Bilbringi, we have a problem...

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Aklee
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Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aklee » 2011-03-23 12:40

The red liquid swirled around the bottom of Aklee’s glass with the circular motions of her hand. For a moment, she pretended her wine was a strange sentient life form from another galaxy, able to form a brain by networking the relatively spread out molecules within liquid. Would this display on the bottom of her glass be an exotic dance? How dazzling would motion be to one who lacked muscles? The amusing thought game faded as quickly as it came.

She still sat with Cale in her private observation deck awaiting the launch of ICE just like everyone else on the ship. They had fallen silent a few minutes ago, content to watch the various movements around the starport station below.

“Vicereine, Captain Durr is hailing you.” Though the voice of the Helios AI was synthesized, it sounded very fluid and real. To counterpart the older Osiris AI line, this Helios chose a male persona. The crew of ICE lovingly referred to it as Jack Frost, or Jack for short, as nicknaming AI units became a common practice with their growing commonality amongst the fleets.

“Patch him through Jack.” Aklee set her refilled glass of firedancer down and held an excusing hand up for Cale.

The voice of Captain Durr came next. Durr, like many of the crew, was young for his position. Selectees for ICE were all the best and the brightest and typically younger to harvest the imagination and sense of adventure necessary to leave home behind. “The last of the boarding shuttles are aboard Ma’am.”

“Have the escorts reported in?” She asked, looking up as if she were speaking to the stars above her private observation deck.

“Yes Ma’am, all crew present and accounted for. Ready for launch.” The disembodied voice of Captain Durr betrayed his excitement despite his attempts to sound flat and military.

“Do we have STC clearance?”

“They cleared orbit three hours ago, Ma’am.”

“Of course they did,” Aklee paused for a moment to look at Cale, resisting the urge to further stall with useless progress checks she knew had been confirmed at least two hours ago. “Well, it’s time then. Let’s go.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“Captain?” Aklee interjected before he cut transmission.

“Yes Ma’am?” He replied.

“Run protocol Zenith.”

Then line ran silent for a few seconds before Durr responded, “Yes Ma’am, out.” The line went dead. Cale was giving her an inquisitive look, but she ignored him for now.

“Jack?” Aklee continued.

“Yes Vicereine?” The AI’s calming voice replaced the Captain.

“Open an audio channel to the whole ship, and transmit to Snowflake, Icicle, Frost and Aurora as well.”

“Line open.” Jack Frost indicated.

Aklee stood for no other reason than to open her diaphragm, an old public speaking technique. “My fellow crew, this is Vicereine Aklee Roosh speaking. Thank you all for the orderly boarding process. I know some of you have been stuck in your quarters for over three hours now, but you’ll need to stay put just until we enter hyperspace. Only on duty military and engineering personnel should be moving around the ship. Captain Durr is initiating launch procedures as I speak. The time is now people. I wish there were enough viewports and observation decks for everyone, but this isn’t a sightseeing tour. However you can all watch the launch on your private terminals. It’ll be the last time we’ll have connectivity to the holonet, so enjoy the broadcast.

“Very few of you know anything about our first destination, and I understand your burning curiosity. But at this critical moment, I want to reiterate the importance of security. We cannot be followed to the galactic edge, not even by escorting Imperial warships. Until we are safely beyond the hyperspace disturbance, there will be no briefing on our first ultimate destination.

“Tonight, celebrate. Tomorrow we face a lifetime of unknowns.”

* * *

The on-air light flashed on.

“Aaaaand welcome back to Bilbringi Imperial news, this is Rogmi Maru. Celebrations in the recently renamed Kane Starport are still going strong as we are counting down to launch time. Viera I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch that massive ship take to the stars.” Rogmi turned to face the blonde woman to his right. Viera was wearing too much powder causing her skin to sort of glow in the studio lighting, but it was too late to do anything about it now.

“I’m excited too Rogmi, this program has been in the works for over a year, accumulating with the public announcement by the Emperor himself several months ago. But it’s the size of that ship that really amazes me, what a shining example of Imperial ingenuity, especially considering how quickly they were able to place it in operation.” Veira smiled as she turned back to Rogmi, her subtle sign for him to jump back in.

“Absolutely. Tonight, folks, we are joined by the renowned astronomer and author Vihran Sacul. You may know him for his recently released book entitled The Shadow Haunted Galaxy: a glow in the darkness. He’s one of the great minds behind the ICE program, Mr. Sacul it’s a pleasure to have you with us tonight.” Of course Rogmi just continued looking at the camera, as the viewers would be seeing a separate projection of the astronomer’s face.

“The pleasure is mine, I assure you,” the softer and accented voice of Vihran came through Rogmi’s earpiece, with no delay to speak of. As far as he knew, Vihran was at the launch just a short flight away.

Veira chimed in with the first preselected question to flash up on the prompter. “Mr. Sacul, the ICE ship is just incredible to look at. But it’s no larger than many of the military ships that have been in use for years. Can you tell us why no one has successfully launched an intergalactic expedition of this sort before?”

“Yes, well it has nothing to do with the size of the ship really. Forgive me but I can’t expound on exactly how we’ve solved the problem of intergalactic travel, I’m sure you understand.”

“Of course,” Rogmi nodded.

“…but I can say this,” Vihran Sacul continued. “It’s only a matter of time before we perfect this sort of technology. Soon, we hope to have a vibrant stream of resources and traffic between galaxies. There are several satellite galaxies less than two hundred thousand lightyears away. A few probes have been able to make it there, but due to a lack of understanding in the principles we now know, those lucky shots were few. But now, we expect to fully explore…”

Rogmi cut the astronomer off. “Forgive me Mr. Sacul, but it appears that the ICE ship has just begun its launch. All of you viewers at home; you’re now looking at our galactic community’s first steps towards what could possibly be an intergalactic colonization effort. My apologies Mr. Sacul, do continue.”

“Yes, of course, as I was saying we can expect to explore each of those very close smaller galaxies fully, and even set up hyperspace lanes full of incoming raw material that should only take days to get here with modern hyperdrive advances. The smallest of these close galaxies is estimated to have at least one hundred billion suns. You and I are ill equipped to even fathom the magnitude of stuff to be explored out there, resources to be surveyed and collected, and discoveries to be catalogued and researched. Of course another challenge is the orbit these galaxies move in. To us they appear static in the sky, but are in fact tumbling through space at break neck speeds, over seven hundred kilometers per second in some case. As you can imagine, that can create some challenges in star charting, relative to our own galaxy’s movements.”

Rogmi glanced at the prompter for the second question. “ Fascinating. Are one of these satellite galaxies the first planned destination for the ICE program?”

“No,” Sacul responded gently, you could almost hear the smile in his voice. “The first location to be explored is, as of now, still classified even as the ship begins its journey. No doubt, most of the crew itself is still unaware.”

“Even the crew hasn’t been told?” Veira tilted her head a little with the question. “It sounds like the Empire is really worried about security.”

Sacul answered quickly, “Well, we all know some of the horrors we’ve faced recently as a galactic community. Setting aside even the war, in the last year or so we’ve seen some of the most blatant and dangerous terrorist attacks in recent history. As ever we try to drive forward in progress, we must do what we can to protect the pursuit of science. Without it, this very transmission wouldn’t be possible. As I was illustrating a moment ago, the cosmos has already placed enough obstacles in our path. We’ll do what we can to not add more.”

Veira chimed in. Rogmi again noted the sheen of her face, and wondered what it looked like through the holoprojectors all over the galaxy. “The ICE ship itself seems like it could handle itself though, what sort of threats are they worried about?”

“It’s not open attacks that are the problem,” Mr. Sacul continued. “We’ve only just begun our journey, and ICE represents our only link to the vast cosmos beyond. Any disruption in communication could delay key scientific discoveries. If our brave adventurers find anything of note out there, that’s wonderful. But, of course, those of us remaining here at home wish to benefit from these awesome new discovers as well. It would be a great tragedy if ideological disagreements and aggressions were to interfere with this most delicate undertaking. This journey is to the benefit of us all. I regret that such precautions must be taken, but these are turbulent times.”

“Thank you Mr. Sacul,” Rogmi said. “Again viewers you are looking at the disembarking ICE program. Coming after these…”

* * *

“…messages, we’ll hear from colleagues of Aklee Roosh, the now Vicereine of the historic expedition. Stay tuned as our coverage of this ground-brea…” Dasha muted the holoprojector.

She wore a concentrated visage, complimented by her long bright red ponytail flowing down over the back of her chair. With each subtle movement her advanced tactical suit rubbed against the leather of the seat, making feint squeaking noises. But she didn’t seem to take notice. At least, no more than she seemed to pay attention to the blaster pistol laying across her lap. She played with it earlier, twirling it around and aiming it at features on the bulkhead. But all that had stopped as the big moment drew nearer and nearer.

“Any minute now,” Dasha said leaning back in her chair, caressing its arm with her fingers just to keep her hands active. With the broadcast now silenced, the otherwise typically noisy bridge area now sat eerily in quiet. Everyone was watching it, but also waiting for the greatly anticipated transmission. As soon as it came in, they wouldn’t have much time to act. Dasha’s benefactors had their doubts towards the viability of this operation, but she’d managed to convince them to fund it anyway. All it took was the dossier of their inside man. As soon as they saw that, they shut their mouths and started signing over the credits.

