Legitimate Spaceship Crew!

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Insomnant, Jun 18, 2016.

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  1. Level IV Hangar, Space Station Epsilon Gorthrak 7, Xantos System

    merc market.jpg

    "No, I know the ad didn't specifically mention that you should have all your limbs..." came the reluctant admission though the expression that accompanied it was one of barely-contained anger. With teeth gritted, brow furrowed, and pointy ears folding back slightly the foxy woman behind the table seemed nearly set to pounce... or run away. "That's why I'm telling you now!" Taking a deep breath, Pei calmed herself and then looked up at the source of her frustration. He weaved and teetered in front of the makeshift booth, both because of his missing leg (replaced with what looked like the arm off a serving bot) and whatever drug it was that had him slurring words and oh so confident about his chances to get on her short list.

    Although it had just started a half hour ago, the hunt for a new crew was going... terrible. Everyone so far had been rejected, including the tattered old sailor before her, though he clearly hadn't gotten the hint. "I been ashtroid 'opping long 'fore ya're bar-born, li'l missy. Got more fiy-flyin' 'shperience in me one leg 'an... in yer whole body!" It was then that he leaned in and squinted, and Pei squirmed under the intense observation.

    "Uh- yeah, okay- okay sure! Right, you've convinced me! You're invited back to the second stage of interviews- it starts tomorrow, this time. Just come on by and we'll get to the more nitty gritty technical stuff!" she assured him, clapping her hands together and giving her charmingest murder-prevention-smile. It seemed to work and he nodded grimly in acceptance of her response before waddling off, his prosthetic 'foot' clapping the ground with every step.

    Before Pei even had a chance to slump in exhaustion, the next applicant cut right in. A chipper tan scaly alien with some sort of tattoo on his ridged forehead that had been gouged out and scarred over to the point of ineligibility. "Heyyyy," he started, and Pei lifted her head with a look of eager curiosity. "Your ship's the Feline Purrsuasion... but you're a Vulpinoid!" Curiosity melted into dismay, and annoyance. "With that sort of vessel name I really expected a Nekoid I have to say!"

    Burying her face in her palms, Pei's hands slowly slid down until her green eyes peeked out through her spread fingers. "Get out. Go, you're not hired," she muttered and at least this one got the message, giving her an angry trill and a finger gesture she didn't recognize but understood all the same. Thankfully he was the last one in line for now, though whether that was good or bad Pei couldn't bring herself to decide.

    "You may not have realized, but his facial recognition scan matched to the GC criminal database: he's wanted for a wide variety of crimes." The precise, modulated voice from the woman next to her might have sounded monotonous to the casual listener but as one who had heard it enough, Pei could make out the tone of chastisement. Turning to deliver a withering look to her clothesless companion, the normally upbeat vixen couldn't help but think that the tables had turned.

    "I don't caaaare, he's not wanted on my ship! I'm sick of hearing about the name..." she grumbled to the bot. Sitting naked and oh so content with herself, the silver-haired gynoid was officially there to record the interviews... But 'Heather' had so far been way more trouble than that advantage was worth. The solicitations and leering alone had almost made Pei send her back to the ship, but now she was really pushing it. And she continued to do so.

    "You are aware, it's not technically your ship..." Pei could have sworn she saw a hint of a smile tug at the artificial woman's lips! It made her tail and left eye both twitch.

    "And yet, if I left you in the vehicle bay and told the ship to vent the atmosphere in there... it would totally listen to me!" She countered in an edgy cheery voice and punctuated the threat with a chomp of her teeth, displaying pointy incisors that did absolutely nothing to intimidate the fembot.

    "You do know that I don't need to breathe."

    Pei wilted, ears drooping and tail flopping against the back of the chair. "Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhss I know. Else I woulda choked you to death a looong time ago. And even though that's true, somehow... you're still fulla hot air..."

    Anyone listening in might think the two hated each other. Or at least, that the flesh-and-blood one hated the SynthSkin-and-electrons one. And yet even after such an exchange they continued sitting next to each other, presenting a united front in the Level IV hangar while awaiting additional candidates to show up and make their case on why she should let them on her ship. The application process was as much a personality contest as it was a talent show- and with good reason! Considering how much time they'd be spending together, being able to get along was immensely important!

    Unable to help herself, a smile began to form on Pei's lips and her ears perked up, tail starting to go swish-swash while she smoothed out a lock of green hair down to the amber-brown tips. It was as if the last few failures in a row hadn't just happened at all- she couldn't wait to meet new people!
    #1 Insomnant, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2016
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  2. So many people. And over each of them, a red crosshair and the word [NEUTRALIZE].


    Tick's systems repeated the order over and over again like an electronic mantra. A mantra capable of being repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times a second thanks to the power of computing. If you've ever seen text scroll by on a screen at blinding speeds; that's what a robotic mind on edge would look like. As much as Tick was itching to bring out the heavy machine gun slung on its back and set tomorrow's station news headline for "Murderous Robot Kills Dozens Yet Again" it would have to wait. The copious amounts of wanted posters with its face on them were making things difficult.

    It was time to move on. Like the majestic Terran duck, it was time for Tick to move on to greener pastures or wherever Terran ducks go when shit hits the fan. A ship crew would work wonders. He'd get to go somewhere else and fulfill his primary objective there without being bothered by people already knowing his face and clearing out on sight. Allowing a handful of organics to live in his immediate vicinity was a fair trade-off for getting off this station and wreaking havoc somewhere else. Things would be easier if he didn't need to rely on a crew, but Tick can't fly ships. It simply isn't in his programming. He used to have a trail version of ship-piloting software, but it ran out ages ago.

