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What Is Human?

New Boston

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a part of What Is Human?, by Raidose.

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Raidose holds sovereignty over New Boston, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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New Boston

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New Boston is a part of What Is Human?.

8 Characters Here

Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn [24] "The most handsome face in the Priory. No wonder I'm kept around."
Xiaoyan Jin [22] A little birdy told me that you aint seen nothin' yet...
Jonathan Moore [20] "We deserve a place in the world."
Thomas Kenny [14] "I guess it's just me against the world..."
Cecilia Wolfe [12] "I've got many talents, which would you like?"
Kayla Mackenzie [10] "Don't touch me, not unless you want to get hurt."
D3d LyT3 [10] "They look into the dead lights. Every single one of them. They all look...."
Douglas Quinne [1] "You're right I'm not human, I'm so much more."

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#, as written by Belynta
Kayla held back her sigh of relief, when they stopped, with effort. She was dangerously tired now having exerted herself more in that last fight than she normally did. All she wanted to do was eat and then sleep for a week but she knew she could not show such weakness in front of strangers especially ones who were suspicious of her. She did not blame them for that and knew that if the roles were reversed she would be thinking much the same. As such she kept silent allowing them to debate amongst themselves what they wanted to do but was glad when they decided she could accompany them to their bolt hole. Not that it was a particularly warm invitation but she was used to that and hardly bat an eyelid.

When she saw they were entering the sewers she did sigh, this was not going to be pleasant, with her enhanced sense of smell strong odours were almost unbearable for her and she doubted that the sewers were going to smell like roses. But if she had to choose between stinking sewers and PSI Con well she'd take the stinking sewers any day. The drainage ditch was dark, like a black hole waiting to suck you in but Kayla wasn't overly bothered by this as she knew her other senses would prevent anyone sneaking up behind her. The men stopped at the entrance and made it very clear that if she wanted to come with them she had to do so on their terms. The Seer seemed to take great delight in threatening her with death by someone only mentioned as 'she' and Kayla felt a sense of unease for the first time. But it also made her angry, she could tolerate his attitude only so far before it began to piss her off and she glared at the Seer. Being angry was how she normally felt and so she didn't try and fight the emotion but welcomed it instead.

"I'm following you because I don't fancy being caught by PSI con." She snapped at the Seer. "So for now I'll jump through whatever hoops you tell me to but don't push me too far. Otherwise you might want to worry about me killing you!"

The men had already entered the drain and so she wasn't sure if her comments had been heard but she hoped the Seer had heard. She hoped the nasty git got a little scared, if she'd known what he was like she would have left him for PSI Con. Gritting her teeth against the stench and her own frustrations she followed them into the hole, quickly realising that she would have to be on her toes to keep up with them as they were quick and the knew the layout. she had no doubt that even with her abilities she would not be able to find her way out and could very well die down there. She kept her anger going as a way to keep out the feelings of unease at what she was doing. Following strangers into unfamiliar territory where her life was at risk was not something she made a habit of. But she had thrown in her lot now and just had to deal with it, but if it came down to it she wouldn't go down without a fight and she hoped they were ready for things to get messy if they threatened her again.

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Character Portrait: Xiaoyan Jin Character Portrait: Thomas Kenny
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With the blessings of the woman whom he assumed was some form of faction head, Thomas decided he would indeed venture out and explore the area. He pushed back the make-shift curtains in the doorway to reveal quite a sight, the same one that stained in his mind before plunging into the depths. For most it would have looked like a slum, a place where the deprived and desperate reside. Thomas was of a different perspective, to him it looked like home. The smell was not that of sewage, the water collected there must be composed of rainwater. In fact, on closer examination, Thomas could see fish in the water. It was curious, as it was not salt water, so they could not have strayed from the nearby ocean. The water had a weak current to it, but no drainage grates could be spotted. Whatever the circumstance was, all that mattered was that Thomas saw fish and was simply amazed by it. He even attempted to catch one bare handed, which went unsuccessfully, but only barely. When his fun was over, he decided he'd explore a little bit. Walking one of the paths was Laurence, heading towards one of the shacks. Thomas decided he'd go over and ask for a tour. Now, he had been away from human interaction for quite some time, so his next action fell back on what he did know to do. Like a freaking ninja, Thomas crouched down and began running towards him, not a sound being made even on the creaky wooden planks. Thomas was quick to catch up with him and stayed to the shadows, which were numerous because of the dim torches that were spread about. Laurence arrived at the shack and climbed the stairs to the second level. Just as the nursery had, his quarters had only a thin sheet covering the doorway of the shack. He simply pushed it aside and turned right, taking of his worn boots and taking in a deep breath of home. As he turned to face the rest of the small area that made up his living space, he paused. In the room with him was a small two seater couch which faced the open window, a wooden rocking chair, and a doorway to a small bedroom. Casually, Laurence walked over the the bedroom doorway and reached his hand around, grabbing something on the other side of the wall. Without any hesitation, he snapped back 180 degrees, a shotgun in his hands and aimed at Thomas's head. Thomas jumped, staring down the barrel of the gun. Laurence held it for a moment and then smirked, pointing up the shotgun.

"You're quiet kid, though you may want to work on your breathing."
Laurence put the gun back in his bedroom before looking back to the kid.
"Now, is there something I can help you with? Are you still hungry?"


Thomas's eyes blinked while he processed what had just happened, leaving a moment of silence.
"Uhh, ya...ya I'm still hungry."


Laurence pointed to the ground beneath Thomas, telling him to stay put. Laurence walked out and returned minutes later with another bowl. He handed it to Thomas and and then headed to the bedroom.

"You're probably tired, so just sleep on the couch tonight. Don't touch anything, not that there is much to touch anyway."


Thomas could hear Laurence fall onto the bed in the other room, followed by loud snoring merely minutes later. After finishing the stew, Thomas put the bowl on the floor near the couch and laid down. It didn't take him long to pass out, but in the short time before he did, Thomas wondered if a bear had eaten Laurence and stolen his bed, because it sure as hell sounded like it.

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Character Portrait: Xiaoyan Jin Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: Thomas Kenny Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Kayla Mackenzie
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"This is your stray, Sam?"

A light voice announces the arrival of a tiny asian woman with long black hair and a soft, bright smile. Old jeans and a worn sweater two sizes too big made her seem like a child wandering in a grown-up's world. She had dainty fingers wrapped around her own bowl, cradling the warmth out of the soup that steamed within.

"Do you mind if I join you? The fire always reaches these tables best."

She would wait quite politely for Jonathan to mumble or nod an assent before taking a place across from him, as if he were master of the house and not merely a new guest fighting back the panic of the uncertain. Speaking of, rythmic counting and metronome asside, everything about the woman encouraged a sort of calm to descend around her. Like they were chatting at a cafe in the sun before the Dawning; warm, friendly, safe, and - dare I say it - like home.

"Sam, are you aware you smell like a sewer? Again?" She says with an amusing expression that required her to scrunch her upturned nose and turn sideways to the taller Brit, before looking at Jonathan as if for help, "Please tell me he didnt bring you through the cistern? He'll roll around in that sludge every chance he gets, I swear it's like a puppy in a trash can!"

Wether it was true or not didnt matter; the good humor was infectious. There were no questions. No interrogation or threats. The woman just stuck her tongue out at Sam and lifted the bowl with enough manners that you'd think it was fine china to sip at the stuff within.

'D3d Lyt3 still hasnt come back yet, but his boy is here.'

Xiaoyan didnt open her eyes or betray any other hint that she had just reached out lightly to Sam to communicate in silence.

'We can expect another, too. One of the teams got into some trouble, they're bringing the one who helped them. You're a better judge of fighters, could you intercept her? I'll stay with these two until you return.'

She sets the bowl down with a satisfied sigh and a smile, "It's not exactly haute cuisine, but at least it's filling, yes? I imagine you have questions, though. Ah! There you are!"

She looks up, seeing Thomas backing out silently from the flap that almost rattled with the snores of a very large man. Lifting a pale hand, she beckons him in a friendly manner.

"Thomas, Jonathan. Jonathan, Thomas." The woman hadnt asked their names, and yet there was the introduction. "Come, sit. I'm here to help with all of the confusion you're probably dealing with right now." She laughs sympathetically, "It isnt every day you find a place like this and get invited in for soup. My name is Xiaoyan. I'm Psi, and so are you. That's why you're here."

She continues the soft smile, hands folded neatly around the bowl, "Welcome to the Priory of the Free Mind."

----
Kayla
----

They move at an easier pace once they're underground. Through abandoned pipes to abandoned buildings and down abandoned stairs they descend deeper and deeper into the Bones. Occasionally, they stop and listen; waiting until the coast is clear of Reapers and the occasional scavenger.

They speak very little to her, except for the off 'Watch your step' or 'Here, use this cable'. It's all very clandestine and hush-hush. But eventually, after it seems like even THEY might be lost in the maze of the old city, they stop.

