First Steps
Summary: Having obtained the necessary information, Kierska contacts Ace again for a second meeting. The exact scope of the mission before them becomes terrifyingly clear.
Cast: Ace, Torr, Swiftfoot, Malion, Kierska
Air Date: 2006.05.02

Room 302 <The Enaj Sands Hotel: Sivad>

This room is simple, yet elegant. The walls are wood-panelled and painted in white. The carpet is a royal blue, with gold accents. Along one wall are two double beds, each with royal blue and gold bedding. On another wall is a desk, with a mirror over it and a data port. The third wall is taken up by huge windows looking out onto the sea, with a table and some comfortable chairs in front of it.

Ace stands outside the door, giving a short, sharp rap as she patiently waits for a reply.

Tall for an Ungstiri, an inch or two shy of six feet, but the way she carries herself gives the impression of even greater height. She is rather broad shouldered, and, though lean of build, very well muscled. She is dressed in clothes that look as if they've been cut to fit her, her white shirt blousy at the sleeves and open at the throat, revealing a heart shaped locket suspended on a chain of liquid silver. The shirt is neatly tucked into loose fitting pants of midnight black, an ebony belt bound through the loops with a simple silver buckle holding it closed. The pants, in turn, vanish into leather boots, dull black and soft, that reach two thirds of the way up her calf. Over it all she wears a grey longcoat made of a supple tanned hide that flows with every move, each step she takes a gentle swirl of mist and fog. The only splash of color comes from the small but elegant diamond and sapphire ring she wears on her left hand.
Close at hand she carries an energy pistol that is slung to hang about mid-way down her thigh, a narrow strap binding the bottom of the holster to her leg just above her knee. At her other hip, a nightstick hangs through a leather loop at her belt, her fingertips often brushing against it's grip. Her hair hangs straight down to the small of her back, a curtain of raven black tresses that softly shines in the ambient light. The jagged scar that once marred forehead and the burn scars down the side of her face and neck are now miraculously gone without a trace, leaving a rather beautiful, ebony-eyed woman in their wake.

And the reply comes... eventually. A closer look at the peephole would reveal the chocolate eye scrutinizing the hallway's occupants for long moments before a buzz and a click signal the disarming of the electronic lock. The portal cracks open slightly, and six feet of lizard peers out, his scaly frame blocking entry until he is satisfied that those that stand before him are, in fact, allies. "Captain Ace," he greets cordially, glancing to the Jackals.

This creature is six feet of blue-green scales spread over a broad, muscular frame, not counting his long, thick tail, which stretches an additional four and a half feet at his flank. Deep brown eyes are tucked beneath a firm, flexible eyeridge flecked with a smattering of agespots that match those scattered randomly about his weathered hide. A line of thin spikes begins atop his head and travels in a neat row down to the base of his spine -- Mother Nature's mohawk.
He is dressed in a fitted white shirt and a pocketed vest. Though his pants are obviously tailored to tuck neatly into a pair of utility boots, he is barefoot. At a glance, no weapons can be seen on his person.

Ace slips inside, taking the Grimlahdi's hand and clapping the other on his shoulder, "Is good to see you again, Kierska." She looks to her companions, "These are Jackals...Swiftfoot, Malion and Torr," she says, making the introductions, "This is Kierska."

Torr snorts softly as he sees the partial lizard blocking the door. "Hey there, Kierska" he greets, his tone suprisingly neutral. He lifts his cigarette back to his lips, taking a slow drag as he looks the lizard over, taking the step in behind Ace.

This man is fairly tall, broad in shoulder and deep chested. He has green eyes, which always seem to be sharply attentive to the situation at hand. His hair is fairly short, and rises in dark spikes over his forehead. His face is tanned to a golden tint, and it is marked with a few scars which never saw enough medical attention. The most noticable scar is thin, though runs about two inches down the side of his face from below his eye to just above his chin.
He wears a blue button up shirt on his torso, the top few buttons left undone. It reveals his well tanned skin, as well as a silver chain - about a centimeter wide. Around his waist is a leather belt, a few compartments hanging off of it. He wears gray pants, they look tough and descend down his legs. Mounted on his right thigh is a tactacal holster, gun butt protruding. On his feet are black combat boots. When his sleeve rises or his arm is bared, a tatoo of a Jackal's head can be spotted on the bottom side of his wrist. Worn over his shirt his a heavy jacket, which fits his upper body tightly. Colored charcoal black, it has trauma plates clearly woven into it.

