IC1: The Decision We All Must Make.   Posted by 01 Voice Only.Group: 0
01 Voice Only
 GM, 20 posts
Sun 6 May 2018
at 06:15
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
12:10, June 18th, 2015
Gate Coffee, Baghdad Internation Airport, Baghdad, UN Protectorate of Iran

The television in the corner displayed a red and white sweep of the world, a simple song of light beat and beeps heralding the changing intro as the words "BBC NEWS - Iran" emerged in the corner. The image soon cut to a Arab man in front of the divided peach shape of the Al-Shaheed Monument. "This is Ahmad Shah, reporting from Baghdad. UN Peacekeeping forces have announced their intent to extend peacekeeping efforts into Africa and Afganistan as we near the fifteen anniversary of the Event. General Muhammad al-Aziz-"

To Colonel Farrokh Shehzad, the sounds of the airport around him was little more than noise. They were the coming and going of life in a world which had been utterly broken. The Colonel had the unique position of knowing exactly how quickly the facade of normality could be broken. After all, the organization he worked for did exactly that.

The pager in his pocket buzzed, with a single message reading out: Flight Arrived, Gate 3-C. With that short text, the Operations Director knew the Pilots had arrived.

OOC: Anime pacing at this point. You pilots have been sent from various bases where you have been training/housed to Istanbul and then to Baghdad. Some of you likely had more connecting flights than others, so feel free to get your own views out there as you exit the plane. Only Farrokh knows who the pilots are, so congrats to him for becomming the "You All Meet In A Tavern Tavernkeeper."
Amelia Vandenburg
 player, 21 posts
 The Fifth Child
Mon 7 May 2018
at 12:51
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
The bump and shudder that accompanies the aircraft's wheels touching runway jostles Amelia from her fitful snooze. By the time the plane has taxi'd from the runway, she's yawned, stretched, and fully come to wakefulness. The stewardess glares at her as she pops her seatbelt and stands, fully aware that the "Keep Seatbelts Fastened" sign was still illuminated. She doesn't even acknowledge the stewardess as the hatchet-faced woman begins to berate her; the woman's words are lost against the thumping tech beat in Amelia's headphones as the girl pops open the overhead and grabs her backpack.

The seatbelts light turns off as the aircraft settles to a halt at the gate, but by the time the stewardess has extracted herself from her own safety harness Amelia is already out the door; her tattered, baggy jeans legs swishing against each other at a brisk pace that her black Converse chucks match against the floor of the gate. As she enters the terminal, she tips back the bill of her tattered "SOX" ballcap and slows her pace, shooting a scathing glare across the mass of people as her sapphire eyes search for her escort. Not immediately seeing anyone who fit her profile, she slings the ragged canvas backpack over her shoulders, adjusts the straps over the plain yellow tank top and frees her braids from between it and her back, then sets off for the nearest coffee shop. She had had an idea on the flight, a breakthrough on a method she had been struggling with, and wanted to test it as soon as possible.
Farrokh Shehzad
 player, 4 posts
 Ops Director
Tue 8 May 2018
at 06:25
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Farrokh pocketed the pager and continued to drink his coffee.

Well, here we go.

He finished the last of his coffee in one extended pull. He exhaled and tapped his fists on the table in front of him, declaring to himself, "Showtime."

Getting up, he approached the counter, presenting his cup. "Excuse me, refill please. Going to need one for the road."

The coffee was drip-brewed and passable at best. Click. Farrokh watched the steam roll over the clerk's hand as the cup filled. Click. The coffee stopped flowing. That'll be us, soon. The heat begins so suddenly. And can end so suddenly.

He'd read the files on the Children. He had his guesses on where he'd have difficulties, but knew that the quirks of youth weren't likely to be caught in a dossier.

He smiled and nodded appreciation to the clerk as he took the coffee. With a swig, he turned to leave--

--and stopped a centimeter from running into the loudly dressed blonde girl with the even louder headphones.

His surprise hung for a moment, then wide eyes shifted into a smirk as he shrugged.

"Well, being Fifth doesn't keep you from showing up first. Good. You drink coffee?"
Daniel Wo Nangfei
 player, 13 posts
 The Fourth Child
Tue 8 May 2018
at 14:17
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Daniel takes his time getting off the plane, looking around like a typical tourist - although most tourists aren't oriental teenagers with orange-red hair that would be more at home on a Westerner. He's dressed lightly enough and trails a red roller suitcase behind him.

Most people ignore his long-sleeved khaki shirt and his beat-up jeans, but a sudden gust from the air conditioning reminds him of how thirsty he is, and so he makes a beeline to the nearest coffeehouse. Not for a coffee, oddly enough, but maybe they have something cold to wet his throat.