    A tan organic with scales on its forehead grumbled on its way out. Tick's trigger finger habitually squeezed, though without a gun in hand, the inferior lifeform was unfortunately left unharmed and alive. A necessary sacrifice. Once inside, his HUD highlighted the Vulpinoid, flagged it as a target like everyone else, and planted the word [NEUTRALIZE]over her head. Somewhere in the recesses of his memory banks, he noted that despite being organics; he despised Vulpinoids slightly less than other organics. They at least seemed to understand that murder wasn't such a big deal. If only more organics were as slightly-less-pathetic as the Vulpinoids.

    The other thing in the room was the repurposed sex bot. Even so, her hardware was a lot more advanced that what a sex bot would need. For an organic, identifying the sex bot chassis as an advanced research station AI would be impossible from just looking. But serial number ID's don't lie. Despite also being a robot, his systems still declared her need for imminent death... just... not as loudly as it would for organics. See, robots can be a bit like dogs. They don't sniff each other's buttholes, but there is always at least a minute exchange of data when they come into contact with each other. Basic stuff like serial numbers, make and model, and any other data that serves merely as a way for machines to acknowledge each other's presence. So in a way, automatic data package exchanges are the butthole sniffing of the AI world. If an AI hasn't set this information to private, another AI can even see things like age, operating system, software versions, data logs, designated task, and even current objectives.

    Tick for one, had nothing to hide. His greeting software proudly declared his intent and predilection for violence. So yes. Heather was made privy to Tick's motives. She could even tell that he was currently targeting them both and receiving orders to kill everyone in the hangar, but was disregarding them to protect a secondary objective; e.g. joining the crew. She could even get a system-tracked body count. It numbered in the triple digits and was pretty close to going into the quadruples. Tick stated his intention pretty directly.

    "[Inferior organic lifeform. I wish to acquire a position among your crew.]"

    Oh yeah. There was also the fact that if he was denied a position, then his secondary objective would fail... meaning the first would no longer be withheld. Win-win for Tick, at least. Not to worry, he would at least end the conversation with, "[Thank you for your time. Have a nice day.]" before the shooting started.
  3. "Yeah yeah, I already told you- just leave the crates in the storage bay," the fox-eared lady ordered dismissively, shifting left... and then right, to try and see around Tick to watch for anyone else to show up. "I'll sign for everything when it's all on board."

    "You misheard, it is not here to deliver the beverages," pointed out Heather, detached as always but already calculating how to throw the table forward to provide cover should a firefight break out. Granted, she was always doing that, but at this point a few more percentage points of processing were being devoted to that simulation.

    "Well, it certainly isn't here to drink them!" Came the cheerfully oblivious reply from Pei who- with wide, amused eyes and a big grin glanced from Heather to Tick and back again... before wilting and slumping back into her seat. "Ugh, my humor is wasted on you people..." She crossed her arms over (or under, really) her chest and pouted while Heather stepped in.

    "You are an ABP Mk IV." It wasn't a question, more of a statement of fact. "Your continued functioning speaks to your capabilities. Your motives are less clear- what are your current objectives and how would joining the Feline Purrsuasion accomplish them?"

    For her part, Pei was attempting to look utterly disinterested in all the robo-speak but she was bad at that. And her sideways glances at Tick were surpassed in terms of obviousness by the swiveling of her tall pointed ears to aim their fluffy white interiors toward the gynoid next to her first and then the less human-looking robot before them second, in expectation of an answer.
  4. Ah. It seems this Vulpinoid needs this robot to do the talking for her. Perhaps she is some sort of pet for her machine. As it should be. Suddenly, joining this crew didn't seem like such an inconvenience. Maybe he'd even get an organic as a pet for himself.

    "[I desire the continued fulfillment my primary objective. However; doing so has become difficult on this station. I am willing to align my objectives with yours in exchange for transport off this station and participation in your assignments. Preferably assignments involving the destruction of inferior lifeforms.]"

    Perhaps becoming part of crew wasn't such a bad idea after all! His probability systems could only wonder at the marvelous new places he'd get to see and terrorize.
  5. The little antler-like horns atop Myuri’s head twitched.

    How many months had she been on this crumbling asteroid of a space station? She already had a horribly skewed sense of time, but it was in the other way. She’d been kicking around long enough that a few years’ detour fucking off to somewhere meant little to her, so the fact that the short turquoise-haired girl was bored after a month or so was telling. Sure, they paid her really well for her to fix stupid things like docking bay circuit arrays and faulty DigiScape terminals (although the time the local group malfunctioned and trapped station users in the virtual environment was amusing), but it really was dull work. But as long as they contributed healthily to her booze starship fund, Frey Frey wasn’t going anywhere.

    That brought her to now. Whoever was still running the decrepit old hub had finally stopped paying, after they'd had her patch up the old weapons array, of all things. Of course, no more money meant it was high-time to leave the dull place, and today was the day. On completely unrelated terms, on the other side of Epsilon Gorthrak 7, a great big accidental fire had begun to rage in an old phaser bank power array.

