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LIVING LEGENDS // The Great Game // [IC #1]

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Forest State
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Capitalist Paradise

LIVING LEGENDS // The Great Game // [IC #1]

Postby Forest State » Fri May 31, 2019 8:46 pm

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TEAM AEGIS. One of the most well known superhero teams in the world, split between New York City and London and given the goal of protecting hundreds of millions of people from anything that might come their way - Team Aegis is on the forefront of the global fight against crime and terrorism, but life on this team is anything but easy. The press, unrealistic expectations from the public, strict regulations, and being thrown against some of the most dangerous villains in the world are all factors which play into that difficulty.

While things are mostly calm in New York City, however, a number of dangerous plots are happening around the world - rogue AI, secret societies, extraterrestrial interference, and evil megacorporations should all be expected. In the background, the secret society known as Pyramid looks to uncover truths using its legions of metahuman mercenaries. In the foreground, rapid developments in AI and technology could see the world itself threatened by its own creations. Will YOU be able to handle the pressure and save the world as a member of Team Aegis’ NYC team?



This is one of the IC threads for Living Legends. If this thread interests you, please check the OOC hub out here.


Last edited by Forest State on Fri May 31, 2019 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Forest State
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Postby Forest State » Fri May 31, 2019 9:04 pm


While the heroes of Team Aegis go about their daily lives in New York City and London, the mysterious secret society known as Pyramid plots its next moves...


    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    PYRAMID FACILITY, 'NOWHEREVILLE'
    The 4th Experimental Unit & Sage Shields
“Hail Pyramid, Hail Khnemu…”

Those words were familiar for anyone that had the fortune, or maybe the misfortune, of being employed by the organization known as Pyramid. The same one that was often referenced on internet threads, conspiracy theory videos, and in the dark corners of bars between intelligence agents or criminals who speculated on whether or not the aforementioned videos and image board threads actually meant anything of worth. For most of the employees, working there was a misfortune, because their employment wasn’t something they had any choice or say in. Some of them had been kidnapped, some of them had been born into the organization, or rather, created by its scientists directly. No one ever said that Pyramid was bad at science. It was just that they had a tendency to not use it morally.

Most of those that had the misfortune of being frontline forces in Pyramid’s large mercenary army, however, were metahumans of some kind. They owed their abilities mostly to the same organization that some of them hated deep down - they’d been experimented on, pushed to the limits, but the ones that were standing here at this assembly right now were all the ones that had survived it and came out stronger on the other end. It was a wonder that they were even under the control of Pyramid when they seemed to be stronger than their commanders, who would spend time sitting in their offices while their metahuman mercenaries were out in the field or were training.

Propaganda, however, was a valuable tool. And even the most rebellious of Pyramid members wasn’t immune to propaganda. It was almost amusing, in a certain way, how even those who tried to rebel were just falling into another trap that had already been laid out ahead of time by an organization that was always one step ahead of its opposition, both internal and external. Typically, that kind of trick was a honeypot. Make someone think they were strong enough to rise up, but as soon as they attempted it, they’d be surrounded by security forces in their faceless armor and with their advanced laser based weaponry, and the rebel would have holes in them before they knew what was happening. Maybe it had something to do with the supposed founder of the organization, the one that was practically hailed as a god around these parts as a bringer of powers who claimed that Pyramid’s think tanks and research groups were going to eventually crack the secret to life itself, being rumored to have powerful telepathic abilities. When you were in someone’s head it wasn’t hard to come up with the right moves to stop them, to control them, and Pyramid was quite good at getting inside heads. Hail Pyramid and Hail Khnemu indeed.

“Hail Pyramid, Hail Khnemu,” Minerva ‘Hellcat’ Driscoll repeated along with the others at the assembly before it dispersed, offering a half-assed salute as she did so. Really, she only did so because it was protocol. She had other things on her mind such as the fact that the 7th Paranormal Corps had just been liquidated and it was their team of mercenary metahumans, the 4th Experimental Unit, which would take on at least part of the old roster. Which meant they were getting at least one new addition. “Looks like we’re going to have to break in someone new, I swear if it’s a plant though, I’m not going to go easy,” Minerva added, turning to face the leader of their unit, Bea ‘Empress’ Ward.

By plant, she didn’t mean a literal plant but someone sent by the leader of their Division - which existed one level up from their team - to ensure their loyalty. Being an Experimental Unit that Pyramid used to gather data on the human condition with less of the brainwashing and propaganda of the rest of the organization, they were more of an independent and rebellious bunch than the typical Pyramid team. And Myrna ‘Bigshot’ Quinn, the commanding officer of Division Zeta, didn’t exactly like that fact. In fact, one could say she did everything in her power to stop it, only not going further because of the regulations around how their team was to be handled.

“Who the hell knows? We’re not getting some random transfer with a shady background, like we did when Orlova showed up, it’s someone from a regular unit. I won’t judge them until we meet them,” Ward replied with a shrug, having a more optimistic outlook on things than her Executive Officer who was trailing her as she and the rest of the team - sans their aforementioned ‘Morale Officer,’ Orlova, started out of the large assembly room and stepped into one of the elevators. This underground complex where they stayed was made up of a corridor of mazes, it was the type of place where getting lost was quite easy and where even longtime employees didn’t know where every path led. Despite the building being huge, the 4th had only experienced a small part of the complex, and they were headed back to one of the places they frequented - the smaller briefing room where they went before missions.

This time, it wasn’t because of a mission, but because they had been told to go there and meet the new member that would join their unit effective immediately. The restructuring had been the main topic of the assembly they had just attended, but there was also something else on everyone’s mind from that meeting - many units had received their assignment, and they had just been told that they would once again work in South America as metahuman mercenaries for one of the front companies of Pyramid. “South America again… God, I hope it’s not the Amazon,” remarked Tali ‘Wraith’ Couture, as the elevator doors opened and the group started towards the briefing room a few floors up from where they had began.

“I don’t think there’s anything they need us to do down there, we tied up all the loose ends last time,” Kodiak ‘Phantom’ Marsden replied, in her usual calm voice which was for the most part completely neutral on the subject, devoid of leaning in one direction or the other in terms of opinion. “Let’s just meet the new person that’s going to come with us, we can speculate on where they’re sending us later.”

“Right,” Tali sighed, the group arriving at the right room and waiting outside of the door, for their new member...

Sage "Changeling" Shields, not that there was anyone left that fully understood why she used that name. Her pace was steady, her strides even, her face impassive as she moved to where she was going to meet her new team and get her new assignment. Just another place to go, more people to kill, more things to break. It was all they used her for, all she was good for, so why should this be any different. She was tall, 6'2" or 6'3", and thin. Her alabaster skin showed no scars, no callouses, nothing that said she was used to a life of fighting. She didn't see the point in showing off any scars among the ones she actually could get rid of. She turned the corner and saw a group in front of the room she had been told to go to. Her solid black eyes scanned them as she approached, her face remaining impassive. No one liked when she thought for herself, she saw no reason for it to change here. She didn't know how long they'd been waiting, but she knew she wasn't late. Couldn't be late, she would be punished again. No more experiments, no more punishments. Not ever, not if she could do anything to change it.

She found herself facing an interesting bunch of people. The one standing in the front that had dark hair that went to about her shoulders, looking like the most welcoming of the group. The silent one standing to her right that had her arms folded, her entire posture looking… Cold. The one immediately to the right of the cold one, with flashy pink hair and a face that looked like mischief, something that was usually forbidden within Pyramid. In this place, even being too expressive could be a sin. There was the one on the left side of the girl in the forefront, with an eyepatch and a large height. She was taller than even Sage, with an athletic body too - one that was enhanced by powers, exercise, or both. Finally, there was the one standing near the back, who had lighter pink hair and had a more reserved face, but one that was… Tough in its own way. Determined.

“You’re the one that’s transferring into our team?” Ward asked from the front of the group, extending her hand when the newcomer approached. She smiled, a warm smile that was genuine. She had a certain way with words and with people, maybe it was why she was the leader around here. “Welcome aboard, I’m sure you’ll find that we’re a little bit different from the last unit you’ve been a part of.”

Sage tilted her head curiously, looking at the hand for a moment before taking it and shaking it gently. She knew how to do it at least, even if she wasn't used to anyone being kind, or at least appearing friendly to her. She looked back up at the group as she retracted her hand, it returning to her side where it had been. Her voice was just as emotionless as her face. She had long ago hid her emotions to avoid punishment, and to avoid needless prying by the overly curious. "Yes, I am the one transferring. I am designated Sage Shields, my old team used to call me Changeling."

“The name’s Bea. Bea Ward. Also known in some circles as Empress, but I assure you I’m not as demanding as the title would suggest,” said the leader of the group, before turning to introduce the members of her new team one by one. “This is Kodiak Marsden, who may not look like it but she’ll practically walk over flames for the rest of us if she has to. Be sure to appreciate her. Next to her is Aqua Schone. Try not to let her intimidate you, she’s a sweetheart under the rough exterior. On my other side is Minerva Driscoll, who is also nicer than she looks. She’s also my Executive Officer but don’t let that intimidate you, she’s definitely just like the rest of us. Near the back of the group you have Tali Couture, not the friendliest person in the world but she’ll have your back in crunch time and she’s fairly powerful.”

“I can fucking hear you,” remarked Tali, speaking up finally as she rolled her eyes and shifted her gaze towards Sage and Ward. “And most people aren’t friendly after being tortured.”

“I’ll take that into consideration,” Ward said before switching the subject. “Of course, there’s another person in our unit, the… Morale Officer. Larissa Orlova. You’ll know her when you see her because she’s the shortest one in the unit. But when you’re around her, don’t talk unless you’re spoken to. Easiest way to avoid incriminating yourself, fortunately, she doesn’t like spending time around us any more than we like spending time around her. Anyway, there’s no need to act nervous around us. If we’re going to be together in the field, we’re kind of like family now.”

"Family..."

The word was foreign to Sage, she even spoke it as if it was unfamiliar. She looked at each member of the group as they were introduced, her hair changing colors though not length or shape to match their own as her eyes scanned them. Once the introductions were over her hair reverted back to normal.

"I have never known family, just comrades."

Sage did not know what a family was like, did not know if she would actually be part of one. All she knew was that this was to be her new team, and as such she should get to know them and what they could do. Knowing that and what she could do would make them all more effective in the field.

“This isn’t like whatever unit you were in before,” said Bea, before looking over her shoulder at her Executive Officer for clarification.

“7th Paranormal,” Minerva replied, filling in the blank for Bea.

“Right. That unit, it’s not one like ours. I’ll just say that we’re given a little bit more freedom to operate with as long as we don’t step too far out of line and we don’t do anything in front of our Morale Officer, who… Is kind of a plant for the commander of Division Zeta. You’ll know her as Bigshot, you haven’t met her yet since I think you’re coming over from Division E, but she’s rather strict. Still, the type of unit that this is has some perks. There’s ‘Experimental’ in the name for good reason,” she continued.

"We will see how well I do here, many find me....disconcerting to be around for long periods."

Sage scanned the group one last time, burning names and faces together in her mind. "So then, Bea, have any idea about our assignment?" Sage's attempt at casual talk was.....bad. She wasn't used to it, she was used to isolation. Still, if this team was going to try being nice to her, the least she could do was not push them away. Anything beyond that was completely unknown to her. She straightened as she spoke, clearly not used to this. She knew she was a bizarre sight, and didn't look like much of a fighter. Only meant she would have to prove herself.

“It’s in South America. But I can’t give more details than that because they haven’t told us yet, just that we would be deploying back there once again. We’ve already had some trips there and I guess you could say we’re… Somewhat experienced in that theater,” sighed Bea, lamenting the fact that they had no idea what they would be doing just yet. “But we’ll find out in the next few days for sure and we’ll probably have to decide what to bring, too. Won’t be long before they’re putting us on a C-218[1] and having us land at some far too small runway, I don’t know if you’ve been to that area before but it’s always… Quite the experience.”

"I...do not remember. Either way, we shall find out soon what the mission is, we can figure everything relevant out from there."

Sage nodded, as if partially only talking to herself, she was being honest when she said she didn't remember. There was a lot she didn't remember after their last wipe of her. All she knew was that she never trusted her last team, and didn't know if she could trust this one, though she was art least more curious of the far more...relaxed appearance of this team compared to her last one.


Footnotes

1: The C-218 is an American supersonic transport aircraft used by a number of factions around the world, ranging from the United States Military to the Hero League. The aircraft is designed to travel at supersonic speeds but land on short runways, leading to it most notably being used by Team Aegis to quickly deploy into crisis zones. The aircraft is also capable of transporting equipment or vehicles, and insertions via parachute.
e d g e l o r d
I'm the bad guy... Duh.

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Anti: Catgirls, EU, Wehrabooism/Prussiabooism

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Durmatagno
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Postby Durmatagno » Fri May 31, 2019 9:32 pm

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    PYRAMID FACILITY, 'NOWHEREVILLE'
    The 4th Experimental Unit & Sage Shields

They had to wait two days for it but they eventually did receive the briefing that they were waiting for. The members of the 4th Experimental Unit had once again been gathered, but this time they were inside the briefing room rather than outside of it, the seats arranged for them at the table in the middle as a paper map sat at the center of it and another map was displayed on the screen in front of them. It was also the first interaction that Sage would have with the division commander, the one that they called Bigshot for whatever reason. Maybe for her demanding demeanor, maybe because she seemed to be of high class. Either way, she was a contrast from the members of the team under her command.

“The client right now is Clover Industries. Many of you might not know what exactly that company is or does, but I can assure you that this client is paying quite a lot of money to one of our front companies for this job. That’s because the job here isn’t the type that you’re used to, but an entire regime change which will likely not be brought about by conventional forces. Your team will be responsible for deposing the government of the Bolivian Rouge, which is nearing its tenth year in power and has become a demonstration of why metahuman oligarchy is a poor form of government for legitimately improving anything. I can’t say why Clover Industries, an electronics company, wants the Bolivian Rouge gone. I can only say that it’s your job to ensure that it happens.”

Sage stayed quiet, but attentive. Small talk had never been her thing, and she expected they'd be briefed on specific priority targets and or locations as they became relevant. She sat straight, eyes forward, watching and listening intently. She'd not draw unneeded attention to herself just yet, she'd just get the information she needed. If they were taking down a full regime, just the current leader wouldn't be enough. They'd need to decapitate most if not all of his inner circle, and anyone with enough power to just seize control and maintain the current state. She'd wait to see what else they got before she voiced any ideas.

“The country that you’re targeting is one of the most unique in the world in the fact that it’s run by a junta of metahumans. The country was taken over in 2015 - under the guise of improving the former dictatorship and increasing the quality of living with a controlled economy. However, this junta has caused just as much damage as past Bolivian dictatorships have. The nation is one of the most closed off in the world, the economy has not improved, and citizens are powerless to change a thing without being silenced by the Revolutionary Guard - which is run by metahumans and also effectively acts as the strong arm of the secret police. Clover Industries wants this regime gone and if you want to accomplish that, you’re going to have to go after a select number of targets,” continued Bigshot.

“The main target would of course be the dictator of the nation, Chairman Adan Herrera. But the fact of the matter is that while Herrera is the main administrator, there’s a lot of others doing a lot of the legwork. In fact, it’s a small number of people doing most of the work for this country by its very nature - a small junta of metahumans propping up an even smaller number of bureaucrats. You’re also going to have to think about a number of others. Humberto Basturo is the main economic planner in the country and the one responsible for logistics more than anyone else. Take him out, and the planned economy will grind to a halt until things can recover. The other most important member of the cabinet is the one in charge of the military. Known as the Secretary of War, Javier Baltazar has turned it into a weapon against the people and against anyone planning on intervening in the country. Technically, the secret police and the revolutionary guard are under his command.
“Succeed in taking down these figures and the regime will have a hard time getting back up. There are, however, others that will give you a tough time. The Revolutionary Guard has the country’s metahuman forces and will be your main opponent. Like the name might indicate, it’s the guard of the revolution in this country. If someone wants to oppose the government, they’ll have to go through them. There’s a few internationally known mercenaries working in the country for the Revolutionary Guard - Vilmos Kemey from Hungary and Danijel Loncar from Croatia, with both of them being dangerous because of both powers and technology. You’ll learn more about them in the future, for now you should know that the Revolutionary Guard is headed by a teenager in one of the most blatant instances of corruption I’ve ever seen.

“Rosavla Herrera is the daughter of the dictator and begged enough to get into a position of power. While she’s technically under the command of Baltazar, she’s known to complain and complain when she doesn’t get her way - with her father sometimes listening to her and allowing her to do what she wants. She’s eighteen and inexperienced and yet she technically has the authority to launch the nation’s cruise missiles, even if that would be considered a… Fringe scenario because of the Revolutionary Guard’s status as a branch of the military, which itself is under Baltazar.
“You will be inserting into the country via C-218 and the official designation will be a cargo flight. Supposedly, this is one of the few shipments being allowed into the country from the outside, but you’ll have to move quickly once the flight is on the ground. You aren’t going to have a good time if you’re still there when any military people come and check, which means the C-218 is going to rush through a touch and go. To mask your presence, the C-218 is going to be painted in the colors of Atlas Air Cargo and our crew will do its best to use the same frequencies they’d use too. You’re departing from Caracas, Venezuela, and will take a separate flight to reach the destination near the outskirts of the Bolivian Rouge… Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s go into more detail…”


When the day turned to night, the members of the 4th Experimental Unit were gathered up once again but this time they were somewhere unfamiliar to Sage. It was something like a cross between a locker room and an armory, but it was the place where they traditionally prepared immediately before their operations. Everyone walked in, the ones who were used to the place already started to change into the outfits that had already been set out for them - tactical, but not overly heavy. They were headed into a warm region, after all, and they weren’t getting into combat just yet. Their weapons were laid out for them, too, at least the members of the squad that had the same armaments every time.

