What Comes After (Pixel, Shadow)

Nov 12, 2018
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#1
September 3rd,
Taussendfuessler, 221B Baker Street
Approaching Abandoned Directory “Golgotha”, Kerguelen Islands


There was a chill to the air, as the Taussendfuessler drew closer and closer to the Antarctic, namely a small island maybe a thousand miles from the Ruina hellhole. Millicent was pacing around the cockpit as she tried to psyche herself up for what she had to do. Storming a former Directory installation wasn’t smart or safe by any means, but it was the last the last thing she and Zest had done together… And that felt like oh so long ago at this point.

The young “detective” had found some help the old fashioned way- Mercenaries hired through a job board. The three she had hired seemed competent enough, at least from the look of their Mobile Weapons. And right now, they were all waiting for a briefing in the hangar…
Taking a deep breath, Millicent left the comfort of her cockpit and swung open the door to the Taus’ small hangar.

“Alright. My apologies for the lack of details going into this. It’s my first time planning an attack on my own. Oh, uh. Formal introductions, right. My name is Millicent Tremaine. Sorry.”
 
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Mar 23, 2021
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#2
“RADIES ANDO GENTLEMEN~.“ a voice shouted with an exaggerated Japanese accent. “Please welcome Millicent Tremaine!” Suddenly a small party popper would be shot out next to Millicent as she made her entrance into the hangar. It would seem to be held by a girl with short magenta hair, with what seemed to be white cat ears sticking out from the top of her head. She would give Millicent a deadpan look, followed by a monotonous comment on her part. “I got you.”

The same voice that had been speaking in such opposing boisterous tones would sigh, the accent now replaced by a more natural American one. “You have to give it more spirit next time, Sylvia. No one’s going to pay attention to you if you keep talking like that.” A man with messy unkept hair would approach Millicent from opposite where the girl was, he would appear to be wearing what looked like some sort of comic book hero’s face mask.

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“Sorry about that little stunt Miss Tremaine, my daughter Sylvia here’s a bit shy around new people so I’ve been trying to make her learn more about introducing herself. Thought this would have been a nice way to inject some positivity going forward. Because nothing beats a good rallying cry, right?” The man would remove his mask, and would extend his hand out to Millicent. “Grant Trafeger of the Ultimate Cross. Former Directory Captain too if that’s relevant for this mission.”

Sylvia would simply throw away the party popper and would look at Grant, very much unimpressed as if she’d seen that act a million times before. She probably had at this rate. “Sylvia, nice to meet you…” She simply stated, keeping a slight distance from Millicent as she spoke without making eye contact.
 
Feb 13, 2022
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#3
The young woman standing at the rear of the hangar crossed her arms, with a confident smirk on her face. She wore a black pilot suit, styled after something you might see on an old conventional aircraft pilot, with a red and black jacket over it and a pair of sleek sunglasses.

"Ayna Ayameter. Contractor for hire, Ex-Directory, and the best pilot in the galaxy."
She seemed unperturbed by the eccentricities of the others, as she turned to her client with a more focused expression.

"So, what's the flight plan?"
 
Nov 12, 2018
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#4
Millicent nearly shot through the top of the plane as she was “introduced” to her new crew. A girl even younger than herself and her father, and a braggart that she hoped had the skills to back up those claims. The fact that two of them were former Directory crew was definitely in her favor, given what she knew about the base.

“Yes. Well.” Millicent took Grant’s hand and gave it a kind of awkward shake, flashing Ayna and Sylvia a half hearted smile. “I think Zest would have approved of you all. Not sure whether or not that’s a good thing yet.”