That's when he sees her, like the proverbial oasis in the desert. She's blonde and blue-eyed; exactly the type he likes, and she doesn't seem afraid to show herself off too. He makes sure to keep her somewhere in his field of vision as he orders a Coke Zero.
Vidur Mehta
 player, 28 posts
 The First Child
Tue 8 May 2018
at 20:17
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
As he disembarked from the ramp of his own plane, it was quite obvious from even a first glance that Vidur was markedly different from the other two Children.  The young Indian teenager gave off the aura of someone somewhat older and more mature--a feeling that was enhanced by the dark slacks and the white collared shirt he was wearing.  The fact that he was holding a briefcase in one hand and a duffel bag in the other didn't hurt either.  If not for the fact that he was missing a tie and jacket, he looked like he had just disembarked from the plane for a job interview.

As the hardened soles of his leather formal shoes echoed against the floor of the terminal, his hazel eyes took in his surroundings in the manner of a person who was used to gleaning as much information as possible from the events around him.  But, the results of his gathered intelligence proved to be inconclusive.  Who was he supposed to meet here?  In the bustling myriad of people, he was not entirely sure where to go.  Out of the corner of his mind, he saw movement.  It was the familiar figure that he usually saw, an older middle eastern man wearing a thawb, the traditional white robe rustling as he smiled at Vidur and raised his hand to point with his index finger toward Farrokh.  The familiar presence caused the young Indian teenager to smile.  He had long since learned that no one but he could see him, but the presence had always served as his guide when he could not figure out the answer for himself.

Boldly approaching Farrokh, he nodded his head in greeting to him.  "I hope you are the one that has some answers for me?"

There were few things Vidur took more seriously than his work.  And having had his research shut down by some nebulous third party who then subsequently offered him a good deal of funding to work for them and continue his research just smacked of the kind of "cloak and dagger" political problems that he had spent the greater part of his academic life trying to avoid.  After all, being a young genius with a PhD meant that if he was not careful he would be caught up in these kinds of machinations.

Well, he could at least hear them out anyway.  He would not have traveled halfway around the world to get here if he had no interest in what they were selling.  Vidur knew he had been close to something before he had been shut down.  There was no way he was going to leave without at least getting that answer.

This message was last edited by the player at 07:02, Sat 12 May 2018.

Alexander Ferguson
 player, 13 posts
 The Second Child
Tue 8 May 2018
at 22:15
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Alexander was not the last to get off the plane; nevertheless, he was the last to make it to the cafe. The tall, lanky fair-haired fair-skinned young man wandered the airport in something of a daze, taking in the sights. He was dressed casually if perhaps a bit oddly, in a stark white shirt and black slacks. Though obviously a foreigner, and a bit strange, he did not draw that much attention. Foreigners, especially strange ones, were not so rare in Baghdad these days. After all, the world had been put upside down...

Yet try as he might, the young man could find little evidence of this. It was strange; he had read and heard so much about the turmoil outside, yet inside the aiport at least, life seemed to go on as usual. Not that he had first-hand knowledge of what that meant, but... the end of the world could not possibly look like this.

He blinked and looked away from the stream of new arrivals. The group gathering at the cafe finally caught his attention. Oh, right, those were probably his teammates. At least, that appeared probable. Without further delays, he made his way towards them, walking briskly with a slightly awkward smile on his face. Pausing just outside of the cafe, he listened in for a few moments before going inside.
Amelia Vandenburg
 player, 24 posts
 The Fifth Child
Wed 9 May 2018
at 13:51
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Amelia barely even registers the guy at the coffee counter as he turns and nearly runs into her. She sees one of the few open tables with a charger nearby, and without missing a thump in the beat she pivots around the man and continues walking; not even acknowledging he was addressing her. Indeed, the moment he got in her way she dismissed his existence entirely, filing him into the category "Dead Weight Human", there to join the stewardess (and nearly every other human she had ever seen or met) on her back while she carries them through what's to come. As he's left there, talking to her swishing braids, she un-slings her backpack and deposits it on the table; leveling a "back the fuck off" glare at the young woman who reaches the table at almost the same instant.

Without waiting for the other woman to acknowledge or acquiesce, Amelia unzips her backpack and pulls out her laptop, popping the charge cord into the outlet before opening it and booting it up. Within seconds her OS fires up and her custom desktop is displayed. A handful of clicks later and her dev platform is open and her fingers transition to rapidly stroking keys. Lines of code blossom on the screen, and a smirk tugs the corner of her mouth up as the beat in her headphones switches epileptically between bass thumps and strobing electro synth.
Farrokh Shehzad
 player, 8 posts
 Ops Director
Sun 13 May 2018
at 13:41
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Farrokh paused for a moment as the blonde girl passed him. Before he could react, the Indian youth in front of him registered. He nodded back at him.

