AWD #444: Mutual Interest, Mixed Blessing
AWD #444: Mutual Interest, Mixed Blessing
Summary: A team from the Orion transports a Seven and Twelve to Piraeus. Their awakening is not altogether pleasant.
Date: 08/09/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None.
Bennett Elias Kaya Randy Dropkickst 
It's a magical place.
AWD #444

Fleet Intelligence has requisitioned personnel for a mission, the details of which are not revealed until theyre all aboard one of the Gentleman Ghosts raptors. The assembled Marines and flight crew are joined by Major Gray shortly before take-off time, after the intel officer has had a chance to smoke a last cigarette outside the hangar bay. Even Majors do not smoke on The Deck. Dressed in his blues and armed only with a clipboard and a pair of go-pro type headset recording devices, Elias climbs aboard and gestures vaguely for the team to strap in and get ready to go.

Once the hatch is closed he starts the briefing. "For those who don't know, I'm Major Gray, Fleet intel officer. We're going to make contact with a group of skinjobs and, if all goes according to plan, ferry them to Piraeus for the day. We're expecting a Twelve and a Seven, though it's possible other lines may be represented as well." And then the details for the flight crew. "We'll meet the cruiser Cygnes, who will jump us closer to the rendezvous. Everyone save the pilot and ECO will remain aboard the Cygnes while the raptor jumps to the rendezvous coordinates to make first contact. Raptor crew — get on station and spooled up for a jump back to the Cygnes. You're expecting a small jump-capable craft but the exact type is unknown. When they arrive, jam all wireless communications with your ECM pod and use a signal light to relay the coordinates of the Cygnes to the skinjobs. Then wait until they jump before you do the same. If there is any sign of trouble, or the skinjobs don't show up within fifteen minutes? Abort and return to the Cygnes."

"Marines: we will be taking the skinjobs aboard the Cygnes and abandoning whatever vessel they came in. You'll be security for our 'guests.' They'll be taken to an interior compartment for the jump to Piraeus, and then we'll be putting them in restraints and bagging their heads for the raptor ride down to the surface. The LZ on Piraeus is a small atoll near the equator, where we'll remain for several hours. There's really nowhere for the skinjobs to go, so most of you will be guarding the raptor. There will also be a second raptor with a load of laser-guided bombs flying over watch, just in case. I need two volunteers…" Elias points at Randy and Kaya, volunteering them. "Sergeant, Corporal, you're up. You'll wear these headset recorders and stick with the skinjobs. Keep the camera on them as much as possible. Feel free to try talking to them, if you're so inclined. They may or may not be interested in conversation. But /do not/ mention anything about the skinjobs' possibly being from Piraeus."

Catching his breath after all that, the Major looks around. "That's the plan, in a nutshell. Questions or concerns?"

And strap in she does. Kaya gets all fastened in, tightly. As the details of the mission are laid out, the intent anyway, she arches her brows. "Piraeus, Sir?" Not exactly expecting anything to her rhetorical question, she offers a hesitant nod. "Yes, Sir." A bit befuffled by it though, she glances over towards Randy before accepting the headset recorder. "Understood. But why Piraeus?"

For her part, Sergeant Flynn doesn't look entirely surprised by the mission briefing, but it's not atypical for her to be rather quiet before a mission kicks into action. She adjusts her straps slightly while listening to the briefing and then nods when Elias singles her out as one of the ones to wear a headset recorder. She takes the rig and sets it down carefully so she can take off her helmet and start configuring the headset for it. "Yes Sir." It's not lost on her that they're expendable in light of containing the situation should it turn serious in some way, but that's not something the Marine dwells on. She finishes attaching the camera to her helmet and puts it back on.

"It's better if you don't know that beforehand, Coproral," Elias assures Kaya. Better for him, at least. "But feel free to ask the skinjobs. See what they have to say." And seeing that the Marines appear ready to roll, the intel officer checks in with the pilot. "All green, Captain?" He's strapping himself in even as he does so.

"What if I'm pretty sure I already know?" Randy pipes up in the brief pause after Elias' words. Her brow arches slightly. "I can pretend like I don't. Us Marines are good at that," she says, clicking her tongue after.

There's a wary look cast to the Major, but Kaya doesn't question him again on it. There's a look to Randy, a long look, but she doesn't break her silence again. Instead, she simply readies herself for the landing that will be coming all too soon.

As the designated driver for the evening's mission, Captain St. Clair has the bulk of her attention on her work, while her passengers shoot the shit somewhere off behind her. Coordinates must be checked and rechecked before being entered via the FTL console; instructions for the mission itself are taken in, and acknowledged with a slight nod and a "Yes, sir," that betrays not at all her thoughts on the whole affair. A few notes are even made with a pen that's produced from her flight suit, and then the thrum of the bus's engines igniting: number one and then number two as the aircrew call out the last of their pre-flight checks. "Green, and ready for dustoff," she informs Elias, before relaying her request for clearance to CIC.

