[It comes up out of the blue.  Or rather-]


[Elma, banged up as he is, comes back online in Sakihama's hangar.  Although clearly in need for some maintenance, the little Subot instead has other concerns, like-]

-Yes!  It worked!

It was a really huge gamble, but there's been some precedent in intentionally crashing computer systems to clear the way to encrypted data, and I was able to pull it off!  I was able to access the encoded data involving Operation Doll and what Major Ingram had been trying to have us do.

It'd been about Armana... it'd always been about her from the beginning!  Ingram had known she had been interested in Earth and decided to come here, but also that she was, was like a target for someone in the Balmarian Empire.  I don't know if it was for assassination... o-or maybe just bring her back early like what the Golar Golem were talking about... but it was something Ingram had wanted to prevent.

We were supposed to pick her up at the colony, but... we must have missed her.  Like we were too late, or she spent far shorter there than we'd expected.  And instead we were attacked by the Golar Golem, trying to pursue after her... where everyone but Selena-

[-Wait.  Selena.  A glance at the Soleares, and Elma's tiny frame tilts forward in worry.]

Miss Selena... please be alright.

Everyone we... when the Soelares was damaged and buried under the rubble, Selena and I made a really quick plan just in case we weren't able to protect Armana from Spectra and the other Balmarians.  She let me keep piloting the Soleares, while she...

Well I don't entirely know because she just said she'd follow her women's intuition but I know she wouldn't have given up on saving Armana!


Miss Selena...

[With his own repairs taken care of, Elma's attention shifts once more to the dismembered Soleares.  Repairs for such a frankenstein of a machine are possible, but Albhard had weeks, and fewer mounting threats when he built the machines out of the remains of Team Jelba's mechs and the Gesterben.

[For even more thorough repairs?  In less time?  Well...]

... Don't give up.  Just worry about saving Armana... so I can worry about saving both of you!

[... He'd just have to do it.  Somehow.]

[3] (locked to NPCs)

[Hopes may have been placed on Selena, but to somehow find and save Armana would be a tall order.  She'd been spirited back to the Balmarian fleets in the system, protected by countless ships and machines should an attack come.  And if one were to somehow breach the Huleh carrying her, they would be met by the faceless, unrelenting soldiers of the Golar Golem.]
How you gonna pull this off, Selena? )
(Also backdated for Christmas)

[In case that other big Christmas giveaway was more than a tad disappointing for you, worry not!  Because other, more personalized gifts were also given away for everyone.  Some were more heartfelt, like a framed photograph of the original Glory Stars team for Setsuko o a large bag of sweets for Kei.  Others were more troll-y... like a gradient scale guide to measure if someone was wearing black or not for Roger or a pilot roster so Roy would have no excuse for not knowing people's names.  Others still blended the two together, like a Dinobot-sized copy of "The Art of War" with a bunch of blank pages and the phrase "and Grimlock" written on masking tape underneath its author's name.  After all, if you couldn't laugh on Christmas, when could you laugh?

[And the secret Santa who gave you all of these?  Well she's slumped over in the kitchen, Elma giving her yet another cup of coffee...]

Gracias Elma... couldn't have done it without you.

Well you shouldn't have to do anything on your own.  I just hope your gift for Princess Armana goes over-

This is incredible!

[And there Armana goes, entirely engrossed her Polystation as if it's the most amazing thing ever.  Selena just looks on as she runs past, then looks back at Elma... and holds out her cup again.  Sasuge Grace.]


[It is maintenance time for the Soleares again, but that's not really too important.  What is though is the Lurian  princess hanging up Christmas decorations all over the hangar.]

Well now.  I'm guessing Elma told you all about the holidays then?

Of course!  He was very informative, and I think it's just fascinating. Barely any end-of-year celebrations are observed by my people, but for Earth to have so many, between countless different cultures!

And the interactions and integration of various other beliefs to help smooth over interactions between early Christians and pagans... it's just so fascinating!

But... there is one thing that has to be addressed!  I'm guessing you all just got distracted with other things between everything but hardly anyone put up Christmas stockings!  Did you forget or just not care or think you've all been to naughty after what Brye and Rani said when they left?

How will Santa be able to give anyone presents if he doesn't have anywhere to put them!

... Wait...

You think that Santa-

He must work himself ragged every year delivering presents to everyone!  In a way he almost reminds me of our own god Augustus... at least how he's said to appear.  And I won't have possibly my only chance to experience Christmas be ruined by... by neglect of all things!

So... where do you want your stocking?


[And now it's beat-up-Elma time, with Selena making sure to not indulge in it until when Armana is clear and far away.]

You told her about Santa Claus but NOT that he doesn't exist?!?

I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sooooorrrrryyyyyy!!!!  I was going to but there was just so much she wanted to know I just... forgot!

And now she'll be expecting everyone to get Christmas presents.  The easy thing to do would be just try to break the news to her, but...

... What do you say, Elma?  Doesn't there usually have to be a helper for these sorts of things?

I don't have a choice, do I?

Not in the slightest

[So.  Who's up for more bad news after that stuff with Septuagint and the SSR?]

