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 Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)

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PostSubject: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:01 am

The Hudson surged with life, even with the departure of its captain and command crew. Everyone had a place to be in and a job to do. And they did it well. Captain Jakoby not only kept them fed and alive, he kept them happy. Well, as happy as one's life could be given the alternatives. His ship was a well oiled machine, and he didn't think his crew as purely replaceable as some others did. So, they worked hard and were loyal.

Sergeant Argus Rhone stood in the armsmen command station reserved for all Bastards action. Two vox specialists sat with him monitoring pict-feeds and vox traffic from the station. There was only so much they could monitor. For one, the station had highly encrypted codes, so what they had access to was limited. Secondly, while Barriks and the Bastards accompanying the captain were outfitted with long-range vox capability, his own Bastards from the 7/7/7 were not. So, he sat idly by. It was frustrating, but it was the job.

"Sergeant." One of the vox operators turned around. "You need to hear this..."


+++

The alleyway was full of people, but Julianna felt completely alone. They avoided her as though she was not even there. No one looked her way. This area wasn't the best and the people moving to and fro did not want to linger anymore than they had to. She had no choice though. Petra's goons were after her, and Petra had eyes everywhere. She needed a way out, but she also had to be smart. Her stay on Port Wander hadn't been long, but already she had involved herself with the wrong crowd: a perfect example of old habits dying hard. But when she had made plans to leave, Petra had forbade it. Apparently Julianna still owed him for "room and board."

It was a joke. It was extortion. But that was expected of Petra and his type. So now she was on the run. She rarely stayed in the same place for more than a day cycle, sitting, waiting, and hoping to find her chance off of the Port.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:28 pm

Petra and his gang had been a necessity, she was a murderer. The thought brought tears to her eyes, but again it has been a necessity to stay alive. Her cursed mind powers had been discovered and she had killed her accuser, fled from the Rogue Trader ship His Bountiful Light. Staying off the streets until the ship had left port was wise and the gang offered that opportunity, but their vices and predatory nature on those weaker sickened her. She was naive to think they would let her walk after the Rogue Trader ship had left, her time on it had caused her to lose her street smarts. She would not make that mistake again. Sniffing back the tears Jules continues on her way.

A place to have a rest, just a sit down for a short while was on her mind, she had been on her feet for hours. A quick drink might be nice she thought and to find someone to get her off this station, or at least some protection against Petras gang.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:06 am

They could handle themselves....

He repeated it periodically as if the mere thought itself was an offering to some omnipotent force that would keep any potential trouble at bay.

Argus Rhône and his equally stubborn Bastards of Seventh Company, Seventh Platoon, Seventh Squad were hardened killers. Each man and woman who made up the now renown squad of death dealing delinquents was skilled at bringing annihilation to the enemies of the Emperor.

Despite some losses, Seventh Squad was considered lucky by Imperial guard standards...and downright enigmatic for a Penal legion. Comprised entirely of soldiers condemned for various sins while in service to the God-Emperor’s war machine, the Bastards fought for redemption...or at least the illusion of it. Contrary to the fate met by most penal legions however, Seventh and their brethren in the 666th had found penitence in the form of Captain Jakkoby Aldon, a Rogue Trader who purchased their freedom and undeniably saved them from certain...and pointless death.

While Seventh squad was running errands and engaging in some much needed shore leave on Port Wander, Rhône reluctantly remained onboard the Hudson. Tasked with training and restructuring the Bastards, Rhone’s command presence was vital to integrating the Bastards with the rest of the inhabitants on the Hudson. Rhône scoffed at the idea of having to hang back. Port Wander was a den of danger and delight...two things the Sergeant enjoyed. If Seventh found themselves in a bind, he wanted to be there. Then again....

They could handle themselves....

Still...something gnawed at the back of his mind like a swarm of beaked carrion, pecking the last precious remnants of flesh from sun bleached bone. In his mind, he knew the thought was irrational....but in his gut, he felt there was something more to it.

Calm and collected, Rhône unfolded his massive arms from where they rested across his chest. Without pause, the grizzled Sergeant plucked the headset from the vox trooper’s ears and placed it against his own. His massive hand dwarfed the device, as he held it against an ear. With a quirked brow, Rhône listened, searching for what all the fuss was about. Finally, in a confused tone...Rhône spoke.

“I don’t hear a damn thing trooper...”
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:40 am

Dingy or no, the back alleys of Port Wanders main thoroughfares were littered with places to eat and drink. The quality of the wares may have been questionable, but everyone still needed to make a living. With more than one million inhabitants, the station had long since stopped being a port for rest and recuperation only. As decades turned to centuries, original shop owners and random travelers, for whatever reason, decided to stay. The result was a fully functional city. Like any hive in Imperial space, as it expanded, the areas it expanded upon became refuge for the low class and outcasts.

Jules quickly found a small shop to suit her needs. It consisted of a long bar with no seats - standing room only. It was as packed to capacity as it could be. This was a good sign; not only did it mean the quality of the product was better than most, it almost gave her an opportunity to blend in...


+++++++

"Exactly, sarge." The specialist began changing the frequencies. One by one, Rhone realized that nothing was coming through on any of them.

"Thought it was an anomaly at first. Normally we are restricted from hearing about 75% of the channels given their Naval, Mechanicum, and Upper Echelon security clearance. But the other 25% we have a clear line to. But now everything is like this."

He switched to the 7th line. This was the direct line to Sgt. Barriks' honor guard squad; this was the direct line to Captain Jakkoby.

It was dead.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:04 am

An anomaly.....

The thought forced one side of Rhône’s furred lips to curl into a smirk. The Bastards’ entire existence was an anomaly. Seventh company never should have survived their fall to Hervara’s surface. Nor should Rhône and Seventh Squad have enjoyed a life of relative luxury running black ops missions behind traitorous lines. Even when an unforeseen turn of events had them staring down the barrel of a Commissar’s bolt pistol, Seventh prevailed. Rhône decided a long time ago there was no such thing as just an anomaly. If it walked like a grox and talked like a grox....it was the grox sucking universe trying to drag him to an early grave once again.

With a heavy sigh, Rhône folded his hands across his chest once again. He wouldn’t waste time and resources sending other’s out to investigate the matter. The Sergeant jerked his head to each side, emitting a loud crack from his neck before shoving the headpiece back into the vox specialists’ hands. In his usual charming but rough tone, he muttered.

“Don’t wait up trooper...something tells me I won’t be home for supper....”
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:32 pm

The vox specialist looked over at his partner as Rhone made his exit. "So, we gettin' fucked up tonight, or...?"
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:10 pm

She waited amongst the crowd at the bar for her opportunity for someone to vacate their spot, it was busy so it took a while but she eventually squeezed in. The smell of food made her stomach rumble and her mouth water, she'd been neglecting herself in exchange for constantly being on the move. Looking at the food on offer she smiled, they had noodles in a hot spicy sauce. It had some meat in it, the menu didn't specify and it was best not to ask, but judging by the crowd it was probably safe. Noodles were one of her favorites.

Catching the eye of one of staff she places her order and concentrates on her rumbling belly.

This is going to be so good


While day dreaming about the food she catches her reflection in a mirror, the workers used them to keep an eye behind them while their backs were turned. She looked ridiculous, it had not been long since she'd cut and dyed her hair and she was still getting used to it. Her long wavy brown hair had been replaced by a peroxide blonde bob; up close Petra's men would recognise her, she'd treated many of them but at the back or possibly from the side her disguise would hold.

A pot of noodles is placed before her its hot steam wafts up at her face. At this time when the shit was real this is going to taste great she thought. Placing a few thrones on the bar Jules grabs her food and moves back through the crowd, keeping herself within its safety she chows down. She took it slow and relished every mouthful.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:37 am

[With Jules]

The hot, steamy soup warmed Jules as it sat comfortably in her belly. She had been right in choosing this place; the crowds never lied when it came to food. The broth was delicious. Whatever bones had been used to make it had been well cooked down. The noodles were chewy, but just hard enough on the outside to not fall apart in the hot soup.

The voices around her talked excitedly, melding into a single wall of noise. As she took another gulp, both hands on her bowl, she overheard a table of men next to her whispering.

"Just look at it. Look at how busy it is - you know they have thrones stashed back there."