Sage would have to choose her own gear from the racks on the wall that had a ton of options, with practically everything that one might see on the frontlines of a modern next generation battlefield - classics like the AK-74 and more advanced weapons such as heavy laser rifles that Lockheed had played a role in the development and production of. They had a way of getting all of the equipment here at Pyramid, even the stuff that wasn’t available to that many militaries around the world.

“Your locker and outfit are over there, get dressed and get your gear, we’re headed out soon,” Ward said, glancing towards Sage as she stepped in front of her own locker and went over her things. The G36 was her choice of weapon - smaller and not as flashy as some of the others but it got the job done.

Sage looked around for a moment, choosing her favorites and carrying them to her locker. Seemingly unburdened despite carrying far more weapons than what could be considered normal. Once at her locker, she arranged them very carefully, in a way she knew would let it all fit inside, minus the Benelli M4 and HK416 she chose as her primaries, as well as the Five-seveN she kept as her favored side arm. She looked at the outfit for the mission, and stripped, eyeing the others around the room to see what she was working with. They'd find out one way or another, her back was covered in serious scars, all seemingly surgical, as if her entire back, from neck to ass had been opened up. If any of the others bothered to look, she was lacking...well just about anything below the waist. She got dressed quickly, though she knew it'd have to be changed a lot or made more elastic, she tended to change shape a lot so her sizes were inconsistent. Finally, she removed the combat knife from it's sheath, and tossed it into the locker, she could replace it with whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.

The others were talking as they changed into their uniforms and assembled the loadouts they were going to bring with them on the flight. Talking about a number of things - things that were based on team dynamics and would go over Sage’s head pretty easily, things about the mission that was coming up. Most of them were bunched up near each other. Specifically, Kodiak, Minerva, and Aqua, who seemed to be good enough friends and were having some in depth conversation about the operation. Tali, however, was off from the others and was… Staring at Sage as she finished assembling her equipment. Not that she had much, since her power fabricated what she needed. “Are you going to keep the face they gave you, or…?” she asked. She knew exactly what Sage was. She’d been in the same labs herself that had produced Sage. “Would’ve thought you would take a face of your own by now.”

Sage cocked her head at Tali. Not many knew what she really was, let alone that there were others like her.

"I have my own name, never been given time or......room to figure out what I want to present myself as. Some day I'll have one to call my own, but for now I'm still just S-69, set apart only by a unique ability and my chosen name."

Sage didn't like this line of questioning, but her new team deserved to know something of what she was. At least, the member that knew what she really was. She turned away, not that her pupils narrowing in any sort of anger or frustration was obvious with her current face.

"I'd rather create something I like then simply have another thing I throw on to blend in. I'd rather have something that is me, instead of just covering me. A face rather than a mask, if you will."

“I guess we just look at things in a different way. You were effectively a slave before, I don’t know why you’d want to look the same as you did back then. I’d to anything to escape it. But then again, I’m just a slave to Pyramid and to Khnemu at the end of the day, so what do I know?” said Tali, offering a shrug as she continued staring, analyzing Sage with little tact. She had never been the most polite member of the team.

“Just didn’t think you’d want the constant reminder of being nothing more than a disposable puppet to the Dark Queen,” she added, referring to the nickname that Sage’s creator carried around the hallways of the Pyramid facility, most of the time when she wasn’t looking. Sebastiana Ungaro was… Somewhat infamous for a select few. Not known by everyone in the organization, but she definitely left a lasting impression on those who were forced to deal with her for an extended amount of time.

"Because ultimately, any face I don't choose to be a new me, is just a mask. I'm just hiding behind it. Once I have something that is me, not just covering me, I will have completely abandoned this form instead of just slapping a new paint job on it."

Sage turned back to Tali, wondering just how much of her powers the other girl knew. She knew more than most, that was for sure. She did one final check to make sure none of her current outfit needed to be adjusted.

"Ultimately this face still doesn't see much use, once we're in the field I abandon it for something more....local, stands out far less."

“Is that it? Or are you just still a puppet deep down?” Tali asked, before turning once she had finished with her otufit and equipment and walking out of the room, continuing through the corridors to where they would reach the lifts to take them aboveground and to the hangar. It was kind of like her, making a vaguely rude statement and leaving before the others - but she didn’t mean harm by it. Not much, anyway, and unfortunately Sage wouldn’t know much about Tali and her intentions. Even those who were around Tali all the time had a hard time getting her, sometimes.

“I’m sorry about her,” said Kodiak, coming over now that she had finished getting herself ready for the flight. “She’s suffered a lot in this place, she’s not the most tactful person. But I don’t think she means that much harm. I think she’s just a bit offended because she wishes she could… That she could change herself and leave her old past behind but she can’t,” she explained, standing in front of Sage.

Sage watched Tali go, more angry about the attack on her face than the puppet thing. It was a question she asked herself constantly. When Kodiak approached, Sage turned to her instead, listening to her explanation.

"She's not the first to not understand why I, one among many identical beings, choose to remain the way I am when I have the freedom not to. She won't be the last. I'm used to the hostility about it, people dislike that I have a freedom I have not yet exercised."

Sage stated bluntly, Tali had said enough that any of them could have pieced together most of what she said there anyway.

"Like I told her, I would like my first permanent face to be one crafted entirely to be me, not just another mask. I may have the luxury of looking like anything, but when you can look like anything, what do you choose to have as the real you?"

“I… Guess I can see where you’re coming from. I won’t blame you for it, can’t say that Tali would say the same thing but most of what she says is shaped by her experiences. As far as I know, you and her come from the same place. Well, she wasn’t made there but she did spend a lot of time there, it’s the reason why her abilities are as strong as they are,” Kodiak continued, before silencing herself. “But I don’t think she would want me to keep talking and say anything more about it.”

By now, everyone had finished getting ready and Bea was waving to the others to follow her and to get to the elevators. The area would be under heavy guard - but in this case they had the right authorization to be there. For once, they were heading out of this underground complex and into the real world, where they would first fly to Venezuela and them fly the second leg of their flight into Bolivia. “Come on, guys. They don’t take kindly to us even being a minute off schedule around here, something about flight risk and not wanting to have the plane on the runway any longer than needed.”

"I gathered as much. Down there you're either the experiment, or the experimenter."

Sage followed Bea once she waved them to follow, staying towards the back and out of everyone's way. It was better to not risk pissing anyone off. Besides, she barely knew them, she'd only met them a few days ago. Missions were the best time to learn someone, you saw them when they had more freedom, more choice. She'd see just what this group was truly like soon enough.
Last edited by Durmatagno on Fri May 31, 2019 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 3866
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:12 pm

    RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, MANHATTAN, NYC
    Clover Industries Keynote

The rise of Clover Industries was an interesting one - the company had a longer history behind it but it had largely been involved in different things from what it was currently doing. It had produced electronics parts for various makers ranging from Apple to Samsung to Microsoft or Nokia, and had bought a few software startups that ended up turning into prosperous businesses, some of which were kept under the Clover family of companies and others were sold off for high prices. During the past decade, however, the things that Clover had their hands in grew less mundane and more advanced. Their metahuman security company, Highfort Security, was founded in 2016 and was now one of the main players on the scene when it came to renting out metahuman warriors. They had advertised that their metahumans were better, that they had standardized training and didn’t just take anyone from off the street, and the market had embraced them because of it.

However, settling for one success was not the Clover way. If it was, the company would still be producing phone parts and doing nothing else. Mercenaries provided a great profit but the higher ups at Clover believed that at its core the idea of a metahuman mercenary was inefficient. Mercenaries had to be trained, housed, and fed, and the more freedom they had, the more room for error there was in their actions. The more mercenaries you had in total, the harder to keep an iron grip on all of them it was and the more deviations there would be from the advertised product, and more room for failures in the field would appear. Any deviation from the contracts, any failures, cost the corporation money - which led to them looking into alternatives that could do the same thing while reducing risk.

Of course, risk was part of being the owner of a business. It was something of a tradeoff. One could take a regular job working in the offices and receive a consistent paycheck even when things went up and down. Or they could move into an executive position and be forced to take real risks - ones that could backfire and hurt both the company and that executive’s career - in exchange for more rewards such as greater freedom and more income. However, just because that was how things generally worked didn’t mean risk couldn’t be mitigated and eliminated up to a certain extent. Clover believed in the merits of doing just that. Cutting the human element of something out removed much of the room for error - and thus the risk involved in using said replacement elements.

That was why, while some people would call the new project by Clover insane, they would call it risk management.

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Under the leadership of Nilo Ventura, Clover Industries became much more innovative and grew to have a large physical presence in NYC.
“You ever had your car smashed by a human superhero? Ever been sitting at home when your house is leveled by a battle between heroes and villains, killing your dog and your entire family but not even making the news as the public bows down before the hero that destroyed your life? Situations like these happen every day around the world, and this is why we at Clover Industries believe that we need a more effective and precise solution!” said Nilo Ventura, the enigmatic Portuguese businessman who was at the head of the formerly Irish-American led corporation, leading most of their advances in the past decade. After his takeover, Clover had begun developing the identity they had now. In the background, the large television screen displayed some words that set the tone for the keynote: ‘Humans! You’ve met your match…”

The crowd - with a lot of Silicon Valley tech types who were always pushing for greater technological integration with the rest of life, despite the actual tech demo being in the middle of Manhattan, - roared at the statements. Some of the people in the crowd practically, no, not practically, but literally, bowed down to the corporate CEO on the stage. Ventura, as it turned out, had quite the dedicated fanbase - with a lot of people thinking that Clover’s work in this field was going to save the world, or humanity itself. AI meant a lot of things to a lot of people. Some people were bigger fans of it than others. “Hail! Hail! Hail! Hail!” screamed members of the crowd, until Ventura gestured for them to quiet down.

“Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves in praising something that we haven’t seen yet,” Ventura said, the crowd hushing to listen to what he had to say. Smoke was deployed from the back of the stage behind him and it masked the movements of the backstage workers which were desperately trying to move all the needed… Equipment onto stage before the smoke cleared. While they worked, Ventura told a bit of the background of the project. “I’m sure you all have some idea what this is, because the press have been talking about it non stop since we announced this keynote,” he continued. “The fact of the matter is we’ve been working on this for a number of years. It’s a miracle we were able to keep any leaks from happening until about a couple weeks out! But that’s just one of the benefits of having world class security services, eh? No one’s brave enough to leak things from Clover Industries, haha.”

The smoke had cleared and it was obvious now that standing behind Ventura were a few different humanoid figures. One of them was made of some plain white material, with other parts of it being made of a similar material that was darker gray, mainly the areas around the joints, and the other figure was completely different and looked like a human - if a human was meant to be stiff and lifeless. But it wasn’t that the ‘person’ was dead, the strange thing was that it was like the person had been frozen in time somehow. That was because the person wasn’t a ‘person’ but an android produced by Clover, and their first real entry into the ‘android war’ that had been brewing over the past years as a number of companies competed with various models. It hadn’t even been a year ago that Apple had announced the iDroid home servant, and now, Clover was punching back with a model that was much more all purpose - and far more human than any of the competition.

“I present to you… The first of the Golem series of androids! What person needs a metahuman to protect them when you can buy or lease an android which can tank just as much damage or more while obeying your every command and never misinterpreting you or carrying out your orders in the wrong way? And you’ll no longer have to deal with the excuse that the hero killed your dog because they weren’t paying attention and it was a ‘heat of the moment’ decision, because these androids can make a decision far faster than humans and are more precise, too! This is why I believe that metahumans have met their match,” Ventura continued. Clover was putting a lot of faith in this program - enough faith to cut public confidence in their own market, metahuman mercenaries, because they believed the new market of robotics was a better one to move into.

The crowd roared once again. “Hail! Hail! Hail! Hail!” they shouted, people once again bowing down to the CEO standing on the stage, arms spread as he stood in between two examples of his latest creations. This keynote, it was certainly creating hype and creating buzz around the new product, which would soon spread beyond New York City and would become news around the country and around the world. Whether that was good buzz or bad buzz remained to be seen.




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At their keynote event in Manhattan, Clover Industries introduced the Golem series as a rival to metahuman superheroes and mercenary security forces.







    TEAM AEGIS NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS, THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY
    Shayla "Machinist" Rush and Josiah "Astroman" Spencer

“Your boy is at it again…”

Those words were enough to pull Shayla Rush out of her sleep as she sat inside the half opened cockpit of a suit of powered armor, one that was quite large - She had promised herself that she was only going to take a short nap, but it looked like it had been longer than she thought and she was left with sore muscles from sleeping in the awkward position, which was basically a standing one. The slope of the seat was enough to keep her from falling forward, but it was still a strange position to be sleeping in. Damn, she thought, stretching and realizing her hands had been coiled around a wrench the entire time she’d been sleeping. Must have been there when she decided to take the nap, and she’d been too tired to bother putting it down.

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The scene that Shayla Rush awoke to.
“My boy?” asked Shayla, looking around the cockpit as she set the wrench down on the dashboard. There was a panel displaying some of the key statistics about the power armor and its operation - but they were only so stable right now because it wasn’t moving or doing anything. That wouldn’t be the case if she fired up the power generator at full strength and tried moving in the thing, much to her chagrin. She did love machines, but sometimes, they could be completely frustrating even to someone like her that had a gift for them. But just because she saw machines in her dreams and knew the right things to do with them at many times didn’t mean she knew automatically how to solve every problem and how to make some of the more outlandish designs work. In this case, she believed there was some problem with her wiring, but it would take detailed analysis to figure out-

“Ventura,” the other person remarked, cutting her off. She recognized the voice and knew who it was. Astroman, otherwise known as Josiah Spencer, or the leader of the Team Aegic NYC detachment. The team, of course, was split between New York and London - and while both were global cities, the New York side of the team carried slightly more prestige as they were icons with the famous New York press. Not that London didn’t have an infamous press too, but theirs was a bit more cynical, often making heroes famous for completely different reasons… Even if the New York press was perfectly capable of savaging someone too. Astroman had survived that market and was maybe the leader because he had never had a major controversy. Which was funny, since for someone on a team of protectors, he had very destructive powers - Astroman could easily use an artificial comet to take down a building if he so felt like it, but had fortunately pledged allegiance to the heroes rather than their criminal and terrorist enemies.

Josiah reached out and showed Shayla the front cover of the New York Post for that evening. Scrawled in the signature large lettering that was so easy to find at New York newstands, she could see the typical exaggerated headline. But this one was actually a quote. “HUMANS… YOU’VE MET YOUR MATCH,” it said. She looked at the text under the headline, it looked like this was something about the Clover Industries keynote, which had been held in Manhattan.

“First off, he’s not my boy. If I were some Ventura fanboy I would have went to the keynote today instead of staying here and working on this. Didn’t even know what they were unveiling, decided to wait until afterwards to see - but I do respect the dude. How can you hate someone trying to push innovation?” she asked, looking through the newspaper after climbing out of the cockpit using the small ladder at the side. “The world needs more Venturas and less lazy execs sitting on their ass not putting their money back into making stuff-”

“But you aren’t a fangirl?” asked Josiah, raising an eyebrow at the engineer who shot him a glare.

“Definitely not a fangirl.”

“Well, I guess that’s a good thing. Because if you look at the details of what Ventura and his company are working on… It looks like heroes like us are going to have a rather direct competitor. Aside from all the poor regular people who are going to have their jobs affected by this,” said Josiah, holding up his phone to show another article. “You’re the engineer around here, what’s your take on what you’re reading?”

She took some more moments to look through the article and make a statement. “I’d say it looks like we’re going to end up cleaning the mess up from this when something goes wrong. Somehow I have the feeling it’s not going to… Entirely go as everyone is expecting it to at this point.”




    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    TARIJA AIRPORT, BOLIVIA
    The 4th Experimental Unit & Sage Shields



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The Tarija airport was chosen as the entry point for Pyramid's mercenary team because of its distance from the largest cities in the country - all of which are much more heavily controlled by the Revolutionary Guard of the Bolivian Rouge.




Red lights overhead, casting the interior of the plane in a strange glow. Music with a constant beat, with synths and with aggressive bass in the background. The former was that Kodiak Marsden saw and the latter was what Kodiak heard as she drowned out the roar of the massive supersonic jet engines with music, a pair of headphones on over the skull cap she was wearing as part of her loadout - no helmet, they were traveling light right now. And they were almost to their destination after taking off from Venezuela, where corruption had allowed them to use the airport as the departing point for their trip to the outskirts of Bolivia.

"Just reminding everyone of something... We're going to need to get off the plane quickly. We can expect it to be searched by the Revolutionary Guard if we're on the ground for too long," Bea reminded everyone, causing Kodiak to pull aside one ear of her headphones to hear what her commanding officer was saying. "And I do mean we need to be out and off the runway as soon as this thing lands. Technically, we're not even going to be cleared to land. We're coming in hot, this thing is going to empty out, and then the plane is going to be back in the air. We get caught by the Revolutionary Guard, we will have to deal with a huge shootout that might ground the transport permanently."

