Log:First Order: Fall of Kalarba Part II
The ominous wedge of the Finalizer hangs in space over Kalarba's blue and green surface, obscuring the stars beyond. Docked to the bottom of the massive ship is a smaller one, a Pelta-class frigate called Constellation. In the last two days since its capture, engineers and technicians have been hard at work refitting the former atmosphere defense vessel into something else. One enterprising fellow has even gone as far as to hastily stencil 'Falling Star' over its name with spray paint.
The Vanguard members have been dispatched to the bridge, with a representative from the Knights of Ren (maybe). Kylo appears in effigy, as a glowing blue figure. "The shield over the capital has given the Kalarbans a false sense of security. They believe we can't break through from orbit, and they're partially right. That's where this ship comes in." The frigate they're sitting in the bridge of now. "The autopilot system was destroyed during our takeover, so someone needs to pilot the ship down until it crashes into the shield. There are only two escape pods left, so you'll need to pile in tightly. There's no extra space." He pauses to let that sink in for a moment, before finishing the briefing. "You'll need to work together to get the ship to the shield under fire and eject at the last minute. There is no one else I can trust with this mission."
The transmission fades away as the frigate shudders, undocking from the Finalizer and stabilizing under its own power.
It's a second or two before Artemis moves after being given instructions by the blue limned spectre, her ashen armored form with her two rifles mounted to rack points on her back like a statue. It's fortunate that she is wearing her helmet as she curses under her breath within the plastoid composite shell. "Shavit."
Turning to regard Drath, Artemis turns on her vocoder mid-sigh. A hiss escapes before her voice bleeds out to those around her. "DL-1991, remember when I said never again?" She lets that sink in. "I'm rescinding that order."
Standing, looking at Kylo's form, Hadrix blinks within his helmet. Flying a frigate, into a war zone. Not his best form, but he'll try. Turning to look at a readout of the planet, and the shields, he growls to himself.
Hands moving over the controls he begins zooming in on various locations and then moving back to the macro view. "Trying to find a weak point in the shields and in their potential fire zones, lead." but coming up nil for now.
Standing quietly on the bridge is DK-4077, watching the Supreme Leader's briefing with rapt attention. Upon the completion of it, he looks to Artemis before turning his attention to Drath. He's got less than nothing to offer at this time.
Pistols at her hips, Karys folds her arms as she listens to the directions given before Kylo's image fades out and they are let to their own devices with instructions to follow. She steps side and moves over to the systems chair and lowers into it. She starts to look over the shield readouts and then narrows her gaze. "I am going to see if I can reroute to front shields and expand range. It might buy us time to get to the pods."
Karys begins pulling up the full specs and readouts of the shields to begin siphoning energy from port and starboard.
Watching the orders as they're given, Drath begins to slowly grin behind his helmet, though that's not immediately obvious outwardly. "Was that an order?" Drath asks Artemis, no small amount of amusement to his voice. Either way, he nods in response, a sharp motion of his helmet being given as the Trooper approaches the pilot's seat. Taking a moment to maglock his rifle behind him, he eases himself down into the seat and turns the chair around, beginning to fire up the systems of the spacecraft for the larger version of the last time he did this.
The planet below awaits as the Pelta-class frigate's systems finish their initial diagnostics and immediately about seven different red lights begin to blink on the console in front of Karys. "WARNING: Au-to pilot un-available," a soothing robotic voice intones over the intercom. "WARNING: Au-to pilot un-available."
"In-coming trans-mission," the voice says next, as a green light pops on at a different console, near Duke. There's a big square button under the light.
The shield over the capital is distant through the viewport, visible as a faint, shimmering blue dome that shrouds the city beneath.
Artemis is not a pilot, her flight skills passable enough to act as a big black shuttle cab, but she is out of her depth when it comes to large unwieldly ships. Instead, she sticks to what she does best and tries to grasp the situation from an objective spot, far removed from any modicum of ego she may have lurking beneath the topography of her scarred and calloused skin.
"91, if the shield is anything like its more portable equivalent, we will want to ensure that our angle of ingress is approximately 32 degrees from the peak of the dome. Please make it so." Artemis wheels and motions towards the blinking light, gathering up Duke's attention. "77, let's say hello." Composing herself, she keeps the helmet on and stays at the ready.