Another voice cut in. "That's it then. Crusha and Frunt covers the crowd, you cover the crew, and I'll find them thrones."
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:04 am

Jules casts a glance to her left and right, surely someone else had heard that. All she saw were people engrossed in their food or conversation.

-Feth, why me! Why now when I need to lay low. I should put my head down and get out of here. Gah!-

It was a conundrum; if she got involved it might escalate and people get hurt, the same could happen though if the robbery went bad. Could she nip it in the bud before any of that happened, the last thing she wanted was a fight. With that thought she found herself turning towards the table next to her.

-What the feth am I doing-

She places a threatening had on her holstered hand cannon and leans over the table.

“I would suggest otherwise. This place is under Petra’s protection. Unless you want trouble I'd look elsewhere.”


Petra’s turf wasn’t that far away so she hoped her lie would hold.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:29 am

[With Jules]

The four men turn excitedly towards Jules. One's hand goes into his jacket, but sees that the blonde, bob-haired woman has beat him to the punch.

Surprise turned to anger, but her words seemed to cut through their posturing.
Scrutiny 3 DoS vs Jules 6 DoS:
 


"P-Petra?" One of them staggers out. The biggest one there, no doubt the aforementioned "Crusha" speaks out. "So the feth what? I say we break you in half, get the thrones, then break Petra in half..."

As soon as the words leave his mouth, the talker's hand was across his face. "We'd be lucky if all Petra did was kill us should we take from him. Where you from anyway, you don't know that? Use your fethin' head." He then turned back and regarded Jules. "Didn't know this was his place. Didn't know it was his turf. 'Course we ain't gon' hit it now. All right?"

The four stood slowly and headed out without any further words.

The situation calmed without anyone in the restaurant knowing any better the potential calamity Jules had just saved them from. She had just sat down to finish her broth when a hand gently touched her shoulder. Turning, she sees one of the workers from behind the counter facing her.

"Owner wants to see you, miss." He nodded his head toward a small, open door at the back of the room.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:55 am

[Rhone]


"Do not leave me here, Herr Sergeant...It has been far too long that I felt the thrill of death. Mila and Helen thirst for blut. "

Phaze sat cross-legged on his bunk, his wide eyes amplified through the goggles of the full face re-breather that likely smelled of fermented death by this point. Dietr "Phaze" Konig cradled the two knives, as if they were newborn children.  The lean framed, psychotic trooper that followed Rhone around like a loyal canine was almost pouting at this point.  Formerly of the Brontian Longknives, Phaze shared a special bond with his blades...a little too special considering the moaning that came from his bunk every night.

"Thats part of the reason your psycho ass is staying behind, Dietr.  This is recon, not a fucking blood bath. Now do you remember the plan or not?"

Rhone performed a final weapons check of his trusty bolt pistol.  The weapon was in excellent condition.  A low, red LED glowed from each eye of the ivory skull that decorated the side of the weapon.  At half capacity, one eye would dim...but at full, both shone brightly. Rhone swiftly slid the weapon into a drop holster on his right hip.  Turning to Phaze, Rhone raised a brow...waiting for the man to answer.

"Ja, Herr Sergeant.  I get a message to the bridge crew, once you are off the ship...meanwhile I sit here in this so very boring bunk while you go off and have a wunderbar, guten time."

Rhone shook his head and smirked at Phaze's almost childlike pouting. Psychotic and unstable, Phaze was loyal nonetheless. The Sergeant's gloved hands pulled a brown, fur lined, grox-hide flight jacket over a simple black T-shirt.  His khaki BDU's were tucked into heavy, black boots.  Rhone decided he would travel light. There was no sense in arriving at port with a  full arsenal, and advertising who he was. He would arrive through the lower decks and attempt to gather information on the comms blackout, while simultaneously trying to locate the Captain's honor guard. With an approving nod, Rhone spoke reassuringly to Phaze.

"Good man, Dietr.  Try not to creep anybody out while i'm gone.  Remember....if a lass tells you no..."

Phaze rolls his eyes through his masked face.

"It means nein, Herr sergeant...."


Rhone kept a chuckle to himself as he moved to exit the ship.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:39 pm

[With Rhone]

Rhone's message was sent topside, just as ordered. It was read by a lowly adjunct and passed to a lower deck officer who then passed it to the acting XO who read it with a raised eyebrow and dismissed it with a wave of their hand. What the newly bought armsmen decided to do on Port Wander was their own risk to take. To him, one more leaving the ship was a good sign.

Rhone easily bypassed the upper deck receiving bay. It was mostly dead with a few ratings on clean up duty. The hastened their pace as the NCO walked by. Always look busy, lest you want more work. He took the lift down, knowing that "his boys" were on special assignment within the lower levels of Port Wander.

The lift hissed as he reached his location, some decks down. The cargo hold here was positively bustling compared to the upper levels of the Hudson. Tech priest enginseers oversaw the off-loading and on-loading of massive freight containers. Servitors and Hudson ratings piloting mechanical haulers worked in tandem to ensure all the trade deals that were well above their paygrade, and worked out long before arrival, were accomplished in a timely manner.

Once again Rhone could see the difference in efficiency and general well being of this crew and the others he had seen in his life. There was definitely a difference.

From his vantage point, he saw two ways to enter the Port. One was reserved for cargo and freight only; the other was for personnel only - a customs area of sorts. A length of walkway between a bulkhead door led to a armaglass window of some sort. If Rhone didn't want to draw attention, this was the first hoop he needed to jump through.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:07 am

[With Jules]

Some of her broth finds its way to the floor, spilling over the side of the carton. Jules almost crapped herself when she felt the touch on her shoulder, the adrenaline of the situation making her jumpy. Her heart still hammered in her chest.

She spun her head around... fight or flight?

Letting out an inward sigh to see it was one of the workers and not some thug, she throws a warm smile.

Had someone observed her? She studies the worker for a moment trying to suss out the situation, while stuffing more noodles into her mouth.

"Sure" Jules says between mouthfuls. Staying alert to any subterfuge she follows...
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:55 am


First roll
http://orokos.com/roll/661946

Second roll
http://orokos.com/roll/661949
_________________________________

Tucking his identity tags under his shirt, Rhône spotted the freight and cargo containers. That was his way in. He crept low, utilizing the cargo as cover. He was no expert at infiltration like Artur, but he was practiced when it came to commando raids.
Peaking around one of the containers, Rhône quickly jerked his head back into cover. Arbitrators....Espionage wasn’t necessarily the goal here, but blending in without anybody taking note of his arrival could open doors of opportunity later, especially with the seedier citizens of Port Wonder. He waited for his opening and moved passed at a careful, steady pace.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:22 am

[With Jules]
Picture:
 


The worker smiles and bows, hands out in an "after you" gesture as they approach the door. Jules crosses through without incident, quickly realizing that no one was sitting in wait to ambush her. The door leads through a short hallway with doors to the right and left. One surely led to the kitchen and the other was closed, but the sign on the door alluded to the fact that it was a restroom for workers. Farther down she exits the hallway into a comfortable room.

It was an office. There was a desk with a cogitator unit, shelves, and file cabinets. There were papers on everything, but none of it looked messy. It appeared as though there was a method to the madness. On the wall behind her, there were four pict-viewers streaming a live feed from the front of house.

A large man, more rotund than muscle but who carried himself with a strength of leadership, stood with his back to her. He finished reading something in his hands, replaced it into a file cabinet, and then turned to regard Jules.

His dark, brown eyes were almond shaped, slanted slightly downwards on the ends. He had long thin mustache, grey with age, that matched a beard that hung down from his chin. He wore plain, humble clothing and in the corner on a coat rack hung his apron - dirty from recent use. Opposite of that, leaning up against the other corner of the walls was a no frills shotgun.

"I wanted to thank you personally for what you did out there." His voice was soft, yet authoritative. No doubt it was well honed from years of running the noodle house. He gestured to one of the monitors.

"I am Mr. Ken; before you ask, not much gets by me here. No good shop owner could stay open for long if they didn't also keep their eyes open. Needless to say, your meal today is on the house." He smiled warmly and gestured for Jules to sit while he took a seat in his chair behind his desk.

"I am just curious why you did what you did. Tea?"

As he spoke the words, the same man who summoned Jules entered with a tray and began pouring the aromatic liquid into two cups.