“Anyways, I’ve hired you all on to help me raid an abandoned Directory base code named Golgotha. My… Sister and I were investing an alien signature that matched her own- Oh.” She already looked exhausted, very clearly not all there mentally. “My “sister” was a transforming, hundred meter tall alien super robot who had sphere of unimaginable power embedded in her chest. This Directory base, before it was abandoned, gave off an signature extremely similar to her own. We were on our way to investigate before… God. Before she and some others killed an Eldritch deity and then was stabbed in the back.” Milli pinched the bridge of her nose, genuinely unsure if she was oversharing with these complete strangers.

“Sorry. It’s been five days. I have not… processed this yet.” She took a deep breath to recenter herself, letting her shoulders relax. “Your objective is to get me into that base, past whatever automated defenses that were left behind. As far as we could tell, they have a number of AI operated Schwerts, Type-30 Randgrids, and hell of a lot of Lions.”
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#5
“Hmmm… Zest? You mean Chojin Zest? The same one that’s been popping up on the news every now and then?” Didn’t seem like Grant was one who stayed out of the loop. “I’m sorry for your loss. Heard they were a good fighter, can’t be a good fighter like that without a good soul.“ He was trying to comfort her it seemed, experience from his time as Captain and as a father no doubt. He knows how hard it is to lose his colleagues, so the best he can do is comfort her.

“Schwerts won’t be a big problem with me around.“ Sylvia said before pausing as she drank some water from a canteen she brought along with her for the trip. “But Lions and Randgrids… I’ll have to carry the old man all the way to the drop zone again.”

“Oh come on Sylvia, don’t be so mean to your Pa.“ Grant would cross his arms and would look at the Mobile Weapons present in the hangar bay. He would spot the clearly speed focused design of Ayna’s Wildfalken. “But she’s right. Randgrids back in my day would hammer you with long range weapons non stop. And regardless of what Directory Lion models they have, their railguns will pose a problem. Orphes will be a sitting duck in the air, even more on the ground.” After giving his silent appraisal on the Wildfalken, he would turn back to the rest of the group. It seemed like he had a plan. “Ayna was it? How’s your speed with your machine? Think you can run circles around some railgun fire?”
 
Feb 13, 2022
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#6
"Absolutely." Anya slapped the leg of her Falken with a metallic thunk. "She's built for speed first and foremost, and with me at the controls, turbulence should be minimal."

Ayna turned to Millicent. "I don't really know about all that alien super robot stuff, but I'm sorry to hear about your sister. You're paying well, so I'm more than happy to run distraction for this one. They'll be seeing nothing but my exhaust trails."
 
Nov 12, 2018
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#7
“Right then. We’ll be entering their airspace in a few minutes then. Ready yourselves and we’ll start our approach soon enough.” There was a strange glimmer in her eyes for a moment, quick enough to just be seen as a change of lighting as she turned away to head back to the cockpit. She’d get to the bottom of this investigation if it were the last thing she did- So long as it wasn’t the last thing that her hired hands ever did.

—————————

As the Tausendfuessler’s rear doors opened, the pilots would be greeted with an expanse of blue and white before them, an overcast day in the Antarctic. Before the vessel laid “the Desolation Islands”, or Kerguelen Island officially. A number of islands dotted closely together covered the landscape, sparsely covered in some trees and brush, but as they grew closer, a number of what had to have been military outcroppings were just visible.

“Launch when ready!”

An alarm seemed to have just been tripped- A massive set of doors built into a mountain began to open, with Four Lions quickly launching from it, while several mounds on the forested area stood up, overgrown camouflage falling off of the Randgrids as they started to open fire.
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#8
“Right then.”


Grant would remove his newsboy cap, revealing more of his spiky styled hair as he quickly hopped into the Orphes’ cockpit. “Sylvia, we’ll drop separately before linking up. It would help to spread out the barrage coming at us. Anya, take point and deal with the Randgrids. I’ll be able to handle the Lions with Sylvia.” The blue Orphes’ green sensors would flash as it soon slid out from the Baker Street’s hangar bay, 32 meter behemoth soon descending down in free fall.

