On Wings of Victory (Kujo)

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#1
Papakolea Beach, Hawaii
Early Afternoon


Radiant sun. Cool, refreshing waves that lapped against one's feet invitingly. Not even the far-flung, Giant-Robot filled future had managed to diminish the jaw-dropping beauty one of the only four green sand beaches in the world - though at present, on account of the recent crisis plaguing the Directory, this particular beach was mostly depopulated...

Mostly.

Under a purple-and-white striped umbrella, an elegant figure turned lazily on her deck chair, giving a sigh of content. Her long, lavender colored hair was still faintly wet from the ocean, matted against her ivory skin, clad in a designer two-piece swimsuit that was as high-budget as her own genetic makeup, down to the last errant hair and curve of her body. She rested on her side, head nestled in the crook of one arm as she stretched, giving a little sigh of contentment as one red eye lazily opened a crack, wincing slightly from the brightness of the sun.

Her lips parted slightly into a smile as she reached out, taking from a small stand a razor-thin tablet, which hummed to life obediently under the flick of her fingertips. Upon it was displayed a series of machines - each in a variety of shapes and sizes. The first one appeared like a man, clad in the skin of a beast - the second, summoned with an errant swipe, a horned demon, the third-

CALL INCOMING
Blinking in surprise, she accepted the prompt, sitting up as she did so. At length, a dignified sounding voice came in over the tablet's speakers, loud and clear, saying politely:

"Ahem. Juliette?"

"Oui?" …Said one of the Directory's chief engineers, and recent appointee to Taskforce Upsilon, her faux-innocence soaked voice tinged with a French accent that was... uncommon, to say the least, in this part of the world - even in the age of a global ultrapower.

"I believe you're supposed to be on vacation."

Taking the device in both hands, she panned it about, giving the camera embedded into its frame the full tour of the surroundings.

"I am! See? Voila. Blue skies, golden sands..."

"...Then, what's this I hear about a demonstration hearing?"

The woman cupped her hand to her mouth, sheepishly - but behind the manicured nails lay only a sly smile.

"Quel genie! " She exclaimed; "You don't miss anything, do you?"

"I try not to make a habit of it, no."

"Something came up, I just had to see it for myself... A true bête curieuse."

With that, she flipped to the last page on the tablet's menu. It displayed a figure different from the rest - tall, lean, dark as night and all keen edges, like an obsidian raven given form. As she looked it over once more, her index finger traced her lips in anticipation, eyes practically sparkling.

"Is that so? Well... As long as you don't forget to rest, is all."

"I think that this one, this machine..." - She gave a smile to the camera, the kind that would have melted the heart of even the most resolute men of Earth -

"...Just might be exactly what we've been looking for."




Former Hickam Air Force Base
Directory Testing Ground
Late Afternoon
4:41PM


As the day dragged on, the sun began to settle behind the disused towers and hangars of Hickam Base's cracked, disused runways. The advent of the Armored Module had reshaped the concept of the military base as a whole, and as a consequence, what had formerly been a vital strategic point had now been mostly converted into a testing area for Mobile Weapons. A pair of Ladybird class transport ships were already parked on the runway, several hunched forms visible within their exposed innards as crews worked to bring the lumbering weapons within online.

Now sans swimsuit and clad in more fitting (if adapted for the hot weather) military clothing, Juliette's car trundled over the pavement, coming to a stop as the woman practically leapt from its confines, fully aware that she was running late. The latest arrivals, she knew, would be here any minute...

The ones that were anticipated most of all.
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#2
Earth's Orbit
4:50pm


"Is this absolutely necessary?" Aeolus asked.

"Aeolus, would I make you do something if it wasn't necessary?"

"... Yes." Said Aeolus, after a moment of calculation.

"Very good!" Lafaye said in a tone one would normally reserve for a dog.

Inside the Straybird, Aeolus looked down. There on his lap sat his "little sister", Penelope, tethered to his waist with a simple harness, kicking her feet happily as she looked out at space through Straybird's primary cameras. It wasn't that Aeolus hated his "sister", far from it, but he knew that Lafaye was trying to play with him and Penelope was likely in on it. Aeolus knew that the more he complained, the harder his "mother" would tease him, so he repressed a sigh and began linking with the Straybird's systems. His vision began to blur and the cockpit began to fade, eventually all that he saw and felt was the interior of Pendragon. Aeolus and the Straybird were curled up in the fetal position, docked in the primary bay of the Pendragon; the weight in his lap reminded him he wasn't entirely alone.

