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Cordelia Hallis

The corporations helped me. They can help you, too. I'm happy. Trust me.

0 · 188 views · located in Infinity City

a character in “Neon Streets”, as played by mombie

Description

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Image C O R D E L I A x H A L L I S Image
Image Everything is fine. Let us help you. You'll see... everything will be fine. Image


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Image . B A S I C S . Image Image Image


§ . m o n i k e r ( s ) . Cordy (close friends), bitch, and many other expletives.

§ . g e n d e r . female

§ . a g e . 26

§ . s e x u a lx o r i e n t a t i o n . pansexual

§ . o r i g i n . Infinity slums

§ . r e l a t i o n s h i pxs t a t u s . married, with complications

§ . c o m p o s i t i o n . human with slight nano-tech modifications



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Image . A P P E A R A N C E .

§ . e y e s . sharp, icy, aquamarine

§ . h a i r . mid-back length, wavy, ranges from dark blonde to espresso

§ . h e i g h t . 5'7"

§ . w e i g h t . 126 lbs

§ . p h y s i q u e . svelte, womanly

§ . s k i n . fair

§ . s c a r s . none, as cosmetic surgery and nono-tech have become fairly non-invasive procedures

§ . d e s c r i p t i o n . Cordelia is beautiful, even if her personality paints her with a big ugly brush. However, she was not always so attractive. Thanks to the modern marvels of cosmetics, now one can achieve falseness with a more natural feel and appeal. Born to naturally carry a small B-Cup, and pretty much square, she has made a ton of changes to her body. The more she rose up the social ladder doing sex work, and other shifty odd jobs, the more she just so happened to have "filled out" her blouses. The world of a 1%-er couldn't possibly ask for more alterations, more of this, more of that - all for appearance in the public eye and the pictures. So, she has made every amendment to her looks to the point where her own family doesn't even recognize her. While she's no android, her femininity is perfection from the crown of her hair to the tips of her toes. However, make no mistake, access to money also means more availability of those that are willing to help her train her body to be physically appealing as dictated by high-society in these times. She is physically fit, but she won't be kicking anyone's ass anytime soon.

Her style of dress is opulant, elegant, sleek. She is not a business woman like her dear husband, but she is required to look like the wife of Infinity's most elite. While her husband deals in the business of clean water, she has her own thing - a reality television show and fashion line that she uses to create her own look. Nothing short but glamorous, she can be heard click-clacking in obnoxiously long heels that compliment a knee-length pencil skirt and an all-too revealing top. Her fashion is the talk of the world of the Sun, the rich ones, and part of the seething rage of those left in the shadows.



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Image . C H A R A C T E R .

§ . d e m e a n o r . charismatic, out of it - or so it would be described by others

§ . f e a r s . that she has become something she doesn't recognize, the elite world is too dangerous for her, she will be killed by Infinity's up and coming revolution

§ . v i c e ( s) . sex, mind-altering drugs, alcohol

§ . d i s l i k e s . her husband, being left out

§ . f l a w s . her parents swear she is brainwashed by the drugs she is given, a lack of education made her gullible and prone to the manipulations of the Elite

§ . s t r e n g t h s . physically beautiful, chaismatic, inate fashion sense

§ . p e r s o n a l i t y . Growing up, Cordelia knew the dark streets of Infinity's vicious and unforgiving underbelly very well. She knew its crime, gangs, where the rich go to get their fixes in secret, how to get around, where to be. Once upon a time, believe it or not, she had a mind of her own - a burning desire to do more for those that were left to rot in the shadows left in the wake of government negligence and corporate greed. The goal of climbing up the social ladder was not to become a rich snob but to help start a revolution from within. That was Cordelia, the heart of a lion and the gentleness of a puppy.

Yet, something in her changed once she married into the elite. After indulging in the sweet decadence of society's rich and famous, mind-altering drugs started to change her utterly. What she used to be to her friends and family disappeared dramatically, and her speech became drone-like, her smiles to the point that they were near to that of an android. Everything started to appear practiced and rehearsed as if all was absent - free-will, thought - but she isn't aware of it. Blissful ignorance would be a term to describe this. Now she is a voice against the revolution. Some of her cosmetic surgeries have unknowingly implanted controlling nano-technologies in her system, and a steady supply of mind-altering drugs keeps her leashed by her masters.

Cordelia is all-too-happy to indulge in things that have always been wildly out of character. The elite has her in nearly cultish obedience, and while the public sees her as a nasty, slutty wanderer that dug her gold-digging teeth into a rich man, her husband has always invited men to come and play. After all, when one has a ton of money, what's a woman but a prize? He allows her to keep her fashion line and her heavily monitored and scripted reality television show, but she's his to do with as he pleases. Her words are his words, always. She might as well as be an android, and there are even rumors that she may, in fact, be one.



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Image . A B I L I T I E S .