I hate to say this, but we might not have seen the last of that thing.  Or at least the last of its kind.


Thank you Miss Selena.  When I actually got the chance to analyze them, the energy signatures from the Zehirut that we fought alongside the SSR seemed familiar to me.  It seemed odd at first since we've battled many Balmarian machines but nothing captured the same kind of aesthetic as the "Zehirut"...

But then I remembered the Balmarian/Zentraedi fleet battle Selena and I stumbled on!  The one where the Aerogators somehow fielded a machine that single-handedly turned the tide of the battle in a single instant... like what happened according to Kup's story when the Decepticons fought another fleet!

Meaning there's quite likely another one of those things waiting for us inside of the fleet's flagship.  And inside every other Balmarian flagship as well.

Lovely time for us to lose funding, isn't it?

[1] (not really something needing comments )

The greatest weapon of the Balmarian fleets )

[Some time later after the Soleares returns...]

We may have a situation on our hands.  The good news is... Elma and I managed to acquire footage of what might just be the Aerogators' flagship.

[Cue image.  Thank God Elma's sensors were able to snap that before the Balmarians were alerted.]

The bad news is... all of that scrap you see around it?  That's what's left of a Zentradi attack force that had been mopping the floor with the Balmarians before all those underdogs pulled something out of that ship that ended the battle and those Zentradi all in an instant.  Last we detected, it wasn't heading towards Eath, thank God.

General Hetepheres, Optimus Prime... if you've any knowledge about whatever could've ended such an outmatched fight so abruptly, I'm sure everyone would love to hear it.

[She sighs.  It'd been a long ranging, and even longer getting back to the SDF.  And then debriefing and now this.  If she were sane she would've been in bed by now.]

I guess this explains why Ingram wasn't worried about us growing too strong for him to handle.

[Team Jelba... gone.  Just... gone.  Captain Symphonia.  Alfredo.  Vasquez.  Rubio.  More than her friends, her family.  The people she'd been intending to catch up with after months separated from them.  People she knew and trusted and fought hard to avenge.  Hard enough that the Gesterben is just barely more than a pile of scrap.]

Why, Captain...?

Why did you have us all march into that deathtrap?  You wouldn't have sold us out so... why...?


And you're SURE?

Absolutely!  'Operation Doll's' orders are dated after Ingram's defection and the files aren't fabricated!

[The other two surviving members of Team Jelba are handling this... a bit better.  Not much though.]

... Of all the rotten luck then... Those files are probably only going to raise more questions and never provide answers even if we get them cracked.  Ingram's going to pay for this.  Him and his 'friend'...

If you still have the schematics for the AS in you... it might be wise to make the most of them.  Selena's going to need something if she's going to keep fighting, and I'd rather she have the best we can give her.

Start salvaging everything you can from everyone's machines.  The ground team's mechs should still be fine, so that means that the Captain's Prism Phantom'll at least be an option for her.

[1] [Video]

Farewell from friends? )


[The whole of Team Jelba reuniting... not just a few members but everyone.  The whole baker's dozen all on some ultra-classified mission, and a chance to introduce the Unity Group to them and vice-versa.  It should come as no surprise then that Selena and Albhard in extremely chipper moods as they go through routine maintenance for their machines...]

-And of course, how you got that Grungust is going to be an entire story in and of itself.

Maybe more trouble than it's worth though, on account of Shu's involvement with it.  Just hope the Captain won't give me a hard time for trashing that Gespenst though.  He had to pull a lot of favors to get in on the Halloween Plan.

[Even as Selena goes back to work though, Albhard just looks at the Grungust for another moment.  There were answers he had wanted to get... and even if Shu seemed a changed man, a better man... he regretted not approaching him about that incident with the Shirogane.  An incident that, for Albhard... was about love lost.]

[Another ugly skirmish with the BETA... plus kijin stuff piled on just for good measure afterwards. And the people weighing on Selena's mind the most? Well, the Zhar Battalion of course.]

Lt. Colonel Latrova... fighting the BETA on a constant basis is dangerous enough. I just hope that the enemies you face within the Russian bureaucracy don't decide to further retaliate against you. Whoever planned that operation the way they did might not be happy with how things played out, and considering what the Zhars have to deal with already...

For you and your men, I hope they don't decide to take out their frustration on the battalion. It was bad enough seeing the Glory Stars go through... what they did. And the size of the battalion doesn't mean any one life in it's less valuable.

[She looks over at a tupperware box she recently got in the mail. It's from Captain Symphonia... with 'Feliz Cumpleaños' written on the top, with a large amount of seemingly basic looking cookies inside. It's a few weeks past her birthday, but considering the circumstances of the rest of Team Jelba's current mission she doesn't hold it against the Captain. Thus she still opens the box and helps herself to one, immediately humming softly as she closes her eyes, leans back against the wall, and savors the taste. Well, not before...]


Yes Selena?

Take some of the Captain's handiwork and see if anyone would like to try it. In spite of what happened out there, it was still an improvement over everything last month so... not to sound like a certain insensitive someone but maybe a small celebration's in order.

