Skyfire Dance (Bio, Kujo, Tyr)

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#1
"Fanatics have their dreams, wherewith they weave
A paradise for a sect; the savage too
From forth the loftiest fashion of his sleep
Guesses at Heaven; pity these have not
Trac'd upon vellum or wild Indian leaf

The shadows of melodious utterance."

-John Keats, "The Fall of Hyperion"



September 10th, OE 102
Nevada Airspace
Aboard the Prototype "Solarian"


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Eliza Kruger forced her focus onto the screen before her, trying to ignore the persistent chattering of her teeth in the cold. The incomplete nature of the vessel was painfully apparent - even now she could hear sections of it rattling treacherously, threatening to break free of the craft entirely - but it was on short notice, and they needed its speed. Bertram's face when she'd demanded it would be forever etched in her memory, and even now DEI technicians hurried about, making last minute preparations.

The one vessel capable of challenging Hyperion, that could reliably intercept the rising attack satellite's path, and prevent System ACE's final activation... The name, she thought, was all too fitting.

The information she'd gleaned from being connected to LIOH, the glimpse she'd gotten at Hyperion's true plan... betting it all, she thought, on what amounted to a dream. Scarcely a year ago, she would never have even considered such a bold course of action...

That, of course, was all thanks to Ana. When all this was over, she thought... They'd have to find some time for themselves. Somewhere... away from the war, where she could sort her feelings out in private. Where she couldn't use work as a distraction, to avoid the hard discussions that seemed so easy for the other woman, but felt like drawing blood from a stone to her. But, they wouldn't know peace... not until Hyperion had been scattered to the winds.

She leaned back in the Captain's chair, and fidgeted with the height adjustment lever for what felt like the hundredth time. Clearly it needed some remodeling, as her feet barely touched the floor.

There wasn't much time left. All that was left now was the final checks. She picked up the improvised communicator, holding its bulky frame against the side of her head as she thumbed the line leading to the hangar:

"It's almost showtime. Everyone ready to go?"
 
Nov 14, 2018
102
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#2
The Straybird sat in the spartan hall claiming to be the Solarion's hangar, seated with its knees to its chest to conserve space for the engineers and mechanics to finish their frantic business. Penelope stood some distance away and stared up at the machine along with Lafaye who typed info into a tablet remarkably casually compared to the crew of the ship. Aeolus sat at Straybird's ontrols, hands free as usual, staring off into nothing as he analyzed data from the machine along with a visual report from the outside via Penelope. The levers and switches around the young android moved as Aeolus willed the machine to raise its left arm up to its side. Penelope and Lafaye looked on as the slender black limb smoothly lifted, taking note of the movement of a new addition.

Mounted to the rear of Straybird's forearm was a great golden crest not unlike the machine's existing accents, but most notable pn this part was the gleaming blue crystal set into the center of the crest. Along with a matching crest on the right side, albeit with a red gem, these were the key parts to an experimental system based on Straybird's D-converter. However, this systems was never meant directly for the black machine and instead for an as of yet formless machine purportedly meant to work in tandem with the Straybird. Indeed, as Aeolus activated the mount and watched the crest flip down over the slender hand of Straybird he noted that he would have to make the choice on whether to utilize this new system or to use Straybird's native firearms at any given moment.

It was obviously a rush job, but as Aeolus and the rest of the crew were briefed it became clear to the young android that this operation was less about utilizing the latest and greatest technology and more about fielding as many unknown variables against Hyperion as possible.


"Affirmative. The Straybird has finished all check procedures," said Aeolus.

"Are you well, Ms. Kruger?" Penelope quipped over the line suddenly, in the unassuming way only a child could manage in such a serious time.
 
Jun 14, 2018
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#3
Conducted through the ship's superstructure, the din of the Solarian's distant creaking and groaning was almost sufficient to wash out the sound of steps approaching from behind. Curt in their pace yet lacking the precision of military discipline, the heavy footfalls were ones that Eliza would recognize handily as belonging to her partner in crime. Coming up on her left in the wake of the communique, Ana draped an arm over the back of the command couch and favored her friend with a soft smile. It was hardly the time for merriment - they all recognized as much - but it was difficult not to find some joy in seeing how the diminutive scientist's confidence had matured in their time together.

