/mlpol/ - My Little Politics

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OiE: Razorback Expedition Group
>OiE: REG is an offshoot game of Operators in Equestria.

>Currently recruiting is closed, as the story is ongoing, but you can apply for the main game here:

>If you're going to lurk, read over the main pastebin to get familiar with the story and characters:

>And look over the main game, as well:
90 replies and 34 files omitted.
Citrine Blaze
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>The tone from Nevil made Blaze snap his head towards the human, and stopped poking at the mask to address him.
"FINE. I will put it on, you're as overbearing as Princess Cadence."
>Huffed Citrine as looked at the mask one more time before he threw his beautiful into it.
>After rolling around for a minute fighting desperately for his life he was finally victorious in putting the damn thing over his muzzle.
"Her eh ehh ongh, hahheh?"
>Asked the Crystal Stallion as he turned his head about to show Nevil his hoofywork putting sticking the mask onto his muzzle, not realising his voice was muffled by said mask.

>Blaze huffed and puffed finding the mask wasn't doing great for his breathing. It chaffed against his crystal skin, it was too tight, felt weird and he was already feeling the increasing condensation within the mask making his lips clammy.
"Ah ong ah ang auul do geh dih hing ouh oh meh faae ang neheh erh eh ahan."
>He said, speaking fluently and concisely about his feeling on the matter.

>Blaze didn't notice Jeff talk or walk away as he was too preoccupied popping his mouth open and closed, the vibrations from the mask on his muzzle whenever he made a sound tickled him.
>This was a perk at least.

>Blaze craned his neck to look at Noah in the drivers seat of the metal box.
>He didn't need anything, he was as prepared as can be!
>Well, he could use the company of a mare, but he assumed there will be plenty where they were going.
>And this time he wasn't going to lose anyponies money!
"Eih ohreheh hah eheheaheng reheh, ehen hun hrem."
>He told Noah proudly. Chest puffed out. He thought of everything as a leader should!
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
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>Lucius' first statement coaxes an amused 'pfft' from Nevil, flashing the ranger a small, but almost playful smirk.
"Better late than never I suppose."
>He nods in appreciation, then lets his smirk ebb away to his usual, more neutral and usual look as Lucius worries about wasting 'filtration'.
"The filters. Don't worry too much about it. Active use is when you're actually using it to filter things from the air. Stuff like dust, or gasses. It can clog overtime and make it harder to breathe."

>With that said however, he'd turn his head to look to Jeff as he likewise clarified the longevity of the masks. Quirking his brow and giving one impressed nod.
"Magic sure is convenient..."
>The Colonial Marine said flatly. Then looked off a little bit, thinking to himself a little more.

>Without interrupting Jim's attention span by talking, the Lieutenant Commander simply gave a quick nod and a confident thumbs-up in response.
>All without really changing his expression. The man could be quite stone-faced... As he'd move onto Citrine.

>The crystal Pony's statement made the man just roll his eyes, briefly eyeing Jeff as he replied.
"I'll take that as a compliment."
>Nevil's voice had since lowered to a more reasonably, less challenging, calm tone once Citrine had began to put on the mask instead of regarding it as if it could leap at his face and eat him.
>His goal accomplished, he no longer needed to be domineering! For now.

>Nevil puts his arms akimbo as he focused his glance on Citrine. And blinks with CONFUSION at the absolutely unintelligible stream of words that was emitting from Citrine's masked muzzle.
>His left brow rises in a questioning, mildly upset stare as he goes to walk beside Citrine to look at the straps of his mask.
>It was probably TOO tight...

"Citrine I did not catch a single word. You sound like when you're eating."

>For a moment, Nevil let Citrine walk off to hang out with Noah for the time being. The expression of concern fading quickly as he focused on listening to Jeff's reply, only sometimes glancing to the side to check on Citrine with errant glances.

"They sound like a fun bunch. Agreeable."
>Nevil replied quietly, lifting a brow with interest at the topic of 'Kenny'. Whom remains a surprise for the time being.
>He then followed Jeff's glance towards Noah, quarter-turning his head in their driver's direction, then back to their commander as they start walking off.
"You got it, Jeff."
>He watched him go for a moment, his eyes drawn to the blue glow coming from their wrist. Quietly staring at their base commander's wrist device.......
>How he WISHED he could get one too.

>But with that, he turned back around to face the Dagor, and their entire party. His eyes moving between Citrine and Noah.

"Noah. Help out Citrine if you could. We need to be able to understand what he's saying while he has a mask on. I think it might be too tight on his face..."
>He gave Citrine a second look, squinting towards that facemask.

>Then lifted his eyes towards their SWAT officer again.
"I am going to go fetch something from storage. I think some sunglasses would do good for this outing. And I'm going to go on the safe side and grab a brick or three of C4... If you know how to set them up, because I don't."
>He gives Noah a quick nod, then begins to turn around to briskly stride off at his own eternally hurried military pace towards the Armory.
>Also speaking into the radio to address everyone else briefly. Nevil's voice coming to their collective ears from their earpieces.

*"If any of you have any last-second requests for items or gear, simple or not, tell me now and I'll see if I can requisition it."*
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>Joel chuckles at Hildemar's perfectly reasonable interpretation.
"More lahk a quarter my age. It was before mah time in the army, back when ah was a boy. Think of it like a club where they teach ya survival stuff and how to be a good man."

>Joel stops to ponder if her forgot to bring anything, then after several moments realizes he forgot to bring his extra plates just in case and goes back to his room to retrieve them, stashing them somewhere within reach of his seat when he gets back.
>The whole way there and back, he fumes silently to himself about being compared to a man named Yuri.

"Ah'll be damned, Blaze. The more you wrestle with that thing, the more it seems lahk it IS tryin' to eat ya. Maybe give that to us one more time without the mask?"

OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
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>The half hour goes quick after Jeff leaves for the North end of the Fortress.
>Preparations that any of you make on, around, or inside the Dagor blur by as your intrepid commander appears back into view from the same way he left from.
>Now packing a lot of gear, personal by the look of it, and some big heat.
>The primarily black and patterned blue armor he had on at Junction #7 was still visible, but the main armor parts were covered with desert camouflage coverings; most likely courtesy of Lann. Black in the desert tends to overheat.
>A matching assault pack and helmet were hauled on his side in his left hand, a PDW-sized M4 slung on his front, and a monstrous black sniper rifle hefted up over his right shoulder; the stock folded over the ride side of it.
>He gives you all a smile behind a pair of polarized shades before walking over to the Dagors' right side and dumps all his gear into shotgun. Pack and helmet in the seat, M4 of top of those, and the rifle resting vertically across the entire seat.
"We all ready to go? Don't worry about packing into the truck. The train station's within walking distance, once we get there. Noah, I do need you behind the wheel though."
>Jeff smacks the hood of the Dagor and walks into the Pagoda to bring up the translocation stone's matrice.
"Either turn in or hoof it, boys! Heh, only Citrine can 'hoof it'..."
>He takes a bit of effort to properly locate Saddle Arabia, and then Neighmara. And then another sub-list of the citie's available translocation matrices.
"Noah! Roll it on over here, so we can head out."
Citrine Blaze
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>Blaze cocked his head to the side at Nevil saying it sounded like he was eating.
>'If I was eating I would talk with my mouth full like any upstanding pony.'
>He thought as he tugged at the half mask with his front hooves, stretching its straps tight so to speak clearly.
"This has to be tight so I don't breath in any bad air, last thing I want is my luscious voice being hurt!"
>Citrine said, an undertone of horror painting his words.

>Mask still held taut in his hooves he looked to Joel.
"I just said that I have everything done already and ready to go. Got enough Sun Screen to cover Celestia's fat flanks!"
>Laughed the crystal pony.

>By the time Jeff returned to them Blaze had replaced his mask, quietly breathing in and out to get used to the feeling of the plastic rubbing against his crystal skin.
>A mostly fruitless endeavour.
>He stiffed up.
"I am ready to lead the team and got plenty of supplies and food!"
>As Blaze moved his saddlebags jostled from its contents, they were indeed full supplies.
"I would be shocked if any human here had any hooves, just saying."
>He just said, he really hoped there were no humans with hooves around, because if there were he might actually have a heart attack.
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
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>The Colonial Marine had gone and then come back within the space of maybe 15 or so minutes.
>Taking a trip to the barracks and the Armory, He came back wearing some new Aviator shades that subtly gave him an aggressively 1980s when paired with his patrol cap.
>He had stored away his Combat Pistol and it's belt holster rig, seeing as the thing was now as useful to him as parade armor in combat and just served to look dangerous and weigh him down. Making a mental note to simply get better knives.
>And also now had a metallic pocket watch with the local time on it, a rugged-enough professional electronic stopwatch, and a compass he had neglected to carry in the previous operation.

