Dark Disasters

It was two weeks since the meeting within Central Control, on Sanctuary. Two weeks since the Heart of Winter disaster. in that time, to those of the newly formed team, crash course training had been offered to teach them the basics of the armor and equipment that they might find in their grasp. Those that had opted not to undergo the training had been given accommodations within the capitol city, or even passage to and from the planet, provided they returned within the two weeks. 

Today is a new day, as the team has been given, well, instructions, or perhaps a request to meet at Plaza de Fondateurs (Plaza of Founders), opposite the historic "House of Planets" building, that served as the senate hall. They had not been told what to expect, other than a formal meeting. Today was a slightly overcast day, with the faintest hint of a breeze. The plaza had reverted back to it's calm, usual purpose, rather than the emergency landing field and hospital it had become, during the disaster, when last many of them had seen it. The streets around it are crowded and bustling, the noise and bustle of a living, thriving city. 

To one side, stood the House of Planets itself, the large structure seeming shorter than it actually was. It's terraces seemed to bustle with people, moving to and from various entrances, stairs leading up to them overseen by a myriad of subtle, discrete security features. The building itself was made of dark stone, that seemed to soak up the sunlight, the massive dome atop it the only part that seemed to reflect it. Carved into the stairs, leading up to it, were dozens, hundreds of names. Planets, systems, asteroids, everywhere humanity had set foot, and dared to call their own.

Lieutenant Kota Jacobs sat on the edge of one of the planters in the plaza, dressed in his dress uniform, playing with a data pad, as he waited for the others. From time to time, one of his hands reached up, to stroke at the bandages that were faintly visible even through his uniform. It had been less than a day since he'd been fully cleared and allowed to return to duty, and he was excited to see the others.

The page on the House of Planets, if anyone is interested. Still slightly a work in progress.
Cassius cracked his neck as he approached the plaza. His body ached from the last two weeks of training. He had always considered himself to be in reasonable shape, working with heavy machinery all day tended to build muscle tone. That was until he met the charming Sargent Devin.

The morning after the meeting with the Protector of the Initiative, Cassius woke in the quarters where he had been temporarily billeted to a message requesting his presence at the base commander's office. After an introduction to the surprisingly cheerful looking woman running the place and signing a contract effectively making him a civilian contractor on indefinite rendition to Central Command, he was offered a series of training courses. Knowing that back on the Heart he felt like a weight around the necks of the soldiers protecting him he took all of them. Two days later, lying broken on his bunk Cass wondered if he hadn't made a terrible mistake. Sargent Devin was in charge of his training. He was not a large man, perhaps 5cm shorter than Cassius, but he was thick, solid muscle from head to toe. Devin projected such a sense of solidity that his military issue prosthetic leg and ocular implant seemed flimsy by comparison. The man didn't smile, always spoke in a shout and never let Cass stop until the end of the task. He was a very easy man to hate yet Cassius never, despite the near constant stream of insults, felt that anything was personal. The Sargent was simply a man doing his job, and he intended to do it well.

He'd made it through without dying though. And despite the time demands of fitness training, range firing, CA/S practice and his self set task of studying any military tech he may need to patch or fix, he had found some energy to get to know his fellows over drinks and the occasional glozzum pipe, off base of course. Chevy, Shino, and Lo, a skilled pilot, he had formed a good bond with over the course of his training. He'd only met Viktor and Malcom (again) more recently but could tell he would be getting along with both of them. All five had been tortured with his signing voice thanks to Shino dragging them all to a karaoke bar. Cass had even been able to sneak a bottle into Lieutenant Jacob's room at one point once Kota was out of the woods. He was feeling pretty good about team he would be going on this probably suicidal mission with.

The message arriving about a formal meeting at Plaza de Fondateurs  did raise an issue in his mind. He'd been given military fatigues for training and a compression suit that aided integration into his armour, but being a civilian he didn't get dress uniform. So he decided to get one made for himself. Now he was strolling down the street in a freshly pressed, high collared, black coat and trousers that roughly matched military dress. To mimic the gaudy shirt he was wearing last time he was here the lines of both the coat and trousers were trimmed with a neon blue, and a metal lily flower shined on the epilets on each shoulder.

Seeing Kota across the plaza Cassius slowly and deliberately snapped a crisp salute before heading over and sitting next to the man. 
"I've been practicing those" he said with a smile. "and in other news, sarge finally signed me off yesterday. Apparently I am 'not entirely useless.' Glad to see you out of recovery though the smart move would have been to draw it out longer and avoid this assignment."
Shino had indeed taken them all for multiple spins all over Sanctuary by dragging the group to karaoke bars. Subtle threats, and sometimes, help from multiple of her Senate Security colleagues, they did have a good night out. Getting drunk, singing, listening to Cass' beautiful *cough* voice. All round it had been a good few weeks. She'd been watching the engineers train, and occasionally checked up on Kota's progress.

The past two weeks had been... fun.

Now she stood at the Plaza, in her GFC uniform -as much combat ready as wouldn't be frowned upon. An accident with a colleague had rendered her dress uniform(s)... well... a little dressed down. All-round, Shino felt good, and happy. Probably happier than she should be. Clutching her helmet in one hand, while messing with her own datapad, looking at pictures of her family, she smiled.

