The AI Project: Chapter One

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Rainjay, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. [​IMG]
    The AI Project

    OOC/Sign ups

    April 5th, 2759
    Illoca Facility E-22
    Durness, Poullum System
    2:37 AM

    Dr. Marianne Favero

    The room they gathered in was dark, the only light being a soft, blue glow coming from the far wall of the room, where the scientists collected themselves, blue light reflecting onto their white lab coats and the metallic sheen of their holo and datapads. The walls were lined with equally shiny machinery and tools, contraptions that looked as if they had no purpose and had never been used, and overhead in the very center of the room, there was another device hanging from the ceiling, composed of five inch, long, panels situated in a spherical shape, encompassing a small oval orb attached to dozens of snaking wires that led back up to the ceiling, past the open panels, into the blackness beyond it. It was positioned just high enough so that the scientists didn't have to duck their heads on entrance to the room, but low enough to reach the small control panel attached to it's side.

    However the men and women in the room were focused on what appeared to be a chrome metal panel, perhaps five feet long and two feet wide, that had several rectangular outlets across it's length. Only one outlet was occupied, a small box device plugged into it, with a small little tray sticking out from one of it's side panels, onto which one of the scientists placed the tiniest of little chips onto before pushing it back into place, like a DVD player. The faint glow of light the box emitted amplified, and a ring of blue lit up atop of it before a holographic figure appeared, small in size, perhaps only seven or eight inches tall, but humanoid.

    Dr. Favero stepped forward, an older woman with hair so white it looked like it had never once retained color, but with surprisingly not a single wrinkle creasing the corners of her eyes. Unlike the others, she was dressed in a black lab coat, a show of her superiority over the others; she was the head scientist on the project, after all. A small pad was in her hand, text rolling across it's clear screen as she examined the projection before her, eyes slightly narrowed. She then leaned forward to see the projection more clearly, scrutinizing it. Suddenly, she snapped back up and jotted a few notes on the pad as she turned her back to the projection.

    Her voice rang out, piercing the silence in the room. "What is your name?"

    "I do not carry a name."

    The voice of the construct had a clearly mechanical lilt to it, but had the smooth syntax and pronunciation of a human, with no pause between it's words or hesitation for thought. Dr. Favero nodded at this response, seemingly pleased, and jotted down a few more notes, tapping the corner of the pad with a finger.

    "Then I shall provide you with one," the woman said, beginning to pace back and forth along the length of the table, raising her eyes once again from her datapad to the projection. "Your name will be Pisces."

    "My name is Pisces."

    "Do you know where you are, Pisces?" She asked, putting the pad down on the metal surface of the table.

    Pisces shook his head, the hologram fizzling slightly with the movement. "No, I do not. May I ask where I am?"

    "You are an AI in the possession of the UPN AI Project, twelfth version to be constructed, of the flash cloned mind of Reginald Leitz. We are going to run some tests on you now, Pisces, to make sure your processes are running correctly with the new programming. Can you answer our questions for us, Pisces?" Marianne asked the AI.

    "I will answer to the best of my ability, Doctor." It responded.

    Another scientist stepped forward, tapping away on his pad. "Alright. We'll begin with the basic computing skills. Answer as quickly as possible, and then we'll move onto memory and assets..."

    Marianne watched the testing with a speculative look on her face, lips slightly pursued to the side in thought, brows furrowed in thought as she continued her easy pacing. She did this during every test, after every construction was finished, her expression equal parts perplexed and critical. Her students and colleagues never understood her lack of joy and satisfaction- she was too busy analyzing the AI to ever feel the pleasure of sucess. The construct answers promptly enough, she thought to herself. No errors in computing and processes, the alter programming has gone fine, but hmm...

    "Who is Reginald Leitz?" The male scientist asked then.

    The AI paused for a long moment before speaking. "Reginald Leitz was born on Motherwell three decades ago but spent most of his life so far living on this planet to study and research. He assisted in the AI Project where we were split in the flash clon-"

    Dr. Favero's head snapped up, eyes wide. We?

    The other scientists were frozen as the AI continued onward, discussing the life of his human counterpart as if nothing were wrong. One moved for the small console; Marianne swung her arm out infront of him, eyes suddenly ablaze. "Leave. All of you." She hissed, stepping between the group and Pisces as he finally ceased talking. "Now." She warned. She stared the group down until they left the dark room, and then she turned back to the AI.

    "Who are you, Pisces?" She asked softly.

    "I am Reginald Leitz, Doctor. My name is Pisces. Why do you as-"

    "You are not Reginald Leitz. You are Pisces, and you are a construct based off of Reginald's own brain. You are not him." She demanded, crossing her arms with a sigh. She had failed, again. "I don't have time to build another AI... You'll have to do. But remember this, Pisces. You are not Reginald. You will be destroyed if you are. Do you understand, Pisces?"

    The construct again paused before nodding. "Yes, Doctor. I am Pisces, not Reginald Leitz. Is there anything else I can do for you today, Doctor?"

    The woman breathed deeply and pushed her glasses further up the bridge of her nose. "No, Pisces. That is all." She pressed a small button on the side of the console and the tray again popped out, the hologram vanishing. She pulled the little chip out and pressed it into it's protective case before stowing it into her pocket. She would bring it to programming for a few days, and they would run more tests. With any luck, the AI would follow the lead of his siblings, and would pass. He would have to, or else he would be destroyed, and another AI would have failed.

    April 24th, 2759
    Passenger Cabin B2, Deck 6
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA five hours)
    9:59 AM (Durness time table)

    Alice Davern

    Alice'd been on this ship for approximately twelve hours, now, waiting for their arrival to Durness as they collected other to-be 'subjects' for the mysterious AI Project. Twenty four hours ago, she was sitting on her bed in Geofir, a meager suitcase packed with all that she was permitted to bring, her older sister lounging behind her, trying not to show her worry- after all, Alice only had limited information for her. As far as Jade knew, she was just running off into the uncharted world of space without direction. Forty eight hours ago, she was sitting at her desk in Motherwell, staring blankly at the strangest email she had ever received:
    Alice Davern

    Alice Davern: You have been accepted into the AI Project. Currently this project is widely unknown amongst the community- perhaps only military personnel and government officials know of it's development. Top scientists working on the project have selected you to participate in our trials for an anticipated six-month experiment. From the moment you opened this message, until your release, you will be property of the UPN (specifically Research Team Gamma-5) and are subject to their legal contract. You do not have the right to forfeit this Project. You do not have the right to contact a lawyer. Your participation is mandatory.

    Please message back within twenty four hours with your desired departure location. A UPN ship will be there to pick you up. Please present this message to the guards to be permitted in. You may bring one small duffle or suitcase of luggage, limited to: clothing, hygiene products (no metals), small personal effects, currency, a tablet/computer device. All devices brought aboard will be scanned and monitored.

    If you do not reply within the next twenty four hours, officials will be sent to your location to apprehend you and bring you to the UPN ship. You will not be allowed your one bag of belongings. Please do contact us within the next twenty four hours.
    Ophelia Burns
    Assistant to lead scientist
    Facility *-**, Durness

    Now, she sat on a rough cot, staring at the cold walls of the ship around her. The room they provided to her was only three paces long, with just a cot, a small desk, and the smallest imaginable window to the space outside. A vent was above her cot, providing some warmth to the otherwise freezing room. She didn't mind the chill as long as she had a view outside; the stars were amazing, and distracted her muddled, frantic thoughts.

