Mission of Mercy (poetlore and dunruffle)

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PoetLore

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Cass smiled at Turk. His face still looked a mess from all the shrapnel that hit it, but otherwise he looked the same. She admired his way of being able to stay calm and collected no matter what, even Marcus' presence didn't seem to be affecting him.

She listened to Kirst and smirked a bit, "Well, spicy won't be your friend for about six months I'd say, but then you can probably go back to eating whatever you prefer. As for the crunches...it's not the insides bothering you there...it's the fact that your stomach looked like a hamburger when I started working on it. Give those muscles a bit of slack...they've been through a lot." She chuckled and helped him sit up, though he didn't need it. Like the rest of the Saints, hew as in amazing physical condition. He stood and she made a face, "Mind sending Erik in? I'd rather not go back out there just yet."

She tapped the tablet a few times and made notes about Kirst for Doctor Sechen. His creation was proving to be extremely beneficial and she was starting to feel bad about her initial distrust of him. She wasn't entirely sure his research was being conducted on the up and up, but there was no denying the results. She was witnessing amazing strides against Ray's condition and colon disease of any kind could be eliminated and cure completely by these organs. She sent the notes over to him along with her offer to use his organs whenever appropriate, guaranteeing that she would continue to document their usefulness for his research.

She looked up when Erik stepped in. Her eyes were softer and her expression less guarded and more honest. "Hey you," she said as she cleaned the table again and then motioned for him to have a seat. "How's that hand doing?" she asked reaching for the repaired natural hand first. She figured the implant was ok, but she would check that in a second. She scanned the hand with her eye and then pressed each finger in turn away from his palm, "Any stiffness? can you make a tight fist?" She turned his hand over and looked at the work she'd done, which was healing nicely. "That index finger took the brunt of the damage. The tendon there is a tiny bit shorter than it was so you may notice it doesn't extend as fully but it shouldn't matter to your grip strength." She was speaking professionally because she figured they were being watched. "Any pain?" And then she looked up into his eyes and bit her lip. "How are you doing? Honestly...."

Senator Edwards listened and smirked a bit after the Director finished reading the official bio that he'd created. He felt smug and confident until that second "file" was read. "No just a minute.." he interjected a few times only to be ignored and summarily dismissed. The dead sound of the call was met with a shocked stare and then a completely irate explosion of expletives that had his aide running to the room in a panic.

He did indeed make several calls, and all were more of the same. Some hung up as soon as the Director's name was mentioned. His last call, in desperation, was to a very unsavory group that he used in emergencies, but even they weren't willing to go against SOG. "You don't have enough money to offer anyone for that suicide mission. I'd lick my wounds and crawl away with my tail between my legs were I you." The Senator sighed, "There is another matter I need you to attend to...seems my wife has been cavorting around behind my back. I need you to arrange an accident...for both of them."

Faced with the overwhelming opinion of every colleague he contacted and the unwillingness of anyone to offer support or aid he called his son and offered him a way out and urged him to take it immediately. "You are not safe there. I cannot protect you in any way. You need to get out of that place and away from that director, NOW."

Marcus had grown tired of staring at the motley group of worker bees and had gone back to his quarters a few minutes before his father's call. He could not believe what he was hearing, "Wait...what?" he asked, "He's just a peon Dad...He works for you. How can you say what you are saying?"

"Marcus...he is untouchable. People are afraid to even speak his name and no one will offer support of any kind."

"Since when do you need support?"

"Marcus not even the Skulls ...."

"The Skulls?" he asked in shock, "You went to those losers?"

"They are discrete and highly skilled."

"They are slime Dad. NO problem though. I can handle him on my own. Not to worry, I'll uphold the family name and honor."

"Marcus NO!" But the line was dead and his arrogant son was gone. He dropped the comm unit and dragged a hand through his hair. He called for his Aide. "I need you to arrange a special pick up and transport for my son."

Marcus began pacing his quarters. No one was going to question his father's power or authority. He was going to find people who were not happy here and get as much dirt on this guy as he could and then bury him with it. He was good at political sabotage and he had a LOT of experience exercising it. No one was untouchable, and the director was about to find that out. Leaving his quarters he strode past everyone and went out into the open to find discontentment in the camp, and possibly to incite some where there was none.

Point watched him leave and lifted a brow. She'd been reading with Dante but that movement caught her attention. "Where does he think he's going?"

Harrison returned with Xanders, "That was good for a first go at it. Stay to ten minutes on level 5 for the first week and then you can push it as you feel comfortable." He went to his room and returned with both Erik's hand and Dante's arm and went to the bay where Cassandra was. "Ready for this?" he asked holding up the improved hand.

Cassandra nodded, "Perfect timing. How did Xanders do on the treadmill?"

"Only flew off once. Not bad."

"You caught him right?"

"Of course." He huffed indignantly. Holding the hand up to Erik's real on he compared the two. "You have a lot of torque in this hand, also a pinpoint laser from the index finger that will cut through most metals. The ring finger is a sensor for medical use. If you press it to the skin of a patient it will give you color coded information." He handed him a paper. "The pad of the finger will turn a color for poison, low oxygen levels, and everything else listed on this page."

Cass tipped her head, "That's a new one...useful." She glanced at the page and nodded approvingly. "Let's have a look at the conduits, shall we?" Releasing the generic hand she checked the skin and the electrical conduits. "You are healing beautifully." She stepped back while Harrison connected the new hand and snapped the unit in place. "Give it a try..."
 