+++++++

[With Rhone]

Picture:
 


Rhone keeps pace with the cargo containers, finding a sweet spot between the actual containers and the crews guiding them so as not to look out of place with either. More than once, the arbitrators walk dangerously close. Each time they inspected the container, but didn't pay too close attention to the crew. Luck, but most importantly skill, was with the Bastard's sergeant.

As he made his way to the edges of the cargo hold, red emergency lights began flashing. Was the jig up? Had some sensors picked up his unauthorized presence? An emergence alarm sounded once, twice, three times, and everyone stopped what they were doing and waited.

Even the arbites looked confused.

"Keep calm and stay where you are, everyone!" Three of the arbites moved into flanking positions, ensuring that no one went onto or came off of The Hudson. Farther down, maybe half a kilometer, Rhone could see that arbitrators down there were doing the same with the other ships currently docked. Maybe this wasn't him after all.

Slowly, the heavy blast doors for each docking station began to close. Rhone's entrance onto Port Wander itself remained open. It appeared that only external entry points were being sealed.

An arbites voice came over the station vox. To say it was both loud and authoritative was an understatement.

"All citizens, guests, and personnel of Port Wander be advised: The Port is officially in lock-down. I repeat, the Port is officially in lock-down. All entry and exit to external vehicles is hereby prohibited until further notice. Anyone attempting to surpass lock-down measures will be subject to the full extent of the Law, up to and including summary execution."

The alarm stopped. Immediately voices rose up. Ship crews got on their vox units and began attempting to connect with their mother ships. Freight crews who worked from the Port looked oddly relieved; this very well could be the first "day off" they had in some time.

The arbites stood guard at the exits, only now they were facing inwardly.

Maybe it hadn't been luck that was with Rhone after all.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:03 am

The hairs on Rhône’s arms stood on end as his ears perked up. Had he been caught?

His reflexes forced his hand to the grip of his bolt pistol as he kept low, pressing his broad, muscled back against a cargo container. His hazel eyes narrowed and he controlled his breath as time seemed to slow down. Adrenaline kicked in, preparing the veteran sergeant to dispatch any threat with extreme prejudice. It wasn’t as if he’d shoot his way through the local authorities...it was just instinct branded into his muscles after years of combat. In a fraction of a second, the animal inside was suppressed and logic and experience took over.

His eyes darted around...searching for danger. It was a surprise, sure....but subconsciously the surprise was right on time. Rhone was beginning to think the Emperor was having fun at his expense.

It seems his timing was perfect...for better or for worse. Whatever the situation was, he had no doubts it was connected to the loss of communications. Eying the entrance into the port itself, Rhône took a deep breath and made his way in. Just another shit show he told himself....
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:16 am

[With Jules]

Jules necks the remaining noodles, tipping her head back and almost drinking the noodles and broth down. It was a shame to rush it but she wanted her hands free, just in case. She nods and smiles as the worker lets her in first although she pauses briefly at the threshold of the door, checking her left and right. All seems safe, it would be good to be off the streets even if it was just for a short period of time. She assumed she was here because of what had just occurred outside or she was damned unlucky and one of Petra’s goons owned the place. She doubted the latter, she was pretty sure she’d know.

Being cautious she again stops before heading into the office and gives its owner a critical look over as he turns around and does the same to her. All seemed well, he looked genuine enough and she thought she was a good judge of character.

Her mood  brightened considerably, somewhere safe for a short while. Perhaps there was some place here she could put her head down. Genuine warmth is shown in her smile and eyes as she steps into the office “You’re welcome.” she replies as she gives the room a cursory glance over.

Jules sits and nods at the offer of tea.

“I’m erm, not sure.” She replies at first to the mans question. She sits back in her chair and sips that tea taking a moment to think over the question.

-I should have left the place to the thugs, put my own interests and safety first. Petra might not be far behind and now I’ve use his name which could put me in further risk. It all boils down to people could have been hurt, some of them might even have been innocents-

It also had much to do with her past, she had a distinct dislike of bullies and thugs – she and her mother and suffered a lot.

“I guess I couldn’t rightly see people harmed. I had the power to do something about it and if I’d left your food bar to those thugs the guilt would have plagued me and I’ve had enough to go around recently.”

She inhales the aromas of her tea before taking another sip and then nods at the shotgun and the screens “You’re well prepared for trouble or to at least to keep an eye out for it. Have you, erm… had much issue with gangs? You know Petra?”

Jules was keen to know how the ground lay here and kept a close eye on Mr. Kens mannerisms as he spoke for any tells she was in trouble.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Scrutiny:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:43 am

[With Jules]

Mr. Ken nodded as she spoke. His hands rested on his belly as he leaned back in his chair. Every now and then he would take a sip of the hot tea, always giving the impression that he was listening carefully to Jules' every word. Jules did not detect any falseness or tricks from the man.

"Guilt is funny like that. We always look out for number one until guilt takes over. Could be guilt is one of the truest blessings from the Emperor, ne?" He smiled softly. When Jules mentioned Petra, he scoffed and waved a hand in the air as if his sensibilities were offended.

"Oh, I know of the thug and his ilk. Always taking, stealing, extorting. His goons come through here once or twice. They learned exactly what the secret ingredient in the broth was." With this, he gave Jules a wink and both he and the server who brought the tea started laughing. Whether or not he was serious or joking remained a mystery.

"But we have to be prepared for trouble. On Port Wander, 'the lower the level, the closer to the devils' as they say. Look, it's not my business, so I won't ask, but being mixed up with Petra is bad news."

He stood. "Staff usually sleep upstairs. I have an extra cot. It isn't much, but it is safe - if you want, you can sleep here for the night and we can see what tomorrow brings."

As soon as he finishes, the station alarm blares three times. An arbites voice came over the vox net. Something about closing off the exits... definitely something Jules did not want to hear.

When it finished, Mr. Ken raised an eyebrow. "That is highly unusual. Well, it will be night cycle soon and I would bet curfew will be enforced more so than normal. What do you say?"

++++++++++

[With Rhone]

The bustle of the cargo bay had quieted down some, but the voices of angry crewmen, ratings, and work gangs could still be heard. The arbites stood unflinching in their duty, so heading into the station seemed the smartest plan.

A quick sign reading told Rhone that he was on Sub-Level 10. No doubt Barriks and Captain Jakkoby's retinue were much, much higher. And 7th squad was somewhere in between, no doubt in loads and loads of trouble.

The area he entered into was bustling. Huge avenues, large enough for a Baneblade to move through unimpeded, served as causeways for people and cargo. They opened up vertically for multiple levels, and what had once served a static naval purpose had been transformed into an economic sector over the centuries. Even still, its position this low afforded the area none of the luxuries of the higher up, like living plant life, crisp clean air, or safety. Even with the lock down, the presence of Arbites this low was far and few between. Rhone could only wonder what the deeper levels looked and functioned like.

Picture:
 

He had been walking with only a vague goal in sight. He knew that 7th was looking for a high-value target near the guilt processionals. He had found a map and was about to make his way to the monorail platform when the vox system erupted once more.

"All citizens of Port Wander, be-advised: Mandatory curfew is in effect - fifteen minutes post night cycle. There is to be no one out on the streets at this time. Monorail systems have been shut down during curfew. Violators will be subjugated to the full extent of the Law."

Like clockwork, the lights dimmed and a softer automated voice came on. "Night cycle will begin in ten standard minutes." Rhone checked his immediate vicinity. Lights were shutting off. Shops were closing down. He spied an alleyway off to his right; down it some meters there was one light still on, even though people were exiting the establishment.

It read, "Mr. Ken's Noodle Bar."
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:06 pm

[Rhone]

The vox-casted message tugged at him like a ten throne whore who didn't understand the concept of "I'm finished".  Rhone growled low and muttered a series of curse words under his breath, ranging from the Tallarn "Cha'ket" which literally translated to "Shit stacks", to "Ventio pervos" which was Scintillan for "Twenty fucks".  

With eyes experienced in searching for enemy snipers and defilade, Rhone looked quickly for any place he could hunker down for the night.  Twenty minutes in and the last thing the veteran Sergeant needed was to be thrown behind bars for violating some ridiculous curfew.  

"Mr. Ken's Noodle Bar...."