Malion hangs back from the rest of the group, albeit slightly. The rural Martian's arms hang limpy by his side as he quietly waits. His jaw is still set in a cast, but he can speak in an audible mumble. "How ya going?" he mumbles, giving a nod to Kierska. He doesn't say anything else, but does move a bit closer to the group.

Here one can see a human male, in his early twenties. His slender, youthful face is marred by the scarring on the right side of his face - the result of an earlier accident - and piercing green eyes that speak of hardship and inner turmoil, and make him seem older than he is. He has an average build, belying the tensile strength of toned muscle underneath. His hair is a shock of chestnut, ever disobedient to the comb. His jaw has been set in a white cast, preventing any verbal communication.
A grey breasted jacket adorns his upper body. Rugged-looking but classy could be the easiest way to describe it. The jacket is currently worn open, revealing a plain black tee shirt underneath with a dark blue flak jacket over the top. A pair of grey slacks adorn his legs, a size too big, but still a reasonable fit. A leather belt, black in colouration, keeps trousers securely in place. A pair of polished black leather shoes, not quite a mirror shine, protect his feet during everyday wear.

The Demarian merely blinks, returning the glance before shifting her eyes to look at the Ungstiri, She pads silently after Ace and Torr, the latter's comment earning a quirked eyeridge.

Swiftfoot is a fairly typical Demarian in both appearance and stature. That is to say, she's a bipedal felinoid, closely resembling the common domestic cat, and is approximately seven feet in height. Her exact build is difficult to ascertain, as she's covered by about eight inches of fluffy cream and white fur. Her dark pink nose is framed on either side with long, white whiskers. Eyes as bright as molten gold are set admist a series of barely-visible pale orange stripes, laid out in a classic tabby pattern -- markings on the forehead, and at the outside corners of the eyes. The rest of the visible orange fur is similarly striped, with her paws, throat and chest being pure white. A thick ruff surrounds her head and shoulders, lending itself to her fluffy appearance. The very tip of her orange-striped tail is just as snow white as her paws and chest.
A pair of violet pants, with more than a few pockets in evidence upon them, end at her ankles, leaving her white-furred, digitigrade feet plainly visible. Around her waist is a fringed sash, woven of gleaming silver threads. A lavender shirt is worn tucked in, but the long sleeves are rolled up to her elbows. The shirt's neckline plunges into what would be incredibly dangerous territory for anyone not covered in fur. A short velvet cloak, purple to match the pants, is thrown carelessly about her shoulders, and is clasped at her throat with a silver brooch. The cloak hangs to the big cat's waist, and a pattern of silver ivy leaves can be seen embroidered along its hem. The only jewelry the Demarian wears consists of a golden bracelet around her left wrist, and a pair of tiny golden earrings dangling from her pointed, feline ears.

It isn't until Ace mentions Torr's name that a flicker of recognition crosses the big sauroid's face. He steps aside, tension draining from his shoulders, securing the door behind him and following them into the room. "Fine, thank you. It is a pleasure," he responds evenly. "Please, make yourselves comfortable. There is much to discuss, and I fear too many eyes have noted my presence here."

Ace frowns, "Who is it here that you would be worried about?" she asks as she follows.

Torr, being no expert in reptiloid expressions, doesn't really read the Grimahldi's well. Rather, he moves over to the desk, perching upon it and giving the room a once over, trained eye looking for things that might threaten them, remaining silent for now.

Malion makes his way into the room after Torr, leaning against the wall. His hands are dug deep into his pockets, and he too, remains silent for the time being. He keeps a watchful eye out after the warning from the Sauroid.