She settled for merely leaning against the seat as a number of ready rolled in from the hangar, among them the pair associated with the Straybird. There was still a certain awkwardness about turning a complete one-eighty to becoming comrades-in-arms so rapidly after going at each others' throats, but they seemed willing enough to bury that hatchet in the face of Hyperion's threat.

We're really doing this, huh? Not exactly where I expected to end up when I recruited Eliza. And that, she reflected silently, extended to more than just their professional relationship...
 
Aug 25, 2018
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#4
It had been a turbulent time for Sigrid, and she had had to quickly adjust to a great many things. Less than three weeks ago, she had been prey hunted by Terra Sentinel. Less than three weeks ago she had fought for her life against Terra Sentinel's finest, her survival more a stroke of luck than anything else. And now she was chasing after Hyperion with those that had been sent to kill her, and to top it all off she had been chosen Sylfis and was now piloting an ancient Masouki.

And what a headache that was. Eliza had been helping her with it, but thinking about Cybuster and all the myriad systems within it still made her head hurt. There was just so much to learn about it. With even more being hidden from both of them. At least they had found out about the Hi-Familiars, and need for Sigrid to have familiars. And, oh how proud she had been of herself when she had managed to create her twin familiars despite the circumstances. Part of her wanted to rub it in the faces of her former classmates, at least until they opened their beaks, and Sigrid was slapped in the face with a grim reminder why their instructors had very firmly warned against creating familiars in situations of great duress - like being recently traumatized and racing against time to stop a madman from taking the world his prisoner.

Currently one of the two ravens, Tilion, was perched atop Cybuster's 'toes', staring into Sigrid's eyes, giving her a pep talk, or the closest thing to it that he could give. "We're almost at the decisive moment where we're going to screw all over that bastard who has been ruining our lives. Now, remember, we have not come here to stop Hyperion." Tilion cawed out his declaration, his eyes taking a mean, even a cruel, glint. "We are here to utterly ruin him. We shan't simply stop his plans and bring him to justice, oh no no no. We will completely savage his plans, and crush them in front of him and only then will we wreck and destroy whatever ride he will utilize against us. And only after that, when Hyperion has fully realized his folly, it is only then when we move to the man himself."

The familiar let out a cawing laughter, and went on to describe in all its gross, gory details what he would do to Hyperion himself once he would get his beak and wings on him. Sigrid couldn't even get out of hearing Tilion's words, as the familiar kept following her around in order to give her the reassurance he was trying to give her.

Her other familiar Arien, another raven, gave her an equal parts sympathetic and apologetic look, but didn't move from where she was perched on Cybuster's shoulder. Instead of addressing the situation beneath her just yet - she would give dear Sigrid the motivation and assurance she actually needed later - Arien addressed their simply adorable captain. "We are quite ready, Captain Chipmunk. Please ignore what is going on in the background. My partner is trying his best - and failing. You need not listen to it." Arien did the closest thing to a wince that raven could do. Oh dear, now Tilion had gone into what he'd do to Hyperion's entrails, that wasn't something anyone needed to hear. "Dearest Sigrid will be ready despite my partner's blundering, I guarantee it."
 

GEAR

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Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
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#5
"Yes, thank you Penelope. The Solarian is holding together too, thanks to your help. Please, do your best for us out there."

Eliza smiled at the android, puffing herself up a little in her Captain's chair - only to be immediately deflated by the chattering crows, her features falling as she mumbled to herself:

"C-Captain Chipmunk..." - She shook her head, jabbing a finger at the screen as it bounced about the Cybuster's cockpit angrily.

"J-Just be ready! You, AND your crows, Sigrid! We're starting soon!"

With a sigh, she sank back into her seat, closing the windows for the other two. That only left-

"Hey, Ana." She said, quietly.

There was a short silence, as though the smaller woman was choosing her words very carefully, as she closed her eyes.

...

"I guess, I just wanted to say... thank you." She said, finally.

Her fingers knitted themselves on her lap. Part of her wanted badly to be out there with them - but she didn't trust anyone else to helm the Solarian. Never before would she have imagined she, of all people, would be riding at the helm of DEI's masterwork, the culmination of all their research. Her life had changed so much the past year, it was like she was a brand new person, inside and out.

"Because of you... I could stand up to Bertram. I didn't realize... how much I'd changed. And... it's all because of you. You're always protecting me... but, this time... it's my turn to protect you."