“Really it would make things easier if we could combine together for something like this.” Sylvia would follow her father suit, launching out in the Lyrath, the engines roaring to life as it made a vector maneuver to orient itself towards the ground. “And don’t try to use it again, dad. I’m not carrying you back to the ship again.” There was a slight amount of concern in her voice, something about a trick they had up their sleeves it seemed.

“Don’t worry, just as long as we can show them what the UX can do, we’ll be done with this in no time flat.” As they made their descent, the two would dodge the incoming barrage of artillery fire, being able to avoid most of the barrage due to the distance of each shot. But as they got closer and closer, the chance of getting hit increased significantly. They would need to time this right with Anya, or else they lose half their muscle once they hit the ground.
 
Feb 13, 2022
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#9
"Clear for takeoff. Launching!"

Ayna's Falken hurtled out of the hangar bay, its rear boosters flaring as it shot towards the ground like a bird diving towards its prey. She circled around the incoming fire, matching pace with the other two. She moved to her comm, knowing it was almost time.

"I'm in position!"
 
Nov 12, 2018
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#10
The thunder-like booms of railgun fire filled the air as the four Lions targeted the three combat units, the supersonic projectiles tearing through the space between them. The shots went wide, distance and skill separating the two groups briefly- Distance that was very quickly filling, with electromagnetic rounds getting dangerously closer.

The Randgrids on the ground continued their barrage from a distance, still locked onto the transport as their linear guns launched a second salvo. The Taussendfuessler took a glancing blow to its wing as the round shot past, cockpit panels flashing a warning. “All good.”

Three more combatants launched from the hidden hangar, four Messers, flying in behind the Lions, the Mercenaries out of range for now.
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#11
“Sylvia, lay down some mines. I’ll shoot them when we pass by them.” The Orphes would boost over towards the Lyrath, which was slowing its decent in order to link up with the blue giant. “Connecting, hang on!” A hand would land on the Lyrath as the Orphes sat knelt atop the chassis, the Lyrath making its decent even faster. It would fast approach the Lions, taking a straight path right towards them before 2 bays beneath the Lyrath would open, revealing a couple of missiles.

Inside of the cockpit, Sylvia would align her crosshairs with one of the Lions in front of her. A slow beeping which soon began to speed up as the circles aligned and her target was marked. “Tone.” She simply said before firing off a couple of missiles and performing a barrel roll to the right while the Orphes hung on for dear life. “You’re really going to make this old man take the Gs, huh?” Sylvia would smirk a bit, it was better than him doing his other trick at the very least. “Is the old man worried about his dentures falling out?” She said in her almost monotonous voice once again, this time sounding a hint more livelier than last time, injected with a bit of sarcasm of course. “No, just worried my brains will be next!” Grant would reply with enthusiasm in hearing his daugther’s snarky reply.

The Lyrath would turn a corner at a steep angle, causing the pressure to press down on both of the pilot’s bodies, also leaving them slightly vulnerable as they prepared for their next attack.
 
Feb 13, 2022
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#12
"Here comes the welcoming party!" Ayna quipped, as she throttled hard towards the approaching group of enemy units. The Falken drew its twin SMGs, firing a wild volley as she spun through the incoming fire. The Falken's computer's targeting systems struggled to align with the Lions, digital crosshairs dancing across Ayna's viewscreen.

"Missile Lock" beeped a computerized voice.
"I've got tone! Firing!" Ayna whooped, releasing an impressive salvo of missiles towards the Falken. The missiles streaked downwards with the rapid acceleration of the Falken, as Ayna rushed head on towards her opponents with a blaze of bullets and missiles.
 
Nov 12, 2018
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#13
The Lions’ AI certainly didn’t seemed equipped to deal with a group of enemy combatants rushing head first into combat against them. They continued forward at first, the Falken’s burst of fire catching the lead two Lions off guard, forcing them to slow for a moment. This provided ample opportunity for the missiles launched by both units to blast into the two leads, tearing them apart and sending the scrap tumbling downwards.