And now they sat out in empty space on one of the many possible projected routes ICE might take. Might. If her man didn’t come through, this had all been a shot in the dark.

* * *

“Uuuuggghhh, you should look at this!” Kuar called out as the sublight engines fired up. ICE hadn’t even broken orbit yet and already there was a problem.

Senior engineer Syylk, a Sullustan, walked over from the coolant monitors. “What?”

Kuar pointed to the read out terminal inset in the engine room wall. “Look at engine five. There’s some kind of power fluctuation.”

“Sithspit! Why on my watch? Why is it always my problem.” He pushed Kuar out of the way to get a better look.

Kuar watched in silence for a few moments, glancing back and forth between his superior and the engine structure itself. From here, everything looked and sounded fine. Eventually, uncomfortable in the silence, he said, “what should we do.”

Syylk sighed. “Sithspit.” He looked at Kuar. “Sithspit. Go get Pash. Bring him down here.”

“Should we tell the chief?” Puar cupped his hands together in front of his chest as he took a step back.

“I’m calling him! Just do it.”

* * *

“Vicereine,” the AI named Jack’s soothing voice returned through the loudspeaker.

Aklee was standing next to Cale, both leaning over the rail to watch was the giant ship slowly lurched away from Bilbringi. They looked a little like children, with both of their faces nearly pressed against the transparisteel. But right at that moment a mkIII star destroyer was slowly emerging from beneath their ship at a remarkably close distance. It reminded Aklee of her days as a pilot, but something about the watching the sheer cliff of ICE’s starboard side sliding over the massively long stardestroyer just took her breath away. Especially the cascading shadows the moved and receded at differing paces in relation to the various static and dynamic light sources causing them. Yet this dramatic display moved so smoothly that it appeared as if the universe around them performed this unique display as they stood perfectly still.

“Yes?” she asked, not wanting to peel her eyes away at first.

“Chief Engineer Jadya Locke is hailing you.”

Aklee raised her eyebrow at Cale, who shrugged. “Patch her through.” She said.

“Vicereine,” the deep and husky voice of the chief engineer now filled the private observation deck. Aklee thought she sounded almost sultry, which was amusing amongst the typical gruffy-nerds down in engineering. From the few times she’d spoken with Jadya, the Chief seemed pleasant socially but firm professionally. Aklee liked that. “There’s a power fluctuation in engine five.”

“Has the Captain been informed?” Aklee asked.

“Yes Ma’am, he wanted us to inform you.” She replied.

“I guess a perfect launch was too much to hope for eh? Is it a problem?”

“No Ma’am, not at these speeds. We can adjust the power actuators manually well enough to limp us to safe hyperspace distances. We’re checking over the hyperdrives now, no sign of any problem can be found. It’s safe to continue as planned.” Engineer Locke reported.

“I imagine we’ll need to stop to lock that down for good before we do any serious scooting around?” Aklee was looking up again, a strange habit, as though the unseen Chief Engineer could only hear her if she spoke as some invisible microphone.

“Yes Ma’am.”

“How long will that take?”

“Hard to say,” Locke replied. “Probably a little more than an hour. We can’t open her up until the engine is fully shut down.”

“You’ll get your chance soon. Proceed for now, and continue to advise the Captain if anything changes. Thank you Chief.”

“Ma’am.” The transmission cut.

* * *

Pash thanked his lucky stars for Dasha’s foresight. Neither of them knew that most of the crew would be confined to quarters during launch, but she’d been smart enough to come up with the idea to tweak engine five the night before while the final checks were being made. All they needed to do to fix it was get in there and replace the coolant padding around the temperate gauge on the power actuator. Right now it sat directly against the casing, causing it to over-heat and throw off the automated regulators. But it’d been enough to get them to call Pash down to help deal with the problem.

A bead of sweat dripped from his brow to hit and slide down the outer shell of the hyperdrive engine.

“How’s it looking over there Pash?” Syylk called out from across the room, still manually controlling the power output in engine five with the terminal embedded on its back.

“Still checking!” Pash called out, slipping a small vial from the inner pocket hidden in his jacket. “No problems so far.” He waited until the diagnostic program finished its check before jabbing the needle end of the vial into one of the thick intake tubes. He had to work it back and forth to get it to fully penetrate, being careful not to break the needle off in the process. Once he was sure he’d managed it, hit a small button on the vial side. It made a very feint exhalation sound. Next he squeezed a tube of instant sealant over the tiny hole created by the needle as he pulled the vial free, careful to not allow any leakage much like a nurse dressed a wound after taking blood. Lastly he smoothed the sealant out. Hopefully, later, no one would notice.

“All right, done! Diagnostics are reading clean, and I don’t see anything wrong.” Pash started sealing the hyperdrive casing again, the time for the jump drew near.

* * *

“Here it goes!” Lawson yelled back to the camera operator sitting behind the cockpit. The military had totally cleared Bilbringi’s orbit hours ago, but a few cleared news-crafts had been allowed in certain zones to get a better angle on the moment ICE entered hyperspace. Lawson and Jerkins both worked for Bilbringi Imperial News. The hyperdrive could clearly be seen powering up, but it only took a split second before the massive form streaked and stretched ahead, quickly disappearing. “And there they go,” he said. “Did you get it?”

“Yeh,” Jerkins called back. “What about you, did you get it?”

Lawson checked the scanner gauge plugged externally to his cockpit instruments. It was calibrated to pick up a very specific radioactive frequency just beyond the range of most standard issue scanners. The small screen indicated a thin line of radiation exactly where ICE had just entered hyperspace. “Got it!”

Pash had come through by duping a bit of this radiation into the hyperdrive. All it did was stream the stuff out in a precise line as the ship took off, and then linger there for a few minutes afterwards before dispersing. If scanned at the moment of emission, it enabled a bearing on the hyperspaced ship to a degree of 99.9999998% accuracy. As quick as he could, he transmitted the data back to Bilbringi, where another waiting agent would pass it along to Dasha.

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Cale-Wan Calad
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Cale-Wan Calad » 2011-03-23 18:44

“Well, Moff Calad,” said the Vicereine just as the shutters were coming down to blot out the mottled blue sky of hyperspace in order to prevent hyper-rapture. “There you go. And there we all go.” She smiled at him. “Looks like we’re stuck together.”

“Looks like,” he said. There was a twitter at Cale’s side, and he checked his mini-datapad’s screen, which showed a text message from Bax C’nar, who was one of the many engineering consultants that ICE had commissioned for this trip. Bax, like many others, would be consulting the Vicereine, Cale, the captain, and all other higher-ups about the necessities of future construction—certainly the Mother World Devastator could be trusted with a great deal, but it was important to check computer errors with Human ingenuity and vice versa.

The message was short and simple: Some of our scanners down here picked up some strange readings, might need some fresh eyes on this. That was all it said. He winced at it, wondering what that could mean. Cale was a scientist himself, and could lend a hand if necessary. Mentally, he went through a number of the names of people he knew would be closest to Bax’s level on the ship to help him figure out whatever his problem was: there was Charrgurrrr, the Wookiee scientist; Crannor Sal-Sannan, the Corellian survey scanner specialist; the David Ishmael fellow, he was a linguist and archaeologist, yet would’ve been trained like all the others to be tasked in assisting with even the most basic maintenance; there was Cidan Himmibi, the Twi’lek scientist-explorer, who might also be able to help…

And then there was Iaex Larek. Yes, their resident Force specialist from the emperor’s Omega Order. Cale’s mini-pad was showing that Larek’s quarters were close enough to Bax’s territory on the ship to lend a hand, but perhaps using the Force in order to unriddle some minor problem some engineering consultants had detected would be too far beneath a Dark Jedi.

His mind made up, Cale utilized his Moff’s powers to send out a mass text message those names, plus a few others, asking them to retask to help Bax C’nar and his people figure out these “strange readings” they’d gotten. Bax didn’t sound like it was an emergency yet, so it wasn’t any major priority for Cale just yet.

“A problem, Moff?” said Aklee.

Now that they were underway, and technically on duty, she was using his rank. “I don’t think so, Vicereine,” he said. “Not just yet, anyway. Our small retinue of engineering consultants think they’ve found something strange already. I’m going to retask a few individuals, if those individuals have time, to see if they can help him. Probably some sort of instrument malfunction.”

She made a face. “Mm, well, even that’s unsettling this early in the launch. We’re literally ninety seconds into hyperspace.”

“Well, he doesn’t sound alarmed.”

Aklee nodded slowly, but did not appear entirely mollified. “Keep me informed of that problem,” she said.

“Certainly, ma’am. Ma’am?”

“Yes?”

“If you’ll excuse me, I’m afraid I need to leave your good company,” he joked. “Too much wine, you see.”

She smirked. “Go ahead, Moff Calad. Relieve yourself.”

He gave a curt nod and salute, and a hint of a smile, and then turned to leave the observation deck.
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Ishmael
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Ishmael » 2011-03-25 20:21

David took in another deep breath of air. This was his first week of what he was sure would be many onboard the Intergalactic Campaign Expedition, or ICE as it was commonly known. His eyes glanced around at the massive structure. He let the air rush out of his lungs. Exhilarating. He fingered the Tu'kata fang that hung around his neck. Who was to say what adventures they would have on this ship? What wonders would they discover? David was giddy with excitement.