"My information shows the peak as the break point, Lead, confirm?" Hadrix notes, sending over his information for Artemis to review, leaning over the tactical station still, brows knitting inside his helmet.
"See, this is the kind of professionalism you get from career soldiers." Erisi murmurs to herself, the woman in her cool robes with the hood pushed back to reveal the woman's freckled face, amber eyes focused on the troopers as she watches in admiration of how well they work together. Her hands are tucked into the pockets of her robes and she'll rock back and forth slowly, staying near where they'll all have to go once (if, fingers crossed!) they cross that beautiful shimmering blue shield.
"Should I..." Duke begins, looking over at the green button. Beneath his helmet, those blue eyes squints and he liftsh is hand in a 'don't mind if I do' kinda way.
With the kind of skill that takes decades to hone, Duke reaches out with his index and middle finger to slowly depress the illuminated device.
Karys continues to work on the movement of shield power to the fore shields from the rest of the ship, for the moment she reaches up to unclip her helmet and set it beside her so she can see clearly. Giving a shake of her hair back from her face her fingers set and reverse a few inputs until the reading is as high as it can go. "Ten fifteen, shield is now reading at seventy five percent. It has been reinforced with the power from the starboard and port shields. If we enter direct on impact it should give us an extended amount of time to get to the escape pod."
She reaches out to silence the warning they already know about as the light starts to flash and she looks to it, glancing back to Artemis. "Should I answer it.." her voice trails off as Duke decides to answer it, those blue eyes just staring at him and her lips half parted. "Right then."
"Copy, Ten-Fifteen." Drath acknowledges, reaching forward and flipping a few switches as the docking clamps of the Finalizer release and the ship lurches forward slightly. "Can someone go set all the doors leading to the escape pods to an open position, please? Maybe have them jammed that way?" Surely someone knows how to do that, right? Taking a moment to familiarze himself with the ship controls before him, DRath takes a slow breath. "Eighteen, angle forward shields as much as possible. Going to try to set our speed low enough to give us plenty of time to get back there."
It might be the first button Duke has pressed in several years: it's hard to say. Once he does, a concerned message is spat through the speakers onto the bridge. "-any chance you survived the attack on Elona? Repeat, Captain Arntout, is there any chance you survived the attack on Elona? Have you been released?" Now it's up to Duke to respond.
In the meantime, the tiny silhouettes of fighters can be spotted rising up from the planet's surface, appearing on scanners as well, a welcoming party to be sure all is right with the good ship Constellation as the Frigate sets a course for the shield and slowly accelerates.
Artemis turns her head, the blackened visor of her helmet presented in Hadrix's direction as she pulls up the information the front line soldier provides her. Rather than dismiss it outright, her fingers dance over the controls on her wrist as her matte-blue eyes try and follow the man's thought process along.
"I disagree Nine-Oh," Artemis finally concludes but the fire in her voice is a muted thing if present at all. "It's possible that it's different at this scale." The concession betrays her lack of surety but she carries on.
"Thank you, Eighteen." Artemis moves forward to put herself in the way of the transmitter but hesitates for a moment, instead scrutinizing the broad shouldered man to measure what he does next.
"Lead, certain?" Hadrix turns from his station. The lack determination in Artemis's tone, and the mention of 'possible' setting something niggling in the back of his head. He wrestles with the thought, looking to his information, and then back to the command chair - unable to keep quiet.
"Suggest you run the scans again lead, or this is just going to be a firework." The big trooper keeps his attention focused on her now, head tilting to one side.
"Did I survive Elona? You know it takes more than that to stop me," the Stormtrooper answers, chuckling softly. His eyes shift uneasily beneath his helmet. "W-why do you ask?" he says, very nearly sounding convincing. It's been a long time since he was an intel operative, okay.
Pushing up from the console, Karys nods to Artemis before heading for the next console - security. She begins routing through it while she stands, leaning over it as her helmet comes to rest on the chair behind her. "Ninety-one I am working on the doors. I should have something for you soon." The door behind them hisses open and goes red overhead to show locked position. She then is moving on down the line upon the corridor to the aft where the pods are.