"Yes, pretend," Elias advises Randy, with a faint smile and bit of bone-dry humor tagged on. "There's a future for you in Intelligence, Sergeant." And then he turns to give Bennett a nod in return. "It's your show, then." Now he gets to 'relax' and be a passenger, at least until they're on the Cygnes. And in his case 'relax' seems to involve reading through the reports on his clipboard.

Just past fifteen minutes and a small cargo vessel appears just inside snapshot guns range from the cruiser. Every single gun turns and aims at the vessel. Missile hatches already open, the Gun Captain is standing in the Gallery with the mic in his hand, ready to give the order to fire. But the ship doesn't move. It hangs there and a single voice requests docking instructions. With radiological alarms silent, they're given permission to approach with the Raptor coming in just after. The crew gives the report that the ship made no attempt to transmit.

When the airlock opens and clears, there's both a Twelve and a Seven standing there. The Twelve is dressed in a pair of khaki cargo pants and a blue C-Bucs t-shirt. The irony seems lost on him, though. He looks just like the Twelve who had appeared before. The Seven is a new guest and one nobody had really met before, but Elias knows those eyes the moment he looks at them. The guy has a busy beard with sun-dried skin. His shaggy salt and pepper hair is slicked back under a green ballcap. He's wearing green duty pants with a black t-shirt. He's built with real athleticism, not something faked. The Marines can take one look at him and know they are with someone who has spent a lot of time in combat. While the Twelve looks more formal, the Seven looks relaxed. His eyes wander everything and then the people.

Just as the Twelve inhales to take a breath, the Seven lifts his chin in an upnod. "Hiya. Thanks for letting me come out and visit. Twelve, here, said I had to see this for myself." They're both already raising their hands, ready to be searched.

The Twelve looks a bit annoyed at the greeting before those eyes go to Elias. "Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to visit, Major. My colleague is a bit more brash than I am, so forgive his nature. Or don't."

Seven glances over, "Kiss-ass."

Randy is waiting by the airlock when the rendezvous Raptor returns, remaining on the Cygnus as instructed. She's readied up and simply making sure her camera is working properly before she has to start actively stalking some skinjobs. When the skinjobs step out, the Sergeant watches them carefully. She steps forward to help frisk them and steps in front of the Seven. "Spread 'em," she says and then smiles briefly up at the Seven before getting down to business with her bitty Marine hands. "I hope you're not ticklish."

Elias checks in with their liasion officer aboard the Cygnes, and then all he can do is wait and see how events unfolds. There's a look of relief when both the cargo ship and their raptor jump in, and he is quick to join the Marines at the airlock. The two skinjobs are given a careful study, then the Major's gaze locks on to the Seven. There's tightening of his mouth — a moment of recognition — before he gives their 'guests' a nod of greeting. "Twelve. Seven." Straight to business without a word about the Seven's demeanor, Elias gestures to the Marine detail. "You'll have a security escort for you while you're with us. And I'm afraid I have to ask you to submit to restraints, as well as blindfolds, for transport down to the planet."

Bennett rejoined the crew from Orion shortly before the airlock opened to admit the skinjobs. A brief sitrep was relayed to Major Grey, though it seems nothing of much note occurred during the rendezvous. Their raptor is powered down and waiting to transport the 'prisoners', and the Captain herself hangs back to let the marines do their work. This isn't her show.

The Seven looks to Randy as she approaches. "Sergeant Flynn. I actually saw you at a firefight in a hamlet on Aerilon a month or two ago. Daring escape. Good to finally meet you." Pretty casual, it just tumbles out as if he'd met her before. There's even a modicum of respect there. Hands behind his head, he lifts his hat on the way up, too. "There's a pocketknife on my right side. Habit." Then a nod to Elias, "Major Gray." Bold lives up to his name in the subtle and not so subtle. The requirements get a shrug from the Seven, though. "Just as long as we aren't shoved around, Major. Apparently it kills the buzz."

Twelve looks over to Seven as he finishes and then the gaze goes back to Elias. "As my counterpart mentioned in the message, we'll submit to security measures. You have your own interests, we have ours. The last visits have gone well and there's no reason to assume anything different this time." He even smiles a little. "A good faith gesture."

True to his word, there's a folding knife in the Seven's right hip pocket. A pack of chewing gum in the right. The Twelve comes up empty, not even pocket lint.

<FS3> Randy rolls Reaction: Failure.

MP's have this seeming natural ability to shut the hell up. Randy, does not. "Oh should we get tea? Do I just call you Hamlet-Seven?" she quips before her executive function has a chance to filter anything out, like the whole question. Randy has the taller Marine next to her look at the top of Seven's head and hat while confiscating the pocket knife and anything else even remotely odde on the Seven. She steps back to let burlier Marines handle the restraint and hood while another one is going through the same procedures with the Twelve.