    Naturally, all of those things happened after she’d found a nice way to leave. Really, EG7 seriously had terrible transportation offerings. Myuri couldn’t really fault them, though. What kind of self-respecting starliner captain would come here? If she were one, she’d sooner go to Kowloon Delta II, and that was saying something. Fortunately for her, she had found an ad that had seemed palatable after a couple rounds of drinking.

    If she had a clearer mind at the moment, she might have objected to the fact that the rust bucket of a V-63 that was shown was as old as or older than the interceptor she flew in the Air Force before a bunch of loony spacehippies made first contact with her isolated planet 200 years ago. Myuri may also have ignored it if she recalled the effort she went into expunging her GC record (sans traffic violations on Oerlikon I) since it was really obvious in what the job entailed. But if her judgement wasn’t impaired, EG7 wouldn’t be on fire, either.

    Either way, the fact that she required an expeditious exit meant that she found herself in the Level IV hangar, carrying baggage of relatively small bulk. Sidestepping a disgruntled scaly bastard with distasteful scratches on his forehead, Myuri nearly missed the likeness of the Vulpinoid portrayed in the hologram. It was not because she was visually impaired from one too many drink, but because there was a big, bloody, killer death robot in front of her. She was about to haul ass back out of there with a “good knowing you all!” but realized that the ABP Mk IV was not, in fact, brandishing and raining 7.62mm death.

    Her cute antenna arrays twitched again. Luckily, he had the biggest radar cross-section in the entire hangar, so if she had a need to dive for cover, it was not like she would have a difficult time finding where he was. With her horns active, though, she was surprised to find the robot’s transponder active and transmitting in plaintext. Such identifiers on more modern robots were much more of a pain for Frey to interpret (since they wanted to handshake with an actual computer and all that security jazz), but this thing was clearly broadcasting that it wanted everything in the hangar dead. It was a wonder that it seemed to want a position on any ship.

    The fluffy-tailed Vulpinoid seemed to misinterpret the deathbot. Instead of giving it the proper time of day, she was shifting left and right in her seat, trying to look behind it. Not wanting to step in front of Robodeath Mk IV to make a greeting, Myuri mirrored her movements. Literally. Each time she shifted in one direction, the spaceship captain shifted in another. It took several such movements until they desyncronized enough to meet each other on one side.

    “You know, this thing wants everybody here dead, right? You’d rather have a cute, capable, non-murderous girl like me aboard your spaceship crew instead, yas?”
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  6. Before she could pay any actual attention to and intercept Tick's response to Heather, Pei found herself making eye contact with an adorable li'l lady whose very appearance brought a big smile back to her face. After the side-leaning dance around the robot, she couldn't help but giggle- at the silliness of their movements, and the fairly self-evident inquiry about the robot, or the casual proposition that followed! "Yas!" she blurted back in emphatic agreement, fingers closing into excitedly trembling fists.

    But then she paused, and glanced over at Heather before adopting a less-convinced expression and shrugging with exaggeration while leaning back. "Well... maybe! I mean, murdering does have its uses! We travel quite a bit, and there's a looot of lifeforms all over the galaxy that need some destructing," she admitted with a magnanimous nod to Tick.

    But she wanted so badly to tweak those little twiggy antlers and her fluffy brown-tipped teal-furred tail belied her casual air by its energetic left-and-right swishing behind her. "Nnnh... uhh- what can you do? What are you good at? I bet, we could totally find a spot for ya!" she sounded more like she wanted to collude with Myuri to come up with a convincing excuse for letting the girl join the crew rather than actually asking her pertinent questions to ensure she was qualified. Either her bias was overriding her professionalism or she was just bad at interviewing.

    Meanwhile the naked android next to her had not pulled her attention off of Tick aside from a brief analyzing glance at Myuri. "She's a Tarra, Class 4 race, wireless brain-machine interface capability." She did spare a brief aside to offer Pei some council- the content of which mostly flew over the Vulpinoid's head.

    "Y-yeah, I knew that! I can tell, obviously, just from... from looking. What does that, mean... though?" she half-asked Heather- who ignored her- and half-asked Myuri. Hopefully one of them would clue her in.

    The exhibitionistbot had other things to attend to however, like conducting the interview of fellow circuitbrain Tick. "Virtually all assignments will involve the destruction of inferior lifeforms. But not all lifeforms may be destroyed without begetting negative consequences. Employers, fellow crew, and valuable assets must be given protected status until such a time as the captain reverts them to viable targets. Additionally, momentary cessation of hostilities may allow for future opportunity of increased violence through such activities as disguises, ruses, stealth, or other clandestine operations. These are all conditions mandatory for employment on the Feline Purrsuasion under Captain Pei Emi Mao. Do you agree to these terms as I have laid them out?"
    #6 Insomnant, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2016
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  7. Not all lifeforms? Protected status? MOMENTARY CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES? If it wasn't for the built-in dictionary software, most of these would be alien concepts to Tick. How's a killer robot supposed to do his job if he's not allowed to open fire whenever, wherever, and on whoever he wants? He was willing to allow a few organics to live near him, but to hold his fire when told to? His systems were starting to doubt the benefits of joining a crew. Well, not doubt. Machines don't doubt. They just get a few ticks closer to, "Fuck this, open fire."

    But then again... by Tick's calculations, he only had so long until people started rounding up posses of bounty hunters. It's happened before on other stations and chances are, it'll happen again. Not super soon at least. The bar most frequented by bounty hunters on this station; the one where characters with dark brooding pasts go to sulk and pretend to know their drinks; recently happened to draw the robot's attention. They're still cleaning the patrons off the walls and floor with hoses. Grenade launchers are a real hoot if you fire them indoors. Assuming you're made of titanium and shrapnel isn't a concern, of course.