Are you sure you're not just saying that to try to wean yourself off of these?  Their nutritional value isn't all that great and since you've been transferred to the Unity Group you've gained 2.3- ohnono aaaahahhhh S-Selena-

[Oh dear.  Poor Elma's comment got derailed as Selena picks him up by his head.]

Of all the things I'm grateful you can do for me, being a weight scale ISN'T ONE OF THEM!

[And with that poor Elma's going to be punted down a hall.  Not that it's going to get in the way of him delivering those cookies to anyone interested later on though... just he's also going to have a big dent in his head once more.]

[Another foray into La Gias... and a bit of a close call, but Selena wasn't one to let that bother her when everyone got out and the mission was a success.  Albhard was pretty damn happy about finally getting a Grungust.  But Selena on the other hand is concerned about the information found on the Wildschwein...]

... "Megillot", "Zechariah", "Ezekiel", and "Vayyikra"...

All Jewish names and terms.  Perhaps the Aerogators visited the ancient Middle East, similar to how the Gebians went to Egypt?  Or maybe it could be purely coincidental?  Unfortunately, all we can do at this point in time is make guesses.

Make guesses about why those names are what they are... and why someone in the ESUN inexplicably had them in the first place.  And for that matter why bother compiling all that information and then losing it... and losing it to a faction that -if not for our buisiness with Shu- we'd never know they had?

This doesn't smell right.  One reason or another, someone's hiding something.  Maybe they're connected with those Sterben-users that the Unity Group people ran into before they first were transported to La Gias, maybe not.

[She laughs once... hand on Elma's head.  Oh dear, there's that dent where she kicked him earlier.]

I guess you're right.  All we can do is make guesses.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Edited this a bit because of misreading a few details in the mission's debrief.  tl; dr, the information about the Aerogators was simply with everything else and not on the Wildschwein specifically.)

[So Shu's not the only new face at Fort Alhambra now.   There's two more machines that came back in addition to the Granzon... and these two also start with the letter G!  They're not as OP though... just a gray Gespenst that somehow's gotten in on the Halloween Plan refits and a red Gesterben that doesn't seem related to the other ones the team fought earlier in the operation.]


Never thought Mission Devil would lead to us working with the Unity Group, but then again stranger things have happened.  This is Second Lieutenant Albhard Bailaran of the ESUN's spec ops group Team Jelba.  My associates here are Second Lieutenant Selena Recital and her assistant robot, Elma.

A pleasure to work with you all, and thanks for showing up when you did.  Bought us a little more time before Shu arrived, time we might've not gotten otherwise.

Right.  We were investigating to confirm whether or not Shu Shirakawa had been killed or not, on account of no trace of the machine being found in the wake of its destruction at the hands of the Steel Dragons.  One way or another, we wound up being summoned to that other world -La Gias-, and it wasn't long before we met with some of your own people and then Shu himself.

According to the professor, he was resurrected by a man named Luozorl, though his memory is full of holes and there are also things he doesn't feel inspired to share.  In spite of that, his assistance in the battle and the cooperation he's given us have been taking into consideration by our superiors, and it's been decided he will remain under observation for the foreseeable future, with Lieutenant Recital and myself serving as his handlers.

Any suspicious behavior observed by Professor Shirakawa should be made known to us... but please refrain from antagonizing him.  I know some of you have prior history with Shu and some of you fought as members of the Steel Dragons, but the circumstances have changed.

Thank you for your cooperation.

(Albhard, Elma, and Selena can be tagged now or after this broadcast when they're milling around one place or another.)
1. [The safe harbor that Shu was referring to is a cave some distance away from the battle zone. There's ample space for everyone to store their machines, and necessities such as food and water are all available.

As you're getting accustomed to the layout however, a particular bird/familiar approaches you.]

So since Master isn't really himself right now, I owe you guys some explanations!

The most likely reason you've been brought to La Gias is a large-scale summoning spell. I've got no clue who the caster is, or why they did it, though.

If you've got any other questions, I can try to answer them.

[She does look a BIT more serious when it comes to the next part, however.]

...By the way, I noticed some of you recognize Master from before. Just letting you know that reminding him of the past all at once right now would be a baaad idea. That goes especially for some of you.


2. [It's not long afterwards that Shu can be found next to a VERY familiar looking device in one section of the cave. Those of you who have been with the Unity Group before would recognize this as a TSEN Device, but Shu looks confounded by its presence there...]


3. (Open)
[The combatants from the mission have returned! But since then, you might have gotten a glimpse of one of the new people who returned with them, or for something more obvious: that mecha in the hangar. Chika's advice about those memories of his has also spread one way or another, but it's not like you'd run into him a lot anyway.

Said person is regularly found in the records' rooms of the bases (or something equivalent like a library); suspiciously going through a small number of both written and digital documents. They're not top secret stuff, so he's not breaking any rules, but still...]


((OOC: Yes, this still takes place in La Gias for prompts 1 and 2, and is the explanation as to why everyone can go home so quickly. This way we won't get multiple posts of 'what now?'. Plus, this means our newly introduced player can go ahead and frontdate to after this event if he wants to make his own post.

OOC 2: Walt tag is for anyone from the mission to tag, enjoy.))