§ . s t r e n g t h s . nano-tech pheromone enhancement, inhumanly alluring, entertainment figure, afluent

§ . w e a k n e s s . not physically weak persay; typical strength, heavily brainwashed, manipulatable, not her own person

§ . p h y s i c a lx c o n d i t i o n i n g . Cordelia works out daily with trainers that help her focus on physique perfection. That, in turn, comes with the benefit of strength conditioning. However, she is not strong enough to brawl her way out of a situation. She can probably kick the ass of someone her size, but even that seems unlikely.

§ . p h e r o m o n e s . As part of one of many enhancements, Cordy was injected with nano-tech that makes her sweat with pheromones designed to lure, attract, and just makes people want her. It is indiscriminate of gender, however, as typical - it doesn't work on non-organic lifeforms.

§ . c o s m e t i c . It is still termed "Plastic Surgery" despite the cosmetic procedures elevating from silicone to a now more lifelike function that includes reduplication of fat cells limited to certain areas, such as the breasts in her case. The nano-tech is part of a costly operation that is implanted in desirable areas to maintain and regulate a certain density and mass. They look and feel natural, and they are, by all means - as natural as cosmetic procedures have ever come. She has gone from a small B-Cup to a larger C.

§ . t e l e v i s i o n . Cordelia is part of a TV Reality show. Unbeknownst to the public (save for those suspecting individuals that love their conspiracy theories), it is government-controlled. The sole purpose of this program is to highlight the rags-to-riches story of the now-famous fashionista and impart a sense of normalcy and familiarity with the common people of Infinity.

§ . v o i c e . She is the so-called voice of a woman that once thought the upper-class deserted everyone else, to more of an anti-revolutionary that paints the elite as a misunderstood class. She is always on the news, talk shows, and more - a mouthpiece for the upper class as a means to shift focus away from the rumored revolution and downplay the self-importance and neglect toward those beneath them.

§ . g p s . Everyone that is someone knows where she is at all times. She has a tracker implanted during a cosmetic procedure, unknown to her, as part of the nano-tech for her breast augmentation. The government knows, the elite knows. Just in case she finds herself with her own thoughts...


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Image . H I S T O R Y .

While Cordelia's story seems fake to most people, it is very real. The worst part is that not only is it the absolute truth, but what is not seen beneath the corporate and government-controlled scripts is dark. It's dark as hell, and she doesn't even know it. At least, not consciously.

The story of Cordelia begins in the underbelly of Infinity - the slums, with two parents and a few older siblings. She'd eventually have younger siblings as well, and a household that was far too large to manage financially. Her mother and father finally underwent black market sterilization with birth control being too expensive to afford. As a child, Cordelia spent much of her childhood amongst friends because she had a sweet charismatic charm and people just enjoyed being around her. At an early age, she had a strong sense of justice, and she just knew that things had to change. Life could be better for everyone. Something was wrong up there, and many might call her a conspiracy theorist. In fact, she'd make a name for herself as a conspiracy theorist - mocked by many, loathed by the elite, and secretly admired by budding revolutionaries. She was still small and her influence was growing at a slow pace.

To earn money, she was forced into sex work by her family. It paid well, and while Cordelia never filled out any of her blouses, people paid for what they could get. At least she was pretty. Her mother was in the same profession, but they went to different brothels to avoid the awkwardness. It was also just better that way - the less mom knew, the better.

Her ideas managed to sneak their way into the elite circles, and they sent a man to claim her. Under the guise as a guy that wanted to take her away, the man that she believes she is totally enamored with, played on her vulnerabilities for months. He even gave the family money, helped them out. All that funding vanished once they got married and he snatched her up. Cordelia was eventually brought into the elite fold, plastered with mind-altering substances, forced to endure procedures that would give corporate control over her, and more - she started to believe that the person she is now is the person she's always been. She's lost many of her memories of the past through careful brainwashing and drugs, and her husband keeps her on a loose but extremely tight leash. He allows her to believe that she has her own television show, her own fashion line... her own free will to have sex as she pleases. However, everything is given to her. Everything.

To corporate, she is an unknowing slave. To the revolutionaries on the ground getting ready to fight for justice, she is a symbol of opposition. Her words have such sway over people that they have actually eased minds enough to suppress some revolutionaries, but not all. To her childhood friends, something is wrong. The feeling that she is being used has settled heavily in their guts. Yet, she is perfectly happy. At least...

... that's what they want her to think.



coding x mombie | fc x barbara palvin | hex x D89F98

So begins...