Her finger slides and depresses each one and as they appear red on her screen she looks up and nods to Artemis as she puts her helmet on and clicks over to internal comms. <<Ten-fifteen, the way to the pods has been cleared. All doors are locked to open position.>>
Erisi decides that she too must make herself useful, rolling up her sleeves after untucking hands from pockets, so she can approach a console on the ship, "Okay guys! Guys, hey - you guys, I have an idea and it might be a stupid one but I'm gonna do it anyhow." Announced for the benefit of the others she'll get to work, //barely// managing to eke out a reasonable facsimile of their ship actually being in much worse shape, "So, what I'm doing, or trying to do, is - hold on-make things look like they're malfunctioning, even though they /aren't/, though I mean some obviously are, --but-if we play on what I'm gonna make their scanners see us in really super bad shape, like ..." Her fingers are tapping and sliding this way and that on the console as she gets into systems and weaves here and there, "W're limping in on half an engine kinda thing, things are going haywire in here, give us clearance to enter the atmosphere or we'll all die!" Dramatically delivered over one shoulder, "Okay, their scans are going to show /us/ pretty much fallin' apart, play on that guys. Make it work." Dance your little hearts out.
Drath adjusts himself in his seat, still somewhat in the process of familiarizing himself with the ship. His comms are off for the time being, so that he can mutter things softly to himself while he works it out. He's only ever flown a ship this large in simulations, and never one of Republic make. "Let's seee..." His hand on the flight yoke and guiding the ship forward, he reaches over to press a few more buttons. "Bet it's this one..." the man mutters, pressing one of them and apparently forgetting that the turbolasers have to be /aligned/ first, causing <<THEW THEW>>, and a large green bolt to be seen veering out into space to the left of the planet.
"Oops." Reaching over, he grabs a small yoke and goes about aligning the turbolasers in the correct, forward position. The ship continues to accelerate, regardless of the man over the comms in the background. <<Accelerating. Get to a safe place and make sure you're buckled in. Does that shot I just fired count as a malfunction?>>
"Was that a malfunction?" the ground control asks over the comms, waiting for a response as their fighter team draws in closer, a quartet of Headhunters zooming up from the surface below, weapons charged and ready.
"Ground, scans show the Constellation is heavily damaged, I'm not even sure how they're still in the air," Aurek 1 reports, comming in from the lead fighter. "How should we proceed?"
The doors inside the frigate are locked open now, and Drath's potshot has drained the energy they have left in the tanks by another percentage point.
"Certain," Artemis states flatly, regaining the steel in her voice as she siphons energy from some unseen entity. "Continue our existing trajectory." Turning back to the communication at hand, she has little but a grim, knitted brow for Duke's haphazard attempt at the cloak and dagger work that they are so bad at. As for the Knight's version of stealth, she does not object enough to bother fighting it out with the strange wielders of the occult.
"They are going to be suspicious at best, shortly," Artemis states the obvious. "Is it safe to assume that the escape pods themselves were serviced by engineering prior to okaying this freighter for flight?"
Head jerking back slightly, Hadrix nods and looks back to his station, allowing for Artemis to have the right to the command decision, no matter what he thinks.
As Drath fires the turbo lasers, and Duke tries to bluff over the comms, he remains on station, waiting, his entire body beginning to coil as he fights distraction. Expression lostin his helmet, one hand resting briefly on his chestplate, fingers tapping. "Eighteen, how much can we divert to the engines to boost speed if we need?"
"You know how many ships I seen being held together by like, tooth floss? They can be suspicious as they want. I suggest ...next transmission sent back is full of us all screaming to make it /seem/ like we are totally falling apart." A pause as Erisi monitors her handiwork, "I also suggest in the next transmission, while we're all screaming, that we're going to bail out because the ship is about to go -- but wait until we're already being pulled in by the planets gravity so it's obvious we can't escape it and staying on the ship is certain death - if they DON'T want their shields damaged or destroyed they may just open it for us, and if not .." She glances up over her shoulder to Artemis.