The remaining Lions took every advantage they could before their opponents could reach them, dipping away and trying to fire their own missiles in response. These shots would go wide of their targets regardless, although the approaching team of Messer’s seemed to have learned from their mistakes. All four units began to open fire on the enemy Mobile weapons with their machine guns, two on the Falken and two on the Lyrath.

On the ground, the Randgrids seemed to be zeroing in on their targets as they grew closer, and the hangar door continued to open, although no more units exited it yet.
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#14
“Two down! Let’s mop up the rest!” The Lyrath would soon level out as the incoming dumb fire missiles passed by it. Seemed like whatever was running these things was a lousy shot, just went to show bad the Directory was at managing everything. The Orphes looked on as incoming machine gun fire barred their path, the Orphes took most of the hits thanks to its large size, chipping away at its armor before using the Lyrath like a springboard, launching itself higher into the sky, above the Messers and the Lions.

“Sylvia, you know what to do!” The Lyrath’s boosters would roar, going faster and faster to avoid the machine gun fire that came its way. A bay located on the back of craft would open as a large number of aerial mines were deployed behind it, flying in between the Messer’s and Lion’s gunfire as it then flew off to the side in order to avoid any further ordnance sent its way from them. “Do it now, dad!” The Orphes would pull out a rifle from the back of its hip, a blue crystal-shaped light would shine on the side of the weapon as energy built up inside of it. The barrel would then extend, a shimmering light forming at its end as the Orphes’ frame was saturated in a blue transient energy. “Take this you bucket of bolts!” A bright beam would burst forth from the weapon, firing into one of the mines left behind by the Lyrath. Soon it would bounce between each mine, soon creating a net of energy around where the Messers and Lions were, shocking their circuits before exploding in sequence like fireworks on New Year’s.
 
Feb 13, 2022
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#15
"Quite the light show!" Ayna quipped over the comms. "Now, it's my turn! Weapons hot, giving em hell!"
She boosted hard towards the Messers and Lions, SMGs blazing as she zigzagged around them in a fiery dance, boosters trailing sparks and light like a trail. She poured two full clips into everything she could see, and then blasted up past the groups and released another salvo of missiles, whooping.
 
Nov 12, 2018
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#16
Like a string of fireworks ignited all at once, the Lions and Messers blew up in a magnificent display of lights, torn apart by the utter barrage of firepower all three mercenaries threw at them. There was little left of them as whatever debris was left of them tumbled down to the ground below.

There would be no time to celebrate this small victory however, as the Randgrids opened fire once more. Three shots fired in rapid succession, linear cannons casually tearing through the wings and ripping a nasty gash along the Tausendfuessler’s side.

“Dammit! Keep for the base, I’ll have to catch up-“

The transport inelegantly descended into the terrain below, tearing its own gash through the landscape, as the Randgrids turned their attention towards back towards the mercenaries.

To make matters worse, it seemed that the hangar they were racing for had finally finished opening- Allowing a massive blue and gold figure to step out, scanning the battlefield, before settling on the attackers. An RSR-02, a mass produced Grungust Type 2 entering the fray.
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#17
As the Randgrid’s cannon shots roared past the Orphes, it would activate its boosters in order to quicken its descent. Soon the giant blue special would land on the ground with a crash, sending up dirt in all directions. It stood up from a crouched position, it’s free left hand placed down for stability as it looked to the Baker Street falling from the sky. “We’ll clean up here then, just make sure you stay in one piece!” Grant shouted over the comms, hoping he would be heard over the clashing of earth and metal.

Soon however, Grant’s attention would be drawn away from the crashing craft’s descent by the familiar tone of his daughter’s voice. “Dad, we’ve got a big problem over here.“ The Orphes would move its gaze down towards the opening hangar bay, not exactly sure what she was talking about as he saw nothing of the sort that seemed threatening. “I think big might be overselling it-“ Soon he would be cut off by the sound of stomping, inching closer and closer as it rose from the shadow of the hangar doors.