Dunruffle

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Kirst laughed and patted Cassandra's shoulder. "I guess I can cut a few exercises out of my day if I really have to."

Almost immediately after Cassandra sent her message to Doctor Sechen, a reply message appeared in her inbox.

"I am pleased you have realized the value of my life's work. I believe you can be instrumental in advancing my research. I have given you authorization to directly request organs from my department. We already have a stock of the more simple organs. But if you require a specialized organ or specially modified designs it will take anywhere from a three days to a week to prepare and grow. I applaud your note taking Doctor. In my memoirs and future projects, you will be appropriately credited and recognized for your contributions that helped me write medical history."

When Erik walked in, he grinned when saw Cassandra's warm smile. "Hey there stranger." Sitting down on the table, Erik watched as Cassandra examined his repaired hand and shrugged. "It is fine as far as I can tell. Took a bit to get used to but the techs helped me out." Closing his hand into a fist, Erik absentmindedly scratched his scruffy beard with the spindly metal fingers of his other hand. When asked how he was doing, Erik looked directly into Cassandra's eyes and gently squeezed her hand. "I am fine. But waking up with tubes and wires in me...and nobody telling me what happened to you. That was scary. The not knowing what happened. I do not worry about dying, its part of the job. But its the people I care about I am afraid of losing. Our squad has been really lucky so far...but we can't beat the odds forever..." Sighing tiredly, Erik slipped his hand out of Cassandra's and rubbed the myraid assortment of tattoo's covering his arms. "I used to be an angry kid. Landed in prison, got roped into a bunch of nasty stuff while locked up. But looking back now..."

He was interrupted when Harrison walked in, quickly shutting up while the tips of his ears burned bright red. After listening to Harrison explain the upgrades, Erik laughed heartily. "Damn Harrison, some of the tech boys over in Enhancement could learn a thing or two from you. I bet you could get a transfer over to R&E and be running the place in a year." After his mechanical hand was connected, Erik wiggled his fingers experimentally and smiled happily. "Feels great you guys, you have no idea how annoying it keep dropping stuff with those skinny fingers."

If Marcus searched hard enough he would find people who were unhappy with their jobs. Be it the lack of scenery, restricted communications with loved ones, or having very limited vacation opportunities. But obviously everyone feared the Director too much to try and question his authority. While they were unhappy with certain aspects of daily life, nobody wanted to lose their job that paid triple the amount of a standard work salary.

In the command center, Director Valentine stood in front of a massive plasma screen filled with the many views of hidden recording cameras. Marcus may have been sly in his questioning, but nobody would expect the level of paranoia the Director was capable of. Standing next to him, Natalya diligently typed into a datapad as she observed the various recordings.

"Sir, do you have any plans for dealing with this...pest?" She sneered in obvious disdain when referring to Marcus, eliciting a chuckle from the Director. "As tempting as it is to simply kill him, I believe we could rehabilitate Doctor Edwards with the proper lessons. As for the ship his father plans to send to rescue him, send the pilots the usual flight information to the decoy planet. There is no point in killing innocents who do not know the whole story. If they persist...have them arrested for trespassing into military space. A few weeks in the local prison would send the right message. As for Senator Edwards, I have already sent you my plans. Begin phase one of the defamation operation. Journalists love scandal, send anonymous tips about Senator Edwards illicit recreational activities. Having to deal with pesky journalists will keep him busy for now."
 

PoetLore

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Cass let her eyes roam over Erik's face as he spoke. This was the guy she wanted to know more about, not the soldier per say. Yeah, that was part of who he was but there was a lot more to him than that. "You have been lucky, we all were on this last one, myself included." When he squeezed her hand she returned the gentle encouragement. "I'm sorry...I was frantically trying to get to everyone. When I finally had time to come back and check on everyone I was nearly falling over with exhaustion and the team shoved me off to rest. When I woke up you were all gone..I about lost my mind." She sighed, "I'd never had anyone take my patients in the middle of treatment before and it unnerved me more than a little."

Harrison did his thing and huffed at Erik's comments, "I'm nothing without Doc here. Her implant bases are what make my gadgets possible. She likes to give me all the credit, but if I didn't have the base conduit with all the nerves connected just right, nothing I did would matter. She's the real genius. I'm just a glorified mechanic."

Cass smacked his arm, "Not true at all. What good is a base without a proper member? And yours are soo lifelike and functional. Nothing like those stupid metal things everyone else is happy to saddle people with..." she looked back at Erik, "He really is an artist. And..if you wanted to advance your station by moving over, I'd miss you terribly but I'd never hold you back."

Harrison gave her a hard look, "Just get that crap outta your little head ... I work with you and you only." Having said that he left the room to go get Dante."

Cass grinned, "Well then...guess he told me." She looked the new hand over and shook her head, "Can't even tell it's an implant...and um...be careful with that laser. Always makes me nervous when he gives people a laser." Her head dipped a bit and then she peeked back up at him, some of her dark hair falling over her cheek slightly as it fell from the ponytail at the back of her head. "I have to admit I have never been so scared in my life as when all of you were lying around me in various states and I had to choose where to go first. I'm glad I was there though because I can't say with confidence any of you would still be alive if I wasn't." She reached for his hand again and squeezed, "I worry about you too...comes with the caring." She was trying to be subtle but she wasn't very good at it. She tapped a few things onto her pad and then wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to him. "Are you guys able to eat in the dining room yet? I miss our dinner conversation."

Dante and Harrison entered the room. "Oh, thought you'd be done.."


