War Pigs: Origins, II

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Still holding the plate perfectly balanced with an increasingly foul look on her face, Alison follows the rest of the crew out of the cockpit. Setting the plate down on a table in the living room, she grabs on of the sandwiches and collapses back in one of the chairs;
"What a delightful turn of events."
Alison growls sarcastically under her breath before taking a bite.
Finishing up removing my armor, I step out of the machine and role my shoulders, rotating my left arm and making sure it didn't seize up any. Satisfied it hadn't, I grab my pistols and knife, holstering the twin pistols on my waist and sheathing the knife horizontally on my back. Nodding after a quick check for everything, I head back towards the living room, already running over what could be said in my head, although I knew deep down what it would be.

We're deserting...I don't know why I put it that way, but it's the best way to put it... The thought to suggest it to the captain in the past had always come up, something that granted us true freedom. But it always got pushed back down, buried under the false truths and lies I made up for myself to stay with the Confederacy. Now though, now might be the time to suggest it if the captain isn't already considering it. Walking back into the Living room still deep in thought, I take my usual chair near the warmest spot of the ship, looking at the captain half expectantly, half thoughtfully.
I enter the living room with James hoping beside me with one arm over my shoulder. I set him down on a chair and put his injured leg up on a stool. "So what's so important I had drag James out of bed?"
Rob walks in behind the others, and then drops himself against the wall. His shoulders and head are drooped from intense exhaustion, but his eyes look expectant, ready to hear the news.
A moment of stillness took place as Captain Tailor found the precise words he wanted to use. Natalie stood close to Rob. Really close. Their arms were touching and Natalie folded hers to play it off. Her breath was still staggered from the intense turn of events which unfolded.

Svenson felt an awkward mist among the expendable soldiers. He sat awkwardly in the chair to Alison's right with his hands in his lap. He wasn't sure who was killing who, but he wanted out. Off and out. He hadn't even officially met the leader of the band. He seemed well respected among the convicts, despite his lack of any real leadership skills.

Brock took a deep breath to start the conversation. He first turned to the two pilots.
"Is the Silico tagged with Confederate codes?" Natalie's head bobbed up and down. Brock took another deep breath.

"...Then I take it we are all pretty pissed at Makins again...."
I continue thinking as the Captain speaks, though I snort loudly at the 'pretty pissed at Makins' part, coming out of it and shaking my head. "Captain, the man just tried to have us killed WITH Confederate ID tags on us. I'm beyond pissed and ready to ditch that joke of a government." I draw my kukri and flip the knife up into the air, alternating between catching the blade and the hilt, still fairly thoughtful.

"Look, Captain, I know you think that man is the next best thing to Jesus, but let's face it, we're his tools, his way of staying on top." I glance at James and Carah and sigh, remembering Reggie and Cedric, guilt twisting in my gut. "And when one of us dies, we're as easily replaced as a dull knife blade." Falling silent again, I continue to flip the knife and catch it, falling back into my thoughtful stupor with each toss, beginning to go solely on muscle memory for the toss and the catch. Now our options were run and die eventually or go back to Tarsonis and be shot down on sight. I was all for running myself, but I wasn't the only Pig here.

Letting the others speak their piece of the cake, I catch it by the blade and whip my arm back and forth rapidly, sending the curved blade sailing into the target I'd put up across from my chair for entertainment purposes. I stand up and walk across the room, retrieving it from the wooden circles and going back to my seat, sheathing it as I go. Sitting down again, I wait for either reaction or speech.
"You'll get no complaints from me in that regard. !@#$ the Confederacy."
Alison says bluntly. Taking another bite, she wipes her lips and leans forward thoughtfully;

"The biggest question if do bail out, is where we're going to. Frankly, I see three options; One, we go join the Sons of Korhal. Sure, we just tried to kill their leader & accelerated the fall of the planet to the zerg, but if they mean business, they're not going to pass up competent soldiers. Two, we go private. I've heard that the merc business pays well, so thats always an option. And option number three, we go straight. Settle down on some out of the way planet somewhere and try to make an honest living for ourselves. Personally, I'm for option one or two."
@Zarkun I like how you addressed how easily Cedric and Reggie were replaced :P. Ties in well with the character of the Pigs, and also I was beginning to think it was a little strange how we just sorta accepted their deaths, almost like the characters never existed o_o.

@Warhawk Oh noooo ninja'd aaaaaah

Rob resists the urge to look when Natalie slouched on the wall right next to him. Better to leave her alone. Hearing her uneven breaths was worrying, but at the same time a blessing.