>Nevil also returned carrying a small box under his arm, which housed about 3 bricks' worth of plastic explosive, which he had slipped it in alongside the boxes of additional ammunition they also had on the Dagor.
>Better to have explosive than to not have explosives, he said.
>With that said, he still felt like it was not enough explosives.

>Unreasonable concerns aside, he had promptly taken his position on the Dagor's more central backseat to be able to man the MG when they did get going. Given that he was still about 12 minutes early until Jeff came back, he busied himself by giving the ol' Browning a cursory inspection to ensure it was all in tip-top shape, freshly cleaned, and checking the safety.
>Naturally, as Noah had been in charge of this, he had a smile of satisfaction on him at the state of the HMG, the turret ring itself (which he gave a few testing turns of to make sure it was smooth enough), and at the layout of the gear and equipment they were storing. He did double check--for no reason other than to pass the time and to ease his own mind.
>It had to be up to Colonial Marine Corps standards, too.

"Everything seems squared away... We're looking good. Now if only we had matching uniforms and proper camouflage."
>The Marine Officer remarked absent-mindedly, with one glance being given towards Hildermar's antiquated and high-visibility Witchhunter outfit in particular, right as Jeff returned.

>Turning to greet their Base Administrator with a confident glance, Nevil turned to face them while comfortably standing in the turret ring of the Dagors' weapon. Arms leaned at the sides of it like a truck driver and with a usual deadpan (if slightly more eager) look to him.
>As Jeff began to tell Noah to roll the Dagor forward, Nevil casts a look down to the SWAT officer as he slips down from the ring and takes over a backseat to buckle himself.

"I hate this part..."
>He can be heard grumbling in the background as his eyes followed Jeff, and was already bracing himself with a hand somewhat.
>Nevil STILL really doesn't like getting translocated...
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>After time has passed and hearing Jeff, Noah open his eyes from his small daydreaming session
>Looking around and seeing all the squaddies ready, Noah turns the Dagor on and revs the engine a bit
>"Time to get to work..."
>Checking his vest, pack he had on the center console, and assuming the shield he had is still in the back if the truck, Noah begins to roll the Dagor forward onto the translocation stone
>As he gets into position, Noah starts to breath in through the nose and out through the mouth to prepare himself for the trip
>Hearing Nevil, he adds a remark
"Makes my head swim..."
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>Joel settles into his seat, contemplating Blaze's apparent obsession with Celestia's flanks.
>'Guess he's an ass man?'
"Ah'm all ready, let's get to it!
>The old timer buckles himself in and prepares himself for another round of teleporting

"Same as always, just gotta pray you end up in the same spot as yer ass does..."



Lucius the Weary
>the ranger checks his gear, making sure that his bow and arrows are strung and tightly affixed to his person, respectively
>he gets momentarily distracted while double checking his stock of adamantine arrows
>anyone watching sees him lovingly caress the edge of one arrowhead with the calloused skin on his right thumb, eyes unfocused and apparently lost in thought
>he stands this way for a few minutes after all the packing is done, only snapping out of his reverie at the return of Jeff
>for a small moment his expression belies some degree of shock, as if shaken from a deep sleep, but the moment passes, and within moments Lucius is seen clicking the heels of his boots together and standing stock straight, giving Jeff an extremely exaggerated salute
"Aye aye, captain my captain, verily I am prepared to march forth, into danger, into the waiting arms of death itself! For king! For country! For glorious loot!"
>he then unsheathes his longsword, holding it by the pommel in his left hand with the blade resting over the attached left shoulder like some kind of musket, turning towards the teleportation matrix and snapping comically to attention once more
>as the Dagor begins to advance, so does he, marching in an exaggerated goose step beside it

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yup, sure is
Hey shill, stop bumping old threads






OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
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Chapter 3: Magic Carpet Ride
>Taking all of your vocal and idle replies as a confirmation to continue on, Jeff nods and turns back around to finish inputing the runic coordinates. His voice loud enough to carry over the Dagor's idle growling.
"Alright. Neighmara... train depot... and here. We. G-"
>Before Jeff can open a vortex and send all of you on your way, a green-handed suited arm shoots out of a white tear in reality and grabs onto the commander's wrist. Stopped mid-typing, Jeff's clearly taken aback but relaxes and steps backward as the tear widens and reshapes itself into a properly shaped door - out steps good ol' Anonymous; his green and question-marked face wrought with urgent panic.
>Stumbling slightly, the tall suited avatar puts his hands on his knees visibly exacerbated as if he had just sprinted a hard mile.
"Hildemar...HOOH! Not safe yet! Hruff! That's the fastest I've ever moved in a- huh, while."
>Contrary to Anon's franticness, Hodch casually approaches from the East. His 4th dimensional ever-shifting cube in his magic grasp hovering several feet above his head.
"Yes. It appears Anon's estimate on the Era Lock was off. It's already re-honed itself onto Hildemar. We can both sense its approach, unfortunately."
>Anon took the unicorn's add on as a personal critique, pinching his nonexistent nose before shooting an accusatory finger at Hodch - who was unphazed at the gestalt's directed anger.
"Noooooo! Sun Bitch's spell is just really fucking persistent! He'll have to go back into the cube! Immediately!"
>Through Anon's outburst he snaps his fingers, Hildemar immediately blinking out of existence and Hodch's cube expanding triple in size for a second before reducing back to its dice-sized resting form.
>The urgency now having been resolved, Anon lets out a loud sigh of air and wipes invisible sweat from his brow. Hodch gives Jeff and the group an apologetic shrug as he stores the small physics-defying cube into his robes.
"Hildemar will have to remain with us again, our apologies."
>The tall suited green man doesn't offer any audible condolences other than crossing his arms and letting out a pouty huff of air in reply.
>Jeff's initial taken-aback reaction is replaced with a solemn lean on the Dagor's front bumper, scratching the back of his head awkwardly in response.
"Any idea how much longer? We're scheduled to board that train in at least an hour. And I don't know if Anon can transport him to us when we get near our drop off point."
>Hodch furrows his brow, a front hoof brought to his chin in heavy thought.
"If you don't hear from either of us before you depart, then consider him unable to participate. His or any of your lives can't be risked with a premature release. The Era-Lock will chase him down to the ends of Tallus if needed."
"And I'd be that whole scrambled egg bit once you all get to that outpost."
>The conversation between the three fizzles out, Anon being the first to start walking out of the pagoda with hands in his pants pockets ready to punt and imaginary rock. Hodch giving the group a short bow before departing right after him.
"Don't wait up Jeff. You're good at adapting with what you got."
"Yes. Hope this doesn't hinder your progress too much. Best of luck, to you all!"
>With your group once again left alone, and now one less, Jeff shrugs back to everyone and re-inputs the intended coordinates.
"Nothing we can really do I guess. Let's try this again..."
>At an instant, a much wider than usual red metallic swirling vortex opens up and sucks you all into a blood red tunnel.
>The climate change is immediate, even before exiting the vortex: from the fortress's comfortably mild regulation, to a stark dry-hot and arid atmosphere.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
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>The metallic red tunnel spits you all out onto a medium translocation matrice, overlooking a small yet bustling sand-swept train depot. Most if not all labellings on crates and miscellanea identified the depot workers as Dragonspine Mountain Mining Company with local Neighmaran Saddle Arabian militiaponies mixed in with Dragonspine Legionnaires. Saddle Arabian merchants were either dropping off, receiving, or following depot workers around to keep an eye on there trade goods.
>Backrounding the constant moving of crated goods stretched a single freight train not too much different in size than the Behemoth; it's number of cars countless with both ends out of eyesight. A tall similarly-uniformed minotaur can be seen pacing back and forth between two cars, as there seemed to be a gap in the endless steel serpent.
>Up behind you all started a series of rock steppes, the first level looked to be the residential area of Neighmara and further up was mostly obscured by more levels of steppes and a large all-encompassing glass wall.

>Refocusing on the here-and-now, the Dagor had seemed to halt several ponies in que to using the matrice. Most were merchants either gawking at the Dagor wondrously, or visibly irritated at the hold-up. Several militia ponies guarding its perimeter were giving your group some silent ques to move the truck, as some Saddle Arabians decided to just circumvent the loud and gassy vehicle to go about their business.