"Then we're gonna crash on through anyhow, but we prevent them from trying to destroy us before they do." Hadrix's question has Erisi nodding her head furiously, bangs swaying too and fro across her forehead, "YES! The man in the identical helmet to you all is right. Put ALL power to those engines, rammin' speed! We got health insurance, right? A coupla mean docs but I ain't died yet ..I mean I haven't been treated yet but I hear they don't purposely kill no one .." Not entirely confident in that assessment, but ...you gotta work with what you got, "The longer we're not crashing down, the more they're gonna suspect us and find cause to shoot us down."
"Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," Duke says before he lifts his rifle and pumps a bolt into the console. "We've been found out," he offers to the rest of the team, matter of factly.
Erisi' performance catches Karys' attention and the redonned helmet glances towards the woman with interest. She stands still by the security panel and watches the exchange in silence before she speaks over comms again. <<Would it not be prudent to get most of us to the pods now? Save for two people, the pilot and another to help deal with any problems that arise. I can remain with Dee-El nineteen ninety-one and the two of us can take the last escape pod if this would be acceptable?>>
Then Nine-Oh is requesting more of her and she steps forward to Drath's right and moves to look over the nav console. Ramming speed is asked for and KS-0218 attempts to move enough power to engines that won't detract too much from the work on the shields. "We have routed power to engines without compromising shields."
<<I'll just keep flying the ship at the pre-agreed angle.>> Drath acknowledges over the comms, accepting the fact that in the background they'll come up with whatever strategy they can. He's here to fly the ship! <<Adjusting engines to maximum speed.>> he chirps out, the ship shuddering slightly as he takes the extra power Karys diverted to them and applies them directly to the thrusters. <<No idea what's going on back there, but it sounds like faster is better.>> The ship moving on its own now, Drath continues to guide it with the yoke, though the closer it gets the less he has to focus on keeping it on target. Gravity helps out with that.
There's a twinge of electricity that seems to crawl along the tiny hairs that line Artemis' skin, reacting instinctually to the short, olive-skinned woman's gaze despite the far less imposing figure she cuts versus the career trooper. Dangerous things come in small packages, regardless of the enthusiasm the Knight seems to injecting in to the game that they're playing so bluntly. Moving to speak behind the anonymizing helmet, she is abruptly cut short just as her lips open by a blaster bolt destroying potentially important electronics equipment.
"Completely unacceptable, Seventy-Seven," Artemis growls her rage before again she is interrupted by another claxon shriek. Missiles. A quick glance at the panel and the readout presents her with reality: they likely can't just soak all these strikes.
"Everyone mans a turret that is not already doing something critical!" Artemis calls out, her voice unfaltering and true as the pressure builds. "I do not care if you have not be trained on it!" With that, she takes her own advice and hops in to the nearest chair that seems to be hooked to something vaguely reminiscient of the sims so long ago. Keeping her helmet on, the squad lead takes a haphazard shot and sends another green laser screaming in to the void of space. A miss.
Shooting. He is good at shooting, none of this cloak and dagger that he is working on, none of the tactics that he -knows- but is getting rebuffed on. Hadrix's frown within his helmet could split the chin off his body at this point. He reaches up again, rubbing at his chest plate, possibly still sore from the shot there during the marine action.
"Copy lead!" Looming back to full height and hustling towards one of the gunner seats, Hadrix jumps in and begins tapping at the controls, bringing up the targeting screen.
"Target locked, firing!" Utilizing his limited time in the sims, a firing solution is hammered out and entered, causing a set of guns to come to life, tracking in what little movement arc they have and then spitting green daggers into the eternal night. "Lead, you will be needed on the ground. Suggest you take the non-essentials to our current predicament and start for the pods like the Knight has been noting. We will catch up."
And all of the sage and wise advice from the space wizard is useless. And let's be honest, it was probably useless to begin with. She's just here to have fun and make friends, guys. Standing as she is Erisi is forced to grab the console she was working on as soon as the missiles begin to hit their ship, the woman eventually falling onto her knees before she begins to crawl mid-rocks towards a viewport, "Shavit, on it!" Erisi calls out to Artemis, fully aware that should she not actually be useful in some respect they won't invite her out again. Dragging herself up on a particularly helpful shot that rocks her without much effort in the direction she wants she's popping up to peer over the edge of a viewport, hazel eyes scanning as she raises up her right hand and slaps her palm onto the window.