Swiftfoot eyes the Grimlahdi for a moment as she enters the room. After a moment she nods, seemingly in agreement with Ace's inquiry, and gives the room a quick once-over. The orange-furred Demarian shrugs and pads over to where Mal stands against the wall, leaning up against it a few feet away from him.

"Certainly you're aware of the recent encounters with armed Nall warships," Kierska counters with a frown, moving to take his seat at the table. "Reports claim the Faux *engaged* the vessel bold enough to thumb its nose at the RNS." The frown deepens. "That alone is disconcerting. But that they are bold enough to harrass Ungstir..."

"Da," Ace nods, "But is very much the difference between a Nall ship making a feint in space and Nall finding you in posh hotel on Sivadian beach. good to be cautious. Am beginning to think the Nall are planning a move out of the Nexus soon and the Trakal, she is trying to get the allied worlds to pull their ships back to protect their planets to possibly open up the way back to the Orion Arm. This one ship is enough to worry everyone to the point of wishing to defend their homes first and the Nexus second." She shakes her head slowly, "Is only theory I can come up with that makes any sense, but either way, this does not change our mission. Have gathered enough people to make this work, and now we need more details so we can figure out the logistics, da?"

"Yeah funny that," Torr finally pipes in. "Thought the Nall had some fuckin' treating with the fuckin' rock." He shakes his head a little, looking over the lizard. "Yeah, details would be helpful. We got the general idea, now we gotta get the whole story, you know?"

Malion continues to remain silent for a time being, he goes to say something, but doesn't. He appears to listen intently on the conversation at hand, even though he glances out the window for a moment, and then back to the rest of group.

"We didn't engage it," Swiftfoot observes, finally speaking up. "The RNS saw to that. If we had... perrhaps it wouldn't have slipped away." She chuckles dryly and shakes her head. "But that's neitherr herre norr therre. I think you'rre rright. They'rre up to something. One destrroyerr wouldn't be attacking the Indefatigable just forr kicks." The Demarian offers a vague shrug and a flick of her tail.

Kierska glances to Swiftfoot, then shakes his head with a sigh. "Whatever the case, it most certainly does change the mission," he remarks for the kapitan's benefit. "Or at the very least, how we should approach it. There is of course the chance that these vessels are rogue splinters from the defeated Parallax fleet, but if they have in fact reconciled their forces and power enough to antagonize the allied planets, then we may be up against something truly fearsome indeed." He clacks his fangs thoughtfully, producing his datapad and laying it flat on the table. With the press of a few buttons, a colorful, high-res hologram lights up the space above the table -- the images are of two ebon-haired women, obviously Ungstiri, and a third, scrawnier blonde. Ace, Marlan, and Mika.

"All of this makes the Nall's choice of targets more intriguing. First, Captain Tachyon is taken captive. Shortly thereafter, two Parallax ships are sighted within a jump of the DMS Faux. And almost immediately thereafter... Captain Ranix and the Athena are outright attacked."

"But the Trakal, she never made a move on the Faux," Ace frowns, shaking her head thoughtfully. "She came out of cloak and attacked RNS ships...making her presence known and provoking the RNS. The Faux, she lifted off to help in rescue mission and was not target..." she gazes at the pictures, pondering them for a moment, "And the three of us, we have very little in common."

"Enough commonality," Torr throws in, a slight shrug moving his body as old instincts take over. "Two of you Ungtiri. All of you Captains. All of you have had dealings with the Nall in the past, I fuckin' bet. In some way anyway. Maybe they liked your asses. I don't mind 'em." A slight smirk cracks his face, and a wink. "Though I don't know why they ain't after Swifty on that count." He smirks still. "But yeah, they didn't attack the Faux. Whos to know if they even fuckin' knew it was there."

Malion rubs the chin of his cast, cocking his head to one side as he looks to the holograms. "Nice bloody picture Acsh," he mutters out. "The RNS has gone to a high alert. Apparently they want that Nall ship gone or captured. Heard it from a Pilot Officer I know." He then drops back into his silence, not saying anything else. He confirms what Torr said, giving a nod.