He mouthed the words as if he'd expected the establishment itself to respond. "Yeah, we're fuckin' open. Come on in".

Moving with a slight bend at the knees, Rhone's eyes darted down the alleys as he searched for carefully laid frag mines, and hidden heavy bolter positions, but only found stray canines and scum caked walkways.  Civilian life wasn't something he'd ever expected to experience again...in fact, it wasn't something he could even remember.  At fourteen he was conscripted into the service of the Cadian White Shields. A privilege shared by every good little Cadian boy or girl.  At Nineteen, his knack for soldiering had him indoctrinated into service with the Kasrkin. Kill, Kill, eat, sleep..... From there it had all been one war zone to the next.  Then came penal service....  With a true sense of freedom for what could have been the first time in his life, Rhone smirked.  He took a deep breath and let the air sting his nostrils and fill his lungs. So this is what liberation tasted like....recycled air and piss. It beat the toxic atmosphere of Hervara, that was for damn sure. Perhaps it was time to sample the local cuisine.  As they say...when in Terra....

He stepped into the establishment with a presence that commanded attention.  With a look to him that could definitely mean trouble, there was also a comforting air that surrounded him.  Friendly, yet dangerous eyes of Hazel and a slight smile cut through a black bearded face.  Light scars likely from metal fragmentation of some sort decorated his olive-skinned face. Perhaps from years of welding? Not likely.... His head was closely shaved...so close in fact that it appeared as if he'd never had hair in the first place. Plasteel capped, heavy boots carried him with even heavier steps.  Despite the bomber jacket he wore, it was clear the man was well muscled.  He flicked a credit chit between the free fingers of his digit-less gloves as he searched for any signs of life.

In a deep, concise voice that both calmed and commanded, he spoke.

"Ho there stranger. You folks still open for business?"


Judging by the curfew in effect, he knew the answer...
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:21 pm

[Rhone]


The staff behind the counter turn to regard Rhone. Apart from his natural presence, he was the only customer actually coming into the shop. The rest were quickly making their way out.

"Sure thing!" A man with a white towel around his head, tied tight to soak up any sweat that working over a burner all day might produce, regarded Rhone with a smile. "We stay open well into the night cycle. In fact, that's when we get the busiest. But, you sure you wanna stay to eat?"

He pointed to a large tower with loudspeakers on it outside of the shop. "The No-Faces just announced a tight curfew goin' on tonight. You only got like 25 minutes before they start bustin' anyone's head what stay on the street."

As he said this, he walked from around the counter and handed Rhone a small menu. They only had a few items, but "Ken's Noodle Bowl" was printed in bold. There were two options for it: one with noodles inside the broth, and one with noodles outside the broth. There were a few other options for dumplings and "random greens." The worker tells Rhone he can sit wherever he likes and gets back behind the counter.

Rhone can see a closed door at the back of the dining "room." In reality, it was not much more than a counter with ten seats and room for standing farther down. There were two tables in the middle of the room big enough to seat four people and three tiny tables smashed against one of the walls.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:35 pm

“Curfew? Is that what they were going on about? And here I was thinking they were announcing the lottery winners”.

He flashed a clean, charming grin to the man behind the counter. While Rhone’s words were laced with sarcasm, his jovial demeanor carried a disarming sincerity with it.

“Much obliged for the advice, friend. I’d much rather have my head busted open on a full stomach if it’s all the same.”

He takes the menu with a nod of thanks and looks it over. The Hudson has seen to it that The Bastards knew what a quality meal was. Even so, as Rhône inhaled the aroma coming from the kitchen, he knew a good meal when he smelled it. Finally, he points to the menu as he hands it back to the man.

“I’m not fancy enough to keep my food separated. I’ll take the noodles in the broth.”

He looks over the credit chit as if he had no idea how to use the thing. This was partially true. Handing the chit to the man, Rhône continues.

“Say, friend...you wouldn’t happen to have any recaff back there would you? I’m feeling like this is going to be a long night.”

As he speaks, Rhône’s eyes dart around cautiously. Exits, potential weapons, obstacles, cover...he took it all in by second nature. Life in the guard made him stick out like tits on a Lictor. To Rhône, everywhere was a potential battlefield. This civilian thing would take some getting used to....
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:22 pm

[Rhone]


On the walls of Mr. Ken's:
 

"Ha ha. You don't know what curfew is? That's stupid." One of the guys near him starts singing in a deep baritone voice. He didn't actually say any words, just hummed low and in tune. It was rather soothing.

"I hope you don't get your head bashed. Sounds awful. No good for much of anything, less maybe you a heretic. Haha, then you deserve to die!" He held up the razor sharp chef's knife in his hand, then he and two other staff started wailing in laughter. "I just kidding." The night off seemed to have had them in very high spirits. "But seriously, No-Faces will thrash ass if they see you out an' about after curfew. Fair warning."

At the mention of recaff he scoffed. "We have that garbage, of course. But you no want that. You want Mr. Ken's Cha. It will change your life."

He calls out Rhone's order and his crew immediately drop a heaping serving of noodles into boiling water. A thick, creamy brown broth is then poured into a large, deep bowl. Some meat chunks, what looked like honest to emperor eggs, and small green things were dropped in last. The bowl is brought to Rhone absolutely steaming. Upon closer inspection, he realizes that it is the cutest bowl he has ever seen in his life.

"Mr. Ken's Noodles in the brother," announces his server in a loud, yet polite voice.

I spent way too much fucking time looking for this:
 

As he eats, he notices three doors. One is the entrance, but that is less of a door and more of an opening to the alleyway with some cloth hanging from the roof to about a person's waist. They must have had some way of securing it during their off hours, but he can't see it from his position. Their is the door on the opposite end of the room that was currently closed, and there was a third door that led into an unknown area only accessible from behind the counter. The counter itself, or the tables upended, could provide cover if needed. Aside from the chef's knives, he saw no visible weapons.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:08 pm

Rhône smirked between the men, making sure to laugh when it seemed necessary. He took a seat at the counter.  Any other time, he'd have positioned his back to a wall to keep himself ready for any trouble that may come walking through the door.  He felt genuinely relaxed though, and besides, he could gauge the reactions of the men behind the counter if anything came sneaking up behind him.  It was a fluke more than likely.  A random ease of his nerves.  His cautious eyes still scanned the room periodically. Folks here seemed friendly enough. It was safe to assume these noodle slingers were earning an honest living. He welcomed the unexplained comfort for the small luxury it was. Rhone knew his luck, this wouldn't last long.....With a sincere nod, he speaks words of thanks to the men.

“Much appreciated gentlemen. I’ll try to keep my grey matter in my head for as long as I can.  At the least, i'll be sure the no-faces don't spill my blood all over your fine establishment.”

At the mention of cha, Rhône simply shrugs.

“Well then, show me what cha got. Who am I to turn down a life changing experience. One cha....please and thank you.”

It was a horrible pun, but he couldn’t resist. Besides, something told Rhone these guys would eat up a pun of that caliber. He just hoped the assumed liquid would be palatable.  

As he waits for whatever the hell cha was, Rhône took the steaming noodle bowl in his hand. Gripping the rim of the bowl with only his thumb and middle finger, he carefully looks it over. Bringing the steaming liquid close to his face, he takes two cautious sniffs before inhaling slow and deep through his nostrils, allowing the aromatic steam to engulf his senses. Smells edible...

With one hand he holds the bowl. Taking two fingers and his emperor given opposable thumb, Rhône begins plucking noodles, eggs and meat chunks from the broth and stuffing them into his mouth at an alarming rate. With cheeks still full, he chewed and swallowed while his lips and fingers seemed to wrestle over the rim of the bowl. He slurped the broth hungrily, while shoveling the solid contents into his mouth, and licking his fingers clean.  In less than two minutes....it was gone. He ate like an absolute barbarian by civilian standards.  It wasn't that he didn't know his table manners....it had just been a while since he needed to put them to practice.  In reality, a drawn out, sit down meal was a luxury he wasn’t used to. Life in the imperial guard meant eating on the go, as quick as you could before the next artillery barrage hit your position. Even at chow, it was get in and get out.  Time spent eating could be better spent training.

Wiping broth and a stray noodle from his beard, he sets the empty, damn near bone dry bowl down with a clank. Rhône burps before letting out a sharp whistle.