Sage listened from her seat, mind checking of dos and don'ts as Bea gave them the heads up of what was going on. She was already looking much more....local. Her skin was bronzed, her hair long and dark brown, her eyes matching. She could do to be shorter and more gaunt, but she was still working on that. Shifting facial features was easy, getting height and weight down took far longer. She could speak the language and blend in, she could see why she was transferred to this team for this mission. Didn't know if the assignment would be permanent or not, but for this mission at least she had a purpose.

"If a shoot out begins, do you want us to try and drive them off, or just get away? I'm assuming we need to vacate ASAP even if we get into a firefight, but I want to be sure, so there is less confusion on the ground."

"Main goal is to slip off into the night, there's not any amount of damage that we can do that will matter in this case. No need to win the fight when we don't benefit from it, we just need to lose them and head for one of the bigger cities in the country," said Bea, as they entered the final approach, the sound of radio chatter coming from the cockpit as they came in without the proper authorization. "And everyone... Balaclavas up. Let's not have our faces seen this soon and give the secret police something to work with already."

"Right. Got it."

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A C-218 similar to the type used in Pyramid's Bolivia landing.
Sage pulled her balaclava up, a simple brown and green thing, not that it would mean much if she was spotted. It'd be easy to shift things so that she was no longer recognizable as the some person. She'd even planned out a male face, never know which she would need more. Male might be safer to avoid unneeded conflict, but she preferred what she preferred. She did one final check of her main weapon, finger carefully off the trigger. She couldn't help but feel a little giddy at the thought of an upcoming fight. She loved fighting, it was so simple and straightforward, to her at least. Kill or be killed, nothing else to think about. It was....pure, simple, and quite a lot of fun. She wasn't sure if it was even possible for her to enjoy anything as much as she loved fighting.

Kodiak also pulled her balaclava up, the one that had the skull design in white on a black background. She went over her gear one more time, just checking again to make sure everything was right. One thing that she had learned was that it didn't take much time to check things again after already having been over them, but it could definitely create major problems to be surprised. So it was a good idea to just check, and spend the extra few seconds preventing a major disaster.

"Looks like we're coming in for the landing," remarked Minerva, as the supersonic jet cut the power back to minimums and extended its flaps for the steep landing. They were descending, descending, and then....

Thud.

The many tires of the C-218 hit the ground and they continued on their landing roll as the pilot triggered the speedbrakes at full power and turned on the thrust reversers to help them come to a quick stop. "Go time," said Bea, as the rear hatch immediately began opening once they had come to a complete stop. It'd take a bit of time for the massive door to open up... Which was something of a problem as there were already a couple of small trucks driving from the airport buildings out to the runway to see what was going on and do something about the unauthorized landing that was taking place.

Once the C-218 was on the ground, Sage was on her feet, ready for them to disembark. When the trucks were sighted she knew they wouldn't have long to pick a direction and go. Once the doors were down enough she looked left, and then right. On one side she saw thicker trees but couldn't make out many buildings, on the other was more dirt and thinner trees, but many more buildings. Her instinct was the more urban area, and it was confirmed for her by orders. Flipping the safety on her weapon off as she moved, she knew the route, she had her orders, and the enemy had opened fire just yet. She noted the direction and strength of the wind, and quickly made it look like it was kicking up dust. Not a lot, she couldn't make it look artificial, but enough to obfuscate the team from the incoming trucks without obscuring the teams vision of each other or their path. She communicated as much through gestures, also indicating that she could easily adjust amount, or get rid of it entirely if needed. She wouldn't sprint ahead of the group, she'd stick close by so that could stay radio silent for now.

They had a few moments where they would be able to run for the fences before the trucks came close enough to identify the targets as hostile and start firing. Once that short grace period was up, however, and the plane was once again rolling down the runway, aiming to take off before it reached the trucks, all hell would break loose. There was gunfire, and Minerva and Kodiak and Orlova fired back while they were still on the run, and all the others moved towards the fence which was some distance away from the sides of the runway.

"Aqua, break a hole in the fence... And anyone else who can help her with that, do it," Ward stated, as the three in the back slowed their movements to focus on returning fire, using the ditch between the runway and the fence as makeshift cover. Aqua moved and used her bare hands to rip through the fence so they could avoid the barbed wire at the top, but it'd take her a bit to get the thing ripped open entirely.

Sage moved forward to help Aqua, she'd be able to help more here than from the current engagement distance. Crystalline gloves matching her uniform in color formed around her hands before she grabbed the fence to start tearing, it'd let her tear more quickly than bare hands. Her gun hung where she could bring it to bear with ease if she had to. Worst came to it she and Aqua could have tossed team members over the fence, but the holes made much more sense. Once the hole was wide enough for the others to get through, she moved through and quickly took up position to cover the others as they moved through, sending a few bursts down range, minding her ammo count.

"Come on come on!"

Bea was the first one through and she gestured for the others to come after her. "Let's not waste any time," she barked, as Minerva was the last one to pull away from her position in the trench. They had killed three of the Revolutionary Guardsmen that were after them at this point, just with their guns. Powers hadn't come into it at this point, until Tali reached out with her second ability, the one that was entirely a result of the genetic alterations that had been made to her deep within the Pyramid labs, and manipulated... Something within one of the enemy trucks. The truck exploded, killing the driver and two soldiers that had been too close to it.

"Plane's in the air, we can go now," Bea repeated, watching as the plane made it off the runway safely. Minerva, Kodiak, Orlova, and Aqua followed after Sage and Bea, along with Tali herself, as the group started the sprint to the residential area and confused the Guardsmen who weren't able to give chase to them in any timely manner.

Sage used her finger to flick her safety on as she ran. With her specialty being CQC, she tended to be a little paranoid of gun safety after the first time she'd accidently shot herself. God, she hoped the team didn't find out about that. It still embarrassed her after all this time, even if there was no evidence it'd eve happened left on Sage herself. She was curious where exactly Bea planned on having them stop, Sage needed a chance to gather some more local clothing, and finish up the face. A little more emaciated, maybe rougher hands and more sunken....No. No she needed to focus on getting away now. None of that would matter if they didn't make it to where it was needed in the first place. Sage released the small trickle of magic she'd used to keep the dust cloud up, now that they ere out of sight and away from the guards it wasn't needed to stay up anymore. Sage looked at the rest of the group, and allowed herself a small hidden smile. It was good to be around new people.

They were running for... Minutes before Bea led them into an alley and told them to stop, when they were a decent enough distance away from where the gunfire had happened. If they were in a big city it would be harder for them to get away because of the presence of street cameras and the like, but fortunately, this city at the outskirts of Bolivia wasn't the largest one around. The infrastructure wasn't up to the standards of the big cities of abroad and the secret police and Revolutionary Guard hadn't yet changed everything out to meet those standards. "Alright, everyone... You should all have extra clothes in your bags, start changing. Don't need them finding us because of what we're wearing," Bea said while panting from running. "And then we'll find a ride out of this town and set up elsewhere for the coming days."

Sage nodded and opened her bag. It'd work for now, but she liked being very careful when it came to blending in. Whatever, she could worry about that once they got to a point where infiltrating for targets was a concern, right now it was about getting out of dodge before they were caught. She worked quickly, practiced at quick changes, usually matched with quick hair and skin changes to make herself look like a different person. Once she was changed, she kept an eye out for the others that were still changing. Resisting the....strange urge to watch them as they changed. Odd, for Sage. Maybe it was just curiosity now that she was surrounded by a group of actual humans. Whatever it was, it could wait for an answer, for now she needed to keep them covered until they were ready.
Last edited by Forest State on Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Deutschess Kaiserreich
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Ex-Nation

Postby Deutschess Kaiserreich » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:21 am

.
Last edited by Deutschess Kaiserreich on Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:01 am

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    POTOSI, BOLIVIAN ROUGE - SOUTH OF SUCRE
    The 4th Experimental Unit & Sage Shields
    June 11th, 2025

After proceeding down the highway, it hadn't taken that long for the group to arrive in Potosi, Bolivia, a place where they would be able to eventually finish their transit and make the hop to Sucre to begin going after their targets. They were staying in a motel - one that they had already slipped a bribe to not inform the Revolutionary Guard of their presence in the country, as was common when a foreigner was in the country. They had to all share one room, but it was decent sized at least and it was better than the alternative of sleeping somewhere outside. Furthermore, they would be able to get slightly more comfortable than usual as they had been able to go shopping halfway between their departure point and their current location, once they had lost the pursuit.

"This is where we're staying..." said Minerva, placing her bag down as they entered the room, the one that there was no record they were staying in. "Figure out where you're sleeping, everyone. I also bought drinks when we stopped at the store."

Sage put down her bag and looked around. As Minerva talked she froze, and slowly turned, eyes wide.

"Y...you have money?!"

She was legitimately shocked. The only money she'd ever handled was specifically for missions, she'd never had any of her own she could just....use. Just vouchers, and the sugar. She needed the sugar though and couldn't trade it, so vouchers were about it. She didn't even particularly care what Minerva had bought, she was just stunned that Minerva has money.

"It's not what you would call a regular paycheck, I think, but I've earned a decent amount through missions. Enough to afford whatever drinks I want, at least," Minerva chuckled softly, almost surprised herself that Sage didn't know the concept of money. "Doesn't count for anything when we're in the Nowhereville facility but out here it's more useful. Especially with US Dollars being worth more here. Although with us not being based in the US by what I've been able to gather from travel times, I'm not quite sure why they pay us in that. International organization pays in international cash, I suppose."

"I've only ever had vouchers for the store. Only money I've ever had was for mission specific use, never anything I could just....use for whatever I wanted. Not that I know of many things I could or would buy but....."

Sage stopped there, not sure which of the seven or eight questions she had to actually ask next and just...grabbed her bag and found herself a corner. She had never gotten used to beds, not even really cots. They'd always been to comfortable compared to what she was used to. It was hard to sleep on things so soft. Besides, with how deceptive her weight was, no one ever wanted to share with her anyway. She always dragged them toward her.

"You get actual money..Un. Be. Liev. A. Ble."

"You know, actual money doesn't mean much in Pyramid," said Kodiak, as Minerva placed her bag on the table at the edge of the room and pulled a couple of things out of it. Long bottles, it looked like she'd picked up a couple different kinds of hard alcohol.

"You've at least drank before, right Sage?" asked Bea, turning to look at the newcomer. She sounded like she expected her to at least have done that - even if her voice wasn't shaming her, necessarily. She was the one on the team who was the best with people, after all. The one who knew how to make someone feel welcome just through her words and her tone. "Probably should try it, not like we can do anything until nightfall tomorrow. Sleep in, get hungover... We tend to do this on the first night of a new assignment."

"No never, not that I can remember. I spent a lot of time in the Middle East, alcohol isn't exactly.....liked in most of those areas."

Sage eyed the bottles suspiciously. She'd seen what they could do to other people, drunken guards were always something she was happy to stumble across in a mission, made everything much easier for her. She plopped herself on the ground where she thought she was going to sleep, least she only needed a few hours.

"And....sleeping in for me means about six to eight hours at night."

"Must've not been the adventurous type if you couldn't figure out how to get alcohol in the Middle East. I assure you that there's ways," said Aqua, moving to one of the bottles and taking the cork out before drinking directly from it. At least until Minerva put a hand on her shoulder and managed to reach over her and lower the bottle.

"Don't have enough to be doing that. Save some for Sage here, will you? Or for the rest of us if she decides she doesn't want it. Although, Sage, I would highly advise against that decision. You should at least try alcohol, can't know that you don't like it until you do," said Minerva, eventually ripping the bottle out of Aqua's hands after what seemed like quite the intense tug of war between the two girls, both of whom had enhanced strength. She raised the bottle to her lips and also drank from it momentarily, as Bea watched and laughed in the background.

"You may want to get in there and get some of it before it's gone, Sage," Bea chuckled, looking back to Sage, Kodiak, Tali, and Orlova.

Sage move forward and snagged one of the untouched bottles, looking down to read the label. "Whiskey...." She popped the lid off and took a sniff. After looking at Aqua and Minerva, she shrugged and raised it to her lips, taking a good swig, eyes widening at the burning feeling going down her throat. She set the bottle down and screwed on the lid so someone else could take it, just trying to judge what she thought of it.

"Certainly not the worst thing I've ever tried, I didn't like coffee much. To bitter."

"There's some other stuff if whiskey isn't your thing, I'd be happy to take it off your hands if you don't want it," said Aqua, moving to snatch the bottle away from Sage after the bottle of something else had been taken from her by Minerva. Which was the point where Kodiak jumped in, too, grabbing the bottle with both hands as Aqua also put both hands on it, while it was still in Sage's hands. "Kodiak wants the whiskey? That one's surprising-"

"Shut up!" Kodiak said, not letting Aqua continue with something about how she wasn't normally the type to get drunk or even to take substances like this period, preferring to have a clear mind as it assured she'd always be ready for a fight.

"It's the first alcohol I've ever had, I have no frame of reference for how good or bad it is."

Sage let go of the bottle, letting the others fight it out and reached for another one . Looking down it, she saw that it was Rum. Shrugging, she popped the top and took another, even bigger gulp. She realized how much of it she'd drank and put the top back on and the bottle down entirely.

"Sorry, may have had more than my fair share..."

She wasn't going to get involved in the fight over the Whiskey. She barely knew these people, let alone a lot of the group dynamic and relationships. She just tilted her head and watched, trying to learn about these strange humans she was now partnered with.

Aqua continued wrestling for the bottle - at which point Kodiak quickly leg locked her as a distraction before jumping onto the counter which the lone old TV in the room was sitting on, carefully balancing herself at the edge of it while attempting to avoid falling down with the bottle in her hand, holding it high in the air as Aqua jumped and reached for it below but failed. "If you guys calm down a bit, you can have some of the other stuff I bought..."

"I hope you aren't intending on going against regulations even further, Hellcat," remarked Orlova, speaking for the first time. Right, she was here. Which was unfortunate, because just her speaking caused Kodiak to jump down and Aqua to drop her pursuit, completely killing the mood.

"We're not at base, we can do-"

"Being outside the facility doesn't mean you can do whatever you want," Orlova continued, reaching for her phone.

At which point Bea interjected herself into the conversation, grabbing Minerva by the wrist. "Come on, let's head to the roof. Take your bag, too, just don't open it in here around Orlova. She can't report something that she hasn't seen, we know this already."

Sage just watched, fascinated by people....playing, having fun. She hadn't really been allowed to have fun, the closest glimpses she got before now had been some of her sisters, and music. When Bea grabbed Minerva's wrist, she looked between the two of them, then Aqua and Kodiak, before finally glancing at Orlova. She stood up, grabbed the bottle of rum, and moved to follow Bea and Minerva, she didn't want to miss anymore fun just because someone so strict with the rules was here. Besides, she could worry about a punishment later, they'd be out here fo awhile.

Bea and Minerva ended up outside of the room quickly and they went looking by themselves for a way to get to the roof, even one that was restricted officially. They did find a door like that, one that they weren't supposed to go through... But after a brief few words with each other they didn't pay much attention and pushed their way through it, finding that no one was near the stairwell and heading up until they reached the top, at which point Minerva opened her bag to take out a bottle with purple liquid in it. The thing she had been hiding from Orlova. She took out another similar one, handing it to Bea, eventually turning around and seeing Sage. "Decided to get away from the hardass too?"

"Yes, though I have no idea what you are doing, I was....curious."

Sage found a good place to sit, and looked up at the sky, clearly enjoying just being out of the room. She never got to just...be, there was always a mission, always expectations. She still didn't know how she was, let alone what she really wanted. She turned her head back to Bea and Minerva.

"Besides, I like the night air."

"What I'm doing? I'm doing lean. You'll find this out as you spend more time around us, but everyone on this team tends to go a little crazy when we finally get some freedom. Side effect of being stuck in the base most of the time with no access to the stuff that most of us really want. You can only go so long without luxuries, at least once you've had a taste of them. And the 4th... Has had more of a taste of the than most Pyramid units," said Minerva, opening the bottle in her hands.

"Getting drunk and high on the first night of the mission is fine... As long as we're able to answer once we get called by command back home for a status update, which won't be for a while," Minerva added with a smirk. "You might as well try it, too. You might like it."

"I'll try it at least, but I don't know if I'll like it....as for being able to answer well....if I sleep twice as long as I normally do, It'll only be about eight hours. Don't know about side effects though."

Sage stood and stretched, some part of her wanted to just enjoy the night air, maybe sleep up here, but if she wanted to really get to know this time she was going to need try some of their oddities. It'd also take her mind off of why she wanted to badly to watch them while they were changing. It was an odd feeling.

"Damn. Wish I was able to sleep twice as long and only be out eight hours," said Minerva, turning with a smile and handing Sage the bottle in her hand.

"You don't need any reasons to drink more than you do, Minerva," said Bea with a roll of the eyes, hanging back and standing near the edge, looking out over the cityscape around them before eventually sitting back down, deciding not to draw attention to herself by standing all the way up. "And I'm sure there's some kind of catch for Sage here..."

"Diet, I think."

Sage looked at the bottle, unsure of how much to drink.

