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The Age of Gifted

The Wasteland

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a part of The Age of Gifted, by Miss Echo.

An apocalyptic landscape, most of it is covered by ash, earning the nickname "The Ashland"

Miss Echo holds sovereignty over The Wasteland, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

969 readers have been here.

Setting

Default Location for The Gifteds
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The Wasteland

An apocalyptic landscape, most of it is covered by ash, earning the nickname "The Ashland"

Minimap

The Wasteland is a part of The Age of Gifted.

1 Places in The Wasteland:

33 Characters Here

Cadriel [6] Praises for our past triumphs are as feathers to a dead bird.
Skip III [5] :D
Jack Rousimoff [5] "Pick on someone your own size."
Rick Ronan [4] "If your belief is worth dying for, then it's worth killing for."
Nathan Chandler [3] Please don't call him Wolfy
Roderic Montana [2] Relentless.
Rick Ronin [2] "If your belief is worth dying for, it's worth killing for."
Makorai Saika [2] Bet you a kiss I can hit that.
Seth Ghysels [2] "A smile never hurt. If it did, we'd be using smiles to fight by now."
Oren Kovalenko [1] Biology, Bitchiness.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skip III Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Cadriel Character Portrait: Jack Rousimoff
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  1. possible wrong location

    by thebagel264
  2. possible wrong location

    by thebagel264
  3. Sorry about taking so long to reply, I've had finals and inventory at work. Aaand I put it in the wrong location. Dang it.

    by thebagel264

0.00 INK

Jack laid there on the floor, wondering what the hell was going on. He heard some footsteps coming with a metal clanking. Great. Was he in trouble now? Was someone going to take him away? He rolled over to see who was coming, feeling water and debris move under him. He wasn't so scared when he saw who was coming. A bandaged girl who only came up to his waist. Though, she still had the potential to cause him great harm. He didn't know what her gift was. She could burn him, zap him, mess with his head, or do something he'd never even seen before.

Her attention went from him to one of the men who was there before. The happier one, not the grumpy one. Jack didn't know why that guy was so grump, but he didn't like it. He didn't like grumpy people. What was his problem? At least the second man, who went by the name of Skip? Skip was a verb to Jack, but apparently this man's name. And apparently he wasn't the first one either, there were two before him. "What happened to the other two?"

Skip was much more graceful than Jack on the wet floor. While Jack had crashed and fallen, taking the wall with him, Skip's shoes only squeaked. He started to pick himself up off the floor. Jack rolled on his side to push himself to sit, and stood up from there. As he did, everything quickly went from being above him, to far below him. The two came up to his chest, and the bandaged girl came a touch above his waist. "Why ain't you a cute little thing." He would pinch her cheeks, but it might break her jaw seeing the state she's in. He looked to the damage he had done, and was surprised at the wide gash he left in the wall.

The glowing man was blabbering on and it was a bit too much for Jack to follow. A micro detonator? Wanderers? Helton curse? Before long his speech was over, and he was waving to him. Jack waved back, still confused. The grumpy one had started to leave, but must of changed his mind because he was just standing there. It didn't make much sense to Jack. Was this guy going to explode at him for breaking the wall? Who knew, maybe that micro detonator would explode first.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rick Ronan
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*(Location is near the Erubesco Citadel)*

Nightmares mixed with the pain associated with starvation kept waking Rick throughout the night. Now the sun illuminated the nearby town but Rick was in no hurry to get up out of his pile of ash in the nearby Wasteland. He wasn’t sure he had the strength to pull himself out of his “bed”.

‘What is the point of trying? If I succeed, then it would mean hours of mindless wandering…well…I should actually head toward that town,’ he thought to himself. ‘If it really is a town.’ Lately Rick couldn’t trust his perception of reality. While he lay there, face full of ash, two opposite images flashed before him. One was an image of the town, the other a gruesome swamp.

Rick closed his eyes to erase both images.

‘What is real? All of my memories seemed so real but now…’ he continued to think as he remembered the feel of plastic in the center of his chest. The item embedded in his chest all this time was some hunk of blue plastic instead of a powerful sapphire. That was just the beginning of his confusion. Each memory he had cracked, making room for a new memory that contradicted the other one.

The most shocking aspect was the complete loss of his powers. ‘Did I even have powers to begin with?’

He opened his eyes, the image of the swamp was gone leaving just the town in its wake. Making it likely that this image was the true one. Rick has gone stretches of time without rations many times before, but now he’d gone too long without food and probably wouldn’t last another day.

‘That town would have food and water, but it is so much easier to just lay here and wait for death…so…much…easier…’ he closed his eyes and waited.

“Ah…” Rick sighed opening his eyes once again. “Damn it!” he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t just lay there and die, he had to try to survive. Just like always. His past was shattered but his will to survive wasn’t. He positioned his left hand under his chest and kept his right hand by his face. With his remaining strength he pushed the uneven ground failing to lift himself up even slightly.
This failure only strengthened his resolved to live.

‘I’m not gravity’s bitch,’ he thought to himself. He tried again pushing with more strength than he realized he still had in the tank. This time his upper body lifted up off of the ground, ash clinging to his face and clothes. Rick brought his knees up under him and pushed himself up to a standing position. He’d done it.

Gravity seemed heavier than normal, no doubt due to his weakened state, and he had to fight just to keep standing. Rick brushed the ashes off him as best he could without using too much effort. Leaving him still fairly dirty but in doing so he noted something odd. His muscle tone was still intact. Instead of the skeleton like figure of a man whose body was eating itself, Rick retained the muscular physique of a weight lifter with a high protein diet. His black sleeveless shirt didn’t diminish how much his chest stuck out while his arms were just as strong looking as he remembered. His black shorts hid the strength of his lower body fairly well, but he could still see the muscle definition in his calves. His dirty black and blue sneakers completely hid his feet, but how strong could a foot look anyway?

Rick touched his short dirty blond hair at the front feeling it sticking up in that area. It wasn’t sticking up in a bed head kind of way but in a stylized way that could be done with static electricity. With the muscle definition and his hair sticking up at the front, Rick found a small glimmer of hope that he still had his powers somewhere locked inside him somewhere waiting to be unlocked.

In the mean time, he’d have to rely on only his perseverance to make it to the town. So he slowed drudged through the Wasteland.
An hour later he was there and he immediately regretted coming. Erubesco propaganda was everywhere. Though it could just be a town that supports Erubesco, but with Rick’s luck there is probably at least one Erubesco base nearby. Rick felt vulnerable just standing on the outskirts of the town since he was one of the founding members of the Wanderers. Not to mention the discomfort of not having any powers to protect himself with. After all, just the other day a random group of thugs beat him up, took his supplies, and killed his friend Belle. If he couldn’t handle random thugs then surely he couldn’t handle highly trained Erubesco soldiers. Erubesco wouldn’t care that he’d left the Wanderers and they definitely would still care about all of the death and destruction he caused them in the past. Erubesco wasn’t likely to take pity on him for being powerless, they’d probably capitalize on it instead.

Rick looked back at the Wasteland, the image of which flickered with the image of a massive grave yard with plenty of open graves. Turning back to the town, Rick’s vision flickered the image of Candy Land with giant pieces of meat cart-wheeling down the streets. Rick stood there watching the illusion play out the spectacle.

“Eh…close enough,” He said walking further into the town.

His speed was still sloth like from his weakening knees but he walked in a fortunate direction. His vision removed all traces of the false Candy Land and dancing meat products to reveal a convenient store of sorts. Rick went inside passing the front counter. The young lady behind it was quiet friendly, “Welcome back –oh I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else. But it’s always great to meet new people. I’m Shelby, what’s your name?” Shelby asked in a true morning person fashion.

Rick looked at her but didn’t stop walking, he didn’t mind being friendly but the need to survive dictated his actions. He was getting food NOW. Plus his name could be infamous around here so it was best not to use it. Lying always made Rick feel uncomfortable and he was bad it anyway so saying nothing was his default setting.

The lady was clearly upset by Rick’s rudeness but she didn’t say anything, she just watched him head over to the food aisle. Rick found himself with enough food to fill his belly and still have some left over for the trip out of the town. He thought back to the thugs and how they stole everything from him and left him to die. Rick settled for one meat stick, an apple, and a twenty ounce bottle of water.

Before anyone could say anything, Rick wolfed down the food and chugged the entirety of the water bottle. That small amount of food was enough to restore his strength to a decent level, thought it would be smart not to do anything too strenuous until he got more food. Eating such a small amount just made his stomach ache more in attempts to persuade him to keep eating. He resisted the urge to dive face first into the shelves of food and devour everything. Then he resisted that urge again while he threw his trash away in a nearby waste bin and found his way to a bin of maps. He opened one up and learned his surroundings as best he could. He could no longer afford to mindlessly travel to unknown destinations, he was lucky this time but next time he might just starve to death.

“Excuse me sir! You have to pay for those.” Shelby insisted from her position behind the counter.

‘Time to go,’ he thought to himself closing up the map. Rick walked back towards the front door, map in hand. Shelby insisted again but Rick didn’t stop. “I don’t have any money…sorry,” he did say.

“Hey you stop!” a man declared trying to stop Rick. Rick gave him a shove and the man fell backwards into a display of cookies.
Rick left the store in a hurry secretly proud that there was still enough strength in his body to jostle people out of his way, even if it still wasn’t super strength. Rick jogged down the street fast enough to get away but still retain as much of his renewed energy as possible.