The sharp ding of an egg timer sounded over the comms.

"Are we beginning?" Asked Aeolus.

"No, but my earl gray is ready."

Aeolus repressed another sigh; Lafaye was quite childish for a grown woman. "Ma'am?" Began Aeolus, "Just what are we doing? I don't recall being briefed." Aeolus could hear Lafaye take a sip from her tea before replying. "I didn't say anything? Well it doesn't matter anyhow; we're just doing some standard testing," said Lafaye, "Although, Sir Bors did say we'd be conducting the tests directly with the DEI today." Lafaye swiveled around in her chair, speaking to the entire room behind her, "Nimue?" A disembodied voice courteously replied, "Yes, Madame?" Lafaye continued, "What's the time frame for our sortie?" There was a short moment before the voice replied simply, "Now." Lafaye took another sip from her tea before swiveling back around to the communication and control board she originally faced. "Nimue, begin Straybird's launch to the target zone and then give me the progress of Avalon."

Straybird's bay become pitch dark save for the red warning lights that dotted it. Aeolus could hear the familiar hum of the dimensional catapult prepping for launch. As his surroundings began to blur, he heard Lafaye once more, "I hear someone special is waiting for us; we mustn't keep her waiting."

^-^-^-^-^
Directory Testing Ground
4:53


Everything around Aeolus once more came into focus. In front of him was an island surrounded by shining turquoise water; behind him was the dying, golden light of Earth's sunset. Objective site reached, switching to atmospheric control configuration. The Straybird's systems spoke to him, though today its voice was Penelope's. Aeolus half expected a "big brother" at the end, but it appeared even Penelope could get serious. Primary objective zone 800 meters from current position; communications confirmed; attempting to reach testing control center; link confirmed. Aeolus sensed the comm channels open. "This is Aeolus, Pilot of the Straybird. It's a pleasure to be working with you."

Straybird slowly uncurled itself and spread its wings, red silhouettes dancing from its figure as the dimension converter and Imaginary Road sprang to life. As the Straybird basked in the setting sun, arms and wings outstretched, Lafaye's voice came over the comms, "Hello! This is Morgan Lafaye arriving in the Pendragon! Thank you for having us!" A few hundred meters above and behind the Straybird, a bright glimmering shape formed as the Pendragon exited from a dimensional jump. The great carrier ship sailed out of the shimmering dimensional light and began to shine in the same sun as the Straybird.

Aeolus sat back in his cockpit seat. It wasn't the first time he and Lafaye had done this entrance stunt with the Avalon's atmospheric entry protocol, and he knew Lafaye was aiming to do this as soon as he began launching. Waiting for a response from the test controllers, Aeolus took in the sights of Earth. For whatever reason, Lafaye rarely took trips to the blue planet and even more rare that Aeolus could experience the atmosphere himself. Aeolus switched his view to his body's eyes and looked at Penelope in his lap. She had clearly switched to her body's systems as well, looking out with wonder at the bright blue water.
 
Last edited:

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#3
"'Allo! Bonjour Mademoiselle Lafaye! Welcome to Hickam!"

A perky, French-sounding voice made its way over the Straybird's speakers. Were Aeolus to crane their neck, they would have seen a purple-haired young woman in a jeep, waving excitedly to them from below, near the Ladybirds. Several forms were being trundled out of the ships on flatbeds, but were presently obscured by cloth tarps that wrapped their forms. The only other mobile weapons present, for the time being... Were a pair of squat, avian looking machines that were perched on the wings of the ships themselves.

The Cornixes turned their beak-like heads towards the Straybird, not unlike smaller crows regarding a larger species if their kind, their camera eyes clicking and whirring as they took it in. The machines, commonly used by the Dimensional Energy Institute for security and data collection, were a common sight on the groups campuses... As well as anywhere else they were keeping an eye on.