It's an old school courtyard. Bent and rusted playground equipment provides an exceptionally eerie backdrop to the faint light filtering in from random sources in the levels above. Trash and a good foot of dirt choke out any attempt at growing vegitation where children once screamed and laughed. A cold, dead reminder of the way the world had once been as 3 grown men shiver in the shadows of broken bleachers.

"He aughta be here.." Grumbles the Kinetic.

"He is." Says the Seer after grimacing and closing his eyes.

Turning and pointing across the courtyard, a dim flashlight flicks on and a shadowy figure beckons them all across the street and into a leaning apartment building.

"You guys are late." This strange new gatekeeper says; a tall man in a black coat that was full of dust. He looks at her with the same cautious mistrust before the Displacer just waves him off and helps him move a book case away from yet ANOTHER hidden tunnel.

"You're going down two levels and into the old Blue Line subway." He tells them, clearly guiding them along a safe and ever-changing path to get wherever they were going. This was a terrible lot of trouble to hide their destination. "Someone's gonna meet you there about her." Here he kicks his chin in Kayla's direction.

The Displacer pauses in the opening and looks over his shoulder at Kayla with a shrug,

"Last chance to back out, chick."

But I imagine that Kayla is no coward. All of this secrecy smacks of adventure. Down here in the Bones, shuttled amongst these secret byways and suspicious characters, one could imagine that even Psi-CON's gaze couldnt find them. She may begin to feel more free now than she ever did huddling in the shadows of the street; playing hookie from the Law itself.

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Character Portrait: Xiaoyan Jin Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: Thomas Kenny Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore
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While he ate his meal slowly, the teen tried his best to clear his mind. For a while now he had been trying to improve his abilities, and find new ways to use them. Recently, he had started to make some progress, which was the reason he carried around the metronome. Slightly hunched over the table Jonathan had his hands round the bowl set on top of the table, absorbing all the heat he could from it, while he stared at the pendulum swing left then right, left to right, left and right, his focus entirely on the motion and ticking. For a moment, he let the world fade away from him. He left all distractions behind, including Sam. All that mattered was the metronome. His gaze intensified as he attempted to use his abilities. Nothing happened. He tried again, putting everything into it. His gaze, now more of a glare, was fixed on the swinging. His breathing was becoming heavier as he attempted once again to use his abilities. A throbbing began in his head from the effort. It seemed as if it wasn't working at first, but Jonathan soon noticed that the swing was slower. Triumph washed through him. A grin spread on his face, his concentration broke and the metronome returned to its initial speed. Jonathan sighed and gave the device another tap to keep it going before continuing with his meal.

"This is your stray, Sam?"

Jonathan jumped slightly and looked up to the voice. A small Asian woman, around a foot or more smaller than him he would guess, stood before him holding her own bowl. She had long black hair, perfect skin and one of the warmest and most inviting smiles Jonathan had seen in a long time. He looked straight up, unable to pull away from her dark eyes that just seemed to draw him in, and couldn't help but smile back slightly.

"Do you mind if I join you? The fire always reaches these tables best."

Jonathan shrugged and reluctantly pulled his hand away from the heat to gesture to one of the seats.
"By all means. I am your guest after all." Jonathan viewed the woman with uncertainty at first, but there was something inside, deep within, that encouraged him to trust her, to feel safe in this place. His instincts told him to run, as they always did, but everything just seemed so calm and peaceful. How could he run from it? It would have almost felt like home, if Jonathan had ever known what a home truly was. Due to his powers and mother, he had never stayed anywhere long enough for it to feel like home. He had a few questions that were playing in his mind, but before he could even open his mouth, the new woman - who must have been at least mid to late twenties or early thirties - she spoke to his guide into the Priory.

"Sam, are you aware you smell like a sewer? Again?" She crunched her nose playfully and turned to regard Sam, before returning her bewitching eyes to Jonathan. "Please tell me he didn't bring you through the cistern? He'll roll around in that sludge every chance he gets, I swear it's like a puppy in a trash can!" Before he could stop himself, Jonathan joined in on the humor and chuckled quietly. She merely stuck her tongue out at her friend and drank from the bowl. Jonathan stopped eating his own to watch as she lifted it with grace and elegance, as if this were a pre-dawning fancy dinner and it was fine china.

He looked down at his own bowl and sighed quietly. Having to spend every day eating when he could, often on the go, without any need for manners of any sort, he hadn't had much practice stopping himself from looking a little like a slob when he ate. But, he kept it clean and didn't do anything overly strange when he ate, so the few people he had eaten a meal with hadn't had any reason to complain. His eyes caught the movement of the metronome and his eyes widened slightly. He stopped it with his hand before returning it to the fading heat of the now practically empty bowl.

She placed the bowl down and sighed, which urged Jonathan on to finish his soup and place his down also.
"It's not exactly haute cuisine, but at least it's filling, yes? I imagine you have questions, though. Ah! There you are!" His mind had begun to go through the different ways he could have improved the meal - cooking was one of the few skills his mother had taught him, which she had learned from her own mother and with experience - when a man around his age was beckoned over.

"Thomas, Jonathan. Jonathan, Thomas." Despite the calming aura she was giving off, Jonathan's body stiffened and a vague panic went down his spine with a chill. The fact that she knew their names gave one unappealing suggestion. Jonathan viewed her with a new light now, but still felt the pull of her powers. She was a telepath. Since he was very young, he had always had a slight distrust towards telepaths. His powers were only able to affect the physical world, he had no control of the mind. And, therefore, no defenses against intrusion. The idea of someone looking about his head, scagging the information they could, like he scavenged the items within the Bones was disconcerting at best. He nodded to this new man, Thomas, politely.

"Come, sit. I'm here to help with all of the confusion you're probably dealing with right now. It isn't every day you find a place like this and get invited in for soup. My name is Xiaoyan. I'm Psi, and so are you. That's why you're here. Welcome to the Priory of the Free Mind."

Even as she chirped on, and the happier side of him remained, a slight distrust lingered. Jonathan brought his eyes back to the woman and focused directly at her. He didn't have a clue if this would actually work or not, but he was going to try. Concentrating, he tried to direct a thought within his mind at her.
"Stay out of my head." It wasn't a threat, but nor was it a joke. It wasn't aggressive, but nor was it playful. She seemed like a nice enough person that he was managing to get along with better than most, but he didn't like having people in his head. He was protective of his thoughts and memories, guarded to a fault.

Despite this message, Jonathan had questions that he wanted answered and this seemed one of the chances he would get. "When I met," he hesitated again at the name, old memories of his missing brother resurfacing, "Samuel in the tunnels, he said that he had been monitoring my whereabouts. That he wanted the reason for my particular routes. If you don't mind my asking, how long exactly have you been tracking me?"

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Character Portrait: Xiaoyan Jin Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: Thomas Kenny Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Kayla Mackenzie
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"Thank you, Sam,"


Samuel gave a nod at that and waved his hand politely as the boy ate. It was a simple and non-verbal way of saying your welcome or its nothing. However, Sam himself was busy eating and looking about the area. That is until he saw the metronome. His own eyes narrowed on it in focus as he noted Jonathan trying to. Eyes slowly tracked the metal bar swing back in forth on its gentle arc, his sense of sound consumed by the tick-tock-tick-tock. Then the note-keeping device suddenly slowed as if it were jammed. His gaze once again feel on Jonathan. That was interesting. However before he could express in thought in word all that hit him was a voice from behind.

"This is your stray, Sam?"


"Jaysus!" It was almost a yelp, and the Brit jumped as well. He had been so focused that Xiaoyan had managed to sneak up on him and he didn't even sense her presence. "Don't go scaring a bloke like that! Bloody hell man!" While he spoke his hands were busying themselves readjusting his suit to save whatever was left of his dignity for the moment while mumbling something about not getting any soup on himself.

"Do you mind if I join you? The fire always reaches these tables best."


'D3d Lyt3 still hasnt come back yet, but his boy is here. We can expect another, too. One of the teams got into some trouble, they're bringing the one who helped them. You're a better judge of fighters, could you intercept her? I'll stay with these two until you return.'


Those were the last words Samuel heard before plunging himself into another mental conversation. It was interesting. The man couldn't actively interact with both "worlds" when he spoke telepathically. He could hear both at the same, he could sense both, even feel. Something made him have to have to concentrate while he spoke though and during those times everything else cut out and he'd stay in place like some kind of signal receiver with clouded eyes.

"I can check it out briefly, I have my own business to go abouts today. By the way, another food shipment should be showing up in the tunnels a bit north of our location. Send a couple to go out and retrieve it, would you?

