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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Humans.

Explorers. Artists. Scientists. Creators.

Conquerors. Warriors. Survivors. Destroyers.

What is your purpose?

Why did you leave your “First Port?”

Why did you come here?

Do you not know the fate that awaits the star which burns too brightly?

Do you not comprehend the fate that awaits you?

<=== PROLOGUE ===>

Burning Star ~ Burn-out

System: Moirai - Atropos
Location: Near Pandemonium planetary space

The Galleon Supernova of the Burning Star Pirates left the low-orbit port above Pandemonium several Standard Days ago; a standard refuelling and restocking at a port out of sight of the Sector Defense Armada. The Atropos System was large, and its furthest reaches were quite often safe ports for Pirates in need of rest.

In the captain’s quarters of the Supernova, Captain Rojo Barrett sat at his desk, gazing out into the inky blackness of space, his soft red eyes gently glimmering like rubies. Behind him his first mate, Enrica Vittora, stood with an unusual calmness for her. Both wore heavily modified SDA uniforms, remnants of their time in service. Enrica had dyed the normally white uniform a pitch black, and Rojo’s outfit, while following the pattern of a dignified military leader, bore the coloration and wear and tear of a Galleon Engineer. Over his raggedy clothes, Rojo wore his captain's cloak.

The two had been stargazing in silence for a while before Enrica finally spoke.

“A Pulsar Shipment?” As if responding to this sentiment, a green pendant of pulsar around Rojo’s neck gave off a gentle light.

“Yes; it’s a tough hit. Ships coming from Juno tend to be decently protected, so we’ll have to be careful. You up to it?”

“Of course I am. Such a task is barely even a challenge for me. I’m worried, though, about some of the newer crew members. Some are very... green.”

“They’ll be fine. You’ve been training them well.”

“Of course. Thank you, Captain.”

Rojo smiled at this. “Well, we’ve a day or so before the shipment comes on through. We’ll bring up the mission during breakfast.”

===========================================================>
SUPERNOVA MESS HALL
<===========================================================

The mess hall on the Supernova is always rowdy; Chef Ramon makes the best grub of any pirate crew in the sector, and fights sometimes break out among the crew of the Burning Star Pirates in the rush to get food.

Among those clamoring for their breakfast are...

Jonas Kait, a scrawny looking young man from the Kaina system who recently joined the crew, looking to be a Corsair pilot.

Jomo Joash Jozabad, a Juno-born man whom most on the crew seem to be giving a wide berth due to his penchant for keeping bombs on him.

Sebastian Valli, a Cappelan who had been hired due to his deft skill at creating combat drones.

Rocs, the ships long-time doctor, noteworthy for the fact that he’s a Shatti.

Zachary Wilde, a former Crystal Computer Corporation heir and socialite turned Burning Star Pirate thanks to an incident several years ago.

Zhang Qiaofeng, who prefers to go by Feng, a cyborg and ship engineer who had served on the Golden Dream before being referred to the Supernova by the brother of Enrica, Dante.

Meanwhile, the AI living in the ship’s computer systems, Fred, received a transmission from Captain Rojo. It reads; “Hey Fred, let those blighters in the mess hall know to get their food quickly, we’ve got a mission briefing to go over this morning.”

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:15 pm 
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"Blighter".There's a new word. Probably related to "blight", to destroy and leave lifeless and barren, especially as regards to plant life. Maybe a blighter is some kind of specialised human plant-life-destroying expert? It would be interesting to find out who it is that specialises in the destruction of plant life around here.


An announcement rings out through the mess hall.

"Would all the 'blighters' please raise a hand?"

The camera in the corner of the mess hall whirrs as it notes whose hands have been raised.

"Thank you. The Captain asks you to get your food quickly, due to our upcoming mission briefing."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Sebastian saunters on into the mess hall just as the announcement is made over the intercom.

Mission, eh? About time. I'd better get my grub on while I have the chance, Sebastian thinks as he gets in line for some food. Grabbing a tray and walking up to a nearby dispenser, he presses a button to receive the food item in question but all he gets are a high-pitched whirring sound and a puff of air.