“Emperor save me that was delicious...So which one of you is Mr. Ken?”
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:33 am

While Mr. Ken spoke Jules watched his hands, the screens, the server of tea; despite the welcome and that she felt relaxed and safe she wasn’t about to totally let down her guard. That would be stupid.

Jules nodded, but she didn’t entirely agree that we ‘always’ looked after number one, but then Mr. Ken was probably generalising. She was pretty sure her mother who had essentially sold herself to a gang to protect Jules when she was a child, hadn’t done so out of guilt, but love. Somethings you just do because it’s the right thing to do. Guilt was certainly a potent force that kept many in line, but in her experience self-preservation was more prevalent. People were complex beings and did things for a host of reasons.

The laughter brought her focus back to the conversation, she smiled and looked between the two.

The offer of a place to sleep was music to her hears, she’d not had a full nights sleep for a while and she got the vibe that this would be the place where it would happen.

-oh yes-

She stifled a yawn just thinking about it. “Oh you dear man, I could kiss you at the thought of a good nights sleep” she nods to the tea server “him too.”

Jules kept quiet about Petra she didn’t want to say any more for now and she was grateful she wasn’t pushed, it looked like Mr. Ken got the idea that she was in some kind of trouble. As he said ‘lets see what the morning brings’, perhaps this could be a good place to stay while she sought passage off this floating hunk of metal in the void. She would speak to him about it in the morning, she was sure she could help out with something. Perhaps he had a sick relative. Although she hoped not obviously, or that he did but the ailment wasn’t serious, but serious enough to warrant for a medic, but not one that didn’t caused to much distress.

-Shut up Jules you moron-

She smiled at herself.

Jules finished her tea and looked at the dregs in the bottom of the cup as she swirled them about. “Hm, could I have another to take to my cot?” she holds the cup hopefully forward. “Please?” her eyes sparkle at the server.

With the blaring alarm she looks nervously at the screens to see the food bar quickly clear out, she doubted it had anything to do with her but it would certainly make moving about tomorrow more tricky. She breathed deeply to calm herself. She would worry about that tomorrow, tonight she would sleep the sleep of ages. She was about to turn away and seek out her bunk for the night when one screen showed a newcomer arrive at the bar and casually start to talk to the staff, he didn’t look like he cared about the curfew. She wondered why that was.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:30 am

[Jules]


The staff, whose name tag Jules could hardly read due to its irregular form of Low Gothic, blushed sheepishly. He poured her another heaping cup of tea and smiled. "Well, i you insis-"

Mr. Ken cut him off with a look, but Jules could tell the owner of the shop had a small redness in his cheeks as well. "No, no kissing will be necessary. You can have all the cha you want. In that case, Yousuke will show you where the lavatory is located. Sleep tight. Don't let the warp bugs bite." He smiled and gestured to the door. As Yousuke led Jules out, she caught Mr. Ken's eyes flutter up to the monitor to regard the newcomer as well.

They exited the door to Mr. Ken's office, back through the same short hallway as before, and opened the door that led into the dining room. The man from the monitor sat at the counter, eating noodles like a barbarian with complete disregard for utensils. He also apparently had a personal grudge against napkins, but she overheard him politely thank the staff for their creation as some Cha was brought out to him. He wore a brown aviator's jacket, dark pants, and heavy boots. His head was bald, save for a dark beard that nearly touched the top of his chest.

Yousuke bowed to the new customer, but quickly guided Jules into the service area. To her left was the area behind the counter. Pots, pans, ladles, and cooking stoves lined the back wall. The area under the counter held bowls and general utensils for customers. It was immaculately clean, a testament to Mr. Ken's work ethic.

Test opportunity:
 

To her right, a door of similar shape and size led to a separate hallway. At the end of the hallway was a staircase that led to the staff's living area. There was a door on each side of the hallway. Yousuke pointed out that the one on the left was the staff restroom. He opened the door on the right. It was essentially a walk-in closet. Aside from the cleaning supplies, there was a cot stood up against a wall. Yousuke quickly pulled it down, revealing just enough room for Jules to walk around a bit should she choose, but not much else.

"If you need anything, I'll be upstairs. I'll put another pot of cha on too. Just in case." He smiled sheepishly again at the attractive young woman, bowed, and left her to her own devices.

+++++++

[Rhone]


"Welcome. Irrashai!" A large man of older years emerged from the same doorway that the young woman had just come from. He was plainly dressed, but any fool could tell he was the man around here. He moved back behind the counter and began wiping down. He gave a nod to a server who quickly removed Rhone's empty bowl. The man raised an eyebrow.

"Where I am from, it is a very polite sign to finish everything in your bowl. I thank you very much, sir. It was enjoyable?"

His voice was polite, but carried the undertone of authority. Rhone recognized it well. He saw how the servers regarded the man: instant reaction to orders, but out of respect rather than fear. He figured that in another life, this man could have easily commanded troops. Maybe he did?

Test opportunity:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:54 am

Rhone sat at the counter, watching as one of the kitchen staff and a young, blonde from what he could see, emerge from the backroom, only to disappear into another.  Before he could formulate an opinion on what may or may not be going on, Rhone's attention is guided to the old man who now addressed him.

Rhone stood respectfully in a rigid stance, nodding to the man.  With a smile on his face, he sat down as the man walked behind the counter.

"That sir, was the best damn thing I've ever had the privilege of putting in my stomach. Mr. Ken i'd presume?"


Rhone stretched his arm out to shake the man's hand.  The old man seemed to have absolute control over this place, but in a way that suggested he earned it.  With a sincere grin, and a raised eyebrow, Rhone waits for the handshake, while trying to read anything he can about the old man.

Scrutiny:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:48 pm

Jules blushed at Yousuke, her slightly dimpled cheeks reddening, she hadn't actually meant to bestow kisses, but his eagerness pleased her. There had been little joy in her life recently.

"Goodnight Mr. Ken" she replied back as she followed Yousuke out.

As she was lead back out into the eating area she cast a few furtive looks about, she had to be careful as Petra's men could be anywhere. Seeing the 'barbarian' stuff food into his mouth with his hands she couldn't help a small smirk; eating noodles in broth with his hands.

-Really?-

Putting her head down so her hair fell forward and concealed some of her face she followed Yousuke into the hallway, where she at last viewed her 'sleeping chambers'. It was clean and snug, better than she'd had for a while, it would also be quiet in here away from the streets.

She made a small bow back in reply "Thank you, Yousuc--, err Yousuke?" she says embarrassingly in reply causing her to blush once more. Before he could reply Jules closes the door throwing a quick "Goodnight" as an after thought as the door clicked shut.

Awareness:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:56 am

[Mr. Ken's Noodle Bar]


Jules found the room small, but not claustrophobic. With the cleanliness of the kitchen, it was only natural that their cleaning closet would be large enough to hold a lot of supplies. But the bed was an added touch that she had not expected. It was a comfort she had not had for some time.

She could go straight to sleep, or use the facilities across the hall to wash up and handle any other business she might need to do. The proximity of the room to the kitchen meant that she could still hear the murmur of voices. Mr. Ken's she recognized. The other must have been the last customer in the joint. But who was he? Could he be one of Petra's goons? Was he just a hungry patron?


++++++++

Mr. Ken gave Rhone a firm handshake. He looked him in the eye too.

"I am Mr. Ken, and I really appreciate that. Truly I do. We work hard here and we try to give out something better than slop. People these days don't take enough pride in what they do. There's no more honor in hard work."

He took his hand back and started wiping down the counter. Rhone noticed during the handshake the tattoo on the man's inner forearm. It was a black shield with a large red circle in the center of it. There were two swords crossed over one another and an M40 Lasgun stylization in the middle. Underneath there were some words in a low gothic dialect that was hard to recognize. What wasn't hard to recognize was the obvious implication. Mr. Ken had served in the Emperor's Finest Imperial Guard.

"You heard about the curfew, yeah? We'll be closing up soon. I don't want to rush you. Nothing worse than having your Cha rushed. But I don't want to see you get in trouble with the law in these parts either. Mr...?"
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:27 pm

Rhone meets Mr. Ken's grip and maintains eye contact.  This old man was clearly capable of more than just making noodles.  As the handshake breaks, Rhone spots the tattoo.  A sense of pride washed over him.  Of all the holes in all the walls he could find himself in, he just happened to walk into one run by a former member of the Imperial Guard. He pauses a moment before reciting a well known quote from The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer. The primer was issued to every man and women who served in the Imperial Guard.  Mr. Ken would know the passage as would any guardsman.