"I need twice as much food as everyone else, on a daily basis. For you around twelve hundred calories will keep you healthy so long as you aren't doing anything heavy duty. Eighteen hundred to two thousand is closer to what you need after a normal days work, let alone what we do. For me, twenty-four hundred is my minimum. If I ate what you needed every day, I'd be at barely functioning levels. Instead I have to eat around four to five thousand calories a day, depending on how strenuous things are."

Sage stopped talking and took a small sip of the bottle Minerva handed her, and then another swig of the rum she'd brought up.

"So they mostly pack me with high calorie stuff, I eat a lot of grains and dried meats. Beyond that I have....."

Sage looked down, as she was well aware this was a point of contention among even her siblings.

"A....high sugar requirement. Bad enough they have a ration for me. If I don't get enough sugar......I eventually slip into a coma. My body just burns through it really, really fast. In exchange I don't tire easily, and don't sleep much. Don't know if it's worth it."

"Hah. Can see why Tali hates you, she's gotten into brawls over sugar before. I don't know how much you know about this coming over from 7th Paranormal or whatever but that's contraband, there's basically a market for it and other things in certain corners of the base that don't get covered very much. Theories exist about whether or not there's a legitimate security flaw or if they just allow it to exist, but point stands. There's that, and the fact that she feels she was left out dry while more resources went into the program that birthed you," Minerva replied, staring off into the distance.

"She's a handful, but she's tenacious. Good thing sometimes, bad thing other times, not many people would beat someone's ass over a couple packs of sugar," she added with a slight sigh as she sat down.

"I am well aware it's contraband, it's a point of stress with many of my....siblings as well.At the same time though, if I don't have it....I die."

Sage quietly avoided mentioning that she could produce sugar. Making it permanent so it actually affected her was a desperate measure though, as permanency had always been tiring for her, and producing enough to maintain herself left her exhausted. She sat back down and laid down, looking up at the sky.

"My old unit didn't have anything like this. Most of the team was........by the book. No fun, no play, no alcohol. Hell, I sometimes got in trouble if I didn't sleep enough. They didn't care that I slept less than them, I was supposed to sleep longer so I better."

"Pyramid is all about breaking the mind down and rebuilding it in the image of Khnemu. And how are you supposed to reshape the mind if you don't know the mind? The thing that makes the experimental units different is that they're the ones to get information on baseline human behavior under certain circumstances for the goal of figuring out how to control the reactions that people like us have. Basically, they allow us to rebel a bit because it helps them stamp out future rebellions easier," said Minerva, with a shrug as she explained. It was a rough explanation but that summed up why they had more freedom than the others.

"Depressing, isn't it? You can see why we drink and get high when we have the chance, and why most of us keep our minds to a brighter future," said Bea. "The power of will has strange ways of working. I'm sure that eventually we'll find our way out... For now, we take the freedom that we get."

"We're just hoping everyone can hang in there and we can move out together. And that someone doesn't run off early and get Pyramid's 'Hunting Dogs' sent after them," Minerva said. "Far as I know, Tali lost her sister to that. Or maybe she didn't. Don't assume that kills are confirmed when they aren't, that's something that you'll learn quickly when you get deeper into the intrigue side of things in Pyramid. The things that would have been hidden from you before such as division politics and the like."

"Guess they're trying to figure out just how my kind think then. Don't know why they would put me on a about learning to control people better otherwise."

Sage said, listening less carefully than she normally did as the alcohol started to take hold. She watched the sky, the moving clouds, and the stars suspended up there. The stars she could see anyway.

"Not that I really have to worry about freedom. If I don't die out here on the field, eventually they're going to put me back on the table to poke around inside me again and....keep going. I'm lucky enough compared to most of my sister who are called failures and never get any taste, just.....disposed of."

Sage's voice became bitter, as she spoke she sat up and grabbed a loose rock off the top of the roof next to her and chucked it as hard as she could away from her. It soared quickly out of sight, and even eventually where she could no loner hear it.

"I guess I'm just here so that they can see how you guys react to us. Probably so they can start putting us in more teams. With almost all of us being shapeshifters....I can imagine they want more of us in the field."
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby V A N Q U A R I A » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:19 pm

    Collaborative post between Forest State, Deutchess Kaiserreich, Vanquaria, Novia Soviet Socialist Republic, and Castelia
    TEAM AEGIS NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS, THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025
Team Aegis was used to putting out fires around the world. Not literal fires but flashpoints - things that came up and presented a big risk to the populace of the area they protected, even if that area happened to be the somewhat vague area of the North Atlantic. The heroes of Aegis had been as far west as LA, as far south as Sao Paulo, and they had been to the shores of North Africa even one or two times. Usually North America was the jurisdiction of the New York City team while the team in London handled things that were further east than that, but the jurisdictions of both teams could overlap when things were busy.

In this case, the proverbial fire was closer to home than they usually were. New York City had a number of problems with crime and had suffered a rise in crime rates in the 2010s and 2020s, with metahuman crime especially being a problem, but it wasn't that often that crime was bad enough to warrant the local team stopping something major... That wasn't the case this time, with there supposedly being something of a massacre happening at this very moment, one that the NYPD were having trouble dealing with. It warranted gathering a team right now... As they were going about their regular life within the team headquarters in the Bronx, which was fitted with anything one could need for rest and relaxation, an alarm sounded.

"There is an ongoing situation in Brooklyn," said the automated voice that often informed them of their missions. "An away team will be forming in the briefing room. Those interested in responding should show up immediately."

It didn't say the details. They would find out that later...

A resounding thud rocked the polished wooden floor. The dumbbells rolled away from the point of contact, their metallic composition audibly expressing friction against the ground. Etched upon the sides were numbers. 60kg. Each. Bu pushed himself off the sweat - stained bench, picking up an equally as stained blue towel and wiping off his half-naked body, the thick fabric coursing through the crevices of his muscles. Warmup was finished, it was time for the real thing. But the abrupt intrusion of an artificial voice saturated the gym and forced him to refocus his priorities. A few minutes later, Bu strode out with a large, black duffel bag around his shoulders. He made a detour into his room within the team's NYC headquarters and came out later with an even larger duffel bag the size of a big dog. Dressed in a revealing grey tank top and shorts that displayed his musclebound thighs, the bald-headed man eventually made it to the briefing room, physically as well as visibly ready for action.

When the announcement was made, Shayla Rush had been in her workshop, working on tweaking the electronics of her armor and trying to get it just right... She had a couple of things to work out with the fire control system to make it more accurate, but she was convinced it would offer her a big advantage in the field once it was done - however, the announcement caused her to drop her tools and to throw her armor back in her bag as it was, after closing up the open panel. She'd need to put it on soon if she went out on the mission. "Fuck..." she muttered under her breath, not the happiest with the fact that they would have an outing but heading out of the workshop and towards the briefing room anyway, currently wearing sweatpants and an oversized hoodie.

Bu unzipped his bag and looked inside. There was a shape of massive bulk within. And emblazoned upon its chest was a crimson red 'S', the tips of the letter as sharp as the tip of a spear. Of course, this lump of metal, the size of a hover car's engine, was still not the full package. The full package was actually within that lite version, a benefit of the Hero League's technological superiority over the rest of humanity. He seated himself, dwarfing the chair below. Bu was privy to the emergence of another figure into the room. "You were working on something important, werent you, Shayla?"

The door to Alisha's room quickly swung open and the Duchess walked out in a pair of leggings and a tank top "To briefing ladies and gents come on lets get a move on!" Alisha slung the duffle bag she was carrying over her shoulder. As it turned out, Alisha was about to start her daily workout routine when the alarm went off, just her luck in her eyes. Her duffle bag in question carried her armour though she would have to nip back to her room to grab her choice of weapons for the mission.

Isaac was lying on the couch, an expensive pair of headphones on his head. He was daydreaming about fighting this particularly clownish individual that had recently appeared in Oakland, and the music he was listening to became the accompanying soundtrack of his imaginary fight. Isaac had been longing for a mission recently since he was bored and had nothing to do.

He had just managed to subdue the clown when the announcement was made. "A new mission?! Fuck yea-whoa!" Trying to stand up quickly, Isaac instead managed to push himself off the couch, landing on the floor face-first.

A sickening crunch was heard as the headphones were crushed under Isaac's body weight. "Oh, fuck. I just bought those! Well, fuck it, a mission awaits!"

Ignoring the broken piece of tech on the floor, Isaac just grabbed the nearby duffel bag and sped out of his room. He was already dressed in his usual suit, so all he needed to do now was take his weapons, listen to the mission briefing, and go out to fight. Arriving quickly at the briefing room, he kicked the door open and announced his presence. "Mission?! Count me in, baby!"
Last edited by V A N Q U A R I A on Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:23 pm

    Collaborative post between Forest State, Vanquaria, and Castelia
    TEAM AEGIS NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS, THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025

By now there was a decent sized team assembled in the main briefing room, and an aide walked into the room to go over what had been compiled by the recon and intelligence department on the current situation, which they were meant to interfere with. "Alright, now that you're assembled..." the aide said, turning on the television screen in the room. "This isn't going to be a long briefing because the situation is currently developing and you're going to need to deploy ASAP. You're going to head to Brooklyn and enter the area of operations directly, via the C-99 VTOL[1] parked on the landing pad outside. It's believed that the area you're entering is going to be... Well, it should be an active combat zone, moreso by the time you enter."

She gestured to the screen which was now displaying an image from the Clover Industries Keynote that had happened only days ago at the Radio City Music Hall. The screen was displaying one of the androids that had been revealed on that day. "Clover Industries and Nilo Ventura revealed their new Golem series only days ago. However, from what we're seeing, there's already problems. Problems in the form of some of these models being hijacked by an unknown third party, which has turned them into weapons. This has been called a massacre for a reason. The violence against random civilians is happening at a large scale, and while some people have been able to evacuate, others haven't been able to get out of the path of destruction in time."

"It looks like about thirty models were broken out of a Clover storage facility in Brooklyn and this has been the source of the attack, with the violence radiating out of that original point of trouble," the aide continued. "They're moving in packs of four or five. Not the most dangerous for you all, but for the average civilian, the durability of those androids makes them killing machines. Even immune to gunfire."

The aide showed a paper map and slid it to the middle of the table, showing circles radiating out of the original warehouse, estimating the range that the attacks were happening within. "This is a rough map," she said. "But because the situation is constantly developing, we can't tell you much about exactly where all of the 'packs' are going to be. They should be in this area and they may or may not take the initiative in attacking you. Regardless of that, you're going to have to disable all of the androids to ensure that the threat is secured. Disable them, destroy them, whatever. The complaints of the Clover corporation will be handled later and will be handled by other departments. It's not something you have to worry about."

"We'll also worry about figuring out the source of the attack when this is all over. For now, protecting lives in Brooklyn and getting rid of the threat is our main goal. Also, be careful. These androids, they aren't exactly unintelligent. They have some of the most cutting edge technology in the field of AI. They may be using weapons, they may be using rudimentary tactics... We can see that the level of destruction they've caused is too large for something anyone, even an enhanced being, could do just with their bare hands. Again, we'll look into the circumstances later. For now, we'll focus on the threat."

The aide looked over the room. "Now, are you all ready, or do you have questions about the task?"

Bu listened intently, absorbing everything that was being said. This was big. Military-grade androids whose software had been hacked by a malicious third party and forced to attack the people they were made to protect? It sounded like a fucked up situation. And that was what he was here for. To deal with fucked up situations.

"Do they burn?" He asked, "It'll make things easier if they can but if not...I can always crush them."

The aide looked through some of the papers, possibly looking through the specifications. "They do burn, however... They're quite strong. They should be able to endure a lot before they're actually destroyed, at least if you go for a method like burning and not something more direct. You're advised to deal with them directly, in blows that will incapacitate them or destroy the main control center... Which of course, would be located in the head, as is expected."

"Yeah, I do. What kind of protection do these things have? You say they're immune to gunfire, but I wanna know if something with strong enough penetrative capabilities can destroy that thing." Isaac asked, forming a water spear in his hand as if to illustrate his point.

"They're not immune to gunfire. However, guns aren't the most effective thing against them. More blunt attacks which can destroy the electronics in the head are the most efficient option, as it's going to take a number of gunshots before one of them stops working. They were designed partly with the aim of working in cities and doing the same job that all of you do. As such, they were designed to be able to take damage from common weapons... Which of course includes guns. And by the time you drop one of them with a gun, it may already be in melee range with you," the aide said.

Powerful concussive blows to the head? That's just right up my avenue," Bu said. He gestured to Issac and said, "Make that water spear a water club then."

Believing that there wasn't anything more to go over, the Asian hero stood up, "I think we've got all the information we need. Time is running out, any further updates can be made through team comms. It's now time to suit up."

Hearing Bu, Isaac gave a small chuckle as he stood up, noting the unintentional pun Bu gave. Showing off the suit he was wearing, Isaac decided to joke, "I got that covered. I'm already suited up!" Chuckling a bit, Isaac then hefted up the duffel bag he had brought with him and made for the door.

"Anyway, I agree. Time's running out. Let's go!"

Bu shook his head at Isaac as the dude was first out the door. He didn't find the joke funny but it seemed Isaac was the sort of person who laughed at their own 'jokes'. He bent down and grunted, retrieving a massive piece of armor clearly designed to be worn upon one's upper torso. Pushing his arms through then head ans finally the rest of his body, Bu strained to keep himself standing on the ground, so great the weight imbalance was. Then Bu pulled out a visored helmet. It was dark blue and black, an ominous but undoubtedly cool object.

Sheathing it onto his head, he said, "Suit Activate." A distinct sound of metallic coils grinding against each other rang out within his armor until not a second later, his limbs became covered in thick armor. And the 'S' symbol on his chest turned from its former dull to striking crimson. There was a moment where Bu stood motionless. And then it happened. His visor suddenly became glowing red and if one listened closely, they would make out crackles and fizzing noises coming from within the armored figure of Bu. A deep, rough-at-the-edges voice emanated from Bu, the tone and pitch was noticeably...not human, "Let's take care of business."

"The briefing is dismissed, then. The communications channel will be open as usual for any further questions that you need answered by command. The C-99 will be waiting on the landing pad in the back, I believe the engines are warming up now," said the aide, as the rest of the team stood up. She walked out the room leaving Shayla as the last one there, the engineer quickly changing out of her street clothes and pulling on the tight black compression pants and shirt that she wore under her armor, before pulling that on over the underclothes.

She left the empty bag and her old clothes in the briefing room, rushing after the others as she did a check on the weapon that she was holding, a long laser rifle which had hardly fit in the bag. The power cell was fine. The rifle seemed powered up and ready to go. And that meant she would be ready after she did one more thing and pressed a couple of buttons in rapid succession on the side of her helmet, starting up the electronics within her armor and causing the interface to appear. Perfect. It... Might malfunction in the field, sure, but for now, it was working. She just wished she'd had time to finish the upgrades before heading out.

The back hatch of the large VTOL was open as they approached it, the ground crew getting it ready to fly. In a few minutes they would be off and they would be heading from the Bronx to Brooklyn, a ride that wouldn't take long. And they'd have to deal with getting to the bottom of quite the dangerous situation. For now, Shayla was happy for the peace and quiet that they would get on the flight over. It wouldn't last long.

Watching the ground become a distant image, Bu reminisced about home. It had been a while since he'd visited home. It'd been a while since he'd savored the taste of crispy chicken in Chinatown and frolicked in the Botanic Gardens. America, despite being a very similar Western country, was most definitely not home. And recognizing that helped put things in perspective for Bu. He wasn't reluctant to use his powers, far from it in fact. Rather, he simply applied what he had been taught in Hero Academy.

Bu actually relished the power he possessed. It was great, it was literally all-consuming. It was the reason he was called, 'Shaitan' after all. Not because he burnt people alive though he did do that. Instead, his hero name was more literal in the sense that it originated from a very vivid and disturbing video of Bu shapeshifting into the form of a demonic monster, complete with horns and fangs, with a body composed entirely of smoke and fire. His saliva melted the ground, signaling his form as a harbinger of doom. And the unfortunate criminal who happened to be his target and found himself enveloped by Bu and within the Chinese hero, the man suffered a most gruesome fate with the exact footage censored to the present day. Bu folded his arms and let himself boil alive within his suit. He would be lying if he said he didn't enjoy his work.


Footnotes

[1] - The C-99 is an American military VTOL produced by the St. Eden Corporation, one of the rising arms companies that showed up in the 2010 largely due to the trend of metahumans pushing technical advancement further. Capable of takeoffs and landings in civilian streets, the C-99 has been used for close range transport for heroes of Team Aegis and other teams. The C-99 is additionally equipped with an autocannon, allowing it to serve as light air support.
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby V A N Q U A R I A » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:14 pm

    Collaborative post between Durmatagno, Forest State, Talchyon Vanquaria, and Castelia
    BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025
The C-99 soared over the skies of Manhattan before entering Brooklyn, and getting closer to the areas on the map that had been labeled as the source of the problems. As they grew closer, they would be able to look out the windows and see where the trouble might be coming from... There were some burning cars, plumes of smoke rising from specific areas. If they looked down on the streets they would see that they were mostly empty, but where there were people, there was conflict. The people just showed up as dots, but they were moving around in fear, or they were moving like aggressors, shots being fired by some of the dots on the ground and causing other dots to drop to the sidewalk or the road. And while it was easy to forget up here looking at things from long range, every one of those dots was a person or one of the machines they were out to stop.