"Dammit, who ate the last muffin?! There are never any muffins left when I get in here!"

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:21 pm 
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The Shatti doctor, white coat loaded with medical scopes, vials, cotton balls and bandages looks around the room and spots Sebastian. "Ah, my apologies."

He walks over, feet uncovered and long with pads on the soles for cushioning footfalls. His legs, for the most part, seem humanoid if not a bit longer than normal limbs; combined with an elongated torso the Shatti Doctor appears to be slightly stretched. He offers up a half-eaten Muffin in a soft looking lithe hand, "I find these humanoid pastries fascinating, but if you wish to share I can part with the remainder." He offers a smile on a muzzled face, feline ears stretched outwards from about half way up his head, parting his blond straight hair. His are golden in color, with a stilted pupil in each that expands and contracts instantly depending on the light level of where he's looking.

"I promise I did not infect it with anything, I keep my teeth clean." His fangs are polished white, and the rest of his teeth come to a very subtle point. Under his Doctor's Garb, he's covered in a thin cream colored layer of fur that, upon very close inspection, resembles the pointed pattern of tiny feathers. His nametag reads "Doctor Rocs."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Jonas snickers. "I think someone used a word that odd computer didn't know again." at the message.

His plate is heaped high with food, an abnormally large portion. Quickly and steadily he eats, taking a moment to continue on some long diatribe to anyone listening to him.

"But anyways, all I'm saying is that the indexing systems on this ship need some work. It's an honest mistake, the way its set up, looking at the wrong screen, and it'll give you a false readout, make it hard to know what to do or where we really are. And that's why I think a month long ban was way too extreme a punishment. I mean, I steered us away from that moon, didn't I?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:44 pm 
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Sebastian's back straightens up and his stance shifts into one of careful neutrality at the approach of the Shatti. Though he has seen Rocs around the ship on more than one occasion, this is his first conversation with the alien and the apprehension shows.

"It's fine. We're always short on muffins around here, so I'm used to not getting one."

Looking down at the half-eaten muffin, Sebastian shrugs and grabs it before taking a bite.

"You only live once. What's the worst that can happen? I'm Sebastian Valli, by the way."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Rocs sweeps into an elegant bow; Sebastian may note two small lumps on his shoulderblades. "I shall report the Muffin shortage to the Captain. My name is Rocs, and if I have yet to meet you than that means you have not passed through our medical bay yet. Are you new to the Supernova or are you skilled enough to avoid getting shot?" It may sound like a joke, but Rocs appears to be serious.

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:33 pm 
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"I've been known to eat an apple or two in my day," Sebastian jokes, letting some of the wariness fall out of his stance. "I've been here for a while now. Since about a week or so before that incident where we almost ran into the moon."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:11 pm 
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"Ah yes." Rocs glances over at Jonas, "I dare say I am glad we did not crash into the moon, but I rather think the red flashing screen that read 'Planetary Impact in 20 seconds' should have given a bit more of a warning."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:00 pm 
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Hmmm. No hands raised. That doesn't mean that there are no blighters, just that those who are blighters are not willing to admit to it. Perhaps it's a cause for embarrassment?


"I could easily add a few further alerts to the red flashing screen, if the current ones are not sufficient." volunteers Fred. "I could have it send an email to the current pilot, cc'd to the co-pilot. I'll put 'urgent' in the subject line, given that a certain time sensitivity is required."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:00 pm 
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"Oh great, now Fred's chiming in. I'd say it was perfectly adequate. We're still HERE, aren't we?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:31 pm 
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A single dark, organic eye is fixed on Jonas, while within the glass monocle that serves as Feng's other eye, a targeting reticule is silently aligned with several choice bits. There's a metallic clunk as she crosses her arms, then leans forward towards her latest irritation. "Do you have any idea how long it took us poor boffins down in the gears to fix everything after that stunt? Half the thrusters red-lined, we pushed the engine well past its envelope, and I swear I saw the hull starting to buckle. All of that needs fixing, and guess who's on wrench-duty double shifts until it's done?"