"That was quite the entrance! And the Straybird… Elle est belle!" Trilled the voice as it continued, before pausing, as if out of breath.

"...Oh, je suis désolé. My name is Juliette Carpentier… I will be overseeing the certification process today - enchanté!"

In the distance, there was a faint dust cloud, as from overcast hangars, a variety of silhouettes were starting to make themselves known, moving into position across the runways. The Straybird's HUD would have helpfully designated them as Type 71 "Waldung" tanks - an older model of weapon that was still in use in some backwater areas of the world, but which had otherwise been replaced by the more modern Directory Landgriz series.

"Have you already been briefed on the particulars?"
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#4
In her control room, Lafaye flitted through papers strewn about the console in front of her with one hand while the other held her teacup. "To be honest," she bagan, "Sir Bors never actually told me what we would be doing today...?" Lafaye took a long sip from her tea before continuing. "But, now that we're here, I think I get the picture." Lafaye's fingers daintily danced across a wide board of colorful buttons before tapping a big button labeled with a "P". Inside the Straybird, a message flashed in Penelope's head.

Initiate combat subroutines, enable targeting systems, and prep Imaginary Road.
Don't tell Aeolus.


The "P" button flashed green, indicating that Penelope had received the orders. Cheery as ever, Lafaye continued chatting. "Do you think we'll have time for the beach? I just know the kids would love it, and I just got the cutest bathing suits for us." As she said this, Lafaye pulled out a small pad from her lab coat's breast pocket and began tapping away like mad, issuing various orders to the ship's A.I., Nimue.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#5
At the sound of Lafaye's voice, Juliette gave an anxious sounding laugh. There was something... unnerving about the woman's presence, she thought, but nothing she could put her finger on... Not at this exact moment. Pausing, the violet-haired woman reached down to produce an old-fashioned clipboard, rooting through the pages until she came to the one she sought, detailing the test procedures.

"Well yes, it's quite simple, les doigts dans le nez ." She explained with a smile; "Dipose of the following targets within the allotted time..."

The dust cloud in the distance had grown substantially in width, and it became clear that there were more than a few tanks clanking their way towards them. No, it appeared to be an entire armored convoy, arrayed in four columns of five each, the sound of their tracks grinding apart the concrete below forming a distant, constant assault on the senses. A faint screaming overhead indicated as well, the presence of fighters, falling into two wings over the tank squadrons. No human beings sat behind the controls - artificial intelligence units clicked away at buttons and moved joysticks on their own, guiding them towards the Straybird.

"There are twenty-two Waldung tanks, and ten F-28 Messer jets. Please note, they are equipped with live munitions, so take care not to get hit."

...And then, airily, as if she had almost forgotten, Juliette added:

"Oh, and the time limit for this test will be...

...Thirty seconds. Généreux, no?"​
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#6
If the several pings coming from Penelope and the targeting systems didn't alert Aeolus that the testing had begun, the several fighters gunning for his position certainly did. Switching his focus back to the Straybird, Aeolus simply said "Penelope." Aeolus began transmitting several orders and requests through Straybird's systems.

Confirmed; ground armor convoy, 300m; air squadron 800m and closing; dimensional energy levels green; Imaginary Road green; advised course projecting; pocket formation on standby.

Aeolus had done these exact functions several times before, but it was something else to have them done for him; as well, the speed at which Penelope received and processed his tasks was astounding. In his head, Aeolus could hear Penelope's projected course of actions. The Straybird hunched over and pulled its two Pheasant Cutter blades from behind its back; its wings spread out as the green dimensional thrust quickly propelled the Straybird towards the jet fighters, red silhouettes flying in tandem with the Straybird.

Optimal distance confirmed.
Imaginary Road, activating.


As the silhouettes began to thin out, the Straybird disappeared in a red flash of light only to reappear no more than a second later 100m above the fighter's current position. As the Straybird readied its blades, 4 silhouettes of the Straybird lept from their master and copied its actions. All 5 Straybirds launched the blades of their Pheasant Cutters at the fighters, a blade for each plane. Their purpose fulfilled, the silhouettes went away in a flash. The Straybird remaining kept up its assault, its primary weapon, the "Crow", appearing in its hand from a patch of shimmering red space. Penelope quickly narrowed down their projected paths from the first strike; Aeolus shot the beam machine gun with calculated abandon.