Growing up with his history buff parents, David was quickly fascinated by the many facets of anthropology from a young age. He played among the ruins of Ziost and Korriban, wandered through Tython. He'd been to hundreds of famous ruins across the galaxy....before his parents died. It was a fateful accident that took them away from him. While they oversaw the construction of a museum piece, part of the work gave way. It killed both of them. David had been standing there. Right there. He had seen the unstable work. He could've warned them. He could've saved them. Instead, he had said nothing and they were dead now. He was raised an orphan, albeit a brilliant one. David Ishmael quickly rose to great heights. He gained a phd in Anthropology and Linguistics at the Obroan Institute for Archaeology. But soon after that, it all fell apart again.

Xenoarchaeology was always a favorite study of David's. He found particular interest with the Rakata and the Celestials, but his radical theories on them and their involvement in the force quickly led to his ostracism from most scientific circles. Until the Federation found him. He was desperate for work and blindly signed a contract for a mission. Little did he know what they would find upon Korriban. The horrors of it....but he was not at liberty to divulge what had happened there. Save that it was to decipher a cartouche and that they had encountered Sith Hounds along the way.

David found himself wandering to the science department headquarters. It was filled with all the tools necessary for the journey. Microscopes and the latest data-pads were strewn on tables throughout the room. Many figures roamed the room, aimlessly. There were a lot of scientists on this mission. Only a couple seemed to be doing anything important. David was one of the few cultural scientists, the majority of the rest were all mathematics and physics, or biologists. There were some zoologists as well. Yep, lots of scientists.

It reminded David of how he had been offered the position. The Federation was pleased with his work on Korriban. They wanted to know if he wanted to go on a very special expedition. Of course, once he found out what and where he was ecstatic. It would give him a chance to find out whether the Celestials had expanded into other galaxies. He was sure they had. Well, he would have the chance to find out....on ICE.
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Aerith Sunrider
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aerith Sunrider » 2011-03-26 06:35

And this one goes here... And that one goes... there. Done. Taking a step back, Aerith admired the workbench and tool rack for a moment, having carefully, painstakingly arranged everything in a tidy order for easy retrieval later. With a satisfied smile, she turned back to look up at the TIE Scouts that hung on the racks in the hanger before her gaze drifted out beyond the opening at the starlines that flew past horizontally, signifying the start of the journey to Force knew what or where. She was leaving this galaxy behind and with it, all the problems, people and things she had ever known. If there was one bright thing out of it all, there wasn't a single good thing she was leaving behind or anything she regretted not being able to take with her. Some people aboard this ship had families they might never see again, others just friends. Aerith had no one really. Picking up a datapad, she looked sadly at the most recent news article she had spent the majority of her time since stepping aboard ICE reading up on. According to the Galaxy Times, Arkania, more specifically, the Subarks, had suffered a right royal beat down at the hands of the very Federation that was sending this expedition, the very expedition she was a part of.

It was a bitter feeling, right now she wanted nothing to do with the NIF after their poor handling of the situation and if there was one regret she would have, it would be possibly never knowing what the outcomes of the whole battle over Arkania would be. Her guess, the Subarks would be subjugated, put down by their Arkanian masters as they worked on a new, more loyal breed of offshoots who would do their bidding without question or complaint. There might be a lot of pompous talk by the politicians but the story never changed in the end and that last rebellion was the last, best chance they had.

Guess it's easy to root for the underdog, she walked over to a small office, lost in thought as she pondered the outcome.

Behind her, M-3P0 and R4-B7 approached her. "Ah, Aircrewman Sunrider," M-3P0 began in greeting, "I figured you should be made aware that we're only five minutes into our journey and it seems a problem has already cropped up."

"Oh?" Aerith entered the small office that consisted of little more than a chair, desk, computer terminal and bookshelf with a few technical manuals but little else. "And that concerns me how?"

"Well, you see, you're a mechanic, and from the initial reports, there was a mechanical problem-"

"Was it fixed?" She cut him off as she turned her attention to the bookshelf, picking up each of the technical manuals and skimming through the covers quickly before arranging them on the shelf, moving each one around.

"It has been."

"So you bring this up because?"

R4 chirped a few notes. M-3P0 slowly turned to the flat topped droid. "Quiet R4. It's much too early to celebrate your alleged victory."

Listening to the two droids argue with each other was slightly amusing, at least it was a decent way to pass the time as she finished arranging the bookshelf. It was too quiet otherwise, so she didn't mind their back and forth as she took a seat on the chair and returned to the datapad and flipped through more of it. She stopped at a particular page, her interest piqued by a strange grid of numbers and a small string of text beneath it that read much like a riddle. "Five of the fifty numbers have exactly four things in common but also have six differences," she read aloud, "What is the fifty-first number of the sequence?"

"I beg your pardon?" M-3P0 asked, his little argument with R4 cut short suddenly.

Aerith didn't respond as all her focus was on the grid of fifty numbers displayed before her. All of them were single digits, and, at quick glance, there was no real discernible pattern. Because there were only ten different types of single digit numbers, it wasn't at all surprising that all of them were used at least once but none of them were used exactly five times either. Four things in common... Placement seemed completely random so she had to try another approach. Six differences... Math, it had to do something with math. Of course! But what could five numbers have in common with each other four times?

A smirk formed on Aerith's face as she laughed at the simplicity of it. "It's eight."
"Horizontal boosters…! Alluvial dampers…! Well that's not it. Bring me the hydrospanner!" - Han Solo
“Hope is the last to abandon the unhappy.” - Subark proverb

Iaex Larek
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-04-05 04:02

Iaex was the shining example of all the crew members who had been chosen for the Intergalactic Campaign Expedition. Young, adventurous, and brilliant, it the dream crew of any captain. Of course, the purpose for gathering so much talent and ambition in one place was to put them on what would likely turn out to be a one-way trip out of the galaxy to parts unknown.

Iaex had spent the past several weeks analyzing data regarding the hyperspace disturbance surrounding the galaxy in order to better understand exactly how it was they were going to escape the galaxy, and had come to the conclusion that the folks in the engineering section were quite possibly some of the most important people on this mission. The fate of the mission quite literally sat in their hands, and their ability to figure out what was going on.

For the launch of ICE, only on-duty military and engineering personnel were allowed out of their quarters. Of course, Iaex had the necessary clearances as the Omega Order representative on the expedition to be at his station, but he preferred to watch the ship's departure while off duty, and in his quarters. They were spacious, and had a breathtaking view of space afforded by a viewport. Most importantly, his quarters were close to the sensor stations and analysis labs that he would be frequenting during his time on the ship.

It was during this time of relaxation and observation that his computer terminal beeped, indicating an incoming message for him. That's odd... he thought as he walked over to the terminal and brought up the message, which turned out to be from Moff Calad, one of the higher-ups in the mission's leadership.

Apparently some sort of engineering trouble had popped up already, and strange sensor readings had been picked up as a result. The message was nothing special, just asking Iaex along with a few other select individuals to look over the data, and head over to engineering to check it out themselves. Typing up a reply, he acknowledged that he would check it out, and sent it to the Moff before gathering up a hand scanner and datapad to crunch numbers on if need be.

Opening the door of his quarters, he was met by a pair of STARS troopers performing security detail in the corridors. "Commander, please return to your quarters. Confinement has not yet been lifted for nonessential personnel."

"Thank you Sergeant, but I am now essential personnel." Iaex replied, striding off down the corridor without a second thought, saying over his shoulder, "You may check that with Moff Calad if you wish."

The lack of response from the soldiers implied that they were calling it in to their superiors and getting back exactly the response Iaex had predicted they would get, so he continued on down the corridor to the nearest turbolift, which he took to the engineering section.

Arriving in the engineering section of the ship, Iaex was greeted by the hustle and bustle of crew and officers walking about performing their tasks, monitoring the ship systems and making sure everything ran as efficiently as possible. Walking over to the nearest officer not busily at work analyzing data, he asked "Lieutenant, where might I find Bax C’nar?"

"Sir," She replied with a salute, "he is in his office in the next section over. Would you like me to take you there?"

"No, that will be fine Lieutenant. As you were." Iaex stated, heading in the direction of the next section of engineering, a rather short walk, and nothing too complicated so as to require guidance. After all, most of the engineering sections were laid out in the same basic format.

Iaex had not yet met Bax, but knew of the man from several reports he had read. Bax C'nar was one of the independent consultants that had been brought on to the ICE project due to his experience in industrial engineering, to act as an auditor of sorts in double checking the numbers and calculations put out by everyone and everything else on the mission.

Once he reached the office, Iaex rapped his knuckles on the door and stood to wait for it to open so he could take a look at these sensor readings. C'nar had been brought to double-check the work of everyone else on the mission, and the fact that Iaex was being called upon to double-check his work showed that this had at least some significance.
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Rikku
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Rikku » 2011-04-06 06:39

[OOC: Sorry for the late entry, I have the character I originally planned to be in this thread kinda tied up elsewhere at the moment. Hope you enjoy!]

Rikku had been enjoying her quarters prior to departure. Unlike many on board, she had rather nice quarters. It was partially being one of the support or consultant engineers that had been brought along. She looked around the room...

Why is that all the ships in this galaxy have such bland decor?! Well, the Mon Calamari ships are rather nice really. Though their displays give me headaches. At least my quarters are nicer than most of my coworker's quarters. Who knows, maybe my stuff will help to liven it up a bit. Otherwise, this so called "Imperial Gray" is going to drive me crazy! As much as I hate to admit it; the Akkuma have better aesthetic tastes.