    The AI Project. What even was this, some crack shot's idea of 'research'? You can't just abduct random people for testing, not with all the laws put in place; Alice knew. She read them. Most of them, anyway. Sure, they were in war, but that didn't put them under martial law just yet. She'd never heard of the Project, as the message suggested, but after asking around a little bit, a few people with military family members noted that they had at least heard of it. It was some top secret project on some planet somewhere, trying to create 'smart' AI. Nobody seemed to know where it was. And what the heck was with this 'smart' AI shit? The damned computer at her University was a 'smart' AI. The things had been around for years. What the heck could they be trying to do with them now?

    She didn't really want to know.

    That said... she soon was to find out. She questioned some of the guards and personnel on the ship, but they refused to give her much information. On arrival, she was told, they would receive an orientation by the lead scientist, before they would be lead to a few 'tests'- of what kind, she didn't know- and then they would get settled. The more vain part of her, or perhaps the part of her trying to keep calm, wondered if they would have decent rooms, or if they would be like those slave test subjects on horror movies, thrown in barred cells and horrifically abused.

    Not a good thought, not a good thought... Get to a happy place. Happy place, she thought to herself, leaning her head back against the wall with a light clonk. They wouldn't do that to them. It would be against the laws, of course they would be. She sighed deeply and glanced back outside the window, watching a smattering of stars move past her window.


    The booming voice from the intercom startled her again. She had heard the same voice earlier, and quite a few times, but it was hard to get used to, especially because it seemed to be ten times louder in her room than in any other. She supposed it was a good thing. Anybody sleeping would definitely hear it.

    Another five hours, and then they would land. She already longed for her home. She didn't even have a chance to fully say goodbye to everybody. As far as they knew, she would have up and vanished, just the way Jade thought she was doing. Maybe she could write her, later. For now, she'd rest. She'd been on this ship for too long without sleep, and she had a feeling she wouldn't get a chance to for awhile. Forcing her eyes to close, she leaned back on the cot, allowing herself to slip into dreamspace.

    #1 Rainjay, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
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  2. Three Earth Days Prior
    Classified planetoid
    Base status
    = Compromised

    "Your mission is green lit, Ghosts. We expect no casualties. If you don't catch them off guard, call us and we will evacuate you. We can't waste you all on something like this- but you were the only ones in the system. Good luck Stingrays!" "Fireteam Leader Bolt, Sound off team!"
    Multiple people answered. "Cameron". "Algonquin". "Steve". "Joseph". Then it was her turn.
    "Corbin and Kurt!"
    "Mission is green lit, let's get out of this tin can!"
    Corbin grabbed a harness, sliding down a metal rope.
    'Mental note...stop feeding Kurt so much food. He's muscular as hell but he's starting to weigh seventy pounds and it's killing my back'.
    Her armored boots smashed into the mud, and she unclipped two harnesses. One for her metal rope latch, and the other for her dog to jump off her back.
    "Kurt, squad up"
    The wolf looking dog got close to the ground, getting right behind his trainer. He was very intelligent, for a combat dog with limited veterancy. She marched forward, raising her weapon and getting behind her fellow squad mates.
    "Alright, Durazo, you take point with the mutt", She walked forward, and began approaching the facility. She slid down a moist embankment, and held back a smile as Kurt slid down, wagging his tail and panting. She found a bridge control down by the stream between the embankment and facility. She gently pushed it, and the electronic signals caused a silent carbon wire frame to stretch out to form a strong bridge. She marched back up to her fellow Stingrays, and then took point as she was instructed. She crouch walked probably a good one hundred and twenty yards before getting to the facilities front door. Before she put in the access code, she looked down at Kurt who was snarling. His fur on his neck was stiff and he was beginning to scratch at her leg to get her attention. Softly she began speaking so that her throat sensors would inform her team.
    "This is ghost point to ghost leader, Kurt is smelling something bad. I recommend either a thorough sweep of the outside of the facility or immediate evacuation"
    She turned to see her squad nodding, and watching the rooftops.
    "Gotcha. Watching the roofs and side entrances. Ghosts, move up and disperse, wedge"
    With that, the other Stingrays moved outwards. Two Left, two right, and ghost leader moved up to get by Corbin.
    However, just as the formation was taken up, Kurt barked.
    "Shut that fucking dog up! growled Bolt, who Corbin quickly answered "check your corners! He only barks if he spots the enemy spotting us first!"
    That's when Steve began running, firing his weapon.
    "CONTACT! HOLY SHIT THERE ARE A LOT OF CONTACTS!!!", and with that the stingray instantly sounded for evacuation, and dove beside Corbin and Bolt.
    Algonquin turned to run with Steve, but his head was removed clean from his soldiers by white hot plasma.
    "Transitioning to the hill by the evacuation site, sir. We hopped into the river and swam it. Will attempt to provide over watch" Spoke Cameron, who was on the entry hillside with Joseph.
    "Cover me Durazo! I'll get on the other side of the bridge and cover you two!"
    With that, the fireteam leader began sprinting a hundred and twenty yard dash, while Corbin aimed her gun at the K-liens, as she called them. She fired randomly, trying to get them to duck their heads down.
    Bolt got in position, and began firing at the Ks.
    "Move it Stingrays!" he shouted, sounds of gunfire blocking his voice. She began running across the bridge with Kurt hot on her heels and Steve. A K-lien broke cover, and closed the distance faster, bulldozer-ing Steve and crushing his spine with a horrific pop.
    Without hesitation, Corbin smashed her shoulder and torso into the alien, sending him over the narrow bridge and into the river where he got swept down current a bit.
    But, she heard a click over the radio. Bolt was out of ammo.
    Two k-liens bolted from cover, one trying to ram Corbin. Bolt attempted to quickly load another mag to save his comrade of several years, but made a rookie mistake and hit the bolt-catch early, jamming the gun.
    "FUCK YOU!!!!" she roared, her rifle firing a round that shattered it's head inwards, it's blood painting the ground. And as it fell, she saw the other heading for her dog. She smashed it's side with the stock of her rifle, as the beast attempted to pick up Kurt.
    It roared in anger more than pain, but was greeted with a bullet to the throat and subsequent shots to the torso.
    "Stop fighting and get out of there! my gun is jammed!"
    Corbin didn't hesitate, beginning to sprint as Kurt ran to Bolt.
    But her legs gave out and she hit the bridge bottom, cutting her cheek. She felt a horrible burn in her side, and looked to see that a hole had been burned through her armor and skin.
    She grabbed her rifle, firing seven shots at a few oncommers. She was gritting her teeth, expecting a painful death, when teeth blared through her shoulder gauntlet and began dragging her over to safety where Joseph and Cameron were providing over watch.
    A few more bullets later and her gun clicked- empty magazine. She attempted to reload as Kurt continued to loyally drag his friend to safety. A K-lien ran, about to smash the injured soldier into meat chunks when Kurt tore open the aliens ankle. It responded by kicking him, shattering the dogs ribs. But, the dog wouldn't quit on her. He mustered himself to painfully jump and tear out the beasts throat, before rolling over sideways and succumbing to the pain. Corbin crawled over, grabbing him by his combat vest and crawling back to Bolt.
    "Got it! I'm Not jammed, get the fuck over here and suck it up!"
    He provided cover fire, as Corbin began to stand, hoisting Kurt in her arms and dropping her rifle. She got to the over watch zone, and was greeted by Joseph, "Move Ghost Point! I've got you covered! Pilot we need immediate evacuation! We've got two wounded and two dead!", she heard, as she stumbled up a mossy stone covered hill with plasma shots whizzing around her. She made it close to the evacuation zone before collapsing. Before she blacked out, she could see Kurt crawling over and beginning to lick her hand- but she couldn't feel anything at the moment. And then it slipped to blackness....
    "When can we expect the candidates, sir?"
    "In due time. Can you keep your twisted head on straight? I was overlord for that mission and you sort of kept your head on. Oh and standing, much less walking, while a sixteenth of your torso was burned off of you is quite an accomplishment, especially when you drop your fucking gun in a fight to grab your shit dog. When will you be in working order? Well, you and the mongrel I guess."
    "About when these science projects get finished training. Artificial muscles and skin are being grown for me and should take a while to get to replacement size, and Kurt has gotten scheduled to receive implanted Carbon fiber ribs now, so he'll be tougher than ever. Though don't give me all the credit- Kurt is the most badass dog I've ever trained and he didn't hesitate to risk himself to get me to safety or rip that things throat out."
    "Well, you should heal just fine. As you're leaving my office, do try to remember; Kurt's a dog, you stupid bitch. I don't like you. My brother died for that mission on Titan, while you and your little buddies get nominated as "ghosts" and get to be "stingray squad" or whatever the fuck you call each other to get a hard on. He's an animal. He doesn't know anything other than what you teach him. Dismissed. "
    Corbin clenched her fist and attempted to not kill Lieutenant Alvin. He had a reason for not liking her, while it was a stupid reason, it made sense. But being so crude about her dog was utterly disgraceful.
    As she left, she began to gently shut the door before breaking the handle with a violent kick. She didn't care if she got a citation or not- she'd pay the bill.
    "Come on boy, let's take a walk around the place! We'll have those ribs of yours all nice and replaced in a few days!" she said to Kurt, who wagged his tail, moving to her. Alvin didn't let him in his office, so he had waited outside. The poor pooch looked pathetic with his medical bandages across his waist. Corbin began to move at a quick walk, to strengthen up Kurt a little bit more. She moved to a viewing port, and stopped. Looking at the moon, which was close by.
    "hoooowoeoeoeoeooo", she heard,
    And turned to see Kurt howling at the moon beside her as he stared out of the viewing screen on the ship. She smiled a little, she could see the wolf in him. But she could see the brains in him, also.
    #2 Maddeline, Jul 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  3. Savannah Chapman