A second pocket of dimensional light formed around the Straybird's left arm, quickly revealing the "Plover" grenade rifle. Ceasing the machine gun fire, Aeolus Aimed directly for the lead fighter in the formation and shot.

Evaluating...
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#7
She had been expecting some form of reaction - but instead, the Straybird simply took off, causing Juliette to yelp and jump, as the shockwaves from the burst of its thrusters rocked her car. A few moments later, she rose sheepishly from behind the viewscreen, now covered head to toe in dust.

"Oh! Well... Off you go, then!" She coughed, still somehow managing to sound chipper as she, clicked a stopwatch.

The fighter formation broke as the Straybird appeared overhead... just a second too slowly. Aeolus' rain of cabled talons lanced down from the bright sky like dark lances, cast forth from angry, avian Gods, splintering apart the leading five planes in showers of sparks that blossomed into beautiful explosions, showering the concrete below with debris. The remaining squad split up, each machine curling off in different directions... But this too, would bring them no escape from the dark weapon, as the traces of fire from the "Crow" Machinegun raked another two out of the air, narrowing the total number of fighters to three - all of which were in no condition to counterattack, forced into evasive maneuvers to preserve their own metallic hides.

Below, the formations of tanks began to slow, as they raised their turrets as one, each one drawing a bead on the form of the dark Special. Within their innards, targeting reticles slid into place over the form of their enemy, the only light within the dull compartments that had once carried men into battle.

TARGET ACQUIRED.
FIRING.
With a roar of noise that could only be compared to the pounding of a million drums, the tanks opened fire, filling the skies with artillery, shells bursting all about the Straybird's location as they sought to pin it down, and drag it down through sheer volume of fire.

25 seconds remaining.
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#8
Course updated.

So far, Penelope's readings had been spot on. Aeolus would have reminisced about his sister's growth were it not for the volley of AA fire. As the Straybird swooped and spun among the flak, a ping from Penelope alerted Aeolus to an incoming direct hit. Instead of dodging however, the Straybird stood still, crossing its arms and spreading its wings as red energy began to pour out from it. All at once, where the Straybird once was and where the shell would have connected was a red shadow of the Straybird. The shadow then split into 3 separate forms and began to harass the remaining aircraft.

Energy transference confirmed; energy levels green.

Well below the sea of shock waves, Straybird appeared in another red flash. Penelope analyzed the orderly convoys, picking the perfect placements for the "Plover" grenades. As Aeolus readied his fire, several Straybird copies once again darted from the machine. This new squad of Straybirds began raining a hail of fire upon the tanks; if one of Penelope's placements were off, the ensuing explosion would surely rectify the situation.

Above their master, the 3 copies from earlier continued to chase the jet fighters. After a moment, they had maneuvered themselves into a triangle formation in the middle of the remaining fighters. In sync, they all struck the same pose as they charged head first into the jets in a kamikaze attack.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#9
The Straybird's assault on the fleeing fightercraft proved to be too much - the raking gunfire blew all three out of the sky in a series of dazzling explosions, plumes of flame blossoming into the sky as each was dragged down by the sheer volume of fire, having never even managed a return shot.

Grenades from the "Plover" plowed into the forward ranks of two of the tank squads, demolishing one of the remaining groups - leaving eighteen. The rest began to break, circling around the Straybird in a circle that kicked dust into the air, turrets thundering as they rained artillery shells onto its position. They fired with reckless abandon, seemingly more intent on delaying Aeolus' progress than they were on stopping him completely.

...And, in the distance, on the horizon...

There was something else.

Nothing overt - at least, not yet - but there was... A green glint of light, of several shapes cresting the horizon, their emerald forms gliding silently over the water in a loose "V" shape. Each was a simple shape, like a metallic glider - but the sleek smoothness of its construction, and the gleaming cannons that decorated the center of their masses, indicated they were anything but Directory make.

