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Rheinland's Starquake I - Printable Version

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Rheinland's Starquake I - Wesker - 03-31-2019

[Image: TGKvjpC.png]

A-Sektor-4893 Planet Holstein, Frankfurt
3/31/826 AS, 20:06

Inviting a well renowned Maltese warrior to a semi-populated Buro installation on a corporate-owned planet to discuss rumors that could very well get me killed, if not smash the Buro's reputation - of course I was a great addition to the Kommissarat. But it was all worth while in the end, if I could pull it off and if Eliza didn't try to kill me, strangle me, capture me, disclose secrets... ok there's a lot of things that could go wrong, but it would come to a positive effect. But really, it would be, Rheinland was a magnetar about to suffer the largest starquake ever, especially after the ALG sanctions by the government; and now with Gallia purchasing our means of commerce - something was bound to open pandora's box.

I stood there, out by the landing deck alone, in a casual dress shirt with a vest over and jeans; my hair tied back, staring out at the sea. It was my favorite getup these days, I couldn't dress over-casual (if that's even possible), but there was still room for some style. I looked and felt ready for a date, which was weird, but also in a way was sort of the idea to everyone else that saw me with Eliza (so they wouldn't get suspicious or anything). I mean, I'm military and all, I'm divorced, and it's 826, so everything's good right? Right...

I could feel my heartbeat shake my body as I reached for my PDA every 20 seconds or so, smashing my spastic thumb on the "open" icon to see if there was a call coming on the line. I took it out again, scrolling through various past calls, messages, photos, videos, restricted information, even my damn contract to try and take my mind off of what could possibly happen in the next few minutes. "The hell's this." I thought to myself as I opened a recent message box, it was from my brother. I hadn't seen him in years, last I herd he was living on Stuttgart at some level of stability, he was the outcast of the family; my parents thought he'd become a Hessian resident by the time he hit twenty, but ever since he started dating he seemed to be stable.

"What?" It was a note, a LONG one at that, I scrolled through out of paranoia, scanning just before...

*INCOMING CALL UNKOWN NUMBER* Popped up as the message faded away.

Scheisse. I swiped the accept icon without even thinking twice. Ja? Hello?

RE: Rhienland's Starquake I - Backo - 04-01-2019

"It's Carmen Summers, I hope I'm not too early?"

There was a noticeable touch of nervousness under the otherwise almost theatrical display of cheerfulness. Eliza still was not sure why she accepted the Bureau agent's invitation. While getting down on Holstein was relatively easy under her old Forlorn Hope alias, her departure was entirely dependent on the good will of agent Laurenz and the local authorities. Valdez originally asked for at least another 24 hours to prepare and think things through, but for reasons the Maltese could still not materialize into clear thoughts she decided to rush things and meet Kat as soon as she could. This wasn't the first time Eliza had done stupid things when under the influence of mysterious blondes and the girl could only hope that she wasn't tying herself into another huge mess. It was too late to backpedal now though.

"Planetary security was uneventful and I'm at the big landing port. Where should I meet you?"

While awaiting further instructions, Eliza was going through a bunch of clothes in the hold of her old Forlorn Hope ship with her other hand. A combat pilot's flight suit was not something she wished to be stuck in for the rest of her visit. Plus if she was to keep the persona of mercenary pilot on a vacation to one of Rheinland's less freezing worlds something less paramilitary was needed. A light grey synthetic V-top along with a black leather jacket seemed appropriate enough as Kat never specified any dress code.

One last thing before she was ready to leave her ship - Eliza took what seemed like a cigarette case and placed it in the back pocket of her trousers. There was no telling how long she would be on Holstein and entering Cardamine withdrawal would complicate things severely. The few doses inside the cigarette case were hopefully going to be enough for her stay, even if it extended over a few days.

RE: Rhienland's Starquake I - Wesker - 04-01-2019

A-Sektor-4893 Planet Holstein, Frankfurt
3/31/826 AS, 20:10

That accent was hot, Bretonians and Maltese had the luxury of such kinky vocals. My accent was so direct and rigid, mix it with, well -me- and I could always re-iterate why I was divorced. I looked around, and saw what must've been her moving to touch down, holding a glance I responded.

I'm at the landing pad, I see you. Touch down I'll be right there. I hung up, walking over against the breeze of the exhaust coming from the ship as I readied myself for the least-awkward introduction I could think of. By the time I had turned the corner to walk over the small connector towards the landing pad Eliza had already made way out of the ship. At a glance she looked to be my height, and didn't appear like she was about to rip my head off - though maybe that was the point.

Buenos dias senorita Sanchez, I'm Kat. Ugh my accent really was the worst kink ever. It's good to see you. Worst actress ever. I thought about trying a hug - but I stopped myself.

Do you have ocean phobia at all? Don't jump the gun. Don't jump the gun. Don't jump the gun. Don't jump the gun.

RE: Rhienland's Starquake I - Backo - 04-01-2019

Autopilot assisted landing was a nice feature that colony spaceports offered. It provided the luxury of multitasking, something Valdez appreciated. Perhaps one day they'll have those on Malta as well, she thought to herself as she got herself out of the Series Z fighter.