It was quite the task.

The VTOL touched down outside of the area of operations, not risking putting the team down in the middle. The back hatch opened and the tone sounded telling them to all get out as soon as they could. Shayla listened to the order, lifting up her laser rifle and charging out, waving for the others to do the same behind her. "Come on!" she shouted, hearing a burst of gunfire in the distance. Wherever they had ended up touching down, it wasn't far from the conflict.

His armor limited his mobility and Bu could only stomp out of the aircraft, his stone boots creating minute trembles on the ground as he moved.

Not far from where the VTOL touched down was a group of five of the androids. Surrounding a small diner, windows smashed in, door broken down, and now in the process of lighting up a molotov. They were relatively undamaged, though one of them clearly held a slightly bloody pistol. No sign of the person they got it from,but given the general burnt out, and smashed condition of other nearby cars, it wasn't a good sign. Once the molotov was lit, the one holding it threw it into the building, lighting it ablaze before turning on moving on to the next building, one of them now wielding a piece of twisted steel ripped from the diners door.

Identifying the assailants they had been deployed to neutralize, Bu strode toward them and while approaching them he raised one of his arms. His metallic hand opened up to reveal a pool of fire and stone. From it, a powerful jet of bright yellow-red liquid streamed out in an arc toward the android in possession of a firearm. His blast was purposefully directed but splashes of lava from the stream sprayed onto the concrete ground, melting it.

Marcus on the other hand, decided to fight fire with water. Channeling a small amount for him, only a quarter of an Olympic swimming pool, Marcus directed the water into the diner to take out the Molotov. Knowing that the water would also run out the building with its door ripped off, the hero called Deluge wasn't too worried about anyone inside drowning. But that Molotov would go out. He mentally began to chalk up one point for the good guys.

Shayla didn't get too close to the enemy that they were watching. As Deluge worked on putting the molotov out, she turned her attention to the one that had thrown it in the first place and offered her skills as a sniper, standing back behind the others but raising the laser rifle scope to her eye, lining up her shots with the head of the android and pulling the trigger three times in rapid succession, each one firing a separate blast quickly. One of the advantages of this type of weapon was that a larger 'caliber' didn't require more reload time like a bolt action ballistics based rifle would. Immediately, she swiveled her body and turned her attention to one of the others, pulling the trigger down twice for each of them.

"The damage is going to spread if your group doesn't move quickly..." her AI, Aine, told her in its generic monotone voice. She hadn't gotten to customizing that just yet.

"I'm aware," she replied, with a sigh. "Let's try not to spend too much time on this, guys. There's a bunch of other groups like this, all of 'em causing havoc right now..."

The one Bu targeted had time to raise it's stolen pistol, and fired two shots, aimed squarely into the opening of the metallic hand. The molten lava melted it quickly, leaving it smoking on the ground, pistol ruined. The one with the club moved to try and go after Marcus, but the laser quickly dropped it to the ground. Another dropped as it moved after Bu, also smoking from where a laser penetrated it. That left two more standing, who both turned and simultaneously broke into a sprint, leaping onto Bu and pulling, at his armor, trying vainly to find a weakness to attack him through.

Somewhere a bit more distantly shots rang out, followed by muffled, terrified screams and then silence.

Shayla's admonition was well heard Marcus, just as her sharpshooting with her lasers was well received. "Yeah, yeah. Two down, tons to go." He shrugged, and then headed out in the direction of the gunshots, trusting Bu whom he passed to cook those bots alive. As he went, Deluge also put out some of the fires caused by Bu's lava, turning it into hardened rock and steam.

Raising his other hand and sheathing back the armored covering to reveal his elemental form within, Bu literally bathed the 2 androids in pure magma which quickly cooled into lava as it stuck onto the android's body, frying the robots as if it was a barbecue.

But his blasts were also causing toxic fumes to emit from the fires of his magma. Realizing this, Bu immediately morphed his stream of lava into pointed tips which he drove into the androids on his armor by rotating the tips around and around like drills, the molten stone composition of his element holding his bio-weapons in shape.

"Looks like you guys didn't need my help at all." Isaac remarked, standing near Shayla while the rest of the team engaged the first group of androids to be sighted. He wasn't able to react as fast as the rest of the team, meaning he was the last one off the C-99.

However, when in the distance shots rang out, this time he reacted quickly. He found himself sprinting together with Marcus towards the sound of the gunshots, with a water club in his hands.

The C-99 was acting as the eye in the sky for the team and alerting them of any changing conditions on the battlefield, and as it made more passes overhead, the radio channel came to life once again with new instructions. "There's a bunch of civilian bodies piling up a few blocks away... Maybe four or so blocks to your front and right. Try to deal with it when possible... The property damage isn't good but your main goal, after all, is to protect civilians in this," said a voice on the radio line. But it was an easier said than done job, especially when they had to cover all the ground on foot.

Bu would have used his powers to generate a propulsion force from which to cover distance much faster but the risk of hurting a civilian because of the destructive nature of his element restrained his actions. "I'll take the right side," Bu told the other members of the responding Aegis team through comms, stomping away toward the heat of the action. "Let's take em out quick and regroup at the Clover storage facility."

After their eye in the sky on the C-99 reported off, Marcus shook his head and muttered under his breath, mimicking the voice they had just heard. "The property damage isn't good but your main goal is to protect citizens. Yeah, we'll see if that's what he says the next time his house is gonna be on fire..." It was probably just loud enough to be normally heard over the radio line, but most likely was masked by the other noises of the combat zone, which no doubt saved Marcus a chewing out later.

Covering the four ("or so") blocks on foot was going to be annoying. They were in a section of tall-ish office buildings, but not exactly skyscrapers. Marcus agreed with Bu's suggestion. To the rest, he said, "You know, guys? If you want us to go a little faster and you don't mind getting wet, we can always try to ride some homemade waves out to where we're going. Bu probably wouldn't like it, but if the rest of you want to, I can whip somethin' up." His southern drawl was noticeable over the comms.

While they tried to figure out how they were going to get there, a few more shots rang out, but that wasn't the worst of it. Clubs, pieces of pipe and the like, fell onto cowering people begging for mercy. Begging for their lives. Desperation in the face of madness. Those that stopped moving got one final, heavy hit to the head, and then tossed onto the growing pile. Of the ten that had been left, only two still stood, wrestling to avoid the same fate as the others. The android with the shotgun reloaded, eyes on the circling C-99. The others fought with the remaining two, who had improvised weapons of their own and were staying alive, for now. Next to them all was a pile of bodies, fourteen maybe fifteen in it, with the body of the very officer the shotgun was retrieved from not far away.

"Guess I have no choice. Conjure up those waves of yours, Marcus, and get all of us there ASAP," Bu said without hesitation and in an authoritative tone. He covered his hands in armor, making sure his entire body was contained by his suit. Besides limiting collateral damage, his suit also protected him from the elements that would distinguish his flames.

They needed to neutralize the targets quick and though Bu knew taking down the androids was an easy task for him, there were civilians in the proximity and their presence just increased the difficulty of the mission tenfold. Not that he minded, he knew he could count on the support of the others.

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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 pm

    Collaborative post between Durmatagno, Forest State, Talchyon Vanquaria, and Castelia
    BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025

"It won't be a problem, Marcus. In fact, I'm going right now. See you all there."

Isaac then began conjuring water at his feet, which began to propel him faster towards their destination. To the untrained eye, it looked as though Isaac was surfing, but without a surfboard. Accelerating ever faster, Isaac left his comrades behind, managing to arrive at the scene of the carnage just in time to see the machines converging towards 2 survivors.

"I'm in contact now! Four androids, one of them armed with a shotgun! I'm rescuing the civilians right now!" With a massive burst of water, Isaac launched himself high into the air, Turning gracefully as he began to fall, Isaac launched several high-powered water blasts from his hands towards the shotgun android, hoping to destroy the weapon. Isaac then launched several more blasts towards the head of the other three androids, hoping to draw their attention.

"Hey, you there! Pick on someone your own sizes." Thinking that the androids' attention were on him now, Isaac then landed on the ground a few feet away, purposefully not putting a barrier between himself and the androids in the hopes that they would target him instead. However, he did keep himself at the ready to summon a barrier, just in case. 4 against 1, not good odds. Then again, I've survived worse!

Marcus saw Isaac surf out, and wished for the umpteenth time that he could actually change the water he made into useful objects, instead of just a lot of water. Or fiery water. Or a really powerful hose. But whatever. It was a good thing his costume was an armored wetsuit. Because when he began a street-wide wave to carry them up the 4 blocks ("or so"), he didn't mind.

It wasn't as quick as flying, or even driving. But it beat walking. He saw Isaac up ahead, and several androids. One with a shotgun that Isaac was trying to bash in, others trying to beat up survivors, and right beside a thick, sickening pile of dead human flesh. Marcus felt the same tightening of his eyes he always felt in this situation. He decided to try something. Closing his eyes, he focused on a pressurized blast of water from in front of the two survivors, into the faces of the androids. Let them chew on that for awhile.

Unfortunately for Issac, shotguns are notoriously reliable things, matching even the legendary AK-47 with the right models. All the blasts did was prevent the android from shooting the surviving civilians, but his other attacks did indeed succeed in drawing the attention of the three wielding pipes. The pressurized water however forced back the three that had been wrestling with surviving civilians back, after getting knocked back several feet, they separated into different groups on different sides of the stream. As they turned their attention to the two heroes now facing them, the one with shotgun raised it, and fired a round squarely into the face of one of the two surviving civilians. He dropped, unmoving as his buddy turned and ran for it. The android with the shotgun quickly pumped it and fired a second slug at Marcus, likely to hit him in the leg, and a lancing shot at that. One of the other three turned to chase the fleeing civilian while the other two raised their weapons and advanced.

Bu strode up to the frontlines of the fight though he was too late to prevent the death of one of the civilians. His voice conveyed his anger at the innocent's death, "Go to hell machine!" He blasted the androids in front of them with powerful streams of lava, infusing molten stone into his attack to knock the robots back so that they could melt away without bothering anyone else. Bu immediately refocused on the android pursuing the civilian. "Fuck!" He swore, recognizing the risk of hurting the civilian if even a single drop of lava touched the person. "Shayla." Bu simply said

"I'm here," Shayla responded, diving from behind Bu and dropping to one knee for a more steady aim before leveling her laser rifle and taking a shot... which pierced the head of the android and did a good enough job of destroying the control system to drop it to the ground and disable it, most likely permanently. She put four more shots in it before returning to her feet just to be sure that they were done with this one.

"Onto the next one," she added, aware that they couldn't hang around and wait for the enemy to come to them if they wanted to do their job.
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:55 am

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
    SUBMARINE TYRANT, SOUTHERN OCEAN
    Agent 121, Pyramid Secret Warfare Division, [REDACTED]
    June 19th, 2025

It was a quiet day in the Southern Ocean. Or, well, under it. Nothing major had been earmarked for today; if anything, today would be a day that had 'absolutely nothing' marked. Some would have called that tempting fate.

Hayley Thornhylle, better known by her far more famous alias, XXI: The World did not believe in fate. She believed in karma, solely since one of her soldiers' powers was karma, but not fate. Not given her own power. So she was more than willing to tempt it by marking days as 'absolutely nothing will happen'. Of course, she had good reason to believe absolutely nothing would happen. They were a few hundred meters under the Southern Ocean, in one of the most isolated places on Earth. It was one of the best places to hide an almost 600 foot long submarine like the Tyrant. And the Tarot had no operations of their own today either, several teams having returned from a major assault on Kotor with multiple injuries of varying magnitude.

No, they were not doing anything since they had no assets capable of doing do, but her timetable was not unduly affected, so there was no need to panic either.

So the Tyrant's bridge was quiet and subdued. She herself sat slumped to one side of her chair in the middle of the Tyrant's bridge, idly spinning herself and her chair around with one leg. The bridge was on a skeleton crew today too, members of the Tarot's supporting sections not busy with their own jobs or treating the injured or simply sleeping in the free time provided. She could almost sleep in the relative quiet of soft pinging noises of unmanned consoles and computers.

The quiet, however, wouldn't last for long. Because while the members of the Tarot were moving about or doing whatever in the various rooms of the submarine, something else lurked the hallways... Something that wasn't there before they had went back under the water most recently, and something that definitely hadn't boarded normally. Well, the thing was like a person, but not like any person the Tarot had run into before. This 'person' was covered in a thick black liquid, which seemed to be quite hard and stiff in properties, but still flexible enough to move in. The liquid shifted. Sometimes, the eyes of the person underneath would be visible. Other times, not.

But whatever the case, it was clear that the person wasn't one of them and it was also clear the person had a presence about them that was far different than what one would come to expect from the typical metahuman, something was was just... Off. Like this person was different from anyone else they had fought before, and like the person underneath the liquid had a cool confidence about them that hadn't been seen by anyone else around an infamous group like this.

The person wasn't supposed to be there, but they also weren't concerned about walking amongst killers and infamous criminals.

"Unknown presence in Forward Section, Deck C." A cold, robotic voice announced. The Tyrant's automated security systems. Hayley sighed. Today just couldn't be easy, could it? The various bridge crew, previously relaxed, suddenly jolted to attention, looking up to her for orders.

"Seal all bulkheads and doors around the section." Hayley commanded, her voice surprisingly loud and firm for such a small person as she sat upright. "Seal the infirmary, mobilise whatever available combat-ready assets we have in-" She paused, thinking briefly. Sending a lone infiltrator to the Tyrant was a suicide mission, which meant this wasn't an assault. And, perhaps more importantly, they'd been able to teleport aboard in the first place. Despite no one knowing where they were, or having numerous devices built by one of their members specifically designed to prevent teleportation within the submarine.

"The forward ladder shaft." She said. It was the most direct way between their intruder's current location and the bridge. The most likely motive for a single person was someone on a revenge mission, and given the number of people she'd killed, well. She had plenty of people after her head. None had made it this far, so she'd give whoever it was credit for that.

"Enable alarms." She said, and a low wail filled the corridors of the Tyrant, enough to get one's attention, but not loud enough to preclude conversation. "Intercom access."

When she spoke next, her voice echoed throughout the Tyrant's corridors and rooms, carried by the vast submarine's intercom system. "I'm not entirely sure how long you've been sulking around down there, but you're not sulking anymore. Don't resist, submit to interrogation and we'll make your death painless. Do, and I make no guarantees."

"That's cute," said the person within the liquid, having a seemingly male voice and continuing through the corridor, eventually getting to a door and extending an arm, which caused the liquid itself to jump out, expanding and grabbing onto the door to cut through it as if it was a powerful laser. Whatever it was, it made short work of the locked door, eliminating it easily and causing it to fall forward in a few seconds, allowing the man within the suit of liquid to continue walking through the hallways casually, only stopping to look up at one of the speakers.

"Say, where would I be able to talk to the leadership here? I think I have to speak to the manager," the man said, sarcasm in his voice as he continued unconcerned with the things happening around him.

"You can speak to me from right there." Hayley said, speaking over the intercom, even as the bridge staff scrambled to manually seal more bulkheads and hatches. It was a measure to buy time, little more. She'd have preferred to simply flood sections of the Tyrant, but the nature of the ship's layout and locations of airlocks made that impossible in this case.

"I don't take personal calls, hazards of the position." They had audio bugs across the Tyrant in addition to cameras, mostly owing to experiments with Seven of Swords' power and whether it worked with her audio signatures. "I'm sure you understand."

"Funny. Engineer said I would end up directly in your office... Gave me the coordinates in everything, but the machine ended up placing me in this hallway. Based on the average error percentile, I would judge that I'm fairly close if not in the immediate area of the office," the man continued, leaning against the wall casually. He reached for something within the liquid, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it while he spoke, not moving just yet.

"And, for this kind particular meeting, we need to speak in person. Are you really going to make someone like me, that's traveled so far to get here, come and look for you instead of just giving me the directions?" he asked, in the same sarcastic and joking tone.

"Funny. I don't have an office." Hayley said over the intercom, silently thinking. Were this any other supervillain but her, they would almost certainly refuse, send their minions in, and try and remove the threat.

She was not most supervillains. Her power made death something she laughed at the prospect of, or at least the minor inconvenience of it to herself. It wouldn't be a minor inconvenience to literally anyone else left alive afterwards or indeed to anyone else, but semantics and technicalities. "Besides, given you've come so far, you should know the capabilities of my little band. You won't know if you're speaking to me, or a body double. I guess you don't even know if I am who I claim to be. Or if I'm even still here, and haven't just portaled out to a safer location." Normally she wouldn't make small talk with an invader like this, but it was buying time for her own people to mobilise. Just in case.

Image
The mystery man.


"Let's not waste anyone's time here. We know everything about you, Hayley. I also know very well about the capabilities of your group. I could go into detail explaining how every injured member received their wounds in their last outing, but that would be a waste of time and I believe time is a valuable thing right now," the man continued, standing straight and continuing to walk again, looking for the location where they had said the leader of the Tarot would be.

"I wasn't going to make you meet your sister today... But keep being uncooperative, and I just might. And don't tell me that it's impossible because of your power. Clearly, you haven't run into me before," the man added, showing that he knew full and well what Hayley was capable of.