Swiftfoot stares at the pictures for a few moments, head tilting to the side. "I dunno. You'rre all female, but somehow I doubt that matterrs to them." She snorts softly and rolls her eyes at Torr. "Let's just leave my ass out of this. Somehow, I don't think the Nall carre about that much, eitherr." The felinoid chuckles, then falls silent, scratching at her chin thoughtfully and eyeing the holos again.

"Indeed, but Peredus is correct," the operative confirms, sending a nod around to each party. "You have all been a thorn in the Parallax's side at one point or another. To put it bluntly, you have given great face for their cameras, and fed them your names like a three-course meal. Why do you suppose Captain Tachyon is captive? Mere chance?" He waves a talon dismissively. "My point is, the three of you *do* have something in common. And if the Nall have renewed their presence on this side of the Nexus, or intend to, then you should err on the side of safety. You and your crews may be walking targets."

"So last thing they would expect is for us to go to them," Ace shrugs, accepting the possibility for the moment.

Tor nods slightly. "Yeah could be," he replies to the Grimlahdi. Then he nods at Ace. "Also true. Glad to hear my ass is safe though," he smirks a little. "Maybe we need to push up the timetable then, get the fuck in there before they are ready." He leans back a little. "Could be a trap though. Mika's good bait."

The colour drains from Malion's face as he hears the news, and then cross his arms across his chest. "Gonna need bigger guns," he mumbles to himself, seeming slightly distant from the conversatin at the moment. He looks across to Swifty, most likely seeking some reassurance.

"They -have- to know that we'd be morre than willing to rrisk life and limb to save herr," the Demarian agrees, her ears going back for a moment. "But if that was theirr plan, why would they be scrrewing arround out herre? It'd be betterr forr them to just sit back and wait." Swiftfoot shrugs vaguely, her tail flicking. "It doesn't add up. Maybe therre's morre than one grroup of Nall?" She shakes her head, then shifts her eyes to look at Malion. "Don't worry, chief. We'll keep an eye out, meh?"

Kierska takes in a breath through his snout, shrugging his shoulders slightly. "It is merely something to consider, so that any necessary precautions can be taken," he notes, killing the image of the three women with a deft ktak-ktak-ktak of claws on keys. After a moment, another three-dimensional rendering replaces it: a sphere, criss-crossed by a thin grid. The form of a small asteroid takes shape. "This is our target, ladies and gentlemen. N'sskra Compound. Codename: Cairo."

Ace leans forward to peer at the asteroid, already noting details of terrain and landmarks, "How many people are kept there?" she asks first.

Torr too closes the distance between himself and the diagram, looking it over as best he can. "Good question. And you got anything more detailed than this shit? Tell me you do." He crosses his arms over his chest as he observes the rendering.

Malion cocks a brow at the latest image, and then blinks several times. He takes the time to study the diagram, and then frowns. "How the bloody hell we gonna get in there?" the Martian gunsmith ponders, cocking his head to one side as he looks to Kierska. His drops his arms beside him, and then shakes his head.

Swiftfoot steps nearer to the image as well, head tilting slightly to the side as she studies it. "Hrh, good question," she comments, one ear flicking nervously. "All of them, actually. So... yeah. What those thrree said." the felinoid comments, indicating both Martians and the Ungstiri.

There is little to note at this extreme ship's-eye view of the compound, save for the chunky bulb-like turrets freckling the exterior and twin loading bays. However, when it is juxtaposed with a more concrete map, much more becomes evident.

A pair of security posts control entry to and from the compound's interior from either landing pad, and beyond them, a sprawling infrastructure springs up. Immediately past the west gates are the barracks; two on either side of the main corridor, which stretches into a circular thoroughway lined with four other buildings: in clockwise order, a biodevelopment lab, an ore refinery, a lumber refinery, and the infirmary. Poised in the center are the administrative offices, while corridors stretching north and south lead to a mine and a hydroponics biodome, respectively. To the east, the main corridor stretches on to connect with the second security station and landing pad. The entire facility is self-sufficient.