“Okay… Nevermind.“ The Orphes would slowly move its left hand, reaching behind its back to pull out 3 energy picks. “Alright, both of you kids deal with the Grungust for a bit. I’ll deal with our friends “grid coordinates“ over there.” The Orphes would stow its rifle as it boosted towards the firing position of the Randgrids, throwing the 3 energy picks towards them as it approached before using its right hand to pull out a single pick. As the 3 picks shot out, it would increased its boost to get into one of the Randgrid’s blind spots before attempting to stab the pick right into the back of the artillery unit’s back.

The Lyrath would soon level out from its turn, coming upon the Grungust with a gun run. It fired a combination of vulcans and missiles, and given how much armor this thing had, it was only going to be the first of many. The Lyrath would soon pull up, flying up and above the hangar doors as it stalled slightly in the air before performing a vector maneuver to turn itself upside down with the nose facing down and the cockpit facing the Grungust, readying itself for another go at it.
 
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Feb 13, 2022
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#18
"Shit! Transport's down!" Ayna's radio crackled, as the Rangrid's cannon shots rumbled past the Falken. Ayna turned the central head around, taking in the chaos of the battlefield. The two kids were engaged with the Grungust, and the Orphes was hacking away at the Rangrids. Upon hearing Grant's order, she barked out an reply over the comm.

"I'm not a kid! Engaging anyways!" She locked on to the Grungust, dousing it in a spray of bullets and firing two missiles after getting lock, the missiles screaming towards the large unit as they trailed vibrant heat and light.
 
Nov 12, 2018
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#19
The hulking Grungust took a defensive pose as both units peppered the Super Robot with their guns, missiles launched appearing to do some damage to its armor, but nothing that seemed to bother it too much. The robot’s head would turn up to face the Lyrath as it stalled for its maneuver, firing off its Eye Solid Laser’s at it. It did leave itself open to a counter attack from the Falken however.

The Orphes would find the three Rangrids would be a tad more difficult than the Lions. The two furthest Mobile Weapons would catch the picks in their shields, while the first would take theirs in the arm. Grant would find himself in the perfect position to stab at the enemy unit, the Randgrid jerking about while the blade was shoved into its systems. There’d be little time after though, as the olive green units began blasting with their shotguns.
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#20
As the Lyrath pulled off its vector maneuver, the Grungust’s laser would manage to graze one of the wings as well as one of the rear fins, shaving off a bit of material which kept the fighter flight worthy. Sylvia would grunt as the laser would slightly throw the craft off balance, causing the cockpit to shake around. “I’m hit! Can’t get close enough for another good run. Anya, give it all you’ve got at the joints!” Sylvia would struggle to keep control of the jet as some shorn off material hanged loosely from the Lyrath, some of it flying away as the craft tried to keep itself at a safe distance.

Meanwhile, the energy picks that had found themselves embedded in each of the Randgrids soon began to glow brightly, a radiant energy pulsing in each of them as they let off a resounding high pitched boom as they exploded in both shields, the arm, as well as the vital systems of one of the Randgrids. As the remaining Randgrids pulled out their shotguns, the Orphes would leap up before flipping backwards to a safe position as the pellets were sprayed at it harmlessly, it’s body beginning to glow a hazy blue.

WARNING: Lepton Vectorer Output Exceeding 60%. Safety Lock Active. Awaiting Lock Removal Confirmation.
As the Orphes landed, it would suddenly slump down as Grant felt a slight gripping sensation in his heart. It felt like it could tense up and stop at any given moment. “Damnit, not again… I’m barely even close.” The Orphes would soon stand tall as it brought out the Dusk Rifle from its back and fired a couple of high power beams towards the Randgrids, hoping to down them soon for the finale to come.

“Don’t you dare do it again…“