Every foot fall angered Rick, the further he got from the convenient store the more he hated himself, and by the time he felt like he’d gotten away the more he was convinced that he needed to go back. His left foot hit the ground taking him off the sidewalk away from the main street.

Tucked away in an alley covered in shadows, he lingered quietly. Rick looked up at the morning sky but saw no light. Looking back down plunged him deeper into darkness. Looking around was pretty useless for he could hardly see anything.
Through the shroud he found ordinary things. There was a compact mirror with missing pieces of glass from its multiple cracks. Rick could see the banana peel on the ground, the army doll stripped of its uniform, and the overflowing dumpster.

“No. It’s not true. I’m still me,” Rick tried to assure himself.

‘Am I?’ he questioned himself with a flare up of rage. ‘This isn’t the first time that I’ve lost my powers but this is the first time that I’ve ran away to hide from danger,’ he reminded himself.

“This time…it feels…different,” Rick responded to himself out loud. Speaking his thoughts out loud in this manner was helpful for him. Doing this was the best way he could clarify his thoughts and if there was ever a time when he needed clarity, it was now.

‘It shouldn’t matter if it’s different. I am supposed to be a warrior with or without my powers. And yet here I am hiding from average town’s folk, being fearful of Erubesco, and letting those punks kill Belle. I let them kill Belle.’

Rick was quiet after that thought. His shoulders drooped, his heart sank, and his eyes cast down. “I know…” he admitted.
His stomach growled. Eating enough to survive another day isn’t satisfying at all. He didn’t care; he couldn’t care not while the thought of Belle was so fresh in his mind.

“I know…” he said plainly. The weight of that moment grew heavier on his psyche. “I know…” sadness crept into his tone. “I know…” he said, his body weakening. Rick could see that beautiful woman vividly die before his eyes.

A spark. It felt familiar yet altogether foreign.

His eye brows sank downward at the tips, his gaze sharpened. “I know, I know, I know, I know, I knowIknowIknowIknowIknowIknow I KNOW!” he exploded with passion. “I’ll get those punks! Right after I get my powers back! I will have them again I will! But in the mean time…I’m going to need to survive, I’m going to need to train my skills, I’m going to need a reliable food source, and I’m going to need to know more about electricity.”

The alleyway seemed to brighten in Rick’s eyes. He opened the map that was still tightly gripped in his hand. After looking at it for only a short period of time Rick confirmed his earlier prediction. Not far from this town is the Erubesco Citadel and everything else was Wasteland. The rest of the map provided little more useful information but it was enough to get him going on his mission.

“I’ll head in the opposite direction of the Citadel but I’m going to have to make do with living in this town until I’m ready to move on.” Rick decided his plan was good enough to start so he closed the map and folded it several times to make it pocket sized. With the map put away in his left pocket Rick stepped toward the exit of the alleyway with his right foot.

Before he could go, his blue eyes with the yellow tint around the pupils noticed the stripped army doll again. Lying next to it seemed to be a miniature plastic army boot. After looking at the doll for a second an urge welled up and he found himself walking over to the doll. Rick reached down and placed the boot on the doll’s right foot then sat it down against the wall of the alley. Stepping with his right foot, Rick walked away from the alley with new resolve.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seth Ghysels Character Portrait: Roderic Montana
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"To recall our previous lesson, the true bane of a teleporter is predictability." "For those that lack perception, the unknown is a blight of terror. For those who exist in the space that watches the outside world, a power such as that is an opening." He pointed skyward. "Above" The finger joined the other three, while his thumb pushed backwards. "Behind." "Left, Or right." "Very few expect their opponent to dissipate, then draw themselves together in the same place."

"This is a fake, and if used correctly, will make your movements unpredictable. Such action will result in possible anxiety of your enemy, giving you the edge, beyond this however." He gestured to the numerous hitting backs scattered around the room. "If you apply this feeling of anxiety to a wide group, flitting in and out of their perception, what was the affliction of one could become hysteria to a group. Bleeding the beast."

The hitting bags carried various gashes consistent with wounds received from a hatchet. Short, deep, and viciously applied. "Even with a minute wound, the slow throb of what you've left them with will remind them you are always there."

"Now, in a larger scale battle it is important to pick a point, removed from the conflict, to observe and aid our allies when possible. This can be done by guiding them away from enemy efforts, or putting your enemies in the way of these efforts."

"Remember that traps will be lain out, with the expectation you will do these things, by skilled adversaries. Any patterns in your movement will be noted and exploited."

The older males hair was tied back into a short ponytail, save a few thick strands that fell free on the left side of his face. Behind him was a clothing rack, and on it were several articles of his trademark clothing, complete with a wide brimmed hat, which was perched safely at the top. His gym wear was simple, a pair of shorts that stopped mid thigh, and a loose undervest, that left the sides of his chest, and rib-cage exposed.

"First, land a grievous blow on ten bags, then engage me before my blade is thrown to the target, if you fail to do so, you must teleport yourself, and the target before my blade makes contact. If you succeed, you are allowed to use your power thrice during the tenure of our fight."

"Ready yourself Seth."

Montana hand wrapped around the hilt of his thrown knife, snugly sheathed in it's thigh strap.

"Start!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Pelacour Character Portrait: Clockwork Pelacour Character Portrait: Spire Schippers Character Portrait: Hel
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“Alright then.” Soren wasn’t particularly surprised by Spire’s response- in all honesty, given the backgrounds of many of the Wanderers, he had expected for a fair portion of them to simply eat when they pleased instead of waiting for a proper mealtime. There were no luncheons out in the ash, nor were there any picnics or fine dining. To eat was survival, and starvation did not wait for anyone. It was a habit that he was sure would have clung for much longer, and a habit that he would have never held against them- but to his pleasant surprise, that was not the case.

Although exceptions weren’t exactly rare, either.

Still, he couldn’t help but tack on, “There should be some leftovers in the fridge, however, so feel free to help yourself when you’d like.” Merciless killer Spire might be, he was still a part of the group, and Soren’s well-meaning nature extended to all those within it. That said, it still did not do much to snuff the flare-up of hesitance when he picked up on Spire’s intentions this fine spring morning.

It was Clockwork who answered instead, the earlier light in her eyes having faded completely. “We haven’t seen Montana at all today, I’m afraid,” she said tonelessly. “Given the message he left on the doors, there is a chance you might find him in the training hall. As for Percival.” She gave an abrupt pause, glancing up at Soren before continuing. “The last we saw him, he had gone out into the city. Wanted to keep an eye out himself, he said.”

“If you do see him,” Soren added, “could you please tell him that breakfast is almost ready? He can be forgetful at times.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rick Ronan
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  1. I'll be happy to interact with any character, so feel free to bring anyone in.

    by darkshadowolf99
  2. There are libraries in Erubesco, actually. Books are too classy for them to give up so easily. :)

    by Miss Echo
  3. I didn't mean all of Erubesco just that town, but I'll edit it.

    by darkshadowolf99

0.00 INK

Out of the alley back on the main street, Rick didn’t see anyone who was obviously looking for him. No one was pursuing him for his very recent crime.

‘I guess I should consider myself lucky,’ he thought to himself. Remembering the map he stole, Rick walked eastward which was the opposite direction of where the Citadel is located. In the long run it wouldn’t make him much safer but it seemed to be safest direction to go, based on the little information he had. His map only had street names, major landmarks, and the rough location where the Wastelands were.

Food, information, and training were the three objectives for him to locate. Rick’s stomach rumbled, “Shut up,” Rick said punching himself in the gut. He winced for a moment not expecting the punch to hurt as much as it did.

He wandered on.

‘Apparently most of my pain tolerance came from my super strength, without it…I’ll have to build it back up the hard way.’ As he traveled through the business district of the town, Rick hit himself in the stomach with his fists. He didn’t hit himself real hard just with a consistent amount of force. It didn’t take long for a dull heated pain to develop in his stomach from the strikes. His stomach growled angrily in protest but Rick continued.

‘It’ll be worth it,’ he thought to himself. From time to time he switched up his target to his ribs, chest, and even his face. The people walking by stared at the strange man whom was beating himself. Rick wanted to be annoyed by the negative attention but he couldn’t blame them. ‘I must look pretty stupid,’ he admitted to himself.

Time passed and still Rick only found office buildings. No food stores, no martial arts dojo, and no library.

He stopped, ‘I need a new strategy…if I had my super strength I could leap high into the sky and take a look around or if I had my lightning powers then I could lightning propel myself around the town until I found what I was looking for…but then I wouldn’t to stay in this town in first place…’

Rick looked around; many of the office buildings were tall. One of the buildings had brick ledges underneath each window. Rick stepped up on the first ledge the length and width of which was just large enough for Rick’s frame. Though his heels did hang off the side a bit. The strength of the ledge seemed to be enough to hold his weight. Rick reached up above his head to grab the ledge of the window a level above him. He pushed off with his feet and pulled up with his arms.

Rick rested his chest on the ledge, he rested for a second before he pushed his body up high enough to get a foot up onto the ledge. He brought his second foot up as he pushed and pulled himself up. Rick held onto the frame of the window to steady himself as he got up. He repeated this process until he was halfway up the building, his limbs where starting to shake and his energy was nearly depleted.

The window he was in front of opened up suddenly, “What are you doing up here? Are you crazy?” a man asked from behind the open glass. The startled Rick didn’t know what to say. “Seriously man you’re going to get yourself killed. Come inside and walk down the steps to the ground floor,” the man insisted.

“I need to get to the roof, I’ll get there one way or another,” Rick responded with confidence.