Kaya isn't into trusting those she doesn't know, especially those created by the enemy. Assisting in the patting down, she gives a bit of a terse nod and instead of making small talk or banter with the skinjobs, she simply does her job for the moment. When the twelve has nothing on them, she steps back and nods to Randy. "This one seems all clear."

Bennett remains where she is, out of the way and generally not speaking unless spoken to. Her helmet is tucked under one arm and her left hand rests lightly on the grip of her holstered Five-seveN as she observes the goings-on.

Elias turns away briefly to speak with Captain St. Clair when she arrives. All went well, and let's hope that's a trend. His attention returns to the visitors just as Randy and Kaya finish searching them. "We share a mutual interest in having you experience Piraues," he tells the Seven, and then looks toward the Twelve to include him. "But the precautions are a necessary part." Not exactly an apology, but he does acknowledge their cooperation. Randy's banter with the skinjob doesn't appear to bother Elias at all, and once the Marines inform him that the search is finished, he signals them to escort the 'guests' into the compartment the Cygnes has set aside for the short trip to Piraeus. "We'll be jumping shortly."

The Seven hucks out a short laugh. "Nah, Sergeant. 'Seven' will do just fine. But call me as you will." He doesn't try to antagonize, just make conversation. "But if we're getting this close, maybe a beer? Tea isn't my speed." He looks over to Bennett and waggles his fingers at her while they're up.

Twelve nods to Elias. "Truth. I'm not the same Twelve that visited. We require independent verification. We need to be sure that this was not a fluke." His hands fall to his side, wrists moving up for restraints. Seven mimics. "At your leisure. I should re-iterate that we would prefer to spend as long as possible there, but we will accept what can be passed." The two will move along, though, calm as can be. The Seven and Twelve seem so opposite in their manners, its a wonder the two lines are considered to be close or complimenting.

"That Piraeus wasn't a fluke?" Kaya finally breaks her silence towards the numbered ones, but though there's not open hostility in her voice, there's a grudging politeness. "You think we're lying then? Because it sounds like that. Or you think the other you is lying." She arches a brow, "Why are you so interested in it anyway?"

Bennett spots the finger waggle from the Seven, and perhaps surprisingly, returns it with a faint smile. The pale blue of her eyes adds no warmth to it, and her hand doesn't move from the grip of her pistol. "Sir," she addresses Elias after a moment; her accent is Virgan, but lacks the crisp enunciation of the upper crust. It's warm, tinged with something close to a drawl. "It is a short jump back to Piraeus's orbit, and we should arrive momentarily. Shall I go and get the raptor prepared for the trip down?"

"We'll figure something out if we need to," meaning if Randy ever meets another Seven that is. "You've never had my tea," she tilts her head for a moment, "But beer would be better, yeah." Her attention is primarily on her task, though she's able to multi-task decently. "Maybe we can swap stories," the Aquarian posits after putting the restraints on. "Oh look you're in luck. I've got a hood just your size," she says with a hint of sarcasm and a smile as she escorts the Seven off to the compartment. Another Marine motions for Kaya to come with while he escorts the restrained Twelve.

"We've scheduled you an entire day on the surface," Elias tells the Twelve. "Possibly we can arrange several additional daytime visits, if you wish." He looks towards Kaya when the Corporal speaks up, then remains silent to see how the skinjobs answer. The same attention is paid to Randy's continued banter with the Seven. And then the Major turns as Bennett addresses him, giving her a quick nod. "Yes, by all means, Captain. We'll be along shortly."

The Twelve looks to Kaya and quirks a brow. "We've made no such accusations. Even against our own. But we desire to know if the results of the visit were something only to be experienced once or if the others can as well." He's about to say more when the Seven cuts in.

"He's too polite. Nice guy, but his message gets lost." There's a glance to Twelve with a grin before he looks back to Kaya. "His line just needs duplication. Justice is like that, darlin." No ill will meant in the inflection, just his way of speaking. "They have to know they're making the right choices. Mine? All we think we'll need is just one. Bold is bold." He winks to Bennett as he passes before continuing. "Piraeus, as you call it, does things. Supposedly. Imagine you've been fighting this war all these months and suddenly you get a hint that maybe, just maybe, there's something very wrong with what you're doing. Just enough to put the question in the head. Wouldn't you want to know the truth? Dig it out like an ugly tick?" The Seven smirks over at Kaya. "It doesn't matter what the truth is. We just need to know what that truth is. If P has a secret for us, we want to know it." His own voice comes in a lazy drawl, like he's adopted it or spent a lot of time on Aerilon. A casual laziness that seems too plain to hide much. "We find truth, maybe it changes things. Lots of maybes." He then looks to Randy and shakes his head. "All the same, save the tea for people who enjoy it. You want to get a beer sometime? We'll see how Piraeus turns out. Pencil me in for some stories. Maybe even throw a few punches. I always liked the hell out of the Corps," he chuckles.