20 Seconds left.
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#10
As the Straybirds continued to rain fire upon the remaining ground units, the master unit making dimensional jumps when in imminent danger, Penelope continued analyzing the the current course of events. "Penelope, begin targeting for Blood assault," ordered Aeolus. A special overlay came over Aeolus' vision as reticules and bars and a myriad of data readings filled his vision. The surrounding Straybird clones disappeared as Aeolus danced around the incoming fire. As everything began to line up, Aeolus warped away from the immediate incoming fire.

Pockets formed; beginning convergence.

The Straybird's wings began to shine bright white with dimensional energy. The "Crow" and "Plover" lifted from Straybird's arms, enveloped in energy. The final piece of the "Vulture" appeared from a pocket and began to combine with the "Crow" and "Plover". Aeolus grabbed the assembled weapon and readied himself to fire.

Target locks confirmed; fire at will.

A light rivaling that of the sun burst forth from the "Vulture" as a great red beam of energy blasted the ranks of vehicles. Aeolus slowly swept the beam cannon across the targets for good measure.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#11
The poor tanks never even stood a chance.

The Vulture cannon erupted in a blast of Dimensional Energy that cast the entire battlefield in an eerie twilight as reality itself rippled and swayed under the influence of the Straybird's otherworldly power. The Waldung formations crumpled under the sheer force of the weapon - and then burst into explosions before disintegrating entirely. When the attack finally subsided...

The entire runway was clear. The only indication that the tanks had ever been there was the trails left by their tracks... That now seemed to merely vanish into space, entirely, leaving their ultimate fate to the imagination.

Click.

"Fifteen seconds." Breathed Juliette, wide eyed with awe.

"...Il es excellent."

Indeed, the Straybird had exceeded expectations - even after she had exhausted an entire year's worth of practice drones. She could feel the butterflies in her stomach turning, as she picked up the radio, which once more pathed her through to Aeolus, who would have been greeted by the sound of enthusiastic applause.

"Bien fair! Bravo! " Exclaimed the young woman eagerly; "Truly impressive! Please, return to the starting point as soon as you are able, Monsieur Aeolus... And,, if Mademoiselle would like to join us, even better."

...As for the five green craft, they lurked on the edge of the Straybird's vision. Perhaps they assumed that they were out of normal sensor range... But, Aeolus would have been just barely able to register their presence on his own instruments. They had observed the Straybird's attack in complete silence, and thus far, had made no moves to attempt to intercept him. Perhaps they were simply some form of observational craft sent by the Directory?
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#12
Aeolus.

Silently confirming Penelope's status, Aeolus dismissed the pieces of the Vulture save for the Crow; the parts spinning off into dimension pockets.

Having finished her tea, Lafaye set her cup to the side of her control console. Opening a line to the Straybird, Lafaye started a hearty golf clap. "Oh I'm so proud of you two!" Lafaye bagan tapping away at a tablet as she continued to speak. "Was Aeolus nice to you, Penelope? Did he say anything? Were Penelope's readings correct, Aeolus? Oh I just can't help myself, I need to run this data right now!" Lafaye swiveled excitedly in her chair for a moment, but suddenly she stopped and became very serious. "No doubt one of you has noticed a surprise," Lafaye said softly, "but please continue with the tests."

Taking the Crow in the Straybird's hand, Aeolus descended to the base's runway. Above him, the Pendragon gently floated down and set itself into the ocean; its wings shifting downwards to act as landing gear.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#13
As Aeolus returned to the runway, three forms made themselves apparent, having been what was previously located on the flatbeds. They stood side-by-side, yet the size comparisons between the three were evident. Their coloration was similar, with each being a washed out pale aquamarine and faded, metallic silver, but their chassis couldn't have been more different, their only similarities being the embedded chunks of Dimensional Energy Crystal in their shoulders.

The center machine loomed over the other two at over forty meters tall - it resembled a man, a barbarian savage, wearing a pelt of sorts, his hands having been replaced with large, threatening claws that brushed the ground beside it as it slouched over. Its face was concealed from view by the lion-like "hood" it seemed to wear, but between its jaws a glimpse of red glass could be seen, hinting that its features were more mechanical than the rest of its construction let on.