After that he stood and dusted himself off before looking between the two. He had his orders, his own agenda, and his stomach was now full so it seemed the perfect time to get a move-on. "I have a few errands to run abouts," he always added an unneeded 's' to about, "Xiaoyan don't terrorize the boy." He'd grin and actually give her a friendly pat on the shoulder before twisting on his heels and taking leave.

Right as he exited he nearly ran head first into Thomas. "Sorry." He'd mutter simply and carry on. He'd never seen the boy before and he concluded that it was the straggler that D3d Ly3t had dropped off. It was none-the-matter, Samuel would introduce himself another time.

Samuel was rather fast when he wanted to be. He hastily followed the blue telepathic line in his head that Xiaoyan was leading him to the new girl's location with. Upon arrival he paused and took a deep breathe, composing himself from his jog through the tunnels before peeking out at Kayla and the three men. He stepped out from the shadows with a grunt. All of the men turned to him defensively but they'd soon turn into faces of recognition and even a small amount of confidence. Samuel was indeed well know among his fellow rebels. He was nearly the Priory's public outreach face...

"Top of the Day, gents! And lady." He nearly bowed but more so inclined his head politely. He then feel silent, just standing there as he had a mental conversation with one of the Priory boys. Attaining all the information he could before turning and gazing at the female. He placed a hand on his chin in thought as his eyes squinted. She obviously had some kind of martial skill to get down here and cunning too. Her stature and just everything about her was deceptive of those facts too. It hit him though, if she were Psi-CON though she'd know who he was. But he had a nagging feeling that was far from the truth. In the end he waved her along, speaking to the three she was. "Take her back to the base with you. Follow the lower tunnels and avoid the Styx. I saw quite a bit of Reaver activity on my own way though."

He'd then relay back to Xiaoyan.

"She's most certainly a fighter and I doubt she's a Con-man. I'd have D3d Ly3t take her out on a trial run. Make sure he goes easy on her. For now I'm waving her through with your goons. If this comes back to bite us in the ass, I'll deal with it."

It was a risk every time they let someone new into the Priory.

The three men would all make various signatures of acknowledgement before waving at Kayla to follow them back to the head quarters. Samuel would say one thing to the female before she took off though. It was a low and underlined threat for security purposes. "We're your friends and you'd better return the favor."

"Right-o! Its done Xiaoyan. Now while I'm out I'm going to investigate something... I'll be back by supper hopefully!"

Samuel hoped that Xiaoyan had set this meeting place close enough to the base that she could pick him out. He was about ro span a good distance. Nothing like her however, not even close. He'd stand and watch as the four dwindled into shadows in a nearby tunnel before leaving once more.

It was a couple hours hike to the surface entrance that set him near to the image that was beamed into his head only hours before. Or at least he thought it was nearby. Samuel had to be careful on the surface even as an unchipped Psi. There were other ways to track a criminal with a half a million dollar bounty on your head and he know. Its why he kept his head down and remained as inconspicuous on the surface as humanly possible. The supper thing was completely false. On the surface it was already night again. The cities' massive skyline danced like the aurora on the horizon and the stead hum of vehicles was in the air. The air was worse than down in the Bones. It reeked of carbon pollution and even human suffering. He wasn't in the best part of town either. He noted something as he went down the rode the image he drew into his mind got clearer and clearer as if it were a puzzle- then it struck him. He knew exactly where he was going. He had never been there himself but he'd heard of it. It was a brothel. There had been whispers among the underground market of the place. In fact one of Samuel's clients frequented the place. Sam himself tended to avoid brothels. He'd only stepped foot in one once. That ended in a shoot-out the local law enforcement that he barely escaped from. Either way his pace quickened.

It wasn't long before he managed to sniff his way through the backstreets of the district to the brothel in question. Give or take another hour or two. Something about the hotel unnerved him and he made sure that both his knife and old M1911 where in the suit pockets under the blazer. The gun was a relic but it was a damn good piece of equipment and was damn reliable. Sure everything was in order he stepped around the building and then into its front doors. Closing them as silently as possible before trying to sneak up the stairs, checking around until somebody popped up. He was here for the meeting he didn't even have knowledge about.

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Character Portrait: Cecilia Wolfe Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: D3d LyT3
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Cecilia sat in the office, she was as prepared as she could be, so at this moment she was simply sitting in her office seat, working on some papers that needed sorted and filed away, a few secrets that need locked up. She couldn't shake the feeling she was being watched, however, her head was still buzzing but that was from the Salesman detecting her, but she could feel something standing over her, watching her every move. Maybe she was just nervous about what was about to go down, causing her to be a bit jumpy.

The two guards watched as the man tried to sneak in, they stopped him and went to ask his name but had a feeling that from the way he was trying to sneak in that he was Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn. "Mr Hawethorn, I take it." One of them stated, not asking but understandable if Samuel thought it was a question. {b]Come with us.[/b] They ordered, before making their way to the office.

Three of the girls then ran up to Samuel and started flirting with him, distracting him whilst one of the girls ran off to warn Cecilia. The girls got as close as they could to Samuel, touching his chest and arms, complementing his body and facial features. One of the girls started to dance for him, pressing her breast together to make them perkier. They giggled and teased, biting their lips and blowing kisses.

Cecilia jumped as the door opened, He's here, Cecilia. Cecilia regained her posture and nodded.
"Show him in." She told the girl, who closed the door and skipped back to Samuel.
Cecilia stood from her chair and went to the back of her office and lifted the painting down of the wall, revealing a safe. For her, this safe was were she kept her poisons, not because they were precious to her but because the safe was faulty and opened if you just pulled the handle. She took out a sedative poison, it wouldn't kill him, just render him a tiny bit sleepy. Instead of putting it onto her nails, she put it on the blade of her dagger, her plan C, if he didn't listen or back down.
Plan A, talk to him, persuade him.
Plan B, claw him until he backs down.
Plan C, knock him out and give him to Alana to wipe his mind of every secret, every deal and every client he ever had.
Plan D, kill him.

Cecilia heard the giggling of the girls and knew he was at the door, the door clicked and the giggling was louder as the door opened but then she heard a stumbling as the girls pushed Samuel into the room and the slamming of the door, Cecilia still had her back to the door, she let out a breath as she looked over her shoulder to look at the man who had just been thrown into an unexpected meeting, with his rival information broker.

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Character Portrait: Xiaoyan Jin Character Portrait: Cecilia Wolfe Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: D3d LyT3
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#, as written by Raidose
(Collab with Shadow)




Watching and waiting, ever still, ever always. He watched and he waited till the seams of his mentality strained against the burgeoning pressure of his own manic side. To wait and to watch till finally he could wait and watch no longer. The screams and cries of so many voices urged him on, and he was not entirely rejecting. To let slip the blade, to plunge the knife deep down into bone and know the joys of life and loss. Oh no, that would be too sudden, too quick. First a game, a test of will and mind, then trap her in her own little box of a world and shake it till she shatters. Not just her, but the others, too! Oh what a lovely game it could be! The more the merrier, even if the only one reveling in the merriment was D3d LyT3 and his voices three. Such wonderful images he could craft, twisting all of their thoughts and forcing each others fears onto the next. All the loveliest ingredients were here. The strongest guard held deep-seeded night terrors of Ophidiophobia, with two other girls sharing the same fears of Suri and Arachnophobic natures. Rats and Spiders and Snakes, Oh My! And just when it had all come to a boil, D3d LyT3 felt the tapping of a presence that made him groan in annoyance. Samuel the ever-well timed had finally arrived. It only took him a whole two hours.

A writhing smirk cracked across his aged lips, hidden behind his mask as Cecilia laced her blade with the vial's contents. An image of slightly sensual conversation and conniving bribery, of razor-like claws gliding over tender skin, of sedation, ropes, chairs, and that young telepath he'd met earlier, and of course, a subtle, silent knife against Samuel's throat. Her cards were laid out on the table, and now D3d LyT3 eagerly played the bated audience to this little show. She had her back to the door when Sam was "escorted" in, her face only three inches from D3d LyT3's. He watched her eyes twitch and squirm ever so slightly as each new thought was formed, before he peered at the final product in her mind. Other beings fascinated him, even to this day. Though he could grow bored fast, he still loved to watch, to see them act as they did in their own little way. To compare one to the other, and then maybe even to himself. To see what, if anything, in him was human of mind and nature. He did not reveal himself to Samuel initially. D3d LyT3 wanted to see his reaction at it's fullest, and of course to witness the friction it would cause.

And when Cecillia finally turned to greet her guest, Sam played witness to her very own shadow standing on it's own just behind her. No sound nor presence emanated from it, as though his mind knew it not to be real, or rather, was allowed to know such. The shade's silhouette twisted in on itself till it stood well taller than her. It's stance was distinctly masculine and threatening, with it's newly formed eyes betraying it's identity. Samuel was now having a bit of trouble paying attention to both, and much to D3d LyT3's delight as he simply placed a solitary finger to his mouth.

'Shhhhhh.....'




