Maybe I should put eventually links to everyone so I can find them in an emergency. Warp looked around, after taking a seat and counted the number of chairs unaccounted for. Wonder who else is in on this party? There were five other seats.

A door opened admitting Jennifer and three others. Warp and Circe recognized Dr. Morsham immediately. The older woman seemed to be in much better spirits than before, not exactly smiling but the look of tension was gone. Her hairs was done up in a loose ponytail, the faint traces of gray stark contrast to the dark brown. Immediately beside her was a tall lanky blonde man, early 20's. His appearance was striking, a lab coat over torn t-shirt slashed jeans tucked into high leather boots. An array of chains and studs decorated the coat and boots. Several silver studs ran up his left ear and an ankh dangled from the right. his hair was buzzed short on the side but hung to his shoulders. Hawkish in the face he was handsome but stroking almost disturbing particularly his watery blue eyes. They seemed focused on something far away. Finally a redhead stepped in, conservatively dressed in an knee length white skirt and sweater under her lab coat. Long read hair framed an elvish face, her eyes hinted at some Asian ancestry, their slight incline adding to the fae look of her. Slight and suppled she moved with a light step and pleasant demeanor.

Engrid stepped forward. "I hope you've all settled in, for those of you that don't know me I am Engrid Morsham. I'll be acting as research head of the Project. This." she gestured to the redhead. "This is Dr Martins, biologist and physician." Martins waved slightly taking her seat. She looked at Rock and Cy curiously and finally Dr Lee, he will be working with the technical systems and Holly in particular." He nodded once, smiling ever so slightly.

Dr Martins is a redhead…yum! She's gorgeous! "Dr. Lee, I may have some questions for you later on, if your field is what I think it is." Blink looked thoughtful for a moment.

"Excellent, I wanted to inquire about your bionics…intriguing design," Lee replied.

Dr. Martins smiled at Blink, a set of adorable dimples appearing in her cheeks. Settling back in her seat she ran her tongue over her lips as she scrolled down the screen of her terminal.

I wonder what she knows…or if Holly told her I asked. I tend to hide my bionics… I wonder how much I have to?

Looking up from her pad, Martins met Blink's look and winked.

Are you psychic? Blink smiles just a little. It's been a while since someone flirted with me… I like it.

Like it takes someone with no luggage or personal effects long to settle in, Warp thought before nodding to each person in turn.

Jennifer's head was down as she walked in and took a seat; she was apparently reading from a datapad, and occasionally pressed a key.

"He's my father." Holly spoke up. "Or creator in sense… I guess breeder is a more apt term as he supervised my development from the Skynet and Deliah series."

Lee chuckles. "That's all right…you can call me daddy."

"Interesting, Holly has a daddy…Your 'daughter and I were becoming friends, I think, Dr. Lee."

Lee turned his gaze on Blink, smiled a touch broader. "Wonderful… she needs more outside interests. A person as worldly as you should provide a wonderful source of information for her… do you prefer to be called Blink?"

"My given name I prefer to reserve for… intimate situations, Dr. Lee." She glances over at Dr. Martins, wondering if she can be seen through her glasses. "Yes, I'd have to say that I prefer Blink. Holly is wonderful, Dr. Lee. She needs to work on her humor a bit, but we're trying.

He nodded. "well considering my own escapes most people…its not surprising hers lacks something…though I have at least one fan." Engrid glanced down at her terminal, a slight blush coming to her cheeks. "Please just Lee is fine. The doctor is a title some group of academics gave me for being able to regurgitate facts at them well."

"If you don't mind my asking Blink…has Holly attempted to use slang with you?" Dr Lee asked looking at her over steepled fingers.

"As a matter of fact, we were working on that earlier. Her colloquialisms are quite good." Blink smiles.

"Wonderful…wonder…her social/personal matrix is expanding nicely… or her inherent personality modules are corrupted." He shrugged. "If she starts using the automated systemry to hunt us down for sport anytime soon we'll know." he smiled

An automated weapons system. Circe made a mental note of Lee's comments. Good to know. I wonder if it could be modified for use in training exercises…

How interesting, Circe thought. The more outrageous a scientist looks, often the better he is, for only the great ones can get away with dressing outside the norm. And Engrid certainly looks a lot happier. I wonder what, or who, pushes her pleasure buttons.

Engrid took her seat. "First and foremost I like to introduce the preliminary schedule for the next few days. Mostly its taken up be training exercises to get you used to functioning as unit and to learn the extent of your powers under actual use. Willow would like to have personal interview with each of you before she returns to her Commune as well. The terminals in front of you have the basic schedule layout."

Jennifer set down her datapad, blanking its small screen, and began paging through the schedule. My, but it's a good thing Jesse's understanding about this… looks like I'll be busy here for a while.

She's leaving, Circe thought in a sudden, uncharacteristic panic. Oh, get a grip. You've lived for so long without her you can continue without her. She has a life to go back to, and people who need her. She tilted her head forward, her hair falling to veil her face as she pressed a button on the terminal in front of her to see how they had started to organize her life. The schedule looked pretty rigorous for the next couple of days but slowed some after that. Circe looked over the schedule to find out when the operation for the implants were scheduled. It was to take place just after this meeting.

Blink looks down at the terminal, examining it for a jack. "Dr. Morsham? Do you have this info on datachits? That way, I can have a running record of things all the time."

"Holly can place it on one as you like," she nodded.