Beside it, hugging its left side stood a more slender, feminine form that was roughly half its size, its body draped with several symbol-carved wings. A pair of curled horns wrapped about the sides of an impassive, oval helmet, giving it the appearance of a humanoid satyr, of sorts. Standing opposite to the Caper was the last of the trio, and the only one that lacked a manipulator on its right hand - instead, its forearm had been replaced with a cannon barrel, one whose smooth, curved surface matched well with the serpent like "hood" that enclosed its body like a full scale jacket, out of which a pair of diamond-shaped yellow eyes peered, soullessly.

These three machines would have been immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with the Dimensional Energy Institute's aggressive efforts at weaponizing the subject of their studies: Chimera Series.

Juliette waited in her jeep for the crew to disembark - and each would have found themselves greeted with an enthusiastic handshake by the Directory attendant. Beaming, she presented Morgan with an electronic tablet, upon which was written all manner of legal jargon pertaining to the licensure of the machines, as she talked animatedly all the while, saying:

"Oh, Mademoiselle! This Straybird - she is your original design, no? The documents you submitted regarding them... They were a bit, shall we say, curieuse?"

...In the distance, the Opus observational craft banked gently away, their proton thrusters igniting with a soft hum, propelling them across the waves until they were nothing more than specks on the horizon. Their intentions, their makers, were still uncertain... Yet, had apparently gotten what they came for.
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#14
After becoming acquainted with the rest of the testing staff, Aeolus and Penelope came to Lafaye's side. Aeolus led Penelope slightly as he held her hand.

"Mm... Yes, well..." Lafaye began as she read the documents. "I do have my share of work put into the machine, but without Sir Bors present I'm unable to give you any accurate specifics." Remarkably quickly, Lafaye seemed to be done reading from the tablet. She hooked her index finger under her chin, "Sir Bors was originally called to excavate the machine, but when his team had finished the Round Table were entrusted with the Straybird until further notice effectively." Lafaye huffed and put her hands on her hips. "The old man 'didn't feel comfortable' putting anyone into the cockpit so he had me put my precious baby boy into it." Punctuating this sentence, Lafaye ruffled Aeolus hair; Aeolus quickly reset his styling, almost familiar with this pattern.

"While the Round Table retrofitted my Pendragon to hold the Straybird, I had begun testing with the machine's systems. I figured that the easiest way to get the Straybird to move was to bypass that mess of a cockpit entirely, so I installed a system into Aeolus that would allow him full access to the machine." Lafaye continued explaining all manners of complex research and invention with incredulously minimal fanfare and remarkable flippancy. "After initial tests with the Straybird, I had another look at the systems and discovered that the Straybird was meant to be controlled by 2 pilots." Patting Penelope's head, Lafaye continued.

"You know, after Aeolus I'd thought about having another kid, so I figured then was the perfect time to start. Since I'd already made one android with an interfacing system, all I had to do with Penelope was improve on the performance. Since I didn't feel like making more room in the cockpit for more wires, I made her interface system access the Straybird wirelessly. Having Penelope operate the Straybird's informational systems so Aeolus could focus on movement increased the machine's performance drastically, and I'm sure you've seen the effects yourself this evening." She winked as she posed triumphantly. "While I could talk about what I've done with my findings until I'm blue in the face, I can't tell you about Sir Bors' initial agreement with the institute unfortunately."
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#15
"...I, ah... See." Juliette stammered in response to the avalanche of information provided by Lafaye, trying to look as though she'd managed to absorb the information as she took back the slate.

Children? ...Ah, she thought, now being able to see the other two up close. She must think of them as her own offspring... the thought made certain emotions curdle in the pit of her stomach, but she fought to hide her discomfort. Nowadays, such a thing was far from uncommon - creators of artificial life had developed a disturbing enough frequency to become attached to their opus, that there were talks of classifying it as a mental condition.

"En plus..." She continued, forcing herself over the hurdle of personal dilemma; "All that's left to do is our inspection of the onboard systems. Please feel free to explore the island in the meantime - it should be completed by the end of the day."

With that, Juliette proffered to the good Doctor a metallic blue card of sorts. According to the documentation, it was associated with the Directory's own spending account - enough for her, Aeolus, and Penelope to fill their day on the tropical island with enjoyment. Juliette gave them a wink that would have melted the heart of any man, saying as she did:

"A Hawaiian vacation - consider it a bonus for passing the test in record time. Pas mal du tout, non?"
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#16
Papakolea Beach, Hawaii
5:23

The sun was beginning to grace the ocean horizon, turning the sparse evening clouds gold and pink. A soft breeze drifted in along with the tide.