Samuel had shown expert self-control on ignoring the females as they escorted him to the room. But now he was faced with this, the every malevolent image of D3d Ly3t behind a female who'd he'd been brought too. There was anxiety in his eyes for a brief moment before they snapped like marbles back toward Cecilla. Questions now flew through his mind like a freezing river. Why was he brought her? Who was this woman? Why did she give him the image of this place? And why the hell was D3d ly3t stalking her and now telling Samuel to keep the maniacs presence hidden? It at least seemed that way.

It didn't take him long to recompose though, in fact it would have been less than a brief second before his face curled in a cocky, careless grin at both figures really. His arms crossing in front of him in a relaxed and rather non-threatened as well as non-threatening posture. At the same time he silently raised a telekinetic barrier beside him and around his flanks. It would be hidden by his body and hard to notice even by someone behind him. His piercing, almost ice blue eyes darting through the room to take in every detail it held with a quick once-over. One of his fingers instinctively tapping his antique wristwatch with a clip-clip-clip-clip noise as the metal band rattled softly. The first thing that came from his mouth wasn't exactly diplomatic but it wasn't aggressive, rude, or hateful just merely cocky and questioning. His accent now up close most certainly Manchester English.

"Mind explaining why I'm here madam? I hope you aren't trying to set me up as a new client. I don't take to bordellos. Personally more of a Speakeasy fan."



How dull. Pleasantries? Such things could wait. An advantage of being an imminent precog, seeing the four minutes of time he'd be missing in his absence. Though one thing did tick in his mind. The thought that she could pay Sam off or simply erase him.... It was in it's own little way a delightful arrogance, the kind which D3d LyT3 overjoyed in mangling like a kitten with a ball of yarn. It was just a simple thought, but it was one she felt was without consequence. How one motive can speak so much, to say that she did not fear or respect the Priory.... Oh bother. The Priory. Xiao would be ever so cross with him if he performed anything.... unnecessary. Death threats would not be authorized here, sadly. Oh, but there had to be something! He had to rend her safety bubble somehow....

Now there's an idea....

Turn the best tool of a survivor against itself.

Caution into Paranoia....

Greatest asset into greatest weakness!

Psychological warfare.

A harmless prank, you might say.

And Xiaoyan can't get mad at us!

But the message will be oh so very clear....


It has been said that D3d LyT3's smile could peel paint from walls and turn sinners to prayer, that it was a rare thing never seen but always felt. A sudden cold air, the raising of your cackles, an out of place silence. This was no different. No one was the wiser as he slithered out of the room, unlocking the door from the other side through telekinesis. To everyone else, the door had never moved an inch. No sights to be seen, sounds to be heard, or sensations to be felt. This is what made D3d LyT3 a true nightmare, that he could go about unhindered and unfelt nearly anywhere guarded by no more than the waking mind of blanks and Psi alike. He could simply walk right into her personal quarters as if he owned every right in the world. Predictably anyone in the business of appearance would be in possession of a vanity mirror, and as seen in her memories she was no different. D3d LyT3 liked mirrors. he liked them very much. Eyes, it is said, are the mirrors to one's soul, then so too must the humble mirror show the truth. Or perhaps it served only as a tool of hubris. Either way, he still liked this mirror as much as any other, sitting down in front of it. It was strange, to feel one's own being peering back at him, to feel the Dead Lights casting upon his own face and features, to watch them watching him watching back.... It felt like he was teasing them. He let his finger trace out his own eyes on the mirror's surface playfully.

"I~ See~ You~....."

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Character Portrait: Xiaoyan Jin Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: Thomas Kenny Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore
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Thomas, after what wasn't even an hour, jumped to his feet from what he could only imagine to have been a loud roar from the next room. Of course, it was Laurence. Thomas was still very much on edge, and the cool draft that made its way into the shack only heightened the chilly feeling. Perpetuating through his mind was the nightmare he had experienced earlier. The feeling of dread was not one easily shrugged off, and its effects permeated deep into the mind. The scariest part of his reflections wasn't the telepathically induced fright fest, it was his encounter with the one reaver. Particularly, it was the conclusion of the encounter. It was murder, that's what it was, and it was not something Thomas could become accustomed to. With a shiver of fear, or maybe just cold, Thomas backed out of the shack. Before he had even cleared the sheet that covered the doorway he was being beckoned by Xia. With her was two others, one more middle-aged man and the other a kid about the same age as Thomas. He didn't bother to take the stairs, and instead just dropped down onto the rickety wooden platform, surprisingly not making a sound. Thomas then walked over, his obviously guarded posture relaxing as he came into Xia's presence.

"Thomas, Jonathan. Jonathan, Thomas."


Jonathan nodded to Thomas, to which Thomas responded with silence. He had not been around people for quite a long time, and the current circumstance didn't give him any more desire to interact with them. Xia gave a warm introduction to the Priory once more. The other man, Samuel, walked right into poor Thomas. Well, really, Samuel walked towards Thomas, and then Thomas seemingly teleported a few feet to the side. Thomas faded back into what dark he could find, staying still close to the conversation at hand, but not taking any attempt to participate in it. For a little he would stay and listen, but should nothing hold his interest or nobody address his directly, he would find a nice shack rooftop to spend the rest of the night and catch up on some well needed sleep.

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Xaioyan's smile never faltered, but a tilt of her head puts it in a sad light as she looks to Jonathan.

"I only heard that because you thought it 'at' me, if that helps you make any sense of anything." She confesses, unwrapping her fingers from the bowl to splay them in a gesture of honesty, "As for knowing your names? Yes. I'm a telepath. But even as I understand your paranoia, you must understand mine." Xiaoyan sighs wistfully, and her words are matched by an earnestly apologetic expression.

"This is our home, and many of us are unchipped, or on the run, or just too dangerous for Psi-CON to let us live. They know Psi are finding a haven somewhere under their feet, and they are not content to simply let us escape the fate they have planned for us. Every day an agent works to get closer, every day a scavenger sells his knowledge of some piece of graffitti he thinks marks a path. We are constantly /afraid/ of people around us, and that's no way to live for people who have done nothing more wrong than to be born."

"That's where people like me come in. I know /you/ were looking for us, if only for the sake of your own freedom." She smiles and nods at Jonathan, "And I know /you/ were in trouble with no place to go." She turns the smile to Thomas. "That's all I know. I did not poke around into your pasts or look for secrets, because I didnt have to. I know you are not Psi-CON, and that is enough for me."

Smoothing the front of her threadbare sweater, Xiaoyan sighs, "It's a necessary sin, in times like this. But I know that is the excuse of every dictator through history. So, as long as you are here and as long as you give us no reason to think that you would bring the authorities down on our heads... I will go no farther without permission, and nothing I know leaves my lips."

The smile returns as bright as ever and she laughs musically at Jonathan, letting Thomas slip back ingo the shadows since he's clearly exhausted, "Asside from you thinking knives at me. I cant help but hear it if you're -throwing- your thoughts at me, so that is YOUR mind intruding into MINE."

Turning the tables on him in teasing good humor, she answers his next question with a shrug, "Only long enough to realize you were looking for something in particular. That's when Sam was sent to see what you were about. We have eyes in the Bones just like Psi-CON does. It's sort of a constant chess game that very few people are aware is even being played, with very real lives the pieces on the board. If you'd =kept= looking, Psi-CON may've taken an interest in you, which is why we acted first."

She folds her fingers into her lap, "I'm sorry to say that, in forcing /our/ hand, you may have Psi-CON's interest too, now. The man you killed made his money bringing in rogue Psi in the Bones; whether alive or a corpse. His friends will be quick to report his death. It may not be safe for you to return to whatever life you were living."

----
Kayla
----

Vetted, in a way, by the handsome Brit, Kayla's escorts wouldnt be long leading her down -one more- set of impossible to remember passages. The air grows damp and cold, the sensation of being watched by the ghosts of the Dead Zone almost palpable. But through a tunnel and across a rickety bridge of scavenged wood and old cable... there it is. Her destination.

Buildings above the waterline crowd and tilt under the pressure of the Bones above. Platforms and bridges and ramps link around and through them like the messy constructions of drunken ants. Fires beat back the darkness, and the sounds of Life echo dully in this artificial amphitheatre.

The three men sigh almost as one with expressions of relief, and disappear quickly into the maze of doorways and balconies. The men that had escorted Kayla after Sam's introduction eye her momentarily before pointing her down a particular walkway and to a clearing of tables and fire barrels from which the smell of food wafts.

Sitting at one of those tables, in the middle of the fires' heat, is a young American boy and an older Chinese woman chatting in a friendly manner. Xiaoyan looks up at Kayla's entrance into the circle of bright light, and beams an inviting smile along with the wave of a hand to join them.

