The Captain And The Guardian 25th Of April

[15:02] <Rora> He supposed he shouldn't have worried; the repairs that Comet Breaker had received en route to the Valletta had been top notch. She hadn't taken any hits that were too grave, of course, but even so it had been good work. And out there, everything had seemed…could have been so much worse. Rora hovered about the chassis, affording himself a small shake of the head. Time to
[15:02] <Rora> think about that later…
[15:13] <Kayoko> "Everything's in order, I hope?" Her voice wasn't raised far above its normal volume, but Kayoko's voice seemed to cut through the ambient noise of the hangar unnaturally well.-
[15:13] <Kayoko> She stood at the foot of the Comet Breaker, her neck craned back to keep Rora in view. Something about the way she was smiling suggested she might have been there for a while.
[15:22] <Rora> There was a flash of startled white luminescence at the unexpected voice, the feathers of AT light shining brightly, if briefly. Rora glanced down to the figure, up to Comet Breaker's shoulder bay, back down. A pause…and then he gently descended. It was a distinctly unique sensation, flying under his own power; one that he couldn't help but find pleasant. One that, alas, he let fade
[15:22] <Rora> once he touched down to the ground.-
[15:30] <Rora> "Oh, mmh; yes. Ship-shape, as it were, though it has been a rudimentary inspection. I have yet to greet my, er…potentially unwilling guest?" He smiled sheepishly as he offered her a bow, arms crossed in a manner not quite casual, yet not exactly formal. "…Ah, my apologies," he added, a spark of recognition in his eyes, "I believe we may have…spoken, earlier? Briefly?" A pause
[15:30] <Rora> . "Captain…?"
[15:37] <Kayoko> "Captain Hyuga," she said, mimicking his bow with a little smile. "I can't blame you for forgetting, it seems as though you've had quite a day. Oh, you could just call me Kayoko, if you'd prefer; it's not like you're in my chain of command just yet.
[15:43] <Rora> "Certainly, Kayoko. And…heh, 'quite a day' is… mountain named pebble" He reflexively ran his fingers through his hair. "But, I am being rude again; I am Rora Mist, as…perhaps I have said before. But also, Mediator-via-Aurora-Borealis of House Souls-Lingering-in-the-Mist."-
[15:44] <Rora> He blinked. "…Er. Yet? shark approaching a minnow"
[16:00] <Kayoko> "Yet," she agreed, even as her AT Field flared and briefly generated a band of AT plumage behind her own head. "laughing at a joke before the punchline"-
[16:00] <Kayoko> "But!" she pressed on quickly, "It seems like we might have a lot to talk about. Mind joining me in the conference room for a while?"
[16:12] <Rora> He stared dumbly for a moment, at an utter loss. "Y…yes. I mean, no! Er." He cleared his throat. "Let us, indeed, away; ever more questions there are to be had, it seems. the traveller becomes the mirror"
[16:28] * Kayoko gestured for him to follow, and this time she made the trip on foot rather than borrowing Idris' power. It wasn't a long journey, after all.-
[16:28] <Kayoko> "You'll have to forgive me, I was tutored by Defectors. I'm not precisely fluent - I can read a lot better than I can sign - but…" she glanced back at him and grinned. "Your signing is very sincere. It would've been rude to read without you knowing I could."
[16:49] <Rora> "Proficient tutors then, I would say. smooth statue emerging from stone" He had fallen in step behind and off to Kayoko's right, returning her glance with a bemused nod of his own. "I…well, thank you. I can only give credit for what fluency I possess to my parents, to whom it is due. Though I do strive to maintain a policy of honesty. And regardless, your transparency is duly
[16:49] <Rora> appreciated."
[16:56] <Kayoko> "… well, to undercut that immediately, nobody else here knows I can read it. You can keep a secret, right?" she asked, placing a finger to her lips for emphasis. She was still grinning.