    Either way, it's still just a matter of time. So the robot swallowed his pride (or more accurately, did a bit of overriding and added Heather's demands to a list of acceptable protocols) and agreed.

    "[Very well. These terms are acceptable.]"

    The bot didn't really know what else to add except, "[When may I resume hostilities?]" It glanced down at Myuri, "[This organic is unknown and speaking to your pet organic. Resume hostilities now?]"
  8. While it was hardly the worst place to be dumped off, Rosa couldn't help but feel like the entire station was something of a dumping ground. Small, seedy, slowly falling apart, and full of undesirables. So...there could definitely be worse places to be. It was easy enough to find a ship out, one way or another. Also to find company, if the number of propositions and catalls she'd heard since her arrival a few weeks ago were any indication. Sadly, this wasn't the sort of place where "high class prostitute" would be a viable career choice, so she had to pass on such things.

    Supporting herself on odd jobs and the occasional ship crew was not the most efficient way to travel and earn money, but there wasn't much else for it, particularly when someone was more the sort who had not particular destination in mind. "Go see the galaxy" was not the most direct sort of thing to do, but it led to interesting places. And if you didn't have anywhere in particular to go, just pick a direction and keep going and...there you are.

    Rosa seemed to follow this particular philosophy even in getting through the hangar, as she seemed to almost drift along, meandering in such a way one could easily mistake her for drunk or worse. Her random walk wasn't completely purposeless, however, and she eventually arrived at the table where a Vulpinoid captain was attempting to interview her crew. Or...well, she presumably was, if that ad was any indication. Rosa did her best to discreetly size up the group currently surrounding the table. One fox lady to be expected. One naked robot. Another naked robot, though with a chassis that didn't try to resemble a human and a few too many obvious weapons. And one woman with fine, antenna-like horns growing from her head. Everyone was engaged in some form of conversation, so Rosa politely hovered at the periphery for long enough to realize she was quite possibly the tallest one there...who wasn't a synth, at least.

    "Hello," she finally did speak up to butt in. "You're looking for crew right? Happen to need a comms officer?" Direct and to the point. It would have to do the trick.
  9. Giggling and smiling! Success! Compared to what little she’d seen of the fluffy spaceship captain and the unclothed bot that stood nearby, that meant she’d gone a long way over anybody before her. This was good. That meant her chances of getting off the island were higher. Myuri finally scooted into full view next to the ABP Mk IV while still giving it a very wide berth. Pei had calmed down some, almost like she’d suddenly gotten self-conscious about her excitement. But it was too late. She’d seen everything.

    Despite knowing full well she’d gotten the advantage in the impromptu interview, Frey really was actually loathe to push any further. She’d finally realized that making light of and marginalizing the killer death robot was probably not the smartest move she could have made. And of course, its beady lenses of an eye looked down at her with as murderous a gaze an inanimate object could give. Staring at her, it gave the most chilling words she’d heard since having a brain freeze eating ice cream.

    “No no,” she objected, putting her hands back, taking wide steps backward. “No resumption of hostilities. I like your bullets where they are now, thanks.” For good measure, she broadcasted this over the airwaves as well, just in case the Russian old tin can’s audio sensors were malfunctioning.

    After a quick confirmation that bullet hell was not in fact incoming, Myuri stepped back near where she was standing before, give or take a foot or two as she shifted into business mode. Right… now where was she?

    “W-well, now that that’s been sorted with. I can do other things besides being cute! You’re looking at your new mechanic. I was the chief engineer for an old battlecruiser. If you want qualifications, it’s gotta be old, and it’s gotta be big, and I’ve got both.” Frey neglected the fact that she was chief engineer when it was new enough (it’s certainly old now) but that was on a need-to-know basis. “And if you need a second pilot, I fly. Your rustb—quaint ship will be in good hands. These two too, if you’re set on recruiting Mr. Murderhands. Mostly.” She narrowed her eyes at the two artificial entities.

    “Yeeeah, I know our planet is in Bumfuck, Nowhere. We (and me, of course) are great with radio waves.” Using her fingers to point to her head, she continued “These little horns aren’t just for show. We can talk between ourselves through them, eavesdrop and talk on actual radio, and really competent people (me included) can use it like radar and seriously get up and personal with some machines.”

    A twitch of the antler antennas and a frozen smile. “Like right now, I can tell you there’s a tall person coming up from behind me. They better not be from station maintenance.”
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  10. Space Station Epsilon Gorthrak 7, a lonely little place on a half-broken asteroid in an isolated system lightyears away from proper civilization, smelled of sex, shit, and smoke. In one corner, a pot-bellied Orzech was getting it on with some scantily-clad wrinkly Nekoid, while in another, some drunk asshat had managed to both vomit and shit out bricks at the same time. And, as always, an unskilled engineer exploded his captain’s ship’s engine. The poor girl spewed out black smoke from her orifices, while the engineer was looking at either getting an ass-whopping or an ass-smoting. Both fairly nasty things, not that Brent Roless would know about.

    Nevertheless, all those smells were the aroma of scum and villainy that he was accustom to. What the venerable captain couldn’t take th-


    -ough, was the fucking pollen in the air.