Cordelia Hallis's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cordelia Hallis Character Portrait: James Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Faith Walton Character Portrait: Angel Edwards Character Portrait: H.A.V.E.N. Character Portrait: Essie (SE-5984) Character Portrait: H.A.R.L.I.E Character Portrait: Kylar Worthington Character Portrait: Ezekiel Cartwright Character Portrait: John Cross

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M I L E S CAAL
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miles' home/workshop • outfit#35404F
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A hundred years of peace and prosperity in Infinity City. That’s what was being celebrated. Not everyone cared about the celebrations; the parade would be held on the upper streets and floating walkways, so over half of the population wouldn’t even be able to see it unless they tuned into the transmission. For most of the city, this was just another bank holiday. The words “peace and prosperity” just didn’t ring true to those at ground level, it was just another day to be reminded of all they didn’t have. At least it wasn’t raining.

The decorations had been up for weeks (well, closer to ground level they’d only bothered to reprogram some of the signage to indicate the big day), and they’d really pulled out all the stops. There was no way to miss it, with a reminder around every corner. There would be parties, television specials, the news would probably run a story about it, as if the whole thing wasn’t just an empty celebration.

Well, that’s how Miles felt, anyway.

He’d seen the worst and the best that Infinity had to offer, and he wasn’t particularly impressed. His family had been built up and held to unrealistic standards, once. Lived high above the city. He didn’t remember living up there, among the clouds, but he still got glimpses of it occasionally. His work was one of the worst-kept secrets in town, and he built tech for all sorts. Sometimes he thought that he would have liked to have grown up higher in the dizzying expanse of the city, he felt a little robbed of it. His father’s greed had stolen the life he may have had. He could still craft his tech, though. He loved creating, using technology to manipulate the way he could think and see, and even feel. He didn’t mind the extra money some people were willing to pay to buy it off the market, either. Some people had a hard time trusting that companies were actually following regulation, and Miles understood that. It was easier to get back at a single guy than a faceless corporation if your tech failed you.

Business carried on as usual, for Miles. When you work all alone, a day off is rare. Even more rare when the nature of your work requires that you constantly do more work or you’ll lose everything and end up right back where you started.

Maybe that was the paranoia talking.

Either way, he liked to keep himself busy. Busy hands, busy mind, not as much time to think about everything that could go wrong.

He was just finishing up with a client, he’d had to learn how to install neurotech out of necessity; turns out, people who bought back alley tech often didn’t have a safe way to install it. He hated doing it, but knowing how definitely made it easier for him to test his pieces (mostly on himself), so he didn’t complain.

He liked to keep the television (at this point, it was almost just called that out of tradition) going in the other room, it provided some background noise, and blocked out most of the sounds of his work. Everyone on the street knew what he did, but it kept the police out of his business, and that was most of what he cared about. After finishing up his install, he noticed a familiar voice from the other room. Cordelia Hallis was a familiar voice (and face) to most everyone in Infinity. Miles just couldn’t stand to hear, or see, her anymore. Not when he could help it. He’d have to remember to turn it off.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cordelia Hallis

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#, as written by mombie
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c o r d e l i a x h a l l i s

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t h e x c o r p o r a t i o n
#D89F98 || Outfit || the news

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The face of corporate success, a rise from nothingness, is broadcasting across the city in this time of celebration. Cordelia used to scoff at this parade; it was a spit in the face of everyone who was suffering. She used to run around with her friends throwing down explicit graffiti giving the Elite a big fat middle finger. Now she stands there in a fancy office; her face plastered across the tall buildings and her voice being played loudly. She was everywhere now, smiling and standing side by side with her husband. She had become the very thing she used to loathe as an adolescent.

Her bright red lips spread wide in a smile - one that is practiced and rehearsed, fake and lacking sincerity. "On behalf of all of us," she began, and us had a sinister tone to it. It meant the Corporations, and they were more wicked than the government. More feared. Less trusted. "we will be donating half a million dollars to the Infinity Relief Organization for Needy Families." She stood there, her fingers steepled at the lap of soft rosy dress, looking like perfection - like a really creepy Stepford wife.

Her husband had his right hand at the small of her back, allowing her to speak "freely" because that's what she thought she was - free. For all she knew, these words were her words and she meant every one of them. To those that knew her before, she sounded like something warped and robotic. To those that never knew her, she's just a tool. A pretty face with a background that "inspired" hope. It worked, too, for some people. Young girls imitated her, and she was extremely popular among young girls and young women that needed to know that they could get out of their situation if they tried. But, of course, there are those that she couldn't fool. They could see easily through her facade that she is a charlatan, and her very face sparks conspiracy theories of mind control and Corporation control and brainwashing over Infinity.

She looked into the camera, her lips smiling and her voice warm and gentle, "We sincerely hope that we can help people just as it once helped me so long ago. With all of us working together, we can build a better Infinity. We can help each other. We can lift each other up in these times of hardship." She passes a glance over at her husband, a smile and brief kiss, just to show that they were a normal, loving couple.