    Earth, April 23rd, 2759
    The message had come at exactly 12:00 am, April 3rd, 2759. Savannah had left a bland message to home, stating she would be leaving Earth and that she wouldn't be back for a while. If she had to be completely honest with herself, the invitation hadn't been a surprise. Ever since the rumors of the AI project had rumbled around Earth, she had been expecting an invitation. Not expecting, that would imply it had a chance of not happening. Of course, others would have called her pompous or egotistical if she stated this aloud, and so she refrained from mentioning her own thoughts to anyone else, preferring to remain silent whenever a smattering of chatter came up about the program.​

    That first day went as expected. Unable to sleep, as was usual and becoming a frequent occurrence, Savannah had broken into the last of her STEM needles and settled down until she awoke from her drug-induced trance around 4:00 am. It hadn't been the best of highs; the side of her that others would have labeled 'human' had taken over and logic fought mixed emotions about joining the program. Leaving home suddenly meant something. The pursuit for knowledge and recognition had started to falter. It was a part of herself that only STEM could bring out, which made her question if that side of her was truly there or simply brought into existence from the chemicals entering her bloodstream. By 4:34:55 am, she had entirely left the shaking voice in the back of her head and gone out to run. If there was that human side, she had decided, it existed in the feeling of running. No other act made her feel quite as...alive as this did, which she accredited to endorphins, but her human side brought up with every high. Sometimes the conflicts would last all day, stalling her words and her reactions, today was one of those days.​

    But look at how you enjoy these things. Your family, running, the university. Surely you can't leave them behind?

    There's nothing left here for me to achieve. There are greater pursuits than this, are you going to spend your whole life learning but never doing? Are you to become like the professors you so scorned for being unable to act?

    You might die, think of how your family will feel, the family's first hope in over four generations dead off on some alien world or out in the cold depths of space.

    Better with purpose than here without.
    That quelled the voices, leaving her mind unclouded enough to make it through her day. Everything had gone as was scheduled, down to the bus stopping at her front doorstep. Only, there was an unfamiliar grav-car parked on the curb to her apartment block. It couldn't have been a student's; she had committed them all to memory and the usual times they were there and not. This one was currently occupying a space that typically belonged to one of the same model, but khaki instead of a bright red. She dismissed it, perhaps the owned had recolored it or it was simply a new student. Her only hope was that he would not stop by to say hello, anything but company 'after hours.'​

    Her hand deftly slid the security lock down and punched in the six-digit code while the other twisted at the doorknob. Except, after a second glance, she had realized the door had already been opened. It had been for approximately twenty minutes, given the machine's reckoning after she executed a brief check of the lock's previous activity. An annoyance she called it, disturbing that nagging voice muttered. A foot stepped cautiously into the room, the auto lights flashed on, and there sat her parents and her eldest brother. Savannah's face flashed with something close to agitation, borderline fury, before masking itself in passive indifference.​

    "It is polite to wait until after the owner is in the apartment." She commented, setting her bad down on the sofa as her parents went to embrace her. Out of a feeling it was the right thing to do as opposed as to what she wanted to do, she returned it.​

    "Congratulations!" The gathering coursed, beaming at her, though there was a hint of fragility to the smiles, Savannah noted as she sat down to a plain dish filled with pasta set in tomato sauce, an old favorite.​

    Is that a sense of hopelessness or simply believing the feeling isn't mutual?

    "I believed I specifically said not to come." She continued, offering them to seat themselves at the plain desk so old it was made of oak; a family heirloom gifted to her before leaving for Earth.​

    "Something this great happens in the family and I'm to leave it alone?" Her father said, grinning widely while her mother began to set plates and serve food for the four.​

    "Yes, you are, as you left me alone to attend this school. Consider it moving into the working force, I don't need-" Think now. "-any sending off, I'll be able to keep in touch." It was a white lie, pure in intent.​

    The conversation continued from there, Savannah only speaking when spoken to and if she felt it deemed a response, the rest of the family badgering her with questions. The answer was nearly always the same. 'I know as much as you do. That is to say, nothing.' By the end of the meal, Savannah was on edge and her family was beginning to sense the hostility fully. It wasn't until the parting shot did the tensions break.​

    "Where will you be going?" Her mother asked, her father and brother already out the door and walking to the car. She heard enough on their way out to understand her father was saying that the trip was 'necessary for her, and you.' See, they'll miss you.