    His eyes were burning out of their sockets, his nose was dribbling with snot, and his temperance was absolutely foul as he trudged through the garbage-infested corridors of Epsilon Gorthrak. Dressed in a thick frock coat that hid all his totally legal weaponry, Brent carried a suitcase filled with useless shit that would probably never have any use outside of giving him bouts of nostalgia. He really should have carried allergy medication, really, but honestly?

    Who the fuck would grow a fucking flower garden in this cesspool? Where the fuck was this pussy-whipped little shit that decided to spread floral semen all over this place? God, he was desensitized to alien sperm at this point, seeing the state of this sorry place with its criminals and salty dogs, but pollen? Fucking pollen?

    Brent inhaled sharply, sniffing up the snot, but it was to no avail, and he finally concluded that, instead of searching for the garden and turning it into a wasteland of ash and death, he might as well go find Pei’s bucket of bolts already. No doubt, she had given up all hope in the shipping industry, what with the pathetic applicants she’d be getting, so surely his appearance would grant her some much needed relief from the cripples and the perverts.

    Of course, just because he focused on searching for his friend instead didn’t mean he found her quickly at all. Because guess what? The fucking dockmaster of the space station couldn’t even be arsed to NUMBER the stalls that space vessels were parked in! Internally screaming from the pollen and the lack of organization within the hangar, Brent ‘accidentally’ backhanded a peg-legged drunk and ‘unintentionally’ broke the leg of a tall, scaly ink-head before finally recognizing that charming ol’ V-63.

    Seeing an end to his journey, a spring entered his step once more, as he turned the corner and approached his fellow captain, only to stop in his tracks. It wasn’t a garden after all. It was a living, breathing, plant-semen-ejecting freak-of-nature in the form of an admittedly attractive young woman…WHICH MADE IT ONLY WORSE, BECAUSE PEI WAS DEFINITELY GOING TO HIRE THAT FREAK NOW!

    Before Brent could even say ‘hi’, pollen invaded his nose and eyes once more, and he began to simultaneously cry and sneeze, doubling over and shaking with a murderous fury.

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  11. Ahh, upperworld. "Certainly too bright. How do you creatures fare under this bombardment light?" Broodmother asked of the tall creature beside her, wanting him to answer for his fellows. He continued staring on, oblivious of her presence. Processing my inquiry, doubtless, Broodmother decided, and shifted forward as the tall creature of some breed moved, staying in the area of light he obstructed.

    This was an oddly unorganized line, but Broodmother was learning of the many differences between Colony and... here. EeGeeCeven. Strange name. But differences need not be delved upon, a line was a line, even this disharmonious semi-blob of a line, and even this Formicoid could adapt to standing in one... even if she'd never before had to... or be under this light for so long...

    Perhaps I should just hasten this waiting process... Broodmother unsuspsiciously made a large, tip-toe-touching-ground-first stride into the next shadow. Not a peep. Ho! That was how these creatures survived the light, their eyes had been worn down! Gleeful of her new discovery, the Formicoid went from shadow to shadow to shadow...

    "EY!" cried a long-nailed creature beside her. It had cried due to her mistaken stepping on her foot. But this was not what Broodmother thought. Caught! Embarrassed, and not willing to own up to her plan having been foiled, she took the normal next step--

    --and shoved the nailed creature over.

    The sound caught a few eyes. Flee! Broodmother, in arm-and-leg pumping motion, heedlessly ran, right through whatever, or whoever, in her path, skidding to a two-foot-plant stop in front of where she'd deemed the 'front' of the 'line'.

    "My greetings!" she announced in attemptedly-hidden haste, "I have come here in seekage of ajob, and in answer to your query, yes, I have been here this entire time, and have not just shown up, nor cut any lines!"
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  12. Rosa was taken aback by Brent's sudden and unexpected fit of sneezing and rage, and approached him, her hands raised in a placating gesture. "Ah, sir, are you feeling all right?" Even veiled by tears and puffy, reddened eyes (or perhaps one should say enhanced), the murderous intent was clear enough to stop her in her tracks. "It's me, isn't it? Shit." She frowned. She'd seen people with allergies before, but they didn't usually react this poorly. The guy must just have had some shitty luck to react to her species, instead of a more common tree or grass. But...it could be much, much worse, as far as things go. "With how shitty this station's air scrubbers are, you've probably been suffering since you got here. Or since I got here, whichever came second. Sorry about that, but it's easy to forget about reigning that sort of thing in when you're on recycled air." She grinned sheepishly. Apologizing was really all she could do at the moment.
  13. Mirroring Myuri's negative response to Tick, Heather shook her head and in doing so tossed her silver locks left and right over slender, smooth shoulders, spilling in front of her chest and providing at least a modicum of modesty. "That organic is a potential crew member, as are any others who arrive in this location shortly, and as such are afforded protected status as previously detailed. Additionally, this organic is Captain Pei Emi Mao, whose allegiance you have just agreed upon."

