. This is not the case, but it's the thought that counts, of course. Any friend is a friend worth hugging.
From her CASKET, Vynkor watches this display of affection with bewilderment. "What the fukc?" After wasting a few seconds thought on why he would be doing such a thing, she puts it firmly out of her mind. Clearly not everyone in the crew is entirely sane. This is hardly a surprise. She, and the other REKT members - Buck, Ishmael, Gene, and Anabais - return to the entrance to Nemesis's hangar.
"Requesting landing permission," Ishmael says, following protocol to a T.
"Permission granted!" Cho's chipper voice replies. Anabais is already inside, though, and in the process of landing. Everyone else (except Bob, still hugging the enemy ship) follows along behind her.
Most people get out without much hassle, but Anabais is barely able to drag herself out of the cockpit. She's taken a great deal of shrapnel and large-caliber rounds to the chest and side - the most she can manage is to leave a bloody smear behind her as she slides down the side of her vehicle, knocking away a couple of the engineers that try to assist her, before she's finally accosted by a group of medics with tranquilizers. They make short work of her struggle, and begin trying to patch her up.
In the meantime, Vynkor begins asking for where she can go help repair the hull - and it seems as though there's no shortage of opportunities. She's given a quick list to choose from, and finally decides she'll go check out some of the repairs near the front. Welding shouldn't be too hard for a gal like her, she figures. She's not wrong.
When Captain Maluk makes his announcement, a bewildered Saoirse shakes her head. "They were attacking us, and now they're our friends? What?"
Brom puffs out his chest proudly. "I can see the captain has informed our friends of my presence." To him, there's no mystery about it at all. Saoirse discreetly rolls her eyes behind his back, and she and brom watch as the BEGrs disband without ceremony, seemingly going back to their previous tasks. "Let me know if you have need of me in the future, Lieutenant!" Brom calls out as they leave. Almory shows no recognition of his offer whatsoever.
Saoirse and Brom both head to the armory and return their equipment. Hoffman seems pleased by this, and sees to it that it is carefully filed away as it should be. Brom sticks around, trying (unsuccessfully) to convince Hoffman to let him handle some of the other gear, while Saoirse leaves. As she walks, she taps away at her PDA, and is pleased to find that, finally, Ellie Mercer has answered her mass tell. (What idiot even came up with the mass-tell system, anyway?) In fact, Ellie has even requested her presence; they've gotten some of the equipment up and running and are finally able to fix her leg. Saoirse chooses not to respond, and instead heads down there in person.
Things are starting to quiet down across the Nemesis, as the once-mighty war vessel and her surviving crew slowly follows their newfound allies at a snail's pace towards Fuhodo Station. It's hardly under powered flight; the pilots have resorted to the primitive method of making orbital burns, and letting the ship drift over vast expanses of space. After the Nemesis reaches the orbit of Fuhodo, it will execute a braking maneuver, and then rendezvous with Fuhodo Station's asteroid. It's a slow way to go about doing it, but still effective. With resources stretched as thinly as they are, and the ship still very much at risk of various equipment failures, it's the safest thing to do. The engineering team is hard at work sorting everything out, at least.
As Redrick and Danald part ways, Frank and Caleb split up as well: Frank follows Redrick and Antez, while Caleb follows Danald towards the hull. And which will require more effort to repair? It's hard to say. With the fuel piping, all of the shaking from the railcannon round impacts has broken loose some of the hurriedly-patched welding work, and many of the pipes have begun leaking both fuel and coolant. Cleaning up after this is a messy task, and one Frank is only just barely up to.
Swizenaiga, on the other hand, has his work cut out for him and his crew patching the hull. The outer hull of the Nemesis is meters thick - the thick armor is designed to take a beating and more. Taking a beating, however, is something it most certainly has done; the hull bears cracks from stress fractures and light indentations. If Caleb was floating outside the ship, he would see a myriad of dents, and pitting from high-velocity projectiles. From the inside, he can only see places where the hull has gotten particularly weak, or cracked altogether. There are no large holes or gashes, at least - just a few relatively-thin cracks from stress through which the air has escaped. Patching these is rather difficult. It takes a joint effort from a dozen people, some working with high-powered electromagnetic clamps, and others working with what Caleb can only describe as "armor caulking guns". When Caleb is handed one of these, he pretends he knows perfectly well what to do with it. Unfortunately, it soon becomes disastrously obvious that he has very little idea what the hell he's doing, as with his first attempt, the recoil surprises him enough to make him miss the crack entirely. This wouldn't be so bad, if the "caulk" wasn't actually superheated metal, and he hadn't missed right onto his hands. (Fortunately, his suit is equipped with protective gloves for this precise reason, or this could've ended very differently.)