    "I cannot tell you." Savannah replied; it had been the truth, but apparently her mother had taken it incorrectly.​

    "You're telling me that after all we've done for you, the support, the extra time and effort to make it so you could be accepted into ANY college, and us coming down with the monthly wages to see you off you won't tell us where you'll be going?!" She was practically screaming, but that plastered smile stuck to her face.​

    "I believe the project kept this information from me so that-"​

    "Do not give me that shit! You are keeping the information from us! If that is how you want to get rid of us, then be welcome to it, you ungrateful, little-" The door slammed in her face, the lock auto-engaging with it.​

    See how much pain you're causing them? This is tearing them apart.

    That is them taking my inability go give them what they want as a personal attack, not their own inner angst.

    Suit yourself.

    The next morning was brief. Her meager possessions were packed into a single rucksack - her Personal Assistance Device (PAD), datachips, and a few choice items with 'sentimental' value. Her human side had talked her into it. The shuttle had been waiting for her at the private starport a thirty minute mag-lev ride from the apartments. There, the presumed security met with her, ran an identity check, and cleared that she was indeed Savannah Chapman. Without further formality or another word, Savannah stepped on board and waited, a slow pang beginning to rise in her chest.​

    Is this what the pain would feel like?


    #3 ze_kraken, Jul 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
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  4. Nicholas Wilkinson

    New Melbourne, 356 C.E.
    Thump. Thump. Thump. The drum beat in line with the warrior's boots. Nicholas had jested he'd stopped counting once the number grew large enough to no longer fit on his fingers. That, of course, was only a jest. In the hours since then he had made a rough estimate that on this vessel alone there would be at least one thousand warriors. Given three ships, that meant three thousand at least, though he admitted he might have overshot the number by at least five hundred. Thump. Barr--uum! The warriors ceased the marching and shouted in unison as Nicholas and his procession of Firstborn marched down the now-split ranks of men. There were one hundred Firstborn on each craft, chosen as sergeants for the newly formed Melbourne First Infantry Division. A name that tasted strange on the local populace, who had formed centuries and cohorts as opposed to these new terms that seemed to have no logical restrictions to them.​

    The relations between the UPN and New Melbourne were still in the works. They had given them their youngbloods eager for conquest, but their trust had yet to be fully earned. What use had they for an empire that had let them fend for themselves? They had said it had been impossible to locate them, and perhaps it had, though certainly the technology the UPN possessed currently did not help the distrust. Of course, the people of New Melbourne did not have a reason to hate their fellow kind either, for they seemed in earnest with their proclamation that New Melboune would remain an independent 'city-state' of the UPN and that their support was entirely optional. The offer for the AI program had also helped in the matter, but that was unrelated. So long as humanity shared a common foe, it seemed New Melbourne would be complacent with its neighbor's demands.​

    But what of me?
    Not that he had much room to second guess himself on his decision. His family had believed fate had given him the chance of a lifetime to voyage the stars and claim a glory that no other warrior could hope to achieve. In the days since, he had convinced himself that this must be true, for if it were not, what was the point of any of this; the armies, the Firstborn, it would all be for naught. And if in that time he had in turn convinced his father and mother that the honor should befall another, he would still be here. In this moment. Walking the procession into the depths of the UPN's cruiser, far grander than the wreckage left as a sight of religious significance back in the capital city.​

    But where I go to be remembered as a hero, they will go to their deaths for a friend they know nothing of against an opponent they have no just cause to hate. Am I to do the same?
    Caught in his own thoughts, Nicholas had failed to notice that the infantry had begun to march after the procession and that he would soon be shoved and jostled while the warriors found their places on board. There would be time to look over this later, he wagered, as he followed the other Firstborn to their chambers upon the third level of the transport. It had taken some convincing to make any of the people of New Melbourne board such a vessel, as it had been a UPN transport that had left them here in the first place. They replied that in three hundred years they had not remained in idle, and if in any sense, the loss of their ship had furthered the safety measures on the others. It was sound logic, though if it did quell their talk it did not quell their doubts. Nicholas himself felt it was a bit of ill luck, though that too was tossed aside as he entered the small indent in the wall that was his to call home. It was little more than a bed and a trunk, already packed with his possessions he had brought with him.​

    Had destiny truly given him a chance?

    #4 ze_kraken, Jul 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  5. A message popped up on a dash, and it said <Incoming deposition of candidates. Trainers, staff and medical employees on extra over watch please prepare for candidates>
    " Hey Kurt?"
    The dogs tail began wagging and the wolf looked up, his tongue hanging from his mouth happily as he awaited a good petting or command.
    "At ease. Okay buddy? Don't wantchu chewing these people up before I dooo!" she said, beginning to scratch his neck and kiss on his head. The dog responded by placing his paws on her shoulders and playfully flaring his fangs so he could lick her nose.
    She made slight giggles, first time she had laughed in a while. They both were starting to hurt from playing, but they didn't care. Kurt's tail made a loud thump as it beat on the metal wall beside him, completely oblivious to it, the guardian kept licking her until she backed off, which he sat in an attentive posture.
    An young station guard came up, obviously a rookie by how he carried himself.
    "No pets allowed on station, I'm taking him to be sent back to earth and you'll be detained"
    "He's a wounded service dog and I'm a senior special forces officers with a canine combatant. I give you an order to go fuck yourself and promptly to fuck off. I'm part of the lab rats that are getting trained up here and so is he. We may be hurt, but if I tell him to attack he will rip your throat out. And don't think he won't. He knows a threat on his own, but will attack on command."
    The soldier bowed his head, his dark brown cheeks beginning to flush red. He just simply walked away, taking his hat off and doing a slight apologetic bow.
    'Insubordinates and bold these days. But still just as stupid as they were when I started' she thought to herself, beginning to walk to the greeting dock so she could meet her trainees. She didn't agree with the program and doubted it could yield results, mostly because some of the candidates were fairly young. She made it to special forces because she had a drive to avenge her family. These young adults wouldn't have the drive to scratch their ass if it took a lot of energy, and she knew that she'd be the one that they hated most. They would never understand military code of conduct or the fact that because they had no rank, it was her right to be the biggest bitch she could to get them in mental and physical shape.
  6. The bay doors whooshed open as Garfield entered the deck. Garfield had never been in a spacecraft before, let alone left Corvus. His guard and entourage, William, explained to him which part of the cruiser did what. William himself was from Corvus II, who left to fight against the Khaians a few years ago. They spoke in Caw, the dialect spoken in the Corvus system.

    "The deck is where they're holding the meeting for now. You'll be briefed on your instructions, where you're going, and where you'll be sleeping, eating, and shitting." William smiled. "Hopefully not in the same place."

    Garfield managed a small laugh. William was aware of his inability to read social cues. He gave Garfield some advice on when to laugh and what to say. William continued into the deck, taking a seat in front of the stage. Garfield followed after, remembering his "excuse me"s and his "sorry "s whenever he passed over someone sitting down. The crowd was small, consisting of about 20 to 30 people. He knew most of them weren't the test subjects. He guessed they were crew and staff.

    He remained sitting for around ten minutes, practicing conversation with William in Caw, so no one would understand. Finally the speaker arrived, taking center stage. He was a tall man, in his fifties, with grey crew-cut hair. He wore a military uniform, and he looked high ranking.