"Mr. Mehta. Quite observant of you. Just as the report described." He turned his head to Daniel at the counter, "Mr. Nangfei," he faced forward again, speaking past Vidur, "Mr. Ferguson, enter." He turned around, taking the two steps to stand next to Amelia's table. He waved his hand in front of her screen, waiting for her to look at him before addressing her. "Ms. Vandenburg. I will assume that you didn't hear me address you earlier. You should make spacial awareness a priority. It will be crucial your survival and your teammates. Whom are now assembled. To your feet, Ms. Vandenburg."

Farrokh stepped back and turned, all of the children in his view. "I am Colonel Farrokh Shehzad. As your arrival liason, I welcome you to Baghdad. Please, follow me." He exited the coffee shop.

As they walked through the airport to the NERV shuttle waiting outside, he continued.

"As Operations Director for this branch, and your commanding officer, I welcome you to NERV. Some of you are new, some have been with the organization for some period already. I expect this to be a responsive, cooperative team with the gravity our mission requires. You will be fully oriented once we reach headquarters."

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 02:16, Wed 16 May 2018.

01 Voice Only
 GM, 29 posts
Sun 13 May 2018
at 18:06
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
The pager in Farrokh's pocket buzzed again, an inconvenient message playing out on it's interface as the Colonel led the pilots towards the unmarked van. "Protest forming around Route A. Be prepared to switch to Route B."

This was less than optimal. Route A was the shortest path to the base, while B twisted and turned through the streets of Baghdad before reaching the secondary entrance to the Geofront. Well, not everything can go perfectly on the first day.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:48, Mon 14 May 2018.

Daniel Wo Nangfei
 player, 16 posts
 The Fourth Child
Tue 22 May 2018
at 00:24
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Daniel  glances over to Farrokh as he calls his name -- not quite correctly, but being a prick about names rarely helps -- and then to the others he addresses.

Are they colleagues? he wonders. Then he decides to respond to the first man.

"That's me, yes. I assume you're the guy I was supposed to meet, since you know my name?"
Alexander Ferguson
 player, 15 posts
 The Second Child
Tue 22 May 2018
at 10:36
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
On hearing his surname mentioned, Alexander went in as instructed, pausing to look around again and subject the faces of those he was to work with to somewhat closer scrutiny. "Hello," he said in a strangely gentle and accentless voice. "I look forward to working with you all." He paused at that, waiting for the others to speak, still with the same awkward smile from before.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:46, Tue 05 June 2018.

Vidur Mehta
 player, 42 posts
 The First Child
Sat 26 May 2018
at 20:41
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
"Likewise," the young Indian teen replied to Alexander in a serene tone of voice with a nod that sufficed as both acknowledgement and greeting.

The rather strict attitude that Farrokh took up caused Vidur's brow to furrow slightly, though he still followed the older man.  The young PhD was not overly familiar with NERV's mission statement or policy, but he hoped that the organization was not heavily militarized.  From what he did understand was that he had performed significantly well on some initial aptitude tests they had given him which had allowed for him to come here and search for answers.  But, he was now left wondering just what he had signed up for in the first place.

Quickening his pace to be able to walk alongside Farrokh, Vidur's briefcase and duffel bag swayed as he walked while his hazel eyes shifted to glance in the older man's direction.

"So, Colonel," the teenager began, using the title to indicate respect for his office.  "Just what should we be expecting?  I was told surprisingly little before arriving."
Amelia Vandenburg
 player, 29 posts
 The Fifth Child
Sat 26 May 2018
at 23:21
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Before Amelia can even compile her script, the trog that had nearly collided with her is suddenly in her bubble, his hand attempting to interrupt her concentration. Her attention snaps to the miscreant, a venomous barb ready on the tip of her tongue for the sorry sap, where the string of insults dies before forming. She catches her name on his lips as he speaks, and realizes he knows who she is; which means that he's the babysitter NERV sent to pick them up. Still feeling frustrated that her train of thought had been derailed, she settles for shooting a scathing scowl at the man before packing up her laptop and falling in line with the others. Though she doesn't catch most of what he says directly to her, she does deposit her headphones on her shoulders in time to catch him naming himself Ops Director and CO; the statement eliciting a groan and another scowl. This was the guy who was supposed to be commanding her in combat?

