Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Location: Rangstadt, Allied Europe, Earth, NEC
|Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:58 am Post subject: BT05: Xenopsychology III
|It was still early morning where the sky was starting to go through shades of grey and the stars were still visible. Most importantly it was still cool, though both had already worked up a sweat in the desert sand. Sure enough, Delgado had kept her word and was currently standing on top of a small dune on the outskirts of the Barrington Basin with Scildfreja. They'd already been there for quite a while and had a respectable pile of Bank's Monitors to prove it. With the coming sun and their suppy of hoppers of bait dwindling, it was almost time to go. Already, there had been small talk, but nothing significant or more than an exchange of a sentence or two, mainly about what they were doing.
<Delgado> ::finishes tying up another monitor to the ones they already had:: We'll eat good today.
<Scildfreja> ::Xochitl could tell that she had captured Scildfreja's attention and interest. The Utopian had a hunter's instinct and a predator's reflexes, and despite the alien prey was proficient at shooting them down as they lept from the sand:: Mh. I can't eat all this.
<Delgado> ::chuckles as she stands up and wipes the sand off her hands:: We'll keep two and give the rest away. ::wipes some sweat away from her forehead as she looks over at Scildfreja:: Do you do anything like this on Utopia? Do any kind of game hunting?
<Scildfreja> Drillgits. Diggers. Triles. Pests, mostly. Diggers roast alright, but they're tough. ::She hoisted her kills up on the end of a short stick, the danging Banks Monitors hung by their fat tails.:: We try to leave things alone if we can.
<Delgado> ::nods as she takes in each word, continuing to build Scildfreja's and Caelin's world in her mind:: I can understand that. Same here. Don't use more than you need. ::sweeps her arm out across the desert dunes:: Especially since there's not much here in the first place. ::looks back down at the monitors then walks over to the last of the caged hoppers, letting them go:: For me though, this is rare now. ::sighs as she watches the hoppers scatter:: War... war takes over everything now.
<Scildfreja> ::She nodded in reply, but it was obvious that it was an automated gesture. She watched the bounding lizards scatter to hiding spots where they would be safe from the rising sun:: It always does. ::she murmured in reply.::
<Scildfreja> ::Normally that would be the end of the conversation, but the distance from the others made Scildfreja feel a little more comfortable.:: We were at war when I was born. The same war we're in now.
<Delgado> ::shoves her hands into her pockets as she takes a deep breath, looking out over the landscape. It really was quite stunning, if you knew what to look for. The coming sun would wash this muted world in gold:: What if the war was over tomorrow on your world? What would you do?
<Scildfreja> ::Her eyebrows lowered in thought and then, moments later, in concern.:: I don't know. Go north, I guess. Rebuild the desalinization plant. ::She watched the sun rise as well, as impassive as a Stonehead. It was hard to tell what she was thinking, beyond a vague bit of concern::
<Delgado> ::it was a short answer, but it was an answer:: Do you think if the CEF influence left, Utopia could find a common ground? Or would Steelgate have to fall completely? ::continues to stare out across the desert:: We already know that even if Earth left us alone, it would still leave a taint. No one knows better than right here.
<Scildfreja> ::She pressed her lips together, her concern deepening a little bit.:: We're too different. At least there's a sea between us. No, it wouldn't stop. Steelgate is as guilty as the Terrans in this war. They'll *both* have to surrender.
<Delgado> ::nods slowly then sighs:: I'm not going to lie to you or 'beat around the bush', as they say here. ::goes quiet for a moment before speaking again, her tone becoming softer:: I consider you too good a friend to do that to you. ::glances at Scildfreja:: We'll be leaving for Utopia soon. We need to start making final stock of what to bring. Mainly, what to bring against Steelgate.
<Scildfreja> ::Her expression lost some of its hard edge as she glanced back at Xochitl:: I know. You can ask what you need to ask. ::She set her lizard-pole aside and instead chose to lean against her loaned hunting rifle. The sunrise captured her attention:: I don't know how your Gears will fit in. You'll be the fastest thing on the ground. You need to make the best use of that, I think.
<Scildfreja> And you'll want a good Airguard troop, something that can keep up with you.
<Delgado> ::nods slowly:: You've seen what we have available as far as artillery. Would you recommend anything in particular?