“One way or another huh? If it’s all the same to you, why don’t you come inside and use the stairs to get to the roof?” the man asked.

Rick was taken aback by the suggestion, ‘It couldn’t be that easy,’ he thought to himself, his response to the man was in the same vein. “I wouldn’t be allowed to.”

“Did you try asking?”

“…”

“So instead of trying the simplest way, because you were afraid to ask, you just decided to try the dumbest most dangerous way instead?”

“…”

“Come on inside,” the man used his telepathy to pull Rick inside the building placing him gently feet first on the ground. He closed the window, locked it, and then gestured outward with his hand towards the stairs. “This way crazy man,” he led the way with Rick following not far behind. Rick stayed quiet deep in thought while they walked up the numerous steps.

The man escorted Rick to the top level to a large meeting room. “This isn’t the roof,” Rick said plainly.

“Well, you were right, we actually don’t allow people on the roof for no reason but since you are so determined I will offer you the next best thing.” The man unlocked the meeting room door letting them both inside. It was a standard meeting room full of chairs, a long table, and office supplies. The room also had many large windows on each side of the room allowing Rick to see out in all directions. “If you’re trying to kill yourself don’t bother, I’ll stop you with my telepathy,” the man informed Rick.

Rick went to the closest window immediately taking in the sights of the town. “It’s nothing like that…I’m just looking…” No matter which window he looked through Rick only saw more office buildings.

“Glad to hear it…find what you were looking for?” the man asked.

Rick stepped away from the window he was currently at, “No,” he said heading for the door. “Thanks for bringing me here anyway.”

“What were you looking for?”

“Nothing.”

“Seriously? You think that’s going to fly with me? I caught you scaling up the side of my work building; you must’ve been looking for something important. Come on crazy man, maybe I can help you find it.”

“…” Rick was looking at the man like he had three heads which were glowing with different colors.

“What? You’re afraid to ask again? Do you just prefer to do things the hard way or-”

“I’m just used to it,” Rick interrupted. “I…I’m looking for a library.” Rick’s stomach growled loudly. “And…a place where I can get some free food,” Rick added sheepishly.

The man pulled a smart phone out of his dress pants pocket quickly jumping onto the internet.

**** “Libraries are obsolete you should check out our Information Stations, they have top of the line technology and work like a high tech internet café,” the man informed Rick. Rick stared blankly at the man.

“Or…you could use a library…the closest one here is by the out skirts of town not far from the Citadel.”

“No.” Rick’s almost fearful reaction, or as fearful as Rick gets at least, earned a surprised look from the business man. Thinking quickly, “It’s too far. I need something closer.”

“Sorry there isn’t anything closer. Unless, you checkout an Information Station… it looks like there is one… at Jeffway Road and Crandwalk Avenue. You’re not going to find anything closer, do you want to know where that is?” *****

Rick opened his map holding it out to the man, “Can you show me on the map?” Rick asked.

“Look at that, you can ask for help. I’m proud of you.” He said taking the map before pulling out a clicky topped pen from his tailored suit pocket. The man, who clicked the top of the pen to open it, was in his forties looking successful and well-to-do. Even his pen was fancy looking.

“Okay, we are here,” he said showing Rick as he spoke. The man placed a black mark on the map indicating where they were now. “Over here is Jeffway Road and this is where it intersects with Crandwalk Avenue which is where the Information Station is, you’ll be able to get the same knowledge that you would from an old fashioned library but way more convenient.”

The man made another black mark on the map to indicate the Information Station. “As for free food you’re out of luck. Every food place requires payment. But if you’re truly desperate for food there might be one option you could try.” The man made another mark on the map that was much farther away from the other two marks. “If you find yourself down this way look up my old neighbors, they are a lonely old couple who lost all of their kids in the war. They might be willing to take you in for a few days in exchange for company. You’ll probably have to endure an earful of long tedious stories with no punch lines though. And if you ever need anything you can come by here and I’ll help you out however I can.”

Rick took back his map from the man, “Why did you help me and would you keep helping me?” he asked.

“Why not?” he answered.

The map was placed back inside Rick’s pocket. “Thank you.” Rick said simply as he left the room.

“Just ask for Andrew if you decide to come back!” the man called out.

Rick made his way down the steps and out the building. His destination was the Information Station but his mind was on Andrew and what just happened.

Rick’s view of the world and himself was starting to change.

Arriving at the Information Station, Rick found himself at a complete loss at what to do. There were about a dozen visors attached to big black metal boxes and twice as many laptops attached to a desk. He made his way further inside cringing slightly from his hunger pains. Rick walked past the few people who were situated by a desk and a machine. Rick looked around trying to find the books.

‘That Andrew guy said I could find books here. Or wait. No, he said that I could get information here just like a library,’ he reminded himself. ‘So could that mean there aren’t any books in this place?’ looking around verified his theory to be correct. There were no books in the room at all. ‘How am I supposed to learn about electricity, lightning, and martial arts without any books?’

What Rick didn’t know is that the laptops had access to the internet and the visors attached to the metal boxes were actually the latest in virtual reality learning software and both were more than capable of providing the information Rick was seeking.

Rick sat down in front of a random laptop and clutched his stomach while his stomach growled. Part of him wondered if he was in the wrong place.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nicola Varren Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Knight Saffir Fisher hadn't had the easiest few weeks.

Going from a happy enough, if rather dull stint at some tiny outpost where the most they saw most days was a feral dog tripping the motion detectors to having half her squad killed while she bled to death half crushed under a fallen locker.

After all that had taken place, the Citadel City seemed very strangely peaceful by comparison.

It had been her first time venturing outside since...the incident. At least partially because it had taken a good week or so for her to feel steady on her feet after getting her shredded spinal chord hastily put together by a healer. She could mostly feel all of her toes, and whilst the weakness she still felt was enough to excuse her from active duty for a while, there was only so long she could use it as an excuse to stay in the Citadel and avoid seeing people. Well. People aside from Mel.

Besides, it wasn't enjoyable or healthy to be stuck sitting around with too much time on her hands.
She would usually go and bother her squadmate under the guise of having something constructive to ask him, but Mel was busy with his strange new roommate, some morose-looking guy billeted there. Saff didn't feel any particular desire to join in on Mel's attempt to introduce the kid to the facilities of the Citadel, so going out to buy some much needed groceries seemed a good second option.

The young Knight, having donned some civilian clothes, strolled along one of the streets with a plastic bag full of groceries in each hand, and her brightly coloured headphones pulled up over her dyed hair. Military issue earpiece hung loose around her neck. It was protocol that she kept it on hand in case of an emergency callup...but it didn't say she had to keep it on...especially when her powers would let her pick up even minute activity on the thing without even lifting the phones. Sound manip was far from the most prestigious of abilities, but it did come with a few handy perks.

She was toying with the idea of picking up some coffee for her, Mel and his new roomie, on the basis that whatever stuff the Citadel catering bought in tasted like baby puke, and debating on if she should make sure emo guy didn't have some kind of dairy allergy, when something cross her path that made both bags of groceries collapse into the paving slabs at her feet. A pot of peach flavoured yoghurt rolled along the walkway, in the direction that Saffir had just seen the figure of Rick Ronin, the wanted terrorist, stroll into some shop. Like it was the most normal thing in the world.

Swallowing down the bile that rose in her throat from panic, the knightess veered hurriedly off her path, dashing into an alley off to one side from the building. Once there the sound of electronic music swiftly cut out as she wrenched down her headphones and fumbled with the communicator, ending up holding it to her ear with a shaky hand and snapping to the emergency channel.

"C-calling Emergency Channel. Knight Saffir Fisher c-calling in from city. Just logged my location on the system. Just s-sighted terrorist inside city. Rick Ronin. I repeat. He is inside the city at this location. How should I proceed?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Eugene Melberg Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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"Y-yes sir." Saff stammered out, her back pressed against the wall of the building.

Do not engage.

She wasn't supposed to go in and deal with this criminal.

But she couldn't go running away. Even if it didn't interfere with extraction, anyone running about and panicking might let on that erubescan command knew about the threat. The terrorist might start killing people. She had to try and keep it together until reinforcement arrived.

Blood pounded in Saffir's ears.

How could this be happening AGAIN? She'd only gone out to got some food. Now she was staring death in the face for a second time in as many weeks. Her hands were shaking and some of the litter at her feet started to pulse with infrasound...until with difficulty the knight reigned it in.

Once again fidgetting about with the communicator she started another call in, this time on ordinary channels.
"Mel? Mel are you there? It's Saff... I'm in west district and and..." Saff's voice trembled as she took a deep breath. SHe continued, whispering, even though she could find no-one remotely in earshot.
"There's a t-terrorist in the building here. The man who set the whole base on fire. I just c-called it in...I'm waiting for Citadel response..I...I.. " S
he broke off. She had no idea what to say about it. She wasn't sure how any of this was about to pan out. Frankly, she was terrified. Even if she wasn't potentially in direct firing line as military personnel, the collateral damage Ronin caused was enough to mean her life was at risk. She half expected the building to cave in on itself or be engulfed in flames at any moment. The Knight was filled with an acute awareness that this could be her last call to...anybody, and felt a little ashamed that she had nothing more profound to say that a halting retelling and stammering.

Movies had undoubtedly lied about the concept that there was any honour in death.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Chandler Character Portrait: Piper Kolert
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Nathan blinked at the apology and was quick to hold up a hand in reassurance. "Oh, no, it's fine. I've had people ask me that before." He replied, running a hand through his hair awkwardly. "I was injured out in the field. Explosion, I believe. Woke up in the medical bay with no memory of anything before that. Now things just pop up occasionally with my migraines." He looked down at his food quietly. Despite having been asked before, it was still strange talking about it. It made his head hurt to think about the accident.

