Galactic Ruins
#51
(Sorry for the super long delay y'all, school's been kicking my ass since it started. But I still want to keep this going with what ideas I want to do now, so I may as well bump it while I can. I'm gonna aim for at least 1 post a month given how busy things are for me...)

[Elsewhere in some locker room at the HQ...]

"So... Whaddo you think?" Azumi asked, taking off any extra clothes that didn't fit in with their plugsuits and shoving them in her locker. Carefully, she tucked her bike helmet in along with her favorite jacket and shoes.

"About what?" Mioi opened hers to withdraw a large metallic case, although she lifted it as though it were fairly lightweight. 

"Everything, I guess. The guys we're teamed up with, the mission..." Azumi briefly glanced at the floor, voice getting quiet. "What might happen if we mess it up."

"We have no real say over what will happen in the future because we lack the intel to really know what lays before us," Mioi replied flatly. "The most important thing you can do is carry yourself the best you can. Don't tell me after everything, you're afraid?"

"Maybe I am. I don't wanna be remembered for dying and screwing the whole galaxy over, y'know." Azumi muttered.

"Neither does anyone else."

"Yeah... Don't pay attention to me rambling. But you know what people think about us Venusians. They might respect the Empress but someone like me is a total loser, even to my people." Azumi slammed the locker door in frustration with a hand clasped over her Venusian-brand tattoo. "If I'm not doomed to working down in the scrap heaps, I'm doomed to dying from whatever junk I get my hands on to sell, or from a bounty hunter who wants whatever I managed to pocket from some carrier ship. Working for the Union isn't my choice, so I don't even get much honor from that alone. I'm not gonna back out though. Not with all that money waiting for me!"

"I see... What are you going to do with your cut?" Mioi asked, wanting to lighten the mood.

"Well, I'll be rich enough to not have to do junker work for the rest of my life. And maybe I can buy out the rest of my sentence working here. But I want to become a hoverbike racer!" Azumi zipped up her suit while the two finished their outfit adjustments. "Maybe on Earth if they decide to lift the ban on using hovercraft. But I hear Mars has an audience for that kind of thing. Venus has a track but it's mostly for amateurs, and my bike is too good to stay on the streets."

"Interesting. Then, treat this mission as one long adrenaline rush. It will get you through." Mioi advised. 

"At least we got a couple optimists on our team to counter my skepticism. Say, what about you when this is all over?"

"There is not much need for someone like a sniper with laser vision in the civilian life. But I do enjoy the finer styles of Earthling fashion."

"Then let's make sure to get through this no matter what happens. We oughta get going. Can't keep those nerds waiting for long." Azumi said, exiting the hall with Mioi leading the way, who looked at her with a puzzled brow.

"Nerds? They do not look like the nerds," Mioi asked. "The muscular woman is the 'cool' in my opinion."

"Well, the old tin-man is a nerd! He looks like a total geek!" Azumi stuck her tongue out at Mioi from the teasing. "He probably wears socks with sandals!"

"... That sounds absolutely lame."

"Sorry to keep you guys waiting!" Azumi jogged up to the group while Mioi carried the silver rectangular case strapped to her back. "Had to make sure my stuff was packed away nice n' safe for when we got back. And I needed to do a quick check on my tech. We're all ready to go, boss!"

"Now that everyone's accounted for, you ought to head for the ship... it's on autopilot, so there should not be any need to pilot it yourselves unless you're ambushed on the way." Aurelia escorted the group to a large elevator at the far end of the main tunnel. The hall leading to it was lined with black and yellow stripes and flanked by several guards in heavy armor. "Which should not be an issue given your training, but Mioi has the most experience with operating the control panel for this model."

"The elevator will take you up a few stories to reach the shipping docks. Your ship is ready to go, so it should be smooth sailing from here," Avan said as Aurelia ushered each member into the elevator. As the grated doors on the elevator closed, Aurelia waved goodbye to them.

"Come back in one piece, alright?"

"No problem, boss!" Azumi waved back. "But you owe me a drink at the bar later!"

"Nice try, but you're one Earth year too young to be drinking legally at the Martian bars," Aurelia deadpanned, but she seemed to like the joke.

"...A smoothie then!"
==============
[THE SHIPPING DOCKS]
"This is it! Better strap in and get ready for the ride, cause it'll be about a minute before takeoff." Azumi plopped down on one of the seats and buckled herself in. Mioi sat herself down in front of one of the wide-spanning windows that housed a console in front of it. She tapped some of the pieces to ensure everything was up and running.

"I will be taking my place at the sentry console in case we end up getting ambushed. You are free to sit anywhere you please, we are on autopilot after all." Mioi said. "Though, we should probably put the actual space suits on before takeoff..."
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