After making a bit of a pouty face and wrinkling her nose at the last thought, she went back to her observations:

Strangely, I don't miss being back home much. Besides, too much politics and social stuff! If I was home I would have to go to all those social events with my parents. Possibly be introduced to one of the annoying noble-boys. Hopefully, I wouldn't have to marry that kind of guy! They are so boring and...dull! Some of them get out and have an adventurous life. Yet, most tend to be more worried about politics and such. I cannot see myself with a guy like that. I have done more amazing things then most of their recent ancestors or family members. Naw, I hope that I see Tyr again...

He was so handsome and smart at the Academy and when I saw him at my commissioning with the Anla'Shok! Despite his cold and intense aura, I know that he is a sweet and caring guy. Though, to see him admit is probably not likely. At least in any professional atmosphere that is. I can remember that night we spent together; talking in the moonlight on the bridge in my parent's garden... I know he does! I just wish that I could see him more often. Hopefully, I can get to see him soon!!


A chime sounded at the door, startling Rikku out of her thoughts and back to the present. "Yes, I take it that we are getting ready to depart? Okay! I will be on my way to my post. Thank you!"

Rikku quickly got ready for work and walked out. As she reached the end of the corridor, two STARs troopers stopped her. "Ma'am, unless you are required personnel, you must return to your quarters."

Rikku smiled in a girlish manner, "You see I am required personnel. As you can see on my ID. I need to get down to engineering to monitor the systems. Thanks though!" As they let her pass, she gave them a smile and walked away with a light step.

On her way, she could see the bussle of Security and Engineering personnel bustling to their stations. Some were running, others walking briskly and a few taking it all in as they moved along. Rikku reached her post early. She knew that she wasn't the only person on-duty today with an engineering background. She took her place and sat down.

No matter how many times I look at this stuff, I can't help but wonder if they tried to design everything to be so...ugly. The reactor is efficient and effective. However, some subsystems are the opposite of the reactor. Like look at those energy conversion efficiencies between the hypermatter reactor and the engines, shielding, hyperdrive etc! It is saddening!. Compared to ours, they could still use a lot of work! I know, I should be more appreciative. They have come a long way from what they were like. I just hope things go smoothly!

Not long into the departure, one of the engine warning lights flicked on. Quickly Rikku turned her attention to it, "The power actuators need to adjusted manually. Technician, you take those controls and keep it stable! I will run a diagnostic and see if I can isolate and determine the problem. If necessary, it may require a shutdown and restarting of the control-software for that engine. Please standby!"

After several minutes, which felt way to long to her, Rikku managed to run a reboot of the control system for the power actuators. "Confirming problem has been solved... Based on these readings, it isn't properly fixed but it will do for now. The engine needs to shutdown and have a full-rundown of those actuators and precursor-components as soon as we enter hyperspace. Continue your duties at the manual controls, in case there are spikes. Automatic control is set to accept overrides from the manual controls."

Not long after, Rikku was ordered to join C'nar and several other individuals to look over the data from the problem. Personally, she would much rather not. But orders were orders! She got up after making sure her station had been occupied by another qualified individual. She then walked over to C'nar's office.

As the engineer that responded to the problem, I bet I am going to get either questioned on my thoughts or possibly chewed out. I got to remember my place and "who I am". I am a graduate at the Balmorran University of Engineering. I am not a Eldorrin Armed Forces Engineering Division, 2nd Seat, at the present. Keep a cool and calm head!

As she approached the door to the office, she saw another man standing there. She made sure that her own thoughts, experiences and knowledge were isolated and unreadable. She couldn't get her cover blown! No matter what the cost!

As she came up to the man and the door, she quietly stood there, waiting...
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Aerith Sunrider
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aerith Sunrider » 2011-04-06 19:39

Looking at the datapad, Aerith twirled her hair around a finger continuously, unaware that a new person had entered the hanger and was already talking with the two droids who had turned to greet the newcomer. Suddenly a hand appeared in front of her face, fingers snapping a rude sound that easily overpowered the distant hum of the reactor and engines that were only a few decks away from her.

Blinking once, she looked up long enough to know it was probably the last person she wanted to see before looking back down at the datapad. "Oh, it's you," she muttered coldly, hoping to get herself lost in thought before he could respond. Her conscious mind wasn't cooperating unfortunately as Kal grinned and spoke.

"You know all non-essential crew are confined to quarters right?" he asked as he leaned against the nearby bookshelf.

"Seems like you're doing an even worse job than me in that regard," Aerith hissed in reply as she finally stopped twirling her orange-red hair, her concentration broken completely.

Kal's grin widened as he responded proudly, "I'm out making sure people are actually in their quarters."

"I'm sure you are..." What was the worst he was going to do? Detain her? Not like it mattered, she doubted whoever was in charge of this oversized space hulk of a droid was going to be dispatching any of the TIE Scout craft in this hanger so long as they were still in the confines of the known galaxy. "And I suppose you're looking inside every nook and cranny in the process." Putting the datapad down gently on the desk, she finally fixed the man with an indifferent stare, wishing she could smash his face in but keeping that pleasent daydream to herself as she muttered, "This room might as well be my room, it's bigger than the one I was assigned." Sadly, it was a true fact though it probably wasn't bigger by much but she could easily fit a sleeping cot on the other side of the desk if she so wanted. Maybe the armoury could spare one. "That and I doubt I'll be leaving this hanger much," she added.

"We're hardly a quarter of an hour into our journey and you're going on hunger strike." Kal shook his head and glanced around the small office before turning his attention to the shelf he was leaning against. Taking hold of a datapad, he perused through its contents lazily.

"I'll send those two to fetch my food," Aerith glanced over at R4 and M-3P0 who had remained quiet so far. "Put them to good use."

"Aircrewman Sunrider, if I may," M-3P0 started, "The lounge and food facilities aboard this ship are already well equipped to deliver food wherever needed."

The R4 unit chirped an affirmative, a clear indication that both of the droids didn't much like the idea of being her take-out pick-up and delivery helpers.

"Ohhh, rejected. By droids no less." Kal was beside himself, holding back a humorous laugh as he put the datapad he wasn't really looking at back on the shelf. "But if that's how you want it to be fine, I'll let it go." He stood up straight and turned for the door out of the small office back into the hanger. "But now you owe me," he said coolly with a sideways glance at her before tossing his left hand up in a lazy wave. "Anyways, be seeing you later."

When Kal left the hanger proper, Aerith got to her feet and walked the short distance to the shelf, picking up the datapad he had been reading and putting it back at the end of the row of other technical manuals. Whatever... It's not like there's that much he can expect from me.

"I tried to warn you Aircrewman," M-3P0 began as he bent forward a little and tilted his head down that much mroe. "All non-essential personnel are supposed to be in their cabins."

Aerith snorted once before muttering in reply, "They just don't want people running around like crazed lunatics high on giggledust. If he wants to report me, let him. The worst they'll do is slap me on the wrist for being at my assigned post. Now why don't you go run a diagnostic on those TIEs up there."

"Oh dear," M-3P0 turned and shuffled away, "This is the second time today."

R4 spun his head around to look at the retreating droid before turning and heading off in an entirely different direction, leaving Aerith alone in her office again. That's better, she mused double checking the shelf to make sure the bastard agent didn't screw around with any of the other datapads when she wasn't looking. Satisfied everything was in their right place, she returned to the chair and sat down, returning to the datapad she was just reading. I was halfway through this crossword too... Where was I? Staring into the datapad again, she let herself become lost in it again as she resumed subconsciously twirling her hair about her finger.
"Horizontal boosters…! Alluvial dampers…! Well that's not it. Bring me the hydrospanner!" - Han Solo
“Hope is the last to abandon the unhappy.” - Subark proverb

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Rikku
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Rikku » 2011-04-08 04:34

Rikku was called in first, before her at a massive desk sat an older man in an engineer's uniform. He looked at her and simply asked, "Can I please have your report and findings. Then you may leave..."

Rikku instinctively handed him the datapad. She then gave a curt nod and left the room. On the way out, she saw the guy be ushered in. As he brushed past her, a shiver ran down her spine as if a cold hand of ice had touched her. Without wasting any time, she went back to her station and was signed out a few minutes later as her shift ended.

As she went out she decided to go and look around the ship. More specifically, she was interested in the hangar bays. If she needed to extract herself, she would need to know where they were and which ones would be her best options from any location on the ship.

As she walked down the main corridor she had her security badge on as per her contract. She was now on her other job. It was tiring this schedule she had. Yet, it would at least mean that she was paid relatively well! As she went from one hangar to the next they were all still empty or people were just walking in...except one!

Rikku walked into the hangar. At first she noticed the two droids that were busy at work. Neither had noticed her yet. Then she saw the woman by the desk in mechanic's garb.

She isn't essential personnel. Also, even though we are now in hyperspace, she clearly was there before based on the number of datapads on the desk. In addition, her body language is such that she has been in that seat for quite a bit of time. I think it is time I introduce myself...

Rikku walked behind the woman, her footsteps were silent like a cats. The woman jumped when she spoke, to her silent amusement: "Hey! I can tell you have been here for awhile. Don't worry, I personally don't really mind at all. Better you get some work done than not eh? My name is Rikku Uesugi, what is yours?"