Then the words that so many dreaded to hear left her lips. They were haunting, and so many things could be dwelling beneath the depths of each uttered syllable. They could mean anything. They could mean nothing. Yet, when she says them her head sort of tilts, and her smile grows a little wider. There is always just this second where her eyes blink a little more quickly, and her smile flinches. Most people don't catch these things at all, but some do. They are glitches in the nano-tech, and it usually meant that it was time for another dose of brainwashing. "Remember boys and girls, the corporations are here to help you."

The camera trains on her, and for a few seconds, she blinks and closes her eyes - blinks and closes them. It seems to have a sequence.

blink close open blink a half a second passes, close open close open close another half a second blink close open blink. S.O.S.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cordelia Hallis Character Portrait: Angel Edwards Character Portrait: Kylar Worthington Character Portrait: Ezekiel Cartwright

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Human-Cyborg // Attire & Mask // Hex: #800000

Oops I did it again, I
Forgot what I was losing my mind about
I only wrote this down to make you press rewind
And send a message, "I was young and a menace"
Young, young, young and a menace


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The ever droling sound of speeder cars and electro-trains buzzed about the city from above as life on the top floors flourished, while the sound of remote silence and never-ending and echoing footsteps came from below. The lower levels were an utter scum filled infestation of crime, violence, and revulsion. Something about that was as perfect of a place as any to set up multiple sanctions around the lower levels of Infinity. Least place the law enforcement would really want to go, as the further they went, the worse things got. Might as well use it to your advantage if people think you're dead, and stopped hunting you down for the first time in months. A figure sat along the railing of one of the middle levels as they looked up at the broadcast that was taking place. Cordelia fucking Hallis, in the god damn flesh, well, whatever remained of it anyway. Just the sight of that woman made their stomach turn, as well as always bring a yawn of borden to Kylar. If there was anyone else that they hated more than the military, it was Cordelia. Well, maybe hate was too harsh a word. Kylar sure had their grudges and distaste for plenty of people, Cordelia being one, it was more so of annoyance due to her very clear vocal opinion about the Revolution.

Something about the woman never sat well with them, and it has only been since has gone on, that Kylar has grown to have their own suspicions about the woman that married into the Elite. How is it that someone that came from nothing, became what she is now? Now wasn't the time to dwell on that. The figure shook their head as they slowly got to their feet, still standing on the metal railing with ease. Hands in their pockets as they looked around their surroundings.

"Remember boys and girls, the corporations are here to help you." the voice seemed to boom into their ears from above.

Kylar glared, studying the screen. Something didn't exactly seem right before the screen cut off from the broadcast. The way Cordelia seemed to act was, somewhat out of characteristic for her. Not that she had many character to begin with, but Kylar couldn't help but feel like it was odd. But they couldn't dwell on that now. They had their own job to do. The sound of a small beep alerted to them on an incoming call on their comlink. Pressing a small button on their wrist, it automatically connected to the small earpiece that they had. "Oh so now you decided to call me, huh? And to think, you just missed Cordelia's broadcast as well. Shame." Kylar quickly rattled off. Jumping off of the railing and into the main part of the small catwalk that they were on, "And as if you even had to ask if me if we were doing this. Of course we are. But first, I have a little surprise for the people above. Check it." Kylar said with a grin.

Kylar turned back to the direction of which the screen that had the broadcast not moments ago, pressing a few buttons on their wrist, four small drones seemed to appear out of nowhere. Slowly making their way to the screen, quickly deploying what first seemed like a gas or smoke across the screens. Which quickly turned and formed into a projected image, as thousands of mico-nanobots came together. Projected, in a large bold font was simply one word for all to see.

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A grin formed on their face, one way to piss off a whole group of people, proceed to vandalize and spread propaganda. Fight fire with fire, was slowly how things were beginning to go. As much as Ky may not have liked it, if the humans wanted to start something, then let them come across some anarchy. Even if it was more of a petty move than outright sign of violence, for now it would do. Looking back at the small hologram of Angel, Ky gave a small salute. "Up to you now, partner. I shall be catching you later." Kylar said with a chuckle, knowing full well what Angel's next question was going to be. "I got a race to get to, don't you remember? You're a big guy that can take care of your end of things here. I have that much faith in you to not mess things up. So, goodluck, buddy! Tell me how things go when you're finished!" Ky said as they quickly disconnected the call, not giving Angel much time to argue.

Looking back, they gave a large figure who was dressed in a full-body suit of armor a smile, "Don't go giving me that look. Okay? I did my part here. Besides, these races don't take forever like they used to. I'll be back at the hangout before you even begin to miss me. So, deuces!" Ky said as they gave the android a salute, and quickly dove off the side of the railing and down below. A medium-sized hoverboard was quickly deployed from what seemed like a small cube-shaped object, and Kylar landed on it with ease, quickly regaining their balance. They needed to get to the race quickly, taking the back ends of the lower levels and sticking to the less crowded places.