Rock began tapping his fingers on the table, anxiously awaiting some answers. He briefly scanned the schedule and then gave a look over at Cy.

Warp looked over the schedule to see what the schedule included. While he was at the terminal he typed a request to Holly for the length of his sentence. 30 years. It seemed like an eternity.

"Also on the agenda for this meeting is the set up for the ops team as a whole. In short a chain of command. Experience and your past record indicate most of you are used to working alone or at best in small groups… with the notable exception of Von Schmiessen." Engrid said, after softly clearing her throat. The blush had faded entirely replaced by an entirely professional demeanor." His training and experience in small unit coordination and tactics should lend itself well to a field commander position. unless there are any other suggestions?"

Circe shook her head silently. She knew where her strengths lay, and it wasn't leading a team. Group whip, she thought with a smile, giving the group a little courage and enthusiasm when needed.

"So much for our jog, Mr. Von Schmiessen. Or should I say commander?" Blink smiles. "Rain check?"

"There will be other opportunities. Not to worry." Von Schmiessen's intensity levels seems to have gone up a few levels.

"So what kind of ops are we expected to go on?" Warp asked going over in his head everyone's specialties as he understood them to be. Assassins, spies and thieves… oh my…

"There should be variety…as time passes your opportunities for covert actions will diminish so we expect at this time mainly search and retrieval, infiltration and assault style operations." Engrid placed down her data pad and gestured to Dr. Martins. "I'd like to give the floor so to speak to Dr. Martins now."

Blink lowers her glasses to make eye contact with Dr. Martins. Dr. Martins… floor… Hmmmm. The sight of her cybernetic eye only seems to intrigue the redhead more.

Someone I don't have to hide from…not sure I know how to handle that. I always wear something to cover these things…she doesn't seem to care.

Von Schmiessen nods his head in agreement. "Search and infiltration were my 'speciality', should we say."

"Mine too, more or less." Blink says.

The red nodded to everyone smiling then spoke. Her voice was surprisingly husky, very smooth and soothing. "I would like to help make this as positive an experience for each of you as I can. please…don't laugh just yet. I know this is sentence but you've each entered into this willingly and will be helping both Solcal and this project. This is what I would like to do for you." She took out a data pad and held it in one slim hand looking around the room. "The Metahuman Mutagenic Virus has been one of the most mysterious, uncontrollable and wide spread "plagues" to ever effect mankind. Quite literally every living thing like carries it in their DNA sequence and will from now on…you are the future."

She paused to let that sink in. "What I can offer is help in understanding you and your abilities. Learning their extent and nature and how to control them better can only help you and maybe countless others like you. At the risk of sounding arrogant, Dr. Morsham and I are among the top researchers in the fields of biology and mechanical sciences as applied to metahuman ability and we are at your service. This opportunity is unprecedented…and…and I am started to repeat myself so I'll shut up now." Taking a deep breath she sat back down with grin, looking from Warp to Blink.

Blink never breaks eye contact. Seems we're providing all kinds of opportunities. The doctor meets her gaze, smile growing a touch more coy. Again she wets her lips then looking back down at the data pad.

I can hardly wait to be alone with you, doc. I'm curious what you might have to say…

Wonder why she purposely looked at Blink and myself? Or is it because the two of allegedly do things to the physical laws that no one had ever seen before? Warp thought to himself. Warp glanced over at Circe, Wonder how long she'll be mad at me?

We are the future, are we? Circe's eyes moved to Dr. Martins and she began to watch her, curious as to what motivated the woman. She seemed eager, even excited and quite open in her beliefs, surprisingly enough. Ivy put it rather succinctly that the world most certainly did not need more of us. Are you so certain you want us to be the heralds of your future?

Examining the console in front of him, Rock began typing a request for information for whatever records were available on Cy and himself. There was a list of some of there operations not a lot not even a sentence listed.

Rock looks over at Cy again, opening up their connection. I don't like this. See if you can find out some more on what they have on us.

"Thank you Dr Martins." Engrid nodded to her companion then turned to address the group once more. "As far as the position for second goes… I would like to put forth Circe as a suggestion. Her empathic abilities and mental skills would lend a great benefit to the group overall."

"Can you be a bit more specific? I'd like to understand that a bit more." Blink looks over to Circe. "Could you take over if something happened? I'm not sure I could."

Circe barely managed to keep her head from jerking to look at Engrid in surprise. Second in command usually does the dirty work, keeping the group from killing each other, or the leader. She shifted her gaze to Engrid and watched her for a moment. Then she nodded. "If no one has any objections."

Engrid looked between the two women. "Circe's mental talents are based on emotion. She could feel the group dynamic and interrelationships as well provide a source of potential battlefield intelligence quickly. In other metahuman operation, a mentalist acting ss second and coordinator lends itself well to team efficiency."

"My talents involve more than just emotion sensing and manipulation, but in effect what Engrid says is true. I am not a front-line combatant, more of a sniper." A faint smile crossed Circe's lips. "Being able to keep the team together and focused, and disrupt the opposition, can be a very valuable asset." She cast her eyes down to look at her terminal. Though how to coordinate the team except through radio headsets is beyond me. Or will the implants work…

"Sounds good to me, doc. Looks like you're it, Circe." Blink looks back to Dr. Martins, and when she catches her eye, lowers her glasses and winks back with the cybernetic eye. Martins smiled, suppressing a giggle.

She quickly typed in a question to Holly, asking if for more info on the communication capabilities of the implants, specifically between team members, and how secure those communications would be.