Ah! They are such amusing beings... At the same time they can be just as loyal and steadfast as my own friends back home. I wonder if she understands how large the known universe is? Much less what it would be like to meet a new race. She seems nice albeit probably a bit annoyed at me for startling her. She will probably forgive me...

When I get a chance I need to piggyback a communique to Tyr on an outgoing transmission. Make sure he knows that I am alright. As he would be getting worried! I wonder if the DJ is cute...Stop daydreaming or you will get caught! I doubt they will be such nice and kind people if they know who I am and what I was sent to do...
Last edited by Rikku on 2011-07-03 05:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aerith Sunrider » 2011-04-08 17:00

Having been so absorbed with finishing the crossword, Aerith was mentally scolding herself for not paying more attention to the bloody door since her desk, and by extension herself, was facing the damn thing. Her skin had tingled moments before Rikku spoke but Aerith chose to ignore it, figuring it was little more than a slight draft from the ceiling fan. Maybe she should have actually looked around instead, trusting the sensation. Blast, it's like Coruscant Central Station here... Why the hell is this hanger a hyperlane of traffic? It was frustrating because no one had any reason to enter this hanger. More and more, it seemed listening to the order to remain in her cabin might actually have been a good idea as the goosebumps on her arms disappeared quickly, the surprise quickly fading just before the question was out of Rikku's mouth.

And Rikku would discover that Aerith didn't take lightly to being surprised as she suddenly shifted her feet onto the desk edge and pushed herself away from the desk, still seated on the chair. Rikku was too slow, probably lost in some random hover-train of thought, to avoid being slammed by the chair, the force of the impact sending her the few inches into the back wall of the small office. Quickly getting to her feet while the other woman buckled over a little from the hit, Aerith walked around the side of the desk, putting it between the two of them as she raised and pointed her silver plated blaster at the woman, the displeasure on Aerith's face plain to see. "What's wrong with you people?" she began coldly with a hint of exasperation in her voice, "Does nobody bother knocking anymore?"

"Is everything well?" the monotone voice of M-3P0 inquired from the door to the office, the commotion having summoned him and R4 back over. Its photoreceptors glanced at the firearm and then over at the woman the business end was being pointed at. "Oh my," it began, raising a hand up to its mouth in surprise, "What's going on? When did you arrive?"

A tweet from the black and white R4 unit caught the protocol droids attention, its silver head twisting down to look at the stout droid. "Well why didn't you say something then? It's very rude of you to be making such erroneous assumptions, especially as I don't have lenses on the back of my head."

While to two droids went back and forth, Aerith ignored them, her stern yellow gaze upon the intruder, blaster unwavering. Rikku was slightly hunched over, the impact from the chair to her mid-section probably hurting more from surprise than any actual pain. Serves her right, Aerith thought as she afforded a quick glance down at the single blue rank square, showing that their ranks were exactly matched but it failed to properly account for what department Rikku was in. Judging from the questions she had just asked from behind her back, it was easy to narrow down the field. It either made Rikku a squidhead or a buckethead and not the flying kind. Only thieves, assassins, spies and saboteurs felt the need to sneak about, appearing behind people and making them jump. In any other place, at any other time, Rikku would be little more than a dead corpse, a smoking hole in her head though, conversely, Aerith suspected she'd probably have bled out from a slash in her neck. Reflecting on it for a moment, there was probably a strong sense of irony as the thing keeping her alive was the very same thing keeping Rikku alive, being in a military warship with rank and privileges as delivered thanks to the small blue square on their chests.

"Do yourself a favour," Aerith began, her voice cold as the frozen wastes of Hoth, "get out of my sight... now." Her yellow eyes narrowed as she added, "And don't ever sneak up on me again."
"Horizontal boosters…! Alluvial dampers…! Well that's not it. Bring me the hydrospanner!" - Han Solo
“Hope is the last to abandon the unhappy.” - Subark proverb

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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Rikku » 2011-04-08 19:31

Wow! This one is jumpy! It is kinda funny though, thinking she is a match for me. I could easily fire before she would know what hit her. She was lucky that I was more interested in being friendly than anything else. Besides, as much as I hate it, I have been in the killing business since before she was born. Sometimes, I wish that I looked my age... ;)

Rikku stood there calmly and looked the other gal up and down. After sighing, "There is no need to be so violent. Also threatening a security officer is an arrestable offense. Or did you forget what that glyph means? Aircrewman, I am not going to ask you again. Or would you like to be having a chat with STARs? As a security officer, it is my job to snoop around and look for illicit actions. So, be a good girl and put that blaster away before someone gets hurt. If it helps you feel any better, I am sorry for startling you."

The girl's eyes locked onto the glyph the other girl pointed to and slowly lowered her weapon... Albeit, the girl's eyes were still full of anger!

"That is much better! Now, as one gal to another, what brought you here?"
Last edited by Rikku on 2011-06-19 03:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Iaex Larek
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-04-08 19:38

Outside the office, Iaex waited for a moment as a woman approached and they both stood in silence behind the door. Once it was opened, she was called in, and asked to hand over a datapad before being sent away just as quickly as she had arrived.

Lovely...one of the many orderlies down here. Iaex thought as she brushed past him, making a beeline to get out of there as quickly as possible. A nervous one, too.

"Please Commander," spoke C'nar from within the office, "come in and take a seat. I think you should be interested in seeing this sensory data." Stepping through the threshold, Iaex strode confidently over to the desk placed in the center of the room and sat in one of the two chairs opposite its occupant, who was looking through datapads and printouts of sensory information. This was Bax C'nar. He seemed to be a hardworking crew member, dedicated to his work.

"What exactly is the occasion?" Iaex asked, gesturing to all of the equipment laid out around the room, with several computer terminals crunching the numbers for what was probably the fifteenth time since they had come in.

Bax passed him a datapad, which Iaex began scrolling through. Engineering data. "On our initial departure, we discovered a power fluctuation in engine five - nothing serious that would affect its functioning though." Scrolling through the list of numbers and figures, Iaex found that part of the report. "Authorization was given to proceed after the hyperspace drives were inspected, so we moved to the jump point and left."

All of this was apparent in the report, but that left Iaex not even halfway through the data stream that had been recorded and which he was now viewing. Scrolling down he noted that it was taken in from one of the special sensory systems under his command. "And? How do these sensor readings fit in before I go through and read them?"

"Well, that is what we need you to look through Commander Larek. Just before entering hyperspace, an array of our full-spectrum radiological sensors picked up a faint signature that wasn't there before, and shouldn't have been."

"Okay," Iaex replied, seeing that reading on the screen in front of him, "I definitely see what you mean. This signature looks like the radiation in an ion trail, yet has nothing to do with our subspace drives." Checking through to the end of the document he searched for what other data was included. "I need a log on the full functionality of the hyperdrive and all of the subspace engines."

"Very well Commander, whatever you need." Bax replied, shuffling through the piles of data equipment in front of him and bringing up the requested logs, which he uploaded to the datapad Iaex was holding. "I will leave you to your work for the moment, I need to speak briefly with the chief engineer and then I will return" he said, standing from behind the desk and leaving the office.

Staring down at the data he now had available to him, Iaex built a time-comparison chart with the readings from engine five, all of the other subspace engines that showed normal functionality, and the hyperspace drives. Entering in a command and control code, he brought up data from the other full-spectrum radiological sensors that would have picked up readings from the engines, and used that to build a picture of exactly where this radiation leak had come from.

The first idea he managed to rule out was that of an equipment malfunction, as all of the radiological sensors had picked up the same minute radiation trail moments before entering hyperspace. An odd fact, because none of our other sensors were able to pick it up, and those radiological arrays were only installed because of the research mission of this ship.
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aerith Sunrider » 2011-04-08 21:57

"Be grateful I've no intentions of hurting you then," Aerith replied as she lowered her blaster at last, not feeling any better by the fake apology.

"How dreadful!" M-3P0 cried, clumsily throwing his hands up in the air, "Pointing a weapon at a security officer!" R4 chirped a more cheerful tone, once again prompting the protocol droid to chastise the smaller droid. "What a terrible thing to say. I don't think Aircrewman Sunrider would be terribly happy with that!"

Making no reaction to the mention of her last name, Aerith debated whether or not she should call the bluff. It was tempting and she knew that no one had yet to be tossed in the brig yet so it would be tidy. A dubious honour at best... Deciding better of it, she turned around to look out the window at the rows of TIE Scouts that hung suspended a dozen or so meters off the hanger floor. Tch, security, Aerith thought bitterly as she returned her lowered weapon to the holster under her right arm. "No, I've never seen that little emblem of yours before but something tells me I'm going to be seeing a lot of it in the days to come," she said at last with a glance over her shoulder, "And if you're looking for illicit activities, I suggest a kid like you go back to Nar Shaddaa." So both there were two different groups essentially doing the same thing, snoop around and shove their faces in every nook and cranny that this ship had to offer. Now Aerith was starting to question if there was anyone aboard this ship capable of doing anything but nose around. I'm going to install a lock on the door to this hanger as soon as little miss high-and-mighty is gone.