Cass smiled a gentle smile, "We are. Hello Dante...I hope you don't mind being last. I figured you were used to the routine." She watched Erik leave and then turned her attention to Dante's shoulder. Like the others he had healed fantastically and she was more than pleased. "Where do they get these implants they gave you guys?' she asked him, "they are so crude."

Harrison nodded in agreement, "The metal his high quality, so they are strong, but their functionality is subpar at best."

They fitted the new arm and Harrison smiled, "Dude, I hooked you up." He leaned in and tapped the arm, "You can lift well over half a ton with this. You have a secret compartment here in the forearm." he tapped a barely noticeable mark that was disguised to look like a mole on the inside of his arm just below the elbow. When he touched it a weapon popped up from his arm. "it's dual action. Laser for cutting or rapid fire bullets for killing. Whichever is more useful. Laser is activated by contact between the third finger and thumb, the gun by a curled down fist. Open palm with fingers up retracts the weapon." Looking at the arm you would never be able to tell it wasn't flesh, which meant that hidden weapon could possibly save lives at some point as it wouldn't be confiscated. "I added a little extra thing too...if you are ever scanned, this arm will scan as flesh not as an implant."

Cass smiled, "You really should be working with the directors guys, or maybe they should come and take some lessons from you...I can talk to the director about it." Or he can just see this and hear what they are saying and make his own conclusions.

Marcus did indeed find discontent, but no backbone. Bunch of stupid machines all brainwashed to the point of terror. He eventually went back to the medical bay and punched the door as it slid open. he stormed past everyone and went straight to his quarters to think and fume a bit.

Senator Edwards was leaving his office when he was mobbed by reporters asking about his affairs and late nights with paid escort services and whether or not that was tax payer money being used. He and his guards fought through the throng until he was in his car. His phone was immediately at his ear, "Have you left to get my son yet? Get him out of there now..." He tapped the comm unit and cursed under his breath. He grabbed it again and called an old friend, "So you were right. It's already starting. How do i get it to stop?"

Cass came out of the bay with Dante and Harrison just as Marcus stormed by. Her smile perked up a bit seeing his disposition. "Well gentlemen you all seem to be doing marvelous considering your state only a few days ago. I'm famished...have you all eaten??" She really had missed dining with them and it was already a long morning. "I hope that pudding is up there..." She said biting her lower lip and blushing a bit.
 

Dunruffle

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After Harrison installed Dante's new arm, the tall dark skinned soldier laughed heartily and ruffled Harrison's hair. "I like your thinkin Harrison! I won't even need to carry a gun anymore!" Erik rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically. "Oh boy, now Xanders is going to want weapons in his legs when he finds out what Dante got. As for lunch...or is it dinner?...Hell if I know. I am all for going to eat some food and rub it in Kirst's face while he drinks smoothies."
 

PoetLore

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Cass gave a sympathetic eye to Kirst and poked Erik in the ribs with a gentle elbow nudge, "be nice.." Glancing at her watch she shrugged a bit, "It's about half way between, but I'm hungry and there will be no long line....anyone else up for some grub?"

Harrison chuckled at Dante, "Still going to bee a gun my friend, limited ammo, but good in a pinch." He lifted a brow at Erik's comment as if giving it some serious thought, "might be possible..."

Point raised a hand, "I can always eat...and I am all for getting away from jerk face..." Seeing Cass' expression she cleared her throat and lowered her eyes, "I mean Doctor Edwards."

Graves called out from his cage, "Bring back a burger and fries would ya?" Before anyone could reply, "And a large anything to drink...lots of ice."

Point smirked, "I got it Graves...need ketchup?"

Graves huffed, "Of course."

Harrison tapped Cass on the shoulder, "Bring me back the usual?"

"No problem but..."

"have something to work on..." he said as he disappeared into his bay.

Cass just smiled and turned to the others, "So...who else is in?"
 

Dunruffle

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The rest of the Saints quickly agreed to getting food and soon they were all on the tram to the dining hall. "Riktof you do know I am the one with the ability to put you on latrine duty next time we are in the field." Kirst gave Erik a friendly but slightly intimidating smile, making the bearded medic laugh nervously. "Sorry LT, no harm no foul right? When you get off of liquids I will buy you a nice burger." Dante and Xanders cackled when Erik was put in his place while Turk lightly scratched at the web of shrapnel scars on his face. Getting off the tram, the group walked into the main entrance and through the security gate. As Erik and Dante walked through the checkpoint, an alarm began to blare while red lights flashed from the ceiling. Instantly, the two Saints were tackled to the ground by six native guards while a swuad of security guards leveled their weapons at the rest of the group. "HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM! YOU MOVE YOU DIE!" A guard captain barked orders at the group while Erik and Dante were restrained with several shackles.


Kirst looked at the captain in bewilderment as Erik and Dante were dragged off. "What the hell is wrong with you!? My men did nothing wrong!" He was quickly silenced as the Captain poked his chest with the barrel of his rifle while another guard began patring down everyone else. "Your men were carrying concealed weapons, you should be thanking me for not shooting them. I dont know how you managed to get weapons into the base, but only security staff are allowed to be armed inside the base. All of you are being detained, consider yourself lucky. If your boys had put up a fight I would have put them down myself."

After everyone had been checked for any other hidden weapons, they were all handcuffed and brought to the security center. Cassandra was seated inside an interrogation cell and shackled to the table, two native guards stood on either side of her wielding what looked like medieval maces with electrical conductors. After a few minutes of silence, one guard looked around nervously and turned to Cassandra. "You okay Dok-tor? You no bad right? We be sad if you bad...um...in-troo-der." The other guard nodded slightly as he awkwardly fiddled with his mace.
 

