Scept took the man's hand, but did not meet his eye as he did. He had no desire to be best friends with these people, but to be creating enemies while stuck on board with them seemed like spelling out your own demise on the wall. "Does that reputation have anything to do with lying to your newest men?" Scept challenged, only meeting Thomas's eye as he projected the accusatory question in his direction. A thought crawled into his mind; a possible way to turn this around in his favor? There would be time lost, of course, but the idea of having to sit in his cramped cabin for an extra week while the grown-ups played vigilante made him bristle. "How many days before we intercept them? I want to be ready." His tone remained both bitter and annoyed, but his dialogue had undoubtedly shifted to something at least a little more amiable. Regardless, though, Scept had every intent on showing them he was in control of his own surroundings.
Thomas stared coolly at Scept, "I didn't lie." He stated calmly. "Things change, we adapt and endure, that's how the Outcasts survive and thrive in this world."
He stared at a battered clock a little ways above the kitchen, "We hit the rendezvous point in about eight hours, and then another two hours 'till we catch up with the pleasure yacht, the thing is mercifully slow."
Vesper was clearly uneasy about the idea, but her eyes widened at the mention of a meet-up before the mission. "Who are we meeting, exactly?" she questioned, hoping it was a second Outcast vessel.
"The lady who now employs us sincerely hopes there won't have to be violence, she hired a negotiation team to go with us." Thomas raised a single finger pointedly, "we're to use force only if they fail." He left unsaid the fact that he was willing to bet a year's salary that the negotiation would go badly and force the Outcasts to move. He also left unsaid that the vessel they were on board currently had all of four actual Outcast combatants, including himself. His mechanical eye looked the same as always, but the biological counterpart was clearly contemplative, unsure about how he would pull off such a mission if something went wrong.
Ten hours. That was it? The amount of sleep he had gotten last night could hardly even be called rest, and within the day they were supposed to be moving again? His mind returned quickly to his bag and all the belongings inside. Slowly and wordlessly he stood up, releasing the empty mug from his hand and looking to the slightly more pleasant woman, "If it's only going to be a few hours, then I'm going back to sleep. Enduring ten hours of expectation in this will just drain me more." His tone continued to indicate his irritation, but still his intents were shaping up to be slightly helpful. With another few hours of good sleep, he could be charged enough to make this operation an easy one for the Outcasts. He glanced around quickly to make sure that someone wasn't going to drop one last bombshell before he knocked himself out with a drug he had been saving, "Wake me up in nine hours, would you?"
Thomas opened his mouth to reply, but a look from Vesper shut it again. He waited the few moments until Scept had exited the room, and then stared with confusion at Vesper and asked, "Does he think I'm asking him to help in the mission?"
Vesper shrugged once, "Well, when you come in like that and lay out the situation, yeah, I think that's the idea he'd get."
Thomas mulled that fact over for a moment.
"Crap." He finally said. "That wasn't exactly what I wanted."
"He could be useful." Vesper interjected.
"He's a kid, Vesper. A kid." Thomas said with a glare. "I don't expect him to fight. We have to take the contract, Liam was clear on that, but I don't expect the kid to fight. I just wanted to let him know so he could bunker down and wait it out."
Vesper eyed Thomas, her expression amused. "Please, would you sit by and let the middle-aged dude with the creepy robotic eye have all the fun? I think not. He'll want to help, and I see the look in your eyes, Thomas, you're worried about this mission."
Thomas nodded sharply, "yeah, we have two guardians and a predator, plus me. Probably about ten, maybe fifteen hostiles on the yacht, it'll be tough."
Vesper stood, offering her seat to Thomas, "I'll talk to him, but if he wants to help, let him. I think you'll find him useful, and he'll like it a lot better than merely sitting back like some little kid."
Thomas shrugged once, "as you wish," he said stonily. Obviously not liking the idea but trusting Vesper enough to go with her vague semblance of a plan.
A minute or so later, Vesper jogged down the corridor towards Scept's cabin. She rapped twice on the door, "Sceptus, may I come in?" She called out softly.
The boy stopped rummaging through his bag for a moment as she knocked, turning his head toward the door and agreeing to her request, "Yes? He hoped she wouldn't ask too many questions, his mind already swollen from irritation of the morning so far. He couldn't tell if his nerves were a result of the lack of sleep, the sickly rocking motion on the sea, or the fact that he didn't trust these people; he didn't even like pretending he did. They were too close to Stamaria for his comfort zone. After all, their passes for the ship apparently came from personal relations with some of the viceroys. Furthermore, they knew his history with the Taron and that set him even further away from peace. It would be better for everyone, though mostly him, when all this was over and he had the items on his maps.