The implants provided no communications nut they would be issued portable secure comm units for active duty.

Hmmm wonder will she always be mad or is it a lost cause. Warp sat there listening, and typed an inquiry to Holly if there were ways to reduce the sentence and if they were allowed to order stuff from the main land like clothes in a particular style or furnishings that were not provided. She replied that import space was limited but what did he want? and did he think that penis sized mattered in terms of sexual relationships.

Warp typed while listening to the conversation the others were having. Well I like listening to the retro music and videos from the 1980- 2000. As far as penis size I have no reference on that…. :/ Why are you asking Holly? Also is there anyway to get the sentence reduced? Wonder why she was asking such an odd question?

Holly felt that since he was so much above average that he might have some reference point. Music and other Audio Visual entertainment were freely available thought the Net Link.

"And finally…" A sharp beeping cut Engrid off. "I am sorry to interrupt but… there's trouble." Holly said. "There is a distress signal coming in from an ocean going vessel 23 Km off the island coastline."

How convenient test near the alleged end of meeting talk about a coincidence. Holly not everyone has sex like rabbits since they mature.

Are you saying that you haven't had sexual activity? Holly replied. Circe has not either…what an interesting statistical anomaly.

Circe looked from Engrid to Von Schmiessen and back again. Will the want us to act? It would be a perfect chance to escape, which may just be what Rock and Cy will do. Them trying to take off could cause serious problems for the rest of us.

"Since we can't fly, what are we going to do to help? Or is there some other way of answering their call?" Blink asked.

Engrid stood, "There are the VTOL planes… volunteers?" She looked around the table.

"Count me in," Circe said. Wonder if this counts towards sentence reduction? Not that it matters, really. 200 years is 200 years.

"Holly…state the nature of the call, please?" Lee asked, sounding rather like he was asking for the weather report, fingers still steepled in front of his face and looking at nothing in particular.

"All I received was a automated distress call via GPS systems the relay shunted the signal here first nautical emergency medium sized recreational vessel IDed as the Ariel's Heart owner Carrington Hart." Holly paused. "Hmmm a pun. His first wife's name is Ariel. I would imagine that is charming."

There were was a moment pause. Carrington Hart, CEO of Omnidyne Products Consortium. One of the larger conglomerate in the Western Hemisphere. "And the signal was cut?" Lee continued.

"Yes… not standard procedures indicating it was shut off manually or the transmitter destroyed. There are other possibilities but they have a very low statistical probability. Dr. Morsham, I have to advise the Blink and Warp not be included." almost sounded regretful. "They have the highest likelihood of being able to escape confinement considering there skills and meta abilities… I guess this makes me a backstabber, Blink."

Interesting Holly is trying to create divisions with in the group or at least spread gossip and pass knowledge that shouldn't really be passed. Have to make sure I'm more discreet in what I tell her from here on.

Von Schmiessen rises from his seat. "I must protest this decision. Warp's ability to open portals might allow us to expedite the rescue of civilians on the distressed vessel."

Blink suppressed her first twinge of anger. "Aside from taking the ship and running, I don't think that's much of a problem. You're right, I could run. But where would I go? There's nowhere I couldn't be found… and I'd end up back here or worse. Tell you what…you go, and tell me how it went, ok?"

She gets up and leaves the room, trying not to run out. Not knowing what else to do, she heads back to her room. Was she right? Would I run? What would be the damned point? Like Circe couldn't control someone, make them see her as someone else? Team my ass…

Lee raised an eyebrow. "A bit of a an over reaction…just because it was mentioned doesn't mean that we were planning on following Holly's advice."

In the hall, Holly's voice followed Blink up the hall. "I am sorry I really am but its part of my directives to offer situational advice. this does not invoke a pleasant response…I fulfilled my directive but it feels somehow like negative function response…"

"You know what, Holly?" Blink says, leaning against the wall. "It just really dawned on me how little I actually have….I don't quite know what to think. Do you think I could tell them it's just 'that time of the month'?"

"Time of the month? you mean your menstrual period? It is due in two days. You could be experiencing hormonal imbalances? Are you having cramps? Tension or headaches?" Holly asked. "Does this mean you are not mad at me?"

"No, Holly. I'm not mad at you. One of these days I'll jack in with you and we'll have a 'heart-to-heart' talk, ok? How is you know my cycle, anyway? Or Warp's penis size, for that matter?" Blink finishes with a chuckle.

"I have access to your medical records." Holly replied. "Its interesting that your cybernetic alterations have not caused any hormonal imbalances or undo physiological stress. They are very well crafted."

"My father could afford the very best, and he did…You can't get any more state of the art… except maybe for you."

"Thank you. You're very advanced to in a biological sense. No genetic defects, enhanced immune response tactile processing increased by 10% boosted digestive efficiency…you must never get upset stomachs or flatulence. Did you know that in Appalachia you would not be even considered human with your modifications? Replicants there are destroyed on sight as are AIs."

"These make me a replicant? A Doll…yet another possible motive for daddy… Hell, Holly. I never even thought of that…but being genetically engineered, I guess maybe I am… Hopefully we won't have many missions to Appalachia."

"Not a replicant the term is non defined biological entity. Not human and with no right as one." Holly explained. "More or less property."

"Property, my ass. I didn't put up with that from my father, I won't from anyone else, either."

"You father considers you property? Is that a common parental notion?" Holly asked.