[17:00] * Rora shimmered a wan turquoise. "It…is a harmless enough one, I suppose. hastily buried tome"
[17:13] * Kayoko chuckled, facing forward once again.-
[17:13] <Kayoko> It only took another minute or two for them to reach the room Kayoko had chosen: It was a small room arranged in an ampitheatre style, only big enough to seat maybe twenty or so. Judging by the stage and display arranged at the room's lowest point it was a briefing room for the ship's pilots and marines, not the conference room Kayoko had first suggested.-
[17:14] <Kayoko> She descended down the stairs and arranged herself on the edge of the stage, sitting cross-legged. "It sounds like you have quite a story to tell, Mr. Mist."
[17:31] <Rora> There was a moment of vague confusion as Rora entered, taking in the surroundings quickly. And then, a shrug; small conferences for such a big ship, but who was he to judge? Rather than take to the stage however, at the bottom of the stairs Rora reached out with his AT field to flip down the seat of the nearest chair, holding it in place as settled there. He chuckled. "Today's story,
[17:31] <Rora> perhaps; the chapters before I feel are mundane in comparison. As well, you should feel free to call me Rora; I likewise release you from the bonds of formality. the scale rests once more" Today's story…!-
[17:39] <Rora> He sprang up, the seat cushion wobbling back upright madly. "Kim! And the team- I didn't even, pocket lacking its wallet" deep, guilty purples, "…The- sorry, I…there was an expedition to study the ruins on the planet. Professor Kim was leading it, and they had evacuated when…but then I never heard back from them…" He looked up at Kayoko. "Have you heard anything? Are they
[17:39] <Rora> safe? view from the high diving board"
[17:56] <Kayoko> "All fine," she said, making calming gestures. "Once that distortion around the planet was gone we picked them up on scanners and brought them back to Sisu. Sphere Defense is handling them for now."
[18:05] <Rora> "release of a long-held weight" he sighed, sinking back into the chair. Or, attempting to; he stopped short for a moment, perched awkwardly on the edge as it refused to turn down. He muttered distractedly, falling back on his AT field to orient himself and the cushion properly. Another few moments as he took steadying breaths.-
[18:13] <Rora> And then, with a nod, he looked up again; focused. "My sincerest gratitude, Kayoko. I am a Guardian - as you earlier surmised - and it was my duty to protect them. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly. Atlas, determined" He folded his hands on his lap. "I defer, then, to you: was there anything in particular about the day's events you sought knowledge of first, or would
[18:13] <Rora> a summary be preferable?"
[18:17] <Kayoko> "How about you give me the summary? We can narrow things down from there."
[18:19] * Rora nodded. "Sensible. I will do my best to begin concisely."-
[18:43] <Rora> He closed his eyes for a long few moments in silent recollection. "…Well, as I said; it was an expedition to study ancient ruins - on Zeruel IV - notable for being ruins of a spacefaring society. Things went well until a locked door was encountered; we were stymied by it significantly long. Then, just recently, another passage was discovered that might have circumvented it.-
[18:44] <Rora> "I alone was sent to explore it, in the event something dangerous were encountered. And, in a sense, I did." A fluttering of muddled oranges and yellows. "There was what looked like another door, set with a…device? Entity? It was silent when I approached, but on reaching out to it…" he shook his head, "…it was not dissimilar to the method involved in our brief conversation that
[18:44] <Rora> would follow much later. But somehow…"-
[18:44] <Rora> A short sigh. "In any case, we spoke. They claimed to be Chantry Watcher of the First Federation, and that Zeruel IV was a tomb planet; a warning. And further, that visitors were not welcome. I was given a deadline of seven hours for everyone to evacuate - a plan which we promptly set into motion. Successfully, as you have informed me.-
[18:44] <Rora> "But then, just before I was to join them, Chantry alerted me to the presence of another. Obviously, I wasn't about to leave anyone behind; it took a good hour to find the pod. There was precious little time at that point, so I collected the craft…only to find myself under fire. Those awful, green beams…" A flash of unpleasant, mustard light. "…Well. The rest is, I imagine,
[18:44] <Rora> covered by your recollection of the ensuing battle."