Annnd off to their compartment for the jump.

Twelve looks back to Elias while the others talk, seemingly unoffended by the jockular tone of the Seven. "If it is something that can be arranged, then I'd be happy to help work with you on that. As my friend said, we need to see how it turns out, though. Promises at this point are pre-emptive. But the faith is there. We'll see how this goes." He too ducks into the corridor and compartment, ready to move.

Kaya moves in with everyone else, but she remains guarding that Twelve as she comes inside. As Elias speaks up, she just gives him an incredulous look, "Several.. additional.." Stumped, she doesn't question him, but she remains uneasy. As her questions are answered and give her something more to think about, she gives a terse nod, her body a little stiff. "I always prefer the truth over anything," she finally allows grudgingly. "If you think going to Piraeus will turn the tides of the war, then hey, I'm all for it. But I don't have to trust you." Point blank, she remains blunt, but she doesn't argue further. Readying herself for the jump, keeping an eye on her charge,.

Bennett may or may not catch the wink. Either way, with a slight nod for Elias, she turns and makes her way in the opposite direction of the secured compartment. The raptor won't take long to spool up, but she'll need to make sure it's configured properly for their guests. Her helmet is tugged on as she moves.

Is the Intel officer pleased with how things are going? He seems perfactly happy letting everyone chat, offering only the occassional word when his information is needed. Otherwise he is aloof and observing. "We'll see," he agrees with the Twelve, though there doesn't seem to be much concern on the Major's part.

Making the jump on the Cygnus is easy. The Seven and Twelve sit in the compartment and mostly joke about never expecting to be here. There's inside jokes and the Twelve actually seems to laugh with the Seven about certain things. But there is subtle apprehension. They know things might be about to change. In that way, it casts a certain light on the joking. Maybe its just a very human way of dealing with stress.

Escorted to the Raptor, they don't seem concerned with the hoods and blindfolds. Even once the Raptor takes off, they sit casually. But much like the last Twelve's visit, his knee bounces via the ball of his foot. A little nervous tick that might just be ingrained into the line. The rest of the crew can see what Bennett does. The island chain they're going to is a rough circle in the water with some subtle radiation readings. It's a safe location to visit for a week or two but wouldn't be habitable for the long term. The sand is a brilliant white color that contrasts sharply against the light blue ocean at the shallows around it. A tropical paradise except for the unseen killer Gamma at the low end. Everything seems to be going according to plan. They're even joined by the Raptor at 35,000 feet with a full rack of 2000lbs laser guided bombs, ready to drop and annihilate every inch of the landing area.

"Did someone ask you to trust them Corporal?" Sergeant Flynn asks as she gets Seven settled and strapped in. She takes her pre-arranged position. "It makes sense," Randy shrugs after the Seven explains their motivations. "Only if we're all drunk when the first swing lands, as it should be…But yeah, no need to get ahead of ourselves." The Marine seems to quiet down after settling in for the flight. She mostly just listens to the comradery between the two skinjobs, keeping a straight face. She keeps her eyes and camera on the skinjobs, recording all of the interactions over the course of their flight.

Elias leaves the Twelve and Seven to talk amongst themselves, listening to see what he can gleam from their conversation. The Sevens are a new contact, and there's the relationship between the two lines to sort out, not to mention any passing comments about the war. The ride down to the surface is Bennett's job, and the Major says nothing during this time, making a few notes on his clipboard when the ride is smooth enough. The sight of an escort raptor, ready to bomb you if things go wrong, may be a mixed blessing, but he takes it as another step of the plan coming together properly.

Eyes on the windscreen, gloved hand curled loosely around the stick, Bennett is in her element here more than she ever could be on terra firma. A brief grin curves at her lips when the armed raptor slots into formation with them, and a few jocular words are exchanged between the pilots as their buses arc across the sky at thirty thousand feet. The LZ is marked visually on her first pass of the easternmost island, and then the raptor is brought in for a relatively smooth landing. No raiders on her tail, no centurions trying to dent her favourite bird from below, so there's no need for a hot drop today. "Skids down in three.. two.. one. Uh.. don't forget your anti-rads." She points to a compartment above Randy's head before triggering the hatch release mechanism.

They settle down well enough and when the hatch opens, the scents rush in. Salt air, the ocean. It smells just like home, a tropical paradise. Even the hint of trees, the palms overhanging and providing shade. Everything seems fine. The sunlight through the windscreen falls onto the Seven's knee as he breathes the air and he seems to tilt his head. Under the hood, he mutters, "Well that's interestin'." Twelve, at the rear, stops his knee bouncing. The guy seems to sit a little straighter. With the hatch open, the two seem eager to want to get off but are waiting for the Marines to move them out and let them free. Seven, "Hey Flynn. Get this stuff off us? You might have that beer."