"CIA! Fashionably early, I see!"
>How none of you managed to initially notice the only human in a sea of ponies leaning against one of the matrice's support pillars was boggling, but it didn't seem to matter as he flicked a depleted cigarette butt into the sand-covered cobble and dug it in with an armored boot.
>Jeff looked over at the man addressing him, his face not too impressed by the given nickname.
"Hey Yuri. Everyone, Yuri. One of Royce's. What do you mean? We've got like an hour for them to load up our stuff."
>'Yuri' was well-built and well-armored from the waist-down in flora camo pants and greaves and thigh armor, but only sporting a white and black horizontal-striped t-shirt for the desert heat. His short grown-in beard and slicked-back black hair put him a round the same age as Jeff, and we wasn't shy about flashing his lightly sun-burnt tan skin. And his thick accent was undoubtedly Russian in origin. To those of you that knew what Russian was...
"They got some last minute larger shipments in, and they didn't factor in our trucks and extra passengers. They have to add more cars to accommodate us all. Might take an extra hour."

>Jeff nods at Yuri's explanation, looking over at you and everyone else and raps on the Dagor's hood to get your attention.
"At least we don't have to rush. Noah, let's move off the matrice and over to the train."
>That was some sort of que for Yuri, as he pushes from the support beam and looks over the Dagor intending to follow suit. He leans over at Jeff, looking back at the group as he scoots in front on the truck.
"Cute little buggy. You weren't kidding when you said you were bringing a 'mixed bag.'"
"Eyyy, everyone I have here is plenty capable."
>Yuri begins leading you all through the depot and toward the train, keeping a slow pace to keep the Dagor at a safe crawl through the crowd of workers. Who naturally give you all a wider berth.

>Regarding pleasantries on your own time, you look around at the bustling depot as the Dagor inches toward the freighter.
>The Dragonspine company was mainly here for the granite depot one level above, but they maintained the train depot as well; contracted out by Neighmara itself for ground transport across the neighboring regions.
>Looking behind to check out the steppes of Neighmara: you recall the first level above you all being mapped out as the densely-packed lower residential and craftsponies, all in Late Crystal kingdom style, everything else up past the glass walls was the famous open market. At your current position, was blocked off from view.
>The Legionnaires and militiaponies gave you all a casual enough berth. Listening on to some Saddle Arabian side gossip it sounded like they knew you were all showing up, but confused a second set of humans have arrived.
>Getting out of the translocation tunnel, Noah looks up from the steering wheel to get a look at the scenery
>Sure enough, it looks like what sandy train depot would look like
>Noah craned his neck to take a look at the train, similar to the one idling around back at the fortress
>Hearing Jeff mention Yuri, he looks over to see the contact
>Giving him a short nod to say hi, Noah begins to drive the Dagor following Yuri's lead and keeping an eye on the crowd around him
Citrine Blaze
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>Citrine was confused at the commotion that was going on, but he kept his muzzle shut as he'd only mumble thanks to the tight fitting face mask.
>That didn't stop him from jumping in his seat in terror at seeing Hildemar vanish in thin air.
>He screamed.
>For a good ten seconds before passing out, the mask interfering with his breathing and effectively knocking him out temporarily.

>When Blaze awoke he was in a new place awash with ponies, still in the Dagor but the location was different.
>And with a different human talking to them.
>*Great, another one.*

>Pleasantries out of the way with "Yuri" the Crystal Pony stood up as high as he could and looked out at the bustling crowd all around them.
>This was his first time here so seeing so many different ponies made him nervous and excited.
>When he laid his eyes on the buildings he recognized them immediately.
"Ah cool, this place used be a part of the Crystal Kingdom. Not anymore obviously. Aw, I'm homesick now..."
>He said with a slight pout, which was quickly replaced when he went back to taking in the sights.
Lucius The Weary
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>Lucius's demeanor quickly resets to one of increased professionalism at the sudden arrival of Anon and Hodch, sheathing his blade and smoothing out his new cloak
>He ambles back into the Dagor properly again, and attempts to offer the both of them his undivided attention... that is until Citrine completely loses his mind
>Concerned for his friend, Lucius takes a second to check his pulse and confirm that he'd simply knocked himself out before loosening one of the mask straps just a bit to allow the pony some added airflow
"Such a ridiculous creature..."
>Yet he can't help but grin a little. 'Par for the course for Citrine, really,' he thinks to himself, finally settling back into his seat and readying himself for the journey
>Upon exiting the red portal, Lucius is, like many of his newfound cohorts, understandably wowed by his new surroundings
"I know that the Fortress at times can get busy, but I haven't seen such a crowd since my visits to Caledon proper as a young lad. And all this sand! I'd been told stories of the desert back home, yes, but never did I think it would look..."
>The ranger pauses for a moment, allowing his head to travel the full breadth of his new environment once again.
"So majestic! What a far cry from the pines of the Griffon-lands and the dense pines of my home..."
>Lucius does spare this new Yuri character a nod, wave and coy grin before returning to his thoughts, like Noah keeping a wary eye on their new surroundings
>'I must try and learn more about this place sometime soon...'
>Though not long after, his private monologue is cut short by Citrine waking up at last
>He promptly elbows Citrine in his haunch
"Homesick or not, Citrine, you must realize that we won't be needing the masks just yet. Pray remove it, lest you suffer another fit of panic and faint once again."
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
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>There is a loud silence from Nevil as he merely shifts his eyes towards Anonymous as he shows up in a hurry, not a single shift in the officer's expression. At first.
>He does flinch slightly when Hotch followed into the scene and straight-up teleports the Witchhunter away before his eyes.
>Seeing a man disappear like that was still weird to him. It took him a full second to come to terms that Hildermar had teleported; his mildly perturbed eyes blinking once, before going impassive again.

>Instead he turned his head as Citrine began to scream like he was being stabbed.
>Nevil's starkly deadpan stare remains on the crystal pony, as he literally watches Citrine FAINT, because they forgot to take off their mask.

>A slight sigh exudes from the officer, as he still remains tense and fully ready for the translocation. Which happens shortly after.

>A light grunt comes from Nevil, the gaunt-looking man slowly opening his eyes and letting out a slow breath.
"Forgot the sunscreen."
>He gave a slight glance towards the truly massive train. Blinking as his eyes adjust to the sunlight and he comes to terms with the dry heat.
>He quarter-turned his head towards Citrine, who was still passed out at their first seconds of arrival. He makes sure to lean over and tactfully puts a hand on Citrine's mask's strap to loosen it, and then start to lower it to their neck just in case they were somehow suffocating.

>Then just leaned back again.
>Moving his eyes to Lucius once with a look of quietly exasperated look in his dull blue eyes, as he'd look off again towards.
"Didn't think a pony could freak out about teleportation harder than us."

>He goes to look back towards the train to admire it's size, and watch the going-ons of the ponies there; even quietly observing the ones going past their vehicle just to stay vigilant. He couldn't fully lower his guard in places like this.
>And there was just so much to see...
>The militiaponies, the Dragonspine Legionnaires, the merchants, and that important-looking Minotaur, as well as the gap between the carts of the train.

>Then his attention was taken by the armoured man greeting Jeff by nickname basis.
>Nevil nods once and holds up a hand in idle greeting to Yuri, still looking them up and down as he listened to the news they brought.

"A mixed bag of woop-ass and standard aggressive bumblefucking. We even have our own mascot."
>Nevil remarks nonchalantly in Yuri's general direction, as his eyes trail off to give Citrine a singular meaningful glance--not a derisive glance but mostly an off-handed joking glance to make him know who he was talking about. And then keep observing things going on around them out of rote.

>He does keep an ear out for the gossip that just so happened to reach his ears. He didn't really understand the local language, but he still kept his ears open out of habit.