"Not had much practice, have we?" a girl asks, eyeing Caleb with a smirk that he can just barely make out against the glare of the work lamps. "Next you're going to tell me that this doesn't usually happen." Of course, it doesn't usually happen, because he's not usually one to try to fix things.
Swizenaiga happens to be standing nearby and overhears the remark. "Oy, Caleb," he says, grimacing slightly - and grimacing again when he sees Caleb's smeary patchwork. "Okay mate, how 'bout you set down the tools and help lug me some o' those patch crates over here? Stace is a good patcher herself but she's a mite... short in the hauling department, if you catch me."
"Stace", the girl that made the comment about Caleb's practice, grins and turns away. She's about as short as Caleb is, and doesn't fill out her suit nearly as much in the muscles department.
At Frank's end, everything goes relatively smoothly. Frank isn't the best engineer by any standards, but he's at least a semi-decent one: in general he at least has a good idea of what he's doing.
"Antez, man, get your team to the other end and prepare to clamp her down," Redrick roars in his typical fashion. Being around him feels positively invigorating because of the energy he seems to radiate. "Frank - Frank, right?" Frank nods. "You're with me. Nigel!"
"Here sir," Nigel answers. He's nervous and fidgety. Redrick seems to notice this, and gives him a task that requires some degree of concentration, but less risk of messing anything up. Frank, on the other hand, is not nearly so lucky.
"Okay Frank," Redrick orders when he returns, "follow." Frank nods and follows the man, swallowing. One couldn't blame him if he wondered why Redrick hadn't given him Nigel's job. Nigel is probably more experienced anyway. But he doesn't have time to think about this, as they walk across the floor to where the pipes in question are loosely bolted in grooves in the floor. Their ends seem perfectly flush with the interior wall, but nevertheless, some amount of gaseous substance is spewing out the end. Stray specks of some unidentifiable liquid begin to spatter on Frank's helmet. "Frank, soon as Nigel pulls the crank, we're gonna rip the bolts and redo 'em. Metal here's stressed; something contracted under pressure and it's edged out at the seams. We gotta tighten 'em up. Can't have it shut off for more'n a minute or the tanks'll risk a burst, can't have that. You ready?"
Frank swallows and nods.
"Let's do this thing then!" He roars a couple orders at Antez and Nigel, and the gaseous spewing abruptly ceases. "Now Frank, with me!"
The next minute feels frantic. Redrick, Frank, and two other engineers hurriedly remove bolts - some of them damaged - from the piping. While the other two engineers clamp the pipes back down with their tools, Frank and Redrick hurriedly screw the fresh bolts back into place. "Antez, Nigel, all clear!" Redrick hollers. Under Frank's hand, the pipes vibrate almost violently for just a second, but quickly quiet down. No leakages appear. The ex-janitor breathes a quiet sigh of relief.
"Well done!" Redrick laughs, clapping Frank on the back with a friendly pat that almost bowls him over onto the pipes. "You'll make a combat engie yet. Sharp work, crew! Now, on to the next leak!"
"Excuse me?" Saoirse asks, standing in the middle of the engineering-repurposed-as-medical-bay area. Nobody hears her; everyone seems much too focused on what they're doing. "Excuse me!" she asks again - this time a bit louder. Finally she grabs ahold of one of the nurse's sleeves as they walk past her. "Excuse me!" she says again - perhaps with a little too much force this time; she practically shouts it.
The nurse looks very agitated, but swallows it back, save for a sassy, displeased air. "Can I help you?" Her uniform has "Denise" stamped on it above the breast.
"I sent a message a few days back to ask for leg surgery, and I was wondering if I could get it soon? I got called down here earlier." She waves her PDA. "I almost had to fight off boarders on these." Saoirse gestures with extreme contempt at her crutches.
"Oh, that was you with the mass tells?" the nurse says, with obvious recognition. "Honey, you gotta go through the right channels with those things. And there ain't no boarders, so I don't know what the hell you're talkin' about with that.