"Anyway, I forgot to ask you about your story. You told me it was sort of similar, right?" He asked. Before he could get an answer, though, Commander Botrelle's call came in through his earpiece. Immediately he was sitting up straight and listening in. His eyes narrowed at the mention of Ronin, and he stood up as the message ended. He looked at Piper.

"Sorry, but I need to go. I've just been drafted." He explained. "Talk later?" He looked at her apologetically in question before heading out of the dining hall. He made a quick trip to his room to put on civilian clothes before heading towards the teleportation bay.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Makorai Saika Character Portrait: Cadriel
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They all said day drinking was a problem. A day drunk, Erubescian sniper was a liability, and that anything ANYTHING could happen. Anything, to Makorai, was the countless ring of endless problems that those much more responsible, and paranoid than he, worried about. Nothing really worried him, so Anything worrying him would be a bit redundant in his eyes. So Makorai, armed with the mental safety of Nothing against the Neurotic Anything had decided to start drinking at roughly nine'o'clock sharp. The first sip promised him a healthy buzz by Nine Thirty, and a comfortable drunk by quarter to eleven.

Makorai's usual eleven'o'cock spot was the canteen, he was much more an extrovert then introvert, and the joys and misery of daily life, in his opinion at least, was best spent with people you probably couldn't stand having a conversation with sober. Lately however, he had found himself in Cadriel's maintenance closet. Well, 'Found himself' probably wasn't as appropriate as 'Cadriel found him passed out on top of her cleaning supplies', but that first meeting had sparked a conversation that turned into what Makorai would consider a friendship.

So, from time to time he'd skip out on the canteen to express his disillusionment with their mutual employers, and listen to her woes with a drunken ear that was reserved for people he enjoyed. Unfortunately, it seemed the main ingredient in his mid morning cocktail, was missing, and something, or someone was holding Caddie up.

Makorai was not a completely even person sober, and much less so after having a few bumpers in his system. Their previous conversations had given him context to her daily routine, and he swore to the spirits around him if someone was spouting vitriol in her direction he'd give them the firmest part of his dissatisfaction.

"Yo!...." His face grew more contemplative, the first of the mass message had been sent to his communicator.

No way.

Fucking /Rick/

He laughed. There in the hallway, not the bitter laugh he laughed for his fallen comrades, and not the jovial laugh that expressed his happiness. He just laughed the the absurdity of what he was hearing. Rick. In the Citadel. What the fuck.

He was laughing as he fell into the wall and slid to the armoury, to promptly slide back out when he remembered he had been given clearance to store his weapon and it's attachments in his room.

Then he slid back when he realized that privileged had been revoked.

"Jeff."

The quartermasters name was not Jeff, or ever Jeff.

"Jeff..it's important. Commander /Botrelle/, yep, yep."

With a name that demanded respect, Jeff had no choice but to accept Jeff as his name, and wait for the moment he could wipe that smug look off of Makorai's face the next time he predictably lost pieces of his gear and came crawling back ten minutes before morning bugle.


He was assembling his rig with a level of affinity that transcended the mental state he was in. A dual mounted scope to brag about the peculiar, but efficient way his eyes processed stimuli. The bolt action didn't exist only to load larger caliber rounds in the chamber, but to signify that he only needed a single shot to accomplish what most did in a handful. It was a collar flair around the coat of skill he wore proudly with his swaggering walk.

"Loud and clear Commander."

He walked to the teleportation area, sniper in its case and threw up a hasty salute.

"Night Makorai reporting for duty."

Did he catch his slur? Sure a shit hoped so.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rick Ronan
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  1. Saff is supposed to be the lady with the cell phone that Rick sees.

    by darkshadowolf99
  2. Saff dashed off into an alley before making the call though?

    by ianna_334
  3. After I wrote the post I had a feeling that Saff wouldn't be visible to Rick. I'm glad I left it anonymous.

    by Anonymous

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GRrrWllll!

Rick’s stomach growled earning it another swift punch. A young lady nearby noticed the commotion and spectacle but stayed quiet. Rick noticed her but didn’t pay her much mind. He looked back at the laptop in front of him, black and slender. The machine was closed much like all the other ones that weren’t in use. The ones that were in use were open.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a blue screen, Rick turned toward it seeing the open laptop of a young man getting ready to play some internet games. Rick looked back at the machine before him then back at the young man’s machine. He looked at the young lady’s machine as well before looking back at his again. He lifted the front to an upright position revealing the true nature of the machine to him.

‘It’s a computer, a smaller version of those large desktop computers back at the gifted boarding school,’ he thought to himself. Rick’s memory of sitting inside the boarding school’s computer lab learning how to write a term paper cracked, splintering into many fragments. That memory was replaced by a different memory, one where he saw Erubesco scientists typing away on nearby computers while other scientists stuck needles of experimental liquid into him. That memory was replaced by one of him standing outside an electronics store. Rick was looking through the window to see one of the store employees demonstrating how a computer works to a customer.

The splintered memories caused pain to swell up in his head; Rick winced and shut his eyes as he tried to push all three memories to the back of his mind. When his eyes opened moments later his hands were on his face and his breathing was erratic. He dropped his hands to his lap revealing the young lady staring at him with a concerned yet puzzled look. Rick looked away from her deciding to focus on the open computer in front of him.

‘Which memories are real and which are fake?’ he asked himself. Rick sighed knowing that there was no real way to know.

His breathing returned to normal and he turned on the computer, it took a few minutes for the screen to completely load and it took another few minutes for Rick to remember which icon on the desktop accesses the internet. With that taken care of Rick got started on his first inquiry.

/What is electricity?/ He typed into the search engine. A dozen websites popped up offering to lower his electricity bill. Rick scrolled down to a simple dictionary definition that basically described electricity as energy that specifically comes from charged particles.

As Rick continued his research he learned about the building blocks of atoms and how atoms become positively and negatively charged. He learned how electrical currents work and how static electricity works. He also learned how draining it is to learn something new after nearly starving to death.

His brain started shutting down, his eyelids weakened, his upper body slumped but his hunger pains kept him awake. Clutching one hand on his stomach, Rick used his free hand to pantomime what he was learning while mouthing what was written on the computer. Rick has an unorthodox way of learning. Every once in awhile he tried to keep himself from wincing in pain.

“Excuse me, are you okay?” a gentle feminine voice asked Rick.

Rick looked up to see the young lady who was just across from him, is now standing right next to him.

“I’m fine,” Rick assured her.

“Are you sure? Because I couldn’t help but notice how much pain you’re in and the odd hand waving. Honestly I’m worried about you.” She held firm to her suspicion.

“I’M-” Rick cut himself off after seeing the genuine concern in her eyes. Rick’s voice softened as he continued, “I’m…just…really hungry. That’s all. Thank you for your concern.” Rick went back to staring at his computer while the lady hurried back to her seat. He thought that was the end of it but she returned not a minute later with her backpack in hand. The pack was opened with one of her hands rifling through it.

“I don’t have much to offer but I should still have ah ha! Do you like nuts?” she asked Rick.

An unnecessary question for Rick, as a person who ate anything to survive the taste of food was a luxury he couldn’t afford.

“Food is food,” he responded.

“Great. I have cashews, peanuts, a partially smashed nutria grain bar, a granola bar, and some jerky I hope this okay.” The lady placed each item of food on the table by Rick’s left hand. Before Rick could answer the young man who was playing internet games was suddenly next to him speaking.

“Seriously dude, take my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and this orange, oh and you nearly passed out several times so you’ll need this energy drink if you’re going to finish studying.” Now there was a pile of food by Rick’s right hand.

The young man continued speaking but this time to the young lady, “I’m glad you spoke up, I was too embarrassed to ask if he was alright.”

“I’m glad too, I almost didn’t but-”

Rick didn’t hear the rest of the conversation; he was engrossed by the display of kindness surrounding his hands. In the background, the young man’s game ended due to his lack of playing. Rick picked up the jerky, opened it, and started devouring it. All the while he ate with his eyes watering.

“Dude, are you crying?”

Rick put his hand to his face feeling for tears. “I guess not,” he said simply already finished the jerky and now working on the cashews.

“What’s wrong? Did we say something to upset you?” the lady asked.

“No. I’m sorry…I just…I’m not used to being treated…with such kindness, especially for no reason…thank you both so much,” Rick thanked them now tearing into the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Both the guy and girl smiled brightly. “No problem dude,” he said. “Of course, take care of yourself okay?” she implored.

Rick nodded and the two headed back to their seats. Rick took a deep cleansing breath regaining his composure.

“Ah man, oh well, I guess I have to start over,” the young man said restarting his game.

As Rick ate, his stomach calmed and the pain subsided. His energy was returning and he no longer felt sleepy.

‘Everyone in this town has been so nice to me. Even that lady behind the counter at the store was nice to me until I stole that food. The guy I knocked over wasn’t nice to me but at least he was standing up for that woman and the store in general. I can’t believe how wonderful these people are and they live under the Erubescan rule,’ he thought to himself.

Rick changed topics to lightning while he continued to eat the remaining food and drink the energy drink. He was awake thanks to the food and amped up thanks to the energy drink. Rick was going through information at twice the pace as before.