<E. Perception
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 2]
Offworlder Jim
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>Jim savored the fading feeling of the transportation matrix, sighing wistfully.
"Ah, love that feelin'. Reminds me of cruisin' around the southern galaxy with me mates back when we was fightin' for the Tretins. Think livin' tree people."
>He explained, just for the brevity if anyone was listening in.
>The voice of this 'Yuri' was oddly familiar in it's accent, but many different people sounded like his universe's various peoples.
>'Remember, Jim. Don't just assume that some o' the lads know what yer talkin' bout.'
>Then again, it was quite obvious to tell that Yuri wasn't from Jim's universe, what with the lack of any nano-tech.
"Charmed ta meet ya, Yuri. Heard your boss sounds like some of me mates wheres I come from."
>Jim busied himself with looking out over the Neighmaran townscape.
>'Eh, kinda reminds me of me own homeworld. From what boss man said, seems like it's every bit as deadly. Wonder if they got any giant spiders 'round here...'
>Jim turns to look at the panicking unicorn who passed out, and was helped by Lucius.
"Ye, first rule of hazardous environ gear- Don't wear it 'less ye need to. Limits ye movement n' such."
>He raises his eyebrows at Lucius's admissions.
"Don't worry, mate. Ye'll be cursin' the bloody heat soon 'nough. Specially with these doohickeys."
>Jim said, lifting the half mask slightly.
"Ye know, now that I think about it, ya reckon we shoulda got some goggles t'deal with the smoke? Not sure the cap'n 'ere-"
>Jim jerked a thumb towards Jeff.
"-cleared it, but maybe it ain't 'xactly a good idea to get th'stuff in yer eyes."
"Eh, cute little bugger would make a good mascot, wouldn' 'e?"
>Noticing Nevil's attempt to focus in on the crowds, Jim followed suit, though his was more of a visual check than an eavesdrop.
>Flicking his goggles down over his eyes, the neuro-link automatically activating the zoom function for the tacti-goggles.
[1d6 = 2] <B. Perception
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6+4 = 8] <Zoom Sight
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>It takes Joel a good few seconds to get his jaw back up off of the floor after the surprise of the big green man coming out of thin air only to whisk Hildemar off into thin air.
The more magic ah see, the more ah feel the same way Hildemar does 'bout it.

>The old man can't help but chuckle he realizes Blaze had paniced himself unconscious.
>At the same time, he moves to help him out of the smothering mask only for Lucius to beat him to the punch.

>When Yuri approaches, Joel gives a nod of greeting and then moves on to examining the surroundings and making sense of the place, particularly the wall of glass, with what he'd read over the last day.
[1d2 = 2]<A. Lore: Saddle Arabians

>He also gives a listen to whatever the nearby locals are going on about, putting his new knowledge of their language to the test.
[1d6 = 6]<E. Perception
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 6]
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
300676 300739 300781 301072 301161 301305 301477
ROUND 9: 1/2
>Your frantic thrashing, panic, and subsequent fainting spell is only compounded by multiple sets of human hands grabbing at your gas mask one-after-another, still attached to your face; desperately trying to free yourself from its rubbery grasp!

>As expected you had no idea what was transpiring in any language that wasn't Common. Luckily most merchants and depot workers were conversing in it. You pick up mostly snippets of supplies being handled: coffee, chocolate, un-melting ice from the Crystal Kingdom, cloth, sculpting and gem cutting supplies, it mostly seemed like raw materials mostly were being moved in than finished products being moved out.
>You did notice other than the hot steam emanating from the train's off-distant engine, and the coal stores, a faint smell off roasted coffee lingered in the air.

>Between your convo-eavesdropping you do notice Yuri picks up on your comment, looking over at your aforementioned 'mascot' and outbursts a chuckle.

>Recalling what you've read about the city earlier: the glass wall several rock steppes above from where you all were was the barrier protecting the open air market and the granite depot the Dragonspine Miners were working on. It kept the majority of sand storms and sound from the stalls.
>One steppe above the train depot was the densely packed residential district, which held most of the living space in its Late Crystal Kingdom style - Citrine audibly reminiscing on such.
>And the next level right below the walled off market was the industrial district. The majority of artisan stalls, as well as concessions were packed there; the best ones, you recall, were embedded into the steppes walls for better protection against the sand and dust storms. A little tidbit to remember, if you all have time to shop or get a bite to eat.

>Keeping a mental note on the steppe's tiers, you keep your ears open on the crowds around the Dagor. The Dragonspine workers weren't much interesting, as they kept to their business moving cargo around the depot and directing hoof traffic in common.
>You do spot one particularly elegantly-dressed coffee-brown saddle arabian mare tailing the Dagor's rear at an even pace; a young stallion was flanking her left sporting a train officer-like uniform. You catch their conversation out of the crowd, as they were speaking the very language you had been studying prior to arriving.
<Saddle Arabian>"-sorry, Miss Espresso! I must have assumed there was only one group of humans arriving."
<Saddle Arabian>"Did it NOT occur to you separate Royce Byron and Razorback's bookings?"
<Saddle Arabian>"... th-they were marked down with the same initials."
>This 'Miss Espresso' scoffed and threw her head back in frustration only before giving her young assistant a significant leer.
<Saddle Arabian>"For fuck sa-no matter. Point me out their chief, I believe his name is Jeff. I'll smooth everything out with the delay."
<Saddle Arabian>"... I can't tell. Maybe the one in front with one of Royce's humans?"
>Their conversation trails off to delivering ice cold water to you all immediately, but the mare keeps a focus on your groups procession to the freighter.

>Yuri acknowledges you with a two-finger salute, but then smacks his forehead with a perplexed look and an exaggerated laugh to himself.
"Ohhh no! Two kangaroo jacks?! Hegh! Kidding me!"
>You take full advantage of your zoom-enhanced goggles by peaking up in the Dagor's bed and easily overseeing the crowds as Noah creeps the truck towards the train.
>It appears that Yuri was leading you all directly to the assumed gap in the train car's, as well where the minotaur was pacing. With your goggles, you quickly find out it wasn't actually a space, but an empty open flatbed car. Right next to it was a team of four unicorns along with the minotaur who moves its mass out of the way to reveal another desert-color tactical vehicle. Its makeup was similar to the Dagor, but was definitely larger and more armored: fully closed of front and back cabin, extended trunk bed, armored gun ring also sporting an M2 on it.
>As the unicorns begin moving around the human vehicle at its corners, you notice one human observing to the right; wearing a black plate vest and light red and desert clothing underneath with a worn-out red cap. His back was to you, noticing he also has an AK variant in desert camo slung on his back.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
300739 300781 301072 301161 301305 301477
>>300256(and Everyone)
>You keep a slow and steady pace as Jeff, Yuri, and the Dagor's diesel growl cuts a path through ponies and saddle arabians alike.
>Everyone is aware enough to give the group plenty of driving space, but gawkers were aplenty and any conversations were deafened out by the truck's engine.

>Eventually, the Dagor opens up to the foot of the train. A team of for unicorns and the minotaur, all dressed in Dragonspine attire, strategically surround a larger up-armored desert-painted human vehicle.
>A lone human, lightly armored in tactical gear turns around at the sound of the Dagor's engine and Yuri and Jeff's conversation.
>A scruffy-faced man around Jeff's age wearing a worn out unlabelled red cap. He walks over to Jeff and gives him a mid-five in greeting.
"Jeffy! Ow're ya, mate."
"Hey Royce."
>Introductions are interrupted as the minotaur thunders commands to the quad of unicorns, horns poised at the other tactical vehicle.
"Ready! Aaaaand lift!"
>All four unicorns light up their horns, the truck's tires being clutched in different magic auras and a synchronized lift takes it five... six... seven feet into the air.
>The minotaur squares up with the hovering human armored rover, and places both gargantuan hands on it and steadily pushes it over toward the flatbed. The unicorns on the left safely shuffle out of the way while still maintaining their magical grip, as the taur positions the truck over to the front end of the bed and lowers it down into place until only several inches remain.
>The unicorns let go of the tires, and the truck's suspension creaks at taking the shock load to fully situate itself on the train. The minotaur dusts its hands off with a loud clap, and the unicorn take a breather before looking over at the Dagor in exasperation.
>Jeff nods over at the coordinated effort, then back at Royce.
"So that's the Husky."
"Little more meat to it, than your buggy here."
>Yuri remarks, pulling out a pack of cigarettes from a thigh pocket and lighting one up with a lighter in the shape of a .50 cal round.
>Royce on the other hand looks out onto everyone else giving you all a half-assed salute.
"These your mates? G'day, gents!"
"Yupp. Guys, this is Royce. Head of Royce Contracting."
>Royce does a quick head-count of the group, looking a little puzzled.
"You missing a bloke?"
>Jeff nodded, letting out a knowing sigh.
"Had to stay behind. The Era Lock wasn't letting up on him."
"That was almost two days ago? Dooley, fuck me dead."
"Speaking of, where's the rest of your team?"
>Yuri chimes in between smokes.
"Jan's off escorting the client around, and I think Kenny's wandering the market. Probably stuffing his face with street food."
"It's not like we don't have time. I heard they still need to add on a few more cars."
>Royce nods, confirming Jeff assumption and looking back at the group confidentally.
"One of Neighmara's councilmares is fast-tracking the whole thing. Vanilla Espresso I think. Your mates'll have time to roam around, defo!"
Citrine Blaze
301072 301305 303457
>Citrine released a startled neigh from being 'bowed by Lucius, such an unprovoked assault left the stallion wobbling in place as he tried not to fall back into his seat that he was standing in.
"Hey! Only way I will suffer anything is if you keep prodding me like that!"
>Whined the crystal pony.