"I know it isn't impossible, I have a few who could do it themselves if they were so inclined, which is why they're on my side in the first place." Haykey said. That wasn't even a lie either. Given how powers interacted, in theory, at least. She'd never practically tested it for obvious reasons. "But regardless. I prefer not to waste the time of others as it is finite. Give me a few minutes to navigate my way down, I prefer not to rip my way through my own submarine."

She was silent as she stood up, turning the intercom off. "Readiness of what combat-ready assets we have?"

"Mobilising to the second ladder shaft and forward cargo elevator as we speak." One of her bridge crew said. "They'll be ready if you command."

"Good. If I don't make it out, well. You all know the protocols." Hayley gave a small wave as she hopped off of her chair, boots clanking against the steel floor as she left the bridge to make her way down to meet the intruder.

"You should move fast. As we speak, there's two VTOLs en route to the location right now that are prepared to mine these waters and, if he need calls for it, to deploy standoff weapons," the man continued, the liquid metal armor shifting as the man smirked before continuing on and cutting through the next door, receiving instructions over the communications channel in a way that would appear silent to anyone not on the line and wearing an earpiece like him. Those instructions would bring the agent closer to the Tarot's group as they moved, updating him on their exact position.

Hayley wasn't a fan of running. She was tiny, though, so sadly she normally found herself running quite a bit. She all but tore through the corridors of the Tyrant, bulkheads unsealing as she approached and resealing behind her before she turned into a tiny alcove, leaping down the ladder, her hands barely even touching it before she landed on the deck below and she sprinted off again.

She did't have an earpiece in, but she knew her subordinates, she knew how they would react in any given situation, and she knew the Tyrant like the back of her hand. So it would only take her two or three minutes to reach a position where both her route and the intruder's would intersect, and she'd be positioned between the two places that her reinforcement teams were occupying. Just in case, not that she was afraid of death. So she took a place leaning against a wall, tapping her foot lightly against the floor as she waited.
Last edited by Lunas Legion on Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:27 am

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
    SUBMARINE TYRANT, SOUTHERN OCEAN
    Agent 121, Pyramid Secret Warfare Division, [REDACTED]
    June 19th, 2025

It wasn't long before the Tarot's party ran into the intruder, and as the meeting began, the intruder was quickly ready for a fight. The liquid armor shifted - a blade formed along the right arm, showing up under the sleeve of the clothes that the man was wearing over top of the 'liquid'. "It's a shame that this talk couldn't happen alone, you know. I didn't need to bring my own help, as you can see... Came here by myself, even if I could have had this entire submarine destroyed. And not just with the VTOLs, either. You need to ask yourself, if I was able to get here, what's to stop a warhead from being sent here the same way?"

He chuckled, the armor shifting once again to cover his entire face, not even leaving an opening for an eye. Still, it looked like for whatever reason, it didn't affect his vision. "Funny, really. The leader of he Tarot, too scared to talk one on one. I suppose this is close enough... Maybe," he added, turning to the Tarot's group and tossing the cigarette to the ground.

"A leader should have an honour guard, although in this case they're more like witnesses." Hayley shrugged, holding a hand up to stop the group of three behind her. "And believe me, I'm fully aware of that. If a person can be teleported aboard, then why not a warhead of a few kilo or megatons of the nuclear variety? Appropriate countermeasures will be taken when and where they are deemed necessary. But by the time I had everything organised in preparation for you being a one-man suicide mission determined to avenge... Someone or something, I don't know, your dog or whatever, that you were more than a mere suicide mission had only just come to light."

She turned her head upwards to look at the intruder in the eyes. "But you wished to talk face to face, yet here I am and yours is far from visible. I'm not picky however, and now my day off is ruined, so I'd prefer we make this quick."

"I believe that talking face to face is more... How should I put this. A way of making a point. You know, the point that you can run or you can hide, but all of those efforts will be a waste at the end of the day. It turns out, however, that you've exceeded the expectations in not running away from this," the man in the armor continued, looking at Hayley although the mask hid his face and didn't show exactly where his eyes were directed.

"Consider this meeting to be a more formal warning to stay out of our business, and I believe you already know who we are in this instance. We catch this organization looking into our business again and there's going to be hell to pay. You yourself admit that we could have you and everyone else on this submarine dead in a minute... So I don't know why you choose to risk that outcome," he said, leaning against the wall. "In fact, I'm already aware that you will do something. It's the reason I'm here right now. As the messenger to advise against such a decision."

"It's my experience that organisations like yours have a... Tendency to lose track of what they were originally intended for. You and your employers know full well what my power is, I'm assuming either power identifiers, pre-cogs or some combination thereof. So you know that I likely have advanced knowledge of where those elements are."

Hayley cocked her head, smiling slightly. "Now, I don't think I have an issue with your employers, at least our goals as far as I'm aware they're not contradictory. If you want me to keep out of your business, then I'll let you handle it in house as it were. I'll give you a list of places and dates for... Incidents that I'm trying to pre-empt that may or may not involve your employers, it's always quite difficult to be absolutely sure regarding them, and the nature of those incidents. We shall have no reason to intervene or prod more deeply if you clean up your own messes before they even become messes, although the mere act of me naming dates and locations and the nature of incidents may prevent them arising, or something else might. The butterfly effect can get rather messy at times."

If they refused, well, she had countermeasures. She knew what actions she had to take if the Tyrant were compromised. Difficult and hard actions, yes, but necessary actions. And she'd probably take them regardless. "Otherwise, consider your warning received by both me and mine." She gestured to her companions. "It disseminates the word faster, having some of the others around given the constant movement of groups on and off this rusting hulk of metal."

"The organization has the feeling that some of our 'messes' may be the kind that you insist on attempting to clean up. I believe that you already know this and have already done this, but what you may not know is that we have already seen this. If you want to avoid your own destruction, which will come preemptively, you will back away from this. Away from the future conflict that's coming... Away from Pyramid's operations in South America... You intend to fake your death, but believe me, that's no solution against what you're facing right now. You underestimate what you're dealing with here," the agent spoke once again.

He gestured towards Hayley with his right hand and with the liquid metal blade that was attached to the arm. "This isn't a matter of both organizations attempting to not get in the way of each other and get into conflict. This is a matter of your organization keeping its head down, staying out of the way, or being destroyed. Straight up. The choice between suicide and continuing to live is in your hands right now."

"You seem to think that I intend on merely faking my death." Hayley smirked slightly. "You know my power, you know how I operate. If things become untenable I have options, shall we say. Granted, you don't particularly need to worry about those." She waved dismissively. "For now, at least, I choose life, as distasteful as I find it. You have records of our previous operations, you know how little we operate in South America. And you know my power, so you know my priorities in situations like this."

"I know you're listening in, Magician." She turned away from the man, looking up towards one of the speakers. "And yes, I know Chariot is going to be absolutely fucking livid about it, but I'm temporarily discarding ourselves."

She turned back to the man. "If you want us to go to ground, then we'll go to ground. There's a few things of a more... Personal nature I wish to take care of regardless in this time, and I know quite a few of the others have a few grudges amassed over the years that this would be an ideal chance to settle. A year or two should be enough for you to finish whatever business you have in South America, maybe longer." Hayley paused. "Probably longer. Some people are oh so tricky to track diagonally at times and shooting them in the face sounds quite therapeutic right now. No one you need concern yourselves with, just dominoes that need to fall the right way."

"We'll be in contact about whether this deal is agreeable or not. Although, if the higher ups decide that it isn't, I expect that the answers will be spoken in force rather than with words," said the man, before turning to walk away... And saying something under his breath into the earpiece that he wore underneath the liquid metal, eventually seemingly disappearing out of the air like he hadn't been there in the first place. Strange, for sure... And it likely wouldn't be the last time that this agent and his organization clashed with the members of the group known as the Tarot.
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Talchyon
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Talchyon » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:52 am

Collaborative post between Durmatagno, Forest State, and Talchyon
The Streets
Marcus Braxton (aka 'Deluge"), Shayla Rush (aka "Machinist")

Marcus's wave finally brought him up to the others on Team Aegis, disturbingly close to the sickening pile of mutilated corpses. The two who got away were the lucky ones, if you count being psychologically scarred for life as a lucky event. As Shayla urged the team to go on, Marcus just nodded and got another wave ready to take them to the next place. From what their guy in the C-99 was saying, it was around four more blocks away. But not in a straight line. Of course not. Enemy combatants haven't decided to set up combat zones in a straight line since the Revolutionary War.

"Hop on guys. Bu, you might want to cover up again. These waves aren't as fast as driving, but they beat walking."

Three pillars of smoke on the horizon. It seemed the next group, this one of only four, had followed the first groups lead and were setting buildings ablaze. As the team moved to this next location, two more pillars of smoke began rising into the air. That was five, five buildings now alight, and the fires starting to spread the the neighbors. The androids moved across the street, to a small squat apartment building. There they moved inside, the last one in holding a lighter. It looked like they didn't plan to stop at five, not even six. It looked like they'd keep burning until they were as dead as the first ten.

"More fire," Marcus thought. "You'd think these dumbbots would have learned..." As the consecutive waves carried those of Team Aegis willing to ride them, the hero called Deluge said. "I got the buildings. You guys get the droids."

It was going to be a literal headache, and a pain in his back too. Such was the cost of generating that much water to extinguish five tall-ish buildings on fire. But it was a relatively small cost considering how many people might be dying inside these buildings.

Marcus heavily exhaled, and then taking a deep breath, embraced the growing headache behind his eyes as he channeled water. From out of nowhere, water poured onto the buildings. The flames did not go out immediately, but were greatly hindered. The flames were so prevalent that none of the first batch of water made it to the ground, instead being converted into a thick cloud of steam.

By this time, the waves had brought them into closer proximity to the buildings and the androids lighting them on fire. Marcus did his trick again. This time, he also channeled water to go inside the rooms where flames were announcing their destructive triumph out the windows. Steam. But the water was eventually having an effect. Marcus took cover behind a car so the androids wouldn't shoot him, which wouldn't help his abilities. And embracing the headache and back pain again, Marcus drenched the buildings in continuous water. He would keep doing this until the flames were all gone and water ran down the sides of the charred buildings into the streets instead of turning into steam on contact.

"Keep handling that... And I'll hopefully do something about the ones starting these fires," said Shayla, hoping that the wave wouldn't mess up the systems of her armor. She checked with the AI encased within the armor, asking about the integrity of the systems right now.

"Integrity is... 95%. Please avoid future water exposure," Aine informed her. Right. She hadn't gotten around to getting all of the features done such as making sure the armor was waterproofed and sealed fully. That would be in future versions of her prototype edition, but she had been busy with a number of things both related to Aegis and to the company that she was developing the armor for, among a number of other projects.

Still, the slight amount of water within the armor wasn't stopping her from doing anything just yet. She raised her laser rifle, rapidly spraying in a wide cone of fire at the androids.
Last edited by Talchyon on Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Forest State
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:44 am

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    POTOSI, BOLIVIAN ROUGE - SOUTH OF SUCRE
    The 4th Experimental Unit & Sage Shields
    June 13th, 2025

The team had their fun... And now it was time for them to focus on their targets. It was morning and, even if Bea and Minerva were slightly hungover from the last night's drinking, they knew what needed to be done. They needed progress they could report and they needed to advance their objectives. Which meant moving on Sucre and working to take out some of the targets that had been listed on the reports as being key figures within the Bolivian Rouge regime. The small table in the hotel room was where they would gather to discuss the plans... But before they could worry about that, it would be a good idea to eat something.

As Minerva stretched and got up - somewhat awkwardly, keeping to herself for the most part and glancing around at the others every so often, Bea was already making breakfast. Wasn't much. But she had bought the ingredients earlier to make a simple soup - they didn't teach cooking in Nowhereville but she had picked up some knowledge on her own. Some of the others, such as Aqua or Tali, were already awake, and talking about the day's plans. But Kodiak was just getting up now, as was Minerva, the two of them exchanging a cryptic glance with each other before Minerva said something about heading out to check the perimeter.

Which for whatever reason seemed like a convenient excuse to head outside, as Kodiak silently stood up and went to shower without saying anything to the others. It was a strange morning.

Sage was up later than normal for herself, but it was still on time for everyone else. It felt bizarre to her, to wake up at the same time as everyone else, but hey, it wasn't a bad thing. Less idle time, less just.....being herself with nothing beyond that. Not that it mattered much when no one else saw it.

"New word today, ândêdòì̂la...."

She snapped herself out of it, and got up to stretch, not questioning the bizarre behavior of the rest of the team. She barely knew them after all, only time would tell if she actually was kept with them, but...she liked them so far. Better than her last team anyway, they were all so stiff upper lip it hurt sometimes. She spent a little bit of time making a small amount of salt, not permanent, but it'd improve flavor. She set a little crystalline cup filled with salt down next to Bea before moving back to her bag, they had a little time to relax before the real work started getting going.

Tali was glaring at Sage as she woke up. Left Aqua soon after and said something about going to blow off steam, whatever she meant by that. But... She was openly pissed right now and not just moody as she usually was. And for some reason no one on the team particularly said anything about the strange behavior from her or Minerva or even to an extent Kodiak. That would be left up to Sage to figure out on her own, the others already seemed to know enough but they acted as if it wasn't happening.

"Try not to get too wrapped up in the team drama," Bea warned Sage as she looked down at the salt, smiling slightly and chuckling. "I know you aren't used to it..."

"Most drama my last team had was trying to figure out who get to be the inside man on the current mission, this is all....foreign to me."

Sage considered checking her guns again, but instead started fiddling with crystals. She started with simple shapes, spheres and cubes, and slowly made them more complex until she had what amounted to small figurines. Finally she formed a knife and tested the feel of the handle in her hand. She wasn't sure how heavy it was, her crystals were weightless on her touch.

"Guessing it's probably the special ration, or me being on the team in general."

"It's more about last night, but she's not happy about you either," Bea said with a shrug, careful with her words. She didn't want to seem like she was jumping on either side, really. Wasn't her fight, and she was the one trying to keep the team together rather than encourage the splits in it. "Says that you reduce her value in the organization just by being around... Which makes things harder on her. She seems rough, but she has been through a lot."

"Have any of us not? I spent most of my life inside a tank or on an operating table, you guys have been jostled from mission to mission. We all have it rough."

Sage was slightly irritated that Tali didn't like her merely for existing. It wasn't as if she had asked to be born. To have 'mother' like the one she had, though it was a stretch to even call her that much. Gene donor didn't fit either. Didn't matter, it was all semantics anyway.

"Whatever, so long as she lets me do my job she doesn't have to like me."

"Don't think it will get in the way. Tali most of the time is more of a danger to herself than others. I fear that she's going to try running away at some point which... Wouldn't end well for her, to say the least," said Bea, before finishing up with her cooking and moving to gather the plates and bowls for everyone. "But you didn't hear any of this from me. As always... I'm just a neutral observer in most of the inner team drama."

"Being a danger to herself still isn't good."

Sage ended it there, settling back in and watching the light play off her dagger, shifting the internal structure around to make it reflect and refract in different ways. Unlike earlier there wasn't much point to this, just entertaining herself. Earlier had at least been a flexibility exercise for the power. Whatever, it wasn't like her to sulk anyway. Or so she hoped, she was still figuring out who she was.

"It's not good. But sometimes, it's just what we're stuck with. There's only about one person here that can even get through to her on things like this, and I doubt she's going to succeed in making Tali change her mind on any of this. You'll get used to being around her eventually... She should be more bark than bite," Bea informed, before moving to bring the soup to the others at the table in the middle of the room, which would be somewhat cramped. But they had all been in worse conditions before, so it was fine.

"I believe we have a plan to get to," Minerva said, as soon as the food showed up. "We'll eat before we head out but while we do that, we should go over the specifics. It's not a complicated plan in any way. But there's a few points where it could go wrong. There's no room for slipups here, unless we want to end up with potential losses on our hands."
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Aunt Carol
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Oct 13, 2018
New York Times Democracy

Postby Aunt Carol » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:10 pm

    TEAM AEGIS NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS, THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025

Imagine, if you will, chaos: the Devil's favorite four words because it is enough to destroy Empires.

What do you see, reader? Or, rather, for you, what do you foresee (you have seen it before, in front of the TV or in books or in the internet or in person)? A mass of disorganized humanity? Fire and brimstone falling on the helpless? Response teams trying, oh so trying, to prevent it from spreading? Can hear past the unending stream of shouts and sirens? Mixing with one another into a melody of life and death. Someone help, you could almost hear. Someone do something. Someone. Anymore.

For the drone strike, take that image and downsize everything. Make it something lesser. Not an act of nature but a more... human reaction. A calculated move of desperation; a prey lashing out to keep the predator away. Pointless chaos. Chaos that did not weaken the target's resolve or cripple them. No, it made them stronger. More united than before. Angrier. The Devil's worst nightmare.

For hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And, by the Gods, was Magnum scorned. Today was meant to be her day. Away the busy work of being a hero. Away from victims and perpetrators, always the same from Abel and Cain. Away from the media, always waiting for their next hit. A day of peace and rest. When Magnum slept, and Dutch walked the earth. But, alas, cruel fate planned otherwise.

Now, she was stuck atop a nearby building. Watching. Waiting for anything else to come. To shoot them, if need be. As men, women, and others evacuated from the headquarters, she could do nothing for them. For now, that is.

"This is going to be a long day, isn't it?" She half-questioned, half-growled, to herself. Her accent was gone. Burned off by the seething fury that was Dutch Magnum Wheeler. "They will pay for this. All of them."