    "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to my ship. I am Admiral Hudson, and I am your captain. Many of you are staff members, enlisted off-world. Your sleeping arrangements and your working stations are detailed in your DAP. The crew members here, as I recall it, are all Navy veterans. Standard protocol. I expect you know what to do after the meeting. Now for the AI candidates: you are to go to your quarters and await the heads of the Project. You will be personally escorted to your chambers."

    After a few more speakers who gave basic rules and safety guidelines were finished, William and Garfield were led to the living quarters by three armed Navy troopers. The walk took about ten minutes of silence, but they finally arrived. Garfield's room was a simple cot, with a desk and a tiny window. It was cold, but Garfield was used to the cold. William had to share a bunk in the barracks with the other Navy crew.

    Garfield stared out into the void, wondering what was the project about, and more importantly, what he could gain from it.
  7. Seeing the sudden activity, Kurt made his smooth gait over to the oncoming Navy members that passed them by. He playfully followed them as they went into their rooms, potentially frightening a few with his wolf appearance.
    "Dammit! Kurt!", Corbin yelled chasing after her dog. She stopped outside of the barracks hall and got close enough to him he could hear her commands clearly.
    "Kurt, Halt!"
    The dog stopped mid-stride and sat down on the ground.
    He say at a stiff attentive posture, as Corbin kneeled by him.
    "You know better than to run off like that. I didn't figure I would need you to be ordered to stay but it sounds like I'll have to", this prompted Kurt to make a whine and put his right paw in the air and gently touch Corbin's cheek.
    "Those cuteness tricks don't work on me" she said, pretending to be cross at him so he would obey better.
  8. ...
    April 24th, 2759
    Passenger Cabin B2, Deck 6
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:30 AM (Durness time table)

    Alice Davern

    It was only an hour after she drifted off to sleep that she found herself waking again, rolling over to the side of the cot with her arm dropping off the side. Alice groaned and rubbed at her eyes drowsily before sitting upright. With the way her head and body felt, she knew she wasn't getting back to sleep anytime soon. Surely she didn't have to exclusively stay in this small little cabin for the remainder of the trip, the next- she glanced at the small clock on the wall- four hours? She climbed to her feet and pulled open the door to the room and peeked out at the empty hallway, dark except for the little lines one blue light near the top of either paneled wall. A small sign was on the wall at the end of the hall; she shut the door quietly behind her and approached it.


    That sounded about right. She followed the hall down to the left, emerging into the common room of Deck 6. Perhaps all the other candidates would be housed here, and would be in the same area. The large room itself had several grey colored couches and chairs, with a few nice coffee tables and a small pool table nestled by the corner. The walls were lined with the same thick glass windows as were in her cabin, with vents along the ceiling providing heat and oxygen to the room. It was mostly empty, occupied by a few men and women chatting with eachother, or lounging with a drink in their hand. Not candidates; probably staff.

    Alright, not what I was looking for. Where could they all be?

    "Excuse me- sir, excuse me!" She called out to a passing staff member. He was dressed in uniform, a slick hair cut showing off some sort of military status. "Sir. Where are the candidates housed?"

    He paused and turned to look at her with a slightly irritated expression. "Deck 6- you're on it. Housing is from Cabins B1-B12. All candidates are not allowed to travel outside of Decks 5 and 6. So please don't leave the two Decks, ma'am." He replied before turning heel and continuing promptly on his way. Alice frowned as she watched him leave. Rude.

    Nobody was down here, so she decided she ought to get to Deck 5. Exploring around Deck 6, she found an elevator to the upper Deck, alongside a stairwell. She took the stairwell up, the doors sliding open before her. She glanced around idly; she was in a large room, with the remnants of what looked like an orientation occurring, with staff members splitting off and a few men and women being led away by escorts. The candidates, she assumed. Probably newly arrived. Not everybody had been on the ship as long as she had.

    April 24th, 2759
    Offices, Deck 5
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:49 AM (Durness time table)

    Warwick Donati

    He did not sign up for babysitting duty, but of course, Marianne put him on the job anyway. Warwick was to be working on the ship until the candidates arrived, managing their actions and making sure they didn't get into any trouble pre-arrival. And now, not only was he babysitting, but he was playing personal messenger to the Doctor himself. She had contacted him five minutes ago through vid comm, requesting that he pass in instructions to the to-be trainer of the candidates, Corbin Durazo.

    He grumbled to himself as he approached the intercom in the office, pressing the button with a finger before leaning into the mic. "Corbin Durazo, report to office C16, Deck 5. Corbin Durazo, to office C16, Deck 5, immediately."

    #8 Rainjay, Jul 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  9. "Kurt, let's go! Squad up, me" Kurt stood and got behind her.
    She walked to an elevator, proceeding to the lower floor, and going across a three minute walk.
    'C16....C16....nope that is C10.....C12....Ah! There it is!' the girl thought as she walked down a corridor.
    She went to the door, and growled in frustration that it was locked.
    "You tell me to report and then you lock the door? Little harsh. Kinda setting me up I or failure, eh?"
  10. Bao Qin knelt silently in the center of her small room, facing the south wall. There was no window to show it, but the Imperial Palace towered majestically over the city a mere two kilometers straight ahead of her. Reverently Bao Qin kowtowed, pressing her forehead to the floor three times. Rising after the third, she faced the sun shining in the east window. She pressed one hand gently against her lips, then presented the kiss on open palm to Tchou.

    Her morning obeisance observed--to both her King and her star--Bao Qin left her room. She walked down the silent hall to the prison proper. Two soldiers stood at attention outside the security door. Both bowed to her as she approached. "Tchou shines upon you, Princess Xue," they greeted in unison.

    Bao Qin returned a bow--though not one so low as theirs--and responded in kind. "Han carries you well."

    "Sir Xia begs your presence." Though he said no more, Bao Qin could see the sorrow hiding behind his tense features.

    "I understand," she answered with a kind smile. The UPN wasted no time, it seemed; the facility had received notice of her transfer just the night before. At first Dr. Xia intended on refusing to hand over their princess; indeed, if Bao Qin had not commanded him to release her to their custody, the man may have armed the soldiers and convicts alike to defend her. The pained expression this one tried to hide said it well: we would give our lives to guard you. "Keeper Chang, Keeper Jiangsi. Your family is honored by your loyal service. Your forefathers stand proud." For each prison guard, Bao Qin pressed her fingers to her lips, then to his forehead. The two held strong faces, but tears dripped down their cheeks.

    Chang opened the door for her, and Jiangsi held it wide. Bao Qin stepped through, carrying her form with perfect grace. Her small feet barely made a sound on the stone floor, yet the room before her was so still that each step was the beating of a gong. Two hundred men and women--a score of soldiers and the rest criminals--gazed upon her in reverent silence. The entire facility had come to the dining hall this morning; they had come expecting something, but none of them truly knew what. Bao Qin continued until she reached the exit leading toward Sir Xia's office, then spun to face the multitude.

    "My friends. Do not shed your tears for this, my departure. I am no more than one of you: I am a proud daughter of Shu Han! Lift up your heads and remember your pride. You have made mistakes; you have done wrongly; you hold regrets that none outside this room can understand. Yet you remain the sons and daughters of Shu Han! Let the worlds see what they will; let the galaxy say what it must; let all that exists despise you; but never let yourselves forget the name we bear. We are Shu Han."