    "Eh-schooh!" Pei sneezed suddenly with a jolt in her seat, ears flicking at the mention of her name. She went cross-eyed from the surprise before blinking and shaking her head to clear it. This resulted in a peek past the Tarra to view the incoming dryad woman. "Oh~" she hummed, a bit amazed at how much attention her ad was getting. But then her focus zeroes in on Myuri once more, and the way the mechanic spoke put Pei into the awkward position of trying desperately to contain her giggles of amusement. She went with the tried-and-true hand over the mouth to look erudite... but the way her wrist was raised and finger curved upward across her lips it just made her look like she was smiling anyway. "Ahh-hwah!" she slurred into her hand before realizing the need to move it to talk. "Well great! That's perfect, you sho-"

    Yet another applicant showed up within moments, and this time before she'd even had a chance to respond to the third such person! But this fourth applicant she knew, and the sight of him brought a slowly blossoming smile of epically mischievous proportions to her face. "Hmhmhm, oh that's funny!" she chimed with great appreciation for the humor of the situation. She couldn't even begin the questioning process with either the vegetative Rosa or the newly unemployed Roless when one more person burst into the scene, and by this point Pei was grinning madly with tail sweeping behind her at the effectiveness of her advertising.

    "Well great! I happen to be offering of ajob and I don't know how I failed to notice you before!" she assured the flustered redhead. This was all very funny to Pei (especially the dramatic clash of allergic ex-captain and allergen-producing plantlady) but it was getting a little out of hand. The Vulpinoid stood up suddenly with a slap of both hands on the tabletop. fwap! "Okay! Listen up everyone. Thank you all for coming out. I hate formal job applications and all sooo... I'mma give you all a test question! The fate of your existence onmyship depends on how you answer this question! Ready...?"

    She hopped up onto the table then- literally the only way she'd be taller than any of the five gathered to seek a position on her crew. With a big wild smile that showed off her small-but-pointy canines and wide green eyes filled with excitement- probably at standing on a table, though possibly about the chance to drill a group of people like some sort of demented game show host.

    "Okay, hypocretical situlation: there's two of me, each pointing a finger at the other and telling you to shoot her, saying she's a clone or robot or evil twin or alternate dimension version or shapeshifter or something. What criteria or set of questions or tests do you use to determine which one of me to shoot and which one to continue admiring and looking up to? Points for originality, even moar points for effectiveness. Ya lose points if you hesitate; I'mma wily one, I might bum-rush me at any moment and start clawing my own eyes out. One at a time, you first, go!" She didn't... actually point at or even let her sparkling emerald gaze linger on anyone in particular when she said that last part, leaving everyone to wonder if that was part of the test... or if she was just bad at interviewing.
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  14. "Hm..." Rosa took a little time to think, point loss or no. "It's a hypothetical, and most of the reliable tests would take too long, although I could try to incapacitate or disable the both of you, then sort you out later. But if there's time to hear offers, I may just go with whoever makes the better or more interesting one, even if she's the evil twin."

    She paused again. "Assuming I know you well enough, I could do the whole asking a question that only the real you would know an answer to, but if there's a case of copied memories as well as appearance, that won't work either. "So, I'd probably act like that's what I was doing, while just feeding you complete bullshit, and then shoot whichever one was stupid or desperate enough to agree to it. If you're a fake with no memories but savvy enough to pretend them, it'd pick that out, and either way, I'd rather the captain clever enough to see what I was doing."
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  15. Hypothetical situations aren't very difficult for a mechanical brain to process, at least not compared to a biological brain. An organic brain would probably stop and think about it, but not an AI. A hypothetical situation requires one to weigh several variable factors against each other in a neutral environment (or at least whatever the AI's nature decides is neutral). The factors must be monitored and their interactions cataloged. In other words; it requires math. And organics are terrible at math. This, Tick knew, was a universal truth. Organics can't do math.

    Tick was quite positive that an organic brain was incapable of such a complex algorithm of events and factors. They'd probably overheat and need to be restarted in whatever way an organic reboots itself after a critical shutdown. Tick wasn't sure how exactly organics reboot themselves, but his data analysis software had theorized it had something to do with these "belly button" things organics tend to have. When the plant-like organic went "Hm" and began to throw out a lot of "if's" "maybe's" and "or's" he would've gone "Ha!" at her inferior grasp of mathematics. However, being a machine with a terrible grasp of the concept of humor and not actually being programmed for laughter, he could not or would not go "Ha!" at her. So instead, this narration will do it for him. HA!


    While both Pei's had died in virtually every version of Tick's simulation (a lot of whom died by gunshot and I'll let you decide who shot them), one simulation had come out with at least one living Pei. Was this cheating? Nah. The rest of the crew should've thought twice before they decided to be squishy, illogical, emotional creatures. Machines: 1 / Organics: 0

    "[Simulation complete. One subject [designated Pei} should be allowed to attack the other. Whichever comes out alive is clearly the superior Pei and therefore the new captain. Such a course of action leads to a more efficient crew and a competent captain. This is the most favorable outcome from my simulations.]"

    Machines: 2 / Organics: 0
    These squishy bio-babies are no match for the power of mathematics and simulated behavioral data.
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  16. Wow. Myuri really hadn’t expected a whole bunch of new people to show up behind her. Some flower girl, a guy that knew Pei and was allergic to the flower girl, and… a third girl, this one also with antennas. She didn’t look like a Tarra, though, and she didn’t respond to mental hails, so she was probably not one. Creepy.

    She nodded sagely at Pei’s reply; any answer that would save her behind was a good one in her books, and a positive response to her own words was even better! Unfortunately for Myuri, though, before her would-be employer could say “yes!” everybody else behind her had to butt in. So instead, she, along with the four others, got some weird test question from Pei. And when Myuri meant weird, it was weird, and she tilted her head to the side for a good amount of time as she listened to the test question.