‘Okay, if I understand this correctly, lightning forms in cumulous clouds. When rain, snow, or ice particles bounce off each other enough to cause an imbalance in positive or negative charges inside the cloud, then nature will try to correct itself by using lightning,’ he thought to himself paraphrasing what he learned.

He continued to think, ‘Each lightning strike is different and has several different ways it can work but a common way lightning will strike is through the cloud to ground method. In that method the clouds get overly negatively charged and the ground gets overly positively charged. The air between the clouds and the ground create a buffer that keeps the charges from reaching each other. But eventually the pressure between the charges becomes too much and the charges link up to create the electricity known as lightning. Now what allows the charges to link up?’

Rick reread a specific part of the internet article again. ‘In the cloud to ground lightning strike something called a stepped latter, no, a stepped leader forms from the clouds and goes down to the ground. The ground creates a streamer…a streamer is the same thing as a stepped leader…what’s the difference? Oh, okay. So leaders go down from the clouds looking for positive charges while streamers start from the ground and go up looking for negative charges. So they are doing similar things but going in opposite directions and they are searching for the opposite charges. Got it, but I still feel like I’m missing something. Channels, they mention channels a few times, what are channels? Channels are holes in the air that allows either the stepped leaders to transport negative charges down or streamers to transport positive charges up. When stepped leaders and streamers meet the result is lightning. Lighting neutralizes the extra charges until it builds up again starting the process over. Cool, I think I got it. Wait what’s this? St. Elmo’s fire? Apparently that’s a bluish or greenish glow that forms around things coming out of the ground, which is caused by the buildup of positive charges. If something has St. Elmo’s Fire wouldn’t it be struck by lightning since stepped leaders are searching for positive charges? Oh, it says that if you see St. Elmo’s Fire then lightning will probably strike soon.’

Rick closed out of the internet and shut down the computer. ‘I don’t think my brain can take anymore research for today. But this was a good first step, I have a lot to think about,’ he thought to himself. He got up and threw away the trash from the devoured food and stuffed the nutria grain bar and the granola bar in his pockets for later, the rest was eaten. He headed for the door but stopped by the glass door. There was a lady outside talking on a cell phone, Rick got the feeling that she was stressed about something but he dismissed it as his imagination. He looked back at the two people at the computers.

“Thanks again you two, I really appreciate what you did for me. You have no idea how much you helped me.”

The two gave a generic response. Rick’s eyes caught the other machines with goggle like items attached to metal boxes.

‘I wish I knew what those were.’ He then remembered that business guy named Andrew and the lesson he taught him.

“Hey, how do those things work?” he asked less awkwardly than he expected. The young man launched into an overly complicated explanation of the science behind the virtual reality machine all of which went completely over Rick’s head.

“Can you explain it simpler than that?”

The lady answered this time, “Basically just put the visor around your head and over your eyes. Then think about the topic you want to learn about and the machine does the rest.”

“Really? That’s awesome.”

The lady smiled, “Yes, I guess it is…you’re not from around here are you?”

“No, not at all.”

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Character Portrait: Rick Ronan
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“Where are you from?” the young lady asked Rick with genuine interest. She has never ventured out of the town but has a healthy curiosity about life beyond these boarders.

Rick just shook his slowly, “Nowhere.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to pry into your life, I understand if you don’t want to tell me,” she added with disappointment in her voice.

“You miss understood me,” he said calmly. “I’m from nowhere. I’ve spent my whole life looking for a home and a family but I never found either. I thought I had gotten one once but…it didn’t work out. I just live where I live until I live somewhere else, so I pretty much live nowhere,” Rick explained.

“Really? That’s so sad.”

“Dude, that’s harsh,” the young man said agreeing with the young lady.

“It’s fine.” Rick fell into silent contemplation. He wondered why he was telling these strangers any of this, it was completely unlike him. He hasn’t really felt like himself for awhile now. His whole life has become a mystery to himself leaving him with just the terrible feelings from that life, a life that he may never have had.

‘These are good people and I don’t feel bad telling them things about me so why not tell them?’ he questioned himself.

He continued, “It’s difficult to find purpose living the way I do. It can be scary because there is a real possibility that I’ll never find my purpose…I may never be able to do anything good for this world…” Rick fell silent once again.

Before the other two people responded they considered what to say. The silence became extremely awkward. Neither one of them knew what to say. If they knew anything about Rick and/or were friends with him then maybe they’d be able to quickly come up with a reassuring response, maybe. Knowing Rick could also make that task even harder. There is a reason why Erubesco and Liberty consider Rick to be a terrorist.

The lady came up with something to say but didn’t get the chance to say it for Rick was reaching over to the virtual reality visor.

“I have to try this before I go,” Rick said abruptly stopping the lady from speaking.

He slipped the visor over his head to his eyes. The cushion framing his eyes were comfortable yet awkward and scratchy to Rick.

‘Probably something that you get used to over time,’ he thought. He remembered what the lady said about how to use the machine.

‘Show me…martial arts wisdom.’ Instantly a life like image of an older gentleman dressed in a traditional martial arts garment, the style and name of the garment Rick didn’t know. The gentleman was standing on one of the many rolling hills full of lush green grass. The sky was a bright light blue with wispy white puffy clouds gently floating by. A cool breeze took the edge off the heat from the sun.

The young man and lady chuckled as Rick visibly jumped from his initial reaction to the world he was seeing. It was always entertaining to watch someone use those machines for the first time.

Rick couldn’t believe how real this virtual world was. He could feel the heat from the sun, the chill from the wind, the delicate points from the bending grass against his bare feet.

‘Why aren’t I wearing shoes?’ he wondered. To his surprise his thoughts came out as words.

“Because one does not wear shoes in the Holy Hills of Meditation,” said the gentleman.

‘Wow, this so cool. I can’t believe I’m talking to you right now.’

“Cool indeed. I am happy to speak with you as well.”


The visor for the virtual reality does several things for the wearer. For one, it detects the wearer’s brain function, determining which part of the brain is being used. Thanks to extensive research on brain mapping and functionality, the visor is able to predict, with sixty percent accuracy, what the wearer is thinking. The visor then sends that information through the tube to the metal box that it’s connected to. Each metal box houses a direct and personal link to the internet. The box locates an internet video that best matches the wearer’s mental request. The box then sends the video back up to the visor which plays the video. Finally the visor implants subliminal messages to the wearer via tiny speakers, located throughout the band, which whisper soft spoken messages that are supposed to enhance the video.

The messages are barely heard but describe what the wearer should be feeling, smelling, and hearing tricking the wearer’s brain into thinking that he/she is fully experiencing the other senses. The subliminal messages work about seventy percent of the time. When the virtual reality machine miss interprets the wearer’s thoughts, the wearer always has the option to activate a virtual keypad so one could more accurately interact with the machine. When everything is working properly, the wearer’s conversation with the virtual world doesn’t need to be spoken out loud and therefore unheard by the nearby people in reality. Also, the wearer doesn’t need to move to interact with the virtual world under that principle unless, of course, the wearer wants to or needs to.
Since Rick is completely unaware of how this machine works, his brain is easier to trick believing the virtual world is more than just a video. Other users who are more familiar with the machine often notice the subliminal messages and ruin its effectiveness.


“You seek martial arts wisdom?” the gentleman asked.

‘Yes. I am seeking strength. You see I lost my super strength and I need it back. Is there a way martial arts can help?’ Rick answered before inquiring for more information.

“You do not need martial arts to find what is not missing,” the man replied.

‘Oh it’s missing, it’s completely gone.’

“One’s true strength comes from within, seek anywhere else and you’ll always be without.”

‘Okay... are you talking about metaphorical strength like will power? Because it doesn’t seem like that can really apply to actual physical strength, especially not super strength,’ Rick challenged.

“All strength starts from within especially super strength, how do you expect to do super feats without first being super?”

‘I can’t tell if you are being stupid or being really wise, but maybe I’m just having a hard time processing this. I’m still mentally fried from all things I’ve learned about lightning and electricity. I think I should switch gears…how do I go to the next…thing?’

Being unfamiliar with the workings of this new device, Rick found it difficult to navigate to a new scene. As he attempted, the man stayed offering Rick more advice that made no sense for what Rick was thinking.

Eventually Rick thought, ‘I just want some kick boxing instructions!’ to which the image shifted to a dojo scene.

The virtual instructors in the new video, showed Rick the basics, to remind him how everything is supposed to look. Rick then realized just how crappy his techniques have been while he relied on his super strength during fist fights. Everything he did was riddled with imperfections. Yet they worked on his opponents.

Next they taught him subtle differences in stance, footwork, and body position to maximize his speed, power, and effectiveness. Rick relearned blocks and counters that he stopped using years ago when he realized that most people couldn’t hurt him because his super strength.

Realization struck him. He wasn’t winning fights because of his martial art skills but because his strength made up for his lack of form.

‘Which is why Neutralize was always so hard to knock out. He’d neutralize my powers leaving me too weak and too unpolished to do any real damage to him,’ he figured out.

Rick then practiced his slips, bob-n-weaves, and evasive foot movements. Rick practiced those moves in the real world as he was doing them in the virtual world. He went over a couple of power techniques and a couple speed techniques. He was about to start the sparing portion of the training when Rick felt something was wrong in his gut.

Rick took off the virtual visor dropping on the desk in front of him. His critical gaze searched the room. He ignored the laughing townsfolk whom fed him earlier. Rick didn’t know what he was looking for but it would be something dangerous. Rick had learned to listen to his gut when it spoke, for it was usually accurate at alerting him when he was in danger. It had saved his life more than once.