    Right at the front of the crowd was the largest, gruffest, orneriest looking man that ever lived in a prison. As Bao Qin finished her words, he stood and approached her. The entire crowd held their breath; for this was Zhi-heng, the ruler of the prison for the last twenty years. He stood before Bao Qin, his form towering over and around her small frame. Abruptly he lowered himself to his knees, planted his hands upon his thighs, and bowed his head before the princess. "Princess Xue! For what we have done, Shu Han has abandoned us; and rightly so. But you, our angel, have never cast us aside. You took us as your own. We are Han Xue!"

    "Han Xue! Han Xue! Han Xue!" the crowd echoed. Even the soldiers were chanting it. Bao Qin dipped her head, giving recognition to the name.

    She could still hear the chant filling the halls when she stepped into Sir Xia's office. The man already stood, as did his two subordinates in the room with him, and now all three dipped into deep bows. Bao Qin returned a half bow. The old man said nothing, but the lines on his weathered face and the gray of his hair spoke every sadness he felt. Sir Xia couldn't trust himself to speak; he gestured to his two men, then bowed once more. Bao Qin was lead out, one of the guards carrying a case filled with her robes.

    Her escort brought her to the landing dock where a UPN shuttle waited. Bao Qin boarded the ship with the same dignity she had displayed for a decade. The two soldiers stood at rapt attention on the edge of the launch pad, each holding an arm over his chest in salute. They didn't move until the shuttle was out of sight and their princess was truly gone.


    Bao Qin knelt silently in the center of her small room. She had no way to tell which direction she should face to face her King--she knew it was entirely possible that no such direction existed at this moment--so she faced the rear of the ship and kowtowed three times, pressing her forehead reverently to the floor. Standing, she offered a kiss to Tchou in the same direction. Bao Qin suspected it may be the last she offered him.

    Her morning obeisance observed, Bao Qin exited room B9. She walked softly down the hall and turned left, quietly entering the commons. She made no show of her entrance, nor did she wish to draw attention; however, the elegance with which she carried herself set her apart from most everyone in the room. Then again, the royal-blue robe she wore--carefully decorated with patterns of flowers and tied with a sash around the middle--did enough to distinguish her as different already. Bao Qin was eye-catching.

    There was an immediate separation between her and everyone else in the room. They could feel it, and she could feel it; although, which side was creating it was unknown. Bao Qin remained at the edge of the room, standing just off the wall and holding a paper fan open to hide her mouth. Her grace never faltered, but she knew she was out of place on this ship. Bao Qin, not Princess Xue, beheld the people she would be living among for the next period of her life.

    Further observation and in-depth study would be necessary. These people were not at all like her.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. ...
    April 24th, 2759
    Offices, Deck 5
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:49 AM (Durness time table)

    Warwick Donati

    "You tell me to report and then you lock the door? Little harsh. Kinda setting me up I or failure, eh?"

    Warwick sighed to himself before unlatching the door and pulling it open to meet the woman outside. "If you had alerted me to your presence here I would have opened it with a greeting..." He said gruffly, motioning inside of the small office for Durazo to enter. It indeed was a small office, with a desk near the back wall covered with computers and screens and datapads, a small shelf, and a seat on the other side of the desk for guests to sit. A screen was facing the desk seat; a security cam. "Please. Sit." He said, motioning towards the chair before sitting in his own at the desk.

    "Ms Durazo I'm sure you know why you're here," He began.​
  12. She sat down in a chair while Kurt stayed outside.
    "Its okay boy, you can get in this chair..."
    Kurt trotted into the room and jumped in the chair beside her, staying in an attentive state.
    "If it's about the door latch for Lieutenant dickwad, I'll pay for it out of my own pocket. He was talking shit about my dog." She said, already getting upset at the thought of someone being so rude to her combat pooch.
    "Or is this for the little science project that is a misallocation of resources? I mean, in all honesty of course. I mean, new weapons technology, better space suits, better combat armor, a miracle drug...anything. But we are told to make computers that bond to people's noggins...for what? I don't care how much faster you can react or smarter you get- plasma still travels 1500 meters per second and it could care less how fast or smart you are because it is faster"
    She was obviously wound up from the lieutenant from earlier, who had really got under her skin by insulting Kurt. She and her team may owe their lives to that dog.
  13. Elric had read that email several times over, taking in a few more elements of the message with each pass. Of all the things that might have happened to him in his life, being inducted into a top secret government research program without any warning wasn't one he expected. But then again, fate had a way of doing unexpected things to him. While he reread the message in at least slight disbelief the same way any sane human would have done, somewhere in the core of him, he really wasn't surprised by things like this anymore. So his life was getting turned upside down for the third time in the past decade. Great. Just excellent. Well, at least he hadn't had anyone to say goodbye to. That much was all too obvious. Not even his off-and-on employers had seemed to care much that he was leaving; he'd hardly shown his face in the office in years. He was a drifter, a ghost. If anyone were to worry about him disappearing off the face of the planet, it would be his parents, but it had been a great many years since he had spoken to them regularly. No, he would not be missed.

    The only thing that could have made him unhappy with this program was the inability to take his work with him, and thankfully, the message had informed him that he would be allowed a personal computer. As such, he had complied to this "Ophelia Burns" person's requests completely, but in the interval between sending his reply and the pickup time he had requested in that reply, he'd been frantically making sure he loaded everything he could spare off of his desktop spread onto a data chip and configured it to run properly on his laptop. The laptop really didn't have the memory and processing power that his primary setup did, but it would have to do. The UPN officials had cleared the laptop and external drive for transport, and like that, he was whisked away from Earth.

    Maybe he'd have been more excited about leaving Earth for the first time in his life if these UPN fellows had caught him a few years earlier in his life. But if they had, he would have had to say some very painful goodbyes.

    He had politely and dutifully complied with every instruction given him, but other than that, he had shown no eagerness for this new phase in his life. Save for the occasional trip out to the Deck 6 commons for a snack, he'd been lounging on his cabin bed in his assigned resting place, Cabin B4, for heavens knew how long. Since his computer was up, he could have counted the hours, but he didn't feel like it. He hadn't been able to make much progress on his work while knowing that he was in transit. Hopefully if he had the free time during this detention of his, he could have more success. Hell, he could even try to get back in touch with the company and ask about continuing work remotely, but that was assuming the best with regards to communication with the outside world.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Savannah Chapman

    April 24th, 2759
    The man, 'Bullet' they'd called him, had been rather joyful company for Savannah. He, like herself, did not speak unless spoken to. Though that raised the suspicion that the man had, undoubtedly, allowed himself to become clockwork. Wind him up and he'd keep going without pause or, more importantly she assumed, without question. At first she had found it queer that they had only assigned one guard to the ship, but then again, if she were not safe on a hyperlane from Earth to rendezvous point out in deep space, then all the soldiers in the UPN wouldn't make a difference. It was an uncomfortable thought, but one that added in its own measure of 'safety' to it.​

    Around 10:00 local on-board time, or there about, Savannah began to make her way across the decks. 'Bullet' had said there was a refreshments center on Deck 6, and that was what made most of the floor. It was a sprawling, if rather plain, chamber with an uncharacteristically tall roof for such a craft. Impractical, but it did help gnaw away at the claustrophobia that had begun to nudge at the back of her mind since taking off at Earth nearly twenty days previous. The escort craft she had taken was practical if not necessarily comfortable or livable for such a long period of time, but it had been the only transportation asset available with a warp drive.​

    Taking a seat in one the standard stools lined around a series of tables, Savannah glanced around the room, committing the layout to memory as she had yet to do in all her time on the ship. More stools and tables dotted the floor at random intervals with a few, ostentatiously placed, plastic plantlife in pots and jars. Power outlets jutting from the floor hummed gently in the near-silence of the room. Near silence, she noted. The telltale sounds of human life hit her ears. The occasional tapping of finger upon holo-board, a crinkling of a wrapper, the few and far between tap of the foot. Taking one last glance around the chamber, she stood and made her way towards the faint noise, feeling that it was expected of her to meet the other candidates.​

    And expectations make the man.