>Huffing, Blaze went back to look out at the passing herds of ponies. Its only when he could smell all the different exotic aroma's did he realise his mask had somehow fallen out of his muzzle.
"Oh, must've fallen off somehow."
>He shrugged and went back to sight seeing.

>The Crystal Pony snorted and looked over to Jim in embarrassed annoyance.
"I was told to put it on so I did, not my fault that thing makes breathing hard-."
>He was cut off by the human hoofing at his mask that was around his neck.
"Stooooop..! Stop touching my things!"
>He mewled, jerking his body away from the groping Jim.

>Now slightly further away from everypony Citrine eyed all the humans wearily, including Joel.
>"Bet he'd touch my stuff too!"
>He thought to himself as he stared holes into the back of Joels' head for a moment.

>Once the train was in sight Citrine watched Blaze focused all his attention on whole scene being played out with the Minotaur, Unicorns and other human vehicle.
>...Which appeared more bulky looking than the "buggy" he was currently in.
>Why wasn't there's that big and bulky!?
>And of course more humans as well, all currently conversing with Jeff.

>Sensing this is their stop and not wanting to be in the Dagor when the Dragonspine crew lifted the Dagor into the trains' flatbed, Citrine hopped out.
"Think we can get out now everypony."
>He said to the others as he thudded his hooves into the Saddle Arabian dirt.

>The other group of humans along with Jeff were talking about some stuff and nonsense about espresso, he didn't like espresso, it ran through his system doing more bad than good.
>Trotting up to Jeff's side and basically butting into the convo, the pony looked at all the new faces before adding in important information to the subject and was vital to the mission.
"We ordering drinks for the train ride? Can I get cappuccino instead of espresso- Oh! And with chocolate on top. Also Hi I'm Citrine Blaze."
>He enquired before hastily adding his greeting at the end to the new humans, and Jeff.
301072 301161 301305 303457
>Creeping the Dagor forward, the glass walls glinted off in Noah's peripheral vision and Noah glanced up for a second to look at them
>He didn't know how he missed those, but they still amazed him nonetheless
>Made him wonder how thick those things must be
>His attention snapped back to the vehicle as Noah hears rustling in the back
>Looking in the mirror, he sees Citrine fumbling with his mask and Jim and Lucius messing with it as well
>Confused, Noah continues creeping the Dagor forward hoping that they'll figure it out soon

>Soon enough, he sees what is supposed to be their designated spot for the train
>He also sees that the flatbed car is enclosed and has some unicorns and a minotaur standing near it
>Hearing Citrine's suggestion, Noah stops, parks, and turns off the Dagor and watches the minotaur's team lift another human vehicle into the air and onto the car
>That vehicle looks more armored and like a Humvee than Dagor
>Hopping out, he gives Royce a salute back to him
"Pleased to meet ya, my name's Noah."
>Hearing about the missing member, Noah looks back at the group and head counts them himself
>Sure enough, they seem to be missing Hildemar
>"Poor guy, hope he makes it back soon."
>Looking back at the depot and the bazaar behind them, he decides he'll probable take Kenny's route and wander the market himself
>Noah walks up to Jeff and Royce, and apparently Citrine too as he goes to Jeff's side
"Hey Royce, you know how long that fast-track going to take? Don't want you guys to be ready and I'm out in the market wandering."
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
301161 303457 303820

>Nevil stayed very silent after his little joke at Citrine's expense. He pushed up a small smirk at himself to look a little less deadpan but his eyes didn't follow through with the emotion he wanted to bring, still a bit glassy as they gazed off and focused more on the troop of unicorns and the Minotaur as their vehicle came to a stop.
>His eyes flicked down to Citrine as he is the first to get up and off the Dagor in anticipation of it being lifted.
>After a split-second of looking up to the positively bulking Minotaur as he went to bark his order, Nevil got up and followed the crystal pony. Hopping out the back of the Dagor with a forearm draped across his Pulse Rifle.

>With a clatter of combat boots he ambles around Citrine while his head remained turned in the direction of the minotaur, walking backwards for a few steps to get back. Giving a generous amount of space to the crew as he idled near Citrine.
>Nevil's face remained unchanging, giving the group of unicorns a perhaps uncannily jaded stare despite the clear interest in his eyes as he followed their motions with an intent fascination. Likewise observing as the Minotaur does the literal heavy lifting.

>Then, once the vehicles was set, he looked back down. Noticing Citrine had left and double-taking, looking up to spot the crystal pony already by Jeff.
>The pale man looked back up briefly to give the unicorns one more pensive stare, then turned away a second later to silently hop up onto the flat bed of the train cart after Citrine, holding up a hand to briefly shield himself from the sunlight, adjusting the brim of his patrol cap and tilting his head a bit further down.

>Despite his showy officer-decalled breastplate-like armour, advanced weapons, and fancy forest-green spidersilk uniform beneath that giving him a somewhat distinct appearance, he seemed to almost slip into the background from how dead silent he was as he moved. Looking to have his guard still partially raised despite the otherwise calm place.

>As Nevil approached Jeff and his new company of peers, he makes himself known at least. Giving a two-fingered salute to Royce as Jeff introduced them. His other arm resting limply over his trusty M41A out of habit.
"Nevil Wayne. ex-United States Colonial Marines. Good to meet the Australian Wonder in the flesh."
>He would introduce himself with a placid voice, bringing up a more genuine smirk that almost didn't fit on the jaded Marine's face.

>Though at the mention of 'market wandering from Noah', Nevil does cast a side glance in their direction now.
"Planning on spending money or just window-shopping?"
>Nevil almost sounded mildly amused, though the question was genuine.
"Might be worth carrying some pocket money if you're gonna look for useful magical McGuffins, if you aren't already."
Lucius the Weary
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>The ranger tries his best to keep his eyes and ears about them, but relents after some time, due to the dense concentration of ponies, people, sights and smells in the space
>He is momentarily lost in one particular scent intermingling with the smell of coal and burning diesel
>It was a smell he'd not encountered before. A sort of heady, earthy yet pleasant smell, not dissimilar to the scent of roasting dried herbs, or burning tobacco
>He closed his eyes, craning his neck slightly and sniffing the air, trying hard to pick out that strange smell from all the others, but before he could get a good sense of its origin, he found himself being dragged back into the present, chaotic moment by the hard impact of wheels on train bed
>Having been briefly lost in his pursuit of that strange smell, he was only just able to take in the sight of the new, similar vehicle, and the new human
>following the lead of those around him, Lucius dismounted the Dagor, striding over to where this new person, this "Royce" stood, with Yuri now operating a strange piece of equipment, which he'd previously seen other Operators using around the Fortress. He'd been told they are called "Lighters."
>Not quite understanding all the customs involved, Lucius thought it would be best to imitate those around him who seemed to know better, and offered both Royce and Yuri his best imitation of a proper salute, one after the other
"Greetings, Royce. And to you, Yuri - I apologize for not introducing myself earlier. My name is Lucius, a woodland ranger and... quite out of my element at the moment. It is a pleasure to meet you both."
>He sighed in relief that the others had already asked the questions that he felt the burning need to ask
>Yet he couldn't help himself
"Nevil? Please, what exactly is this McGuffin you speak of?"
Offworlder Jim
301477 303457 304157
in the end, the candies were mine- it had to be this way.png
"Er...ye. Whatever a 'kangaroo' is..."
>Was this how people felt around him whenever he yammered on about his world?
>It was....an interesting feeling.
>Focusing on the train in the distance, Jim examined the chunky looking vehicle.
>'Well, I know who we're gonna be hidin our asses behind once the shit starts comin'.'
>And one of the blokes even had a rifle similar to his own, but doubtlessly without the micromachining done to it.
>Though, considering the design had lasted since Jim's Earth got it's shit pushed in, it should be fine.
>Jim returned the salute with a two fingered one of his own.
>And as the other boss man in charge began to speak, Jim drifted back to his days drifting around the galaxy with his old group, basking in the memory for a bit before exhaling.
"Pleased t'meet'cha, Royce. Gotta say, you remind me of me ol' boss man. Though I gotta question for ya'; One o' ye mates called me a 'kangaroo jack' or summats. What I wanna know is what that is."
>Perhaps a creature that used to live on earth?
>If so, what was the connotation?
>Curious and altogether pretty erratic minds wanted to know!
>Jim mussed the back of the unicorn's mane up.
"Aw, settle down, lad. Yer gonna get it all twisted, then you'll be in even more a bind."
>Cute kid.
>Wait, how old was Citrine, anyway?
>The inhabitants of Tallus tended to look quite ageless, and Jim wasn't just talking about the literal goddesses.
>Jim nodded in assent to Noah's inquiry.
"Ye, not that I mind havin' some time to immerse myself in another peoples'....er, beings' culture, I'd at least know when I should have me last call!"
"'E means trinkets. Ye know, like this'n."
>Jim lifted the pendant looped around his neck.
"Maybe summats like a Cats-eye thing t'help all of ye out. I'd be lookin' for it meself, but me goggles tend to take care of...pretty much everythin', really."
>As the Dagor nears the heavy lifting crew, Joel takes a chance to dismount, not wanting to be particularly close to any possible way that magic and a minotaur could load the vehicle onto the train.
>The old man puts two and two together and makes a point of committing this "Vanilla Espresso's appearance to memory."
>After waiting his turn, he introduces himself to Royce with a tip of his hat.
"Joel Williamson. Former US Army."
>Everyone else having already asked the pertinent questions, Joel simply waits for the answers.