[20:01] <Kayoko> "It is, it is…" she murmured. Her hands, both resting in her lap, tapped together without any real rhythm as she frowned at her feet. "A Watcher? You're sure?"
[20:10] <Rora> "There can be no doubt: Chantry Watcher. etched in stone"
[20:24] <Kayoko> "My mother said-"-
[20:24] <Kayoko> … and all at once her attention was back on the room around her. Her stare settled back on Rora again, eyes narrowed and intense. "Forget it," she muttered. "A tomb world for what, Mr. Mist? Did it offer that?"
[20:39] <Rora> He arched an eyebrow at her, a hint of quizzical sky blue — before returning to recollection. "…It was…" He frowned. "…To my understanding, it was meant as a reminder of sorts; Chantry made clear that nothing of value was to be found on Zeruel IV. But they spoke of the Harvester Empire, and how they enslaved a…a great many people. In order to give physical form to emotion.
[20:39] <Rora> Which they then used to make…terrible things…"-
[20:44] <Rora> He clasped his hands together, knuckles white. "…The First Federation eradicated them for this. Zeruel IV is a reminder of the Harvesters' folly; a warning against following their path. 'This is not a place of honor'…" Rora sat motionless, AT feathers only wavering the slightest with their steely grey light.
[20:57] <Kayoko> "The Harvesters aren't new to us. We heard of them during the War, I assume from the Emissary…" she stood and began to pace the edge of the stage. "I don't think he told us they were this close, though. Or at least if he did, it wasn't in the records."-
[20:57] <Kayoko> "… Well this certainly complicates things."
[21:10] <Rora> "I…see." He leaned back, pressing his hands to his chin in a contemplative fashion. A pause, as he watched the captain move to and fro. "…Might I ask just what has so increased in its complexity? Or are there further answers you would seek first?"
[21:25] <Kayoko> "Mm. Right," she said distantly.-
[21:26] <Kayoko> "Well, we're at war," she said lightly. "That is probably the short version. While you were excavating Zeruel IV, an unknown spaceship dropped out of slipstream and attacked Frontier Station. We were able to cripple it, but more followed. Those were your lovely friends with the green beams, as I'm sure you can surmise."-
[21:26] <Kayoko> "The first ship was fleeing some the ones behind it, due to a bit of a civil war," she waved a hand. "The Overseers are behind that, apparently. The Overseer-backed fleet is on its way to Sisu to glass the planet flat if we don't hand over the religious leader you were kind enough to deliver to us."-
[21:26] <Kayoko> "As the only Federation warship in the system, we're the ones expected to stop them," she was still pacing, a little faster now. She gestured in his direction. "As are you now, suffice to say. Of course we'll pay the Guardians triple your normal rate…"-
[21:33] <Kayoko> "Except now on top of the relatively minor matter of their dreams of overthrowing the theocracy, the Devoted - and by extension the Overseers behind them - likely know our system has a live Watcher with enough war tech behind it to scrub a planet clean. One of those superheavies ran home through the slipstream, remember, flight recorder and all."-
[21:38] * Kayoko paused. "Well, the Watcher is a leap of logic," she muttered, "Unless there's something in the energy signature itself that tips them off to-"-
[21:38] <Kayoko> She let out a huff and stopped pacing, turning to face Rora head-on. "Nevermind. Something to think about," she said, her voice rapidly shedding some of the furious intensity it'd accumulated over the last minute or so. "All of that serves to explain the complexity, I hope?"
[21:55] <Rora> "…Quite. beneath an avalanche" His gaze had been fixed on Kayoko throughout her explanations, though it had grown slowly more dumbfounded over the course of them. He held there for a time, implications crashing down left and right, before finally blinking himself out of his stupor.-
[22:00] <Rora> "Right. Well. That is…engulfed in a supernova unending" he sighed heavily, pressing his palms across his eyelids, "…distressing. I can only imagine that in this, time is, as they say, not on our side."
[22:21] <Kayoko> "The Shrinepathers will be at Sisu in about twenty-two hours. We need to buy another day for the 2nd Outer Sphere Fleet to get here," she tapped her foot. "That will require something more aggressive."