"Ah! Good! I was beginning to think you'd gotten cold feet. Please! Sit! My name is Xiaoyan. I am told you helped someone.... May I ask why?" Her curiosity contains no hint of the suspicion and malice Kayla has been met with thusfar. The tiny woman carries herself and her conversation with the utmost care and grace, making the shabby constructions around them seem like the finest halls.

As if on cue, another hot bowl of assorted somethings finds its way in front of the newest guest, steam curling up from the chunky stew.

"I think this is the busiest I've been with new people in ages." Xiaoyan ponders aloud, smiling with such an infectious joy that it's difficult to prevent oneself from smiling back.

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Jonathan lowered his head slightly as she explained. It all made sense why she would go inside his head, why she would pry into his private thoughts. For all she knew, he could have been there to infiltrate the Priory and destroy it from the inside. He gave a quick glance around. Considering that the majority of the people there were likely Psi, he was almost glad he wasn't trying to destroy them. Xiaoyan seemed lovely, but he had seen respected mothers, who helped Psi and human alike, kill to save the ones she loved. Jonathan gave an apologetic look and thought the word "sorry" towards her. Though, he instantly regretted this when she joked about him intruding her own mind. Giving a light chuckle, he looked down into the empty bowl in front of him.

'If this woman is a higher up in the Priory then she might just be able to help me find Sam, or at least might know someone who can find my brother.' Jonathan looked to her with an appraising look, trying to determine whether r not she could help him, or if he could even trust her. Everything told him to trust her, but he knew that now was not the time to ask favors of her. Jonathan was more than used to the favors system, and still had a few to redeem himself. He didn't overly wish to have an obligation to someone he barely knew.

"I'm sorry to say that, in forcing /our/ hand, you may have Psi-CON's interest too, now." Jonathan's eyebrows pulled together in confusion as Xiaoyan spoke. "The man you killed made his money bringing in rogue Psi in the Bones; whether alive or a corpse. His friends will be quick to report his death. It may not be safe for you to return to whatever life you were living." Jonathan froze. His mouth hung open for a second, before he closed it and looked to the side trying to regain his composure. He had hoped that the man in the tunnels had lived, Jonathan hadn't realized that he had hit him that hard, but had expected him to have died. It didn't make it any easier to hear however. This was his first kill after all.
'He died by my hands...'

Jonathan closed his eyes, a pained expression on his face, and drew in a shaky breath. He released it in a steady flow, and returned to the conversation only to see that someone new had entered it. Jonathan's hazel eyes scanned her athletic figure, making his way up to her face and then large eyes. Her pale, and strangely almost glowing, skin was emphasized by her dark wavy hair. Jonathan's eyes remained for a second on her seemingly colorless eyes before he drew them away, realizing he was staring. "I think this is the busiest I've been with new people in ages." He smiled at Xiaoyan's words, and looked down to the table letting the two women speak. He had a lot to think about.

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"Mind explaining why I'm here madam? I hope you aren't trying to set me up as a new client. I don't take to bordellos. Personally more of a Speakeasy fan."

Cecilia noticed the snap of Samuel’s eyes and she did a small check over her shoulders, she wasn’t the only person feeling the presence. Cecilia kept her gaze on the man before her. However, he seemed unfazed by the presence and kept a rather composed and cocky grin plastered on his face. Cecilia listened to him clip his watch patiently waiting for him to ask the questions that must be flowing through his head.

"Mind explaining why I'm here madam? I hope you aren't trying to set me up as a new client. I don't take to bordellos. Personally more of a Speakeasy fan." Samuel asked, his accent tugging at her emotions, making her think of her life before the Dawning.

“No, Mr Maccabeus.” She chuckled lightly. “I brought you here because you’re treading on my toes.” Her sultry purr laced with a Chelsea accent as she took a seat, outstretching her hand to offer Samuel to sit. Waiting for him to accept or decline before continuing.

“We are both in the trade of information, a source of income for both our other activities I’d assume.” Cecilia looked him in the eyes, hoping he’d understand. “I’m not going to put this lightly, but prostitution has very little money in it and I need to make sure my girls are save and looked after, where better than in this hotel with a personal guard?” She rhetorically asked. “But I need the money I get from my information broking to protect these girls and guys. I’m begging, please, give me back some of my customers, it is not too much to ask.”

Cecilia felt a shiver, as the odd presence seemed to leave the room, her connection to the hotel building had grown since the first time she stepped foot in it. Now she was so connected to the building she could see what it had seen and very few people believed that the buildings they entered had eyes so tend not to erase themselves from the building’s memory, a rare one or two have.

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#, as written by Belynta
The first thing that hit Kayla, upon reaching their destination, was the smells of the place. Her extra sensitive nose picked up various different odours from the smell of damp to the smell of old wood. Yet the biggest and by far most wonderful scent she caught was that of food, she had been beginning to think the men were simply intending to lead her in circles until she collapsed and if she was honest it would have worked after a while. She was tired and needed to replenish what she had used in her last fight and she hoped they would let her eat. She didn't need to have the way to go pointed out, she simply followed her nose to a more cosy area with various benches and light provided by several fires.

She automatically tensed when she saw others already there, she was not accustomed to meeting others and did not trust easily, and she wanted to be ready in case the shit hit the fan so to speak. The three figures she thought she could take if needed based on a purely physical analysis but not knowing what other abilities they had made that a risky and therefore unwise move. With an effort she held her more aggressive instincts at bay recognising that if she went all guns blazing she would very likely die. She was not a wanton killer but she was accustomed to having to fight for everything especially from groups of people like this and old habits were hard to break.

The slender Chinese woman seated at the table greeted her with a warm smile and Kayla was caught off guard, no one smiled like that not anymore. Well not unless they wanted something and were trying to manipulate you. People were simply too miserable to be that happy these days. Well PSI that was, she figured plenty of humans still had a pretty happy life. She nodded in return her expression guarded, Kayla was sure the woman wanted something or would once she knew what Kayla could do, everyone always did, and Kayla was determined not to be taken in by false pretences. She was tired and hungry and really not in the mood for mind games. However when the woman introduced herself Kayla began wondering if she really was that genuine, her voice and face both said it was true but Kayla was too cynical to believe it easily. She mentally shrugged assuming she would find out either way eventually.

"It would take more than a dark sewer for me to get cold feet." She said matter of factly and was about to say more when a bowl was placed down in front of her. The smell hit her twofold and it was all she could do not to drool, she hesitated unsure what would be asked in return for the food but then decided that she would pay anything just to relieve the painful cramps in her stomach. She tucked in without further ado, remembering to nod her thanks for the food in between mouthfuls, in no time at all the bowl was scraped clean. Kayla was still hungry, having a extremely fast metabolism did that to you, but it had been enough that she no longer felt like she was about to faint.

"If by someone you mean your mates, then yes I helped them not become road kill, as to why well...I have been asking myself that actually. It would have been easier not to leave them to it but I could tell they were PSI and considering how everyone's out to get us it seemed only fair we have each others backs. Or did you mean the bint I helped before that? It wouldn't surprise me if you knew about that too as I wasn't exactly subtle. Her I helped because although she was an idiot, she didn't deserve what those arsholes were going to do with her." Her Scottish brogue was very clear in her words more so because she was tired.

She paused and then smiled wryly. "Or maybe I'm going soft, take your pick."

She yawned then and almost fell of the stool, she needed to sleep soon or her body would literally pass out. She cursed the downside of her abilities again but knowing that there was nothing to be done about it.

"Ah crap." She said covering her mouth as another yawn pushed its way through. "Whatever you're planning to do with me you'd better tell me quick because I'm not going to be awake much longer. Can't help it, its just one of those things."

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“No, Mr Maccabeus, I brought you here because you’re treading on my toes.”


She was purring at him. Trying to use her charms against him as she spoke. Samuel's eyes merely followed her as she spoke, at this point he seemed rather detached. There was absolutely no emotion crossing his face. If anything, under his guise, he was annoyed and rather bothered by the accusation and the fact she kept on thinking that he was scum enough to fall for her female tricks and the 'lady-of-pleasures-and-sexy-sounds act'.

“We are both in the trade of information, a source of income for both our other activities I’d assume. I’m not going to put this lightly, but prostitution has very little money in it and I need to make sure my girls are save and looked after, where better than in this hotel with a personal guard? But I need the money I get from my information broking to protect these girls and guys. I’m begging, please, give me back some of my customers, it is not too much to ask.”


He considered this, silently thinking. His eyes actually closed as he thought but as they did that shimmering barrier grew more apparent. Thoughts ran through his brain before his eyes opened once more and grazed back on her, iris' locking on hers.

"And how, may I ask, lassie is your business of any more important than mine? Nevermind that though... If you want me to settle on this you'll have to cut me a deal. By the by, stop it with the sultry and seducing act. Its entirely unfitting and makes me rather disinclined to deal with you. Unless like most men I have a leash on hormones."