>At least he was until Jim piped up with an unexpected question, and he started puzzling out how to explain such a weird animal to somebody that had never seen one.
"Think... Lahk a rabbit the size of a person... and it stands on just its back legs..."
>He gives up after a while, discouraged by the equally bizarre but not terribly similar picture he knows he must be painting.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
303751 303820 304157 304344 304497 304549
the roo that you do.jpg
>Both Royce and Yuri catch your greeting, the boss giving you a chipper two-fingered salute back and the other a lackadaisical nod in between puffs of his cigarette.
"'Cheers, mate."
>Yuri gives you a once over, leaning back in appraisal before removing his smoke and letting out an obnoxious puff into free space.
"Bow and sword there, Robin Hood? Hegh, you and Kenny'll are gonna get along."

>Royce mimics your salute back to you, his eyes obviously trailing along your uniform and armor and idling on your pulse rifle.
"Oi' there, Marine!"
>Out of your peripheral, Jeff is also eying your gun... again.
>It takes a long second for both of them to realize the nickname you uttered, Jeff covering his mouth to contain an instant ear-to-ear grin.
>The receiver looking at you both with amusement, and mild offense.
"Whadyou' call me-"
>Yuri lets out a blast of laughter at the nickname, completely cutting off his boss, and slaps his hand against his knee shamelessly as he settled.
"Haha! Oh shit, I am so using that one! Why didn't I think of that!"
>Having his momentum severed by his teammate, Royce decides to just silently shake off 'The Australian Wonder' and gives you a little more focus for a moment.
"So, er 'Colonial Marine, yeah?' Jeff mentioned you fight giant bug aliens. You should talk to Jan, when she shows up. She's fought 'er share of aliens too."

>Royce tips his worn red ball cap your way, eyes pining to Jeff inquisitively.
"Cheers, cowboy! Ey, an Army buddy for ya, Jeffy!"
>Jeff looks over at the other commander, then away dejectedly.
>Familiar voices, in Saddle Arabian, trail in your ear from the blind side of the Dagor.
<Saddle Arabian> "The one talking to Mr. Byron?"
<Saddle Arabian> "Just get ready with the refreshments..."
>Royce nods at your greeting, but gives Yuri a knowing look at the title.
"Oh did he now? Wait you don't know what a 'roo is?"
>The Russian, who barely gives Royce the courtesy of an eye glance as he widdles down his cigarette to the butt.
"I said what I said... wait. You don't know what a kangaroo is?"
>To follow up on Joel's initial description of said animal, Yuri lightly hops on the balls with his feet- easily amusing himself.
"Don't forget the big ears and tail! Oh, and the pouch, for the Bobby!"
"Joey, mate..."

>Before either of you can get a reply out of Royce or Jeff, or anyone else, an elegantly blue and gold trim dressed brown saddle arabian mare and a stallion wearing an upper-uniformed Dragonspine conductor's uniform butts their way into the center of ongoing conversation.
"You will all be delighted to hear that the Neighmara Express has an entire car dedicated to snacks and refreshments for its passengers, including coffee and chocolates, as well as other amenities for your time through the Southern Saddle Arabian desert!"
>The last bit being clearly directed at Citrine's outburst of a request.
>The saddle arabian mare submits a polite bow to all humans and crystal pony in present as well as prostrates herself with a introductory forehoof.
"Greetings, everypony! I am Vanilla Espresso! One of Neighmara's council marembers, primary overseer of coffee trade, and host for Royce Contracting and Razorback travel needs. You are Jeff, correct?"
>She looks over to the commander, who gives her a confirming nod, and follows up with ears flattening in a curt second bow.
"That'd be me."
"As with Mr. Byron, I would like to apologize for the delay of departure. We needed to include additional cars for your... vehicles."
>Vanilla Espresso glances over at Royce's Husky, then over at the Dagor. Jeff waves off her apology, his voice carrying to include everyone in attending.
"It's fine. As long as we get where we're headed. If anything it'll give everyone time to explore and see the markets."
>The councilmare is more than pleased at Jeff's nonchalance, and beams over the entire group as if preparing to sell you all something.
"Then by all means! Please all of you, enjoy everything Neighmara has to offer while we finish preparations! It should be no more than an hour and a half. Oh, speaking of!"
>Espresso stomps a hoof twice, and literally attend of nowhere several uniformed in pony-styled fez suits appear within clusters of you. Each of them producing a silver ornate serving tray on serving saddles of iced water in classy short tumbler, clearly for your enjoyment.
>Jeff and Royce take no time taking glasses, Yuri grabbing one after grinding his spent cigarette into the worked ground.
"Well, it's not vodka..."
>Jeff takes a big swig of water, before addressing everyone.
"Welp, we got time to hang out and walk around. Leave whatever you don't need in the Dagor... the lift crew looks almost ready to move it."
>Swirling the *clinking* ice, he glances over at the burly overalled minotaur with only two of the unicorn lifters limbering up for another cargo load.
"I'll stay here and keep and eye on the Dagor. Stay or go, don't let me keep you."
"Oh Mr. Jeff! You have yet to finish payment for a pending order with us. Would you like to take care of that invoice before your departure?"
>He looks at Vanilla Espresso with an enthusiastic nod, as the councilmare pulls a few papers from inside her robes. Royce and Yuri gravitate together, matching gulps of water as they talk about something to themselves momentarily before saying aloud.
"Hey if any of you bump into Kenny, make sure he comes back with you. Drongo doesn't have any comms on him."
Citrine Blaze
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>While everypony was chattering away with their variety of accents Blaze stood there, still as a statue with only his ears flicking in the direction of those talking. Eyes slowly but surely glazing over as the words began to be incoherent white noise.
>"Imma just head out of this circle and-"
>Rudely butting into this huddle of close comrades came two other ponies, the nerve of them!

>One was a stallion dressed in the uniform of the Dragonspine, but crossed with a Conductor while also looking fancier than the rest of the uniformed ponies.
>The other...
>"By the Princesses Pink Flanks!"
>Blaze mentally swore as he laid eyes upon the Arabian mare. She had a beautifully rich brown coat that complimented her Saddle Arabian features and body, her clothing was as refined as the best refined goods money could buy for.
>Which were her goods.
>And her goods in the coffee trade.
>Citrine blushed like a young colt and nodded his head enthusiastically at Vanilla Espresso's greeting, forgetting about the cappuccino for later.

>Wait an hour and a half?!
>They went through so much preparation to wait again!
>Before he could sharply breath through his teeth in annoyance Vanilla's stomping and subsequent appearance of more ponies in funny clothing stopped him. And immediately his eyes honed in on the pure silver wares they had, their precious metal glinting sunlight off of their polished surfaces much like himself.

>He was transfixed like a magpie before he heard Jeff give him the all clear to leave.
>Nosing around in his saddlebags he saw he had plenty of room for more items, and with pure silver on his mind he set off into the markets.
"Right then! If anypony needs me I'm going to see what precious stuff I can buy to sell for a profit later! So if you need me...uh, talk into my ear with the ear-piece thingie that's in there."
>Blaze told everypony as he pointed to one of his ears.

>As he trotted off into the thronging herds of equines he took an image impressing glance at Vanilla Espresso.
[1d6 = 4] >E.Perception

Using both perception and bartering to find any shops, stalls, vendors, merchants or dealers that are selling precious items that could be sold for later.

[1d6 = 3] >E.Perception
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 3] >B.Bartering
[1d6 = 4]
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>Noah looks over to see Nevil addressing him
"Eh, I guess it depends on what kind of stuff they have over there."
>At the mention pocket money, Noah slaps his pants pocket to ensure he does have some money with him
"Already got some, sir."