    Nicholas Wilkinson

    356 C.E. (April 23rd, 2759)
    The voyage was, in a word, restless. Most of Nicholas' people were not accustomed to the tight confines of the infantry transport, let alone the close quarters they inhabited. Two beds to a 'pod' with little room did not help any issues of in-fighting, disputes, and general tension. As Firstborn, it was Nicholas' duty to appear above the other warriors in some way to restore order, though he himself was disliking the voyage as much as they were. Upon the ship, they could not train, they could not escape one another, and certainly could not find any way to cope with it. When they were a two-day's travel from the planet Nicholas was destined to, the small fleet had momentarily exited at the most opportune position, still near enough to warp ways as to not stall the voyage any longer than necessary, yet still allowing for the small amount of project personnel to make their own rendezvous with the main carrier.​

    Having already said his farewells to a choice few friends and comrades-at-arms, his patience had grown thin waiting for the final preparations to commence. Upon entering the noticeably smaller, more-cramped craft that would make the brief voyage from ship to ship, his impatience had swiftly been replaced with a sense of longing for the larger-by-comparison infantry carrier. Once he had landed upon the docking bay of the carrier, Nicholas swiftly made himself at home in his chambers, enjoying that they were at the very least the size of a small room. Not quite comfortable, but at the very least enough space to stand and stretch his muscles without fear of prodding a fellow warrior.​

    That night he slept well. When he awoke, it was near around late morning for Durness, though his mind had still been accustomed to the long days of New Melbourne, something a long voyage had not dulled, only strengthened as time held no meaning aboard a ship in which there was no day and night cycle. Feeling it would be ill to spend his time without company, he had wandered aimlessly around the empty hallways, finding to his surprise that all ways off of the deck were closed. There was a single means of transportation to the higher deck, which remained a vague memory to him. They had used elevators on the wreckage of the old transport in order to rise to the highest levels, but it had been something he had done infrequently. As such, it had taken him a considerable amount of time to send the machine upwards.​

    And to think that you are three hundred years behind. A queer feeling, to be dragged into the future like this. What happened to the days we believed we were the only vestige of humanity?
    Glancing at the chrono aboard the wall of the elevator, Nicholas dully noted that it was around 11:00 local time. That was another adjustment he would need to make: time. Of course, that would be another issue to face when the time came for planetfall. But how long until then?​

    #14 ze_kraken, Jul 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  15. ...
    April 24th, 2759
    Offices, Deck 5
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:52 AM (Durness time table)

    Warwick Donati

    Warwick leaned forward onto the desk, folding his hands together as he listened to her speak. First, she invited the damned dog in, but then she started rambling on and on...

    "If it's about the door latch for Lieutenant dickwad, I'll pay for it out of my own pocket. He was talking shit about my dog. Or is this for the little science project that is a misallocation of resources? I mean, in all honesty of course. I mean, new weapons technology, better space suits, better combat armor, a miracle drug...anything. But we are told to make computers that bond to people's noggins...for what? I don't care how much faster you can react or smarter you get- plasma still travels 1500 meters per second and it could care less how fast or smart you are because it is faster."

    He couldn't help but zone out halfway through her meaningless chatter, his thoughts circulating around his utter distaste for being here, but he forced himself to focus back on the girl's words. Ophelia would kick his sorry ass if he didn't. He waited until her tirade was finished to continue speaking, clearing his throat briefly afterwards and leaning back in his seat, arms crossed.

    "No, Miss Durazo. I'm not ... aware... of what happened with the door latch. And quite frankly, I'm not going to ask. Yes, this is about the Project... the "misallocation of resources" as you call it." He began, his voice monotone and showing how blatantly bored he was. "You are indeed aware that you will be assisting in the training of the candidates?" He asked her.

    April 24th, 2759
    Community Rooms, Deck 6
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:52 AM (Durness time table)

    Alice Davern

    Nothing. Nobody. After scouring the halls, wandering up and down and peeking past unlocked doors into empty rooms, Alice realized that either she was missing everybody, or there was nobody on this ship to find. Admittedly, everyone was probably still in their rooms. She probably wasn't supposed to have left at all, but nobody had stopped her. She probably ought to have followed the candidates as they left the orientation, instead of wandering off on her own.

    She started following the signs on the walls back to the stairwell she took up, and took them back down to Deck 6, wandering back towards the common rooms. It was still largely empty, except for one of the weirdest people she had ever seen. A woman, dressed in deep blue robes decorated with flowers and with a matching sash, holding a paper fan held delicately over her mouth. She couldn't hold back the confused frown that furrowed her brows. She looked as if she were something from a history textbook on the traditional Chinese. Both cultures had.... matured, over time, but this woman seemed as if she came back right from the past. There were some weird planets out there, indeed.

    She felt a flicker of curiosity propel her towards this woman, and found her legs carrying her over to the wall at which she stood. She had to be a candidate, nobody else on the ship looked like her, and if she were a diplomat, she certainly wouldn't have been on the same level as them, and on one of the shabbier ships around. Alice made her way across the room quite ungracefully compared to the way the strange woman held herself, stopping a few feet away from the stranger.

    "Hi. Are you a candidate?"

    #15 Rainjay, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  16. "Yes, I do indeed know" she said, rolling her eyes. She hated hearing a debrief or some shit like that- actually she hated everything. Fuck the military, fuck people. Her stingrays, the other ghosts...her dog. That's all she cared about. This man probably had no fucking clue about some of the shit she had done- she'd like to see him impale some fuckers head on a pole to send a message. Or scoop a mans eyes out to get him to give up his friends location...all hidden by black ink. Just thinking about this shit was making her mad.
  17. Bao Qin nodded once to the girl's inquiry, mostly to buy time. 'Hi' was a pedestrian form of greeting, common among off-worlders; similar yet more proper responses included 'greetings,' 'welcome,' or 'hello,' or she could simply bypass that word as it held no real meaning. 'Candidate' must refer to her place in Research Team Gamma-5's project; Bao Qin felt 'subject' would be a more appropriate term to describe herself, but to each her own. The most puzzling part was a lack of introduction. Every first greeting should include sharing one's name--Bao Qin had known that before she was old enough to leave the house. Shutting her fan, Bao Qin met the curious woman's eyes and delivered her reply.

    "I am in the custody of Research Team Gamma-5, yes. I am Xue Bao Qin of Shu Han. Miss, are you also a... candidate?" Bao Qin hesitated at the word to show a slight distaste for it, but ultimately she mimicked it to avoid any miscommunication. And by using 'miss' as the addressee of her sentence, Bao Qin hoped to remind the woman that she had not shared her name. Bao Qin's gaze held steady, her eyes never wavering from the other woman's.
  18. ...
    April 24th, 2759
    Room B1, Deck 6
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    11:10 AM (Durness time table)

    Simone "Phoenix" Rish

    This small cabin was nice.