Post by Steinerman on Jun 12, 2011 20:17:38 GMT -5
Vesper entered the room quickly, closing the door silently behind her. She turned a pained smile on Scept, trying to get him to realize that she was only there to help. "Thomas wasn't trying to force you on this, especially with Robert gone. Believe me, dear Thomas is very annoyed that Robert decided to help you, then jumped ship at the last second."
She leaned against the door, giving Scept as much space as she could in the cramped quarters, guessing he probably liked his personal space. "We fully intend to help you, but we're still mercenaries and we have to take contracts to pay the bills," she rolled her eyes dramatically, "I thought mercenary units didn't really have bills, then I got recruited into one and found out the truth, we have bills up the wazooo."
She shrugged, realizing that she was rambling. "Anyways, Thomas doesn't expect you to help with this operation."
She stared hard, trying to get the point across, knowing she was acting like a mother-hen, but feeling it was necessary to let him know the risks, "That's what it is, a military operation, Scept, there's a good chance people will die. But you haven't even signed anything yet, you don't have to put your life on the line for us."
Last Edit: Jun 12, 2011 20:18:06 GMT -5 by Steinerman
If Scept had been an impartial observer, he might have smiled at the irony. The truth of it was that if these mercenaries had asked for his help, he would have been immediately inclined to turn them down. His irritation had indeed thinned though, slightly, with a self-directed fate he had just created for himself. If he could assist in this mission thoroughly enough there could be some respect to gain from it all. It did not really matter to him how much these mercenaries liked him, but their estimations of his worth could end up being the thing to save his life. With a drop of good-nature in him now, he responded evenly with the doctor, "No one's going to die unless you decide to start shooting, Vesper. I didn't leave the Taron because I couldn't hold an effective spell up. However, I can't hold any spells when I feel like I've not rested properly in days." He nodded once toward the door that she had come in from, "If you don't mind."
Post by Steinerman on Jun 13, 2011 18:24:44 GMT -5
Vesper nodded awkwardly, opening the door and backing out, "Oh, I won't be doing the shooting, Scept. I just patch up the wounded." She said with a smile before closing the door and hopefully allowing him the rest he needed.
With that, she turned and jogged down the hallway to the small, cramped stairway that led to the armory below, she had gear to get ready, and being a senior officer meant she had to be with Thomas when he laid out the initial plan of operation. All-in-all, it would probably be a very busy nine hours.
Scept turned from the door the moment he heard it fully close, his hands diving back into his bag and pulling out a small pouch a few moments later. He would have to find a grocer to pick a couple more of these up after this, but he was confident it would be worth it. Dreamless sleep would allow him to rest uninterrupted until someone attempted to wake him up or after ten hours had passed. His energy would replenished even more than it would from normal sleep, and he was confident that it his spells would hold. He popped the pill into his mouth and swallowed, quickly dimming the light and crawling into his cot. A thought flashed through his mind guiltily before sleeping, though: perhaps he should have informed Vesper that there wouldn't be a need for a full plan. Not if they were fast enough, anyway. He was asleep before he could think about it anymore, though.
Post by Steinerman on Jun 26, 2011 22:33:42 GMT -5
*Nine Hours later*
"Alright, you've all got the plan down?" Thomas questioned of the other soldiers standing in the cramped meeting room set in the depths of the sloop.
The two other men in the room, Geralt and Mischa, both large and dangerous in appearance, nodded. "Yes boss." Mischa replied lightly, showing off an impressive array of crooked teeth as he did so. Geralt was more succinct in his reply, the big blond man merely grunted once in approval.
On the other side of the table, the lone woman (besides Vesper) nodded as well. Aya was classed by the Outcasts as a Predator, one of their more offensive-minded specialties. Predators were well-armed, extremely well-trained and generally had several dozen, if not hundred, kills under their belt. Aya was a small, dark-skinned woman who looked every bit the trained killer, buzz-cut black hair, dangerous brown eyes and lips that rarely smiled. Thomas had come to trust the quiet woman's judgement implicitly in the time he'd worked with her.
"Right," Thomas continued after getting a nod from Vesper as well, "hopefully they won't even need us, maybe the negotiation team will do its freaking job for a change and they'll get everyone back safe and sound. If they don't, we'll have to storm the bloody yacht. You all know your positions, we hit the meeting point in about thirty minutes or so, be ready."
He turned to go when Aya spoke, her low voice almost a whisper. "What about the boy that Mr. Valentine brought on board?" She questioned softly.
Thomas' brow furrowed in concentration, he'd almost forgotten about Scept. "I'll talk to him, he's supposed to be a mage, and he seemed to want to help."
Even though he had his back to Vesper, he could feel her encouraging smile. He raised a single finger from his left hand, "Vesper, I'll let him help if I think he can take it. If this kid gives me any weird vibes, he stays on the boat. Understood?"