"C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let me see your stupid face and let me impress the cool Trooper chick ..." Whispered to herself as she lets those hazel peepers scan the vastness of space above the planets blue shielf/.One of the ships comes up and around, the pilot coming into view from Erisi's vantage point, her fingers curling into the glass as her skin begins to take on a soft glow along veined lines beneath the flesh, tips of her fingertips, teeth bared as she grits them together, trying to summon up the necessary internal rage like she's been taught.
"There you are." Within the cockpit of Aurek 1 the pilot begins to writhe as if they had just sat on something unpleasant, hands soon clawing at their flightsuit and their helmet, pieces torn off and body convulsing more dramatically as their screams go unheard. Fists pound at the helmeted head which is soon smacked off, the pilots melted face the last thing seen before erupting into blue-white, the poor person burned from the inside out, "Gotcha! One down!" Called out, Erisi pressing her face into the durasteel glass or whatever the material is, nose squishing down as eyes narrow, the woman on the visual hunt for her next target. The ship? Maybe it's careening now that the pilot is dead into the deadness of space, or into the shield of the planet. Erisi's focus is elsewhere though, so she may never know.
Doing all she can at the moment for the engines she clips over the comms, <<Manning a turret>>. Slipping into a seat and taking up one of the guns not already occupied she knows at least how to turn it on and get things ready to shoot. Spooling through the sequence she picks a target as well as she uses the controls to sweep the guns about as Erisi screams about one being down and as KS glances over towards her to see her pressed up against that glass.
As her targeting instrument beeps for her the trooper swings a bit too far to the right in her attempt to shoot as the bolts do nothing but cleave through space.
Drath allows the speed to reach as high as he can manage to get them going, the ship still speeding up as they approach the planetary shields. Unfortunately for Drath, it's getting a little more difficult to keep the ship on course while the shields are being pelted by those rockets, and as such the free hand on the turbolaser firing toggle isn't as accurate as it perhaps could be. A shot goes past the fighter he was aiming at, careening off into space as the Trooper grits his teeth. <<Just hold us together, over halfway there.>> the pilot calls over the comms, trying his best to keep them level and on the correct heading.
Faster and faster the Pelta-class goes, accelerating as it enters the planet's gravitational pull. As this occurs, the leader of the Headhunter squad immolates, with no clue as to how or what went wrong inside the fighter. Instead, it tumbles off before finally burning itself out, the seals in the cockpit destroyed by the heat and it pops open to vent smoke into the vacuum.
The others continue to fire on the frigate, while one comms panicked, "I'm hit, I'm hit! My shields are gone! Can't take another hit like that, gotta call for backup!"
Only a quarter of the ship's journey remains, measured from where it started, and with the increasing acceleration, it will not take a quarter of the same time to travel it. "Alert: un-safe atmosphere-ic speeds. Alert: Un-safe atmosphere-ic speeds."
"Lead! Enough of the damn counting - Squad lead means non-essential!" Irritated. Extremely irritated. Hadrix hustles towards Artemis - all semblence of playing good trooper gone. It's the old Hadrix that is being called on. The brute, the berserker.
With a sudden whine of strength enhancing servos the metal gauntlet wrapped hand of 904 shoots down in front of Artemis's face, and into the front of her breastplate collar before they clamp down onto the plastoid shell, hooking his fingertips before he turns to haul her up bodily, his roar causing his helmet externals to buzz and rattle while he throws her, literally, over his shoulders like some black armored shawl, Aiming on clamping his arms around her neck and thighs to immobilize her before he starts for the exit hatch.
Erisi knows what the computer is saying is true, because she can now, with a quick glance, see the planets shields are coming in way too fast. Ugh but the pods are so far and Erisi has one weakness: Cardio. A quick mental run down of how far she needs to go to get to the pods as she pushes away at Artemis' command for non-essential personnel. Slapping her hand against the window before she launches off the woman makes it all of a two second dash before she's winded, "I ..really need to go running ..or swimming. Swimming is low impact."