"The bounties of the emperror shall go to those who have worked hard in his service."

 He lets the words linger a long moment before introducing himself.

 "Rhone. Sergeant Argus Rhone.  Formerly of the Kasrkin 88th.  Saber six commando detachment. "

He places a fist against his own chest.

"Cadia Stands."

The statement was true, and he made it with the utmost pride. Formerly of the Kasrkin 88th, Rhone had served admirably until the incident....There was no need to bring up his penal sentence though...not unless he wanted to close off any doors of opportunity that may have just miraculously been open.  Rhone disregarded the comment about curfew for a moment.  In truth, he had no idea what his next step was and he would need to buy some time before he was kicked to the streets.  The curfew would hinder his ability to remain free from detention by the Arbites.  Despite this, Rhone was now beginning to think he may have wound up in the right spot given the current circumstances.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:46 am

[Rhone]


Mr. Ken smiled, sighed, and recited the next line of the passage: "...And the Emperor’s thanks for those who have been bountiful in their gifts would be eternal." He looked down at his tattoo, spending a few more seconds than comfortable peering at it, lost in thought.

"Sergeant Kenji Nagai, formerly of the Toujou Ashigaru."

Test opporunity:
 

As Rhone places his hand over his heart and recites his creed, Mr. Ken's eyes seem to darken.

"Cadia," he sighs. He seems to think about his next choice of words very carefully. Finally, he asks, "Have you heard the latest news?"
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:10 am

Rhone nodded with respect.....

SL Tactica Imperialis roll:
 
CL War roll:
 
CL Imperium roll:
 



He was not familiar with the exploits of the Toujou Ashigaru.  Rhone prided himself on his extensive knowledge of most imperial guard regiments.  The best tools in combat weren't always a lasgun and a pile of frag grenades.  Countless lives had been saved and engagements won by knowing the history of the heroes and foes of the Imperium.  Unorthodox tactics that were employed in times of desperation were as valuable as a baneblade given the right circumstances and Rhone aimed to learn all he could from Mr. Ken this evening.  Just as Rhone was about to pick Mr. Ken's brain, one Sergeant to another, he saw the man's eyes darken at the mention of Cadia.  Rhone's own eyes narrowed slightly as he carefully set the cup of cha down on the counter.  No news was good news. Rhone had hoped he would hear no news about his native Cadia in this lifetime.  The stalemate at the eye of terror was one that would never end.  At least that's what he had thought.  He prepared for what was to come. Had He finally broken through...?

Rhone pauses for what seemed like a lifetime as images of Cadia flashed through his head.  Finally, in a calm, yet fierce voice, Rhone responds.

"I have not,  Kenji Nagai, of the Toujou Ashigaru......"
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:44 pm

[Rhone]


Mr. Ken kept Rhone's gaze and said nothing. He grabbed a few things from behind the counter that Rhone could not see and walked out and toward a table. He gestured to it with what Rhone could now see was a small white bottle and two small cups.

"You'd better have a seat sergeant." Assuming Rhone sits, Mr. Ken does the same and pours the two glasses full of the clear liquid.

"Where I'm from, Tojo, we say 'Kanpai' before taking a drink. But Tojo doesn't exist anymore, and I'm afraid there's nothing to celebrate. You don't get to be as old as I am without having contacts. Contacts bring news from Cadia; the official news outlets are reporting that the Imperial Guard has held off the latest attack from the Eye on the planet."

He took a sip, swirled his glass, then finished it and poured another.

"Unofficial outlets are saying very differently. They say it isn't going that way at all. They say the losses have been unsustainable, that the enemy has broken through. Some," he looked up and met Rhone's gaze. "Some say that the planet has gone the route of Tojo."

He gave the large man a moment to let the severity of his words sink in.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:05 am

He sat.

Rhone idly looked down at the bottle and small cups, breaking eye contact with Mr. Ken.  His lungs threatened to stop drawing breath, but he refused to gasp. His jaw stiffened, but he maintained his composure.  The news was dire, but his will was strong. He was Cadian.

Rhone stared into one of the cups intensely, as if staring into the eye of terror itself. Lies...that's what he wanted to believe. Kenji's face said otherwise. No, the old man was sincere. She had fallen.  The thoughts and memories assaulted his mind like crashing waves in a violent storm. But he endured despite the devastation.

Rhone swallowed hard and met Mr. Ken's gaze again.  He stared blankly into the old man's eyes for what felt like hours, until he finally spoke.  His tone was still powerful, but behind it was a hint of sadness.

"I am sorry for your loss Kenji Nagai...."

He suppressed his own pain.  He would mourn Cadia on his own time.  While Rhone cared little for the concept of fate, he found the similarities between the two men odd.  Both Sergeants, both from worlds gone to enemies foul.

"I accepted long ago I would never see Cadia again.  Weather she stands firm, or lies in ashes, I will never feel her soil beneath my feet...feel her chilled winds against my skin...smell the deep ferns of the axel-tree forests..."

Rhone paused, showing little emotion.  He encompassed the composure of his people.

"If this news is true Mr. Ken, and i'm inclined to believe it is, I will mourn Cadia by continuing to spill the blood of The Emperor's enemies in her name."

He picked up one of the small cups and looked closer inside, as if its contents held answers.

"I would like to hear tales of Toujou, if you would honor a stranger to hear them. But first...."

Rhone raises the small cup, slightly above his head.

"To good company Kenji Nagai. To two soldiers, from two dead worlds that shall not be forgotten.  To honor and to The Emperor of Mankind.  To Toujou...."

He growls low

"To Cadia.... Kampai was it...?"
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:17 pm

[Rhone]


"To Toujou. To Cadia. Kanpai." There was sadness in Mr. Ken's voice. He knew all too well what it felt like to lose a home. A planet.

He didn't say anything else about Cadia. Whatever Rhone was going through would take time. It would take time, alcohol, venting. He refilled the cups.

"Toujou. What can I say? It was gorgeous incarnate. It was a planet of islands. The largest and the smallest among them were equally clear of the eyesore hives that plague so many Imperial worlds. Enormous mountain peaks, pristine forests, crystal clear waters - it was paradise. We had four distinct season, each one more beautiful than the last! Each season had its one true birth, followed by a swift natural death. In the spring, the cherry blossoms would bloom in their millions, only to fall completely in mere weeks. In the summer, the giant semi would birth from the ground and cover the trees. Their chirps would drown out the loudest of our war cries. In but a month, they too vanished. In the fall, the great turning brought forth reds, oranges, yellows, and gold from what had previously been green. In the winter, the snow would build natural barriers hundreds of feet high - mountains on top of mountainsof the most pristine white, only to whither away at the sight of the sun."

He sighed, eyes focused far away. Finally he took another drink and looked at Rhone again. "Like I said, no hives, right? Instead, the islands were occupied by the clans. Each domain raised proud warriors for the Ashigaru Imperial Guard regiments. Our wives and mothers were the strongest, most beautiful women you had ever laid eyes on. Our regiments had the honor of regularly serving alongside the Emperor's Angels of the Death. The 'Rising Sons' they were called, and fiercer samurai warriors the galaxy has never seen. To even stand beside one - honor of unimaginable magnitude."

He turned to one of his workers and said a few words. After a moment they come out with some small plastic bags and another bottle. Inside the bags are small carbohydrate crackers. They weren't fancy, but they went surprisingly well with the ethnic-amasec Rhone was getting.

"Then they came. From the ground - from the tunnels underneath us we never knew existed. Robotic creatures, with glowing eyes as green as emeralds. We called them the Nekkuron, and they were legion. Their weapons cut through our armor as though it didn't exist. They moved in tight, inhumanly disciplined ranks; I'd never seen a xenos like this before. Neither had the 'Rising Sons.' We fought them tooth and nail but we fell like wheat to the scythe. Our cities burned. Our fields burned. Our forests burned. My wif-"

He broke for a moment. It was gone as quickly as it came, but in that singular instant Rhone knew Kenji Nagai had just relived an eternity of suffering.