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Revolutionary-Android // Armor // Hex: #104291

Woke up on the wrong side of reality
And there's a madness that's just coursing right through me
And as far as the time, far as the time
Not sure I'm there yet but I'm certain I've arrived


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Hours of relative peace and quiet were something he had originally planned on and wanted for the day. At least today. That was it. But he found himself being fulled away as Kylar wanted Fives to accompany them, for whatever reason. Was wanting to be left alone in peace for one day too much to ask? With a contemplated sigh, Ezekiel found himself getting dressed into the armor that Kylar profusely suggested he wear whenever they went out. It helped make him look tough and scary, Ky told him. But he knew the real reason. Ezekiel was by no means intimidating or scary on his own. And if they came across any sign of trouble, they'd be easy targets. But with the armor he was given, it helped to give him somewhat of an uphand with the intimidation factor, something the android couldn't say wasn't nice to have.

An hour later he found himself and Kylar standing in the shadows of some of the lower levels, simply standing out of sight as they watched the broadcast come on. Ezekiel had no disdain or distaste for Cordelia, if anything, he felt sorry for her. Or what he assumed sadness and pity felt like. He wasn't exactly sure why, but whenever he saw her face, he couldn't help but feel a bit of guilt. Even though he had nothing to do what happened to her, seeing what became of her was, saddening to say the least. She wasn't even fully a human anymore, that much was obvious, and no matter how much the others told him to forget about it, he couldn't fully let it go.

Silently he stood a few feet away from Kylar, hands clasped neatly and tightly behind his back as he stood. Simply watching everything take place around him. The armor he wore always made him feel much smaller than he was, as well as somewhat claustrophobic, as he never did do well with tight spaces. but with the modifications Ky made to the suit, he couldn't entirely complain. It wasn't as tight as it was last time, and managed to be more breathable, something he appreciated. One thing he did always take note of from Kylar, whenever someone made a comment on something being too uncomfortable or tight, or not fitting right, without a word the person would find whatever the issue was would be fixed. Never vocally having to say they made changes or had worked on something to fit their needs. Zeke knew it was Ky's way of showing that they heard and listened, and in a way, cared. Even if they never said it out loud, for those that knew them, it was one of the small things that reminded others that Ky was indeed still human. Just had plenty of walls keeping themselves guarded.

Ezekiel was shaken out of his thoughts when Kylar spoke up, clearly talking to Angel about their plans, and watched as holographic images were yet again spread across the main square in the upper levels for all to see. Shaking his head, he guessed it was better than acting out in outright violence, like causing explosions or actual terrorist attacks like the Corporations and Military tried saying and equating them to. Ezekiel blinked when the conversation between Ky and Angel came to a rather abrupt end. Cocking his head to the side when Ky told him not to look at them like that, and that they wouldn't be back too late. "But Ky wait I-" was all the android was able to get out before Kylar jumped off the railing and fell down below. Taking off like a bullet on one of their hoverboards. The android sighed, shaking his head once more as he was now left alone, in the middle of the city. He'd have to make his way back to their main place of operations, and it was sadly a long walk from where he was now left alone. "Didn't even have the common decency to give me a ride back home?" the android muttered to himself as he turned and began to make his way back to the apartment. He didn't even want to come outside today, yet here he was. Now left alone to his thoughts. Fantastic.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cordelia Hallis Character Portrait: Faith Walton Character Portrait: Angel Edwards Character Portrait: Essie (SE-5984) Character Portrait: Yuri Capra Character Portrait: Ezekiel Cartwright

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━━━━━━━━━━━━━ESSIE SE-5984
attireX#9096aeXyuri's placeXXXXXXXXXXXX

she might get lonely at times, but that was to be expected.
XXXXXXXXXXthat was her true purpose in life.XXXXXXXXXX
he was a mere background character in other people's lives.


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━━━━━━━━━━━━━━YURI CAPRA
outfitX#a70000Xyuri's placeXXXXXXXXXXXX

tell stories. sad stories about bodies stolen, bodies no longer here.
xenraging stories about the false images, devastating lies, untold violence. x
bold, brash stories about reclaiming our bodies and changing the world.


━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
the parade was not something Yuri had wanted to attend- she saw little reason to celebrate, and the elaborate and expensive nature of the celebrations only sought to reestablish a clear financial gap. The government could afford to spend millions of dollars on elaborate lightworks and performances- less so on tackling their precious city's rampant poverty. It was insincere, and the falseness of the event tasted like salt on her tongue.

but she had to be here, if not for herself, then for what she stood for. It was the most highly televised event since her 'accident,' and since then, she had become something of a symbol. She was a whistle blower, the whistleblower. But more importantly to the people of Infinity, she was a sign of failure. A voice that the Powers That Be had unsuccessfully attempted to smother in fire and blood. Most targets went silently, but her miraculous survival had prompted rumours and hearsays, most of which miraculously pointed in the right direction. Her tragic accident had become an unconfirmed assassination attempt, and now there was little They could do, else prove the conspiracy theorists correct.

and so she stood in the crowd, strong of stance and expression, leaning into the discomfort of curious eyes. She was used to fame, but it was different now. Danger had never really registered with her before- but now she could seldom sleep without remembering the smell of her own flesh burning black.

the presence of Essie beside her was ironically comforting, considering the android's role in her trauma. Perhaps it was Essie's curiosity that softened the tension of the parade, or maybe Yuri simply felt safer knowing that the planet's most affective combatant droid was acting as her volunteer bodyguard.

maybe both.

