Blocked

YC122-10-29-04:23
Avalon Warclone Shipyard, Skarkon

Cameras aboard the shipyard do not cease operating, even at these early hours. The orbital shipyard is cloaked in darkness, though the lights outline it well enough in the darkened system. Distantly, approximately 120.21 kilometers away from the structure is a Bowhead, marked as the UNFS Barker on sensors and multiple camera confirmation of the hull’s markings, having just arrived. Accompanying it are no fewer than twenty or so mixed interceptors and force recon vessels, among which is a Lachesis, just undocking from the large craft. The escorts orbit the freighter placidly, having reached their destination, and holding position.

The bow of the Barker lowers its forward ramp as the undocked Lachesis and a few interceptors position to the forward section to cover the opening. A glider, registering on scans as 576.5 meters in length, 220 meters across the beam, a depth of 48 meters, and a gross estimate displacement in excess of 32,000 tonnes. The last measurement is unconfirmed, as the number shifts repeatedly when being scanned by the station, though it never strays below that number. The craft is wider than the average beam at its rear, as the wings across its back unfold and give it a far larger appearance. It is convex across its bottom, coated in black ablative scales over every surface nearing to the top, which is only slightly convex, and is not coated similarly. From this distance, the top of the craft is white, with a ruby coloured stripe diagonally across from port stern to starboard bow, and on both sides the word “Block” is barely visible, printed in black.

The Barker remains open as several smaller objects shoot out, parasite craft, each carrying a smaller payload. They look to be small satellites, low power, lower still with the output of the star, and small profile, though not as small as the cigar-shaped parasite craft. They remain attached as they shoot ahead of the formation, the Block glider now followed by the Lachesis and interceptors, pulling away as the glider pitched down with its stub-nose to the ground, and its thrusters to the sky. There is no flare from the rear section as the glider accelerates away from the formation, leaving the force recons and interceptors to form back up with the Barker and prepare to jump away.

The glider is followed on camera on its descent to the west for several more minutes, the profile of the craft disappearing after two minutes of visible atmospheric reentry.

YC122-10-29-04:42
Sahendaruman Fortress, Huomaeli Belt, Ternate Mountains, Skarkon II

The cameras of the mountain fortresses are similarly operating at all times. Since their inception from the dark ages, the fortresses received many upgrades and traded hands a few times in recent memory. Streams of refugees in convoys disembark vehicles almost every hour on the hour, and as the hour comes to a close, the last group to arrive had not finished passing through the checkpoint, held up by multiple quarantine calls of suspicious or otherwise unwell visitors. At this time the few staff outside were aware of the approach, and the defenses stood down, though the refugees were not made aware of the reason some looked to the sky.

The cameras and singular sensor post mounted to the peak of the centerline of the range captures the moment a large glider passes over Sa’Kak to the east, and passes over the peaks of the range just shy of a thousand meters, roaring across the sky like an infernal fireball, a thunderclap in its wake, causing several refugees to scatter and take cover, and several smaller avalanches be caused by the passing. The post observes the glider begin to slow its descent, performing lazy S patterns to bleed off its remaining speed as the sensor mast pinpoints the landing site, at the southern sand sea south of Iddiserigard.

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YC122-10-29-05:11
Southern Sand Sea, outside of Iddiserigard, Skarkon II

A camera drone activates, and a familiar masked visage is seen sitting in a command chair. At first he - going off of the body shape - appears to be Perun, but he does not look as human as most would. His forearms are covered in feathery bracers, and the hood and cowl behind the mask have four strange rabbit ear shaped points behind their head, giving them an aerodynamic appearance. The colours of the suit itself are somewhat Perun, but on closer examination their placement is wrong, or inverted. The jacket is more orange than blue, and there is no familiar triangular badge across their arm, instead replaced with a holographic sigil, two hands in opposition grasping a bi-coloured blade, an orange hand grasping the cyan pommel, handle, and crossguard, and a cyan hand grabbing the orange blade, both feathered like small wings with alternating colors of the opposing hand. The jacket extends further downward into a dovetail, only stopping at the thighs where more feathers are visible around his hips.