PoetLore

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Cassandra grinned at Kirst, "One week tops...not so bad for a totally new digestive tract...back in the day you'd be saddled with a bag hanging from your side..." He was lucky to be able to return to duty actually. Without Doctor Sechen's organs, he wouldn't be but she didn't point that out. None of these men were the kind who'd want to go out in such a way.

They were smiling and talking companionably when they arrived at the dining hall. She blinked when the guards tackled Dante and Erik and though she was very confused, she submitted to the pat down and the detainment. She hadn't heard what the guard said to Kirst or she would have understood what this was all about and wouldn't be sitting there wracking her brain for a possible explanation.

She smiled up at the guard who was brave enough to speak, "I have no idea what's going on...I am not an intruder or bad. I promise you that. I'm still learning about the rules here, so I might have done something I don't know was wrong...I don't know what mind you...but I'm sure someone will tell me eventually."

She sighed though thinking about the work she had to do and the reports she had yet to finish. She looked up at the guards, "Is the guard you brought to me still doing well? No more coughing blood? He never came back to be checked..."
 

Dunruffle

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The talkative guard nodded happily in relief, one could almost hear the toothy smile behind his mask. "Dats good! We like Dok-tor." When asked about the formerly sick guard, the native brute scratched his neck in thought. "Uhhh...he good I think? Di-rek-tor give all us...umm..." The prison guard looked to his friend and pointed at the cylinder screwed into the jaw of his mask. "Dey breethers." The shy guard puffed out his chest proudly for being able to remember what the new rebreather attachments for their masks were called.

The heavy metal door to the room opened and in walked Captain Sokolov, her snow white hair tucked under her officer's cap and her datapad in hand. Scowling at the guards, Natalya spoke in an icy tone. "Leave us." The two natives gave sloppy salutes and scurried out of the room, leaving the two women alone.

Sighing tiredly, Natalya rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Cassandra...I know you and Harrison are very proud of your work. But implanting concealed weapons into your patients is not your job. We have a whole division dedicated to those sort of projects. You could also understand how our security staff reacted to discovering concealed weapons implanted in two of the diners. The security staff takes their jobs very seriously, I know they seem a little tempermental. But you know how strict the Director is when it comes to security.
 
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PoetLore

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Cassandra smiled up at the guards affectionately, "Oh I am soo glad! That's wonderful! I hope they help and keep everyone from getting sick, but if anyone does..just bring them to me. I will always help." She admired the indigenous people of this harsh place. They worked hard, were fiercely loyal and they had found ways to compensate for the harsh conditions here and thrive. It peeved her that the other doctors didn't feel like they deserved proper treatment. As far as she could tell they were a vital part of the cogs that kept the facility functional.

When Natalya arrived she was relieved. She knew the Major would just spit out the problem and she'd finally understand what was going on. "Oh for heaven sakes..." She said smacking her forehead. "I am so sorry. it never even occurred to me that Harrison's upgrades would be a problem. I guess I should have but honestly I was so pleased with the skin match ..." She was actually blushing a bit when she finally buried her face in her hands and shook her head. Those hands brushed the hair from her face and she met Natalya's intense gaze, "I will send a formal apology to the director. Neither of us intended any security breach, we were just trying to help the Saints be happier with their implants." She sighed, "I don't want to discourage Harrison from his work because honestly he's making great strides as far as usefulness and appearance which aid in quality of life as well as keep the men with implants from being easy targets for the enemy. Kirst suggested that I send him to work with your people..." She looked conflicted because she was, "I would miss him but he deserves a chance to be recognized for his gifts. He really is brilliant. Maybe we could....share him?? Somehow?" She asked hopefully. "Maybe a few hours a day over there? Except for emergencies and such..." She huffed out. "Help me out here, what should I do?"

Meanwhile, Marcus was in his quarters devising his personal plan to take down the director. He had a few regular military men willing to do anything to get out of this place and he was going to give them an opportunity to do so. They'd likely die fulfilling his request, but they would indeed be out of here as promised.

He strode out of the hospital and made his way to the firing range, which he said was to sure up his admittedly rusty skills with a weapon since this was an active military facility. He had his two men create a little distraction and he pocketed a few rounds of ammunition and a grenade. It was a little known fact that he was quite the adept pickpocket in his younger days. Not that he ever had need of anything, but he enjoyed the thrill of it. He made his selections and went to the range but along the way he passed the ammo to one man and the grenade to another. He practiced for nearly an hour, proving to anyone watching that he was not at all adept with fire arms. He shrugged affably and frowned, "I think I will have to come back and practice more...seems I am rustier than I imagined." The truth was that he'd never held a weapon in his life. He felt that was for lesser, expendable people not people like himself.

He went back to the hospital and ignored everyone when he saw that Cassandra was not there. The others were nothing but peon trash to him, and his disdain was clearly etched on his face as he passed them.

Graves waited until the doors to his room whooshed shut and flipped him the finger. "Ass..."

Harrison heard the doors and had come out only to roll his eyes at the man's back. He grinned at Graves though and shot him a thumbs up before noticing that Cass and Point had not returned from lunch. That was odd. Maybe they were taking a little extra time to enjoy the guys? He grabbed ray's chart and checked on him and sent the two on a short walk as Cass had ordered and made note of it on the chart. He returned to his bay and went back to work on his next project....hidden guns for Xander. Like Cass he had no idea his innovations were going to be a problem within the facility, he was just trying to keep his friends alive.
 