<Scildfreja> ::She rubbed the bridge of her nose:: Fuel-air shells are good. Area-denial weapons. I think that's what you call them here. But, you aren't coming as an army. are you?
<Delgado> ::sighs as she shakes her head:: No. It would be near impossible anyways. As you've learned, the smaller the force, the easier it is to move. ::smiles weakly at Scildfreja:: What you see is what you get. Talons Five is coming with you. Perhaps a body or two more.
<Scildfreja> ::She smiled briefly:: It's all we ask. We want to share intel. Sharing arms is too difficult. Maybe strategic planning. Talon Five will be enough for that. ::The conversation died a moment as the first strip of brilliant gold appeared on the horizon. The pause lasted until they both had to squint away from the light:: Don't worry too much. We'll give you weapons if you need them.
<Delgado> ::it was an amazing and drastic change. Once the sun rose over the horizon, the world exploded in gilted warmth. It never grew old:: Well, hopefully we'll bring enough of what we need where you won't have to. We don't want to be a burden; we want to be allies in battle. ::grins lopsidedly at her:: Best make a list now. As the guys say, we don't want to run into this naked.
<Scildfreja> ::She laughed abruptly at the comment:: Try it sometime. It's eye-opening. ::She was only more amused at the reaction she got, but moved on before more could be said.:: I don't know what you need to bring for your Gears, really. Be prepared to fight against a lot of targets, in close. You don't seem to do a lot of that, from what I read.
<Delgado> ::chuckles herself at the light mood before nodding slowly:: We're very good with blowing up lots of things from afar. ::grins:: We learn fast though. ::starts to gather up the lizards then gestures for Scildfreja to start walking toward their vehicle, the heat quickly rising:: Once we reach Utopia, will we be turned over to some tacticle group or will you stay with us?
<Scildfreja> ::She follows, holding her stick-o-lizards over her shoulder like a carnivorous hobo:: I don't know. That's up for the sophists to decide. You'll be ambassadors, so you will have say in it.
<Delgado> If we ask for you and Caelin, would you accept? Or are you already sick of us?
<Scildfreja> ::She smirked:: I think we would accept. But maybe we'll be sick of you after being stuck in a ship with you for a season. I think you're okay though.
<Delgado> ::grins as they walk:: It helps when you can find a space on the ship with a door that locks.
<Scildfreja> ::She laughed again, a reassuringly relaxed laugh:: Better than sleeping bags hung on the walls.
<Delgado> ::reaches the vehicle and slings the lizards in the back before pausing for a moment:: While on the ship, will Sphidra be roaming free? I mean, it's alright if it does, just... if one of the guys wakes up to red eyes... ::goes quiet then grins:: Actually, that'd be hilarious.
<Scildfreja> ::She puts her own catch into the back of the jeep, grinning:: It doesn't handle zeegee so well. Sleca can handle that. And Sleca's just as curious. ::she was grinning as well::
<Delgado> Oooh, even better. It should visit Birkin first. I think he'd have the hightest pitch squeal of the team. ::laughs as she climbs into the driver's seat::
<Scildfreja> ::she chortles as she leaps over the short door and lands in the passenger's seat:: You do? I think it'd be Roland. For sure.
<Delgado> Yeah? ::starts up the engine:: I'll bet you a week's worth of dessert rations.
<Scildfreja> ::she concentrated, as if taking the bet seriously:: *making* him squeal would be the hard part. I'll have to think of how.
<Delgado> Nobody said it'd be easy. ... But entirely worth it. ::grins as they take off::
<Delgado> The ride back was almost relaxing; Xochitl and Scildfreja continuing to make small talk, opening up a bit more. There'd be stretches of silence as well, but they were comfortable, not strained and neither felt obligated to try to fill those gaps. However, during one of those stretches, Delgado did break the silence prematurely. There was no waffling of the issue or gentle coaxing of the coversation into the subject. Xochitl was honest foward with their give and take, though when she talked now, it was obvious the words she were using were from someone else:: How does Steelgate fight a typical battle and how are their autos comparable to our gears?
<Scildfreja> ::she didn't respond with either a negative or positive expression, instead kept watching the morning shadows shrink as the sun rose. Her tone was as frank as Delgado's:: Tactics are simple for them. Steady advances of broad columns. Heavy artillery to break up defenses. Quick moving reserves - Terrans if they're around - to take advantage of the holes. Close air support from VTOLs.