"That's what we need to figure out," Kierska answers Torr, ignoring his impatience. "Our records indicate about three thousand slaves, ten thousand Nall, and three dozen Vollistans. Exact numbers are inconclusive."

Ace looks stunned as Kierska announces the numbers, "You had said before hundreds...not thousands," she continues to stare at the complex. "Is no way to get that many people out of there..."

"Can't win 'em all Ace," Torr remarks, arms crossed over his chest still. "We'll do what we can though. Like gettin' Mika out." He looks over the schematics carefully, frowning a little. "Couple things. First, how do they get prisoners in and out. Second, where do they keep the fucker's once they got 'em, and third, what do you know about Mika's whereabouts?"

Malion's face mirror Ace's expression, well the part that isn't underneath the jaw cast. "Ten thucking thousand Nall..." he quietly mumurs in disbelief, shaking his head. He takes a deep breath in, still shaking his head. He then glances to Swifty before chuckling nervously.

"Ten thousand Nall?" the felinoid inquires, her eyes narrowing. "Sweet Brrakirr, what arre we supposed to do with ten thousand Nall?" Swiftfoot quirks an eyeridge and nods at the gunsmith then. "You can worry now, Mal," she says, smirking faintly. "I know I am." That said, the Demarian shifts her eyes back to the schematics on display. "So... how exactly do we plan on getting thrree -thousand- people out of therre?"

As the Grimladhi works the datapad again, countless smaller points light up in green, scattered all over the southern portion of the complex. His eyes aren't on them, however; he's watching the collected faces. "They are flown in and escorted through the main gates at either bay," he answers the XO, choosing to address that question first. "Sometimes they are shipped elsewhere. The majority, however, would seem to serve their time here. As for how *we* get them out..." Kierska sits back in his chair. "If there were an easy way to do that, I would have not enlisted the help from the outside. Make no mistake: this is not a task for a single ship crew, or even three. This is a *Nall military installation*."

He changes tack then, replacing the original exterior view with the original picture of Mika. As he does so, the biodevelopment lab lights up in red. "Captain Tachyon, if our information is correct, frequently reports here. The chief interrogator, a Vollistan, seems to have taken an acute interest in her. You may know her." His eyes flick to Torr again and linger. "Her name is Volnohmehrsea."

"Then why the hoop didn't you take this to OATO?" Ace asks, a hint of anger creeping into her tone. "You need a full scale invasion force to handle something this size. I...I am kapitan of a single freighter, not commander of a hooping fleet!"

"Of fucking Christ," Torr throws up his hands, though at what isn't immediatly clear. "Fuckin' don't think a few crews can do it why come to us? Why not go to the fuckin' RNS or someshit. Christ." His frustration seems to mirror Ace's. Then he frowns. "And that fucking bitch? Shit. Shoulda capped her ass when I had the chance. What the fucks she want with Mika?"

Malion looks across to Torr, looking more frustrated than anything. He crosses his arms once more, and then glances back to the Grimladhi.

Swiftfoot, for her part, shakes her head and mumbles something incomprehensible, most likely in Demarese, and from the sound of it, most likely vile in nature. The felinoid's ears go back and her eyes narrow as she studies the display again. "So, why exactly did you come to us then, if we can't do a damn thing?" Her tail lashes irritably a couple of times. The Demarian crosses her arms and looks down, glowering silently at her feet.

"First and foremost..." Kierska works at keeping his tone level, with some effort, in the face of the outbursts. "I came to Captain Ace because I have seen, firsthand, her ability to command. Second, I have not approached OATO yet because I am not terribly *keen* on watching this fester for years upon end in the bureaucratic machine." He rises, turning off his datapad. "Third, there is no contract between us, and you may walk away at any time. And finally," he, too, folds his arms, "you are admitting defeat without considering options. Blood and thunder, I never suggested sending *three ships* beyond the Nexus ALONE!"