Looking back out the window, she folded her arms across her chest and tilted her head down a little, sensing the security guard's eyes on the back of her head. "I'm here because of some poster I once saw. 'Join the New Imperial Federation, experience new things, see new people' and all that crap," she answered at last, repeating some cockamamy and sappy reason that she heard someone else say in a very sarcastic fashion during the grand send-off ceremonies. Aerith purposely left out the sarcasm this time around, but kept the bitterness. "I've grown weary of this one and I'm also interested to see how the Federation can screw up other ones..." Trailing off, she wondered how that last little bit would be taken. Was this guard a staunch follower of the Empire, and if so, was she going to utter a tirade of words, blasting Aerith for speaking ill of the organization that was "trying to make the galaxy a better place"?

M-3P0, ever the conversationist, added its two-creds, saying, "I am here to assist the crew in whatever capacity necessary. I am fluent in over seven-million different forms of communication." A series of whistles and chirps from R4 brought the astromech into the conversation though only the silver protocol droid actually knew what was said and the droid wasn't translating or making any remark. Aerith suppressed a slight smirk as she wondered how many times she would be hearing that particular line.
"Horizontal boosters…! Alluvial dampers…! Well that's not it. Bring me the hydrospanner!" - Han Solo
“Hope is the last to abandon the unhappy.” - Subark proverb

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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aklee » 2011-04-08 23:27

Instrumental music played over Aklee's private terminal, a piece entitled Koyanisquatsi. It's driving cords, played eloquently by the strings, filled her quarters where she now sat alone. Before her the vastness of space stretched into hyperspace streaked by. Threads of light glanced along at varying speeds with relation to their distance from their present location. Some of them seemed to float by in time with the music, others slipped by so quickly they could hardly be said to have been there at all. Aklee found her focus split between that and the datapad resting in her lap. The view in concert with her music filled her with a sense of adventure and excite, with perhaps a pinch of loss and sadness. Passively she wondered what the rest of the crew was feeling, whether they were as inspired and thoughtful as she right now. She really should be going over the reports on the engine trouble on her datapad, but somehow that seemed secondary to the weight of what they were all about to do.

The music dimmed to near silence as Jack Frost's voice, the on board AI, took it's place. “Vicereine, we're dropping out of hyperspace in two minutes as per protocol zenith. How do you wish to proceed?”

Aklee considered that carefully as her music automatically raised to fill the room between Jack's statements. The reports from the engine room were disquieting. Some kind of unusual radiation was leaking from one of the hyperdrives. As far as anyone could tell, that was totally unrelated to the trouble with the sublight. But neither of these problems had been picked up by the triple redundant scans and checks in the pre-launch procedures taken the night before. Nor were either of these issues necessarily mission critical.

“Drop probe Zenith, and transmit the following to Emperor Kane: Sire, protocol Zenith has been placed into operation. The probe is in place, and will be transmitting sensory data and location shortly. Captain Durr will undertake a series of evasive jumps, after which we'll reestablish contact as per outlined in Zenith procedures, with updates. We're experiencing non-critical sublight malfunctions, and unusual radiation readings in hyperdrive functions. End message, Jack.” Aklee's eyes came to rest on the engineering reports.

“Very good, Vicereine, updating Captain Durr as we speak,” Jack's voice again cut down the volume to her music, a handy feature. “It seems most of the crew is unaware that the confinement to quarters ended upon our hyperspace jump. It's lead to uneasy and confused confrontation across the ship.”

Aklee sighed. Even amongst the best and the brightest people never changed, and they never listened. “Anything serious?”

“A firearm was drawn in hangar bay Seven in an altercation between Aircrewman Sunrider and Second Lieutenant Uesugi.” Jack stated that with such steady calmness it almost sound as though it wasn't that big of a deal.

“By the force,” Aklee pinched her nose. “Were any shots fired?”

“No, Vicereine. The weapon was put away before anything serious occurred.”

Just then the ship lurched back to realspace. The beautiful scene before her transformed in the equally majestic view of open space. The poetry of this moment seemed lost in light of all the mechanic problems and now strange security violations. “Announce a continuation of the confinement to quarters. I need a list compiled of all personnel not in their quarters during launch. I'm worried we might have some kind of insider operation going on. Prepare to detain everyone on that list, but wait for my order. Go ahead and have Sunrider and Uesugi detained by a security team, and have any relevant security material forwarded to my terminal. I understand Initiate Larek is investigating the radiation readings.”

“Correct,” Jack Frost replied.

“Forward the following message to him: Iaex, thank you for your involvement in this matter. I don't know what you're capable of, but if there's anything you can do with your unique skills to contain the radiation emission please do so. We're about to enter a series of jumps for security purposes, and I'd like everything running as close to normal as possible. If you can't help in this way, I understand. Jack, end message.”

“Do you need anything else, Vicereine?” Jack asked.

Aklee leaned forward in her seat to rest her chin on her hands. “Just be prepared to pull data from the Zenith probe the instant Captain Durr is finished with his evasive jumps. I want to be notified immediately if that probe senses anything unusual.”

“Very well, sign off.” As Jack's voice faded away, the music rose once again to fill the silence. Suddenly Aklee wasn't in the mood anymore to be wonder-struck. Remotely through her datapad, she killed the music and went back to her datapad. Once again

* * *

A beep on Emperor Kane's personal commlink indicated awaiting messages. The first was Aklee's recorded voice informing him of protocol Zenith. The second was a reading from the Zenith probe. The probe had detected a number of unknown ships traveling by at hyperspace speeds, all on a trajectory exactly matching the original hyperspace path taken by ICE.

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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Rikku » 2011-04-09 00:03

Rikku ignored the girl's first remark. She has no idea that she is barely a baby compared to me. And Tyr is 25 years older than me. Which would be a lot to them, but pocket-change to us.

"I am not surprised that you haven't. The emblem was designed specifically for ICE. It, theoretically, represents the Army and Civilians that are part of this. Personally, security is security and not really my primary job here. I am primarily here with the title of Associate Engineer. Whatever that means! I needed some spare credits and I was essentially drafted for security due to my civilian status. I am a member of the Balmorran Planetary Security Force. So, yea, I don't like this any more than you do. I would much rather not be wearing this uniform.

Mrs. Sunrider, I am not a child or kid. Anymore than you are or many of the other people here. Also, I was born on Balmorra not Nar Shaddaa. Though, I am sure I would have my hands full there!" ;) Rikku smiled as the other girl turned her head a little,"Also, just in case you may think to do this, don't put a personal lock on this hangar. That would be a violation and one I would have to report."

...So, she joined because of a promise or slogan on a billboard. That is interesting! However, I would also say that would be rather rash. Better to know all the details of what you getting into. Knowledge is power, as it is said. Knowledge also allows you to plan ahead and be prepared.

"Thank you M3-PO! You are not needed at the moment so please continue with whatever task Aircrewman Sunrider assigned you. No unnecessary interruptions, please. Thank you!

As to the Federation, screw up or not, it really would make no difference. Time erases everything even mistakes. It also erases the accomplishments, dreams and passions of people as well. Personally, I think there are better and there are worse governments. It is a matter of perspective and where you are at the time.

Take the Old Republic for example, it was beautifully designed at least in terms of its ruling or guiding documents. However, as time passed the lack of effort and eventual lapse of amending those documents to match with the society's progress, lead to a corrupt and incompetent state. As such, despite the genius that it had been designed for, it lacked the willpower in later generations to hold true to those ideals.

The New Order, or the Old Empire, whichever that you prefer; were also well designed and plagued with problems. The system allowed for an efficient and controlled ability to police the known galaxy. However, it was by its nature with respect to its command structure, susceptible to corruption and greed at the highest levels. In this case, the lack of a balance of power to the Emperor allowed the rule of a monarch. One that I would take it you would dislike and probably hate over the Federation.

The New Republic, is essentially the Old Republic given a new lease on life. By its nature and lack of any real attempt to address the flaws in the original, it will more than likely descend to the same dungeon. Republics can only work if and only if you have a population that hold a high moral standard and hold the members of government to those standards.

The New Imperial Federation, is probably the most interesting of them all. It combines the autocracy of a republic and the authoritative aspects of a monarchy. Overall, it is in my opinion the most likely to succeed in the long term if history is anything to go by.

I take it that you don't like something that the NIF did recently. If I were to guess it has to do with Arkania. Since that is what is buzzing all over the holonet these days. Am I right? Personally, I think it could have been handled better. Or at least measures could have been taken prior to rectify any issues before it lead to warfare. Hey, it is just my opinion..."

I hope that she doesn't realize that I spoke with personal knowledge on those past governments!
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Aerith Sunrider
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aerith Sunrider » 2011-04-09 02:56

Hearing the woman drone on and on, Aerith couldn't help but wonder if she wasn't actually listening to a droid covered in synthskin. It was a little creepy how she made mention of not slapping a lock on the door to the hanger and Aerith clenched her fists in frustration as the girl continued to speak, this time dismissing the protocol droid. Presumptous little chuff-sucking leech... Feeling the droid's photoreceptors look over in her direction, Aerith shrugged noncommittally. Truth be told, she would rather the droid keep talking, but it wasn't given the chance as the pointless blather continued.

So she's a history buff, guard and an engineer? If there was one thing worse than a child-prodigy, it was a boastful show-off. Aerith decided to remain quiet, her fists tightening harder and harder as she tuned out the voice. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the two droids move away. Lucky them. While Aerith could have done the exact same, she didn't like the idea of having to surrender her own office just because of some upstart and that, in her mind, was an admission of defeat. By the time Rikku was done speaking, Aerith considered herself fortunate that her will-power held out because she had come very close to smashing her own head against, and possibly through, the transparisteel window.