That cocky grin once again crossed his face as he looked up at her. He was a bold son of a bitch that was sure but not without reason and not without skill to back it up. He slouched into a chair on the side of the female's desk and looked at her with a soft and almost innocent looking cant to his head. He again seemed completely non-threatening and disheveled other than the rather nice suit he wore.

"So... Place a deal on the table and be quick about it. I have places to be and people to meet and I assure you, my time is worth every damn penny in your pockets."

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"And how, may I ask, lassie is your business of any more important than mine? Nevermind that though... If you want me to settle on this you'll have to cut me a deal. By the by, stop it with the sultry and seducing act. Its entirely unfitting and makes me rather disinclined to deal with you. Unless like most men I have a leash on hormones."

Cecilia’s nostril started to twitch, she felt the need to rip the cocky grin from his face or better yet, give him an ever present one, a quick movement and she could have him biting the table and her foot stamping on his head, ‘Welcome to Chelsea, Manchester.’ She thought to herself, but with a deep breath she regained herself.

"So... Place a deal on the table and be quick about it. I have places to be and people to meet and I assure you, my time is worth every damn penny in your pockets."


“No man is ever in full control of his hormones, unless…” She chuckled, “Unless he’s gay, a-sexual or no man at all.” She looked down at his groin and tilted her head, implying he was castrated.

“Look at me getting off topic,” she shook her head and her eyes moved back up to Sam’s face. “I care for those that need care most, I’m protecting those that can’t protect themselves. Whilst all you Priory assholes do is cause more problems for our kind.” She retorted, she had no time for the Priory whilst her girls and guys were subjected to prejudice and hate because of a small number of Psi that couldn’t just face the fact that it was basically the entire Psi that symbolized the Dawning and the deaths of countless millions.

“I have nothing to give you, you stole from me. Why should I pay you for something you stole from me?” She asked him, her patience for Plan A, slowly draining from her. “You must have had family before the Dawning, if they were still here wouldn’t you do anything and everything to save them, protect them from this world.“

She was hoping maybe she could convince him with emotion. “Please, don’t take away the little hope we have left. These ‘whores’ they are my family, I have to protect them, provided for them, please.” Her eyes were welling up, this was real motion but no doubt he would see this as fake, think she was trying to manipulate him into giving back her clients.

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Character Portrait: Xiaoyan Jin Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Kayla Mackenzie
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Xiaoyan can see the pain written on Jonathan's face, but it'd been a calculated reveal. Shielding him from the truth of his actions would've just hurt him later on if he'd felt safe enough to leave and been run down by vengefull Psi hunters. So she lets him have his silence and holds her attention on Kayla for the moment.

"Well, I'm grateful you decided to 'have their backs', then. You're right, helping eachother out a little bit is probably the least we can do in times like this." She nods in agreement.

Then she chuckles again and spreads her hands to them both, "What I plan on doing with you is letting you go sleep. I've been here yammering on and you're about to pass out in your bowls."

Lifting a hand, the slender chinese woman points at the catwalks above them where leaning building doorways have been closed off with curtains or makeshift doors. While precariously perched; they all seemed sturdy and secluded. A few had lights burning low in them, some had crude scrawling marking them with owners' names, but many were open and invitingly silent.

"Up there are what passes for our living quarters. You can go ahead and pick whichever is your fancy. The farther out you go, the colder but quieter it gets. It's all quite safe as long as you dont leave the catwalks or the last lanterns. You can always find the kitchen here, there'll always be -something- edible available, just mind your manners around our chef Laurence."

Swiveling, she points at the rest of the clustered lights in the underground amphitheatre, "The rest of the place you can wander when you're feeling right. We have a few meeting spaces, but unless there's someone there to shoo you away, you may feel free to explore. If you want to help out before anyone asks, try your hand at fishing. We do get some down here that arent contaminated."

And then she stands smoothly, still short enough that she couldnt loom over them if she tried, but she motions her hands in a 'shoo' gesture. "I've kept you too long for my own entertainment. Just stay inside the lanterns. We arent far from the Dead Zone, here, so if you wish to leave we'll have to get you an escort. But now? Rest. Go on. Get."

Motherly command thus issued, Xiaoyan smiles again and makes a slight bow out of her oriental heritage before leaving the would-be cafeteria. Stopping to chat cheerfully, briefly, with others on her way, she breezes out and is gone.

Beyond that ring of warmth, cheer, and food, Xiaoyan sighs and rubs the bridge of her nose with a delicate finger. Sleep sounded wonderful, but would have to wait. Three new mouths to feed. With luck, one or two might stay on and prove willing to help. Two of her best were still out there, somewhere. And now three others were waiting in her office to give her such a grim report that she could -feel- their dread hanging over her head like a wave waiting to crash down.

Sometimes she envied others their ignorance.

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#, as written by Belynta
Kayla did her best to take in what the Chinese woman was saying but it was difficult, she was just so damn tired, she caught the gist of it however. Beyond lanterns bad, catwalks had sleeping areas and something about...fish? She managed a nod as the other woman left before she swivelled her eyes to take in the two men beside her. She hadn't caught their names and was too tired right then to even bother introducing herself, eating had eased the ache somewhat, but she needed to sleep like any other person to get her energy back.

Man I must be really out of shape if using my skills for only a little while tired me out this much She thought irritably choosing not to remember right then that she deliberately avoided using her most powerful ability whenever possible. The reason for not doing so didn't really make much sense even to her but it did nothing to change the fact that she hated using it. But then she reminded herself that if she hadn't those other PSI would be dead right now.
Oh yeah they definitely owe me for that and I will collect one day, just not until I've had more sleep

She stood and nodded briefly to the two men but didn't try and talk to them, there would be time enough for that later. Instead she made her way up to the catwalks and wandered along them until she found an empty room that she liked enough. It was as far away as she could get and still be within the area specified. With her fine tuned senses she really did not like being too close to other people especially when she wanted to sleep, as people were, by their very nature, noisy and she already had enough trouble sleeping without adding more to it.

She curled up on the old mattress and pile of blankets in the corner and it wasn't long before sleep came for her, the last thing she thought before that happened was that she didn't trust these people and did not believe for a moment that they didn't want anything from her. But that was for tomorrow.

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Jonathan gave a tired half smile at Xiaoyan's motherly dismissal and pushed himself up from his seat, his body swaying slightly because of how long he had been awake. He gave a quick glance up to where he would sleep for the rest of the night and sighed with relief before turning his eyes to Xiaoyan as bowed and began to turn.
"Thank you," he said quietly, though loud enough for her to hear. He had learned the hard way that it's best to be polite in these situations, even if he didn't completely trust those at the receiving end. He watched her small, retreating form then lifted his hand to cover his mouth as a yawn crept up on him.

For a silent second, Jonathan stood looking down at the dark haired woman still there with him after Xiaoyan left. She looked exhausted, as if she'd fall asleep right there on the spot. His eyes lingered for a moment, drawn in by her ethereal glow, before he turned away, conscious of the fact that he was now staring. Focussing on the light from the makeshift houses above them, he cleared his throat softly.
"Well, uh..." he swallowed to wet his throat and started to take a step back. "Goodnight." Nodding, happy that he could at least manage words, he turned slowly and started for the empty house of his choice, a small makeshift hovel with a door in between two already taken homes. The idea of being near the end of the lanterns where it was cold and isolated brought a sense of wariness to the teen. He ran his long fingers through his hair with a sigh and ascended to what he hoped would be a comfortable sleep.

The pungent tang of dampness assaulted his senses as he pushed open the door to the dark dwelling. Jonathan cast an appraising eyes across the walls and floor and gave a tired smile. It wasn't anything special, it wasn't a luxury room, but it didn't matter. He had found what he was looking for. The Priory was everything that he had been looking for all of his life. He lifted the messenger bag from his body and dropped it on the floor, pulled off his boots and threw his coat beside them. He crouched down to the bag and searched through it for the nearly finished candle. The flashlight would have been preferable, but he only had a few batteries to replace it yet. He balanced the candle on the bedside table and stretched with a yawn.

As his eyes fell on the wick, an idea came into his head. He hesitantly lifted his hands. Jonathan's abilities weren't always entirely reliable when he tried to use them in a more refined form. The possibility that he could blow a three, four foot wide hole in the wall was a very real danger. He drew in a breath, and pulled back his hands. He opened his hands in the usual way to use his power but with a twist of his hands. A crackle and flash burst from the wick and a flame came into existence. Jonathan smiled, before lifting the candle and dropping wax to the table and putting the candle into it to add to its stability. Dropping to the surprisingly comfortable bed below him, the teen closed his eyes and let the darkness engulf him, the lingering memories of the day before slowly corrupting his dreams within.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecilia Wolfe Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: D3d LyT3
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#, as written by Raidose
D3d LyT3 had just finished his little masterpiece in Ms. Wolfe's private quarters when it came to him. This body which he wore, not even worth calling a suit but simply a tool to be used to his own means, still needed the baser necessities any other living being did. These lesser needs often went completely unnoticed by Oz, for he was simply an operator of this abandoned flesh bag since it's owner's passing. One of those needs was rest, and it had been over sixty-five hours since he last did so. He knew this because he'd set a watch on his person for just such a reminder, and in exactly three minutes and twenty-seven seconds, it would go off. In the other room, events that hadn't yet unfolded played out in his mind. Things were not going too smoothly, at least not for a much needed RTB.