The person approaching did not seem as outright intimidating as Eliza imagined BDM special agents to be. The Kommissar looked a bit older than Valdez, but the Maltese girl wasn't sure if she shouldn't attribute that to the stress of the job. There was no visible sign of a Daumann blaster on the agent which somewhat reassured Valdez that they were at least starting on the right foot. She was still anxious though, meeting new people in space felt vastly easier than doing the same in person. Perhaps it was the feeling of safety granted by the SP-e2 "Advanced Brigandine" shield. Or maybe the cold void of space separating her from the other ship. Though most likely it was attributed to the fact that a 5'4 lightweight like her stood almost no chance in self defense when face to face.

Being greeted in her native tongue was a charming touch, though Eliza wasn't sure why she was addressed as Sanchez. Was it some sort of running joke that Rheinlanders had regarding people of the Hispania? Perhaps it was best not to ask, instead Valdez smiled and returned the greeting with the same rehearsed cheerfulness as before.

"Buenos dias, seƱora Laurenz. Thanks for coming to pick me up!"

It was obvious to Valdez that both of them were nervous under their cheerful and friendly masks. A lot was put at stake when both of them decided to meet here. She looked at the ocean besides them. There was another ocean world in Kusari, Eliza remembered, perhaps one day she would have the chance to visit it as well.

"It's my first time visiting an ocean world. Do I look that nervous?"

The small talk was helpful. It could almost distract her from the fact she was now meeting a special agent of the Bureau after only knowing her name for less than 24 hours. Scratch that, Eliza wasn't even sure if Kat Laurenz was her real name to begin with. It did roll nicely off the tongue though.

"And please, you can call me Elly or Eliza, no need for further formalities."

RE: Rhienland's Starquake I - Wesker - 04-01-2019

A-Sektor-4893 Planet Holstein, Frankfurt
3/31/826 AS, 20:15

Everything was cool so far, she looked re-assured enough not to kill me. Or anything along those lines - for now anyways.

You'll be fine, starring out into the ocean void is sometimes interesting. But only if the giant sea titans come swimming about. I flipped the sound jamming switch on my PDA as I turned around and gave her a discreet hand-signal to follow. There was no question we were being watched, but as long as they couldn't hear anything... I slowed down a bit and walked right next to her.

I'm sorry if the small talk was a bit weird, I had to put on the act - it's good that you arrived though. I looked around, and crammed in another line before we hit the door to the nearby facility.Everyone's on edge right now, just act casual, you'll know when we've hit a safepoint. You're also going to see some weird things here, just ignore anything out of the ordinary. Komissarat-tier briefing indeed, to be fair the Direktor's wasn't much better.

What kind of liquor do you like? I could've asked if she needed more cardamine instead, but I thought for some reason that would sound a bit rude.

RE: Rhienland's Starquake I - Backo - 04-01-2019

In truth Eliza was more nervous about meeting agent Laurenz. The Rheinlander's sudden snap to a more serious tone was a good reminder of how serious the situation was. The Maltese was about to be taken to a facility unknown to her and the words "just ignore anything out of the ordinary" sounded far from reassuring. Pretending to be on top of things and acting unfazed was an art that Valdez long tried to master but still had a long way to go. The best she could do at that moment was a somewhat faked smile.

And how exactly would a safepoint in this sort of situation would even look like? Eliza did not have the barest hint. Perhaps it was best to rely on Kat's behavior to judge when was safe and when wasn't. On second though, that was far from a good plan either as she barely knew the agent. The blonde's seemingly casual icebreaker question snapped Valdez out of her thoughts on the situation she was getting herself into.

"Oh, uhm, rum would be nice, I guess?"

The only two things she was really guessing at that point were what the future held for her and how exactly does one act casual in this sort of uncertain setting. Obviously whatever points in acting casual that Eliza had scored above Kat in their first introduction at the port were quickly lost here. All this was frightening but in a way also very exciting. There was something about the mysterious nature of agent Laurenz that just kept Eliza's curiosity on constant edge.

"I imagine it would also be best not to ask what this place is, correct?"

RE: Rheinland's Starquake I - Wesker - 04-02-2019

A-Sektor-4893 Planet Holstein, Frankfurt
3/31/826 AS, 20:17

I waited until we entered the elevator, it was quite larger; and the walls were composed of a highly-resistant glass compound - allowing us to see out into the abyss as we descended. The elevator operated on a tractor beam-like mechanism. There was no connecting structure, but the elevator still moved on descent extremely fast. The feeling of sudden isolation caught Eliza's attention immediately.

Biological experiments, mineral synthesization, the usual activities of a scientist. I've personally been pouring money into these projects, it strikes many as a suprise but I am a scientist myself. Eliza seemed a bit nervous as we descended, natural, it was the era of space exploration. Few in Sirius were fond of the idea of descending deep down into abyssal alien oceans, the real scare had yet to hit her though - probably for the best.