A subtly arched brow is cocked towards Randy at the question tossed in her direction, "Thankfully not." There's no further explanation or defense of what she had said though. Instead, Kaya watches the Twelve, curious as to the banter between him and the Seven, though the inside jokes they toss about are lost on her. Despite that, it's being recorded, so someone down the line could try and decipher it. With the indication of the compartment, she proceeds to take care of her own self.

"Thanks Captain," Randy smile back to Bennett as she unstraps herself. "Hold your horses Seven," she says casually as she turns to open the compartment above her and grab the anti-rad doses and small injection gun. Then she pulls the hoods off of the 'boys' saying, "Tada." She waits till the other Marines have gotten into position before she unstraps the Seven and Twelve. Once they've been escorted out of the vessel, she sets them free.

When Bennett warns them for landing, Elias shows the first real sign of concern. There's a faint frown as he considers the island outside the windscreen, and then he takes a deep breath and eases it out. "Thanks for the ride, Captain," he calls up front. "We may be here all day." And then he unbuckles his harness and stands, indicating to the Marines that they're free to escort the 'guests' off the raptor and release them. The Major himself does not seem to be in a rush to disembark, and he a few seconds scanning the island outside first. Likely he'll be the last one off.

While Randy works on the Seven, Kaya does the Twelve, unstrapping him and allowing him time to get to his feet. She shadows him though, remaining directly at his side. "I see what you see," she warns him in advance, just letting him know she'd be trailing his every move. "You can fill out the tour guide card at the end of your stay," she offers with a touch of sarcasm.

Led off the Raptor and into the sand, the Seven and Twelve have their hoods and restraints removed. Both of them look up towards the star in the sky and there's a matching smile there. "Hoooo dog," Seven whispers quietly. Their eyes close as they step away from the Raptor. Heads come down, one after the other to look at the sand and then they share an appreciative look. They can feel something. It isn't something the Colonials can readily see so much as feel in how they exchange looks.

"If he was right?" Twelve asks. "And I think we agree he was?"

Seven grins toothily. "Feels good."

They stop walking about thirty feet from the Raptor and look back at the ship, both of them taking the time to soak up the sunlight and the air. The silence isn't quite awkward, but something is happening to the Seven. When he meets the eyes of Twelve, he takes a step away. The hat so recently replaced is yanked off and he runs his hands through his hair. There's frustration on his body language. Facing the ocean, by himself, he takes a knee and squints out to sea in deep thought. The Twelve watches before looking back to the Marines and Elias.

Randy picks up on the slight shift as the two 'guests' exchange looks. She wouldn't dare interrupt the moment, but she does follow after them, but leaving them some distance, just enough so she can keep them in frame, but not close enough to be insufferably rude. When the Twelve looks back, she's there, off to the side and back, watching. The Marines without helmet cams have taken up primary responsibility for the security aspects now that they are down on planet, leaving Randy to film. She doesn't move, standing still even when the Twelve turns to look back.

Well damn. Kaya hadn't expected such a human reaction from either one, but the body language reads human to her. When he takes a knee, she studies him thoughtfully, tightening her jaw slightly. There's no letting up though, she takes a look at the Twelve to catch his reaction to his compadre's kneeling. Unlike Randy, she doesn't allow so much space, but she doesn't in any way try and guide or lead them in any direction, allowing them to explore on their own. Curiosity has struck her though, and she tries to catch the eye of the Twelve. "What's up with him?" The words more murmured than outspoken.

By this time Elias has overcome whatever reservations he may have had, and after a shot of anti-rads, disembarked from the raptor. The intel officer remains back with the armed Marines guarding the bus, where he immiediately lights up a cigarette. He's quietly smoking as the Twelve and Seven share whatever revelations Piraeus may be giving them, but much of the time he's looking around, scanning the island as if expecting to see something else. But Elias tries to get Randy and Kaya's attention as soon as he notes the Seven's distress, waving them to keep their distance. Speaking to the NCO in charge of the Marine security element nearer at hand, his voice is kept low. "Have your men hold fire unless someone's life is in danger, Sergeant."

The Twelve looks to Kaya, having met her eyes. "My own told me what I would be feeling. I was prepared." He takes a long breath and puts his hands into his pockets. "But I was not. This is not like what I expected. Every moment I stand here, I feel further away from who and what I am. It's-" A long breath taken. "The first steps of a journey, taken. But we aren't the warfighters, Corporal." He gives a glance to the Seven, then back to the Colonials. "He is. Sevens actively kill and fight. The Sixes have shown us their truthes. The time they have spent here has made them aware. Awake. We've only just started." Despite the sun, his face is somber and without a squint. "Put yourself in our shoes. What if we had been wrong this whole time? What if you had killed and found yourself on the wrong side after more than a year? Duped." There's a gentle look down and a shake of his head. "I never thought I would love and hate something so much in my life. I can't imagine how Seven feels right now." Those words are quieter, barely able to be picked up by the camera with the ocean breeze.