"He built me, I guess he thinks he owns me… just another product of Hybrid Technologies… and no, it's not a common parental notion. Just in my family, she thought bitterly.

Engrid looked after Blink then turned back to the group. "Oh my… but Holly does have a point it is difficult to deal with the abilities of teleporters and the tracking units haven't been implanted yet." She rubbed her temples. "We don't have time for this."

Jennifer stood. "Well, I don't really have a choice here. If any of you go, I have to. I would like to point out that if Mr. Hart is in trouble and we help him out, it could gain the project a big supporter."

"There is no doubt we are going to assist." Engrid replied. "Von Schmiessen, select the team you feel appropriate… I take responsibility for any ill that comes of this. Holly prep Alpha for launch and send a transmission to the Heart acknowledging there signal."

Let's see if von Schmiessen thinks I'll be useful on this mission. Crowd control, and possibly as a hunter, to make sure we get everyone off the boat safely.

Rock looks around the table, examining each face until his gaze stops on Von Schmiessen. Leader, huh? Let's see if you can put your personal opinions aside for the group's best interest. Cy, do you feel up to this?

They have no idea of my range and yet they consider me one that will back out of what I agreed to. They really don't know me. Question is should I give trust to those who don't trust me. Warp thought as he put an inquiry to Holly on the size of the ship involved and position and map of the area.

Looking down at the medical cuff, Rock shifted his gaze to his sister. Cy?

"Excuse me…" looking concerned, Dr Martins stood and went after Blink.

Catching up with the young woman by the lift she stepped up. "Blink… please wait… I don't think anything was meant to insult you, it's just we have to look at all the angles. This is important to all of us… very important for a number of reasons."

"I know. I just lost it for a second. Besides," Blink says with a smile, "how do you it wasn't just a ploy to get you to follow me?" Blink sighs, and reaches a finger up to touch Dr. Martins' face. "Shall we go back? I think I have an apology to make."

Martins smiled, taking Blink's hand and lightly kissing the palm. "I think everyone understands… at the very least I do." She walked with Blink back to the meeting room.

"Holly do you have records on the Ariel's Heart and can you display the blueprints for it? Also what is crew size both minimum and suggested?" Warp asked deciding to participate. Well this could be interesting since it would let me believe for a couple of minutes I'm actually free.

"Ariel's Heart is a specialty model yacht privately contracted and constructed. I can access standard templates for a vessel of its types that should a have a high degree of correlation with the actual floor plans and specs." A holographic image swam into existence above the table. It pictured a long sleek vessel, built low and slim, almost looking more like some type of racing vehicle than a cruise ship. Quarters, control systems and other critical areas where highlighted.

As they get to the door, Blink turns to Dr. Martins. "Hey doc?" When she turns, Blink kisses her softly. "Thanks."

Entering into the room, Blink looks at everyone. "I'm sorry everyone. I just let the tension get to me, I guess. It won't happen again. Assuming you don't want me to go, what do you want me to do here? On the other hand, if the ship is computerized, I might be able to help more than you think."

"So what we have is a search and rescue mission on a ship at sea, correct?" Von Schmiessen asked. "What we need is someone who can help us evacuate the passengers safely and quickly. Warp's portals, used carefully of course, can be used to teleport the passengers off of the boat and onto whatever rescue craft we are using. Second, we can use Circe's ability to calm down the passengers on the boat so that they will want to follow our instructions. Blink can be used to teleport to different parts of the ship and check for any stragglers. Cy can assist me in co-ordinating the group, unless she wishes to remain here with Rock. The only problem I see is that we don't have anyone available with meta-human strength due to Rock's accident. We could use someone who can easily move debris."

Holding his arm up with the cuff attached, "Don't let this make you believe that I can't function. If you need a strong arm…I still have another one. Besides, if Cy goes…you can count on me being there as well."

"Depending on the mass, I can move other things that I'm holding on to. It takes effort, but I could do it to free someone, or something like that. My body and strength are enhanced some, but not as much as Rock." One of the other things I wanted to ask Lee, Blink thought.

Jennifer spoke up. "I can probably cut through or around any debris, if necessary, but I'd rather not. Cutting into walls when you don't know what's on the other side is a bad idea, and going through some debris might just dislodge more of it and make the problem worse."

"Does anyone have the ability to scan for people psionically?" Warp asked. "If you are searching for someone it might be easier if you know the correct place to search."

"Not me." Blink said semi jokingly. Dr Martins stepping up behind her and placed her hands on Blink's shoulder, rubbing them slightly

Blink put one hand up on Dr. Martins'. Having her here could make this a hell of a lot easier. "So, what's the plan, folks? We're standing around wasting time."

"I can," Circe said softly. "Though without knowledge of their psychic signatures it can be more difficult. I would suspect that anyone conscious would be more easily picked up by empathy. The fear and anxiety of being in a life threatening situation is extremely strong and relatively easy for me to detect."

Circe looked at Von Schmiessen and Rock. Of the time I'll be spending keeping an eye on group harmonics, I wonder how long it will be before Rock and Von Schmiessen start physically contesting the role of Alpha Male. Von Schmiessen is a soldier, so is probably used to following as well as giving orders. But what about Rock? As far as I know, it's only been Rock and Cy, with no one in charge. Will he be able to deal with it? She gives a mental sigh. I wonder if they'll allow me access to their psych files. That'd be easier for me to learn about them and help them work to work around their weaknesses than my trying to drag it out of their brains.

Warp watched the others watching the expressions going across their faces as they planned.