"You tell me hundreds and now there are thousands," Ace says quietly. "Is OATO blockade, but you do not wish their help. At Nalhom, I managed to get twelve ships to follow me to correct the mistake made my Innokentevna, but this...thought is not know who you think I am, Kierska, but the forces needed for this?"

"So whats the plan," Torr replies to the sauroid, an eyebrow slightly quirked. "You seem to have someshit in mind, there, pal," he adds on, uncrossing his arms. "We not goin' in alone, what are we doin'?" He tucks a hand into the pocket of the jacket he wears. "And you never answered my question; whats fuckin' v-shit want with Mika?"

Malion raises a hand and rubs the bridge of his nose, before sighing softly. He continues to remain silent for the time being, intently listening to the conversation.

The Demarian continues to stare at her feet for a few moments, then looks up at the Grimlahdi, one eyeridge quirked upward. "Point taken. Who's the cavalrry, then?" Swiftfoot's ears flick back briefly, then forward again. "I'm assuming you've got otherr help lined up, and a plan, meh? I'm still not surre how we'rre going to get thrree thousand people out of a Nall militarry base..."

"The key word in my previous statement was 'yet'," Kierska reminds Ace, bowing his snout slightly, then he elaborates for the others. "OATO will sit on it for ages, tangled in pointless debate, if they believe the only means of rescuing these people is using their forces alone. If we were to marshal a reasonably-sized mercenary armada on our own and approach as one... well, they may take a proposal far more seriously from an army, rather than a lone Grimlahdi freight captain." That said, he blinks heavy eyelids at the Martian XO. "I'm surprised you need to ask that. You, sir, and Tachyon, effectively destroyed their plans at Tomin Sirocco, and very well laid the groundwork for her brother's death."

"If he is dead," Ace replies, pushing her dark hair back from her eyes. "What I did on U999...what we pulled off at was no army, Kierska. Do not know what makes you think I could put together a force that could handle that," she looks up at the holo-diagram.

"Not our fault that fuck got what was coming," Torr replies to the lizard. "So don't fuckin' pin this shit on me. And don't get smart with me, lizard." He crosses his arms again. "We're going to need all the fuckin' info you have on this shit. Including those schematics. Speakin' of, what else you got for us?" He nods at Ace's reply. "And yeah. I gotta say I don't think theres enough people like us to make up an army."

Malion continues to remain silent, the look of frustation and a slight look of defeat remains on his face. He swallows deeply and then shakes his head, most likely unsure of what to say.

Swiftfoot merely shakes her head again, ears going back. "Even if everryone that I've everr been in contact with went along forr the hell of it, which is highly unlikely, that still wouldn't make an arrmy that would even put a dent in ten thousand Nall." The Demarian shrugs vaguely, her tail flicking. "I guess all we rreally have to do is put togetherr enough people and enough ships to actually get OATO's attention... Hrr... Still, that in itself is daunting enough."

Kierska does a remarkable job of keeping his temper, merely knitting his eyeridge. "Stating that you sabotaged Tomin Sirocco, destroyed the reputation of two dangerous Vollistans, *shot* one, and pirated void-knows-how-many Parallax vessels in the war isn't 'pinning' anything on you, Peredus. It is in fact *commendable*." He sighs, bringing up the maps again, and gesturing from the device to Malion, a nonverbal cue that he wishes to transfer the data. "I have the support from the Shadowed Talon. That is a small army in and of itself, however, many of the ships are configured for scouting missions rather than stealth or outright warfare. Though, if we were to utilize them correctly, they could prove to be the most useful of all."

Torr blinks slowly, then nods. "Well shit, we do what we can," he remarks, unphased. "So whats this fuckin' shadowed talon bullshit?" Torr seems to take the lead, nodding at Malion as if telling him to do as the lizard says. "And hows that shit not enough of an army for you?"

Malion points to himself as he notices the Grimlahdi motioning for him to step forth. Torr's nod is taken into consideration and he steps forth, retrieving his pda from inside his suit jacket and extends the hand holding the electronic device. He looks quite nervous at the moment. Still he doesn't say anything.

