Prime Directive
Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:24am

Cold blue light reflected in Kaze's eyes, tinging orange as the space coast lit up in starfire. He played the recording back, noting the blast characteristics of flash, plume, and pressure wave. Even with the advent of higher order power sources and their individual spectacle when they failed, nothing quite replicated this most iconic of cataclysms.

"Looks nuclear."

"The power plant. It's a safer bet for extreme-distance. Reliability is good in space." Shinsei called up the known particulars of Axel's little science project onto an adjoining screen, a hologram displaying a 3D render of the launch site on the room's center table. "Casualties are three or four digits. Reports are still coming in. Guards and technicians, mostly. Some scientists." The reserved woman's soft features were set into professional stoicism, relaying the information coolly even as she swallowed a lump in her throat at the images and numbers.

"What about the payload?"

"We don't know if it was onboard. We might have lost nothing but the vehicle; Axel's no fool, he probably still has it in him. It might not even function if it were removed. But that's problem two." She took a deep breath, reluctant to relay such complicating information. The breath set her brother on edge before the tattle tale footage even came to life: A thirty second PoV-cam clip of Axel firing on the blue relic weapon known as X who was, as far as the public was concerned, Captain America. "A multibillion credit project spontaneously becomes a WMD in the middle of a major infrastructure hub, and the Hunters start asking questions. Axel wasn't keen on answering."

Kaze furrowed his brow and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Christ."

"It gets better." She confirmed with a faux-enthusiastic lilt, bringing up a printed transcript of nearly a dozen calls put out by the errant mercenary. "He's calling in the cavalry."


Rules in this line of work were complicated. Interfere, but not too much. Save the world, but you're not allowed to do it by yourself. Use any method you find acceptable, but don't significantly alter the world's established laws and conventions. In retrospect, 21XX was a rather cushy assignment: pretty much any shenanigans that could be gotten up to could be attributed to the world's technology. This left open a great deal more options than trying to lie low in a backwater world where firearms would upset international politics. In fact, it more or less left everything on the table. And while that freedom was gratifying, it also meant anyone with a mind to draw weapons were closer to on their level than Kaze had grown to like. Case in point was why their assignment here had been bumped up on the timetable, and to where they were headed at that very moment.

The Geiger counter in Kaze's ear went spastic as the two touched down on the barren, streaked wasteland that was once Ducandia. 21XX had been on hot watch ever since The Day of Sigma, been openly debated about on the ongoing non-intervention with the fall of Sky Lagoon, and had finally prompted a response when a rag-tag bunch of nobodies had caused a city to vanish with nothing but a gunship and a small landing party. It was the latest in a growing trend of mass destruction events, but the almost casual nature of the attack compared to its devastating effectiveness was what had tipped the scales. Sky Lagoon was undone by a massive concerted operation, multiple waves of landing troops, vital infrastructure sabotage by a Hunter gone Maverick, and concentrated attack by an Eregion unit. The Mephistopheles was done by one plane and what most authorities in the world might have considered goons, were it not for their already established reputation.

They'd shadowed the organization known as the Freelance Reploids internally for years, and though the walls harbored all manner of filth, they came back clean time and time again in terms of existential threats to humanity. The group had even turned up some gems like Cylecks and Axel, a long call back to their own days of playing knight errant as mercenaries. Had they still been on-station with the Freelancers, the siblings may well have accompanied their former XO out of sympathy on this mission, but that was out of their hands. Fortunately, the situation had now, more directly than ever, called into relevance their most core responsibility.

Humanity's first real chance of interplanetary colonization had just been destroyed, and with it one of the greatest lynchpins of species survival: not being tied to a single rock in the sky. The threat was no longer imaginary, projected, predicted, or extrapolated. Somebody had just caged our race and entire ecology. Intentionally. The warrant for action was approved so fast that the siblings were already in-transit by the time Axel had touched down, and arrived only minutes after Demios. Black, angular wings with a glassy sheen slowed Kaze's descent as he carved two smooth lines through the scraggy topsoil like a parachuter skidding to a halt. Face mask closed to protect against the irradiated environment, his dimly glowing eyeplate and unnatural wings contrasted sharply with his conventional-looking military vest and pouches, tied together with a blade hilt holstered at his hip that amalgamated arcane and hyper-modern design. Far less imposing and only a step behind him was Shinsei, soft fabric overcoverings obfuscating her light but endurance-enhancing armor; a perfectly spherical haze hung about her, casting her into pastel tones as her shield washed out a great deal of energy spectrum to protect against the ambient toxins neither of them had a Reploid's resistance to.

Though they were early, Kaze had hoped to see more volunteers there already, perhaps gathered before the call had even been made. Demios was as much a surprise to the siblings as he was to Axel, though not an unwelcome sight. Axel's own concerns about him likewise came to mind, but the two acting buddy-buddy had set those considerations closer to the back burner, if only a little.

"Small party. Just us four?" Kaze asked as way of greeting, the obsidian-like appendages at his back simply ceasing to exist without so much as a poof as Shinsei offered a friendly wave to Demios, hoping Aurora was on her way as well. It would be good to see her one-time student again. "Tell me this isn't just a revenge mission." Revenge was a nasty word, but Kaze secretly hoped for it. It would put them all on the same page, so to speak.

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