Dunruffle

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Natalya lightly scratched her chin as she mulled over Cassandra's request. "I am only a Captain so I do not have that kind of authority to make transfers. But I can send a message to the R&E department and maybe they can come up with a solution." Standing back up, Natalya tapped her datapad a few times before putting on her usual scowl. Opening the door, she spoke to Cassandra in an icy tone. "All of you will be detained for a few hours while they remove the implanted weapons. Once they are cleared you all will be escorted back to your areas. Food will be delivered to you after you return. Following standard protocol a team of investigators will search the medical bay for any more hidden weapons. You cannot interfere while they are investigating and the team is allowed to take any objects considered dangerous." Natalya gave Cassandra a quick look of apology then left and slammed the door behind her.

Four hours later, Cassandra and Jen were escorted back to the medical bay under the watchful eyes of heavily armed security officers. "The investigators will arrive shortly, do not interfere with their work or you will be detained again." The security officer removed the tracking bracelets from Cassandra and Jen then promptly led the rest of the guards out of the medical wing.
 

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Cassandra listened and nodded, "Thank you for that. All I can ask is that you try. I appreciate it. And again I am sorry. I know this is going to cause a fairly big stink and cost a lot of people precious time and energy." Natalya said they would be detained and again she nodded. She honestly felt stupid for not realizing that Harrison's zealous creations would not be suitable for casually mulling about the facility. Her fingers rubbed at the brow above her implanted eye and she sighed. She risked asking, "Can I have my data tablet back so I can at least do a bit of work? And .. write my apology." She looked humble and sincere because she was. It bothered her a lot when things were out of sorts because of something she'd overlooked or been thoughtless about even if it was unknowingly. This however, she felt as if she SHOULD have realized sooner would be a problem.

She watched Natalya nod and she nodded back with a warm smile of understanding. Her friend had a job to do and she was going to do it as she always did even with her. She respected that immeasurably. Once the door slammed loudly she looked up at her two guards. "I feel very stupid right now. I'm sorry if this makes you all like me less. I hope it doesn't though."

They were eventually escorted back under heavy guard like common bank robbers or public enemy number one. She supposed all of this was to show everyone that NO ONE was above scrutiny. Again she appreciated that everyone was treated the same and that there was no favoritism to anyone, because she'd seen her share of abuse of power and it rankled her more than a little.

Harrison heard the doors and poled his head out of his bay and lifted a brow when he saw the guards and the bracelets and heard the warning. His brow lifted but he stayed quiet until the guards left. "What happened? where have you two been?"

Cass sighed while Point when to check on Ray walking away disgruntled that her time with Dante had been cut short and that her wrists were itchy from the bracelet they'd stuck on her. "We were detained...as you saw."

Harrison crossed his arms while he waited for the rest. "And?"

Cass couldn't look at him, "You hidden weapons set off the security guards. Dante and Erik were tackled and we were all questioned and detained. People will be coming to search the med bays. They have the right to seize anything that is deemed a threat. Do not attempt to stop them."

Harrison blinked and his stiff demeanor melted away as his arms fell to his sides. He suddenly looked like a big kid who was about to be punished by his mom for stealing that last cookie. He tried to speak but he had no words. Finally he reached out and hugged her tight, "I am so sorry. I had no idea." He wasn't given to affection as a rule but right now he needed that hug more than she did.

Cass hugged him back and patter his arm when he finally let go. "Neither did I, though I feel like I should have. This place is tighter than the money vaults at the capitol. I"m used to places where the military people have their weapons on them at all times. Still it should have occurred to me." She shrugged as she made her way to her desk. Remembering the other conversation with Natalya she looked at Harrison, "By the way, I asked them if you could work with the team that builds their implants. I don't want your genius to go unnoticed. It won't be all the time just a few days a week I think and if I need you here then here you will be."

Harrison was about to protest but then stopped. "If it's not all the time and I can be here for emergencies then I'd love to help the. Those things they put on the saints were made with no consideration but function. These men have actual lives to live. Maybe I can convince them the little extra effort to give a man back a hand instead of metal spines is going to make them feel better about themselves and make them better soldiers." he turned to go into his bay, "Hey wait a minute...what are they doing to my implants??"

Cass nodded as he spoke the smile growing as he continued until his question, "Removing them. Why?"

Harrison frowned, "They need to come back there then. I doubt they'll do it right. I can't guarantee the connections to their port will still function properly." Like Cass, Harrison didn't really believe anyone could do what he did. It wasn't arrogance it was just plain observation and experience. he'd never seen anyone do his kind of implant. He'd been honing the technology and he and Cass had the surgical linking to nerves down to a precise science.He knew her ability to create the port for the implants to plug into was the key to all his success, so he was humble in that regard. Now he was worried Dante and Erik would not be able to use their limbs and the pacing began.

Cass tapped the screen and sent a message to Natalya. She explained Harrison's concerns and asked that whoever removed the devises contact Harrison or herself to ensure it was done in a way that would allow the implants to function properly. Or that the men be returned for tweaking. She didn't really care which way, but she knew she wasn't going to be able to watch Harrison pace like a caged lion and still work.
 