"If I want your opinion, I'll ask for it." Aerith sighed, irritated at the quick conclusion drawn which, sadly, was pretty bang on but she wasn't going to admit that, especially to her, or anyone for that matter. Soon they would be beyond the reaches of quick communication and the bounds of the galaxy itself and by then, hopefully Aerith would be able to forget about all the problems that she was leaving behind. Seeing the door to the hanger open, Aerith's gaze narrowed as half a squad of fully armed and armoured stormtroopers filed in. Seems like trouble is always at my damn doorstep anyways. It felt like a blessing though as the group of them approached the office, one of them gesturing for the two women to exist slowly, keeping their hands where they could see them.

Aerith slowly uncrossed her arms and walked out, keeping her hands up, palms out so they could see she wasn't going to try anything stupid. She caught a glimpse of the two droids in another corner of the hanger, M-3P0 slowly walking over, no doubt prepared to inquire as to what was going on. Very slowly and subtlety, Aerith shook her head, stopping the droid in its tracks. One of the guards looked over but the silver droid was already in deep conversation with R4. "Is there a problem?" Aerith began, glancing nervously between the soldiers.

"The Vicereine has ordered for your detainment for drawing a firearm."

"I see..." Aerith glanced up at the ceiling and sighed. Damn holo-cameras. I thought I had them mapped out too... The window was a one way mirror, Aerith could see out from inside the small room but it was little more than a mirror when looked at from the hanger which meant there was a holocamera inside the office and since she had looked for them in that place, as well as her own quarters, it meant they were hidden. One of the stromtroopers approached her and quickly withdrew the silver-plated, pearl-handled pistol from the holster. She bit her lower lip as she watched him back away, putting the gun into an evidence bag. Hard as it was not to ask if she was going to get the blaster back, Aerith simply kept her eyes fixed on the bag it was no in. "Just don't put me in the same detention cell as her," Aerith began quietly as Rikku exited the office, two more stormtroopers with their weapons raised, "And I'll come quietly."
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Cidan Himmibi » 2011-04-09 03:18

“What’ve we got?” Cidan asked of the protocol droid. They stepped into the turbolift together, which was crowded for the moment.

The droid, a 3PO, wedged itself inside as best it could. “Sir, for the moment, little is understood about the power fluctuation in engine five. Nor is a great deal yet discovered about the nature of the ion trail radiation, if that is in fact what Bax C’nar recorded.”

Cidan nodded to a couple of officers in the lift with him, only a few of their faces were familiar to him. He checked his clipboard, running through more of the checks he and his assistant Mesfer had done on the University. It was old habit, and probably leftover from his younger days when he’d suffered mild spouts of obsessive-compulsive behavior—he had a feeling that that would never leave him. “Everything else running shipshape?”

“As far as I’ve been told, sir, yes.”

“Well, that’s good. I suppose an anomalous ion emission is a rather small problem for such a massive project on its first day. There are always little hiccups,” Cidan said, stepping off the turbolift at the level where his assigned quarters were. “Thankfully, this is a rather small hiccup.”

“If you’re going to have a problem, this is the sort of problem you want,” the 3PO said, rather philosophically. No doubt he’d been programmed to say such things to help appease sentient creatures during times of stress.

“Spoken like a true—” Cidan pulled up short of his door, and looked down at his datapad. He looked down at a picture that had been sent to him, and all the others that Moff Calad had messaged in order to seek their advice about the strange readings from engine five. “Hm,” he said.

Beside him, the droid said, “You were saying, sir?”

Cidan looked at the pictures, which had come from a maintenance droid that was moving about the area surrounding engine five. It was taking live video and sending out pics so that engineers could view how the area looked remotely. In this way, ICE’s crew was never truly “off the clock.” Indeed, from their datapad, they could view many areas of the vessel, just as Cidan was, if given clearance, which most engineers and creatures of science were. It allowed them all to use their considerable acumen to problem solve, possibly finding things that droids missed.

Right now, Cidan was transfixed by the footage and comparing photos of a particular area around an intake tube.

“Sir, you were saying?” the 3PO went on.

“Hm?” Cidan looked up, and then back down at his datapad. He used the touch-sensitive screen to zoom in on the area that had caught his attention. There was something there, something about the discoloration…

Cidan looked at it closely, turning something over in his mind like a man testing the weight of an object before he opted to throw it. Then, he said, “I need to get down there.”


* * *


It was hot in this area. There were times, such as during special cleansing cycles of the massive reactors, that it was simply too hot for any creature to exist down here. At those times, only droids were permitted. Those cycles were few and far between, but still Cidan thought that one such cycle might be about to kick off, so hot was it. There was a humidity that created a sweltering atmosphere, one such as much exist in one of the Nine Hells of Corellian mythology.

“Blast it! It’s hot down here, doctor. Really, really kriffin’ hot!”

Cidan had called Mesfer to join him. His assistant was well versed in a variety of scientific disciplines, and his least favorite task to perform, Cidan knew, was to actually do manual labor. Mesfer preferred sitting behind a desk, analyzing the raw data that others uncovered, and keeping himself clean. Even so, Mesfer was a useful assistant, and his eyes rarely missed a thing.

Presently, they both knelt beside the intake tube that Cidan had seen in the footage on his datapad. “See it?” Cidan said, pointing it out. His finger was about as close as he was going to allow it to get. Sweat dripped down his lekku, ran down his chest, and continued in a waterfall down his body.

Mesfer wiped his brow. “Instant sealant,” he said, nodding, and looking at his boss with great worry. He looked at the sweat on his hand, looked around, as though looking for the nearest exit. He probably was, but Mesfer was also looking for something else. The one who’d tampered with it.

“Someone’s added something to the intake tube,” Cidan said. “Do you concur?”

“If I say yes, can we get outta here? I now know why I never took a trip to Tatooine or Mustafar—”

“Mesfer,” he said, grabbing the assistant’s attention. “Do you agree we have someone on board this ship that’s tampered with the intake tubes around engine five?”

“Um…I dunno…coulda been a last-minute bit of maintenance. Maybe a leak showed up, and the droids automatically—”

“Any maintenance done on ICE is logged, whether done by droid or sentient. Any maintenance whatsoever.” Cidan lifted up his datapad, waved it at his assistant. “Nothing’s showing on here except a diagnostics check done around this entire area a little area, and a few standard checkups done by droids here and there. Nothing at all in the records about plugging a hole.”

Mesfer looked at his boss. “Whattaya wanna do?”

Cidan looked around the area, spotted a few maintenance droids buzzing around, including a couple of mouse security droids squeaking around. He stood up, dusted his knees off, and wiped his brow for the fiftieth time. He looked at his assistant. “I don’t think we have any other choice. We might’ve had a breech, and we need to let someone know. Send it up the ladder. Tell the Vicereine. See what she wants done. Don’t talk about this to anyone else until she’s decided how to act next, got it? If she wants anyone else to know about this, she’ll decide that.”

“Got it.” Mesfer looked relieved to have a decision finally made, and one that he didn’t have to actually make himself. He just wanted out of here.
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Kane » 2011-04-09 05:37

Although ICE had been sent off, there was always a number of so-called important people who wanted to see him when big social events came up. He ignored most of them, but there were some business meetings of some consideration. The NIF worked mostly with big businesses like Kuat, Sienar or Sorosuub. It was to be expected, because orders for the military was usually large. Recently however, Czerka had muscled in on the supply side, promising bulk prices and top gear for 'privileged customers with extensive orders'.

The offer was good enough that it warranted meeting with some of its execs at least briefly. The meeting had only just begun when his Chrono set off, with a high-pitched priority signal no less. He had every such signal tuned, each set for a specific meaning. He offered no excuse to the assembly, just checked what it was. In response, his lip curled slightly and he spoke up.

"Ciara, have the room cleared."

She did it diplomatically and excused many times while his guards got rid of everyone without a security clearance. Once this was completed, he called up a strategic hologram. "It looks like visitors are coming to ICE already, rather than the other way around. Although it was TF Justice's jurisdiction to intercept, the fastest response was often determined by fleet positions. In this case... First Fleet had the shortest response time.

"You will have to reschedule the meeting with Czerka. I'm sure they will complain, but if they want the contract, they'll be back. It looks like we're going in. I also have a text message to Vicereine Aklee. Secure it every way possible and have it sent long distance", he said to Ciara while giving the order to the fleet to prepare for an emergency response operation.

The message he typed down was short and somewhat cryptical to the uninitiated. "I'll see if I have time to meet your late guests after you've greeted them by the door." He was already on the way back to his personal ship when it was sent.
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Aklee » 2011-04-09 08:47

For the second time already Aklee felt the ship lurch into another hyperspace jump. Honestly, she had no idea how many of these the Captain intended to make. He was working within a time frame, of course, according to Protocol Zenith. But the specific evasive maneuvers employed were not prescribed. They were left to the judgment of Captain Durr, who was no doubt playing out a pattern of some sort designed to through off any tails and confuse any sensors. Aklee remembered a few of the old patterns from when she was a pilot. But most of those techniques were dated. Whatever Durr was doing up there, Aklee was as surprised as the rest of the crew.