There was a redness in her features... but she'd grown accustomed to it. The traitorous fluttering of her heart, of emotions she couldn't explain that had been buried so deep and so far below, that merely acknowledging them had been a painfully slow process. But Ana had been there, every step of the way, never losing faith, always ready to offer a reassuring hand. It was high time she started pulling her own weight.

"System XN... we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what it can do. I removed some of the old limiters installed on it for this operation. It could be dangerous, but right now... we need its power. There's no telling what Hyperion has up his sleeve."

There I go again, she thought to herself, hiding behind technobabble, because it's easier. It's what I'm used to. Science wasn't complicated business. Something was, or it wasn't - even in the complex fields of Dimensional Power. Halting as her speech was... It was still miles ahead from the timid little mouse she'd always been, as she summoned up her courage.

"...When all this is over... Let's go somewhere, just the two of us. A real vacation. There's... a lot more, I want to say. To do... with you. And... nobody else." She said, softly.

Eliza gave a smile - the most warm, and earnest expression Ana had perhaps ever seen on her face. The kind that belied confidence... and unvarnished affection, straight from the heart.

"So... come back alive, okay?"

...

"Awwwww!"​

A round of applause went up from the DEI staff members on the bridge, as Eliza turned bright scarlet. Sure enough... she hadn't closed the comms. She could only look out at the room... and put her hands over her face.

Maybe I haven't changed that much...




They didn't have to wait long. Only a scant ten minutes later, the warning klaxons began to blare, as the colossal form of the Terra Sentinel rocket came into view in the distance. The order to scramble went out, the hangar opening wide as the Solarian accelerated, fighting hard to pull alongside its target.

It was easily over a thousand meters in height, as big as a skyscraper, pitted and scarred, separated into ugly blocks of black and white, parts of it having been evidently patched together from various Directory surplus projects as it soared into the sky alongside them. As they watched, bits and pieces of it seemed to be falling away, glints of light on the wind that twisted back and forth.

On the surface of the rocket, pallid, off-white forms began lifting themselves in unison from their storage bays, visor-like eyes glowing as they looked up. Dozens of Feather Arks, falling away like their namesake from the rising monstrosity, began peeling towards the distant Swordian, guns at the ready, like a swarm of avenging angels descending on unbelievers...
 
Nov 14, 2018
102
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#6
Lafaye helped her "daughter" clamber up the Straybird so she could slide into the open cockpit where Aeolus sat waiting. The small android sidled around and behind her brother unit, sitting down and then being automatically raised up slightly above Aeolus. Lafaye, peaking inside as Penelope did this, admired her handiwork. While the avian machine was evidently meant for two, the second seat was a right pain to get operational.

After the robotics specialist descended from the Straybird, the giant black machine began to stir. It rolled itself onto its feet from where it sat and stood up graciously then proceeded to the Solarion's catapult.

"Aeolus,"
"Penelope,"
"Straybird taking off."

Hunkered down, wings folded tight, Straybird bolted forward on the large tracks. Almost as soon as the catapult let go, the black machine had disappeared into the Imaginary Road, the shimmering, technicolor void of subspace that had become all too familiar to the two androids.

"We'll strike in conjunction with everyone else once they've reached combat, please calculate their time to engagement, Penelope."
 
Jun 14, 2018
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#7
Difficult though it may have been, Ana managed to suppress a uncharacteristic giggle at 'Captain Chipmunk'. She wasn't sure quite yet to make of their newfound companions in the familiars, but if nothing else the one possessed a talent for sobriquets. But the dash of exceptional mirth drained away for truth at the timbre of Eliza's voice as she herself was addressed. She had come to know that quality in her voice, recognize the internal struggle that it represented. She listened quietly, simply allowing her companion to work her way through what she needed to say at her own pace.

"Eliza..." Ignoring the crew's unsolicited feedback, Ana crouched down to be eye-to-eye with the scientist - pointedly depressing the comms mute in the process - and cradled her face in one hand with practiced gentleness.

"We will," she began simply, "We'll do all of that and more. I told you that I would always be here for you, and I won't let anyone or anything break that promise...not Terra Sentinel, not Hyperion, not System XN. You're more important to me than any of them," A thumb caressed her cheek affectionately, "Than...anything." The curve of her lips was subdued, yet radiated the same sort of unadulterated affection as Eliza's own. She leaned in and their lips met, leaned into the intimate contact, held it for a long moment before finally breaking away. "I expect you to be in one piece when I get back," Ana's expression slid moreso into its customary crooked grin as she leaned yet closer, whispering something unmentionable in Eliza's ear that might well cause steam to literally burst from her head. "I'll be checking...thoroughly."