Finally, someone who understood the crushing responsibilities of having so many people depending on you with so much at a moment's notice. Rob felt it as a Confederate pilot whose airstrikes were the difference between seizing victory or taking hundreds of casualties, and now, after moments ago when the lives' of every Pig was on his shoulders, he realized Natalie felt it too. Even though he slouched in total exhaustion, the revelation gave him a little hope.

He wanted to communicate this, but had no idea how. So, Rob settles for the "sup" nod, without making eye contact.

Aw yeah. Still got it.

In any case, Rob begins to speak after a short silence, watching Hank pull his knife out of the wall.

"You know Cap, I don't like making big decisions. I'm more of a fan of strategizing, or formulating plans..."

Rob takes a second to pause, almost shuddering at how Hank stared at Carah and James when talking about how expendable they were, the reality a little too cold for him.

"But as much of a crazy war junkie Hank is, he makes a lot of sense. I've almost died too many times today to deal with any more of this sh!t. Those hurricane missiles had a target and it was us, I'm more than mad at Makins."
Rob lets Alison finish.

"Hey I don't think option 3 is too bad."

Rob waves his hands in a dramatic arc.

"Think about it. We could give up the way of war. Start an honest living as a farming community. Hank could hunt big game with the knife thing, Bianca could also with her sniper, and hey, you could cook it! Think of all the legal fires you could make. Natalie and I can operate the tractors and the other farm equipment, Carah can tend to the farm animals and such, and James uh..."

Rob looks over at his injured companion.

"James can makes some stims or something. I dunno farm life can be boring, sometimes you need a little kick."
Alison lets off a harsh laugh;
"If thats where we go, I want off at the nearest merc port. The quiet life isn't for me."
"Nobody's going quiet..." Brock said decisively, breaking a moment of silence into the conversation.

"Listen, I know Makins made an... Interesting decision. And I know you all hate his guts. But he's still our only shot at life. It's either him, or we run and we keep running until the day we die."

Brock took yet another deep breath and shook his head.

"We can't live like that. We will be hunted and killed mercilessly. As soon as we're branded as deserting villainous criminals, we won't be able to settle anywhere. Going private is an option, but it's a far stretch. The Silico is branded as a Confederate military vessel and in the books, we're still Confederate soldiers. Besides, there's only a handful of us. Who in the hell would hire us?"

Another pause.

"I'll confront Makins. Alone. We can't afford any of you losing your cool. I'll talk to him, figure out what we can do. After that, we'll start building funds and contacts. After we've amassed enough resources and safehouses, we can split."
OOC: ninja'd again!! let's just say this happened right before Brock makes his decision

Rob smiles.

"You know even if I was joking, you did put it up as an option. I'm willing to bet there's a part of you that wants to, just maybe?" Rob inquires, an eyebrow raised.
"Face Makins alone?" I shake my head incredulously at what Brock was saying. "Our only shot at freedom? Brock, for the love of god listen to yourself! That man tried to KILL us! K-I-L-L kill! Sure we're a small bunch but that gives us a lot more options in the mercenary business. We can take contracts bigger groups can't." I stand up and look Brock in the eyes, good and hard. "Our shot at freedom? We've just been given it. I'm sure Natalie can wipe the Confederate tags off this vessel and no one's going to want specifics on a bunch of low-life, money grubbing mercenaries."

I put my pointer finger on my left hand right between Brock's eyes for emphasis. "Any of us go back to Tarsonis and it's a bullet right there, just so Makins can cover his own @ss." Sitting back down in my chair, I look the other Pigs over. "I say we put this to a vote. All those in favor of the Captain committing suicide say aye. All those in favor of us going mercenary say Nay." I rest my eyes on Brock's, a fire in them he couldn't hope to put out. "All in favor?"
Rob's eyes widen. It wasn't Brock shooting down his idea of a new life that surprised him, that was a crapshoot and more of a joke than anything. But...

"You guys want to split? I mean, damn. I guess that's a good idea."

The Confederacy won't take me. No more War Pigs. I'd be out of the war business for good...

He thinks for a second more.

But what do I do after that? Become... a civilian

Rob shakes his head, he was thinking too far ahead again.

"It might be the best course of action."
In response to Hank's speech, Rob shifts nervously.

"I don't know Hank. Makins is more than dangerous I've already agreed with you on that. But if the Captain is willing to meet with Makins, that's no skin off our backs right? Err- no offense, Cap," Rob adds, "But anyway what I'm trying to say is that worst case scenario, the Cap doesn't make it back and we all split."

Rob pauses in thought.