"We quickly realized they weren't they for military or monetary gain. They were there to exterminate us. Every last one of us, they wanted to see die. Those of us lucky enough to extracted were only able to do so because of the sacrifice of million-man banzai charges across the islands. We watched the world burn as we moved to our warp-jump location. Someone decided the situation was hopeless."

His eyes burned with anger. It was not aimed at Rhone, but there was something there worth exploring.


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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:12 am

Jules untied her boots and then eased her feet out, there was a bit of a smell but that wasn’t surprising. Next she peeled the socks from her feet, it had been a few days since she’d had a chance to change. She wriggled her toes

-thrones, that feels good. Sticking to the simple pleasures today eh Jules-

She considered stripping off entirely, her clothes so needed a wash but she wanted to be ready to leave as quick as possible so she left it with her toes being free. She’d change her under garments in the morning.

Sitting on her bed cross legged she rummages in her pack until her hands glasps its target, her comb. While she works on her tangled hair she hums an old tune her mother used to calm her as a child. While she worked on her hair she daydreamed for a while, there were few happy memories of her mother as Jules’ time on the penal colony had been harsh, but the those she had she focused on. Times they had shared laughter, times when she had been held tight. Brief moments of happiness, things that brought moments of light to the darkness of their lives.

It had been seven, eight years now? She missed her mother terribly and she pushed thoughts from her mind as to what may have become of her. Life expectancy was short on Phyrr.

A single tear rolled down jules’ left cheek.

-now look what you’ve made me do-


She lay down and cuddled her pillow and tried to think happy thoughts until sleep claimed her.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:46 am

Rhone listened to Kenji with undivided attention.  His eyes locked on the man as he told his tale.  Rhone's hand reached for the glass as he raised it to his lips and took a slow sip of its contents.  Whatever this stuff was....he had a feeling the two of them would need plenty more by the night's end.

As Kenji recalled his home world, Rhone's thoughts drifted to Cadia.  He took in every word the man said, but he wrestled with his own pain.  There was a poetic beauty to the world of Toujou, unlike Cadia.  Cadia stood defiantly to the eye of terror itself.  While it was a beautiful world, life was harsh.  Forces of the archenemy plagued the planet from within, and without.  

Rhone's eyes narrow and darken at the mention of such an efficient enemy.  Chaos hungered for destruction based on a malicious dedication to the dark gods. But these...Nekkuron, appeared to sow destruction with no intent at all. No man or woman should have to endure such pain in their lifetime, yet so many did.  By the billions, the many enemies of the Imperium claimed the lives of so many.  Rhone allows Kenji to finish, without saying a word.  Once the old soldier finishes, Rhone stands and grips him firmly by the shoulder, as he would console one of his own troopers following an intense battle.

"I have no words, Kenji Nagai....only that your world did not deserve such a fate....nor did its people."

Rhone pats Mr. Ken's shoulder and sits down again, before clearing his throat.

"My own daughters were likely on Cadia when.... "

Rhone's eyes stare deep into nothingness.  He tilts his head to the side, cracking his neck and grunting."

They would have been conscripted into the Whiteshields by now.  Training to fight the archenemy the only way Cadians train...through active combat.

Rhone pauses, staring at his once again, empty glass.  Lost in thought, he returns his attention to Kenji.

"I feel your pain brother...at least I will.  This enemy sounds cold, and merciless...but I feel like you harbor anger for something beyond these....Nekkuron....."
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:23 am

[Rhone]
Mr. Ken's Noodle Shop - Commons

Mr. Ken listens carefully and nods empathetically. They had both fought for what they believed in: their Emperor, their commanders, their homes. In the end, both had lost all.

"The Nek, Nek, Ah. Yousuke!" He turned and regarded his worker. "Staandado Goshiku de, Nekkuron ga nani?"

Yousuke responded quickly: "Necron."

"The Necron," he said emphasizing the standard pronunciation, "did not destroy Tojo. The Imperium did. I saw the torpedos burn through the atmosphere, and then I watched their devastation."

He shook his head and waved a hand.

"Well, there is no way I can, in good conscience, toss you out on the street now. You can stay here tonight, but I don't have much to offer; all of the beds are full. I can have some extra blankets brought down and you'll have to sleep here in the dining room, but I would say it is better than an arbitrator's cell."
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:00 pm

"Exterminatus...."

Rhone shook his head in disappointment at Kenji's news, but not in disbelief.  The Imperium was cruel, and at times the powers that be were overzealous in their crusade to purge threats or mild inconveniences of any sort. Whether or not this was the case with Kenji's home, Rhone knew the man was justified in any resentment he held for the Imperium.  Moments like these made Rhone question who the larger threat to the galaxy truly was.

Rhone let's the topic die as Kenji changes it.  The man's hospitality was great, and he would not force the old man to recall any more of  his painful past, unless he volunteered it.  

"You underestimate what 'much' is Mr. Ken.  I'd appreciate a cold floor if that's all you had.  I don't know how long i'll be docked here, but i'm sure my Journey's will bring me back to Port Wander.  In this lifetime, I will return your hospitality.  From one soldier to another, thank you."


Rhone smiles sincerely at the old man.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:49 am

[Rhone and Julia]
Lower East Commons

"Guard take care of Guard." Mr. Ken called out some orders and his staff moved diligently and without question. Soon Rhone had a couple blankets and a small pillow handed to him. Mr. Ken explained where the restroom was and that the staff slept upstairs. He said nothing of the girl Rhone had seen earlier. He left Rhone the rest of the bottle and excused himself back into the small hallway on the right, what Rhone assumed was his office.

The staff cleaned up and cleared out. They moved to the front and two men with long steel poles each hooked onto previously unseen hoops in the ceiling at the entrance. They pulled in unison and a heavy metal fence fell down into place, blocking off the noodle shop from the alley. They locked it up, bowed to Rhone, and then made their way upstairs.

However Rhone spends his night, he eventually falls asleep...


++++

Jules dreams vividly. This was the first time she had really had a chance to lay down without fear in some time. As such, this was the first REM sleep she had had in a while. Her eyes fluttered under her eyelids.

Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.

She heard it in her dream. Something was scratching. Clawing. Tearing. Ripping.

She awoke suddenly. Her breathing calmed. It was just a dream.

Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.

Then she heard it again. It was coming from outside of her immediate area. It wasn't at her door, she was certain. But somewhere in the main dining area perhaps?
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:38 am

Jules fumbles for her chrono which she had placed on top of her pack on the floor beside her bed and peered at the time through bleary eyes.

-Its far to early-

Rolling over she closes her eyes confident that sleep would come quickly enough.

'Scratch. Scratch. Scratch'

She sits up frowning now feeling fully awake.

'Scratch. Scratch. Scratch'

Whatever it was had earned her ire. Swinging her legs out of bed her feet touch the floor, which was cold and made her that bit more annoyed. This was supposed to have been a full night of glorious sleep. It could have been anything she mused, just normal noises for the noodle bar. She assumed the place had been fully locked up so she should be safe, when a thought hit her. Perhaps it was those thugs having discovered her ruse, or worse still Petra had heard of her passing through here.

Before standing she grabs her hand cannon, removing it from its holster next to her pack. Standing she then tiptoes the few feet to the door and opens it quietly and sticks her head out looking both ways. All seemed quiet and dark.

'Scratch. Scratch. Scratch'

She ducked back into her room and grabbed her glasses, her eye sight was perfect but they had photo lenses. With everything in shades of grey she crept down the short hallway; she could feel her heart rate start to pick up. Her thought of the thugs and Petra made her cautious and nervous although she fully expected the cause of the noise to be something mundane. The safety on her gun was off, but she kept her finger off the trigger as she didn't want to shoot Mr. Ken or one of the workers who might also come out to investigate.


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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:31 pm

[Jules]


All is quiet in the hallway. The lights are off, but the glow from the street is ever present. Even during the night cycle, there were some lights that simply wouldn't go off.

After a few moments of peeking left and right, Jules sees nothing.


Scratch. Scratch. Thump. Scratch.

But was it coming from the dining area or up the stairs?
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:52 pm

Rhone’s eyes flashed open. He remained rigid as his auditory senses searched for the source of the scratching. It was close...too close...At first he dismissed it. It could be one of a thousand normal sounds that could go on in a noodle kitchen at night. As he lie here, the scratching and thuds had become too difficult to ignore.