"Don't dawdle now, kids, I intend to get the Institute's money's worth out of this."

Lafaye turned around to face her mechanical children. Aeolus and Penelope were holding hands as they meandered along the beach. Aeolus stared out at the horizon while Penelope stared down at the sand looking at shells. Aeolus wore a similar outfit to his regular dress shirt and dress pants, however the shirt was much more wavy and flowing. The shirt was unbuttoned down to about half way, showing off Aeolus' skeleton-like metal body. His pants were knee length; the color was a deep burgundy with elaborate gold trimming. As opposed to the woolen blend of his normal attire, these were made of polyester. On his boot-like metal feet, Aeolus wore a pair of simple sandals.

Penelope wore a conservative two piece maroon bathing suit, its pieces only seperated by a couple of inches above and below the navel. Its trim was adorned by translucent frills, specifically on the bottom piece where it formed a sort of skirt structure, and was inlaid with the same gold design as Aeolus' swimwear. On her feet, she wore a pair of light leather Greek style sandals. Lafaye was wearing a matching set, although her's showed off so much of her body it was almost a bikini.

Suddenly, Penelope had the urge to go down to the water. Letting go of Aeolus' hand, she slowly inched forward to examine the tide as it crept forward and retreated back. As the water receded out, Penelope followed it; as the tide came in, Penelope ran back. Lafaye suppressed a snicker as she watched the small android. After several rounds of back and forth, Aeolus went up to Penelope as the water went out. He gripped her shoulders steady and said, "Just wait." Penelope shuffled her feet a bit, but did as she was told. The water came back in and lapped around the androids' ankles. Penelope giggled as the warm, salty water surrounded her.

Penelope excitedly grabbed Aeolus' hand and began leading him farther out into deeper water. While the two androids lacked natural buoyancy, Penelope had a special, swim bladder like module, and Aeolus could engage certain motors that would allow his thin body to tread. Aeolus and Penelope ventured out to where Penelope could just allow her feet to leave the sand, and where Aeolus could safely stand and hold Penelope from drifting out.

While Aeolus had been to Earth a handful of times, he had never been to the beach. It was mildly exciting. For Penelope, however, Earth must seem like greatest place in the galaxy. The children played for a long while before Lafaye called out, "Come on, kids, you'll still have tomorrow to play around; we've got a luau to get to!"
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#17
The evening wound down, as the luau dragged on, and the famous hospitality of Hawaii was brought to bear. Steaming plates of Kailua Pork, Laulau, Lomi Salmon, and bowls of Poi were served, and when the sun faded, lit braziers were provided that blazed away in the dark, illuminating the beauty of the beach, and the soft lapping of the waves. In this depopulated part of the world, the silence was a blissful respite from the crowded Colonies, or the cramped confines of a spaceship...

So it was only natural then, that these failed to mask the distant boom of an explosion, coming from the direction of the Directory base, like a peal of rolling thunder.



Flames.

As the trio rounded their way to the front gate of the base, the silhouette of their ship overhead, the sudden wave of heat would have been almost unbearable. The Directory base, hangars and all, were ablaze every bit as much as the celebratory braziers from before, their ancient metal hulls caving in on themselves. Scattered about the runway were also the wrecks of several Huckebein Mark II M Personal Troopers, each of them looking as if it had been... Torn open, as if by some kind of vicious beast.

There was no sign of Juliette - the Frenchwoman had only reached out to them sporadically to check in throughout the day, and had ceased to communicate as soon as the first explosion had been heard.

Another boom in the distance, and a plume of light burst into being as a fuel tank array went up in another blast of pyrotechnic fury... Meaning, it was only a matter of time before whatever was here would turn its attention on them.
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#18
The three huddled down as they observed the roaring flames. "Penelope, contact Nimue to send us a 'Leaf' and a tablet," said Lafaye. Penelope nodded solemnly and closed her eyes; after a moment, a winged pod-like object appeared from a dimensional jump in front of them. The "Leaf" was about two meters in length with wide, short fins on each side; on it's back end was a dimensional crystal. Lafaye opened a small compartment on the top of the Leaf and pressed the button that was revealed.