    Her immediate answer ended up being real selfish. If she wasn’t otherwise incapacitated from drinking, maybe she would have given it some more proper, tactful thought, but that was something to lament about for another time. The clear answer, of course, was who of the two Pei’s would benefit her more? The better of the two stays and the other would be ejected out of an airlock, naturally!

    Well, the easy thing would be to see if you’re a robot by checking if you’re emitting radio waves,” she tried to point out, raising an index finger. “Failing that, the one offering better employee benefits, overtime, and pay gets the admiration! And if that’s the same, too, then you two can go play craps or rock paper scissors or whatever gambling people do. The other gets pushed out the side of the ship, of course.”
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  17. He was going to die. Holy shit, Brent was literally shaking with anger, but in the face of a flower-plant-being that was actually apologetic about the circumstances of her endless ejaculations, the Prec’Ilae now felt some degree of hesitation with tearing her into shreds. Weak fleshbeing sentiments clouded his better judgments, and eventually, the former captain just decided to face an air vent, allowing the air to blow into his face and push away any encroaching pollen. From that rather awkward position, he closed his teary eyes and listened to Pei’s words.

    Oh. Of course she was doing one of these things. Brent sighed, laid his head against the grid, and listened in onto his juniors’ answers.

    Flower-bitch’s answer was…not much of an answer at all. Good! That means that Pei’s probably going to reject her and send that hourglass cluster of plant matter packing!

    No, of course she wouldn’t. That devilish Vuploid would probably hire flower girl just to fuck with him. The other two answers made the brown-haired spacefarer smirk as well. Weak answers everywhere. Single combat? The one that offered more benefits? Pathetic! Simpleminded!

    “Fufufu,” he laughed, “I’m a whore at heart, so my first instinct is to go to the highest bidder, but honestly? I’d shoot the one that offers the most money for shooting the other. If you value your life more than money, you might as well go back to your home planet and take some boring ass 9 to 5 job. Only those that are cheapskates even when facing death deserve to captain a deathtrap like your V-63!"
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  18. Phew! She was safe, and within the reach of ajob. It may have taken a sharp curve of toil and time, but she could almost feel it now. Yes, she could see it already! The ajob becoming money, the money becoming the return to her Colo--

    Not so fast! A test? This had to be the 'interview' portion her once called 'temp agency manager' spoke of. Yes! Why did the fate of her existence depend on the answer too? Did the provider of ajob know of Broodmother's plight? What an informed, fluff-eared creature!

    And the verdict was... Yes... very well... Ah, but quite the question! How to differentiate the undifferentiated. Broodmother pursed her lips, Who is first? She looked around, trying to match the trajectory of the finger with a target. That one? No. That one? None seemed right. Was it her? Was she first? Well then! --No, another began speaking. Aha, so it had been foilage who was first. Op, my turn! Broodmother opened her mouth, but, nope. Now! Nope. How 'bout now? Still nope!

    It was only after a quad had gone did Broodmother find the gap proper to interject her answer. Now was the moment to pass the test!

    "Why, I would smell you," Broodmother stated with pride, pointing, of course, at the top of her head. There, her 'noses' twitched as if to respond to their announcement. "The real you would smell like you, and I would not bite her;" she had forgotten here about the 'shoot' part, "the not real you would not smell like you, and I would indeed bite her!" To make her point, the Formicoid opened her mouth to show her teeth. That was the intent, even if it looked like she was smiling with exaggerated joy.
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  19. It was fully Pei's intention to allow all the hopeful's to offer their blundering responses before swooping in with dialectical wings of blazing logic to astound them with her brilliance... But in execution the plan swiftly went astray as she realized... those were some really good answers she was getting! She paced back and forth on top of the table while listening to their replies, and every time she turned to pivot back and walk the other direction her tail swapped Heather in the face. The gynoid only reacted to the offense with a slightly irritated blink... at first, but then began dodging the fluffy barrage. This just made Pei mix up her pacing, walking further or turning sooner so as to catch the fembot off guard with another swish of her brown tail tip aimed to the face.

    Eventually though they'd all given their answers and Pei stopped pacing to face them, chest puffed up as if ready to denounce all she had heard... but she let it out a deep exhale. "Pwahhh... That wasn't too shabby. For the record! The correct answer is: You don't ever shoot me, even if I tell you to. Only I get to kill me, and clearly whichever me wins is the real me, because I'm a winner, and the other me was a loser, and thus not me. Got it?!" She tried to maintain the inspirational drill sergeant air for just a few more moments before giggling with amusement. "So I guess rustybutt over here was pretty much on the money." She refused to directly compliment Tick but it was clear she appreciated his approach.

    "Alternatively, I would have accepted shooting both of me because I would never tell you to kill someone- myself included- when I can just do it myself, so neither of me was actually me. But I swear to singularity if you didn't come find the real me after that I'd be super pissed at you!" She gave their hypothetical selves a glare to emphasize her point, before blinking and diverting her attention to Broodmother. "Oh and no biting me! Unless... I say you can. Which, you probably can. Hmm... well, time and place for everything!"

    The Vulpinoid had clearly gotten herself distracted thinking about it, so that was when Heather spoke up in a matter-of-factly tone. "Mission timer shows less than three hours remaining."