It's a bit nerve-racking the first time, don't worry. The giant sea monsters we've seen so far lurk more towards the ocean floor. That didn't seem reassuring at all,

So before we get there, I hope that whatever I say to you stays between us for the time you're here. More importantly, that you absolutely did not hear this from me. That's fair enough isn't it? I doubted she would follow through, but just to establish that I was actually a person and not an emotionless agent, killer, or whatever she might've seen me as when we met.

RE: Rhienland's Starquake I - Backo - 04-02-2019

The ocean abyss was much like the seemingly endless Edge Worlds. Both holding secrets, beauty and danger in almost equal measures. While adept at navigating the former, this was indeed the first time Eliza plunged into the depths of an ocean. Having agent Laurenz beside her provided considerable assurance that the elevator was secure enough for this journey. Could those sea monsters really be more frightening than the aliens trying to destroy humanity? Valdez figured it was better not to find out, perhaps she would not have liked the answer to that question.

"Si, understood."

She instinctively answered the question with a nod. It was neither polite nor appropriate to say no to such a request. With the corner of her eyes she watched the blonde. What alluring secrets were locked behind those lips? Why was exactly Valdez the one to find out? Obviously there was something more than a favor for those weapons that the Bureau had requested. There was no need for such a complex setup if it was just those particle cannons, there had to be something else that the Maltese girl was needed for. But what?

"You have my promise that I'll keep what happens here a secret."

Eliza gazed back into the ocean abyss. How much further was this elevator going to take them? The surrounding darkness of the unknown was starting to get to her.

RE: Rheinland's Starquake I - Wesker - 04-02-2019

[Image: EtRX36h.png]

A-Sektor-4893 Planet Holstein, Frankfurt
3/31/826 AS, 20:23


The elevator came to a slower pace as the lighting began to illuminate from the area below us, the facility was enormous. For me, it never got old, and to make matters better there were several times where I was the only person roaming around down here. With the Buro on edge more and more personnel have been drawn back to Thuringia.

*Welcome, Kommissar Laurenz. All systems nominal, specimens healthy and up to date. You have (3) unread messages at your terminal.*

The sound of the VI really caught me off guard for a second.

Delete entry and exit logs from this day. Enable level three safety settings. Damn thing was so loud everytime, and there was no mute option. 826 and we still can't opt to mute spamming VI narratives. I turned back towards Eliza as it spoke up again.

*Yes Kommissar. Logging off.*

Facility's VI, here come along we're not far. If my PDA isn't lying to me, no one's clocked in today. Place was dead as always it seemed, made life simpler. It was clean, the walls were made of some white reflective plasteel that gave off the vibe of being onboard a core vessel or something.

You said before you were concerned about the EFL lobbying against Malta. Against you, and I understand your concern. But with what's begun recently, Gallic influence in the Rhineland government is the last thing I'd be concerned about. My heart started pick up the pace again, this rumor and speculation in the wrong hands could be leverage against the house. But I had to put the Buro's interests ahead, if we ever wanted a chance of restoring the betterment of Rheinland - we needed every ally we could get.

Are you familiar with what's unfolded in Omega-3? I doubt you haven't seen but just incase...

RE: Rhienland's Starquake I - Backo - 04-02-2019

The facility VI's voice startled Valdez as it broke the silence and made it's rather crude introduction. She looked down at the lights below them. It was more impressive than anything Eliza had seen thus far. She could not even fathom what kind of secrets such a grandiose facility held.

The Maltese's attention was grabbed by her companion again. Having such a gigantic facility with nobody around? It did not look like it was abandoned and forgotten. Was special agent Laurenz important enough to deserve her very own special underwater facility? In truth, Eliza had no idea what the rank of Kommissar meant in the structure of the Bureau. Perhaps Katharina was more important than Valdez originally imagined.

Her azure eyes locked on the agent's lips as Kat continued. Eliza listened silently, trying to process all the information as it came out of the Rheinlander's mouth. There was something more? Something Eliza did not predict that could influence the future steps of their two nations? Every next sentence instead of sating her curiosity, only fueled it further.

"Omega-3? I saw the aftermath. The Kingdom of Bretonia entered hostilities with the Independent Miner's Guild over Aland and managed to break their defenses and seize the shipyard. What of it?"

Operating in Bretonia allowed Eliza to learn of the events regarding Omega-3 almost immediately as they became public. She even had the chance to see the aftermath with her own eyes - all those ships turned into floating tombs, yet to be cleaned up by junkers and other brands of selfish scavangers looking to feast on the technological remains like vultures upon a fresh carcass. Was the station really worth the sacrifices made by both sides? Perhaps time would tell, she thought to herself.

Eliza approved of this attack against the guild. Those miners had fought against Malta tooth and nail in the Taus. Java and Falkland were blight upon what Outcasts considered the sovereign space of Malta and its people. She knew the other houses had better opinion of those miners, but doubted that Rheinland was particularly concerned about their wellbeing. Obviously there was something else, something she wasn't aware of that concerned Katharina.

The elevator finally made it's stop, but not before playing the all too cliche ring that most elevators seemed to make when they reached their destination.