On behalf of all of us, we will be donating half a million dollars to the Infinity Relief Organization for Needy Families."

the familiar voice brought her back to centre, and she looked up at the screens, and the woman present on them, with a sombre expression. She looked so different, it was hard to recognise her now. Every rough edge had been sanded to smooth, every mar erased from existence. She looked like a doll, but she played like a puppet, spouting government-friendly soundbites, and disingenuous conciliations.

even her eyes were completely-

blink

Yuri paused, stepping toward the screen, watching with intent.

"Essie, did you catch that?"

"The speech? It's recorded in my memory bank, yes. However, considering it's propagandist nature I wouldn't recommend-"

"Not the speech, her face- her blinking, I mean."

"No, sorry, I was distracted by the attempted indoctrination- a moment, please." As Yuri's gaze remained locked on her old friend, Cordelia Hallis, Essie's glazed over for just a second. Indiscernible to any onlooker, she searched through her recent memories, replaying the speech's conclusion.

"It seems she was blinking in code. Morse, presumably. She said-"

"S.O.S." Yuri's voice was a whisper, her head rife with contradicting emotions. Relief washed over all the rest; after all these years, her friend was still in there.

"We have to get her out of there. I don't know how, but we have to."

Essie had no opportunity to respond, any reply she may have had was drowned out by gasps and screams, and nanobots collected at the stage, and words formed, red and bright: Menace.

People had begun to panic at the sight, but Essie remained seemingly unaffected by the drama, her gaze hooked to the stage where Cordelia still stood. She looked to Yuri.

"She needs us to 'save her soul,' yes?" "Huh?" Yuri blinked, disarmed by the sudden turn of events, and Essie responded with a resolute smile, "Then I shall."

She took off towards Cordelia, moving through the crowd like a dancer, all smoothness and grace. The woman's blinking replayed over and over in her memory bank, and had done so since it was first drawn to her attention.

Save our souls. As an android, she didn't have a soul of her own, but she was eager nonetheless, to see what one looked like.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cordelia Hallis Character Portrait: H.A.V.E.N. Character Portrait: Ozric Slade

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Even down in the slums, the noise of the parade echoed throughout the alleys. It was a celebration that no one on these lower streets cared to celebrate. One hundred years of what? A corrupt city ran by corporate overlords. You'd think they would get used to the sound, the propaganda posted on every screen and holo from the slums to the clouds. Every broadcast showed the celebration. There was no way to avoid it unless you were deaf and blind. Unfortunately, she wasn't.

Emerald City was empty. Sure, the music still played and lights pulsed. But the seats were empty. No one lingered by the bar or lounged around the stage. The occasional android would wonder past, disappearing into the back. Haven stood next to the door like a sentinel, her arms crossed over her chest, her body an inch from the wall.

Somehow the pomp and circumstance still managed to be heard over the electronic music that buzzed on the speakers. She managed to tolerate the bombardment of noise for nearly a half an hour before she finally walked over to the DJ booth and turned down the music. Could androids get headaches? Haven wasn't sure, but what she's heard of them, she didn't care to find out. She had no control over the proceedings up above them but the volume of the music was within her power.

With the music a dull roar, the television mounted above the bar caught her attention. Before then, she hadn't noticed that it ever had the volume on in the first place. No one could ever tell when the music was so loud you nearly had to shout in your companions' ears to hold a conversation. Broadcasting on the screen was the same thing that repeated throughout the streets, subtle echoes could be heard between the celebration and the recording before her.

Front and center for the entirety of Infinity City to see was Cordelia Hallis. "On behalf of all of us." The speech began. Haven slowly approached the bar as she watched, resting her forearms on the edge of the counter. "We will be donating half a million dollars to the Infinity Relief Organization for Needy Families."

Ozric slowly came through the door that lead to the back with a holo-pad in his hand, scanning through a list of black market parts looking for something to aid the most recent android to join them. He had mastered the art of deafening himself to the noises of the city. He knew about the celebration going on, the city made sure no one forgot about it. But that didn't mean he had to celebrate. Oz had zero intentions of paying attention to it or the broadcast until the slight sound of Haven's voice caused him to look up. "What?" he asked, not hearing her clearly the first time.