There was nothing out of the ordinary in that room. The people were still joking about the spectacle that Rick made while using the virtual reality equipment. Rick ignored it as he tried to focus on the meaning of the feeling in his gut. It was a familiar feeling, one that he felt not too long ago and yet he couldn’t quiet place it.

‘What happened the last time I felt this?’ he mentally wondered. ‘I was with the Wanderers, I got this feeling and then…Neutralize hit me with his powers and then…a bullet hit me in the head.’ Rick’s eyes widened as he immediately dropped to the ground and rolled away from the windows under a desk.

There was no gunshot, no broken glass, and no screams of terror just surprised gasps and snorts from the other people in the room. Rick touched his body searching for blood but found nothing.

‘Shit,’ he thought realizing that nothing attacked him.

‘I still have to figure out what the fuck is going on, trying to find the danger is just as likely to get me killed.’ Rick knew he couldn’t afford to lament about the situation, so he started to army crawl through the table legs and chair legs toward the windows, his eyes were laser focused on the surrounding area outside the library.

“Dude what are you doing?” The young man asked.

“GET AWAY FROM ME! STAY AWAY FROM THE WINDOWS!” Rick roared freezing both the young man and the young lady in their seats.

Rick reached the last desk, his final piece of concealment until he reached the wall nearest to the windows. ‘One, two, three!’ Rick hopped to his knees and dashed to the wall. Rick lay flat against the bottom of the wall making him as small a target as possible.

Still no bullets. Rick shifted himself to the farthest corner of the building. His heart was racing as he prepared for the riskiest maneuver yet. Rick stood up, exposing himself to would be snipers before wedging his back deep into the corner. Visibility of his body was greatly decreased while wedged in that corner. Hopefully it would be enough to keep him safe. He was positioned so that he could dive further into the library at the first sign of danger but still be able to look out the window to search for snipers or other Erubesco soldiers. He leaned his head back slightly to get a better look out the window, he first checked up at the roofs of the nearby buildings.

Nothing.

Rick’s eyes swept the streets finding regular townsfolk going about their day like everything was normal. Rick checked the roofs again then the streets again. Nothing dangerous or even suspicious. This made him a little paranoid. His gut is rarely wrong, but rarely didn’t mean never. Rick frowned. One last check of the roofs and street, he then remembered the windows of the other buildings and checked them quickly but carefully. Again there was nothing.

He sprinted to the center of the room and looked around for the undetected danger he was sure he felt. Rick’s heart slowed to a normal pace when his search came up empty again.

‘I guess there is nothing to worry about,’ he thought relaxing a bit. ‘Maybe my lack of powers in enemy territory has started to get me on edge,’ he continued to think.

“Sorry about that you two, I thought something was…wrong. But everything is fine, you can move again.” Explaining himself felt as funny as it must’ve sounded.

‘I should leave, even if nothing is wrong,’ he thought to himself. ‘It’s probably the best move.’ He was completely unaware that in less than a minute an Erubesco team was about to converge on his position.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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Gale beamed again- the pearly white, saccharine grin of a “do no evil” schoolboy- and pressed the lollipop deep into the corners of his mouth. “It would depend on what you consider ‘under control’ to be in this case…” His fingers folded at his chest, eyes widening in realization. “I don’t believe we’ve gotten your name yet. A bit rude, I’d think, given the fact that we’ve already introduced ourselves.”

Lips curled. “It’s quite surprising, actually. I would have expected better manners from someone so...mature.” The words were left hanging in the air, the implication in them thick, but Gale did not pursue the topic further. Instead, he gave a decisive suck of the candy’s stem, gave a pause of thought, then lowered his gaze to lock eyes with the stranger. “Just passing through.” A statement. “Well, if that’s all it is, then I’m sure my friends and I would be more than glad to escort you out.” The word “glad” fell thickly from his tongue, rolling as smoothly as syrup.

As yet another round of footsteps sounded out nearby, the blond glanced up, the picture of innocence.

Although, given the child giving off said effect, it didn’t exactly stand for much. It was the same expression he gave when caught with his new pet of the day, or when trailing several of the group members with his gaze- a little “i wasn’t doing anything” sort of look. Once it had been fully established, he looked from Toby, then Mina, Dawn, and Kayla. The last of the bunch would find herself at the end of a particularly pleasant beaming before Gale turned his attention to the group as a whole.

“Nice to see you all again,” he said. “We’re simply greeting a new friend, that’s all.”

It was the word friend that received special attention this time around.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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(So, post may need editing later. I wasn't sure who to tag and not tag so I tried to just add anyone who I knew (due to direct conversation) was there)

Jake didn't make any signs or appearances of tensing up, maintaining his calm demeanor. Anyone experienced enough at reading body language might see some hints he was on alert if they looked hard enough, but it might also then surprise them just how much control he had over his body language. That wasn't part of his gift, but something else about his past he tried to put far behind him.

"Hello everyone" he replied. As they spoke, he picked up clues here and there. He couldn't confirm much on any one individual yet, but he got some things already. The first is that they all knew each other, though that was obvious. However, they weren't people with bad intentions most likely. Given he was alone, this boy, Gale, was probably extremely tough and strong, just like Jake, so the fact they had a group here and didn't attack him yet probably meant they didn't mean him harm. They were also intelligent, as he caught one glancing at him through the corner of his eye when ever he looked away, probably accessing weapons. Of course, neither could necessarily be true, cause they could just be suspecting he was a scout for a larger group and didn't make a move yet out of caution. However, they mentioned some small details, including that they were in conflict with a faction recently, as well as an offer of escort. The fact they were open about that, while not revealing too much, made him doubt they suspected he was part of a group, since whether they were weakened or recovering, or at full strength, no one would risk saying that in front of a stranger the suspected of being a part of a large group in case they were hostile and decided to take advantage and attack. Could there simply be details he doesn't have yet, sure, but that was his theory based on information gathered so far.

He went on to answer the other's questions. "Well, mostly passing through, but I will probably pick up any good salvage along the way. Anyways, thanks for the offer, I am sure there is more then enough room for everyone while I am here. Also, have I not yet? Sorry, I guess I got distracted by all the glaring...from the sun, you know?" Jake had meant every glare but the sun, and the others likely knew it. That one girl (Mina) probably already noticed he had some weapons on him from the way she had been looking at him, as well as a variety of other things.

This is probably getting just a little bit silly... "Anyways, my name is Jake. Jake Vale. And I gotta say...." Jake told them calmly, before smiling. "...its bad for your health to be tense when you don't need to be. Right, Gale?"

If this tension went on any further, he might just start being blunt just to relieve it all.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Seth Ghysels Character Portrait: Roderic Montana
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Where sand spilled from the belly of the bag, Montana saw intestines threading through fingers as their owners tried desperately to hold in what nature had coiled with its evolutionary touch. Fruitlessly. Those were all killing blows, requiring nothing less then healer, as a surgeon would still have a large margin of death to avoid. Speed was a key factor here, as any trained or experienced adversary would notice after their comrade was sliced open by a teleporter. This is where Seth's prior training and natural athletic talent shone through. With the eye of an appraiser keen gaze followed the younger males progress, quite pleased that the last hadn't been cut as deeply as the others.

This meant Seth had to make a decision.

A moment later his choice was made, and Montana's attack never found it's mark. Seth had opted to save his comrade, rather then risk landing another killing blow.

Seth choosing to finish his initial assault would have by no means indicated that the young man's choice during battle would be carnage in the moment over the safety of a Wanderer. Montana understood the stark difference between training and application. However it did probe the sections of the brain that dealt with reaction based decision making. If Montana could, he'd put a Zhuge Liang in everyone's five seconds.

Or aim as close to that as he possibly could.

Seth disappeared again, vanishing from sight, the phantom pain tingled far before the blade would taste his flesh, and Montana turned, drawing his blade and aiming to block the young man's hatchet hilt with the flat of his weapon.

Now the only thing left was seeing if he had guessed correctly on the arced angle of Seth's attack.

If not, he'd need to compensate in a split second to avoid getting hit, and he'd count that in Seth's favour.

"Anticipating I'd anticipate a fake. Interesting choice young Seth."

His second hand had already grabbed for the second weapon strapped to his thigh. Instead of bringing it forward to aid the first, he held it by his hip, in a defensive posture.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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“Hi, guys.” Arms swaying at her side in a non-threatening manner, Dawn met the eyes of her fellow wanderers with a quiet smile. “It’s good to see that, um. There’s no trouble out here. Like they just said...it’s been a busy week.” She laughed, then, sheepish, before lowering herself some to better meet the stranger’s eyes. One hand rested against her bent knee, while the other remained comfortably in her pocket.

“It is nice to meet you, Jake, but it’s...ah. It’s just kind of hard not to be tense in a time like this, you know?” Her smile widened somewhat, turning into something more open. Welcoming. Even her voice had softened some, taking on the gentler inflections of a person meaning no harm.

As Dawn rose back to her feet, she quickly slipped back into the heads of her companions, fluttering about briefly as she relayed the information stolen from the stranger. Well, it does seem like he’s telling the truth about just wanting to “pass through”, she began. From what I got, I think he’s alone, too- but, well. I was also right about him being like Montana. A rumbling chuckle came through the stream, but was cut short not long after. He figured out that we think he’s alone, or a scout, too. Loaded to the teeth with weapons, and trying to get to…somewhere.

There was a slight lapse in the flow of thought as she tried to pry just a bit further, to scrape a little further into Jake’s mind without alerting the boy, but it took only a few moments before picking up again. That’s all I got so far, she admitted. But he’s being honest, I think.