[22:35] * Rora sat motionless. "…Aggression. War. All because…" Another sigh, just as weighty, accompanied by a shroud of deeply mournful blues.-
[22:36] <Rora> "We move to attack, then."
[22:53] * Kayoko stood quiet for a moment, just watching him. Then she gave a little nod. "We continue to attack, yes."-
[22:53] <Kayoko> "If it eases your conscience at all, we tried all the diplomacy available to us. That would've been a far more agreeable solution to the puzzle," she said.
[23:06] <Rora> "…Somewhat, if also not at all. But," he lifted his head, feathery luminescence transitioning slowly, smoothly back to steel grey, "I suppose I will have to make do. It is not a precisely solvable conundrum, regardless.-
[23:10] <Rora> "And, just as regardless, I am not about to abandon an entire planet of people to their demise - even if it requires the shield to act as a sword." A contemplative rub of the chin. "…Not that I'm certain how I might be of use to this endeavor."
[23:20] <Kayoko> "You and your cutting-edge superheavy? Oh I'm sure we'll find something, Mr. Mist," she said seriously.-
[23:20] <Kayoko> "The Guardians wouldn't have let you out into the field without knowing how to handle yourself. I'll put you to work, don't you worry."
[23:42] <Rora> "Well. I suppose there is that, yes; too often, I forget how fortunate I am to have her. remembering one's limbs" He sat back, thoughtful for a moment as he absently ran fingers across his knee.-
[23:48] <Rora> "…Twenty-two hours, then. Surely I ought to be doing something sooner rather than later, if I am to be of assistance." A sudden frown, accompanied with a formless muttering befouled trousers. "And still, I have yet to even introduce myself to this religious leader I managed to chance upon. How long have they been cooped up in that pod…?"
[23:56] <Kayoko> "Oh don't worry. I've already freed her, interviewed her and moved her to temporary quarters while you were in the cafeteria," Kayoko said, flashing a grin.-
[23:56] <Kayoko> "You can ask Simurgh for directions to her room, if you'd like," she added with a gesture towards the ceiling. "Our Evangelion is monitoring her under my instructions, so she's not under guard. She expressed interest in meeting you, and I doubt we'll make a move for a few hours."
[00:09] * Rora blinked. "How prudent of you; my thanks again, Captain Hyuga." He glanced upwards at her gesture, nodding slightly to himself. "…Is that so?" Another moment's contemplation. "Then despite other inquiries I have for you, perhaps I ought indulge her curiosity so as not to keep her waiting any further." He stood, easing the seat cushion back upright with a gentle touch of AT as he
[00:09] * Rora gave his suit a perfunctory and unnecessary brushing off.-
[00:09] <Rora> "…Er. By your leave, that is. tiptoeing into a pool of unknown temperature"
[00:14] * Kayoko smirked. "You'll get the hang of it, Guardian."-
[00:14] <Kayoko> "You're free to go," she said, making a shooing motion with her left hand. "Make a good impression, and keep it light on the details about us until we know whether we can trust her."
[00:20] <Rora> "Secreter and secreter." A last, short sigh, "However, understood." He closed his eyes, focusing intently for a moment.-
[00:28] <Rora> Then, he had suddenly sprouted a second pair of arms. They shone with the same radiance as his AT-generated feathers, but shone in a gently shifting rainbow of colors distinctly separate from them. He folded both pairs of arms in a properly formal Defector bow, plumage shining with verdant respectfulness. "Until next our paths should cross. with fortune following all the while"-
[00:31] <Rora> With that, he made his exit. As he reached the exit, he looked upwards. "Simurgh, would you kindly direct me to-" The door slid shut behind him.
[00:37] <Kayoko> There was a slight pause as the door hissed shut, and then Kayoko began to laugh. "Not bad, as last words go."-
[00:37] <Kayoko> As the laughter faded, she dragged both hands across her face and scalp, messing her hair up as she went. "Twenty-two hours…," she muttered. "You've got this."

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