    Despite the foreign nature of the room, it had a quiet stillness that was calming. Simone found herself feeling lulled into a peaceful lethargy, staring outside the window at the bright stars in the dark skies. She was seated on the small cot, a large knit sweater on to fend off the chill in the room with her knees drawn to her chest, arms wrapped around her calves, hair loose around her shoulders and feeling rather serene. As long as she had her mind occupied with the beautiful view, she wouldn't begin thinking of her future.

    Her future was an interesting, fickle thing. Since she was as young as three years old and could comprehend more than the alphabet, she knew where her life would bring her. Her entire life was set out for her; fighting, conflict, and war. As long as there is combat and fighting to be done, she knew she would have a job to do. But then she found herself waiting in the reserves, with nothing but a punching bag and an ill-equipped local gym to keep her occupied, and an active, frazzled mind working at her sanity. She wasn't a druggy, or an alcoholic- she was addicted, instead, to the adrenaline, to the environment. As much as she despised the thought of returning, she further hated the idea of never going back.

    And then, she was sent that dreadful message, and she was picked up in a shuttle and shipped off to this huge dreadnought of a travel ship, and brought to this room, and left here to think. She was being brought to Durness, to a facility in the middle of nowhere to be tested like a lab rat for months. They didn't even tell her what they would be doing to her. Perhaps she would never be able to return to her old life again. Every time it came back to mind, she felt a shiver skitter up her spine, and had to repress her thoughts, shutting herself down until her mind cleared again.

    They'd be arriving in a few hours, she thought to herself. Then she could figure out what was really going on. But for now, she sat quietly, clearing her mind of all thought, and focusing on the stars.

    April 24th, 2759
    Offices, Deck 5
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:55 AM (Durness time table)

    Warwick Donati

    "Yes, I do indeed know," the younger said with a roll of the eyes. Warwick leaned forward again, putting his head on his palm with a mocking expression.

    "'Oh, yes, I do indeed know.' Please, Miss, do not treat this like a walk in the park. Until your release, you are property, and property will be dealt with as property may. While I, personally, am not in charge of your treatment, I do know who is, and she won't take kindly to this sort of behavior." He spoke, a small glint in his eye as one corner of his lips turned up in a grin. "And I'm sure she would allow me to execute whatever punishment necessary to keep our staff in line."

    "Now, I'm sure that your behavior necessitates that pleasantries have ended. So I will get straight to the point." He said, reaching into a drawer on the desk to retrieve a holopad, activating it with a brief tap. Text began to roll across the 'screen', and he typed a few things into it before placing it on the desk and pushing it across to the girl. "On here is a brief dossier on each candidate; only regarding health and occupation, mind you. You'll find names, ages, health records, etc. but not much more. Miss Burns would have me review this information with you, but I feel a little bit of hostility, so if you wish, you may take this pad to your room and analyze this information."

    He pursued his lips in thought as he leaned, again, back in his chair, causing it to creak as he scanned the girl. She didn't much look like trainer quality. She was beaten up and too-military like for the training of men and women with largely no experience, and while she would have help from other trainers, he was unsure if she could handle the job. "Have you ever trained before, Miss? Others, I mean. You surely know what to do with this information, yes?"

    April 24th, 2759
    Community Rooms, Deck 6
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:55 AM (Durness time table)

    Alice Davern

    "I am in the custody of Research Team Gamma-5, yes. I am Xue Bao Qin of Shu Han. Miss, are you also a... candidate?"

    God, this woman was even weirder by the minute. She held total eye contact, as if staring her down, and hesitated with her words. Maybe it was a fancy traditional custom? Whatever it was, Alice wasn't too phased, and stuck out her hand of a hand-shaking. "I'm Alice, Alice Davern. And yeah, I'm a candidate too. Been here for hours now, and still nobody has told me a thing about what's going on." She said freely, pushing her hair back with her hand that wasn't being proffered to the other. "Although we're landing soon, I figured it would be smart to get to know people a little bit, figure out what this mess is from what everybody knows."

    She wasn't really sure if this stranger would have a clue about what was going on either; if they had all received the same message, then none of them would have a clue, but perhaps rumors had circulated further on other planets. As far as Alice was concerned, it had something to do with AI, and something with them; maybe they'd just be used for the production of the programs, and then they could be free. It sounded right, anyway. But then, why would they rally them all up all secret-like? It didn't make much sense.

  19. She grinned, dropping her dues ex machina to get him off her ass.
    "Thats classified, Warwick. I'll read this dossier, but I have a feeling you either couldn't or didn't read mine. Maybe it was too heavy from all the marked out splotches or maybe you can't read through works that are erased from it. I'll tell you this much- there are only a hand full of soldiers out there that would be capable of teaching this science fair how to fight, both physical combat, mental and with weapons. Not because combat trainers can't do it, but because most combat trainers have never fought the K-liens and just listen to what grunts that didn't get blown apart say." She said, seemingly ending mid argument point. But she couldn't say much beyond that- Warwick thought he was tough shit...she would let him. For the most part. However once she was healed up she wanted to be in Warwicks office when the Stingrays came to get her. Oh how the look on his smug fuckin face would be.
  20. ...
    April 24th, 2759
    Offices, Deck 5
    UPNR Absolution, Nearing the Poullum System (ETA four hours)
    10:57 AM (Durness time table)

    Warwick Donati

    "That's classified, Warwick. I'll read this dossier, but I have a feeling you either couldn't or didn't read mine. Maybe it was too heavy from all the marked out splotches or maybe you can't read through works that are erased from it. I'll tell you this much- there are only a hand full of soldiers out there that would be capable of teaching this science fair how to fight, both physical combat, mental and with weapons. Not because combat trainers can't do it, but because most combat trainers have never fought the K-liens and just listen to what grunts that didn't get blown apart say."

    Warwick raised an eyebrow as the girl spoke, and began to chuckle- more like, guffaw- at her sheer audacity. He had a good long laugh before he settled down with a wide grin. "Oh, I like you. I'd like you more if you weren't such an egotistical w-"

    Ophelia would have his ass for that. Probably shouldn't say that.

    He cleared his throat, leaning forward to loom over the girl and her dog. "Miss Durazo, I'd just like to clarify a few things. I've read the dossier of every man and woman on this ship, and I've seen many more f*cked up dossier's than yours, although it is rather impressive. But do not act as if you're superior to me. My rank far exceeds your's, and always will be. I have the control over whether you are thrown out an airlock, or allowed on this ship. But if that doesn't appeal to you," He said, "I can always show you some of my own personal history. And I assure you, the things I have seen will be much worse than fighting with the Khaian's."

    Warwick sat back in his chair, feeling rather satisfied. He could have told her more, or shown her more, but as said, Ophelia would have thrown him out the airlock with Miss Durazo. Threatening to melt the face off of a young woman- their new trainer, no doubt- with Khaian bioweapons would not win any points with the Doctor, either, although the thought of it was mildly entertaining. For now, he had to at least pretend he was a businessman and could control himself well enough.