And as they all look, they can see figures further on the beach. Their camouflage sticks out, darker against the sand. They seem to fade in with the breeze. Two. Four… half a dozen. They all face towards them but there's no movement closer.

Kaya wasn't focused on recording right now, though the camera certainly was. At the moment, she was vested in this conversation, the facial expressions, the damned empathy that bubbles to the surface of the Marine. Pressing her lips together, not in disapproval this time, but to try and school her expression from showing the emotion he elicits within her, she gives a solemn nod in response. "Honestly, I'm not sure that I would handle it as well as you seem to be doing." Her own voice has gotten softer, quieter with the admission. Right now, if I found out my whole entire meaning of life was a lie, I can't be sure what I would do." Looking towards the Seven again, but keeping the Twelve in her line of sight, she doesn't try and interrupt what he seems to be dealing with. "So you both came for answers. Or possibly a redemption.." Still, she is speaking with the Twelve, not quite sure what to say to the Seven. As she catches sight of the Major and catches the wave off, she gives a look that is almost an apology to the Twelve. "I'll leave you to it."

Randy steps closer. She's never been too afraid to approach a bomb, and this is no different to her. She passes the Twelve and comes up flush with the Seven though several paces off to his side to give him some personal space. She knows it would mean nothing if he wanted to do anything. There's a good reason for the nukes, given where they are, and what capabilities skinjobs have. Her eyes drift to the sea first, then over to the Seven and beyond down the beach as she notices the figures. She doesn't disturb his silence. She too has had her own inner conflict about the war, though coming home is not a feeling she has felt the rewards of.

While he keeps a close eye on how things are going with the Seven and Twelve, Elias spots the more distant figures quickly and his mouth tightens. "Godsdamnit." It's the curse of someone who wishes he wasn't seeing what he's seeing. Then he notices Kaya getting closer to the Seven, and one step is taken toward the forward group before the Major cheecks himself. He takes a hard drag off his smoke instead and forcing himself to stay put. A glances to the nearby Marines, then those recording the skinjobs, trying to determine if anyone else seems to be seeing the new arrivals in the distance.

"If this is the truth we're beginning to see, then there is no redemption. There is no making up for what has transpired. Could you forgive me if I had ordered a strike on your home?" Twelve shakes his head to Kaya. "We are here for answers. Each line will have to figure out how to forgive themselves, if this is the truth shown to us." The Twelve looks off towards the distant figures but makes no comment as if they were just not there or maybe expected guards. "Major, I know we only agreed to an afternoon," he begins before looking back. "But I think it would be appropriate to, at some point soon, discuss a few of ours spending an extended period here. It need not be now."

The Seven continues staring out to sea, watching the waves crash. It seems the seagulls and crabs have survived. He splits his time looking to them, then the waves. Minutes pass before he takes a long breath. "Hey Flynn." It's less a greeting more than an introduction to his next, "Not sure what this is, but I'm just gonna put it out there: I'm sorry. Real sorry." Hand comes up to stroke his beard twice before his forearm drops to rest on his knee. "Beers might be on me for a spell or infinitum." But he still doesn't look at her. If he's seen the figures, there's no comment to them.

The figures can be seen to look at each other as if talking, but any possible voices are lost to the breeze. But they still keep their distance. Only one figure, the closest, looks to the Marines and clenches a fist before tapping it gently to their chest twice. But not a single step closer. They're standing guard, but just what are they guarding? Or who?

Randy turns so she can look back to the group of Marines and the Major back at the ship. Once making eye contact, she casually tilts her head, perhaps pointing in the direction of the lovely figures that have just popped up out of nowhere. After, she settles into staring at the sea as well. It doesn't matter what planet she's on, if there's a sea, there's a fleeting kinship in the winds. When the Seven speaks, she keeps her eyes directed out as well. "I know," which is as close to forgiveness as a Marine can get. "I'll accept that form of payment," Randy is a twisted little creature. She looks back to the figures and nods to them. She catches the gesture and returns it, not just to speak their 'vernacular', but because it feels right.

Ah good, Randy can see them to. This is some small relief for Elias. It's not in his head — or not just his head. He gives the Sergeant a slow nod. Yes, they're there. But it's only when the Twelve chooses to speak to him that Elias cross the sand to join the smaller group. A glance goes towards those strange sentinels down the beach, then back to the Twelve. "Possibly," he says for the man's request. "There are other factors at play … and there are still cells in the Orion's brig if you'd care to stay with us and discuss them." The young Major does not make any direct response to the figures, but he does gesture with his cigarette, directing the Twelve's attention down the beach. "Do you see anything unusual there?"