Swiftfoot remains silent as well, her tail swishing back and forth. The Demarian seems content to let Kierska explain at his own pace, at least for the moment.

"Because there are *ten thousand Nall*, which is the original source of the disagreement here," Kierska replies impatiently, OK'ing his end of the transfer with a thumb of the pad. "Again, there is no commitment here, merely a proposition. I am simply priming you of my current mission, requesting your aid, and asking Captain Ace to command. I am not suggesting that you do my dirty work or conjure up a battle fleet."

"Too few and there will be no point," Ace thinks things through, "Too many, and the RNS will insist on taking over."

"Fuck," Torr mutters, shaking his head slightly. "You just said you needed us to get a fuckin' armada to convince OATO to do this shit, and now you're saying you already have a fuckin' fleet but its not good enough. Shit's not makin' a lot of sense," Torr answers the lizard. "I'm all for this shit, but I don't see how it's workin' out."

The PDA Malion holds pings, signifying that the transfer is complete. The rural Martian steps back, taking his leaning position against the wall, taking a moment to check the file is there. "Got it," he mutters as he looks back to Kierska. He looks between all parties in the room and remains silent for the time being. He looks more nervous now, with the information on his PDA, than he did before.

"And that's the last thing we want," the Demarian says, rolling her eyes. "RNS stepping in. Therre's no way they'd let us go." Swiftfoot shrugs, then shifts her gaze back down to the Grimlahdi. "I'm in, as long as Ace is in charrge." Long, white whiskers bristle as she looks over at Mal, her nose wrinkling slightly. "Ey, Mal, you okay?" she inquires, her voice lowering in volume a bit.

Kierska sighs heavily at Torr, glancing to Ace and looking outright defeated himself. "If I were to approach OATO with my faction," he explains patiently, sparing a nod for Malion and seating himself again, "and suggest that they help us free pee-oh-dubyas from Cairo, do you know what would happen? First, they would laugh us right out of the galaxy. Second, they would either ignore the camp's existence altogether, or, as I stated before, tie themselves up in pointless politicking while they as a group decided their best means of approach. Which," he cocks his head, "is why I come to you. I need *ships* and *manpower*. I am not asking you to provide all of it. I am asking you to reach out to those you believe would assist us. I am asking you to assist me and my group. I am asking Ace to consider a position at the helm. If you decline, so be it, I will simply move on to someone else. Is it clear now?" Having thus reiterated it in plain terms, he rubs at his forehead, and nods politely to Swiftfoot. He grins at her. It's the first grin since he opened the door.

There was no question that Ace understood the enormity of the task from the minute the holo-display had gone up and now it was a matter of figuring out the 'how,' or even if it was possible at all. Pushing herself up from her chair, she turns her back to the other four, taking off her sunglasses for a moment and bowing her head, pinching the bridge of her nose and rubbing her eyes. "Have not said nyet," she finally says, her voice pitched low and quiet. "But when we met the first time, Kierska, you tell me it is prison camp and I use what I know from Lebal. You tell me there are hundreds as there were there and is no mention of military installation. Is why it is that I had assumed a small and fast hit was what was needed, vi paneyamete? Small group of ships on surprise smash and grab...not something like this, but..." She rubs the back of her neck and puts the glasses back on before turning back, "Do you have list of people that are there? Even partial list?"

"But you think those posh fuckers will take a bunch of criminals more seriously?" Torr snorts, shaking his head slightly. "If this shit works, I'm in. If it doesn't I'm not suprised. That about all I got to say." Then he falls silent, crossing his arms across his chest.

The gunsmith chuckles nervously and then sighs. "Bagman always get shot, right?" Malion says to the Orange-furred Demarian, more in amusement than anything else. He then pockets the PDA before glancing to Ace. "If ya in Acsh, and Swifty is in, I'm in as well... If ya want, I'll have a chat to a few mates, and see what I can come up with on my end. Know some people, good blokes."