Vesper smiled sweetly, "Understood, Omega." She replied.
"You know I hate it when you call me that, right?" Thomas asked as he stepped out of the meeting room.
"Yep." She cheerfully replied.
Thomas shook his head, a small smile upon his lips. Leave it to Vesper to lighten the mood. He closed the door on the others, then jogged down to their small armory and grabbed a few pieces of gear, including a combat vest. After that he made his way up to Scept's cabin and knocked several times in quick succession. "Scept?" He called out, "It's Thomas, we need to talk."
Last Edit: Jun 26, 2011 22:34:45 GMT -5 by Steinerman
Scept's eyes snapped open at the word from Thomas, and he cracked a smile as he felt the energy coursing through him. Before he even had time to sit up, he directed a magnetic pulse toward the door bolt, releasing it and opening the door without so much as touching it. Hoisting himself into an upright position, he turned his head toward Thomas's figure at the door, "How big is the ship? If I give you a clear shot to the hostage, could you get them out in 300 seconds?" The way he felt now, filled with confidence, Scept would have boasted he could hold the spell for ten minutes easily, but he knew his patterns well enough not to risk his reputations with these mercenaries. He did not know this Thomas in the slightest, though, and it was possible the man was coming in to tell him that he was to remain locked in his cabin until their plan had been executed. While that would be unfavorable, it would not be the end of Scept's own plans. He did wonder how easily it would be able to convince this mercenary leader of the integrity of his spells. There was not much else for it, though; magi supporting groups simply had to be trusted in order to be effective.
Thomas entered the room and kept silent as Scept spoke, noting the fact that the boy had opened the door without bothering to actually move to it.
"The yacht in question is just a little over ninety feet in length. Five minutes would be easy enough if we knew where they're holding the hostages, but we don't. And even if we did, there's at least ten hostiles on-board, they'll slow us down." Thomas replied, his expression doubtful. "Just what are you proposing to do, exactly? That would give us such a time-frame?"
He shook his head, "I don't even know what you can do, and I still haven't decided if it's worth the risk to bring you along. A stray bullet and I have to explain to my boss why his new-found business partner has a bullet in him. Robert wouldn't like it if you got shot."
He leaned back against the wall by the door and spoke once more, his tone was terse, with the barest hint of sarcasm underlying it. "So convince me that it's worth the risk to bring you along."
How little did he truly know? It would be an enormous relief to find that Thomas knew very little about Scept, but the boy was not ready to take the chance that the man was simply playing dumb for that exact reason. Nevertheless, he kept things relatively simple just in case, "I'm a Chronomancer; I manipulate time, you know? I've rested enough to produce a time field large enough to cover most of the ship and reduce encompassing movement by around 97%. You will literally be able to walk through and shoot each man in the head as you pass. Easy. I won't be shot because they won't ever have time to pull their triggers. Here: watch." He closed his eyes and let the energy flow from his body, his pocket of time magic extending to cover the entire room and a little into the hallway. His movement was energized and consequently Thomas was slowed just enough to make it effective. Everyone had minds and eyes the functioned at varying degrees, but most men would not have even been able to track Scept's movements as he slid out the door to stand behind Thomas, cancelling the spell quickly thereafter and speaking once more, "Well? No time to waste." He chuckled slightly at his terrible pun.
Post by Steinerman on Jun 27, 2011 22:48:39 GMT -5
It was only due to Thomas' enhanced eye that he was able to notice Scept move so swiftly by him. And even then, the time dilation effected him in such a way that the information from the eye translated slowly, resulting in a painful feedback as the field collapsed and super-imposed two blaring images in Thomas' brain.
Thomas masked the pain easily, however. And with relief noticed the effects receded quickly. Besides the accidental effect of his eye malfunctioning, he was quietly impressed by the boy's show of power.
"Alright, you can come." He agreed, stepping out into the hallway, brushing against Scept as he did. Once out into the hallway, he pressed the combat vest into Scept's hands, his expression brooking no argument. "But you're wearing that," He said sternly, indicating the bullet-proof vest and feeling very much like a father as he spoke, "and I'm setting a guard to protect you when we hit the boat."
Scept watched the older man intently, a bit of challenge on his face now that he had finally gained at least a toe-grip in his situation. His stamina limited his magical use quite severely, but like anything related to physical well being, it was always relative and there was no need for Thomas to guess just how much or how little Scept could accomplish at once. Taking the combat vest from the man, he slipped past Thomas once more into his room to conceal it under his clothing for the excursion onto the other boat. With a rather arrogant tone, he chortled to Thomas, "Yap yap. I'll be on deck in a moment." And, after situating the protective garment underneath the rest of his layers, he soon appeared above the surface of the ship, ready to accomplish whatever was coming next.