During her little mental exchange with her party, Dawn had glanced back at the others, as if silently asking for further opinion before turning back to Jake. “A lot of the buildings around here have been picked clean,” she said apologetically, “and, um. You’re welcome to look, but I...I think we’d be all more comfortable if we had someone tag along ‘til you left. Sorry.” She gave a swing of her arms, hands rubbing together when they met. A look of shy guilt.

Of course, the action would be unnecessary in the long run- the intruder had been watched since he had first stepped into Helton’s boundary after all- but Jake most likely didn’t know that. And the less he did, the better, Dawn thought. He had already gathered too much about the group as it was.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Nathan Chandler Character Portrait: Makorai Saika Character Portrait: Cadriel Character Portrait: Jack Rousimoff
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Makorai Saika's belief in the divine was a convenient thing. Spirits inhabiting the bits and pieces of mortal life. It was a belief system void of restraint and greater moral struggles. It required little to no effort on his part, and also allowed him to humanize any inanimate object to the point on conversation when he was six cups over the legal limit. That being said, the convenient appearance of Jack, highlighting as what he was supposed to find atop the beanstalk, stole Commander Botrelle's attention like the marginally hotter guy at the bar.

Makorai nodded in Jack's direction. Thankful he was alive. Thankful he was a gifted being with such an immense drive to cause unneeded destruction that no one had time to check on the blood alcohol level coursing through his veins was Jack was on the move. 'Keep doing you man'. Makorai nodded encouragingly. Keep doing you man, keep doing you. This small bit of amusement now done, he took a moment to cast a sniper's eye to the motley crew assembled to safeguard ten thousand plus civilians in the face of this Wanderer epidemic. He expected Kora. If she hadn't been called officially he'd in the least expect her here arguing with the Knight Commander about going, all anger and swirls of red hair a second from becoming angry and sentient themselves. Cadriel was..a surprise, so much so that the genuine look of concern that inevitably formed on his face took a few beats to resettle into the RDF he wore so casually.

Next was Linsday, which sort of went without saying for him. Nathan however, bothered him for a multitude of reasons that he wasn't about to go over whilst he was in the middle of emptying his mind of all the background noise. Which, in itself wasn't a terribly impressive feat considering Saika usually didn't have much going on up there anyhow.

"Something heartwarming, something sarc-"

Teleportation took him and the, "astic" to his assigned building. It was athletically pleasing, and like most buildings in the city, took its cues from the old world artisans who's masonry had withstood the test of time long enough to be replicated in their modern era.

For Makorai, this meant he had cover, and a multitude of positions that left him largely invisible to the naked eye. Currently, he was sat behind a particularly skyward arch, attaching the three foot plus long barrel to a consol that switched between anti-personnel, and anti-material on the fly. Gravity stabilizers locked the mechanisms in place, and a series of scope glasses, akin to the pre war mechanisms used for judging ones eye strength, appeared in front of the scope.

Their application ranges from locating electromagnetic disturbances to thermal hear, even the absence of heat. A second scope, fitted with the same enhancements as the first was slid into its docking port.

It was a personal request, one that was useless on most sniper rigs, and probably more at home in a virtual game then a snatch and grab operation. Most was the key word here. Makorai wasn't 'most' snipers, and his ability to use both his right and left as master eyes, independent of the others, made this fantasy rig deadly in his hands.

More deadly then his companion sniper perhaps, has he'd strapped a series of lethal rounds to his inner thigh.

Dangerous thing to be shooting live rounds into a crowd, but in his mind? He was a bit separate from the rest.

Not cocky.

Confident.

"Arguably handsome reporting in, over."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Commander Green
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Larke Sterling could count on one hand the number of times someone had called him “brave”: Once, when he was seven, and he offered to be the first to sing at the school talent show. The second was when he was thirteen, and squished a spider for his mother. The third occurred when he had promised to attend a rehabilitation group at twenty-four (though he never did).

The last had been a mere one day ago, when he had offered to take on the wounds of his friend to save the boy’s life.

As he shifted the pack full of medical supplies strapped snugly between his wings and bucked their straps onto his chest, however, the word “stupid” seemed more apt.

He shuffled from foot to foot against the floor of the South Teleport Zone, his hazel-green eyes unwilling to look directly into those of the Commander as he spoke. A golden-colored feather drifted lazily to the floor as Larke checked the support straps around his wings once more; though he was positive they were in place.

Any action to keep his mind from wandering.

The better part of Larke’s evening had been spent scouring over the details of the thick briefing document: It contained extensive reports on Helena’s condition, as well as in-depth profiles for a good number of the terrorists. He was unsure whether to be more concerned over the biographies that were present, or the small asterisk that said “and two to six possible others.”

The worse part of his night was spent trying to avoid an existential crisis in the face of possible suicide.

And also sweating.

Maybe a bit from his eyes.

“I’m prepared, sir,” Larke replied, and the confident baritone timbre gave away none of his internal dread. Perhaps someone would have believed he weren’t nervous, were it not for the incessant fiddling with every piece of equipment on his person.

Neither the firearm holstered at his waist nor the compound bow fastened across his shoulders helped to put his mind at ease.

“I- I’ll report in as soon as I’ve acquired the targets. Sir.”

He stepped back into the main bay, and did not look at the teleporter assigned to transport him to the designated drop point outside of Helton.

Looks of pity were not was his confidence needed at the moment.

He closed his eyes, offered the gesture of the Erubescan salute, and then—

“SHIT!”

A thousand feet or more above the ground, with the wind whistling against the thick leather of his jacket, screaming in his ears while biting his face with cold... Larke was hurtling toward the ground.

“ShitshitshitshitshitshitSHITshitSONOFA-“

He twisted. His body writhed in mid-air to try and make sense of the strange weight on his back and the disorientation of being poofed into a free-fall with no warning.

“SHIT!”

With a cracking whoosh, he unfurled his wings like tawny-feathered parachute, launching his body straight upwards on a gust. He grimaced at the unfamiliar yank against his pectoral muscles, and again at the unearthly feeling of the wind pressing up against his belly and legs as his wings generated lift.

“Holy shit,” he breathed, finally able to hear his own voice. The sickening spinning in his vision settled after a moment or two, and he beat his wings to keep up with the air current below him. He looked left, and then right, still somehow taken by the presence of the feathered appendages that extended almost four meters on either side of him.

And then he glanced around.

The ground that extended for miles in all directions was yellow-green with scrub brush, occasional crossed by a decaying strip of asphalt or a crumbling ruin. The air was as clear as could be expected in the Ash, and smelled vaguely of running water, and something acrid.

There was a fierce breeze that rolled over his body and tousled his sandy hair back from his eyes.

But he did not have the luxury of dwelling on the first free air he had felt in years; the tracker strapped to his ankle was more than enough reminder of that.

He reached up onto his forehead and pulled down the scoped goggles that were strapped there to cover his eyes, and took a more scrutinizing look around at his surroundings. According to the compass in the corner of his vision, he was heading Southeast at approximately thirty miles an hour.

On the horizon, he could make out (far more clearly than he was comfortable with,) the decimated city of Helton.

Several quick snaps of his wings lifted him higher into the atmosphere, hopefully enough that his shape as a person would be less easily deciphered as he made his approach.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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“Theyr'e right. You won’t find much,” Toby said. None that didn't belong to the Wanderers, anyway. He might have felt more generous to share if this Jake was desperate, starving, or anything less than confident…bordering arrogant. “And I’m—Toby, by the way,” he added guardedly. But politely. There was no harm in that. But no full names. Not necessary. Besides, there was a moderate possibility of an Ashlander associating a very distinct reputation with ‘the Schippers brothers.’

Toby was about to volunteer to help show Jake around when his pupils constricted. His stomach lurched with vicarious alarm when Larke nearly fell. He felt someone who was afraid, dizzy, nervous, someone airborne. He recognized the person's Gift and emotions like a fingerprint, vaguely yet intimately. Toby pinpointed the memory. He had never met this person, yet he had felt this person’s immense pain, one of the voices in a chorus of screams that had almost broken him. Someone in the fire at Erubesco.

His strange relief that the individual was alive was soon overshadowed. An Erubescan. Since no natural flight Gift appeared in Larke, Toby naturally assumed that the intruder was on some kind of aircraft.

His hand shot to his sidearm and his look at Jake turned to a frown. Toby didn’t trust coincidences. “You sure you’re alone, there, Jake?”
/Dawn?/ he called mentally for confirmation before he said something to alarm the others.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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There were several certainties out in the waste.

There was, for instance, the certainty that the sun would set in the west. There was also a certainty that one needed water, food, and shelter to live, or that it was hot or if it was raining. A mind reader was allowed a few more certainties, however. Like being certain of when your travelling partners were worrying about supplies, or thinking of how easy it could be to slit your throat in your sleep.

Of course, there were many uncertainties to balance the truths out, but Dawn could allow herself to be sure of a few things, like how this child with the mind of a man had come to them alone. The sudden hint of a presence in the horizon, however, made her much more doubtful. Startled, she reached out to try and enter this new stranger’s mind, but it was still too far for her to properly get a read on. Jake’s mind, however, was much closer, and she quickly dove back in, picking at the cluster of thoughts to try and find anything she might have missed.