"Let's go. Holly can give us up-to date, and Mr. von Schmiessen can direct. Just out of curiosity Circe, how far can you reach? Some advance notice might be helpful in knowing what we're facing," Blink asked.

"Blink has a point. Lets get underway. More details can be hammered out along the way." Lee said getting to his feet. "I think will be a perfect opportunity to test the link rigs as well."

"Link rigs?" Warp asked as they stated heading towards the VTOLs.

"A comm system that should allow Holly to download and access Audio/Visual and other data to you all in the field as well as server as a communications system." Lee replied.

Von Schmiessen rises to his feet. "I agree. Let's get the communications equipment up and working and we can discuss the exact details on the way there."

The team filed out. Engrid spoke,"There is also some more suitable attire stored on the VTOL."

A few minutes later they were underway. The clothing Engrid had mentioned were white and grey jumpsuits, high collared and relatively unisex. The material was a touch thicker than normal hinting at some protective value. Pockets were in the legs and sleeves and each came with a dark grey web belt with holsters and pouches.

Warp started looking thru the gear on his web suit and what was available for selection.

"Cool, gear! Sorry, it comes with being a technophile…I just need a weapon for these holsters." Wonder what they want us to do, strip naked and change in front of everyone? Closeness, what a concept. Blink waits to see what the other instructions are. "Break out the rigs, Lee. Let's see what we've got."

Once all were onboard the hatched sealed. Its was just the project members and Photon. Lee's voice came over the intercom," the rigs are in the rear surface locker. The comm unit and comps in the suits themselves are more or less back ups once this is fully online."

"There are changing areas in the back." Holly added.

Von Schmiessen looks around. "Is there some sort of sidearm I can use incase we encounter hostile forces on the vessel? Even if it was set for STUN only?"

How original, Circe thought with a touch of sarcasm. White and gray. Can we say target? Wonder who's brilliant idea this was, and I hope they didn't pay a fortune.

Cy handed Rock a suit and helped him change, then quickly changed herself, completely ignoring the rest of the team. Are you okay?

I suppose. Just not sure exactly why we are doing this. And… he trails off, deep in thought. I'm sorry. I let you down.

Each suit held a small hand communicator/palm top computer unit, mini first aid kit, survival rations and knife. Also in the equipment locker were firearm, Gyodo Mk2, 9mm caseless slugthrowers with laser sights all ceramic and light weight. Not a lot of punch but portable and relatively quiet.

Cy flipped a couple of knifes over her knuckles checking balance. Choosing two she quickly strapped them to her thighs.

"Hmm. Gyodo Mk2. <Sigh> I guess it will have to do." Von Schmiessen picks up three or four guns, apparently looking for some difference between them. "This one appears just right. Can I get some more clips for the Gyodo?" Von Schmiessen then started to make adjustments and modifications to the holsters and equipment. Definitely not standard settings. Von Schmiessen continues to mumble to himself in what you think is German.

Circe goes over the firearm with practiced ease. She sets it back in the rack, then starts handing out the communication rigs. Once everyone has one, she'll look it over to figure out how it works, then put it on.

Jennifer accepted one of the rigs, slipping it on and verifying that it was in working order. It was a little like the comm units used by the Knights.

Blink gets a link rig and one of the guns, then heads for the changing room. Not my usual colors, but they'll do…maybe I can get one in black. She entered something on the palm top…Holly? Secure communication to Dr. Martins please. Message: "I expect to see you when I get back, and not just for implants. XOXO, Blink." Send. And Holly, we need to work on discretion. The link rigs were head bands with wraparound visors and earpieces. A small retractable microphone could be extended. There wasn't a interface setup for the palmtop or rig, Blink noticed with some disappointment.

Warp walked back to the changing area and changed into the uniform. As he came back up to the front he started memorizing which gear was in which pocket. Warp looked thru the equipment locker to see what tools there were for handling locks and such after memorizing the location of the equipment. Best know where everything is so that way I don't have to look to find anything.

Rock walked over to the equipment locker and checked all the weapons before picking up a couple and walking back over to Cy and handing her one of the pistols.

After everyone settled in, the plane lifted off. "There's still been no word from the Ariel's Heart." Holly said over the rigs. It sounded like she was speaking from just behind each member. A slightly disorienting sensation. "The rigs allow me to present visual and aural data to you in a three dimensional, overlay or text format projected onto your retinas. They can be used as interpersonal communications and locators with 500 meters. I can locate the units via GPS under optimal conditions to within a kilometer." Am image rezzed into view. An overhead view of a long sleek vessel seemingly at rest in the water. "This is a satellite view of your destination. Approximately 10 minutes old. 3 on deck thermal sources located." Three red specks appeared. Two near the pool, another standing at the bow. "The hull is thermally shielded."

Lee came onto the link. "The rigs are experimental and somewhat shaky near extreme EM sources. Range is limited for now but you're well within it. Your uniform are Protec Weave and should take most of the sting out of light handguns . They're fully thermally insulated down to -60 and fire retardant. We can monitor your vital signs and suits themselves provide some assistance in critical situations. Use the Medcomp function on the palmtops."

"I have a crew manifest." Holly sounded intrigued. "It was hard to find."

"Holly how many crew and how many family members in the Hart family?" Warp asked as he checked out his gun by pulling the clip and checking the gun for balance and such.

Blink adjusts the sights on her gun to her satisfaction, then holsters it. She flexes her hand, and runs through the visions of her eye. A useless ritual, since the body would fail long before the bionics, but it made her feel better.