Dunruffle

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Twenty minutes later a team of three investigators and a squad of armed security guards entered the medical wing. Everyone was rounded up and forced to wait in the lobby area. Of course Marcus initially tried to resist the search of his quarters but when threatened with a crackling stun baton he quickly relented and was placed with everyone else. The security guards for the most part were lenient with their restrictions. Bottled water was handed out and everyone was allowed to use the restrooms on their own. The investigators had wasted no time in confiscating any objects deemed dangerous. A cart of laser cutters, three boxes of adhesive compounds, several packages from Graves' room with questionable labelling, and different personal items from private rooms. As more items were confiscated, a message popped up on Cassandra's tablet.

[From: Doctor Brunel]
[Hello Doctor Brandford, my name is Nadia Brunel. I am one of the chief engineers of the Research and Enhancement Department. I was told you have an assistant who could be of use to us. I am on my way over now to discuss how your assistant could help us.]
 

PoetLore

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Cassandra sat calmly as the investigators did what they were paid to do. She smiled and thanked them for the water and was even graciously allowed to do her normal check on Ray when she politely requested first. They weren't there to keep them from performing their duties apparently or to harm a patient, and she was glad of their attempts to not leave the place in shambles. She frowned at them taking the adhesive compound and did ask about it. "But that came from Doctor Sechen....it is to adhere his organs..." She blinked and tipped her head, "IS there some other use for this as well?" she wondered aloud. She glanced over and saw them taking a few things from graves, no real surprise there. She couldn't actually say she ever knew what was in Grave's possession at any given time herself.

Harrison almost cried when they took his lasers, but he just sat stoically and made sure there was a human wall between Marcus and Cassandra at all times. He did not trust that man as far as he could throw him, and given his physical size and Marcus' he figured that would be quite a ways....might be a fun experiment.

Point pulled out a book and read quietly so she could have a good reason for ignoring Marcus.

Graves watched the man covertly out of the corner of his eye while he appeared to be lounging back sloppily in his chair. Well damn it all, they found the whiskey. Next time he was labeling it rubbing alcohol. He was obviously going to have to up his game...not a problem for someone of his particular talents. He had been so lucky to happen upon this opportunity to work with someone of Doctor Brandford's impeccable reputation. His black market business was booming, though slowed a bit by this assignment, but he had enough stashed away to retire comfortably. At the moment he was only interested in obtaining his personal creature comforts, and those of the team which were admittedly not as refined as his own. Point always wanted books, which weren't as easy to come by as she might think. Harrison was always looking for some weird technology, but he'd always been able to get all the parts the big guy needed and he even begrudgingly admired the guy's work ethic. The good doctor never asked for anything but the normal supplies for the hospital. She was an odd one in his book. Most doctors were like Edwards throwing their education and contacts around like money. Edwards had already requested some highly questionable items, and had discovered that Graves, unlike the others did indeed have a price. It was a HIGH price, especially for Cretans like Edwards, but he did name one and was paid handsomely. He didn't care what Edwards was going to do with the stuff, not his problem. Luckily for Edwards it wasn't here yet, or it would no doubt be gone. Tough to hide that in a med lab....

Marcus was fuming in the waiting area. He was pacing and then sitting only to rise and pace again. His hand dragged roughly through his hair as he was mumbling under his breath in incoherent little snips of angst riddled grunts and partial expletives. At length he looked at Cassandra, "I can't believe you are allowing this complete invasion of our personal space. This is a violation of our rights and I intend to see that the proper authorities are notified."

Cass just grinned up at him, "Have something to hide Marcus?" she asked sweetly, "I don't. They can search wherever they like and I have no worries. Besides, they are being polite and courteous and allowing me to do my job. Why should I keep them from doing theirs?" She smiled up at the guard who was watching over them in the waiting area, "The less we interfere the faster they are done and we can all be back to our work. AND...incidentally Doctor Edwards...this whole thing is my own failure to realize the security and allowances here in the facility. It is not their fault nor the director's for that matter." She was going to continue but a message alert on her tablet caught her attention. She smiled and replied.

To: Nadia Brunel

We will be happy to meet you, though we are under investigation at the moment. Still, the lobby is as good a place as any for you to meet Lieutenant Harrison as any. Thank you for your time, I promise you it will be well worth it.
 

Dunruffle

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A few minutes later the investigators returned to the lobby and quietly compared their findings. Seemingly satisfied that everything dangerous had been taken, the trio exited out into the cavern and boarded a waiting tram. As the tram departed, the security officers filed out until a somewhat elderly security officer remained. Nodding politely, the officer made a few notes on his datapad and looked to Cassandra.

"Looks like everything is in order ma'am. If you want any of the confiscated items back you will need to fill out the required forms. It might take a few days but you will get them back after they have been properly examined. My name is Jerry. Since you guys seem to have a knack for causing trouble, I have been assigned as your personal security officer. It is mostly just to streamline any future..umm...incidents. Dont worry I am not going to be interfering, you probably won't even see me unless something pops up. I sent you all my contact info so if you need help with authorization forms feel free to send me your questions."

The nice, gentle, and elderly face was split by a wide smile. Revealing rows of metal serrated teeth. The sound of the heavy metal entry doors sliding open drew Jerry's attention as the sound of clomping boots approached. A tall woman of Filipino descent wearing dark gray coveralls stomped in and glared at Jerry.

"The fuck are you doing here creep?"

Still smiling cheerily, Jerry nodded respectfully to the frowning woman.

"Hello Doctor Brunel, it is rare to see you outside the lab what are-"

He was cut off by an irritated groan as the grimy doctor rudely brushed past him.