>While waiting for everyone to be done and be dismissed, Noah notices a couple ponies come in and advertise their food car
>Which works because Noah's ears perk at the mention of free coffee
>"Ah, so these two are responsible for our train traveling..."
>While listening to what sounds like a tourist spiel, he notice the mare stomp and groups of ponies coming to them, drinks in hoof
"Oh, that looks fancy. Thanks."
>Noah goes ahead and grabs himself a tumbler and takes a swig of the water
>Refreshed, Noah glances to the Dagor, knowing that his shield and pack is still on it
>With nothing to worry about and seeing Citrine take off already, Noah starts to make way to the market
"I'll be in the markets if you guys need me."
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
304497 305555
>Nevil's smirk grows slightly more in Royce's direction as Yuri laughs, emanating a distinct middle-aged smug aura. If only for a moment.
>Said smirk dies down again as Royce focuses on him and lets him know about Jan...
>Nevil's left brow rises slightly with interest at this piece of information. Shifting his eyes a little with a split-second of thought, the rest of his smile flattening as he nods once in acknowledgement.
"Hmh, I'll keep that in mind. Maybe we'll hit it off."
>Nevil's voice carried an almost half-hearted flatness to it, but the interest in his eyes remains even as they shift off of Royce, now known as The Australian Wonder.

>Giving a passing glance to Jeff, staying quiet as he does while he briefly catches the look he look he puts on when 'Army Buddy' is mentioned.
>He couldn't help but smirk weakly, empathically.

>Then continues turning his head in Lucius' direction as he asks that question.
>Bouncing a look towards Jim as he answers first with his own example, prompting Nevil to briefly nod once in the Offworlder's direction. His eyes remain on Lucius however.
"It's a term that was coined by a certain... Let's say "author" even if that's not the correct term--film director would be it, that you definitely wouldn't know since it's ahead of your time."

"The actual term is meant to describe something that is used to move a 'plot' along in some form, and that is the entire purpose of the McGuffin in a story. However, in this instance, I refer to a McGuffin as all magical items because they're several flavors of bullshit and they move the operations along more smoothly."

>Nevil then gives a light shrug that makes the shoulders of his armour clack softly. Smiling weakly to the Ranger in an almost amused way, if it weren't for the perenially weary look the Marine carried.

>He then turned to look away more briskly, looking at the elegant mare and stallion that come to greet them, seeing how they enter the conversation.
>Nevil remains mostly still, spectating the conversation mostly by just shifting his eyes between the speakers and staying firmly in the background from all of this.
>There almost a hint of distaste on the Lieutenant Commander's face, though it quickly goes away once the servers appear from nowhere, head shifting to look downward at the glass of iced water.
>After what is maybe a split-second of hesitation, he reaches over to carefully takes up a glass himself, drinking the cold water in a more slow, savoring fashion.

>Hasting himself ever so slightly to drink through the water after Jeff's words, he puts the tumbler back.
>He made sure to answer to Royce as well.
"You got it."

>Watching Citrine quite quickly start to leave for the markets during all of this, Nevil begins to turn to leave as well. Adjusting the brim of his cap to shield his face a bit more.
"I'll come along. My first time around here, might as well see what they're selling for myself."
"Maybe they sell some magical sunscreen..."
>Nevil, tagging along with Noah, follows closely behind to go explore the markets.
Offworlder Jim
304549 305477 305555
Hans, stop swaggering about, we're supposed to be marching.jpg
>Jim just stares, dumbfounded.
"Er, nah, can't say I rightly do."
>At the other man's impression of the 'kangaroo', Jim lightly chuckles.
"Sorry mate, ain't helpin' me figure it out. Maybe if you kin tell me the scientific name of it, ye know, the genus, I'd be a little more in the right sector."
>Then again, not many people he'd met were knowledgeable about the genus name.
>When you dealt with hundreds of different aliens, it tended to be easier to narrow them down by their genus instead of a name.
>At least, for Jim.
>But he was weirder than most.
>Maybe that's why he was sent to Tallus?
>Ah, well, no use in thinking of it now.
>Jim accepts the glass of water, tilting it back and knocking it all down in a moment.
>'Not the best idea in a desert biome, but ruckin' around with a tumbler isn't high on my list of stuff to do.'
>At the request, Jim tips his goggles.
"Will do, boss mate. Don't wait up for- Actually, do wait up for us. We don't wanna miss our ride, ye?"
>Jim begins to walk off, going to follow the rest of the operators when a though occurs to him.
"Right, first, can we get a brief debrief of what the bloke looks like? I know we's pretty much the only lads round here so there ain't much mistakes to be made, but hey, shit happens, ye?"
>And with that, he headed off to follow the rest of the group.
Lucius the Weary
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>Lucius gives Yuri a strange look
"R-robin... Hood, did you say? Afraid I'm not familiar... Though I do look forward to meeting this Kenny character!"
"After a little wandering around, of course..."
>Quietly listening to everyone greeting and talking to each other, the Ranger graciously accepts his glass of water from the nearest silver tray, marveling a bit at the silver on display.
>Once the meeting seems to have adjourned, hearing that he could leave some of his belongings behind, Lucius ducks past the others towards the train, stowing just about everything aside from his clothes, his money, and his family sword in a safe place.
"Er, you're right, I have... no idea what a film is. But I do understand bullshit that moves operations along! My thanks for the explanation."
>Seeing Citrine bolt off on his own, however, Lucius gets a funny feeling
>"He's going to wind up in some sort of trouble, I just know it..."
>Silently the ranger slips into the markets after the crystal pony, trying to keep one eye on him without him noticing, while also keeping another eye open for any good-looking booksellers
>"Might do to get some light reading for the train ride, maybe brush up on the local critters..."
[1d6 = 6] >M. Stealth
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 5]

[1d6 = 2]>E. Perception
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 4]
305477 305555
>'So, Jeff's an old soldier, too?'
>The look on Jeff's face said that he didn't want to talk about it, however, so Joel let him be.
>Joel tips his hat at the arrival and introduction of Vanilla Espresso, his momma having raised him right.
"Thank ya Ms. Vanilla. That's awful kahnd of ya."
>He produces his everclear and splashes a bit into his water before sipping it down as he listened to everyone else discussing the wait.

>At Jim's question, Joel stays behind a little while as well and makes a careful mental note of Royce's answer before returning his cup and heading out after the others.
"Ah'm sure one of us'll find him. Many hands makes fast work n'awl that.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
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>You take the initiative to go breaking from the group and take the lead to go adventuring into the steppes of Neighmara.
>Before you venture off too far, you look back to take a good up-and-down of Vanilla Espresso.
>She was in the process of hoofing a clipboard over to Jeff, who was taking appraisal of what was on it.
>A proper side view of the Saddle Arabian mare shone off her luxurious shiny coat(whatever wasn't concealed by her merchant robes), and even perfectly curled and flowing mane- which was left free to flow with her movements. Her royal blue robes draped over from her withers and cut right above the fetlocks to keep from being dragged through the sand or getting caught while she walked. Densely stitched gold thread not only lined the cloak with a intricate braided pattern, but also adorned the entirety with elegantly swirling tribal-like schemes. If they held any cultural or societal importance, they were lost on you but they were still pretty to look at!
>Although most of her form was covered up, her silhouette rounded and curved nicely for a young and fit mare and her hooves were kept expertly trimmed and polished. You spot a bit of her tail poking out behind her, but it matched the color of her mane.
>Despite all of this, you finally take note of her regal amethyst eyes, which contrasted against her earthy colors. She was clearly from good stock, and undoubtedly attractive.
>Having taken in Espresso's for for memory, you finally focus on making your way toward the markets.
>But before you make it to the markets, the lowest level appeared more residential.
>These were the nostalgic buildings you remembered from when you first arrived: domed roofs, sweeping curves, wide windows, fancy doorways, elegant pillars, polished decorations, and large glass 'yards' filled with chairs and tables. Other than the fact most of it was not actual Empire crystal, but instead bitter-glass, the sentiments were hitting warmly.
>The residential buildings were mostly identical, and tightly packed, save for one large four-story building built into further down toward the center of the steppes.

>Ultimately the living area wasn't your target, as you make your way up to the next level of steppes.
>HERE is where the more practical and industrial-looking, two-storied semi-open stalls for merchants, and artisans.
>Six rows of stalls jutted out from the wall to the next level, creating neat rows of alley-ways full of business with no more than four meters of space to walk between them; spanning far down enough to loom over the entirety of the residential level right underneath.
>Your keen nose picks up a myriad of cooking foods and snacks, coffee, and chocolate aromas coming from stalls dotted between them. Moreso to the front.
>Figuring a grilled veggie skewer won't re-sell for much, you trot deeper into the rows to find yourself right up to the wall.
>These stalls were carved right into the wall itself, and you noticed the sand-blowing wind was already noticeably cut down this close to the wall.
>You immediately spot several stalls with ponies working on either textile weaving, statue sculpting, and several grindstones going away at what you can guess were gems being cut and polished.
>The last one was most likely you best bet at finding something to flip for bits later on, or a pricey statuette that you can sneak into the Dagor.