The figure that gestured catches the return from Randy. There's a nod in reply and some kind of signal to the others. A hand and arm gesture. Rather than approach, they seem to back off and head toward the edges of the beach to talk among themselves like any other group of Marines. Or Army.

The Seven see's none of it and gives a couple short nods before saying anything. "Thanks." It isn't trite, either. There's appreciation there. "Really not sure I want to head back to the Colonies, Sergeant. But I do get why it has to be that way. Ya'll got something to protect. We're still the enemy. I'd be the same way." Still, he doesn't look at her.

The Twelve looks to Elias and dips his head slowly. "I think I would. Seven and I, for a few days. We need not be together, Major. The Twelves and Sevens agreed that it may take longer than a day or two. A hope, I suppose." He then lifts his brow and follows the gaze as the distant ghosts move away, as if they were patrolling to the edges. "I see nothing unusual. Perhaps bad camouflage for an island like this. Why? Is there something wrong with your Marines?" he asks before looking back, face still somber.

"Well we /are/ standing on a tropical island so I don't blame you," Randy may have a tendency to lighten the mood, but she's weathered. There's always a touch of wistfulness like a faint undercurrent, ebbing and flowing with the circumsance. "It's the way things are right now, but I hope they don't have to be forever. You don't have as much to apologize to me for. I didn't have much to lose when this whole thing started, but if you want to come back soldier to another. There'll be a lot of pain." For him and for the humans he'd need to face. Her words aren't an ultimatum, but simply factual. She doesn't know the Seven, but there's no shaking the immutable level of undertanding built between them already. It's a kindness.

A vaguely quizzical look goes in the direction of the Seven and the Sergeant, as Elias catches a little of their conversation. Then he refocuses on the Twelve. "No," he answers the man. Which is true, as far as it goes — there is nothing wrong with their Marines. Instead of elaborating, he takes a drag on his smoke and exhales downwind, away from the group. "What is it you hope will happen, if you stay longer?"

The Seven doesn't even give a smirk. Her tone might be light, but there's a lot on his mental plate. "Yeah, you might've lost a lot but just about everyone else lost a lot. There might be a desire to return home, but it isn't ours anymore. Hell, if the Six is right, it never was ours to begin with. It was yours." The hand lifts to stroke his beard as he looks out to sea. "Or someone a lot like you. I hate knowing what's coming in here." The hand drops gently and makes a fist, tapping his heart twice. The same movement the ghosts and Captain al Yamoha give. "It's like standing on railroad tracks and seeing the freight train coming. Sergeant Knox and Captain Delacroix did this on their own. Goddamn, must have been scary as hell." He still doesn't look at her, he just stares at the waves.

The Twelve doesn't seem to have the same reactions that the Seven does, but he was still prepared in only a Twelve could prepare another. Even if it still wasn't enough. "We hope to understand, Major." Hands fold behind his back. "We have no desire to understand you or your fleet, only our own truthes. Given what Six has shown us and how they have begun to fracture, it's given the witnesses to chaos. There are many whispers in the lines who know, all of them questioning how wise it is. But they see the way the Sixes and Nines and Elevens interact with people. It isn't disjointed or foreign. It seems natural. We wonder why we aren't that way? What have we missed? What do they know so completely and with blind faith that they will bring aid and comfort to people they have never met? It isn't jealousy, its wonderment. We want to know our truthes, Major. Even if they are ugly."

"Yes, everyone has suffered," Randy agrees, not entirely insensitive to the feeling of exploitation, of wronging innocents. But when the Seven speaks of whose planet this is, Randy's brow furrows and she looks over to him. "That's not what I was led to believe. Is it what happened before? That's coming here?" He doesn't make sense to her, so she's not going try and force what he's saying into some preconceived notion. She'll still pretend that he /does/ make sense if only to seek the truth of it all.

"Mmm," Elias responds to the Twelve with a wordless acknowledgement, considering what was said. It's a few seconds later before he glances aside towards the Seven and the Sergeant, then back to Twelve. "The universe is full of ugly truths these days." The young major offers no further comment on the changes the lines are undergoing, or where it might take them. Instead he takes a drag on his smoke and steps back, giving the skinjobs time to process.

"It's the only logical conclusion, Flynn." Seven keeps his stare out to the ocean. "We're artificial. We aren't people like you or the Major. But if we- if this-" The guy shakes his head and looks down, going silent. Seconds pass, waves crash in, and he slowly stands to look at her. "Who created us, Flynn? If Six is right and it feels like he is, then this is all very wrong. What are the baseline odds that something totally alien created us like this, and yet we could blend in with humanity on a series of colonies that knew nothing about this place?" he leaves that for her and shoves hands into his pockets, looking off and over her shoulder to the sea again. "I can feel the tide coming in. But if you all don't have the answers then something here does. No idea who or what." He's look at a few of the ghost soldiers in the distance, but makes no remark to them, letting his gaze move on without a concern. Coincidence? Anything is possible in this situation.