Could be nothing....he reached over in the darkness. Locating his belt, Rhône unsheathed one of his knives from its scabbard. The sound of steel across wood whispered in the night.

Could be anything.....his bolt pistol lay holstered, tucked under his pillow. Argus Rhône hadn’t survived this long on luck alone.
He reached under his pillow and unholstered his prized possession. Rhône hoped he wouldn’t need it. The devastating power of an imperial bolt shell could cause serious collateral damage. The old man was hospitable. Rhône would hate to reduce his noodle shop to a smoldering crime scene for the arbiters.

Rhône rises slowly. He held the imperial steel knife in his left hand in a downward grip. With his bolt pistol in his right, he braced his right forearm over the left, keeping his options of lethality open.

He crept through the night, peeking over the counter to locate the source of the noise.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:09 am

Jules pauses and waits for the noise again; which way? Her nervousness had brought on a slight sweat, she could feel the grip on her pistol becoming a little slippery so she wipes her free hand on her jacket before transferring the weapon and then wiping her other hand.

She smiled ruefully to herself, she could imagine the laughter and how foolish she was going to feel when she found a worker up and about starting the morning routines of the shop, perhaps they started early here?

'Scratch. Scratch. Thump. Scratch'

The noise caused her to jump a little in surprise. She was lucky her finger was off the trigger or she would have likely blown a hole in Mr. Kens ceiling.

-Which way?-

Awareness:
 




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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:07 am

[Rhone and Jules] - Lower East Commons, Mr. Ken's Noodle Bar


Jules paid close attention to the scratching and the thumping. After she hears it again, she knows for certain that it was coming from the kitchen area - the area just behind the service counter. Left. She had to go left and into the main dining area if she was to find the source of the noise.

Rhone sees nothing out of the ordinary behind the counter. All seemed well. While continuing to peek, however, he notices a floor hatch. Scratch. Scratch. The sound was coming from under it.

Before he can do anything, the opening of a door to his right and down the hall grabs his attention. A figure is peeking out, and he cannot make out who it is in the dim light.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:41 am

Something nagged at the back of his mind with words so clear, they felt external.

Contact, right!

It was instinct.  It all happened within half a second. Target priority. With a quick flick of his thumb, Rhone activated the red dot sight on his bolt pistol to help him get a bead on the shadowy figure who had just emerged.  Spinning around on one heel, he turned towards the doorway and planted his feet in a strong stance before jerking the muzzle of his weapon towards the potential threat. The crimson light darted towards the center mass of the figure in the hallway.  Quickly, he sucked in a deep breath and slowly began exhaling.  This kept his nerves calm and his aim steady. Time seemed to slow.  In just one breath, an entire firefight could begin and finish, and Rhone aimed to be the one left standing at the end of it all.

Just as quickly as he zeroed in on the potential 'threat', Rhone realized the absurdity of the situation.  Here he was wearing nothing but the ident tags around his neck, and imperial guard issued briefs.  Rhone could only imagine one of Kenji's noodle slingers staring at his half naked form, with mass reactive shells threatening to create an exit would large enough for a ratling to nap in. Likely as that were the case, Rhone lowered his weapon, but only slightly.  The pinpoint crimson dot of light now rested with practiced steadiness at the feet of the shadowed figure, lying in wait like a hunting hound ready to move in for the kill at its masters command.  

His voice was commanding, but he kept it at a volume that addressed the general vicinity, as to not startle the entire household.

"Easy now. Keep your hands where I can see them...identify yourself."

He calculated his surroundings by what his subconscious absorbed. There were options for cover, but he'd have a better chance of shooting first if it came to that.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:13 am

The first thing that brought Jules to be aware of the ‘intruder’ was when a red laser dot started to dance over her chest. The adrenaline really started to kick in then.

-Fuck-

She kept her gun down, as she really didn’t want to be shot. She didn’t need the weapon. Taking a sharp breathe she opens her mind, it would be simple to make him drop his gun and then if he meant her harm; shoot him. No one else was about to witness powers that might damn her. Jules felt the unrestrained power of the warp, a power that she hadn’t been properly schooled in. It pulled at her mind wanting her to let go, she gathered its power.

-Wait!-

Jules took stock again the red dot had been lowered and the man was speaking, and why in the hells was he just wearing briefs; it was odd attire for a burglar.

She closed down the link to the darkness of the warp, it tugged at her as she did so as though it didn’t want her to go. She shuddered a little as the link was severed.

She wasn’t about to give the man her name, she didn’t know who he was and who he knew.
“I’m a quest and you’re a funny looking burglar. Warm night is it?”  
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:23 am

A degree of relief washed over Rhone, but he didn't let his guard down. He recognized her from earlier.  She must have been one of Kenji's guests, which meant she likely wasn't looking to put a hole in his head...yet.  She may not have been the source of the commotion, but Rhone figured they were both down here for the same reason, which confirmed he wasn't crazy at least.  Lowering his weapon from Jules, Rhone maintains a tactical stance with the knife and bolt pistol.  He studied her briefly. Legs and a sense of humor.  He smirked.

"Warm as a Tallarn winter, darling. You know how to use that thing?"

He nodded to the weapon in her hand.  Before waiting for her to respond, Rhone jerks his head, beckoning Jules towards him.

"Get my six."

It was somewhere between a request and a command. He had no reason to trust her, but he had no reason not to in the given circumstances.

In the low light, Jules could likely make out the raised scars covering Rhone's broad back and shoulders.  Smaller battle scars peppered his entire upper torso. On his left shoulder, right bicep, the back of his neck and the center of his entire back were tattoos, likely military, but she'd need a closer glance given the level of lighting.  Light danced off of the Guard issued ident tags that dangled from a chain around his neck.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:39 am

"Uh-uh"

The conversation wasn't over yet as far as Jules was concerned although the strangers levity steadied her nerves a little. She generally didn’t trust easy and she knew better than to trust strangers.

He sounded like a military man with his use of the phrase ‘get my six’, he looked like one too. Well-muscled, scarred, the way he stood and the dog tags. He was not unpleasant to look upon. Sub consciously Jules scrapes some of her hair back that had become plastered to her face during sleep while keeping her gun pointing to the floor at 45 degrees.

“I don’t recognise you from the workers here. You a guest of Mr…?”
she left the name hanging, fishing for clues of who the stranger might be. How familiar he was with Mr. Ken. For now she had forgotten about the scratching noise which isn’t that unusual when faced with a near naked man with a bolt pistol.
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:31 am

"Ken?"

Rhone interjects with a sarcastic inflection in his voice.  The girl's statement made it obvious she had enough familiarity with the shop to know the owner's name herself.  He sized her up physically, arguably more than was necessary.  The girl seemed able bodied enough...what was she doing in a noodle kitchen?

"If all it takes to gain a pretty girl's trust these days is to be able to read a flashing neon sign on the outside of a noodle bar, then I've definitely found my calling as a naked burglar."

Rhone flashes a disarming smile.  It was evident that the Sergeant had a way with words.  His voice was deep, and despite the long winded string of sarcasm, every syllable was clear and concise.

"To answer your question darling...that is affirmative.  I'm a guest of Kenji Nagai as of last night."

He looked down towards the floorboards where the sound was coming from.  Everything in his training urged him to uncover the source immediately...to eliminate any potential threat, but he knew the girl wasn't going to let her guard down to let him investigate.  Not just yet.  He needed to put her nerves to rest.  

Instinctively, Rhone drops the bolt pistol to his side in a practiced movement.  He slides the weapon down his thigh to secure it in its holster....but there was no holster.  Embarrassed, he shrugs helplessly.

"I have to admit, that went much smoother in my head."

He lowers the weapon, letting it and his arm hang at his side.

"Something woke me from my beauty sleep. Judging by your timing, and that serious case of bedhead you've got going on, I'm going to go ahead and assume you're down here for the same reason."
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting Again for the First Time (IC)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:10 am

As soon as the words leave his mouth, the scratching resumes. It was louder now that they were both closer. An inspection at the floor reveals a long, thick rubber runner that ran the length of the kitchen - no doubt to catch any droppings. The sound was definitely coming from under it.
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