Erisi grunts out mid-wheeze, leaning forwards to press a hand to robe-covered knee as she then begins to hobble her way forwards, feet barely lifting off the ground as she begins to shuffle, "Cramp ..cramp ..crampcrampcramp." Another foot or so, and a groan, "Why's it so //hot//." Freckled flesh breaks out into a heavy sweat, her eyeliner beginning to run and mascara melt from the effort she's putting forth. Hand on knee goes to her back as she forces herself to straighten up, the hobble-shuffle continued onwards. She's only bad ass when standing still, folks, "Screw you ...plan-ow-etary gravity ..slowin' me down." Mutter-huff-grunt-wince-shuffle-robeshuffle.
shing up from her turret there is one glance spared for DL and then she is moving towards the exit not after the night once she see that Nine-Oh has Fifteen in hand. Karys is quick at first, got a decent pace and closing some of the distance to Erisi when she sees her have some trouble. She drags her helmet off and knocks her pistol out of it's holster as it clatters on the ground behind her so she has to quickly backtrack and pick it up, shoving it back in with a mutter under her breath.
"Knight Asset," she calls ahead now back on path to join her as she then asks, "Are you well?" They are not making good time.
<< I am the only essential personnel here. Everyone else get to the kriffing escape pods while I lock in this trajectory.>> Drath chirps out over the comms, shutting off the transmission for himself as he stands at the console. Little does he know they're slow on their feet for the most part, apparently. One hand gripping the edge of it, the other goes about imputting the coordinates and locking down the controls, forcing the ship to maintain its trajectory until something forces it off. Probably the shield it's heading towards. It won't be until he finishes doing, and making /sure/ it's done, that he'll push himself bodily away from the control panel and turn to head towards the escape pods as quickly as he can manage.
"WARNING: Un-safe atmosphere-ic speed. Co-liz-shun is im-man-ent. WARNING: Auto-pilot cor-rect-shun un-re-spon-sive."
With the trajectory locked in by Drath's actions, the frigate continues to streak towards the shield below, and everyone who's paying attention on the ground has realized what's going on. All available fighters have been scrambled out to meet it, but it's too little too late, and everyone knows it.
Inside the ship, the hallways are empty as the Vanguard members and their Knight Asset make their way to the two small escape pods, where presumably Duke is waiting. At least, until a female figure steps out in front of Erisi and Karys, not really blocking their path but in the way of it. "What's going on?" Her face is thin and drawn, eyes dark with fatigue, of a short height and willowy figure. Worst of all, she looks painfully young and can't be much older than her teens. "My father is the captain! Where is he? What did you do to him? What have you done to the Constellation?!"
"What-the-kri-HUUURK," Artemis squawks with indignation as some power armor enhanced tower of half-cybernetic meat decides that her legs are unable to function properly and throws her across his shoulders. Unceremoniously, all the air leaves her breast with the weight of both composite plate and vice-like arms squeezing her like a tube of ornery toothpaste.
"Can-barely-breath," Artemis words are clipped as she struggles. Her temples throb, face going a shade of red that just barely manages to match the welling bubble of fury in her gullet that would get out if she were capable of sparing some space for more than just the oxygen she needs to survive.
And then there's the girl. Artemis would have a word with someone about how someone like that managed to evade service and engineering personnel to get aboard the craft but, like so many before her, the trooper would not be the one to assuage the girl's cruelly delivered fate.
"No-space," Artemis manages to gasp.
Erisi crooks a look over one shoulder, the look on her face is plain: pained and exhausted, "..Kni-what? I .." Oh, man, she can barely walk and talk on a good day, but with this slow-speed hustle she's unable to speak in full sentences which, bonus, means she's getting a good workout. That is her inner mantra 'you're getting a good workout'., "Oh yah, I'm ..super-dee-duper-tee. Just .." Don't stop, don't stop - even as she somehow slows more she's drawing in a ragged breath and then there is the willowy girl in front of her and Kary.
"What the he-" Her hand reflexively goes up as if to stall the girl, or at least tell her 'sorry sucker, it's you or us, and these guys are my new friends so guess what sucka!', but her veins light up again as she /accidentally/ very much sets the girl on fire, like - skin-to-bone and clothes which no doubts elicits the most hideous shrieking, "~ oh damn~" Whisper, hazel eyes wide as her cheeks burn a bright red. The still-glowy hand slaps up to her mouth as her eyes go even wider.