"It is, Major. But in order to make the right decisions, the just decisions, the facts must be on the table in front of us." It isn't worded as a sideways demand, though. It's more of an effort to explain the position. Watching Elias move off, he goes quiet and looks back to the sand at his feet. Something occurs to him and he takes a knee before taking a seat into the sand. Shoes are untied and socks stripped off. Once done, he sinks his feet into the sand and leans back, arms propping him up as he looks off into the distance.

"Maybe you created yourselves to avoid extinction," Randy looks back out to the sea, this time differently as her mind turns over the possibilities quietly, solemnly. "I think I know who does. Or who knows who does." The sea glitters back at the Seven and the Sergeant. She looks back over her shoulder to glance towards the Major and the Twelve. "If it's true that you were once like us, then what is the difference but the vessel?…" no really. She sounds as if she half believes it, or wants to. But also, curiosity takes hold, something more akin to wonder than cold analytics. She turns her head cam back towards the Seven, but keeps her eyes on the surf.

"Yes, I see." Elias offers the Twelve a nod of understanding. "As you said before — this is but the first step of the journey." Then it's the Seven that draw Elias' attention, and he watches the bearded man intently as he muses about his origins. Randy's response to the Seven earns the Sergeant a pointed look, but the Major takes another drag from his cigarette, saying nothing yet.

The Seven doesn't buy it. "Can't create energy, darlin. All you can do is change the form. We didn't make ourselves. But I'm dyin' to know what you know." He eventually looks back at her. "Questions about the vessel have been kicking around since you all granted Knox his humanity. Nobody has answers. It's all philosophical." He takes a long breath and turns a little to face the sea, into the wind and letting it wash over him. "We've got eternal life as long as we choose to keep it. The Sixes are advocating we abandon it. There's a lot of fear there. And as much as you might like to consider your fellow Sergeant a person, he isn't. He's already downloaded. He always will as long as he is in range. His knowledge spreads like wildfire in his line. Humanity can't do that. I get what you're sellin', but there's important distinctions. Eventually?" He glances back to her, then back out to sea, "those distinctions will have to be reconciled. If its all true, we can't live like this. We're going to have to make choices."

"I'm sure you are," Randy chuckles wryly. "You and I have a different idea of exchanging energy," but Randy doesn't pursue a debate with the Seven. It doesn't interest her. Randy lowers her voice a little. "I don't understand what would prevent your kind from researching ways to download without spreading, if individuality is something of a concern for the Six. I might be alone on this but I don't believe that. I've seen proof that whole lines can make the right decisions together. I don't believe that downloading is inherently wrong or needs to be eliminated in order to be a responsible race. I don't buy it. It's a cop out."

The Seven clicks his teeth, a half smile flashing and vanishing in an instant. "It's not the spreading. It's the downloading. Spreading the knowledge is a strategy of war, nothing more. The Sixes are going to keep doing it because we need our primary warfighters awake and centered. The way it's explained to me by one of them is that with all these individual Sixes making their own way and new lives, its no longer a virus. And it tracks, yanno? They wake up, its no longer a question in their heads or knowing the experience of a single Six. We are talking tens of thousands," he looks back at her, "right now. The numbers grow with every old Six killed in combat. They play the game, walk the path, keep it hidden. But each life is proof of life. The individuality overrides the core structure of our orders." He looks back to the ocean. "It's not about spreading. It never will be." Those eye hold a lot of concern and troubled thoughts. Even as Randy watches, she can see him growing older in who he is, even if the body changes nil. "Its one thing to be human and to make judgments, Flynn. I get it. But I met a Six once before all this." Individually just hit ground zero in that line. He didn't even think about it. "Right before I left, he looked me in the eye and asked me a question I thought was dumb. Now I get it. 'What is a life if you never die?'" He closes his eyes. "And I'm shittin' my pants right now wondering about that." The guy glances over to her, his face drawn. A glance to the camera and he shakes his head. "I'm done talkin on film or microphones. Sorry, darlin." The Seven then moves off up the beach, heading lazily towards the water with or without her. But he seems to mean what was said.

"Wow," Randy muses aloud in response to Seven's words, her brow knitted as if she's still working her way through Seven's words. In these moments, as she listens to the Seven, it's just her. She forgets she's wearing that stupid camera and forgets about the fly-on-the-wall Major. "I get it," though there's a humility to her tone that suggests she also gets how little she can get. In the end, it's the Seven who actually reminds her of everything outside of their conversation. "Don't blame you." She stays where she is, letting the Seven have a moment of relative privacy while she watches on.

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