That nagging sensation churned deep in her gut, nearly strong enough to make her gag. What if this was nothing? Was she jumping at ghosts? She always felt this way when making these sorts of in the moment calls. It seemed like everything was going wrong already, and yet they hadn't even made it out of the galaxy yet. ICE would be remembered as a joke, and she'd be the mother of that shame. She closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths.

“Vicereine,” Jack's voice interrupted her internal pep talk with his even AI voice. It would sooth her had she not been listening to it every five minutes since launch.

“Jack,” she replied.

“Aircrewman Sunrider and Second Lieutenant Uesugi have been escorted to holding cell Three Forty One, and a holoprojector is prepared as per your instructions.”

She had already finished reviewing the security footage of their encounter with one another, as well as reading their dossiers. “Just a moment,” Aklee grimaced a bit as she lifted herself from her seat. That damn right knee was acting up again. Letting out a breath she left her observation deck and returned to sit at her terminal desk in her bedroom. It had a holoprojector unit. “All right Jack, open the line.”

The holocube on her desk came to life as the three dimensional image of a Subarkian woman and a rather young looking girl came on screen together at the same table. Niether were cuffed, but Aklee could see an armed guard standing behind them with his arms crossed. The Subarkian had been looking at the table, and the other had been examining something outside the projection field. But they both looked straight ahead, as if right at her. Clearly her own image just appeared before them. Aklee smiled first, but gently. It was the sort of smile a teacher gave a student right before she put them on the spot, knowing they had just been dozing off and not paying attention.

“Lieutenant Rikku Uesugi, I've just been reviewing your file and it is a privilege to have one such as yourself on board with us. Note, a privilege. One that can still be taken away. We're not out of the galaxy yet, and I have escape pods primed and ready should I need them. When you are on security detail you are expected to behave professionally. I don't care what you think of your uniform, if you're on duty you will wear it and represent it. If you don't indeed like what you're doing, then you need but ask and I can arrange for your departure. But you'd best hurry. This is no joy ride, and you won't get another chance.”

Aklee had a lot to take care of, so she didn't give Rikku a chance to respond. Rather she shifted her gaze to the Subarkian. “Aircrewman Aerith Sunrider, pulling a firearm on anyone is a serious offense. Perhaps you weren't given sidearm training in basic? I recall cleaning the head with a toothbrush for flagging a comrade with even a fake training weapon in drills. Not to mention you did not have clearance to be out of your quarters during launch. Your flagrant disregard for authority and safety on my expedition is unacceptable.

“Frankly, ladies, you are both problems well beneath my pay grade. In case you hadn't noticed, our expedition hasn't even begun yet, and I'm not interested in blemishing this symbolic event with court martials and disciplinary tribunals. But I will if I must. Uesugi, for the next month your personal time is revoked. Instead you are to report to Second Lieutenant Jasper Cain to receive training on proper on duty security protocol. Sunrider, I want you in the office of Dr. David Ishmael once a week until he reports to me that you're emotionally stable enough to handle your weapon on the tight quarters of this ship.

“Unfortunately, while you two were playing Smugglers and Bounties on my time, there are real problems happening. You two are confined to that room until the situation is resolved. I suggest you take that time to amend your differences, and maybe I'll forget to file the report on this little altercation. You will be recorded.”

Aklee closed the line and sat for several minutes staring at a blank holocube. It was then that she noticed a textual notice from Jack on her terminal screen. A message came in from Cidan Himmibi, one of the civilian scientist on board, while she'd been speaking to the detainees. She touched the screen and the message came up.

“Jack?” She said.

“Yes, Vicereine?” The AI replied.

“How did instant sealant end up on the brand new hyperdrive of a multitrillion credit ship? That's deep space supply blockage kind of repairs.” Aklee remembered vividly some of the jury-rigged fixes she used to make to her fighter for training runs during her lost nine years.

“I have logs of every maintenance cycle taken since my installment.” Jack replied coolly.

“Yeah,” Aklee's brow tightened. “Yeah, I know you do. I want every servicemen who's touched the hyperdrive ever confined now.”

“Will there be anything else Vicereine?”

“Yeah,” she leaned back in her chair. “I want Iaex in my quarters now.”

“He is still working on your last reque...”

Aklee cut the AI off in mid-sentence. “I know, Jack, I want it done.”

“Yes, Vicereine.”

Iaex Larek
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Iaex Larek » 2011-04-09 11:21

The more he looked through the data, the more he saw. The radiation leak was in a specific concentration and arrangement as it exited the hyperdrive. In spite of the clarity of what exactly had happened, the ship's maintenance logs showed no indication of why or how it had occurred.

Going back to the radiological data, he ran a cross-check between its concentration and dispersal and the capabilities of the hyperspace and sublight drives, quickly determining it to be none of those factors. On the various shakedown cruises ICE had taken, no such readings had occurred either, and in all previous diagnostic checks all engines were operating at peak efficiency.

That rules out equipment failure as a cause, since we have no log of prior situations of this, and no reason to suspect it would happen.

Entering the database of the sensory systems through a computer terminal in the office, he entered in his identification data and pulled up a listing of all the signals they had samples of to make comparison. And...bingo. That's the one. Unfortunately, 'bingo' referred to a leak caused by the injection of a particular radioactive isotope into a functioning hyperdrive. It had two purposes: testing the function and emissions of the drive (which was certainly not the case or there would have been a log of the action), and tracking a starship's hyperspace jumps to a high degree of accuracy.

As he made that little discovery, the voice of Jack spoke out through the speakers installed in the office, like in many other offices around the ship. "Initiate Larek, there is a message for you from the Vicerine:" The voice then turned to her voice as the recording was forwarded to him, "Iaex, thank you for your involvement in this matter. I don't know what you're capable of, but if there's anything you can do with your unique skills to contain the radiation emission please do so. We're about to enter a series of jumps for security purposes, and I'd like everything running as close to normal as possible. If you can't help in this way, I understand."

It would seem she and whoever else she has looking at this is coming to a similar conclusion as I am. Iaex thought, as he continued along, pulling up the security footage from the engineering stations and logs of the personnel who would have been present around the time of the jump. This isotope decays extremely quickly, and would have to have been added to the drive within 10 minutes of the jump, or else it wouldn't have left a noticeable trail. "Jack," Iaex spoke, knowing that the ship's computer system was there, as it always was, "inform Captain Durr that the ship's engines have been compromised and have him lock down entry and exit from engineering."

"Very well, Initiate Larek." returned the calm and collected voice. Quarantining the engineering section would work to prevent any further access, and copying a log of all personnel who had been in the area, and especially those recorded near engine five and the hyperspace drives, Iaex prepared to head out to perform further scans at the location of the disturbance. As he was about to leave the office, he dragged all of his findings into a report for Bax to look over and uploaded it to his terminal. On the way to the door however, Jack spoke again. "Initiate Larek. Your presence has been requested by Vicereine Roosh in her quarters - immediately."

"Very well, Jack." He returned, "Inform her that I will be there shortly. Also, include a copy of the report I uploaded to C'nar's terminal. She will need to see that and it is better that she look over it before I arrive."

Finally leaving the room, he headed out of the area, exiting via the same turbolift he had entered from, as STARS troopers moved to contain the entire engineering section. On the trip to the Vicereine's quarters, an announcement was played over the ship's internal comm system that the confinement to quarters was to continue for all nonessential personnel until further notice. This is certainly shaping up to be an interesting day.

Arriving in the executive level of quarters where the civilian and military leaders of the expedition lived, Iaex strolled quickly down the corridor, flashing his Omega Order insignia to several STARS troopers along the way. Arriving at the Vicereine's quarters, he toggled the indicator to inform her that he had arrived, though Jack had probably already informed her of such.
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Rikku
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Re: Bilbringi, we have a problem...

Post by Rikku » 2011-04-10 20:34

[OOC: I am sorry guys, I was going to reply to the last post Fini did with Aerith but I didn't get a chance due to work]

Rikku waited to the woman had finished talking and the hologram had disappeared. Then she turned to the subark girl:

"Looks like we are probably going to be here awhile. So, why not at least get along or talk about the problem you have with me. All I did was walk over to say hello. Then I get hit with the chair and you draw a weapon on me. At least to me, that doesn't seem to be a very good way to treat others. I apologize that I upset unintentionally; I wanted and would like to be your friend. I know that my first introduction of myself didn't go well at all. Please, I would be deeply grateful if you would give me a chance and get to know me. Besides, I think that you and I would make good friends!

I will tell you about myself, so you know a bit about me. I was born on Balmorra. My parents served in the Balmorran Planetary Defense Force. My father was also a certified engineer. He worked for the planetary government. Mostly he worked on infrastructure and such. My mother has a degree in astrophysics. She teaches at the University of Sciences and Engineering, Balmorra.

As a child growing up, I was taught how to shoot as well as normal schooling. I volunteered for a youth training organization that prepared kids for life and a career in the Defense Force. When I graduated from secondary schooling, I attended the University of Sciences and Engineering. I graduated from there with a Bachelor's degree in Mechnical Engineering with a specialty in mechanics. I then served in the Defense Force while working on my Masters Degree. I completed it in the field of Astromechanics, the study of starship components and how they work. Pretty much as soon as I graduated from the masters program, I was recommended for ICE. I was accepted. I am here because I couldn't help but jump at the chance to make a difference and a contribution."
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