But it felt so good.
"Shoot it!" Reaching out to grip Karys' sleeve/forearm nearest to her as the girl screams as she seems to be on fire EVERYWHERE, "Shoot it!" Flames erupt higher and brighter, and the poor girl still isn't dead, "More room for us!" Gotta find a bright side, Erisi leaving Karys' to shoot as she darts forwards to go down the entry way to a pod. That felt AMAZING. And those hazel eyes begin to take on a more golden twinge to irises with flecks of blood-red. So. Good. Is she stepping more lightly? More gaily? She is. Because you know deep down, somewhere that is only just blossoming now, she meant to do it.
What is this? As the girl comes out of no where, Karys and Erisi already losing ground and now? Now there is this teenybopper in front of them asking about a dead Captain. For a moment KS-0218 looks to Erisi as if to know what she wishes to do. So as the hand goes up she is not exactly expected for the young human to be set ablaze. Apparently neither is the Knight as she says 'oh damn'.
Already reaching for her pistol she is pulling it free when Erisi grab her. Her first shot goes just shy of the burning body who is screaming in pain and writhing on the floor. The fire reflects off Karys' visor as she nods her head, "I have this Knight, keep moving."
That pistol levels on the head of the girl and shoots at near point blank as she falls and goes still, the fire still burning with its fuel not yet spent. Only then does Karys keep moving, pistol remaining drawn in case of another encounter or in Erisi' case a possibly setting living people on fire.
Those coordinates typed in, and the controls locked down, Drath breathes a sigh of relief. Turning his attention away from the impending collision on the other side of the view screen in front of him, the Trooper keeps his rifle maglocked to the back of his armor as he starts for the escape pods! Only, he manages to bump into the door frame as he goes, the gravity drawing him back requiring him to grip the other side of it to get up into the hallway. Once there, at least, it's a bit easier to try to work his way down to the escape pods. He's not likely to make it before the collision occurs, by his own estimations of the imminent collision, but maybe he can still get out when it's in progress. Maybe.
It's been a frantic few days for Tayl Arnthout. First her father's ship was called to fight a star destroyer. That was bad. She had climbed on board to stowaway and find out what all this 'captain' stuff was about. Then two days ago, things got crazy and started to shake. She'd hidden more deeply in the cargo hold, ferreting herself further into the recesses of the ship. And now, with alarms and warning sounding everywhere, she'd stumbled into the corridor to finally demand some answers.
No sooner had these demands left her mouth than she felt something horribly wrong, starting as a pricking of pain and blossoming into outright flame as her clothing goes up like a wick. The shrieks of pain and the clapping of her hands against herself as she frantically struggles to put herself out are cut short by Karys's shot, while the computer voice, calm as ever, announces, "WARNING: Fire in corrid-or Jay Sev-en. Teen." For a few moments, there's only the Vanguard's footsteps and the lingering sounds of fire, the heavy scent of burnt flesh, until sprinklers jettison liquid flame retardant all through the hallway, dousing the corpse and the others as well.
"WARNING: Thir-ty sec-onds to im-pact."
Artemis is teetering on the edge of conciousness. Her flailing is muted, carried on sheer will alone and it isn't clear whether she's fighting the brute or the scrabbling claws of darkness that keep shutting out her access to the pretty colors. Even if she acknowledges on some level the teenage girl's burning flesh, the acrid and succulently sweet smell of roasting meat, or the tinny scent of the fire suppression systems, she does not seem to have the energy to act.
"Don't move lead. I have this." Utilizing her weakened position to keep her from fighting him, Hadrix shrugs his body to practically roll Artemis down his arm until his strength enhanced forearm and hand are on the abdominal plates of her armor. Swinging her into the jump seat and slapping the button for the restraint arm to come down before he looks across the way. Count looks correct. Save one
Teeth gritting, Hadrix drops into a three point runner's stance and then kicks into another run, the pounding of metal shod feet like something of a horror movie. Arms pumping, legs pistoning to close the distance,
"Ninety one! NINETY ONE!" externals kicked on and setting automatically to battlefield volume, making his suit a loudspeaker. Is that almost panic in his voice at the possibility of losing sight of his old squadmate? Either way, upon catching sight of the friendly trooper as he shifts weight to skid to a halt, grabbing hold of the man's chestplate, just above the belly plating and hauling him after. There's a bestial grunt when he does so, and he feels something pop in his shoulder as he twists, and again in his leg as he begins pushing himself to his limits.