"Cut the shit creep, and keep your nose outta my business. Dont you have a baby to eat or something?"

Laughing in amusement, Jerry gave Cassandra a small bow and began walking out.

"Sorry for getting in the way Doctor Brunel, have a good day."

When the lobby doors closed behind Jerry, Doctor Brunel turned to Cassandra with a stern glare.

"Brandford right? I am Doctor Brunel. I was told you have an assistant who could help me out. But i swear if you send me a shmuck who can't tell a blasting cap from their own ass I am going to use them as a test dummy for my new landmines."

The loud and crass woman picked something out from between her teeth with a dirty nail as she scratched her short frizzy hair with the other hand.
 
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PoetLore

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All eyes were fixed on Jerry as he kindly informed them of their seeming need of a caretaker. Cassandra was about to protest the term trouble when she heard the boots clicking and looked up at the woman covered in work grime and full of attitude. Graves just snickered and made his way quietly back to his cage where he felt partially safe and in control giving the 'doctor' a nod as he passed.

Edwards stood and flipped a hand at the woman, "THIS is a doctor?" He asked shaking his head and then glowering at Cass, "Ad you think MY standards are too low?" He didn't even bother to address the woman but stepped back and looked at Point, "Get the decontamination started, she's bringing who knows what in here."

Jen lifted a brow, "You are not in my upline."

cass stood and held out her hands, "Enough...Doctor Edwards...I think your quarters are calling you." She turned then to Doctor Brunel and extended her hand, "Pleased to meet you. I think you will find Lieutenant Harrison knows his way around everything and even how to navigate back."

Harrison wasn't sure what to think. He was used to Cassandra's easy and calm manner, even if she occasionally got a bit feisty she was never rude or crass. He stood up to his full height, towering over everyone in the room as normal and looked down at Doctor Brunel. His deep voice echoed in the room, "You ahve a quiz you want me to take?" he asked looking down at her coldly, "Or would you rather look at my office and see my work before you pass judgment?"

Cassandra and Jen both looked at him like he'd grown a third head. Their eyes were fixed on him and their jaws were dropped in comical unison. Neither had ever heard him speak that many words at one time nor in such a manner and both were shocked speechless.

Graves however laughed loud, "You tell 'er big guy." and chuckled as he began to undo the mess to his odd storage system within the cage.
 

Dunruffle

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Brunel laughed derisively and gave Marcus a stiff middle finger.

"I can already tell you are full of shit and a pervert. I get shit done and I bet you just sit around with your thumb up your ass trying to hit on patients, fuck off."

Giving Cassandra a small nod, Brunel shook her hand and turned to Harrison. After a few moments of sizing him up like a boxer would an opponent, Brunel crossed her arms defiantly and stared right back at Harrison.

"I just hate being slowed down, I am sure you would feel the same way if you had to babysit someone while doing surgery. But you do get a few points for making those concealed weapons. Been awhile since someone other than me gave those security dipshits a scare. Though drop the tough guy act, if you can keep up then we won't have any problems. If we do have a problem, we settle it the old fashioned way. So far only a few guys got hospitalized."

Turning to look at Cassandra and Jen curiously, Brunel snapped her fingers for attention.

"Hey ladies you okay? Whatever, c'mon rookie let's get moving."

Before anyone could answer, Brunel had already started walking out the door. Passing by the hulking native guard, the grimy doctor stopped and flashed him a toothy smile.

"Heya Stronk! Tell your friend to get better at poker if he wants his knife back."

The brutish native laughed heartily and nodded happily.

"Okie Na-dya, fight soon again?"

Brunel shrugged and looked back at Harrison.

"Maybe, see ya later."

Brunel suddenly slugged Stronk with a punch on his chest, making the guard cough slightly and laugh. Stronk returned the favor by punching Brunel in the shoulder and making her stumble back slightly. Waving goodbye to her friend, Brunel looked back at Harrison impatiently.

"C'mon rookie! Chop chop!"
 

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Marcus glared at the woman and then gave Cass a sideways look before storming off into his quarters. He needed that stuff he's asked graves to get. The few things he did have weren't enough for what he had in mind. Luckily he had the presence of mind to keep his things away from this hospital. All of these people would learn that he was due respect, and they'd learn it the hard way.

Cass and Jen both blinked when the doctor snapped at them, "Oh sorry..."

"Wasn't intentional...all of this...just trying to help.." but he wondered if she was the one who removed them. "Did you take the weapons out of the implants?? Did you remove the implants before?" he was looking worried and he needed to know what they did. He was worried about Dante and Ritkof. "There was a critical order to doing it if the implant was in place...." It was obviously bothering him. She started to leave though and he frowned.

Harrison glanced at Cass and seeing her nod, he followed the woman out of the hospital. He saw her interaction with their guard and his opinion of her went up a hair. He disliked the way a lot of people treated the locals. They were good, hard-working people not animals. He nodded and winked at the guard and followed behind her. He hadn't ever been to the R&D area, so he needed to follow. His long strides made keeping up an easy thing. He was making note of the route so that he could retrace it.

"By the way...I'm no rookie..." he said as they entered her domain. "Show me what you are working on?"

Cass grinned a bit, "This should be interesting. Wonder if he'll actually tell us about it when he gets back?"

Jen shrugged, "No telling...hey...how are the guys then??"

Cass frowned, "I have no idea. they kept me separate..." She sat at the desk and messaged Erik. [So sorry. You ok? How's Dante? never intended to get you guys in trouble...Harrison is worried. Me too. Update?]

