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Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:31am

Spacecraft were expensive, even with government subsidies for the expansion of humanity. Sure, dozens of unmanned drones had been sent out across the cosmos, but the most recent of those were decades old. After the Maverick Wars, people--both organic and synthetic--had become incredibly selfish. They had dedicated themselves towards the singular purpose of survival.

Axel sighed as he considered the implications of his decisions. The Freelance Reploids had taken him in when he was just a discarded construction robot. Of course, that was only part of the story. He was one of the first generation Reploids, built by Dr. Cossack for the sole purpose of masterminding the establishment and colonization of a new Earth. He'd become sidetracked by Maverick sibling units, and had managed to suppress his purpose for several years as he built his fortune through contracted missions. But that nagging sensation was always present, gnawing at his conscience, and demanding that he fulfill it.

And so, he had fought for pay. He maintained his moral compass, only accepting assignments that agreed with his view of how things should be. But nevertheless, Axel was still a soldier of fortune for many years. He even assumed command of the Freelance Reploids for a couple years, not through desire, but through necessity. When he was eventually relieved of his command, he wasn't offended. On the contrary: he was indeed relieved. His retirement came shortly thereafter, and he spent two years as a civilian, catching up on current events. It was truly amazing how far one could fade from the world, while secretly helping to save it from itself.

Investing his accumulated fortune into an interstellar exploration project, Axel was quite unprepared for the cluster... that suddenly emerged. His xenopod exploded in a shower of fire one day. His four-hundred employees--humans and reploids alike--perished as the nuclear fire engulfed the launch pad. In an instant, Axel's entire savings, and what was to be the culmination of his life's work, was destroyed. From his one-room apartment, he watched the inferno on the evening news, and promptly silenced his comlink, knowing reporters would be pounding at his door for his official statement.

Axel had no official statement. What he had was entirely unofficial. Someone had destroyed his life's work. Someone had directly sabotaged his plans to build Humanity a new home. Someone was responsible for hundreds of deaths.

Someone was going to pay.

Axel spat into the corner, and rose to his feet. A green flash filled the one-room apartment as his combat armor materialized around him for the first time in over a year. Yes. Someone was going to pay. He tapped a few buttons on his wall console, and called up an old friend.

"Cylecks, it's Axel. I'm calling in all the favors. Meet me at the Mephistopheles crash site at 0200."

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