The dimensional crystal glowed; the Leaf slowly lifted off the ground and hovered in place. Lafaye gently lifted Penelope and set her on too of the craft, guiding her hands to a pair of handles. Aeolus made no move towards the vehicle. "I'm going ahead," he said. Lafaye gave her "son" a stern look for a long moment before opening up another compartment on the Leaf and pulling out a small PDA-like device. Handing Aeolus the device, Lafaye said, "Once we reach the Pendragon, w'll provide support through this communicator." Aeolus nodded and stowed the communicator in his pocket. Lafaye got on the Leaf behind Penelope and the craft softly hummed off towards where the Pendragon was moored. Aeolus snuck forward into the burning base.

While Aeolus was unarmed, he had been trained for situations like this after his "pilot conversion". Reaching one of the PT hangars, Aeolus found a number of Huckebeins that hadn't even launched before being ripped apart by who knows what. The hangar itself was largely untouched by the flames; Aeolus switched his eyes to a thermal imaging mode, wary of an ambush. Lafaye's voice came into his head via the communicator, "There's no readings of anything in your current vicinity. Get a hold of whatever you can and locate the Straybird."

In the back of the hangar, Aeolus found a largely intact Huckebein, its only damage was a large chunk of armor missing from its left leg. Climbing inside the Huckebein, Aeolus confirmed the integrity of the cockpit. He pulled down his flowing shirt and pulled a cable from his back. Aeolus checked under the cockpit seat, behind it, and all over the control board; eventually he found a small electrical box with a caution striped plug and stuck his cable into it. His vision blurred as his uplink established itself with the mobile weapon's cameras. After gaining control of the Huckebein, Aeolus picked up a pair of rifles from the fallen units before exiting the hangar.

Sidling along from building to building, Aeolus scanned the area for the Straybird. His vision was somewhat grainy and his movement felt stiff; the gap between EOT and earth developed technology was greater than he thought.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
671
0
16
#19
Skrrrgggkkttt!

Aeolus' thoughts would have been interrupted, as an unearthly metallic screech filled the air - the sound of metal, scraping against concrete. There was a heavy footfall - an impact of some kind, close by. The Huckebein's onboard computer chirped some kind of reactor response nearby, but the massive amounts of heat, it appeared, were making it more difficult to detect.

The dragging noise persisted, as did the footfalls, until they came to a sudden stop. Seconds ticked by, anxiously. Just as it seemed he had managed to elude whatever it was, however-

CLANG!


Behind him, the wall of the hangar crumpled as something punched its way through. It was big - roughly twice the size of his own PT's arm, but instead of terminating in fingers, the thick, animalistic construction ended in a trio of claws. Ponderously, the familiar-looking paw, for lack of better word wrenched sideways, tearing the reinforced hangar exterior like tissue paper, before suddenly flinging it back, flinging a massive portion behind it, like the disused top of a soup can.

A single, cycloptic red eye leered in, peering out from between the mechanical jaws of a beastlike hood, the Leo towering over thirty meters in height as it crouched down, steam hissing about its neck, sizing up its prey.
 

Kujo

New member
Nov 14, 2018
29
1
3
#20
In the Pendragon, Lafaye was tapping away like mad on several different tablets and consoles. In her lap sat Penelope, silently staring at the camera feeds from the Pendragon. As Lafaye worked, her arms went around Penelope as a sort of pseudo-hug. "Avoid extensive engagement at all costs, Aeolus; locate the Straybird and look for an opportunity to get in," said Lafaye. She went from console to tablet to console, rolling around in her chair with trained precision. "I'm contacting anyone I can; if we have to, we'll abandon the Straybird and retreat at once."

Aeolus recognized the threat and leaned backwards. He engaged his boosters and fired the Huckebein's head vulcans to cover his exit; before rounding the corner of the hangar, he fired off a blast from one of his rifles. Aeolus switched his radar to a more accurate, close range mode; he would have to search the hangars visually while on the run.