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The Great Swedish Empire
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 108
Founded: Jun 05, 2019
Democratic Socialists

Postby The Great Swedish Empire » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:12 am

    TEAM AEGIS NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS, THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    Oliver Whishaw
    June 14th, 2025

Oliver is walking down the hallway. It is late. Far too late. He looks at the watch on his wrist. It is old yet has endured him for many years. The short arm nears twelve. Oliver passes by a window. The sky should be black but the light of the city beyond pollutes the sky. He cannot see the stars. New York was so unlike home. Before he moved to London he lived in Hove. Oliver remembers the day he and his father used to go into the fields near midnight. Not too far as the town was silent and dark at that time. They would sit and look upwards. His father would bring a map of constellations and Oliver would bring the telescope. They would spend hours looking at worlds far out of their reach; wondering what lay on them. Oliver can remember seeing the dark sky. It is as if a painter spilled all his acrylics on a black canvas and dotted white paint all over it. Oliver nows stares out to a sky where he can see no stars. He cannot remember those good times as clear as before without the stars. He cannot help but think. He cannot help but think of days long gone. So very long gone.

He continues to walk down the hallway. Short dinner and sleep. He is now a fully fledged member of the group. At last. Tommorow will be his first day. He cannot miss out on it. He passes by a metal door. There is a sign right next to it. Engraved onto it are the words: "Experimental Weapons Testing Room B12." Oliver walks past it without stopping. He has no reason. He walks over one of the sky bridges connecting wings B to A together. Below him, the traffic never seems to stop. Like a river of metal and honking horns.

He has barely crossed the bridge when the ground shakes. It is like a quake or explosion. Just a very soft rumble and vibration. Oliver would have dismissed it if not for the klaxons blaring all around him. A voice comes on. It says in a robotic voice, "Major Accident in Experimental Weapons Testing Room B12. Possible weapon malfunction. Urgency level rated: Critical. All paramedics proceed to the scene. The number of wounded... one. Infirmary Wing B stand alert." Weapons Testing Room B12? He just passed that! The voice continues to be on repeat but Oliver does not need to be told twice. He pulls out his phone and dials a number. A number he had been given to him by Agent Wilson the first moment he had been informed he was part of the team. It is central command. "This is Team Medic Oliver Whishaw. I am close to the scene. I will be responding. ETA to the scene is thirty seconds." He says his a thick British accent. He still cannot shake it. A calm female voice - as if she had been through this dozen of times - replies, "Your request for response to the incident has been authorized. Your presence on the scene will be relayed to the Paramedical teams." Oliver puts away his phone and takes a deep breath. His rubber soles dig onto the cold marble floor and he dashes forward.

He arrives at the metal door. It is bulging heavily but it is not breached. A light next to the doorway flashes red and a screen displays the status of inhabitants through sensors. It displays the EKG. It is rapid and jagged. The victim is in shock. Oliver swipes the screen a few times until he finds the button. "Emergency open." It reads. He presses it without hesitation and steps away. That is a brief burst of white blinding light. The smell of smoke forces it's way up to his nostrils that before it is quickly sucked away by ceiling vents that now roar like a dragon. There is a loud clang and Oliver dares is open his eyelids. The metal door is nearly a feet thick but its frame is now neatly glowing. A moment later pink foam comes from small holes in the frame of the fallen door and there is a sizzling sound. It is nearly cool enough to touch. But he has no time.

Oliver leaps over the door and into the room. There is blood all over the reinforced concrete floor. The first things he sees is the range. It stretches nearly fifty meters. The reinforced wall on the other side is battered and blackened. There seemed to have been a small wooden house built at the far end. It is now nothing more than smoldering ruin. Oliver sees to his right as he enters a woman slumped against a metal wall. She is wearing fatigues and black combat boots. Her shirt is ripped and bloody. Her blonde hair is sticky with her own blood. Her forelimbs are bloody and there is a large gash across her stomach. It is leaking blood at a dangerous rate. Like a river overflowing its banks. Oliver falls to her knees right next to her. He takes out a pair of plastic gloves from the back pocket and puts them on with impressive speed. He takes out his pocket flashlight and shines it in her right eye. It responses. What is her name? There is a name card over her right breast. It is ripped but he can make out the name. "Hi, Cassy. My name is Oliver. You're going to be okay. I promise." He assures her while cleaning the wound of debris the best he can.

She murmurs something. Like wind. Oliver puts her ear to her mouth. It is more clear. "Wha-wha-what happened? Is George okay?" She struggles to bring those words out. Her finger weakly raises to point at something behind Oliver. He looks behind. "Holy Shite." Are the first words to come out of his lips. There wasn't much left of George. Just two legs and gore splattered all over the wall. Next to the biggest chunk of flesh is a statue of twisted steel that glowed red hot. Oliver could not help. Best not to say anything. Cassy's eyes look away from Oliver's for just a second. He snaps his finger right next to her ear. It is not easy with gloves but it gets her attention. "Hey, you still with me?"

She nods.

The wound is now clean and ready. Oliver takes a deep breath. Her eyes look away for a second and her face is now paler. He is running out time. He snaps his finger. He has her attention. "I'm almost done. Now you have to listen to me. This will hurt. I would normally lie but you look big and strong." Oliver looks around. He picks up a piece of cloth and wounds it into a ball. He places it in her mouth. She says something but it is muffled. "That's so that you don't bite your tongue off," Oliver explains. He takes off both his gloves. He puts both his exposed hands on her leg.

"Ready?

She nods.

"Be brave."

"Five"

"Four"

"Three"

"Two"

"One"

The ceiling was the first thing Oliver saw as he opened his eyes. It is the sight he has grown accustomed to over the past week. When he woke up to it on his second day he nearly jolted himself out of bed. He was used too much to his old water damaged moldy smelly ceiling that he had woken up to for the previous three years of his life. Oliver was in warm, clean, and comfortable sheets. He used to sleep with a towel.

Oliver sighed loudly as he looked back on last nights events. He had seen that scene a dozen times when he was deployed and he would never get used to it. The screams. The blood. The pleads. Never.

Oliver pushed himself off his bed. The world was blurry. He picked up his glasses from the nightstand and took a sip of water from the glass he had filled last night before bed. London was dry in winter. Always helped to have some water. He threw off his bedsheets off and got out of bed. Oliver kneeled and reached under his bed looking for it. At last, he found them. He looked at them and smiled. Pink fluffy bunny slippers. A gift from Jessica as a joke. He would have thrown them out or forgot about them but he owed it to her. God rest her soul.

A shot.

A cry.

Tears.

Oliver never forgot that day. He never could or would. Then he smiled, albeit forced. This was no way to start the day. Oliver looked around. His room had four plain white walls except for the western wall where the door to the bathroom and his walk-in closet lay. He was free to personalize it they said. Oliver walked out of his bedroom and into the living room. Light flooded in from the balcony window. It sure was a sight. The bay stretched onto the horizon. A thousand boats docked or left the dock. Like little toys in the bathtub of a child. It was a cloudless day. He watched the midday sun play on the water like a thousand diamonds.

Wait.

Midday?

Shit. What time was it? Oliver practically ran into his bedroom and swiped his Digital Clock off his bedstand. Weather? Good. Air Quality? Great. Traffic? Average. Time? 11:37!

Oliver practically jumped up like one of those cartoon characters. Eyes bulging. Frozen in the air with their tongue out. What did he miss? This was his first damn day and he'd missed half of it! What would they think? Oliver thought about just running out of the door with bunny slippers on but then he looked at his shirt. It used to be white. Now it was red. He didn't even change. He threw the shirt off and kicked off his pink bunny fluffy slippers to some far corner of the room. He undid his trousers on his way to his closet. He almost ripped the paper sliding door off its hinges in his panic. No time to change underwear. His clothes were in one heap. He had barely had a chance to fold them since he arrived.

Oliver dived to his knees searching for clean wear. Blue shirt. Then a blue tie. Then his most favorite article of clothing. It was brown knitted cardigan with leather elbow pads. He had this since med school. It was a gift from his mother before he left Hove. She had said when she gave it to him, "Now you're a proper university douchebag!" A reminder to never forget where he came from. He chose some jeans and leather shoes. Alright, he was ready. He burst through the door of his hab unit so quick that he nearly forgot to close it behind him. He turned about and slammed the door shut.

The sirens sounded. It was like a banshee chorus. Did he do that? Oliver wondered. Then the cold emotionless voice came on.

"Battle Stations! Battle Stations! Battle Stations! Multiple Hostile UAVs approaching. All non-security and personal bellow O3 clearance are to evacuate to your designated points. Avoid open areas. If you need assistance approach a member of security!"

It repeated again. Oliver ripped his phone out of his pocket and dialed the number. He was on hold for nearly a minute. Clearly central was being overrun. But at last, it got through. Oliver spoke before the other side had a chance to say anything, "This is Team member Whishaw. Orders?" There was silence for a moment. Then the response came. It was a man. His voice was unsure. It was almost certainly his first day. "Ummm. Mr. Whishaw. You have been assigned to medical duty. You are to be attached with paramedical team A. They are currently gathering in C wings entrance hall."

Oliver put away his phone and put on his gloves. Action time.

Wait. Where did he get his phone and gloves from?
Stuff. Just stuff.

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 3866
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:01 am

    BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025

It seemed like the situation with the initial android attack was mostly under control. It was hard to call it fully under control when there were still burning buildings in the middle of Brooklyn, as well as flipped cars, piles of dead bodies, and blood on the streets. However, the situation was being passed over from Team Aegis to the local SWAT police as well as the National Guard, after the latter had been able to mobilize thanks to Aegis cutting down on the crisis and buying them some time. There were damages, yes. But the situation would be much, much worse if the ‘horde’ had been able to move around unharmed. They had dealt with the worst of it and now the regular authorities were going to handle the rest.

However, that didn’t mean Team Aegis was off the hook when it came to dangerous situations. The Hero League and its vast computer network and IT team had identified where the signals were being transmitted to the androids from. That was to say, they found the source of the hijacking and they just had to stop that said source to end the attack completely. Furthermore, they would obviously have some arrests to make once they had identified the people responsible. The C-99 was taking them… Across town? As it turned out, the coordinates that the signals were coming from were within the city of New York itself, and was hardly a long distance away from the location where they had just been fighting.

It seemed that this was a local crime. One that had been well executed, yes, but it hadn’t been executed well enough to prevent the League from finding the source of it. They would have to investigate further and see the exact meaning of it, but it also seemed that the building they were heading to was… One that belonged to one of the corporate sponsors of the Hero League. Particularly, the Nemain Electronics Company, which worked directly with some other companies to make some of the high tech equipment used by the League. So hearing that they were involved in this, directly or indirectly, was shocking…

Hell, one of the members of the team that was headed there right now happened to be wearing a suit of armor which had been produced by the NEC, in addition to working for them part time outside of hero work. Hearing that they were somehow tied to this was a punch in the gut to Shayla Rush - and she no longer knew who she could believe or who she could trust. When the company she owed her allegiance to was being named as the source of the attack, how could she predict anything anymore?

How could any of them predict who was on the good side and who was on the bad side like this? It… Complicated things. Complications were expected, of course, with the introduction of a new technology like this. But few believed a situation such as this would come within only a couple of days of the technology being revealed formally. The world, Shayla supposed, had a way of reacting to sudden changes. Sometimes it reacted well. Other times not so much.

The C-99 touched down at the street outside and she saw it… The NEC office, the second of the two that the electronics and defense company owned, the one that was supposed to allow the Virginia based company to compete with the tough New York market. Other large companies, such as Clover, had offices in new York. And the NEC had decided that it was time to play with the big boys. It had also provided a chance for Shayla to come back to her old stomping grounds, but now, the place was surrounded with yellow tape and there were NYPD vehicles up and down the street, ranging from patrol cars on the lower end to armored SWAT cruisers on the higher end.

“Fucking hell,” she couldn’t help but say as she looked upon the scene, the heroes emptying out of the VTOL which then returned to a circling pattern above them to provide overwatch and, if the circumstances allowed for it, close air support if a fight broke out and traveled outside. “This is the place I work when I’m not with the Hero League,” she added towards the others, surprise still written across her face as she approached the building.

The team was getting ready to go in. Getting ready to see why this betrayal had seemingly come from one of their close partners and why such a corporation would even have a motive to stage an attack like this using androids of all things. However, before they could get close enough to investigate and check out the reasons for themselves, they were stopped by the yellow tape and by the officers that were standing around. “We’re glad to see the Hero League here but we already have the situation handled. You guys will get your turn to look eventually, but right now, we have some things to do such as seizing evidence and questioning some of the workers inside here,” said one of the cops.

Shortly after the statement was made, the front doors to the building opened up and someone was being led out in handcuffs. Someone that those in the know would recognize: Randy MacEntire, the head of the company itself and one of the ones that Shayla was familiar with working with - it was a relatively small company, one where the CEO knew the employees. And so, it was a shocking moment for her to stand here know, on the opposite side of the police tape as the man who had hired her not too long ago relatively was now being led out and arrested. For the crime of staging an attack which had killed plenty of civilians and caused hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars worth of property damage at that.

“Damn…” she muttered.

The city really had gone mad following the new changes introduced to the world.




MISSION CONCLUSION.



e d g e l o r d
I'm the bad guy... Duh.

For: America, Tea Party, Not Stepping On Snek, Anime
Anti: Catgirls, EU, Wehrabooism/Prussiabooism

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Durmatagno
Negotiator
 
Posts: 7028
Founded: Oct 10, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:35 am

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    POTOSI, BOLIVIAN ROUGE - SOUTH OF SUCRE
    The 4th Experimental Unit & Sage Shields
    June 13th, 2025

"Right."

Sage grabbed her soup and took a sip as she turned her attention back to the mission at hand. She already had some idea of what her role would be. Regardless of target, her skillset lent itself to infiltration and assassination. Her ability to blend into the general populace was her big strength here. She sat aside the crystal knife she was playing with to the side. Enough chit chat and 'team bonding' stuff. Now was for why they were really here.

"So who am I imitating for this?"

Sage didn't need to know who the target was to know she was imitating someone, or blending in as a normal everyday person.

Minerva stood up, looking for her things and coming back to produce a picture which she laid down on the table, showing a Bolivian man who was wearing a military uniform. "Armancio Espiridon," she stated, gesturing to the picture after setting it down where Sage could see. "Member of the Revolutionary Guard. Well, not just any regular member, but one of the officers around here and the one that's responsible for the security detail around Humberto Basturo. Of course, the latter is the one that we're after here and the one that's responsible for most of the logistics within the Bolivian Rouge. When you centralize power in a few people, losing one or two of them can deal a big blow, and that's what we're hoping to do," she explained.

"But if we want to get in and get access to take out the man we're looking for, we're going to need to either go the quiet route or the loud route and we'd like to delay the latter as much as possible since we aren't set up for an extended fight on our own against the Revolutionary Guard. You're going to imitate Espiridon after Kodiak lures him away from his unit and neutralizes him. From there, you'll take his clothes, documents, and appearance, and 'return' to the villa, where you should be able to walk right in through the front door and quickly get to Basturo, where you can end this by simply shooting him," she continued.

She had more to say, however. "When you do that, things are going to turn hot. We're going to jump in and cover your retreat as well as we can, but you might still have to take out a few enemy soldiers yourself... Hopefully, we'll fight off the security element around the villa, and we'll get the hell out of there before they can mobilize serious reinforcements. We're going shock and awe with this. I'm hoping you can get with the program and make sure that you don't keep us there any longer than we need to be."

"Well other than if there's the chance I can kill him quietly I'll take it, only note I need to make is that I'm not going to start shifting till we have Armancio in our possession. Want to get him exactly right, a few inches, or the wrong muscle definition can set off alarm. Also gives me a chance to copy fingerprints, though I can't get his eyes exactly right without a proper scan and live readout of my owns shape. Doubt it'll come into play, but it should be kept in mind incase such things ever do come up."

Sage looked at the picture carefully. She was pretty sure the most likely scenario was her shooting him first chance she got, then barreling through their security forces, mindful of anything that could actually pierce her armor. She had a emergency plan in the back of her head, but it was risky and flashy, and would be a literal last resort. She kept eating her soup as she thought this through.

"Wish my sister was here, her ability to delve into his head would be useful, make it easier to pass as him if I have to."

"You're not going to be able to do much in that area because of the number of guards around. You're not really going to have any chance to get in and out without making noise and alerting them. Basically, there's a good reason why we're working on having Kodiak go for the target first, and then have you come in afterwards. If something changes on the ground there might be room for deviation in the plan but... I highly doubt that's going to be the case," said Minerva, sighing slightly. It was a tough task that they had been put up to, after all. She wasn't one hundred percent sure herself how it was going to play out, or if it was going to play out in their favor.

"Like I said, doubtful I can do it here, but it's worth keeping in mind just in case it does become possible."