''God I miss you little runts. Hope you're not misbehaving or I'll chase you with kitchen utensils when I get back.'' she muttered, and, as she looked at the overcast sky, spotted Kota and Cass. Slowly, she made her way over, appearing to be in no hurry. Of course, she dreaded the meeting most -meetings always unnerved her. What she did like was that she'd get to do it with people she actually could grow to like -or already liked.  Cass had his own sense of humour she could appreciate, and the chatty, chipper -and slightly off- Malcolm, had his own endearing ways.

Softly whistling, putting her datapad away, and waving as she came within earshot, she heard about Cass' passing his training.

''Congratulations. Should I call you grunt now? Kota, sir, good to see you out and about. Are bandages a fashion item these days or what?'' she joked, and saluting, before reaching into her armour's pockets. From them, she took some small soft pockets, filled with a soda drink. The soft pockets were bio-degradable, sweet and cheap, no less. The perfect drink for someone's sweet tooth like Shino's.

''Here. It's good, and we might just enjoy this for the last time in a while.'' she chuckled, and drank from her own, after dropping two others into their laps.
Chevy was no fool, and she knew that she was going to need all the help she could got going into whatever their 'mission' was going to be. And besides, it was free! She had embraced the training, enjoying the challenge, knowing that it was only going to be a benefit to her, and it was physical, a good way of letting out energy after the blah-blah hours of going over classroom blah about engineering.

Not only that, but the training helped to bring the group together as, well, a group, they had a chance to learn each others' quirks and strengths, and the karaoke...well, it loosened them up, was a great way to relieve the stress of all the serious stuff, and Chevy could drink with the best of them...singing, not so much. But when you were plastered, who cared!

Now it was time for the big meeting, time to find out what was going to be expected of them and to put to use what they had learned. And as she approached the small group that was gathering, she grinned. "Heya! I made it! What more do you need?" She laughed.
Lorelei was actually not all that bad at singing nor was she a professional mind you. A lot better then she said she was anyway. She insisted she where more of a dancer and that was bad enough to the point where you'd need ear replacements. The training had been more or less enjoyable at times. Her inability to fight with her fists or any melee fighting in general had made itself very apparent.

She had put on her pilot uniform just to look presentable. She preferred her more expressive "off-duty" clothes but since she was at work she made due with what she had. She wasn't in that much of a hurry as she might have made her way here while driving a fair bit over the speed limit. When she saw her colleagues she waved at them with a smile.

"Hallo and good morning?"

Kota looked up, glancing at Cassius as he approached, and laughed as he saluted, before giving one of his own though with a certain degree of deliberate sloppiness to it. He gave a smile, and shook his head, "Too stiff," He muttered, before he stood, watching Shino approach, and begin pulling out drinks. "Medics want me to keep these on a few more days," He said, with a shrug, and a faint grin, before he winced.

As Darcy and Chevy approached, he waved, in greeting. "Glad to see you survived, Ma'am," He said, with a smile, offering her his hand. He glanced at Darcy, glancing the other lieutenant over with a curious look. "Jacobs," He said, by way of introducing, turning to offer her his hand.

While the team gathered, another figure approached. As Kota stepped aside to let her in, the uniform of a Ground Forces colonel was revealed, and she gave a smile at Shino, recalling her from prior encounters. The newcomer was small, and unassuming, barely coming up to Kota's shoulder, as she turned her smile towards the others. she had the pale complexion of someone who spent a great deal of time in armor. Her appearance was immaculate, as if she spent a great deal of time ensuring her uniform was clean and perfect, although, given her workplace, no less could be expected. "I'm Colonel Miyori Dominguez, commander of Senate security," She spoke out, in a clear, authoritative voice. "If you're all ready, your appointment is fast approaching."

Cassius grabbed the proffered drink and watched as the rest turned up, greeting everyone in turn.
"You all salute very weird" he commented seeing how Kota, Shino and Lorelie did theirs. "I thought the military was all about formality."
With the colonel's question Cass remembered the drink in his hand.
"One sec" he said and proceeded to drain the pouch in one long drink. 
"schluuuuuuurp! There, now I'm ready."
''Understood.'' Shino said, draining the pack of soda, after snapping a half-arsed salute. While some might get angry, Shino didn't care.
She knew when to salute, and how to salute. But considering they would be doing something that went outside of the standard lines of duty, she was taking some liberties.

Aside from that, she might've been GFC, but was put into the somewhat less fully-militaristic Senate Security. She thought she could.

''So, where's our Cap'n? I thought he'd meet us here?''
"Maybe he has better sense than th' rest of us?" Chevy offered with a teasing grin. She took a swig of her drink, then nodded to the Colonel, bypassing the formal salute since she wasn't military. "Ma'am...good to meet you. Lookin' forward to seein' how all this is gonna play out..." She grinned. "And lookin' forward to th' celebration party at th' end of it all." After all, that was the best part, when they had their answers, everyone was all right, and they could sit and have a beer!
"This all of us then?" Cassius remarked as the group started to follow Colonel Dominguez up the steps and into the House of Planets.
"Perhaps the others are meeting us inside? He mused to no one in particular.  "I would have thought that Malcolm would jump at the chance to put on his fancy clothes. He seems the type."

Stopping at the top of the steps Cass turned and looked out at Terra Casus. In the distance mag-cranes were working to repair the physical scars left by the attack. But Cassius knew that the psychological shock wave was still likely to be reverberating across the planet, it's effects still to be felt by many.
"Right, let's do this then." he said and headed inside.

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