She walked up to Von Schmiessen. "I have a range of about 40 meters. I can take one person with me, if need be. We can't exactly land on the vessel, so what's the best way to get to the ship? Man, I don't want to 'port…maybe Warp can get us there with his portals, one each time… hate to take longer than 12 seconds… "Warp? What kind of range do you have?"

"Holly. I have to requests. Firstly, why would the hull be thermally shielded? Secondly, could you list the manifest for me. Something has occurred to me and I want to double-check it," Von Schmiessen said.

"For the thermal shielding, privacy seems the most likely motivation," Martins suggested.

Holly printed up the manifest. "It's a skeleton crew considering the vehicle specifications. Mr Hart and three guests…unregistered names."

Von Schmiessen rubs his chin. "Very interesting. Why would it be shielded and have unregistered guests? Is he trying to hide something?"

"Holly any record at the port they left from or last port of call who came and went from the ship maybe via video cameras? Also are the ones on the boat moving and can you tell from the satellite if they are standing or not." Warp turned to look at Blink, "I can do line of sight up to a kilometer or so past that to a memorized location. "

"Holly, are we within visual range of the yacht?" Circe asks.

"We will be in approximately 2 minutes,12 seconds."

"Some sort of secret company meeting perhaps? That's the way my father would operate, if there was something going on he didn't want widely known. Or, could be a kidnapping. That wasn't exactly my specialty." My guess is the kidnapping, personally. Four on board, 3 visible, with no way to see inside the ship. "Holly? Is there anyway to see the ship through you? Maybe one of my alternate visions can see? Probably have to wait for a close up, huh?"

"The ship placed a registered course but have deviated from it… perhaps due to damage to navigation. The satellite imagery is dated but at last contact they were not moving appreciably… it's a rather old satellite though and doesn't have the high tolerance levels and compensators in the newer system so there is a degree of error."

Lee answered Blink. "The VTOL isn't equipped with much in the way of high powered surveillance equipment…yet."

"Holly, what port did the Heart sail from?" Maybe there are visual records of boarding… it would be nice to know who all is on that ship…

"It left from a private port late yesterday afternoon. 5:30 Pacifica Standard." Holly replied. "Or that is what the posted course says anyway."

"I probably shouldn't say this–it's probably illegal–but is there any chance you could discreetly worm your way into the port's records? I'd really like to know about who's on that ship, if possible."

"That would require a level 2 warrant as it involves infringing on private records located in file storage systems 1A34 to 1A36, or the actions of a less limited being with computer interface skills." Holly answered. You could almost hear the wink.

Cy looked thoughtful and gazed at Rock, feeling her adrenaline starting. It sounded like action. From the glint in his eyes, she knew Rock was following her into the zone.

Rock secured and fastened everything on himself. He looked over at Cy with a grin. This is what they live for…this was what they do best.

Just like I remember those two… action junkies. Guess there can't always be planning and observation on every mission. "Holly do you have a list of what all kinds of equipment that was ordered for the construction for the Ariel's Heart?" Warp asked as he started to go over what details they knew and didn't know.

"Uh…Holly? Can you display a picture of Mr. Hart for us?" Rock asked, wanting to make sure he could identify any friendly targets once onboard the ship.

"Certified, Go boy." An image of fine featured, almost effeminate looking blonde man appeared in there rigs, just at the corner but clearly visible.

Blink heads toward the cockpit. I'm going to check it out up there," she says. Circe accompanied. her. The yacht was a speck on the horizon growing rapidly closer. It looked peaceful. No obvious smoke or debris in water. No sign of life boats or other vessels.

"Holly can you check for subs in the vicinity? Also any current leads on where his family is specifically wife and/or kids and can we see pictures of them also?" Warp asked.

"His only child is attending a private border school in the Euro Hegemony. His wife's location is unavailable through direct sources." She fed the images into the rigs.

Von Schmiessen stands up. "Okay people, this is it. Here's the plan."

"Rock, Cy and myself are going to go onto the boat first to do a quick scan of the boat's surface. Circe, I want you to check for life signs to confirm the registered number of 'guests'. Then Rock and Cy will attempt to gain access to the inside of the ship. Blink and Warp will then follow Rock and Cy with me. Then we will use Warp and Blink to grab any passengers off the ship and put them onto the VTOL. Any questions?"

Circe frowned, realizing that she still had to change into the "uniform". As she pulled her t-shirt over her head and stripped off her pants she began to reach out with her mind, seeking out the thoughts or emotions of anyone aboard the ship.

"Hart is below decks," Circe said, as she memorized Hart's signature. "But I'm not sure exactly where. And unless I can find out more about who else might be on the ship, I won't be able to find anyone else."

Blink scanned forward with her telescopic vision, looking for other details that might be important. She saw one person on deck, laying by the expansive pool that took up most of the upper level. From this distance she could just make out it was woman laying down.

Should be interesting to see what happens next. Warp waited for the VTOL to hover near the boat and the action to begin.

"Holly? Relay what I saw back to the others, will you? I'm a little busy to yell," Blink said.

"All right, what do you see?" Holly asked.

"Sorry." Blink replies, feeling a little silly."On deck is a woman, sunbathing, no comparison to Mrs Hart." Holly announced Blink's observations to the rest of the team.

"Holly are you capable of water landings or is there room enough to land on the ship?" Warp asked as he realized warping to an unstable platform is very risky at best.

