Takeoff (Taskforce Upsilon, Open)

GEAR

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OE 102
January 28th
12:00pm SDT


"What's the status of the operation, Brigadier General?"

"Repairs are complete. We'll be embarking soon."

On the bridge of the Air Christmas, Brigadier General Rodgers reclined in his command chair. Only a handful of aides milled about, busying themselves with final preparations for the long-delayed journey to the stars. The Shiseiten's assault, as well as the delayed supplies being delivered from across the globe, had caused them no end of trouble - finally, the required provisions had simply been allocated to them at L2. Rodgers could only hope that they hadn't been pilfered from the supplies of the Colonists, but at this point beggars could hardly be choosers. He regarded the monitor beside him, a secured connection that obscured the identity of his companion - there was a certain need for such privacy, especially when Lao had eyes - and ears - seemingly everywhere.

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"I understand you're uncomfortable relying on EOT, but the transfer system is completely safe. You should relax."

A young man's voice gave a short laugh, as Rogers sank a little deeper into his seat. It was true - he was hardly comfortable making use of such a device, one of clearly alien origin. The Air Christmas Class was a masterpiece of technology, but he shuddered to think of the origins of its more dubious components.

"So you say, Sir." He responded, dryly: "It's not my place to question the Board's orders."

"But you do understand that your thoughts and feedback are still valuable, yes?"

"You continue to remind me as such, despite all evidence to the contrary."

The two shared an uneasy chuckle, the nature of the collection of individuals under his command hardly needing more to be said. A more eclectic band of eccentrics had never before been assembled - yet their effectiveness couldn't be denied, and in the end that was all that mattered.

"Good. Please continue keeping an eye on our friends in the Institute and DARC... We gained some interesting data recently, from that unit that was being tested out in Hawaii. It never hurts to keep an eye on our so-called allies, after all."

Rogers mused over the data he'd been sent - that dark, avian machine, the Special. Apparently it was causing quite the buzz, and Ms. Carpentier had been quite taken with it. He found it all disconcerting, but was reluctant to voice his opposition - the individual in question almost certainly knew what he would say, before he would say it. Still, he was grateful for their help - it was they, after all, who had dispatched the Asclepius to their aid, and he was grateful for small favors.

"...I do have one question, Sir." Asked Rodgers eventually, leaning forward and lowering his voice.

"Speak your mind."

"Is it true the Board is authorizing the use of MAPW for this alleged peacekeeping mission?"

The question hung in the air, like the sword of Damocles - but his companion didn't even miss a beat, lowering his own voice to match Rodgers.

"A necessary precaution, I understand it. Some Directors were extremely insistent... You know the ones."

"I have no intention of employing such weapons against any populace, innocent or otherwise, no matter the circumstances."

"The memory of L-5008 is as strong as ever, I see."

The older man's throat tightened, and he glared at the screen, as memories started trying to resurface, to make themselves known - but he shoved them down, speaking through gritted teeth as he said tightly:

"We are not going to Luna to start a war. I want to make that explicitly clear."

After a moment, his companion spoke, voice... remorseful, as though he regretted even broaching the subject.

"I know." He said; "That's why I lobbied to put you in this position. We can't let the hawks have their way at this critical stage."

"They won't." Said the Brigadier-General firmly. He glanced down quickly at his watch, giving a sigh.

"It's about time. We'll be counting on your support going forward as well, Sir."

"Understood. Go with God, as they say. We're all counting on you."

The indicator blinked out of existence, and Rodgers reached up to adjust his hat, clearing his throat. Now was not the time for dwelling on the past. He thumbed a switch on the chair, sending a booming announcement thrumming through the corridors of the Air Christmas:

"Attention all hands. Prepare for Dimensional Transfer to L2 airspace in approximately 20 minutes. This is not a drill, I repeat: Not a drill."
It was time to begin in earnest.
 
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