"So we arre to be a small parrt of a much larrgerr contingent then," the Demarian says, nodding. "Except for Ace that is." Swiftfoot grins slyly at the Ungstiri, and chuckles. "Guess we should starrt calling herr Admirral orr some such." After a moment, her manner sobers somewhat, her ears drooping slightly. "If you'rre going to go, that is. Umm..." the orange-furred Jackal pauses for a moment, scratching thoughtfully at her chin. "Is Jack still in, do you know? I haven't gotten to talk to him in awhile. Frrey was talking about going too, and much as I hate to see them spend theirr honeymoon in the Nexus... it sounds like we can use all the help we can get, meh?" Swifty nods at Mal then, a grin creeping across her face, setting her whiskers abristle again.

"I recall telling your friend Jack in no uncertain terms that it was a military outfit," Kierska corrects the kapitan. "If it was not clear, however, then I apologize. This compound appears to be instrumental to Parallax redevelopment. The rosters," he nods towards Malion, "have been transferred along with the other information to this individual's PDA. Though, be noted, it is ever-changing."

Ace reaches into her pocket and pulls out her own PDA, tossing it to Mal, "Will need a copy of all of it, please." She looks back to Kierska, "So far there are five or six ships that we have, including the Wolfsbane and the Hand of Fate. Had not even begun to think in terms of Nalhom or such a large force, but will get what is needed. The only problem then is how to avoid OATO refusing to let us through or refusing to support us. At Nalhom, we had to answer to the RNS who kept us sidelined for much of the battle. Will not see that happen again."

Torr blinks at the name drop, glancing sidelong at Ace. "Jack? As in AES? As in that cunt-brained piece of shit Ranix? Are you fuckin' kidding me? Those assholes are getting involved with this? Shit, we're fucked." He shakes his head slowly. "The more the better?"

Malion's face goes completely dead pan after hearing what was now stored on his PDA. Yet another nervous laugh follows and he then glares at Torr, as if blaming him for something. The rural Martian slowly shakes his head in disbelief, and then he sighs. "Righto," he says, as Ace tosses across her PDA. He catches it, barely. It takes a few brief moments before he's withdrawn his own, fought with Ace's PDA, and downloaded the plans to her. "Bullet magnets," he says with all seriousness. He throwns her PDA back, looking slightly confused after that action. "Think ya got it."

"I trrust Jack," Swiftfoot replies, shrugging. "Trrusted him enough to go to X-23 with him, in any case. Arrtemis is his ship, and Rranix is rrarrely on boarrd in any case." The end of her tail flicks, and she shifts her gaze to Ace. "If we intend to take Jackal, she'll need a slight upgrrade. None of those sail thingamajiggerrs on herr, which could prresent a prroblem, meh?"

"We will deal with OATO, and the Sivadians, when it becomes necessary to deal with them," the sauroid says dismissively. "Once we know where our assets lie, then it will be easier to decide upon something concrete. For now... I would advise that you review that information and decide whether it is worth the risk to you and your crews, and make all necessary arrangments. I have another appointment with another captain.' He rises, collecting his things. "Contact me if you require any assistance whatsoever."

"The Artemis, not the Athena," Ace says with a scowl, "Ranix, she cannot take why she wishes the Athena to run the blockade on its own rather than try to cooperate with anyone else in their own endeavors. She is too caught up in the Kamir problem to be of any help to too dangerous bringing wild card with her own agenda along." She catches the PDA and slides it into her pocket in one smooth motion, "Will use Quaquan as our rendezvous point...will bring you the ships, Kierska, though what we will be able to do with them? That remains to be seen."

Torr snorts, shaking his head a little. "Fuckin' its her company. I'm sure she'll fuckin' find out when we cut him in on this. If I were I would fucking keep track of what my people were doing. I bet we'll be seein' her," Torr replies angerly, his tone low but sharp.

Kierska smiles a smile full of fangs as he moves toward the door, holding it open with a graceful bow. "A human priest once told me something... words that I have chosen to live by," he tells Ace. "'Have faith.'"

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