"I am not capable of a water landing but the plane is.' Holly replied.

Rock sat next to Cy…waiting anxiously for the "fun" to begin. He needed to work some stress out of his body.

Cy nodded, her eyes narrowing as she studied sections of the floor plan, counting on Rock to study the other half. Together they would have a good general idea of the layout. She also noted places that she would use as ambush points and ones she wouldn't.

Blink activated the palm top and went to work. The port address was already in the system somehow, she grinned. Hacking the network was simple, only a few code locks to by pass and a rudimentary code check more a virus scanner than security. The VTOL now hovered about 100 meters away from the boat, a 20 meters above the surface of the ocean.

Noticing Cy's focused attention at the general layout of the vessel, Rock noted the various access points to the lower portions. Remember, this is just a general layout scheme…not necessarily what this one is like. He continued to study it further. "Holly, can you download the blueprints to our units and display our locations on it? And what type of company is it that Mr. Hart owns again?"

"It is a conglomerate focusing on biomedical and genetic interests." Holly replied. "Chief competitor to Tyrell and Hybrid Technologies."

Tyrell… Circe thought taken aback somewhat. That was the company her last target had worked for.

Great a computer with a sense of humor. "Holly display the ship if you would please." Warp requested.

"It's displayed."

"Ariel's Heart sailed from La Costa Cinco", Blink typed in, searching the various departure files. It wasn't long before she found what she was looking for. Calling up the crew manifest took a few moments. The passenger list still only listed to two unregistered guests.

Rock continued to study the diagram. Cy? Does that strike you as odd? A woman sun-bathing while the ship has sent out a distress call?

Depends. Is she part of the problem? Cy stretched, opening and closing her fists to loosen herself up. Though if we take much longer on planing, someone is gonna take us out with a surface to air missile or something.

Von Schmiessen turns to face Cy. "If we don't get close enough to the ship we can't teleport people off of it."

Warp started looking over the plans to commit them to memory. "Holly how large is the wing on this VTOL?" Better think of a place to warp back to the plan at. "Blink we need to make sure we don't try and port to the same location. Also if we do find hostages to bring back are we going to have someone come back with them to the plane incase they aren't as friendly as they appear at first?"

"Agreed, my friend." Blink walks back toward the others. "Cy, Rock? If you were going to suddenly appear on the ship, where would you think the best places to do it would be? Mr. Von Schmiessen, if you, Rock and Cy are going first, how are you getting to the ship? Hover and drop, or what?"

Von Schmiessen nods his head. "Perhaps Cy should remain on the ship with me to make sure everything's okay at this end."

"If you want to stay here…fine. But don't split up the best team here because you don't think you can handle the babysitting job by yourself." Rock looked over at Cy and shook his head in disbelief.

Von Schmiessen talks without looking at either Rock or Cy. "We're all a team now. I'm just trying to fit the best people to the best situation. If you two can't bear to be apart, then you can both sit on the VTOL and look after the evacuees. It's becoming obvious to me that you both don't want to be here and if that's the case, I don't need your help on the yacht."

Cy could sense her brother's frustration towards Von Schmiessen's attitude. Rock stood up and walked over to Von Schmiessen and pulled him off to the side to talk. "Listen you conceited, little punk…if you can't put your own personal differences aside, maybe you," Rock takes his finger and taps Von Schmiessen in the chest once for emphasis, "should remain on the VTOL and direct the team from here. We haven't gone through any training to get to know the others' moves. Cy and I have the best experience working as a team in this group. You don't split up your 1-2 knockout combo…and as a leader, you need to recognize the importance of tactical supremacy. Now…to 'teach us a lesson'…you're going to leave us both here?" Rock shook his head in disbelief, "And for the record, Cy and I are both willing to help on this mission since you've been too blind to notice us asking questions and memorizing the basic layout of the yacht. Get a fucking clue buddy!" Rock didn't wait for a response…he didn't care to listen to Von Schmiessen's worthless comeback…and returned to his seat next to Cy. "Cy, I guess we're staying here…our fearless leader commandeth us."

"Since you're so willing to help," Blink says sweetly."How about answering my fucking question? And, Holly can manage the plane, so no one really has to stay, although it might not be a bad idea."

At the beginnings of Rock's tirade, Circe turned to watch, eyeing both Rock and Cy. Great. I'm going to have to have talk with them later. "Holly," Circe said very softly into the rig. "Is there a way to talk to just Cy and Rock through the rigs?"

"Yes there is, set the channel by saying the person's name or designation and com."

Photon stepped toward the two men, intending to separate them, but stopped herself. No, Jen, they have to work this out themselves… you won't always be here to separate them. However, when we get back…

"Holly can you also set these rigs to view what another in the group is seeing in the upper corner of the vision as an overlay maybe?" Warp asked Holly.

"Its possible but it will tie up a lot of processor space." Lee replied instead, thought fully. "But not a bad idea…"

"Von Schmiessen," Circe said through the rig. "I'm not picking any mental signature off the woman that's on the deck. Holly, can you do a thermal reading on her to see what you pick up?"

"Standard humanoid heat pattern though the VTOL's cameras are not spectrographic in nature…body temp elevated above human norms by approximately a tenth of a degree." Holly replied.

"Is she moving…any?" Rock asked.

"Circe does that mean she's dead or just shielded from you? Holly, if she were dead and under the sun like this would the body temperature go up from being in the sun?" Warp looked over to where Photon was sitting to see why she was so quiet.