"Do you believe they mean it?" Haven reiterated as she pointed at the broadcast.

He let out a soft sigh as he diverted towards her, stepping up to the bar and setting the holo-pad down on the counter. It didn't seem Oz was going to be able to avoid it this year. He hesitated a moment before looking up at the screen, seeing Cordelia dressed like a doll before the city.

"We sincerely hope that we can help people just as it once helped me so long ago. With all of us working together, we can build a better Infinity. We can help each other. We can lift each other up in these times of hardship."

Ozric managed to chuckle and shake his head as the words left her forced lips to echo throughout the city. "I spent my whole life on these streets and I've not received a penny of 'Infinity's help,'" he mocked.

Haven's brows furrowed slightly. "Is that a no?" she asked. Although her sentience fooled many humans, in some aspects she was still so naive. Sarcasm or evading direct answers still didn't quite register with her sometimes. But Ozric was patient, with her and all the others.

He grabbed his holo-pad before turning around to face her. "No. That money will be funneled down through the corporations until it runs dry. I doubt it'd even stretch halfway to the slums."

Oz gentled patted her shoulder before he turned away. As he walked toward the backroom, Haven returned her gaze to the television as Cordelia finished her speech. "Remember boys and girls, the corporations are here to help you."

As he descended the steps, he shook his head at the closing words. "Boys and girls... They don't even see as equals. We're fucking children," Ozric mumbled under his breath.

"You know her?" Haven turned toward him as he walked away. She wasn't an interrogation droid, but she spent enough time around people to read their body language, at least moderately.

His footsteps slowed until Ozric came to a full stop a few feet before the door. He didn't turn to look at Haven as he responded, maybe part of it was because he knew she'd be able to read him if she saw his face. "... I used to."

"Does it pain you to know that she has been brainwashed? Haven asked plainly. To her eyes it was obvious. It seemed that anyone should have been noticing how the way she acted was bizarre for a human. If an android did that, she wouldn't have thought twice. But to the best of her knowledge, Cordelia was, in fact, human.

It was then that Ozric slowly glanced over his shoulder toward her. Although he didn't say anything, his face showed slight confusion and even a bit surprised. "If she is, then it's her own doing."

Haven lightly tapped her fingers on the bar before she started back towards her post. "Then I gather that her signaling S.O.S. does not concern you?"

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cordelia Hallis Character Portrait: Astrid

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Infinity was a rough place for a lone android, though Astrid had personally found that the further down you went, the less people noticed you. Maybe because they felt like the rich looked down on them as lesser. They felt less human than those living up in their ivory towers… Or, at least, they felt like the rich thought of them as less human. Astrid wasn’t presumptuous enough to suggest this to any of the people she encountered (and she, like most androids, was programmed to be non offensive; so even if she was presumptuous, she couldn’t suggest it), but a part of her felt like she was right. Still, humans were so very sensitive on matters of their own humanity. As if the very thing that makes humans, well, humans, could be changed.

Astrid was, once again, all on her own. She’d been recently picked up by a less than gentle gentleman, but he and his friends quickly dumped her back on the streets when they realized that she didn’t possess the anatomy they had wanted her for. Before that, she’d lived with an elderly woman. That had been one of the better places she could remember. Astrid knew she had good memories, once, but they were gone now.

Now she stood, watching a broadcast of Cordelia Hallis. Most of the people on the lower portions of the city weren’t taking much time out of their day to listen; the broadcasts always seemed to be much of the same. ’Trust us,’ they said,’ we only want to do what’s best for you.’ Astrid supposed that could be true, but scanning the faces of the people around her, she saw mostly anxiety, fear, anger. Humans wore emotions on their faces so clearly. Or maybe it was her programming. She didn’t muse on it for long, there were other things to be worried about. Mrs. Hallis’ strange behavior, for starters. Astrid wasn’t convinced that the woman wasn’t an android (and there was plenty of gossip that seemed to indicate that others agreed with her), and if that was the case, maybe she was due for an update.

From where she stood, Cordelia’s words seemed to spark anger in the people, but Astrid thought it seemed like she believed them. Like those words were genuine. Besides, Astrid wanted to watch the parade. There was some ghost of a memory, something there that reminded her that someone she’d once cared for like parades. So she supposed she liked them, too.