But almost stranger than any of that would be the mask. It is still angular, like any Triglavian mask, but the design is not like any seen before. It points out further around the nose and jaw, like a rounded snout of a rabbit. There are two large black eyes painted into the mask that from the front are angular but not unwelcoming.

His posture is one of greeting, both palms together as if to greet like a more traditional member of the State, and he bows slightly before returning his hands to the arms of the command seat, upon which he begins inputting innumerable commands at a rapid pace.

“Greetings, Summit. Some of you may be familiar with my mask, rather the one I wore before. Some of you may even know my name. But I do not bear either. I am Mahazkei, capsuleer of the UNF. But you’ve heard my story more times than you care to remember, so I’ll cut to the chase.”

The command seat rotates to the right, leaving the left side more visible. From here, the mask’s eyes are much larger, and rounded, like that of a friendly pet. But the left arm of the jacket is more detailed, having a pattern done into the sleeve from shoulder to elbow, though in the current light it looks little more than a tattoo that had been sewn into the sleeve itself.

“I’ve chosen to involve myself in the affairs of the people of Skarkon II, as my chosen, Lauralite Brezia, was involved before me. The extent of my involvement is not yet written, but it is my intent to assist with the evacuation of the civilian population. Ambitious?”

The chair turns again at an angle to the camera, the eye visible on the mask sharpening.

“Maybe. But I’ve learned a few things since getting out of the suit. And you might question my motives, as Skarkon is notorious for complex issues, let me make this much clear: my priority is people.”

He gesticulates towards the camera, a single finger, joined by more as he listed off groups.

“People who do not want to fight, or be involved in fighting. People who are too injured or ill to last long in these conditions. And people who cannot survive this transformed world for long without becoming irreversibly changed. I understand people would want to stay, and to those who have found peace, I should think to leave them. But if life can be preserved, I should hope to preserve it.”

He took one hand off the armrest and held it up, a question unanswered.

“And how would I complete such a task? You’re looking at her.”

He put both hands out as if to theatrically behold a stage to its audience. The room around him changed its lights to a dark red, like being onboard a submarine. There were deep noises, clanks of hundreds of tonnes of metal and the whine of a machine being flooded with power.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go greet the locals. I believe I crash landed in their backyard unannounced, despite my efforts to inform them beforehand. I must apologise to them for the scare, though I won’t lie, the expressions were priceless. Just wait though…”

His hands returned to their rest as he gave a two-fingered salute to the camera.

“This is Commander Mahazkei, Block out.”

The camera’s feed ends abruptly, and the recorded stream comes to an end.

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Anyone wearing that attire cannot be trusted, and should be shot on sight, or made to suffer for a thousand years.

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He’s an idiot, but he’s my idiot. Perehana Avali he is, he actually does mean what he says.

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Indeed.

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YC122-11-02-10:33
Iddiserigard, Skarkon II

A camera drone activates, and a familiar masked visage is seen sitting in a command chair. Mahazkei hasn’t changed his position much at all, only having leaned back and turned with the command chair compensating, so that it now resembles more of a crash couch. The construction of the chair is now more visible from this angle, revealing that it has a modular and adaptive design. He seems to be fiddling with invisible commands as his hands move, his eyes are totally focused on some task he has set before himself and the mask’s broadside seems more tame, almost welcoming with its big eye. He doesn’t look up as the camera drone registers itself as online, he begins to speak as he continues to work.

“Morning, Summit. Sorry it took a while. I had to explain a lot to Mx. Riordan and her people, I gave them all quite the scare. Had to talk her down from shooting at me once Lauralite called and cleared me as above board. Then I got two earfuls of how I needed to do my research, and look more friendly in a piece of hardware as mean as this.”

He thumped the left side of his chair, and then held up his arm as he showed off the sleeve. The design is intricate, and looks of Minmatar origin, almost certainly a tattoo of some kind as a part of the suit’s design. Though he doesn’t hold up the arm long to identify it without reviewing the footage.

“Which is fair, I should have done my research a bit better. But being pressed for time, I don’t know what I have or don’t have, so I got off my backside and decided I’d wing it and build a rapport over time. Saede was kind enough to give me and Block a paint job while out there in the sands before we got to work. Now we’re underway and I like what she’s done for our livery.”