"I said I almost had to!" Saoirse repeats herself forcefully. "I wanted a cyborg upgrade for my left leg, and an armored prosthetic for my right one!" Scealloga agus a ceapaire gan feoil, what does a girl have to do to get service around here?
"Well aren't you all in a tizzy?" the nurse states, standing somewhere between amused and annoyed. "I'm not the one you should be yelling at, sweetheart! If you still got a problem, take it up with the docs. I'm just a nurse. I ain't got time for that."
A third individual butts in with a croak. "Is there a problem?" Saoirse and Denise turn around, and are greeted by a short, wizened man in a white jacket.
"No, no problem, Doctor," the nurse says. "Just this girl tuggin' on my sleeve and shoutin'. She the one that sent that message to everybody."
"Ahh, I see," the little old man says in a raspy voice. "Right then. You get back to work, Denise, I'll handle this." Denise leaves, and the little man offers Saoirse an unintentionally creepy wink as he pecks at his PDA. "All right, they should be here in a moment," he assures her shortly. "Good to meet you, young lady."
As they continue working, Caleb takes it upon himself to address the elephant in the room. "You know, I'm not complaining," he says, when the comms go quiet for a time, "but the way they stopped shooting just feels fishy. These guys were just trying to blow us into scrap, and now suddenly they're our escort?"
"Gift horse, mate," Danald says calmly, melting a new armor patch to a sealed crack. "You don't look 'em in the mouth. Not our place to question orders. We just keep the wheels oiled, so the machine keeps moving forward."
At this, Stace speaks up. "That feels a little naive, sir," she says. "No disrespect intended, but... I mean, think about it. None of us like Maluk much, unless I've missed somebody." She looks around, as if waiting for someone to challenge her. When no one does, she continues, "I wouldn't be surprised if he cut some kind of shady deal with them. He's a pretty smooth talker, but he's the type to value survival well over proper procedure, if you ask me."
"Tell me, how's that a problem, Stace?" Danald asks, finishing up his task and turning towards her. "Might that be what we need right now? I don't like the man either, but he saved us a thrashing. Can't fault him for that."
Stace hasn't been won over just yet. "No, but -"
"What'll come, will come," Danald says with an air of finality. "Not our place to be concerned. Can't do a thing about it either way. We're safe, and better," he thumps the hull, "she's safe. That's all that matters now. We have a job to do, and we best do it."
The girl still seems uncomfortable, but stops protesting and picks up her welding gun, getting back to task. "He should have at least told us what was going on. We're part of this too," she offers, somewhat deflated. "Captain Machellan would have told us."
"'At's right, he would've," Danald states in solemn agreement. "But he was a seasoned captain. Maluk's not been at the top for more'n a few days. Give him time. He'll settle in and learn."
Caleb heaves the next stack of patches down close to them, and everyone keeps working.
Some time later, Saoirse wakes up suddenly, fully alert. She looks down - her biological leg has been completely upgraded with bits of steely metal and smooth plates, with much of the tissue (and probably bone) throughout replaced; it's now a cyborg leg. On the other side, an armored prosthetic. She tests them out briefly. The cyborg one feels much more... alive. It feels like it's actually a legitimate part of her body; she can feel temperatures and pressure quite easily with it. The armored one just feels heavy, if undeniably tough. The motors in it feel powerful - much better than the cheap ones she grew up with.
Getting to her feet off the cot she was resting on, she tests for pain, and is pleased to find there isn't any whatsoever. She bounces on her toes for a moment, and quickly decides it may take a bit of time to get used to the change. Regardless of this, she really seems to like it, overall. She aims a few kicks out into the air: strong and reliable. This pleases her. She sticks her tongue out at her crutches, leaning against the cot, and walks away briskly.
A thought soon occurs to her, however: how is Davin doing?
It takes some asking around, but Saoirse finally manages to find Davin, the young man she saved from himself prior to the Huhoba mission. He's on a bed in an intensive care room - one of the new ones the engineers have rebuilt. The room has a certain "sharpness" to it - one of stark artificiality. And in the middle, lying on a medical bed, is Davin, sleeping lightly among a great deal of medical equipment.
Given that he's sleeping, Saoirse doesn't feel quite right awakening him. He seems like he's okay, though - or he's going to be, at least. He's heavily bandaged still, and they have a camera on him - probably just in case he tries anything. Not that he would be able to, given his current condition, but it's the thought that counts.