"I have nothing to give you, you stole from me. Why should I pay you for something you stole from me? You must have had family before the Dawning, if they were still here wouldn't you do anything and everything to save them, protect them from this world. Please, don't take away the little hope we have left. These ‘whores’ they are my family, I have to protect them, provide for them, please."

Oh? What's this, real tears? I hadn't thought Hawethorn capable of causing that reaction. Still, this is taking much too long. There has to be a way to.... Ah, yes. She'll do nicely....

The future he'd just seen was still several minutes away, time to spare for him and his new target. Alana..... Her name rolled around in his head a moment in mirth. Such an odd thing, playing with other's memories. Much like how his predecessor use to in his youth... No matter. Her skills made her a viable alternative, so perhaps a little chat may help things smooth over in the days to come.It wasn't hard to find her in this rather compact complex. Downstairs, seven guards, three civilians, and in mid conversation. Perfect.




From Alana's view, nothing had become apparent immediately but there was something.... off. She couldn't name it, but everything just seemed a little slower, like it stuttered for a moment. Her lack of attention made her miss exactly when it happened, but at some point her friends went dead silent. When her eyes focussed back on them, it didn't register at first. They were just sitting there for a few seconds too long before it finally clicked. They were sitting there. Just sitting, breathing, and staring back at her without a word or even blink. One of the guards was patrolling between floors, after first leaving the restroom. He'd walk near the far wall, check in on the second door on the right, smile, nod, close the door, and proceed upstairs. The moment he was out of sight, she could hear the door to the restroom open as the same guard stepped out, repeating the cycle. All the reflective surfaces around her werealso becoming strange, developing such a thick tarnish on them that they ceased to reflect anything, simply being dull and rather alien.

Alana looked down the hallway that she'd came from and saw it nearly pitch black in darkness, a total contrast to the brightly lit one she remembered treading earlier. Looking around, she quickly noticed all the exits from this room were exactly the same, blocked off by total darkness. Her breath quickened, eyes darting around for something, anything normal. This was a dream, there was no alternative. Nothing changed or moved for the longest time. She knew this because all she could do was stare and watch it all, till finally she spotted something different. Alana only noticed it in her quick rescan as a mirror, though it seemed as black as the hallway. When her eyes jumped back to it, there was a.... thing in it. No, not a thing. A person. With eyes. Big, glowing eyes. Frozen in a cold dread, she was fixated on this manifestation, and it simply stared right back at her. Alana could count the seconds, and just when eight had passed, she watched it raise a hand....

And grip the frame of the mirror.

The scream caught in her throat as her new visitor stepped in through the reflection. His steps echoed throughout the room as he moved, taking an age as if in slow motion. It didn't matter, though, Alana couldn't move if she tried. "You saw me" it stated, sounding strangely pleased. "Good. Do you know who I am?" Her hands dug into the cushions of the small couch she was sitting in, trying desperately to push her farther away from Him. "Come any closer and I'll scream!" she yelled at him. Her small amount of defiance shattered when he laughed in genuine amusement. Then came a moment of unawareness, like an involuntary blink, and he was now standing next to her friends. "Have you ever wondered, what it would feel like to have centipedes in your mouth?" His words seemed so strange and out of place it actually silenced her for a moment. What came next, more so. From out of the smiling faces of her prostitute friends came hundreds of them. Legs pushing open their lips and feelers flailing about, crawling up and down their faces. Soon the hundred-legged insects were falling from the ceiling, crawling out from behind the mirror and paintings, and from under the cushions of her seat. She screamed only for a moment before going quiet, feeling what she could only fathom to be thousands of squirming legs inside her throat....

Another instant of darkness flashed, and it was all gone. All of it, every wriggling, squirming bug. Even her living-doll-like friends and that guard set on "repeat". The darkness was completely receded, the mirror was reflecting the world before it, and sunlight shown in through the windows. But before she could feel safe, it dawned upon her that it wasn't daylight outside... "Very good." Those words came in on another blink, back to the blackened hallways and reflectionless world. No bugs, though, or friends, or guard. Only him, sitting maybe a few inches away, staring back at her. Her lips parted to something, anything, but found his finger pressed against them. Her eyes caught the flicker of insect feelers dart from the cuff of his coat for only a second, understanding the message in full. "No more words. Just listen, and understand." His hand retracted from her face as he leaned closer. "The lights are dying Alana, and when they do this great game we're all playing will end. But now you have a role to play, and a very special one."

The confusion was evident on her face, but she kept quiet. "I knew a boy like you once, a long time ago. He liked to watch them, too. The things people keep in their heads. He'd peep in and spy and laugh and giggle, just like what you do. Then one day that boy was taken away, and he became someone else. A man, and a very bad one. He died, and I watched, and peeped, and spied. Sometimes I'd even laugh and giggle. You see, I'm a very bad man, too, and I know what Psi-CON likes to do to good little boys and girls like you and him. They don't like their memories not being secret, so they take us. And we're never seen again. But I might be lying, so I want to give you something...." Reaching out his hand, D3d LyT3 sensed her unwillingness in taking it. "No tricks or games to play today, Alana. Just some favorite moments of a life before. The memories of a dear, dear friend of mine, and some from his friends, too. Don't you want to see?" Tentatively, hesitantly, she touched his hand, though the images she received were a very handpicked few. Memories of pain, screaming, scalpels, and guns. Of experiments she saw as a witness of and victim to. Of raids on homes and hideouts. Lastly, of people being taken, many of them younger than her.

The connection snapped and she immediately felt like vomiting at what she'd seen, rolling onto the floor retching in tears. "Do you know what that was? That is how Psi-CON operates without anything challenging them. If no one in this city draws their attention away from people like you, then their only priority will become people like you. And..." He lingered off as she finally looked up and beheld the room where her dearest friend was entertaining their guest Samuel. "Cecilia...." he purred. They were both frozen in time, mid conversing. His eyes lowered back down to Alana, seeing her struggle to take it all in. "Out of everyone here, you are the only one who could read memories. My memories, and know them to be true. You are the only one who'd know they were not tricks or illusions. That was life without the Priory. It may also become your future. Take it how ever you may, and...." he droned as time resumed only for a brief line. "I care for those that need care most, I'm protecting those that can't protect themselves. Whilst all you Priory assholes do is cause more problems for our kind."

As soon as that was said, they both vanished. Alana looked up, meeting D3d LyT3's gaze in a cold chill. "Take a moment to compose yourself. Then share what you've learned. Tell her. Show her where exactly she stands, without ignorance to hide behind. She would listen to no one else but you. Though when you wake, the worst of it will be dulled away...." he trailed off again, leaving her to wonder what had just happened before everything faded out.

Alana awoke on the sofa she sat on earlier, being gently shook by her friends. "Alana, sweety, are you ok? You just went out on us!" As the small group consoled the teary-eyed girl, D3d LyT3 watched them from the hall. This was an interesting hand he decided to play. She could turn Cecilia into an ally in time.... though it may also come back to haunt him. He honestly didn't know either way, but to him that simply made it exciting. Still one more thing to take care of. Just like that, all thoughts of her resemblance to that of the original host died as he stalked his way past the guards and back into Cecilia's meeting room. The moment was exactly just as she'd given her emotional speech, and awaited an answer. D3d LyT3 loved seeing these moments play out, but all of it would have to wait for another day. This scene had played out for entirely too long, and besides that, he always loved cliff-hangers.

Memories are always interesting things, our only evidence of our lives and the passage of time. Taking a memory could change a person for life, altering one key fragment from their past. But if memories are of our past, then what keeps track of the present? Where is the dividing line between our perception of what is happening, and our memories of what has just happened? The truth was that this line was a rather fine one, and if any individual with the ability to completely remove a memory were to, say, start removing the memories that were being made this instant, it would leave this portion of time as an invariable blank in consciousness. Not a coma, just simply unaware of every single thing happening to them and around them for the entire span.

To phrase it simply, when Cecilia paused for a moment to wipe the tears from her eyes, she would open them to find Samuel gone. Samuel, in the same fashion, would come to awareness standing beside an open manhole cover.


(Shadow's contribution)


Samuel's eyes opened to him suddenly standing by a sewer grating that was open. First shock ran through him, and then confusion, and then anger. Whoever transported him here just tampered with his business. His gaze soon shifted though, looking around the area he had suddenly appeared in. At this point he had no idea whether he was now in a Sigma trap or if it was the psychopath that was watching the meeting; on that note he had no idea whether it was real or not at the same.