He flips his hand off the rest and flicks over a holographic screen suddenly made visible from this angle, straight against the screen. It’s of the armored hull of a vehicle of unclear make and lineage, seeming to bear a mix of technologies: Gallente curves, Caldari hard surfaces, one thing is clear is from the visible parts of the design is that first and foremost it speaks the language of war. The lighting has been modified to compensate for the darkened skies and the hull has been tinged with rust-colored dust which is almost magnetised to the surface giving it a similar appearance to that of a Minmatar starship and muddying the identification further. The one thing that stands out is a series of blocky symbols forming two distinct words based on the spacing of the two blocks. Words sprout up in every known language branching from the text, but the most readable is “Steel Coyote”.

“After watching Saede’s broadcast of my landing I thought this was the best thing to put on the plates. Made the most sense to both her and I once she understood what I was trying to do. So she gave me a once-over and now I’m a big moving target that says “I’m friendly” to the locals. Still gives people the spooks though, and I can’t blame them. Block here is a big girl, aren’t you?”

The surrounding lights change their intensity and the background noise of a low rumble and power flow are drowned out by a few chirps and cheeps borrowed from inputs on his holo consoles.

“Ah, right, that’s another thing. Block here is also AI mounted. Nothing too fancy, she’s like Aura, just enough to keep me on my toes, and give me a little company out here in the scarlet dark. I have to admit, the skies being this dark I probably look and sound like a monster in the dark. Like a thing I’ve been told is around here, somewhere.” He shrugs. “Not sure what to make of that part, but apparently if I avoid an area of the city, I won’t have any problems. Fine with me. Out that way is a mutaplasmid mass I want no part of. This suit might save me from the mutations the people here are dealing with but I’m not about to push my luck on that front, and besides I have no idea how they’d interact with Block.”

The crash couch turns around to the other side now, Mahazkei looking at the camera for a few seconds before looking back to his consoles, still invisible from this angle.

“That reminds me. I got a few “questions” regarding my outfit choice. Yes, since I was bonded to one for a time, I am technically Trig, so I won’t be affected, but I’ve told them off so I’m not recognised as one. I changed the appearance so much that it’d be a harder sell that I was related, so I’m hoping I don’t get shot at. Kind of a “middle of the road, accepted by none” case I’m hoping to fix with time. That one gets asked enough I should really attach it to my bio so people stop looking at me like I’m a Kybernaut.”

A head shake. “Another would probably be why I have feathers and weird ears and more than two and yada yada. The future is here, people. I can make clones look like whatever I want and I picked something cute and deadly. And yes, I said it.” More shakes. “It’s like some of you people have never gone to Luminaire and walked more than five feet. Body modders want to feel more at home in their own skins, and this is my choice of expression.”

He swipes one hand repeatedly as if dismissing many messages. “I’ll make this the last answer, since I’ve gotten preachy enough to last a month. Uh, I’m a lot like Saede, here on Skarkon. I’m a Multiple but I’m a limited run, one of a kind. No way to hide it since old Sakabkei, the one you all know as the original, still has something to say back in k-space. If he hasn’t told you himself yet it probably won’t be long before he breaks the news. I’m certainly not going to spoil the surprise.

“Yeah. I know, the whole thing’s illegal and all that. But there’s people here who aren’t getting any better by the day. He wanted to act, but he’s got duties at home that if any of you asked him to leave he’d shoot you, no compunctions.” A short pause. “Hell, I’d shoot you. But anyway. I’m not expected to last forever out here. If I’m compromised, I know damn well that I’m not coming back, so I’ll do a bunch of damage and have my blaze of glory and all that good stuff. If I do manage to make it out of this in one piece, I’m getting reintegrated, go home. And no, I’m not double-body training. No time for that out here, takes too much focus. I’m an old Alpha clone anyway, so that kind of crap’s beyond me.”

The lights change back to a dim red, and he swivels to forward, facing the camera, his consoles barely visible. “That’s my cue to shut up and knuckle down. I’ll be making a few more calls out like this in the next few weeks, might be through Saede on my progress. Anyway, stay safe out there people. Keep up the good fight. This is Commander Mahazkei, Block out.”

The camera’s feed ends abruptly, and the recorded stream comes to an end.

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