>Vanilla Espresso smiles at your graciousness, as well do the servers proving the water with a curt nod at your acceptance of the refreshment.
"You will all find that most merchants will be providing complimentary ice water at anypony's convenience. We understand it's hot and dry here, so please don't hesitate to quench your thirst while you're perusing the markets!"

>Leaving your gear with Jeff, you take off to follow Citrine's lead away from the train depot and into the heart of Neighmara.
>Quickly passing through the stark contrasts of the residential area's architecture, which may as well have been a recreation of the Crystal Kingdom itself, you push up through toward the lower market area where artisans were more hard at work focused on their particular trade than peddling goods and services to passerby's.
>The stalls were neatly yet claustrophobicly crammed back-to-back, creating six neat rows of two-story merchant stalls.
>You smell coffee, chocolate and a myriad of food stalls wafting through this level, as well as most serving ice water atop of what you assume to be Crystal-enchanted melt-proof ice bins.
>The stalls closer to the edge were focusing more on food, where the farther they went back yielded more crafts and artisanal goods; you lose pace with Citrine to the more expensive stalls in the back.

>You tagging along with Noah yielded a good view of the train depot as you climbed the beaten carved slop to the next level.
>The train's front stretched far out passed the steppes, only being ably to catch sight of the caboose indead well passed the depot's limits. All in all you counted almost two-dozen cars visible, implying there were even more!
>Noah passes the residential area, which looked more like a worn out crystal chandelier forms of houses.
>The next level up was where the markets started, Citrine hurrying to the back of this steppe's territory leaving you with Noah to choose a stall alley to meander.

>Jeff, Royce, and Yuri look at eachother incredulously before shrugging and shakingtheir heads, your commander's attention went to the datapad attached to his left forearm.
"Heh, sorry mate. Wouln' know 'at off the top of my head. Always been roos and joeys to me."
"So... is the kangaroo supposed to be a genius?"
"Osphranter, the largest species being rufus. Or the red kangaroo."
>Looking over at Jeff, Yuri and Royce shot him impressed looks. Who looks barely affected at their gazes.
"What? I have a flora and fauna database on here. Human stuff's included, apparently."
"Shit, that's pretty cool."

>Following up on your last question before taking off with the others, Jeff waves you off with a carefree shrug.
"Unless you know what a samurai is, you're looking for a Japanese guy wearing armor and two swords around."

>You store your belongings in the Dagor's back seat, as the heavy cargo-moving team seemed ready and waiting to begin loading the Dagor.
>Falling in with the others you slink up the carved slope right past the residential level and to the stall markets, but you keep on Citrine's tail from an inconspicuous distance away.
>Despite your stealthing technique being on point, you notice the acroline was having a hard time blending in with the backround of constant shifting shadows against the sand-covered stone.
>His attention to the alley full of respectable artisan stalls leads you to the back, several passerby's snickering at your audacity for sneaking around a public area in the middle of the day being the running comments.
>Despite the mild commotion, Citrine didn't seems to notice you staying several stalls over.
>The stalls with food vendors were placed further forward, and crafters were further in.
>You still gave yourself plenty of time to scan down each lane of stalls for the opportunity of some reading materiel.
>Coincidentally, you do spot what looked to be a small library several carved stalls down. If they were for sale, or something else you couldn't tell from here.

[1d6 = 2]>Alert

[1d6 = 3]>Alert

>Espresso bows her head to your thanks, as you spike the ice cold water with your indulgence of pure alchohol.
>Yuri eyeballs your flask enviously, having caught sight of you adding in the crystal clear, but it pulled away by Royce to tell him something out of earshot. The Russian rolls his eyes, a nods in defeat.
"Fiiine. You got it, boss man."
"Just until it's time to leave."
>He breaks off from Royce and Jeff and over to the minotaur lifting crew to observe them.
>Jeff was busy looking over a clipboard given to him by Vanilla Espresso, the mare's eyes fluttering with the prospect of a business transaction as she goes over the invoice with him.
"One fifty pound breakfast roast. Two fifty pound Neighmaran Select. One Sumaretra blend. And one twenty-five pound Lunar Reserve... do you have a Starborn voucher for that?"
>Taken aback by the mention, Jeff pats his own pockets down as the mare starts melodically giggling at him until he realizes she was punking him.
"Very funny Miss Espresso."
"Teehee, I thought so. Please sign here, and I'll bill Razorback accordingly."
>Signing off on the pad, Jeff hands it back to Espresso to collect and bows her head and giving the Dagor a berth so it can be moved.
"A pleasure doing business with you. I will see you before departure."
"Jeffy, cm'ere mate."
>Free of his coffee transaction, Royce pats your commander's arm and leads him deeper into the depot near the train as the minotaur and two unicorn's begin approaching the Dagor.
"Now about this Scholar bloke..."
>Their conversation fades off as you take off with the others making their way up to the markets.

>You pass by the residential level, which resembled more the Crystal Kingdom than a steppe city in Saddle Arabia. Considering Neighmara solely exported water, ice, bitter glass, and a slew of other common items from the kingdom it's no surprise the residents took up their architecture so accurately.
>Passing up to the lower markets, the aromas of food vendors wafts over you and everyone else. Food and concessions were held closer to the steppe shelf so the down wind attracts from the lower levels. Farther stalls further back into alleyways beheld a number of small specific craft and items sellers, and all the way in the back is where the best artisans had their stalls carved directly into the steppes itself. Those sought-after spots drastically cut down on wind and sand blowing around the market, and allowed for more delicate and intricate work; thus yielding better quality products.
>Whether he knew or not, you spot Citrine peeling into the artisan alley with Lucius stealthily tailing him.
Citrine Blaze
>Noah was tagging along by going in the same direction, good, that meant he could carry what ever was purchased.
"The more the merrier, we can become rich if we think smart. Like I did before in our last outing!"

>Then came Nevil too.
"We may of not collectively gotten richer but I sure did get my dick wet, and honestly isn't that worth its weight in gold?"
>He asked rhetorically, of course it was worth its weight in gold and he will stand by that position until he finds it advantageous to regret it later.
"Also I have sunscreen if you need it!"

>Citrine was too busy thinking of that time he had with that mare he totally remembers the name of to notice that Jim had tagged along.
>At first.
>That is until he glanced behind to track the swaying hips of a trio of Saddle Arabian mares, only to see a third human joined the group.
"Hi Jim!"

>As Blaze cantered around the sprawling place as defacto tour guide to reach the markets he would occasionally look behind him to see if the others were still following, and if he was being followed by those that meant him harm. Possible harm.
>With a keen he saw he was NOT being tailed by Lucius, whom he presumed actually went to some other district instead.

>Being the very last to join the party and being furthest away Citrine did not know Joel was coming with, though at this point the Crystal Pony should of assumed everypony was coming along with him by now...

>"Damn, that is a fine mare. Would be a shame if we were to be booked into the same train booth for the entire journey."
>Blaze thought, face turning redder at the thought.

>As the stallion moved through the residential area to reach his destination a wave of nostalgia gifted him a fuzzy warmth across his body, this place did really look like home.
>If it were not for the Saddle Arabians and the climate he might of actually of been fooled into thinking he had stepped right back into the Empire once again.
>...But he wasn't home, and could not go back until he paid his due's to Jeff and collected enough money to be welcomed back anyway.

>Once passing by memory lane and reaching the markets a new sense took over, the overwhelming intoxicating stench of freshly made food.
>It was all around him, the aroma having soaked into every surface of the place. It threatened to make him drool like a fool.
>And would have if he had come here for such things, but he was on a mission here, possibly one more important than the reason he was in a desert in the first place!
>To make fat stacks of money!

>Letting his mercantile expertise guide his hooves Citrine came across the stalls carved into the very wall itself. This is where he should be, and where he will find what he wants.
>He went for the gem cutters first, as a statue or three would be too much of a burden and majestic weaves could be blown away due to high wind currents. Though the latter could be used as a fancy carrier for the gems he recognized.

"Hmm, perhaps combining all three.."
>He muttered to himself as he examined the wares of the gem makers, specifically searching for a selection of the most colourful, shiniest and finely cut stones on offer.
[1d6 = 4] >E.Perception
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 6]