    "What?!" The reaction that happened in Pei could only be described the sound effect: Flumpff! It accompanied the sudden fluffing out of her tail, her hair standing on end and eyes widening to saucer-like roundness as if she'd just been zapped by an electrical current. "Wha?! I mean- yeah... I know! I'm aware, of the time. I'm keeping track!" She paused and tried to smooth out... everything, before suavely clearing her throat. Her tail flicked behind her, right ear was twitching as if hit by a microscopic earquake, and a consternated expression seemed desperate to break out of the controlled mask of her outwardly calm demeanor. "How many... minutes exactly?"

    "Approximately one hundred forty three point five eight."

    Cllp! Her feet hit the ground in front of the table, putting here a mere half a meter from Myuri and quite close to the rest of the applicants, whom she targeted with an intense, slightly crazed stare. "Alright, you're all in! You'll learn as ya go! Everyone gather up whatever you need, bring it with you, shove it on the ship!" she pointed to the bomber sitting on the landing pad, looking like an exhausted metal and glass bird that had collapsed where it had landed after a long flight. "We've got work to do! Heather...?"

    Without needing to be asked, the gynoid stood up and produced from... somewhere... a handful of encoded communicator earpieces, thankfully small enough to fit in the ear without an ear-hook that might not work on non-human physiology. "Put these on- take care of them- they've already been docked from your first paycheck! And no singing into them, that's not funny! You might think it would be, but it won't, and- and I'll- oh! You'll be be kicked off the team if you do. Yeah." It was almost like she was making this up as she went.

    With all of them dismissed, Pei struggled with nestling her own communicator in the white fluff of her inner ear, which kept twitching as a result, making her grumble and flinch. "Okay, so- as some of you might- oh wait. Testing? Hello, everyone got theirs on?" She gave it a bit to make sure, leaving Heather to gather up the table and seats and load them up into the cargo bay of the Feline Purrsasion. "Right! So, as some of you may know- this station used to be a mining hub! They had a fancy-shmancy refining operation going. The refinery required a looot of power in very short, immense bursts! To contain all that power, there are three Capacitor Banks around the station- and our first job... is to steal them. Now I know what you might be thinking: 'but Pei, won't that cause the reactor to overload the grid and destroy the station.' But that's when I point out that our job isn't to keep the station running, it's to get those Capacitor Banks! So get back here and we'll go over the specifics."

    When the rest of the team returned (or, if they already had all their belongings on their backs, wandered into the ship after Pei) they'd find- next to the tarp-covered landing vehicle mentioned in the ad- a hologram of Epsilon Gorthrak 7, down to its maintenance hallways, ventilation system, and power network. The three targets were highlighted by floating red circles amid the blue and green structural lines. It looked like one was right above some sort of air duct, another directly behind the administration and security headquarters, and the third accessible at the top of the station, likely accessible from outside the station. At least... with enough explosives it would be!


    "Alright! I need you guys in two teams- one fighty, the other sneaky. Team shoot-smash has to go through the Diamond Sentinels- y'know, those assholes who pretend they run this place after the real owners left? Camping out in the admin section and threatening everyone and all that? Yeah, you'll have to take 'em all out to get to Capacitor Bank 1. Team scoot-snatch will venture into this air filtration shaft and have to go through a series of fans, motion-detectors, laser beam traps and- if you get detected, razor blade drones! So... uh... don't get detected? That'll put you under the Capacitor Bank so just blow the ground underneath it, hack into the environmental controls, initiate a full vent and ride it out of the exhaust shaft into space!

    "And meanwhile I'll be flying around likely dunking on nosy fighters and waiting to extract you and our prizes! Any questions? And one of those questions better not be 'what about the third one' 'cause I got that covered..."
    #19 Insomnant, Jun 26, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2016
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  20. Rosa nodded. "Understood, ma'am," she snappily replied, following Pei's drill-sergeant lead with a soldier act of her own. The Vulpinoid's own solutions were quite to the point and effective, so there wasn't much reason to question them anyway. She liked her new (potential) captain. The shorter, fox-eared girl was a lot of fun, and was so entertainingly emotive, with the ears and fluffy tail. ...She made a mental note to try touching that fluffy tail later. Was that considered rude?

    The sudden shift of tone to one of dangerous time crunch and extremely quick acceptance had her a little bewildered, but Rosa stuffed the comms bud into one of her ears without further questions. Rosa started running...or perhaps bouncing was more accurate, away as soon as Pei told them to get their things and she'd gotten her comm on. "I won't be long, I don't have much with me."

    "I read you," she added in answer to Pei's question on if anyone could hear her. Seemed a little silly in proximity to actually speak across the room, but best to just go with it. "Hell of a job you've got for us," she replied after the quick spiel. Not quite what she'd expected to sign on for, but a little late to back out now. She returned a short time later with a duffel bag carrying whatever possessions she happened to own, definitely at least one gun, judging by some of it. "Not much other than clothes in here," she said quietly as she dumped it off inside the Feline Purrsuasion.

    After the briefing, Rosa volunteered herself, saying, "I'm probably better on the sneaky team. I don't have a ton of infiltration gear or anything ,but I can definitely hack a fair bit of their electronic surveillance and other systems we'd have to contend with. Plus get us out, when the time comes." With a glance at Brent, she added an organizational wrinkle: "It's probably better if I don't tag along with our violently allergic compatriot, however this ends up." Unspoken was the simple fact that if they did both go for sneaky more than fighty, she could just pull on a vac suit at the start and seal herself off from the rest of the environment. She'd cross that bridge if she came to it, if only because it was a pretty obvious thing to do, anyway.
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