As to her supposed teammates... she slows and falls a short distance behind the group as she gives them a good look over... she decides that they're all likely to be replaced with new faces within the first five missions. That the Indian kid doesn't even know what they're up against only serves to confirm that assessment, and she snickers wickedly as he admits his lack of knowledge aloud. Then she realizes again that this kid is one of the ones who are supposed to be guarding her back, and the snicker turns into a hard frown. She could already see him pissing his plug, first mission, and letting an attack past to hit her that he should have blocked. The thought continues to grow in morbidity, so she just shoves her hands further into her pockets and follows behind the others, scowling at everyone and nobody in particular from beneath her ballcap.
Farrokh Shehzad
 player, 13 posts
 Ops Director
Thu 31 May 2018
at 00:58
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
"You will be the fire and water that washes over the corruption that plagues this world." His pace was brisk as he lead the teenagers through the airport hallways to their ground transport. "That is all I can say at this time. Eyes and ears are many, but few of them are your friends."

He looked down at his pager.

"Shit," he cursed under his breath.

The shuttle vehicle was parked in a side lot, normally reserved for airport vehicles. This made exiting the building far simpler, bypassing some of the crowds and lot traffic. The next part, however...

"Go ahead, find a seat you like. Let's be quick. We'll be making our way to NERV headquarters directly."

Farrokh took a seat near the front of the shuttle, giving the driver a nod of affirmation.
Daniel Wo Nangfei
 player, 19 posts
 The Fourth Child
Mon 4 Jun 2018
at 07:45
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Daniel tilts his head at Farrokh's poetic turn of phrase. Fire and water? What did that mean? However, he does not comment, instead studying the other members of his group (mainly Amelia). She seemed so angry at everything. Maybe they conscripted her, he muses. It was unlikely that everyone was as eager to be a pilot as he was.
Alexander Ferguson
 player, 17 posts
 The Second Child
Tue 5 Jun 2018
at 14:49
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Alexander followed Farrokh closely, only occasionally pausing to glance at the other pilots. "Yes, sir," was his sole response to the director's odd statement; that, and a slightly delayed confused blink. But afterwards, he simply went along, stopping to let some of the others get in before climbing into the shuttle. His expression became slightly concerned as he waited. Something was wrong, wasn't it?
Amelia Vandenburg
 player, 32 posts
 The Fifth Child
Fri 8 Jun 2018
at 11:59
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
This guy thinks he's a poet, Amelia muses silently to herself as coffeeman replies to the clueless green recruit. Weirdo. I wonder if you're some kind of religious wacko...

As they walk, Amelia misses neither Daniel's regular glances her way nor her new CO's pager beeping and his subsequent response to it. The one she ignores, as there was almost always someone staring at her for some reason or other, whether it was her appearance or her small amount of global fame; the other she does not. This is a much more volatile country than America, and she had been trained by NERV's finest in how to avoid being singled out as a target. That there has been a change in plans is obvious, which means there exists a possibility that some outside source caused those changes specifically to affect them.

In response to the potential of a threat, Amelia's warrior instincts and training take over. She lets the space between herself and the others grow a little more as they move through the terminal; keeping them in earshot (after turning her music off) and line of sight, but not overtly seeming to be a part of the group. As they continue walking, her demeanor slowly shifts, and by the time they reach the shuttle, she looks like nothing more than another tired traveler making her way with  the herd. Few would take her listless expression and roaming gaze as anything other than boredom, let alone active scanning.

Arriving at the shuttle, she elects to stand in the rear section, but takes no further action to put space between herself and any of the others. After depositing her backpack on the luggage rack, she yawns and stretches slightly in the cramped space, establishing a tiny bit more space in her bubble before grabbing the hand-loop and settling herself. Yet behind the facade of impregnable boredom, Amelia is cataloging and profiling every person she sees, scanning for irregular or outstanding behavior, ready to act.

This message was last edited by the player at 12:01, Fri 08 June 2018.

01 Voice Only
 GM, 38 posts
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 23:06
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
In short order, the door to the shuttle bus closed, departing the notoriously defensive airport without even passing through customs. Beyond the tinted glass of the shuttle, the city of New Baghdad moved about it's daily life, Western styles mixing with tradition in unique ways. This blend of West and East was not natural, but forced. As the bus turned off Airport Street, the Pilots could see the resistance first hand.

The expressway leading into the Green Zone was blockaded, the distinctive blue helmets of UN Peacekeeping forces preventing movement into the international zone. Before the blockade was a large crowd of people, shouting and waving signs at the guards. Most of the signs were written in Farsi, though the few written in English gave a clear message. "Leave Baghdad."