She then takes a massive bite of the food piled high on her plate, chews a bit, and gives a half-swallow before turning to the computer. A dull gunmetal finger points towards Jonas as she mutters "you wanted a definition of blighter, little guy? You're looking at one right there."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:24 pm 
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"Come on, it wasn't all bad." Zach quickly steps around Feng's table, careful to keep his untucked dress shirt from brushing against the trail of grease or gravy that had dribbled off her overburdened plate. "Those of us not in Engineering got our shore leave doubled, which allowed me to help supply our good friend Ramon over there with top quality fresh ingredients for meals such as the one you seem to be enjoying. And enough of it, stored properly, for us to keep enjoying it for most of our next voyage before we swap back to non-perishables."

Grinning, he flops into a corner seat near one of the intake vents before setting his plate down and lighting up a cigarette. "These repair delays may be hell on our engineers, but they're a dream come true on the supply end of things." He takes a long drag, letting the warm smoke fill his lungs for a few moments before slowly exhaling it up to where the vent sucks it out of the room. He'd been chewed out by Enrica quite a few times before he got into that particular habit. "Besides, it's nice to not be getting shot at every once in a while, isn't it? Certainly makes Doc's job easier."

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:36 pm 
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Jomo has his hands raised, but it isn't due to the request of a certain robotic crew member. It's because he's very carefully measuring out a portion of cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine into a hand grenade. The rest of his tray looks more like a chemistry set than a breakfast, save the half-eaten muffin lying in a pile of black powder. It's obvious why he's the only one sitting at this particular table.

"Yes, you did manage to steer us out of the way of that moon." Jomo spins around in his seat, and shifts his eyes from the grenade to the young pilot, his very obviously drawn on eyebrows attempting to angle themselves and assist with the glare he's giving Jonas. "And thanks to that, I didn't get a chance to test out my new chemical mix. Where the hell else am I gonna find a big enough target for my baby, huh? You KNOW that First Lady Enrica won't let me rig up corsairs any more, and we haven't encountered any sort of planetoid uninhabited enough, or ship worthless enough for a complete blow-out." Jomo lets out a deep sigh, and sets the grenade down on the table behind him. The larger man crosses his arms, and continues to glare at the younger crew member. "If you ask me a month's not nearly long enough."

Jomo swings an arm behind him to grab the muffin half, only dusting off about half of the powder sticking to the confection before taking a big bite and continuing to talk. "You got that right, Feng. Biggest blighter on the ship." Jomo nearly inhales the remaining piece of his breakfast, and then licks his fingers. "I'm probably second biggest." He says with a wide grin before beginning to crack his knuckles. "After all, I've got the biggest med tab. Isn't that right, Doctor Rocs?" Jomo turns his head to the crew's doctor, a big smile on his face, gesturing for him and Sebastian to join the conversation, before turning back to it himself. "It's a dream come true because you weren't balancing the books. The crew gets frisky with that much free time, and our money seems to vanish into thin air. And I have to find out where it goes."

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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:07 am 
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"Actually Zach..." Rocs pulls out a PDA and flips out the stylus, "15 broken bones, 12 concussions and a myriad bumps and bruises caused by Jonas' sudden moon evasion technique. And those..." Rocs juts the stylus towards the cigarette, "Is going to have me fitting you with a pair of synthetic lungs before you know it, and that is if you are lucky." He pokes a few places on his touchscreen.

Rocs then grins at Jomo, "I must agree, you have given me much practice with burns, skin grafts, shrapnel removal and the re-attachment of fingers." He walks over slowly, taking each step ball of foot to heel as if each step he takes were a dance move. "If you have not been under my care as of yet, I get the distinct feeling you may shortly. We apparently have a mission."

He scrapes the stylus up a few times and makes a curious sound, "A blight sounds like a plague, but none of you are sick. What is this 'blighter' term you speak of?"

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