A small commotion started to rise up. Some vandalism had occurred, painting a single word on the largest screen in this part of the city. ‘Menace.’ Astrid wasn’t sure what that was supposed to mean, but the people in the crowd certainly did. It started in murmurings, and slowly began to build up to yelling and shouting. It struck Astrid that this likely wasn’t part of the day’s festivities, and she decided it was time for her to go. Or, it would have been, had she not been caught in the crowd. She was being pushed around rather effectively, and her programming was forbidding her from pushing back, or doing much else besides stand there and let herself be all but trampled as people hurried forwards to get a better view. “I’m sorry,” Astrid said, voice calm and pleasant, as people ran into her, shoved her aside, “Pardon me, I-” She turned as she was pushed into someone else, “I apologize, my intentions were not to-” Again, she was pushed aside, this time with just enough force to send her to the ground. She heard someone complain about the uselessness of androids, how they only got in the way in these situations. She was in the way, wasn’t she? “Sorry…”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cordelia Hallis Character Portrait: James Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: Faith Walton Character Portrait: Angel Edwards Character Portrait: H.A.V.E.N. Character Portrait: Ozric Slade Character Portrait: Essie (SE-5984) Character Portrait: Yuri Capra Character Portrait: Kylar Worthington Character Portrait: Ezekiel Cartwright

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Astrid knew she needed to get out of the way, people were still bumping into her left and right; some were leaving, others were trying to get a better look at one thing or another. It was overwhelming, trying to pinpoint an opening so she could just get out of everyone’s way. She was always causing problems, wasn’t she? Maybe that’s why everyone sends me away.

She had just found a way, and just needed a moment to get through, when it happened. There was a loud boom, and a lot of screaming. Suddenly, all she seemed to be able to process was the fear of everyone around her. She quickly looked around: people were running away, now. Maybe back home. Maybe just as far away as they could get. There was another explosion. It wasn’t safe here, was it? She needed to go, but the fear everyone felt… It was just her programming, but she felt the intense need to protect the humans around. They were frightened, and it was only getting worse with every passing moment.

She didn’t know if it was being broadcast over the speakers, or just in her mind, but she heard an overwhelming chorus of, “Stay calm. We have everything under control.” It didn’t look like everything was under control, but Astrid knew that was what they always said. If the powers that be couldn’t control a situation, they’d lose control of everything. Still, in control or not, there wasn’t anything Astrid could do. She wasn’t well-suited to crisis situations; she was a domestic droid.

Astrid caught sight of a little girl, presumably separated from her family, and all thoughts of retreating to the relative safety of the seedy underbelly of the city left her mind. Suddenly the only thing that felt right was helping the child. Caring for children was what she was programmed for, after all.

Then there were more people, who Astrid only recognised as being associates of the Alpire Corporation. What did they manufacturer? Weapons? They had arrived very quickly, Astrid thought, and immediately started cordoning off areas, ushering people away and to different places of the city. “Don’t worry,” They said, “We’re here to help you.” Maybe they’d been hired as private security.

There was some sort of weapon fire from somewhere above. Astrid couldn’t place it, but the Alpire Corp representatives certainly used the moment to keep corralling people along. Keeping order, it seemed, was the top priority.

Astrid was getting swept along with the crowd, weapons were still firing from, what sounded like, all directions. “Where are we going?”

“Don’t worry, ma’am,” Astrid could hardly tell if the person in question was a human under all of their armor. “There's a warehouse nearby where-” Then the person in question seemed to realize that Astrid was an android, “We don’t have the space for androids.”

A gesture was all it took to seal her fate, it seemed. Astrid was grabbed from behind, and deposited back into the middle of the square, to fend for herself. Something strong that she didn’t quite understand filled her, and she felt quite resigned to whatever was in store for her. She didn’t have anywhere to go, not really, so she figured that she would probably be shot down and then tossed on a scrap heap somewhere. She wasn’t just going to stand around, though. Maybe she could get lucky, find some place to hide… At least until this blew over. It couldn’t last forever.







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Even as Miles went to switch off the broadcast, it cut to a shot of the crowd on the ground. The city’s government loved to show off how well everyone got along when it suited them. Sometimes the news organizations played along, and some played nicer than others. Normally he wouldn’t care, if not for the fact that the crowd seemed to be pretty worked up. Surely that wasn’t the image Infinity City officials wanted to broadcast. The first explosion went off right before they cut the footage to some pre-recorded message of peace and prosperity, though that was quickly cut to make way for the coverage of the terrorist attack on the upper levels of the city. On the day they were meant to celebrate one hundred years of peace, no less.

Miles switched off the broadcast; he could hear the screaming and subsequent detonations over the gentle hum of the lights. Even so far beneath it all. It was quiet, and Miles couldn’t fully be sure if he was really hearing the commotion, or if someone nearby just had their television up too loud.. Subtle green lights raced along his veins, visible from just below his skin: the lights flashed yellow. He was distressed. It was strange, if he hadn’t known better, he may have said he didn’t recognise what he was feeling until then. But what was he meant to do in a situation like this? He supposed most people would be shutting themselves in their homes, which seemed like a reasonable response.

He elected to swing open his front door. There was chaos everywhere, people were running out and away from the center of the city. Did Miles know any of the people running past? Did it matter? Of course it mattered. He would let a friend take up shelter inside if they needed it.

Did he have any friends left?

He did. He knew he did. He had to.

cron