Meanwhile, Senator Edwards was having one media disaster after another. His wife was in prison for some kind of espionage charge and the police were apparently on their way to get him for questioning at that moment. he was frantically trying to find a way to put a stop to all of this, but nothing seemed to make any difference. He'd tidy up one problem only to have five more appear. He tried to contact his son, but his calls were no longer connecting through. He was worried, extremely worried about his son. He made a desperate call. "Listen. This is urgent. I need someone to go to the SOG facility, someone who can get in. yes I know. But My son's life is in danger. i am sure of it. All I need is someone to get in and get him out. No...no I don't care what it costs. What? that long? I said this was...oh I see. Let me know and I will transfer the funds." His hands dragged through his hair as he heard the knock at the door. If they locked him up, his son would be on his own and he didn't think Marcus was aware of his precarious state.
 

Dunruffle

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Brunel briskly walked along the footpath bordering the tram line, obviously preferring to be moving than sitting still.

"I just heard that they got locked up, I haven't seen them. They are probably getting checked so they don't self destruct or anything. Don't worry rookie, it might be a few hours or a few days before you get the call. Relax. Though I shouldn't be the one saying that since I hate it when people mess up my work as well. "

After about ten minutes of brisk walking, they made a turn towards the cavern wall and a lobby entrance. Breezing through the lobby, Brunel swiped her keycard and entered a large elevator with Harrison. Pressing a button, the lift began to descend as the digital floor counter began slowly counting down. When the counter passed zero and began going into the negative digits, Brunel grinned at Harrison.

"Cool huh? Most people here dont realize that the actual first floor of this place is below the lava lake. The original miners of this place worked mainly under the lake because of the rich mineral veins and access to endless thermal energy. Of course after decades of mining the place was picked clean and the constant expansion and digging caused a bunch of cave-ins. Fast forward a few hundred years or so and the Director moves in. After helping out the locals clean out the place and recover lost heirlooms and such, the SOG HQ is built. The nice looking, fancy, new stuff is on the beach while all the ugly, old, and dangerous stuff is in the basement."

The counter stopped at floor negative eighteen and the doors opened to reveal a much more utilitarian and spartan lobby. The air was noticably warm and the few people in the lobby were all wearing some kind of mechanical gear or protective clothing. Walking out of the elevator, the pair passed by the reception desk and headed down a long and somewhat sooty hallway.

"See there are two parts to the R&E department. Research is above, all the brainiacs and number crunchers work up there sitting around in their sanitized labcoats acting all high and mighty. Enhancement is below. Here is where people get their hands dirty and actually get shit done. Everything from handguns and jetpacks to assault mechs and nukes. Plus if something does go wrong down here the Director just floods the place with lava from the lake above."
 
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PoetLore

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Harrison quietly followed and listened. If they hadn't removed the implanted weapons then where were Dante and Ritkof? he didn't like the idea of them being held for any length of time, especially after the ordeal they'd recently suffered. None of them were 100% yet, at least not by the Doc's standards. He gave her a look when she called him Rookie again but was glad to hear they'd call him when the time came to remove anything he's built. At least he hoped that was what all that meant, but he wasn't totally sure.

They entered the elevator and she continued to tell him about the facility. No wonder the locals were working so happily for the director. he returned things to them that with all likelihood would have been impossible for them to get without assistance. He was glad to know the man was at least unconscionable about such things being preserved and getting to the proper owners. Some men came out into space and plundered and stole and made their fortune by destroying cultural integrity wherever they went. It helped him to know that they weren't working for such a man. He might be ruthless, but at least he was not a thief.

The doors slid open and he looked around. More his kind of place for sure. he wasn't all about the show and pomp of things. He was a worker. His large frame barely fit in the space but luckily he had a little headroom and didn't have to duck. He grinned a tiny bit at her assessment of the men in the sterile environment. He had much the same opinion of people who had ideas but no earthly idea how to make them happen, especially when people like them made their ideas come alive. That's when things peeved him. Those guys would get the credit and not the people who actually built it and made it work. That was something he loved at Cassandra. She never took credit for his work, and he was more than appreciative.

He noticed the protective gear and figured before long someone would throw something at him, likely the woman he was following. "Show me where you want me to work and I will get things done." he said confidently. "Prefer to work with electronics and implant enhancement but I'll help wherever I am needed." And he would, but he wouldn't enjoy it quite as much, at least he didn't think he would. No way to tell at this point though, since a lot of this was new to him. He was a really fast learner and his mind had a way of adapting things that was remarkably efficient and easily employed.

He was already sweating but he didn't mind that, "I imagine flooding this place with lava wouldn't be difficult. Feels like it's right on the other side of the walls already."
 

Dunruffle

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Brunel laughed and used her keycard to pass through another set of thick metal doors.

"So you're a techie huh? Since you seem to have the fancy tech stuff down already I will pair you up with someone who could use your help."

Upon passing through the thick set of doors, Harrison was greeted by a blast of cold air. He and Doctor Brunel stood at the top of a long set of metal steps, spread out below them was a large cavern filled with various machines and equipment. The sounds of welding, drills, and shouted orders filled the air as a mob of engineers and workers toiled away at their various tasks. The many industrial sized air cooling units added a constant low hum to the background noise as they labored to keep the air temperature at a tolerable level. The ceiling of the cavern was about 5 stories high and was covered in a lattice of support struts and reinforced metal girders. Off to the sides there were several doorways leading to different areas and maintenance drones constantly zipped about overhead.