"Can't tell. I can't sense anything, though it's more like nothing's there than a shield," Circe replied.

Circe quickly thought through a list of what sort of beings, natural or created, could avoid a mental scan, plus what sort of tech could be used to prevent it. Can't afford to get caught out on this. "Holly, I don't suppose there's any way you can find out if the woman's actually alive or not."

"She's moving now," Holly replied.

"Holly, how much longer until we are in range?" Rock asked, feeling the adrenaline rushing through his body.

"Range for what?" Holly asked. "In you mean for Warp's spatial disruption tunnels, yes we are well with in range."

Warp looked over the distance between the plane and the boat out the window, "Want me to open a portal between the inside here, assuming Holly can keep the plane still or we could do it out a door so the plane can move fast in a defensive maneuver but I would have to be able to see the boat to open the portal." He could just make out figure of a woman silhouetted against the sun. She was on the upper deck.

"Moving doesn't necessarily mean alive, Holly," Circe said. "Or organic. Can anyone get life signs of any sort off the woman?"

"Well duh." Holly sighed, perhaps touch over dramatically. "I think that was well placed in the conversation for a sarcastic quip. In answer to your question I can only make assumption based in observation which at this point is limited. I don't know if the other have sensory abilities that are not within their files."

"Holly can you hover right here for twelve seconds without moving?" Warp asked. "If she can, I can put you right near her."

"I can maneuver the plane to hover here until the fuel runs out in 3 hours, 12 minutes and 2 seconds at standard consumption rates. That estimate is barring some unforseen happenstance."

Von Schmiessen starts to adjust his gear. "Warp, as soon as we are close enough so you can get a solid view of the boat, open up a portal and then we're going in. Are we ready?"

Circe gave a mental sigh. I hate going into a situation blind, she thought. "Von Schmiessen, I'm to remain here and monitor the situation? You gave me no directions earlier."

Wonder if I can get a better lock on Hart now. Circe extended her senses again, seeking out Hart's pattern. She found him still in the same general area. A slight bit more familiar with the mental pattern. Circe was able to lock on with more speed if not a lot more accuracy.

Circe tried to read his state of mind. Hello, Mr. Hart, she thought. And what are you thinking about right now? There was nothing. No thought for her to pick up on at all.

"Von Schmiessen," Circe said. "I've got a lock on Hart. I'm not picking up any thoughts. He's either got some sort of shielding, or he's deeply unconscious."

"OK I'm opening the portal in twelve seconds it will put you currently behind the woman and will open here." Warp pointed to a space large enough that nothing would be destroyed in the plane. "Holly in ten seconds we need you to hover still for 20 seconds then you can move the plane as needed." Warp looked at the woman on the deck to see if she was armed.

"Holly, private channel to Rock and Cy please." Circe waited for Holly's go ahead. "Rock, Cy, I'd like you guys to be out eyes up here, and watch our backs. You are our backup, and I'm counting on you two to save our asses should things get too hot. You've got a good knowledge of the possible layout of the ship. Give me a low down on where you think the trouble spots might be."

"Basically any spot where you can't see easily," she pointed out the spots quickly. "Engine room is a good one and any of the cabins. Also I would expect attack from the woman at the least opportune moment. "

"Just remember, we only have 12 seconds to all get through." Blink said. "I'd hate for anyone to be a second late! What order do you want to go through?" She looked at Von Schmiessen expectantly.

"Let me know when you're ready. And I'll do the countdown."

Blink pulled her weapon, making sure it was ready for action, then re- holstered it. "Certified, go-boy. Ready on the Boss' mark." She did a couple of quick stretches. "Holly," she whispered. "blow Dr. Martins a kiss for me, ok?" She smiled to herself, wondering what Holly's response to that would be.

"I don't have lips." Holly replied into Blink's rig. "But I understand the sentiment. She says 'Good luck and keep that body in one piece' Are you two going to have sex?"

Blink chuckles then sobers quickly. "Holly, how far advanced is Hart's company? In robotics and cybernetics? As far as I know, my bionics are among the most advanced… but what about an android? And as far as your other question, I certainly hope so."

"There is a small robotics division, Animations Limited but is area of operation are primarily in the fields of industrial automaton and remotes. Several of the biomedical firms could produce the organic chipware used in advanced processors." Holly paused. "Are you planning on using mechanical aids or you just you're bodies? 54% of lesbians polled most recently use some forma of mechanical aid in the sexual relations, did you know that?"

"Holly, that was a silly question. I always use a mechanical aid when I have sex. And no, I didn't know that. You'll have to research that in more depth for me… some other time." Blink smiled, leaving Holly to figure out the pun.

"All right. I go first then Circe, Blink and Photon bring up the rear, keep it tight and fast but this isn't a combat mission yet so stay level." Von Schmiessen order, nodding to Warp.

"I don't know about you, commander. I'd feel more comfortable if Cy & Rock were with us. They have more combat experience than I do, that's for sure." I also don't want to be the target of unreleased frustration… Blink thought wryly.

Cy moved into the pilot's chair, and spoke softly so as not to interfere with the boarding party, "Holly what are your combat capabilities? Do you have combat experience? And are we armed?"

"Unknown, it certainly doesn't look that difficult. I've never done it before. And the VTOL is not armed," Holly replied.

Warp gave the others the countdown while looking at the destination and departure sites and opened the warp between the two places so the first thru was 10 feet behind the woman.

Blink held her hand over the pistol and prepared to step through.