<Scildfreja> They don't do a lot of infiltrating. They *do* flank when they can, but you can usually see it coming. They don't do anything small. They do it patient and thorough. They're cautious. They've learned that we can hide a lot better than they can.
<Scildfreja> ::Then she paused to think a moment more. She had to speak up to be heard over the wind and engine from the moving jeep; her voice was steady and melodic.:: Your Gears are a little more versatile. They carry more weapons, and they're faster. And your NAIs have great control.
<Scildfreja> An Autoguard is slower, and usually only has one or two different kinds of weapons. Better sensors though, I think. And the hip turrets a lot faster.
<Delgado> ::nods idly, letting her talk and taking it all in:: Can Steelgate's autos be jammed?
<Scildfreja> Sort of? Tactically, no - a troop, uses laser communications. but you can break a group off if it's on radio only, or if you can kill its links to the command.
<Delgado> Why do they fight? I mean, what precipitates a battle? And do most battles occur on your land or on Steelgate's continent?
<Scildfreja> ::She pressed her lips together tightly - not an easy question. she glanced back at Xochitl briefly before she answered:: I've always fought because they want to enslave us. That's what this war is about. We used to fight it on Etrusca, but the war's almost all on Sumer now. We raid across the straits when we can.
<Delgado> ::nods to herself:: What does Steelgate's ECM platform look like?
<Scildfreja> ::It was obvious that Delgado was asking by rote now, but that didn't seem to bother her so much.:: They have a few. The basic one is usually mounted on one of the Autotroop. As a communication node for the network. Autotanks at the rear will carry big electronics pods. If they're around.
<Delgado> ::just as calmly and in the same, even tone she asks her next question without missing a beat:: Does Caelin wear underwear?
<Scildfreja> Well, yes, but- ::She stops and blinks at Xochitl, a wide-eyed what-the-hell look on her face, until her brain catches up and she laughs riotously:: *you* ask him!
<Delgado> ::can't help but laugh with her:: Wait wait wait, you can't stop at 'but'. That's not fair!
<Scildfreja> ::She chortles, her cheeks a merry red - she's quite pale, certainly by Terranovan standards at least, making the flush stand out on her face:: We're all going to be stuck in a can together for at least twelve weeks. I'm *sure* you'll find out sooner or later.
<Delgado> ::blinks for a moment then suddenly 'gags':: Mem... Roland... ::spews out a curse in Agenspraec as she shudders:: Quick, subject change please oh god. Can we reload our guns and refuel our gears on Utopia or do we need to pack for that as well? :::still gets the 'wiggles' now and then in her seat as she mutters under her breath about 'a ship not big enough'::
<Scildfreja> ::She laughs anew at Delgado's sudden discomfort, the typical stoic facade she wore gone:: You learned the important words. You should be okay. The city is sitting on millions of tonnes of bio-diesel.
<Delgado> ::nods, but her mind just won't exactly let the previous subject go:: So... how long did it take you and Caelin to travel from Utopia to Terra Nova?
<Scildfreja> ::She rolls her eyes:: Thirteen weeks in a shipping container. Not much more space than the bunk rooms at Pacifica.
<Delgado> ::lets out an exasperated breath:: Thirteen weeks.... That'll be more with our load. ... Better bring lots of books. ::turns onto a side road and keeps going, thinking something over:: Cargo space is going to be tricky this trip. What about basics? I mean, once we reach Utopia, what will we need for basic survival, travel, and comfort? I'm sure Mem will want to know about food. ::smirks::
<Scildfreja> I thought he wanted to know about the women? It's what I was overhearing, anyways. Is that true? ::she held her hand out the side of the vehicle, feeling the wind press against her palm:: Food and water distiller. Heater blanket. A tarp. Survival pack. Ticker pack. Maps, compass. It's not hard.
<Scildfreja> Cloud cover's good usually, so you can use aircraft or ground vehicles without too much trouble from orbit.
<Delgado> ::nods to herself:: So I'm not going to wake up to some 4-foot bug sucking on my neck?
<Scildfreja> ::smirks:: Watch out for drillgits. But they go where it's warmest, usually. not the neck.
<Delgado> I'll make sure to stick an extra thermal pack in Roland's sleeping bag then.