The scene repeated twice more, forcing the bus to weave towards it's destination. After the second detour, the driver called out. "Twenty minutes." This was directed towards Farrokh, apparently the signal for something.
Vidur Mehta
 player, 49 posts
 The First Child
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 23:33
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Keeping his eyes on the events outside the car, Vidur absently kept the palm and two fingers of one hand against the handle of his briefcase beside him.  Such was how familiar the item was in his everyday life.  Seeing the protesters not only once but twice, the Indian teenager turned his eyes toward Farrokh with an inquisitively-arched eyebrow.

"Is something the matter, sir?" he asked calmly, his tone showing no sense of real worry or urgency.  "What are these protesters here for?"

He was asking the questions to satisfy his own curiosity, but already he was beginning to doubt the morality of this organization that had recruited him with the promises of answers to why his research had been shut down.  After all, protesters were the smoke that showed there was some kind of fire, and when there were three crowds of protesters of that kind of size, there had to be some kind of inferno.
Alexander Ferguson
 player, 18 posts
 The Second Child
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 20:31
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Alexander watched the signs intently as they went by, head turning to keep track of them. He seemed largely unconcerned but at the same time very interested, trying to commit the letters - both familiar and foreign - to his memory. Occasionally his eyes travelled beyond them, to the architecture. Those were taken in with equal curiosity. The people walking between the buildings and holding the signs he barely appeared to register at all.
Daniel Wo Nangfei
 player, 22 posts
 The Fourth Child
Tue 26 Jun 2018
at 01:18
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Sitting down in the vehicle makes Daniel suddenly realize that he's sleepy, and within seconds he's fallen fast asleep.

This message was last edited by the player at 09:18, Wed 27 June 2018.

Farrokh Shehzad
 player, 16 posts
 Ops Director
Wed 27 Jun 2018
at 05:09
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
Farrokh nodded at the driver and exhaled a sound of agitated affirmation.

He turned his head slightly, watching out the side windows as he replied to Vidur. "Our work necessitates secrecy. People are distrustful of what they don't know. They blame us for everything, because it's easier that way. They assume we're the UN's jackbooted boogeymen. They don't know that we aren't their boogeymen.

He observed the group by their reflection. That one's acting concerned; asking the logical questions. Half these kids aren't even phased...Hell, that one's asleep. The one in the back, though... Pain in the ass she might be, she's at least showing signs of her training. Good.
Amelia Vandenburg
 player, 33 posts
 The Fifth Child
Sun 1 Jul 2018
at 15:51
IC1: The Decision We All Must Make
As the bus passes the first group of protesters, Amelia glances out the window, taking in the signs and body language and facial expressions of the people. Though her face betrays little of it, the sight sets a seething anger burning in her belly. This should be a welcome befit a king or a savior; with streamers and confetti and bands and the whole works. These people should be showering the bus with praise and affection and thanks as it transports the greatest hope for humanity to their fortress base, from whence they'll drive off the menace. Instead all they wanted to do was shout their outrage about something as petty as this sunblighted, baren spit of land being shared with people from other countries. If they only knew how lucky they were that this NERV branch was here and what it hoped to accomplish... by her reasoning such knowledge should only logically lead to this place being declared a sacred land of holy warriors or some other such peon-inspiring drivel.

But by the time they reach the second crowd, she's no longer angry. A small knot of worry begins to form in her belly as she looks hard at the density of the crowd, mathing a headcount. There are a lot of people here, far too many people. No more than 15% of the local population could turn out to protest; more and the local economy would begin to suffer greatly, and even in North America that would not be allowed to happen. Besides, most would be supporting the protesters in spirit, or would simply be too busy to bother. She extrapolates the number and her eyes narrow as she draws a sharp breath in. This area is no doubt going to be become a warground in very short order... she wouldn't have been deployed if that weren't the case. Yet there are this many people still here. Mandatory relocation should have been ordered by the UN by now; or even better, forcible evacuation orders. So it is that, by the time they reach the third crowd (or was this just the same crowd seen from a different street?), her expression is incensed. The idea of blending in is thrown to the wind as her eyes lock onto Farrokh's and she stalks her way to the front of the bus, planting her hand on the nearest handhold as she invades his bubble.

"Explain this," she demands, left hand sweeping toward the windows at the crowd of people before returning to land on her outthrust hip, "Commander." The word is laced with derision and clear disapproval. "There are far too many civilians here. Mission efficiency in the middle of this much population is going to plummet, or casualty numbers will be astronomically high. This is utterly unacceptable. Why aren't those crowds being packed into busses and shipped to refugee camps in the Twilight? Do they even know what kind of danger we've put them in?"

This message was last edited by the player at 15:58, Sun 01 July 2018.