No, she thought back. It isn’t his partner or anything- I mean, I can’t find anything about a partner coming here with him… Dawn gave another pass of Jake’s mind, brushing through it with a fine toothed comb. I think he has just about as much idea of who this person is as we do. It might just be another stranger, but…

She drew back again, lips pursed in an effort to keep them from drawing into a proper frown. Another stranger just seemed a bit too coincidental, but unless Jake had a mental Gift, there was nothing…

Dawn suddenly paused, stiffening slightly. However, they had, admittedly, been getting an influx of unexpected guests lately. Her own thoughts returned to the train they had been on when the first visitor had arrived, and she cast a wary glance over to Toby.

Coincidences happened, but if Erubesco had been after them for this long, she highly doubted that they would just give up now.

Nevertheless, she quickly expanded the net of her broadcast once again, nestling back into the group’s heads. We have another problem, Dawn began. There’s someone else coming now- in the sky. I checked him, a mental indication towards Jake, again, and he doesn’t have anything about this, but there’s still someone else out there. I can’t get a read on them yet, but I should once they get close enough.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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Before Mina could make out all that she thought of this Jake character, Dawn was in her head yet again.

With more bad news.

Mina was careful not to let her eyes wander immediately upwards; whether or not the newcomers were in league with one another, it would be easy for Jake to use the confusion caused by an additional variable to make a move. She leaned her chest forward to form an arc in her spine, and moved her left hand to the small of her back as if rubbing out a pinched muscle.

The backs of her fingers brushed over the grip of the pistol at her waist.

“Like the others said,” she stated, a grimacing smile gracing her features as she let her hand rest behind her, “I’m afraid there ain’t much left, save for stiff mattresses and bones.”

Her left hand came up to shield the light from her eyes as she spoke, and she moved with intention to watch the sky, checking the position of the sun, “And I’d say it’s still a mite early in the day for you to be looking for a night’s shelter. So, ain’t a whole lot of much for you here, save for an escort in one end of the premises and out the other.”

In the clouds. On my one. Coming right at us, she warned to the network.

There was the faint shape of a bird just a smudge too big, or perhaps to steady, or maybe even too high to be a bird. It was hard for Mina to take her eyes off of it, but she turned her attention back to Jake before she had lingered long enough to give away the check.

Whatever the thing was, it was moving toward Helton with a very deliberate purpose.

We gotta handle this kid before we’ve got bigger problems. Call the others to handle the flier.

Mina turned her back to Jake (again, against all instinct, and nodded forward for him to follow. “Come on, then. I’m happy to walk you along through. Ain’t got much to offer, neither, but I can fish you some ration packs out of my bag along the way.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Reith Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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Distracted in her progress by the appearance of a lizard, Rei had delayed her attempts to find the others by a few minutes.

She was still kind of hungry after all.

The flicker of a shadow overhead however drew her immediate attention. Possibly she'd just spent too much time hunting animals out in the ruins that her sense of perception had gotten highly attuned to movement, or perhaps it has always been a feature of her ability's strange physiological effects, but she identified something far above that was moving. Something that was alive.

Rei stared at it, limp lizard tail still jutting from the corner of her mouth for some moments, before the mutant snapped it up and sprang off over the rubble to follow the trajectory.

Her hasty course almost caused her to jump down right into the centre of a group of other Helton residents.
The creature hurriedly cut her momentum,skidding in the dust to stand about level with the edge of a group.

"Did you see the big flying thing? It's definitely alive, but it's not moving right for a bird. " she asked, tilting her head upward again.
"Also hi everyone. I guess I slept in as everyone seemed to be out when I got up."

Well, that was technically right, in that her 'sleeping in' was the duration of about three days.
"Also also, who is this guy?" she eyed Jake with some level of wariness.

Whilst Rei would not consider herself a very unwelcoming person, her experiences with strangers entering the area lately had been...less than positive. Most of the people who turned up seemed to make things decidedly worse, and she wasn't exactly liking the odd as they stood.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skip III Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Id Gormly Character Portrait: Piper Kolert
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  1. Wrong Location

    by Zalgo

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#, as written by Zalgo
Cadriel and the large man were both summoned away by a call. Both left rather suddenly, the large man leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. It was at this point Edgar realized something. There's no way I'm going to get that all cleaned up by myself. At least I can blame it all on the large guy and continue on.

With the others gone there was no force holding him there any longer. Looking rotten like his day's been nothing but rotten pears he started on his way off when his annoying headset went off in his ear. He wouldn't wear the damn things if it wasn't declared necessary and enforced as such.

“Chase Black, Edgar Gormly, Krystal Saturns, and Patricia Collin,please report to the teleport bay immediately. Gormly, bring soldering equipment and the Cabinet 3 reconstruction materials from the supply closet on your way. Thank you.”


What the hell is Cabinet three reconstruction materials? Was the first thought to run through his head. The next thought was just a begrudged internal sigh as he turned on his feet and was about to walk on down to the teleport bay when he saw her just standing right next to him in passing. In his ear he heard her voice.

"Aw, leaving your new friend already?" She playfully chided him with mocking concern.

Unless you somehow forgot I have a job to do. Edgar was far less amused with this interest of hers.


"Well I won't keep you but I do know you're interested in that city he spoke of."

Edgar stopped, considering her words carefully. He hadn't even thought of it but now that she mentioned it Skip DID know about Helton, this city he was most interested in. Letting good information like that slip would be squandering an opportunity, a good one. This was definitely another case of his sister playing him like a fiddle. The worst part? It worked like a charm.

Exactly as she knew it would.


Edgar looked back over his shoulder at Skip. "I want to know more about that city. I'll talk to you later."

Not entirely diplomatically put but Edgar was anything but diplomatic as he typically rubbed almost anyone he met the wrong way most of the time. With his farewells wrapped up he left to go bring soldering equipment and Cabinet three reconstruction materials to the teleport bay.



He arrived on scene, having left his mop and bucket back in the supply closet so he could carry the soldering equipment and cabinet three reconstruction materials. The tall, frowning one eyed man in his janitorial jumpsuit approached the scene. He looked on upon the caved in walls and the blonde girl in a wheelchair.

With a beleaguered sigh he set the stuff he was carrying down on the ground. "Who needs this?" He questioned gruffly, his hands already seeking their way into his pockets as he stood nonchalantly over the bits of stone rubble, metal shards and loose wires.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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We’ll see. Talin?

On it


“I’m going to check the radar” the speedster announced casually, strolling away from the group. As soon as he was out of sight, he broke into a run, and was on the roof in seconds, gazing down, sharing the semi aerial view with the mind linked wanderers. Mostly for Sera’s benefit, she could create her illusion now. It was from this height, however, that he succeeded in catching a proper glimpse of their flyer, causing him to blink in shock.

It’s odd… he broadcast, tying together the image and knowledge that came with it. It says it’s a…healer? Not quite, it’s how he’s trained though, but no flight gift. Toby, do you get that?

Sera, meanwhile, directed lights to create an empty street below when looking down, although not perfect without being able to see it herself. Should we try to ground him? the young woman asked seriously, while visibly deferring to a leader with her body language.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Beretta Character Portrait: Agent Mayday Character Portrait: Mimic Character Portrait: Canvas Fajaar
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"Pinot noir, Beretta, dear. I am a little off time," Supervisor Canvas Fajaar admitted. The Supervisor usually had a pleasant demeanor, but he seemed extra cheerful today, his stride loose. He entered dressed to match the in-character Agents: A silver-gray tuxedo, black shirt, and a white tie that caught the low light in geometric bits of shine. "I nearly forgot a favorite." The Supervisor held up a smooth bottle of a pinkish, crystal liquid labeled 'Se Détendre,' and set it in a row of similar bottles bearing labels like 'La Félicité and 'L'aigreur.' It was already open.

"Did you know," said Canvas, half sitting against the table, "they've got emotional manipulators whose entire jobs are to add dashes of feelings into beverages with so much alcohol content, they could be adding dashes of hair bleach and you'd barely know the difference? Really, it's terrible. Ridiculous waste of resources. It's this sort of wasted talent that will lose them the war." The accusatory words didn't quite match his flippant tone, or the fact that he appeared to have had a taste of ridiculously wasted resources already. For educational purposes, of course.

"Have a drink." He paused. "That's today's lesson. All of you, have several." He made a sweeping gesture across the glittering array of multi-colored beverages. "If you can avoid it, don't get anywhere near inebriated on the job, of course, but it's nigh impossible to make it through a party without taking a sip or two, and we can't have you making faces and choking and such. In any case, you'd be wise to get familiar with your tolerance. I recommend you start at the table on the left and work your way to the right, because the best stuff is on the left, and I suspect you won't be noticing the taste by the time you get halfway. Try all of them. If you can." He smiled. "I'm not going to say this is strictly a competition, but I will say that I got a small head start to make it a fair one. Get on with it. Try to enjoy yourselves. It's easier than pretending.

Dark eyebrows drawing together, Canvas stood aside for a moment, casting critical looks over the trio, his eyes suddenly showing a clarity that his entrance hadn't let on. This team had not gelled yet. He had some major concerns about this mission. He looked at Mimic--still in her mask, not yet wearing the face of the Erubescan partner Canvas was trying not to imagine locked up somewhere in the base (pity, because he'd rather hoped he could get used to that on the drinking day). Beretta, still not steady on those heels. Finally he looked to Mayday (still-stiff-despite-sleeping-with-Beretta-for-days-Mayday) and, as if just noticing the Agent's colorful presence, Canvas broke his momentary seriousness and laughed aloud. "By the way, you look preposterous, Agent Mayday. You would stand right out. By which I mean you would fit right in. Lovely."