He stood there, thinking, defensive, ready for somebody or something to attack him before closing his eyes, exhaling a deep breathe and climbing down into the manhole left wide open for him.

(End of contribution)




Emotional moment utterly ruined with both parties left in total bewilderment. It really is the little things in life. That one gleaming moment that makes everything so lovely. A solid thump sounded as D3d LyT3's boots impacted the floor, having crawled through an antiquated and slowly degrading ductwork system to his personal bolt-hole. His favorite door in the world. It took D3d LyT3 one whole year to make it. A reinforced steel bulkhead door at the end of a hallway lined with hidden claymore mines. The door is locked by a fifteen-digit key code, which changes randomly every single second. One single wrong number, and all the mines detonate, effectively disintegrating any living thing in the hallway, and locking the door permanently. One whole year. But! This wasn't that door. This wasn't that bolt-hole. This was the one he made in the bar-space in the carcass of a building above the eastward river of the Priory's home. A little more accessible. Well, at least for anyone capable of accessing a hole in the ceiling thirty feet off the ground.

He peered down at the Priory's dying night-life below before checking in. The old oak door wasn't quite as secure as the steel one in his other hide-away, but it was still rigged. Two double-barrel shotguns ready to blast anyone who even jiggled the handle, let alone knocked the door down. Of course, not a threat if you could flip the safety on the guns from the other side of the wall. No lights greeted him when he walked in. After all, none were needed. The door was closed and locked, guns rearmed. Home, sweet home. The clasps to his kevlar arm guards came loose, letting the clunk to the ground along with his shinguards. His coat simply slid from his shoulders, down his arms, and was flung to the side. Guns, knives, clips, grenades, and the holsters for all of them simply undid themselves of seamingly their own accord. The self-sealing collar of his mask hissed with air and the clamps of the back of his head undid, letting him pull the mask free and set it upon the bar counter. His gloves, boots, and bio-weave body armor followed, leaving ivory white skin and a road map of scars.

Lifeless, milky eyes occupied the center of darkened rings. A shaved near-bald head of hair was broken up by spiderwebs of both surgical and concussive scarring. A nose nearly flattened like it'd been broken to dust and back again. A face that looked like it was sculpted by blunt force trauma and a lifetime of abuse, and a body to match. Both emaciated and yet toned to cartoonish standards at the same time, each limb marked with dozens of perfectly carved deep lines, mapping out his entire nervous system. With an autonomous gait he stepped over to the containment case in the far corner. Unclipping the lid, D3d LyT3 opened it to reveal the row of cleaned mask filters within their sterilising cases, being slowly cleaned and made ready for reuse. Unscrewing the used cartridge and fastening it into the empty cased, the lid slid shut as the sterilising agent began the fog up the interior. The aches and pains of the days past usually went unnoticed, though that one in his jaw had been pestering him for a while now. Reaching into his mouth, he managed to pluck another chip of tooth from his already ruined smile. Just one more thing to remind him he yet still lived.

Deep sleep was something D3d LyT3, or more specifically Oz, avoided at every opportunity. Ironic, maybe, that the nightmares would plague him so. More so when the dreams of his fellow occupants sometimes leaked through into his. It'd been too long for a light rest, so the next best option was an induced coma. Byrathine, a modern day resynthesized version of traditional morphine made to be more acceptable by the body to drastically lower the danger of use. Excellent for use in the field by soldiers, and half the chance triggering any allergic reaction. And still it took a normally lethal dose for D3d LyT3 to achieve the desired effect. That damnable awareness of his was always difficult to suppress. To be intimately knowing of every single thing happening around him, or about to be happening around him. So many thoughts and memories, and God above help him when ever he accidentally tapped into Xiaoyan's little network. To see, hear, feel, and entirely know of every grain of wood rotting above him was bad enough, but there will never be a Hell like all those voices. Though finally, blissfully, the edges of his conscious mind faded with a dull numbness. A creeping silence slowly rolled in. He laid down on the hard wooden counter of the bar, a splash of vodka in his mouth to kill the tinge of blood, the open bottle still in his hand....

And the blackness finally took hold.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecilia Wolfe Character Portrait: Samuel Maccabeus Hawethorn Character Portrait: D3d LyT3
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Cecilia looked up to see Samuel was gone and she let out a sigh, “Mother fucker.” Escaped her lips, as she made sure it wasn’t just an illusion. Cecilia threw her weapons back in the drawer and slammed it shut. She slumped back into her chair and huffed, she needed to get her clients back and quickly, but how, she didn’t know.

Cecilia fell asleep slumped in the chair and not long after was awoken by a light rapping at her office door. “What?” She moaned, her voice slurred from sleep.
Cecilia?” She heard the familiar voice of Alana ask into the dark room.
“Yeah?” Cecilia opened her eyes and sat up in the chair.
What are you sitting in the dark for?” Alana asked and Cecilia chuckled.
“I wasn’t I was sleeping.” Cecilia admitted to the young girl, rubbing her eyes and yawning slightly, she hadn’t realized how tired she was.
Oh, I’m sorry. Alana gasped. “I can come back.

Cecilia shook her head, but quickly remembered the light was off and spoke up.
“No, it’s fine. Come in, turn the light on.” Cecilia heard the flick of the light switch and then she noticed the redness around Alana’s eyes. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
Nothing, I just… I just…” Alana looked as if she was struggling to remember something but it just wasn’t coming to her, then she looked up. “Cecilia, join the Priory.” Cecilia shook her head, her eyes grew wide and a gasp escaped her mouth, but before she could say anything, Alana grabbed her wrist and shared the new memories.

Cecilia yanked her hand free and she looked up at Alana, tears were streaming down her face. “My friends, my family. They’re all dead because no one would fight back. They tortured me, maimed me and worst of all you’ve done nothing to stop them doing it to anyone else.” Alana picked up a pair of scissors from the desk.

“Alana, what are you doing?” Cecilia started backing away from the girl as she started to lose her mentality, the images and ideas too much for her to handle. “They aren’t your memories, you’re family is still alive, you’ve never been near a Psi-CON facility.” Cecilia desperately tried to remind Alana that they were someone else’s memories and not her own. Luckily it worked, but it caused the young girl to drop the scissors and lift her hands to her head, she fell onto her knees crying in pain.

The door swung violently open and one of the guards came in, “Get Violet!” Cecilia yelled at him, as she cradled the crying Alana, the guard quickly ran off. “Ssh, it’s okay. It’s okay.” Cecilia whispered, stroking the Alana’s hair.

Cecilia waited outside the door, pacing impatiently. She kept hearing constant doors opening and closing, each time she’d look up and hope it was Violet coming out of Alana’s room but it wasn’t.

Cecilia kept the pacing going for a solid hour before Violet finally emerged from the room.
“How is she? Is she okay?” Cecilia asked the minute she saw her.
Yes, she’ll be fine. She just needs some rest.” Violet replied, placing her hands on Cecilia’s arm and rubbing them reassuringly. “And I think you do too.” Cecilia merely nodded before walking up the hall, hanging her head.

Cecilia opened her bedroom door and walked in, her eyes closed as she tried to calm herself down. She shut the door and lent against it, letting a sigh escape her lips as she opened her mouth.

Cecilia gasped at the sight, her room was covered in multi-coloured ‘I C U’s and in the centre all of the now empty tubes formed a large number 9. Cecilia ran over to the number and kicked the tubes away, she looked up into one of the mirrors and where her eyes should be, were two large, solid circles of violet. Amelia let out a little yelp and ran over to the mirror, instead of wiping the lipstick from the mirror she simply pulled it over, the shards of broken mirror flying all across the floor. Cecilia placed her hand on the nearest wall and took in a deep breath.

She was in the room, before it was ever defaced by whatever creep thought he’d get away with it. Cecilia watched the door for the intruder but they never came through. Instead someone walked through her, they’re identity concealed by a trench coat and gas mask, the only thing revealing the identity. The purple eyes.

Cecilia’s breath quickened and she tried to wake herself up, she had heard the legends and stories. The boogeyman. The Candy man. Dead Light. Cecilia could feel her heart beat start to race, why was he there? Why Cecilia? Was he the presence?

She watched as Dead Light defaced the room with his ominous graffiti and then made the number 9 in the middle of the room. Cecilia let out a sigh of relief as she saw him begin to float through the floor but her heart stopped when he paused and turned her neck. His eyes, the bright purple eyes, staring right at her, she knew it was her, could feel him staring at her and he wagged his finger, like a disproving mother, mocking her.

Before Cecilia could do anything, a massive surge of Psionic energy flowed through the room. The surge causing Cecilia to be thrown from the memory and causing her head to throb so hard that she blacked out.