Alecto arrived like a creature of myth, a black-winged shape in the sky borne on blue contrails of plasma flame that descended with the unearthly howl of turbines spinning down and scorched a patch of the earth outside the mine entrance to ash. The wings, little more than control surfaces to help pilot, folded back into the jetpack's bulk between her shoulders.
She was clad from head to foot in dark-hued armor who's form suggested a slim, even delicate humanoid female within it. The armor was, in a word, sleek, with the plates artfully arranged to overlap in ways that eliminated hard edges or exposed areas or irregularities in its surface. As she stepped forward a sharp ear could note the tiny whirrs of servomotors built into its joints; an exoskeleton worked into the armor, surely.
It was also burdened, with a panoply of weaponry that clearly marked Alecto as a mercenary, even if Timothy hadn't already been informed of her origin. A sword at her hip, another in a scabbard hung behind her back, which hung to one side of the jetpack's intake vents. A long laser rifle, the kind Juicers were infamous for using, with an oversized scope, dangled to the other side of the jetpack. Then, attached to actual hardpoint mounts on the casing of the pack, one on each side, was a railgun rifle of unusual make and indeterminate model and the massive cylinder of what had to be an automatic grenade launcher.
If that wasn't enough, attached to another hardpoint low at the small of her back, just under where the jet exhaust would make storing things perilous, was a plasma ejector cannon.
The utility of the exoskeleton was immediately clear; anything short of a combat cyborg like the squad leader would have trouble transporting that much kit without one.
For a moment she stood there, regarding the team with the blank stare of an opaque visor. Then she undid the clasps of the bulletlike helmet and lifted it off of her head. This freed a cascade of long brown hair, then exposed her face. Alecto didn't look like she had any business carting all those guns around; she couldn't have been more than a few years Cory's senior, with the kind of good looks that rarely lasted long in the rough and tumble life of a mercenary.
She walked to Timothy.
"Specialist Alecto, reporting for duty,"
the erstwhile mercenary said with the sort of calm unusual for someone standing in the shadow of a combat cyborg chassis like his.
He was almost as terse as she was, saving any questions or comments for another moment. "We are on a rescue mission, I want you in the middle. Cover our Mystic."
Alecto nodded in acknowledgement and passed him to give the rest of the squad another look. None of them had a name tag or anything, but the relatively limited information she possessed about the 1st SET indicated that the team's mystic was a female human. That narrowed the options considerably.
As she made her way to where Cory stood, she gave the other team members polite nods of recognition. She was starting from scratch with them, having to learn each one's conversational style and personality. In that circumstance she was inclined to take as few interpersonal risks as was necessary until she had a clearer idea of how they'd react.
The one accompanied by...a child?...broke the silence first.
"My name is Saul, miss. I primarily use a bashing stick and in my own way I hunt the evil supernatural or arcane. Glad to have another friend of the legion with us. Once aboard the HMS Pinafore captain Barkley took a few new sailors aboard last minute before we left safe harbor. They turned out to be good luck. You miss are a welcome fortune."
Alecto quirked a small smile at that. "A miss fortune, you might say."
Experience indicated humor was a good tool for making positive impressions. Particularly mildly self-deprecating humor.
"This is Sara. We are about to head into the deep recesses of a hole drenched in the sweat of evil. If you bring strong emotions into it, it will tear you apart."
She lifted an eyebrow slightly, and nodded. "That will not be an issue, I assure you."
Then another, perhaps emboldened by the first, piped in.
“Hi, my name is Sinder, I provide support for the 1st, as far as heat. Though we do have lot of us that can provide that too, Lady Cory and Merl can do such.”
He then indicated his peculiar entourage.
“This is Darkness, yes we know, he looks evil but he takes orders from me. The robot horse is Starfire. Make sure you keep a safe distance form the fire and me.”
The mercenary nodded absently, "I'll keep that in mind."
She went to the robot horse and peered up at it curiously, reaching out a hand as if offering it to sniff. The way one might to a living horse. "Starfire."
Then she stepped back and looked the squad over. Her turn, perhaps.
"As you have heard by now, I am Alecto. Formerly..."
She hesitated just a second, then continued, "Former commanding officer of the Black Company mercenary company. My expertise is scout recon, close quarters combat, and heavy weapon support. I understand many of you may have heard negative things about my company. I will earn your trust, if you will extend to me the benefit of your doubt."
From there, Alecto stood guard over Cory silently, observing the team dynamic, the capabilities they showed in dealing with the challenge of the webbing, and following the commander's orders to protect 'the mystic.'