She gave Eliza a final reassuring peck on the cheek before clambering to her feet and striding back the way she had originally come. There was no point delaying things...and they would survive this. All of them. She would make sure of that, whatever it took.



Ana let out a deep breath as the last portions of the Gespenst's armored carapace closed in around her. Even with the armor mostly in standby, she was so attuned to the hum and pulse of its workings that she could feel a distinct difference. The changes Eliza had made, unlocking more of System XN's boundless reserves. She felt much closer, somehow, to that idealized version of herself and her steed that had existed in that...dream realm, if one could refer to it as such. A fantasy world, yet real all the same. And it had given her far greater insight on how to utilize the power at her fingertips now, even if it was miniscule by comparison.

The portal to the outside world yawned wide as the armor came fully on-line, thrumming with untamed energy. Dark-hued tendrils licked out from beneath its plates now even in idleness. "Gespenst...launching!" She flung herself into the void, sensors immediately highlighting the multitude of Feather Arks that made to descend upon the Solarion. Dimensional energy gathered in an upturned palm, Ana thrusting the opposite hand into the orb of power before making a wide chopping motion - a deadly cutting wave erupting forth in the wake of the gesture to scythe into the enemy's formation.
 
Aug 25, 2018
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#8
The insides of Cybuster's cockpit were dark, with Sigrid sitting there, her eyes closed and hands gripping the controls tightly. This was it, for the first time she was launching inside Cybuster's cockpit not for testing and practice but for live combat where failure was not an option, where mistakes would be costly and swiftly punished.

With a soft exhale, her Prana began to flow into the Masouki, the displays around her coming alive as the energy coursed through Cybuster's numerous systems, the footage from the now-active cameras flooding the cockpit with colors.

She was not afraid. Even though the stakes of this fight were higher than any of her previous struggles, there was no hesitation, no fear, no doubts. Not since the death of her father had she been as certain of what she was doing as now. Never before in her life had she been this assured that what she was doing was right. That this was the right thing to do.

Slowly, her eyes opened. Gone was the terrified girl disgusted of what she had been a part of. Gone was the blind girl who had been blind to the true nature of her heroes. For as her eyes opened there was something within them that there hadn't been before; The steely determination of a warrior.

And it was that newborn warrior, Sigrid Korppi, the Herald of Cybuster, the Elemental Lord of Wind, that now bravely charged into battle.

"Cybuster... Launching!"





A shooting star shot out of the Solarian. Cybird soared through the sky, the thrusters within the wings blazing, leaving behind a tail of bright energy as it dazzled the world with its speed, rapidly advancing towards the rocket and the host of Feather Arks waiting for them.

The Cybird was doing no more than basic evasive measures during its approach, and even those only should they be necessary. Speed was the key of this offense, and it was the overwhelming speed that the Lord of Wind and its pilot were banking on protecting them as well. And though grim, concentrated silence was the mood of two of the Masouki's three occupants, the last one was instead cackling gleefully.

Near its destination, close to the Feather Arks, Cybird began to slow down, and transformed back to Cybuster. It was not a graceful transformation between the two forms, nor was it a smooth, quick one. Even though the knowledge on how to transform between the two forms was given by the machine itself the first time Sigrid fed her Prana into it, it did not make the sequence second nature.

But that had been taken to account, and Cybuster came to a halt where Sigrid wanted it to, largely in the middle of the Feather Arks.

The Discutter was drawn, and held aloft towards the skies. Acting as a conduit, vast quantities of Prana coalesced on the blade until it was entirely covered in crackling energy, with jolts of energy crackling outwards from Cybuster itself as well. Drawing the sword close to Cybuster, Sigrid slashed horizontally, releasing the storm of energy.

The storm of energy grew, growing into a large sphere that consumed the air around Cybuster. Within, the air was tinted green from massive quantities of Prana in the form of both particles of caloric element that relentlessly battered into the Feather Arks as well as crackling bolts of energy in the form of lightning that struck all around the storm.

It was a storm of magic that caused a cacophony of noise, but even so it could not drown Sigrid's yell under it, which rung loud and clear.

"Cyflash!"