Erisi skip-dee-da-doo-da-dees all the way to the escape pod, somehow finding the ability and the juice to launch forwards to make it into the pod with the ever eloquent Duke and Karsy hopefully not far behind. Throwing herself onto one of the spaces she twists around and quickly buckles herself in, "Thanks, Lady Trooper." Breathed out to Karys, a glance given to the waiting Duke, the last few clicks of the safety harness sounding in the small space. Hands fly up into her hair then to at first push back bangs before fingers wiggle down to set them back into place, a sudden smile blossoming on her lips as her head tilts back and eyes close. Even if they die, that was ..amazing, "I'm buying you an ale and ..some of those triangle mulch chips of whatever plant." Duke gets included on this invitation extended to Karys simply because he's there, "Hit that ...button-doo when you're ready, let's get off this thing." Or flip the switch, whatever gets this pod jettisoning out to space. What're they at? 10 seconds? 5? Go go go.
Karys is most definitely just behind, armor having that scent of burning flesh and most likely the sealed body glove beneath will be rank with it. Stepping in after Erisi, the countdown has her briefly glancing back to catch Artemis and Hadrix coming into view. "Niney one?" She questions them briefly but then Hadrix is off and she stands for a moment in that hatch. The warning is still going off and it is the Knight's comment that breaks Karys thoughts as turns back and nods, setting herself down across from Erisi and hitting the door closed. "Ready to launch, pod." This is given to Duke who is in position at the controls.
Off comes her helmet, her dark hair plastered to her forehead and a bit around her cheeks where it has frayed loose of that tightly pinned bun. "I would be glad to join you for a drink, Knight Asset. Though Knight Orcantael taught me a valuable lesson. Do not accept drinks from those you do not know. I suppose surviving a plummeting ship makes us familiar." She does seem a little unsettled about something, her helmet in her hand as her arm rests on her leg and lets it dangle.
Drath has been having a bit of trouble with the gravity well they're approaching, his arm propped up on the wall temporarily to right himself as he rushes down the hallway. Of course, he's not as fast due to that same issue. Not that he pronounces this over the comms. It'd only make people do silly things, like run back after him, when instead they could all just take off! As such, chatter from his own comms is completely silent. As is he as he works his way down the hallway as quickly as he can manage.
But then Hadrix is suddenly there, and grabbing the front of his armor, and Drath grunts as he pushes off the wall again and starts to run after the larger trooper. The added guidance helps considerably, and they'll blissfully make it back to the escape pod with potential seconds to spare. His rifle still maglocked to his back, and his helmet still in place, he rushes back into the escape pod with Hadrix, and promptly hits the eject button without bothering to buckle in right away. Because surely they're out of time by now. He's breathing heavily, but they seem to have made it, not that the other three would be there to see it.
"Im-pact in five. Four. Three. Two."
BOOOSH! BOOOSH! Both escape pods are sealed and spit out of the frigate at the last second, with their cargo of Vanguard members (and a Knight Asset) inside, just as the nose of the Pelta-class Frigate once known as the Constellation, now dubbed the Falling Star, smashes nose-first at speeds it was never designed to reach.
The spacecraft had been wrapped in the flames of atmospheric reentry even before this, and what impacts against the city's shield is a red-hot missile weighing somewhere in the ballpark of 5 million metric tonnes. The shield holds, the bubble's surface flexing subtly beneath the weight as the frigate continues to collapse down onto it, but eventually the stress is too much, and with an anticlimatic flicker, the bubble vanishes, paired with joint explosions from the Constellation and the generators down on the ground that have just been overwhelmed beyond all measure. Left floating free once more, the Pelta-class hangs for a moment before slowly tumbling the rest of the way to earth, crushing a few buildings and doubtless several thousand civilians in the process.
The escape pods do quite the opposite, small engines powering the little vehicles stubbornly spaceward, until the Finalizer's tractor beams can pull in the successful operatives for debriefing, and preparation for their next mission.