"Best case scenario though, we get all those funds and contracts and go our separate ways in our lives, just like Brock said. Isn't that worth trying for rather than risk being branded criminals?"
I glare over at Rob.
"Yea' I can make stims. Though they are made for my tolerance and body mass. Also when I'm on stims... things can get a bit dangerous. Besides the quiet life in the slums was getting old and so was the work."

I look over at the captain.
"I agree with the rest of the lot. Besides we might be tagged as confederate but there is a possibility that they thought they hit their mark with those missiles and they think we are dead. I say we find somewhere to refuel and go merc."
I glare right into Rob's eyes, making him flinch from the intensity alone. "RISK being branded criminals? Boy, I don't know where you been this whole time, but we ARE criminals. We've all been on the news, we've all walked induction lane. Guess what? We're all Pigs." I look over each person in the room and a tear comes to my eye, unbidden. "And we're all the family we have left. Think about it. No one out there is going to want us. Hell, my kids probably don't even remember who I am anymore, they were so young when the Wars started."

Standing up, I pace around the living room, making eye contact with each member of the Silico's crew and making sure they knew how I felt. "I've stood on the frontlines with you, fought tooth and nail to survive with you and stared death in the face with you. Hell," I chuckle, looking at Natalie with a good natured look on my face, "I've even taken rounds for some of you. There isn't a one of you, no matter how new you are to the outfit, I wouldn't stand and fight with or for. The Confederacy can burn in hell for all I care." The tears start to flow a little more. "I got all I need right here. With the War Pigs."

OOC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAWZS1asqQE This sorta works for as Hank gets emotional.
"It's impossible. You have to get into the ship mainframe and to do that, you need replacement codes. The Silico is a Confederate vessel." And that means the Blockade had to intentionally fire upon us... Which means the Silico would not be shot down if we flew into Confederate airspace.

Natalie blushed when Hank referenced the spines he had taken for her. The memory of his warm lips came back and she sucked her own into her mouth. Her eyes begged for something to focus on, but the ground proved enough to get her through while Hank moved on with his speech.

Hank has kids? Again, Natalie found herself looking at the ground, begging for something to focus on.

As conflicted as Brock was, he had to remain silent while the War Pigs "voted". It was in that moment when the Captain realized just how little power he really had. All it took was one influential War Pig to stand up with teary eyes and give a short n' sweet speech and the psychological battle for power was on. Brock wouldn't stand for that, though. All in all, he agreed with Hank. They both wanted the same thing. They just had different ways of going about getting it.

"I'm sorry, Hank, it's not that simple. Like you said, we're criminals. That means no contacts, no resources, no friendly shores, no safehouses... Nothing. As Confederate soldiers, we can build up enough of all those things before we desert, but until that point we still need Makins!

"And like Rob said, it's no skin off your back if I get one between the eyes. It's worth a shot, right?"
Please don't control my character... You don't know if Rob would flinch or not.


Rob leans back on the wall again, looking up with his arms up behind his head.

"You know, I was just wondering that. What do I do when we split up? I've got nowhere to go. Prison's taken that away from me. From all of us."

Rob looks at Hank, and then at Captain Brock.

"That being said, I can't, in good conscience, turn down a plan like Brock's when it means risking our lives unnecessarily, Hank. You have experienced and fought in more wars and battles than most of the people on this ship, and we're all veterans in some way or another. And best of all, you put your life down for the Pigs without a second thought. There's no way I can't respect that..."

Rob pauses, looking right at Hank this time.

"But you speak with a certainty that there's no way you could have. You don't know what Makins will do. You don't know if we can make it as mercenaries. There's no way to tell to what extent the Confeds would hunt us down. Yet you speak like it's our only option, like it's the only way out and that anything else is obviously suicidal. I can't, won't believe in something so uncompromising. There are always other options."

Finally, Rob pauses to acknowledge Natalie who is next to him, and then from there the others.

"My home is with the Pigs, like you. I've got nowhere else to go. But I can't vote in favor of your plan, Hank. I'm sorry."
"So you're going to send the man who stood for us when we couldn't stand for ourselves into the belly of the beast?" I shake my head at the ridiculousness of it all and head for the door out of the living room. "You all might be convinced Makins didn't have his hand in this, but it take a blind fool to ignore it. Y'all seem to forget that every mercenary company starts like us, with nothing." I stop in the doorway and look over everyone.

"We keep leaning on the men and women who put us in prison in the first place, we'll never be free. I vote Nay." With that, I go out the door towards the armory. Maybe cleaning my rifle would help me calm down. Still I couldn't stop grumbling about the blind incompetence that seemed to come with holding the title Captain. Or rather, being an officer in general.

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