Sage finished her soup and sat the bowl to the side, she'd need to grab something later, if there was any left over she'd take it, but that alone wasn't a big enough breakfast for her. She studied the picture, trying to figure out what kind of a person she was going to mimic. Wondered if he had chosen this life, or if he was just protecting his family. Didn't matter, Sage had her orders. She'd been created to be a weapon, trained to be a weapon, so she would be a weapon. For now anyway.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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The Great Swedish Empire
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 108
Founded: Jun 05, 2019
Democratic Socialists

Postby The Great Swedish Empire » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:32 am

    TEAM AEGIS NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS, THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    Oliver Whishaw
    June 14th, 2025

The missiles streaked lazily through the sky trailing white cotton candy white smoke behind them. They screamed as they forced themselves through the air. Their flames lighting up the midday sky. Then there was silence for a moment. Then a dozen explosions filled the sky like it was Guy Fawkes day. Flaming hot melting wreckage fell onto the streets and onto screaming hordes of people that had come out to watch the battle unfold. It seemed that the AA system was working but as more and more drones came onto the scene... but it would eventually fail. They had to get everyone out now.

Oliver burst through the stairwells door into the lobby. The lobby was huge and expansive. A great four-faced brass clock hung from the dome roof. The sound of the clock striking twelve could barely be heard over a hundred footsteps on finely polished marble. Oliver ran across the marble floor; pushing and shoving his way through hordes of workers. Many of them clearly did not know how to evacuate properly. Many carried their belongings with them. It was chaos. Men, women, and children were shoving their way through in a headlong panic. It was like trying to fight against a raging rapid. Had not the HQ practiced evacuation drills? If so it clearly was a while ago. There was scream among the crowd. Dozens of office trinkets and papers slid over the marble floor. Most trampled the items but another person's foot caught a steel mug and he fell over onto the ground with a thud. Another man was not looking and tripped over the fallen man. He outstretched his right arm to try to stop the fall. It did not work. There was a crunch. Oliver winched at the sound.

Oliver had to move fast. If he did nothing it would most certainly cause a pile-up and trampling. He picked up the biggest objects first. A mug, a flower pot, pencil holder, tablet. He threw all of those to a corner of the hall right next to a pillar. The first man that fell had gotten to his feet and was helping the other man that had tripped over him.

"I'm sorry. So, so, so, so sorry. Sorry man." The man said in a heavy thick Canadian accent. "Hey, this mans arm is broken! I need some help here."

"Alright move out of the way," Oliver said as he walked over to the injured man. His left arm was dangling loosely and there was a large bruise around his red. His face was contorted in pain. As Oliver walked over he felt that he was pushed by the tide of workers and almost fell to the floor. God damn evac protocols. This would have never happened in his royal majesty grand armies. But he wasn't in the great armies of the Empire. He was in a god damn office building where nobody knew what to do. Oliver, at last, reached the injured man but he was forced to push a small petite woman out of the way. He led the man to the side where they would not be swept aside by the crowd. The injured man sat himself on a bench. "Alright. This is gonna hurt a bit. Who am I kidding? A lot. Just close your eyes."

Oliver laid both his hands onto the injured wrist. "What are you going to do? Readjust it?"

"No, Just close your eyes. Ready?"

The man nodded.

"From Three. Three."

"Two."

Oliver closed his eyes as well. Concentrate, Oliver silently told himself, Ignore the chaos.

"One."

There was a whimper from the man. He was trying to keep the pain in. He really shouldn't be surprised mending broken bone in seconds when it's supposed to take weeks is going to hurt. Calcium grew at a rapid rate. Bones knitted themselves together. It was all over in less than ten seconds. The man opened his eyes. His wrist was no longer red. In fact, it was as smooth as marble. The man was about to thank Oliver when Oliver raised his hand. "No thanks. I get that too much. Get out of here. Don't fall down again."

The man nodded and disappeared into the crowd. Oliver wiped a bead of sweat that had traveled down from his forehead to the tip of his nose. By the lord above that was hard. Where was the paramedical team? If they kept evacuating like this more people were going to get hurt and they wouldn't just get a boo-boo that Oliver could just kiss away.

***

The air defense systems of the HQ were holding their own against the drone strike. Red hot metal fell from the skies like feathers. Great plumes of smoke streaked upwards towards the sky like angels against demons. But they could not hold against the horde. Every now and then a smaller drone would penetrate the defense system and fall upon the HQ. Some were small commercial drones the size of sparrows that posed no bigger threat than a single bumblebee.
Image
VSD Z-30 Medium Package Drone
But as the seconds wore by, bigger and bigger demons descended upon them. One was a large circular white shaped VSD Z-30 Medium Package Drone. It was powered by one great rotor in the center of it all that went into overdrive erratically like it was a dog growling. It was about the size of a small child but it plowed through the fleeing exposed crowds on the streets like a train plowing through the snow on a track. Men and women were thrown all over like toys. A middle-aged woman in a neat suit, who was nearing retirement and the benefits the hero league who heap onto her loyal years working with them, had the unfortunate luck to have her entire right arm eaten by the rotors of the Drone. The only thing that could be heard over her screams and those of the crowd was the sound of the drones blade breaking. Just outside Entrance D, a small crowd was walking slowly out. They mostly had their phones and other recording devices pointed towards the sky or were just simply watching the spectacle They only begrudgingly moved when security started to yell at them. It was at that moment that a large two winged long distance VG 80 Drone avoided a near hit by the air defense system's M80 Anti-air missile but could not avoid the shockwave from a second one destroying another drone right next to it. The shockwave ripped off its wings and for a moment the craft hovered in the air, as if confused to what just happened, before falling like a stone towards the crowd below. Over 20 Liters of Promethium Fuel ignited the moment it hit the ground. The fireball was nearly as tall as the surrounding buildings.

Only now were the CWIS systems warming up. Their crews had reached the fire control center. The many barrels began to spin in anticipation of targets to add to their crews kill count. But the sky was clear. It seemed as if the swarm had ended. Very suddenly a large swarm appeared over a set of the many low slung brick buildings of the Bronx. They were like a cloud that shifted and writhed with malice. "OPEN FIRE." The fire officer yelled as soon as he saw the swarm. Dozens of missiles were let loose and long lines of tracers smashed into the cloud. Dozens of drones of different sizes fell in the first ten seconds. But is was clear what they were doing. They were flying extremely low and using the buildings for cover. Families ducked in fear as bullets flew through their windows and a few missiles missed, smashing into buildings. As the minutes drew by the swarm got ever closer and more buildings lay in ruin. Security began to smash windows and use small arms against the swarm. It was like trying to stop the ocean with your open hands.

MQ-8 Large Package Long Range (LPLR) Delivery Drone 023 was seven years ago; having celebrated it's a birthday just yesterday. It was a silent and lonely occasion. Just sitting there in the pod. Waiting for a package to deliver. 023 had delivered nearly a thousand packages over a span of seven years. Having been born on the drawing tables of DeliveryJunction's finest designers and engineers. 023 trips had taken it all over the continental united states. It had seen the vast ever spanning Nevada desert. Circled Washington mountain. Saw the size of the great lakes. Felt the wet breeze of Niagara Falls. Had the dirt of West Virginia's country roads caked on its underbelly. Felt the tops of Oregon's pine trees skim on its skids. Had the midwest's fields of crops part as it traveled over them. It had even gone overseas to Hawaii and even as far as India. Such adventures.
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MQ-8 LPLR Delivery Drone


It was sleeping soundly when it felt something. A command. It had a package to deliver. Apparently at some place called the Team Aegis HQ. It was in the Bronx. What was he delivering? Nothing? It couldn't argue a command. It was a machine after all. Before it knew it, 023 was in the air, staring at the New York skyline for a moment before he was moving again. It felt the air on his fuselage and logged the data. Today was a prime day for flying. There was little up or downdraft and the skies were clear. As it neared his delivery location he got a new command. It was to assume a low altitude approach to the location. As it got closer and closer its sensors began to go into haywire. Great pressure bubbles were appearing in midair and objects were flying all around it. It soldiered on despite it all. It was so close. So close to its target. 023 detected a large object the size of a small car flying towards it. It barely missed 023 and hit another drone just behind it. 023 began to spin all around at a rapid rate. A quick systems check revealed that the tail rotor had ceased function due to major external damage. 023 tried to fight it. It had to deliver the package. Sensor check. Major building detected four meters starboard. Crash Protocol activated. Cease all functions, seal fuel tanks, and release anti-retardent foam. But at the very last moment, it got a new command. The crash protocol was not to be activated in any situation.

***

Oliver kneeled right next to a security officer who lay on the ground. A submachine gun lay to his side. The guard had a large gash on his forehead but he could still talk as Oliver wrapped a bandage around his head. A smaller drone had gotten through the defense bubble and breached the HQ via a window. It had traveled through the hallways seeking a living being and found the guard. When the guard saw it he had peppered it with a dozen rounds from the sub-machine gun but a bullet had struck the fuel canister. There was a great big explosion and here he was the Gaurd explained. "Hey, Whishaw. Stop chatting. I need some help here just down the hallway. Concussion." A voice over the radio that was stuck to Oliver's chest. Oliver responded, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. On my way. Let me wrap up here."

The guard pointed to the bandage on his head, "Go, I'll be fine. I can handle a few exposed paper cuts."

Oliver nodded and got to his feet. Alright, what ne-

The wall right next to him began to crumble rapidly. The security man barely had time to open his mouth to scream before rubble and fuel forced their way down his throat. Oliver jumped backward at the last moment.

A great heat

Smoke

Rubble

Great crushing sensation

Metallic taste

Pain

can't breathe

Can't breathe

Can't breathe.

***

Paramedic Jasmine Hall had seen it all. Blown off limbs. Heads that oozed brains out of their ears like hot wax. Severed heads whose eyes still followed the flashlight. But this? This was nothing. She knew too many of these people. Co-workers. Drinking Buddies. Workplace douche bags. Friends of hearts of gold. Did they ever deserve it? They were just bystanders. The Grimm Reaper knew no difference between the pure and the sinners. Jasmine knew that. Then why? Why? Why was she so affected by this? Every time her team got a report of an injury his heart nearly jumped out of her throat. It was fear. Fear that the next would be someone she cared about. Someone she loved.

In medical school, they were forced to watch videos where small animals were cut up in the most brutal way ever. He saw rats sliced open while they still wailed. Cockroaches have their bellies cut open and their babies come out before being crushed. Lizards crushed with hammers over and over again. Even gory pictures of roadside human car accidents. Those served a purpose. To desensitize them to what they may see in the field. So that they may never freeze when others needed them. But this was something else. It was always different when you saw someone you knew, someone you shared a drink and a laugh with, had their lower body served and their mouth wide open screaming in utter pain. But it was not the screamers that disturbed Jasmine so much. It was those that were silent. Those that just looked at their wounds and accepted their fate. Accepted the fact that they were about to die. The fact that they were never to love or to be loved again. That they would never see their children again. Those were the worst.

When the explosion happened Jasmine was nearly thrown off her feet. His team had been en route to the aftermath of a drone breach in Sector Three. The lights in the hallway went out for a second and confusion reigned supreme among them all. But then the emergency lights came on. The hallways were now bleached in dull red light. Jasmine grabbed the radio that hung from his belt. All it gave was static. Then voices came through. It was of panic. Commanders demanding what was happening. Requests for firefighters to locations that shifted constantly. Panicked shouts of security requesting reinforcements as they were slowly pushed back by drones that had breached into the HQ proper. All the confusion and terror of war.

It sounded as if hell had come upon them all.

Jasmine constantly switched channels, looking for one where she could get the location of where her team was needed most. But she got nothing. As the seconds went by the members of her team began to speculate on what was going on. Some said that gas line had gone off, that a bomb had been planted by terrorists, an earthquake, that the army had turned against the League, and one said that a giant creature must have risen from the sea. The whole crew began to panic as the facility began to rumble once more and paint chips fell from the ceiling. But at last, Jasmine got the location of the explosion after threatening to decapitate a poor command center communications officer. It was not too far away.

***

There was concrete in his mouth and nose. Oliver opened his eyes but it was pitch black. He took in a deep breath but his chest refused to go all the way. There was something on him. Oliver kicked against the rubble but it would not budge. Oliver tried to scream for help but all he could manage was a whimper. There was something hot and runny going down his forehead and he could taste dull metal in his mouth. He screamed again, mostly in frustration. People were getting hurt. He had to help.

As if some fairy had fulfilled his wish Oliver felt the weight on his chest get lighter. His right ear, his left was still ringing, could hear murmurs. At last, the darkness was struck down by a pillar of light that flooded through a gap that appeared. Oliver yelled again, "Hey over here!"

Another piece was lifted and a sweaty blackened arm appeared outstretched. It dragged him out of the rubble. Oliver spat the grit from his mouth and stood unsteadily on his feet and blinked his vision clear. Then he felt his legs buckle under him and his back smashed against rubble painfully. He heard more murmurs.

Someone was holding his face. She was a pretty one. She was brown and had great blue mouths. Wait. No, eyes. Her mouth was moving. His ears were still ringing from the explosion. He read her lips but he got nothing. Then, very suddenly, his hearing came back in a flood. "Sir! Are you okay?" She was practically shouting at him. Oliver nodded and tried to get to his feet. The woman pushed him down again. "Sir, you're hurt and I think you're in shock."

"No, no, no. I'll be fine." Oliver mumbled softly. The woman put her ear to his mouth to properly listen. "I have to help."

He tried to get up again. His bones ached like he was an old man. Again the woman forced him down. "You've done enough." She said. She reached into her bag and pulled out a syringe. She did not use it but rather showed it to Oliver. "If you get up again, sir, I will tranq you."

Oliver nodded. She stood up and yelled to someone out of Oliver's sight, "I need bandages here!"

Oliver's head felt very hot. Something runny and warm was going down his head. He put his hand to his head and it came back into view smeared red. Oliver heard a commotion but it was out of his sight. Then he blacked out again.

***

This man had broken his right leg and he was trying to stand. He fell down hard onto the rubble pile and Jasmine winched. Ouch. The man kept on trying to get up and up. Apparently, he wanted to help. Not in this state he would. A large cut was on his forehead and he was losing blood at a rapid rate. The blood cleaved channels through the pale white dust that caked him. But despite the fact that he had been crushed by a ton of rubble his glasses were still intact. What were they made of? Adamantium? His eyes were darting all over the place and his chest was rising at a rapid pace. If she didn't do anything he would go into shock. She stood up once she was sure he would not try not to hurt himself again.

"I need bandages here!" She yelled at James who was trying to fish someone out from the rubble with some help from Alex. Both were on the ground level, nearly eight meters below her. He noticed her and with one last great injection of energy he and Alex lifted the rubble off. A hand appeared like a zombie from the grave. The person that Alex dragged out certainly looked like one. James looked upwards. It was a clear sky. Fluid tracer lines filled the air and the constant distant explosions sounded like the drum of war was beating.

"Hurry up!" Jasmine yelled, bringing James' attention back to her. "I'm losing him!"

"Yeah, Yeah. I'm on my way." James yelled back as he swiped up one of a dozen red medical duffle bags that were littered all over the rubble pile. He began to sprint and lept over a small stream that had been formed by a burst pipe. He stopped at a drone that lay on the ground. It nearly the same size as James but this once dangerous great and dangerous piece of technology now lay on the ground. Smoking and sometimes shooting out sparks from its wounds. James kicked it with his rubber boots; more sparks came out. "Fuck you, you piece of heavy shit," James told it.

James stepped over it but then he heard something behind him. Like air being shifted rapidly and the rotors of a helicopter starting to spin up. He swallowed in fear and slowly turned around. No, it couldn't be. Really? It was almost too cliché. This was the shit you saw in horror movies. But oh no. It was real. The drone was flying at James' chest height. One of its four rotors was currently not working. It was vomiting sparks at odd intervals. The great red camera in the nose stared intently at James. He knew what would happen next. But he couldn't move. Both of them were frozen like deers in a headlight. Then the rotors began to go into overdrive and then went back to regular speed. As if it was an attack dog growling.

It started to move and smashed into James before he could react. If not for the propeller guard there would have been a huge gash in James' chest. He was thrown off his feet. It took a few moments for him to notice he was nearly a meter up. He closed his eyes shut in anticipation for what would come next. It hurt. A lot. The drone continued to fly off into the sky. James was still on the ground trying to process what was going on. He couldn't breathe. He felt his chest and yup. 5th, 6th, and maybe his 7th Rib was broken.

Alex had stopped tending to the wounded and began to run towards James, screaming his name and telling him to get up. Jasmine screamed as well for him to get up. But all James could manage was flopping onto his back like a pancake being flipped. He tried to bring the strength to get up but it seemed like it had all gone out him. Every move was pain and James kept his hand on his chest. All he could do was watch the drone slowly turn around and begin to dive once towards James. James could only just stare at it, ever still. Alex was getting there but he would clearly not make it in time.

At the very last moment, James found the strength inside him to leap backward like a frog. The drone smashed into the rubble floor and bounced off the floor and skid along a large piece of rubble that was once the fifth-floor women's bathroom's tiled floor. It stopped after smashing into a piece of wall and the once growling rotors fell silent. Alex reached Jones and cupped his arms on James' armpits and began to drag him away. It was at that moment that the rotors once more started with a great roar. James' coughed out, "Oh fuck. Not again."

"We're almost there!" Alex yelled as he continued to drag James' on the field of rubble. There was a doorway, not ten meters away that led into the heart of the HQ. It would provide them cover until security would come and terminate the drone. However, the drone began to slowly rise up. One of the propeller guards had been knocked off in the crash and the pair just stared at the exposed blade rev itself. Alex wiped the waterfall of sweat with his sleeve. It came back completely wet. It did not help that he was already exhausted by the whole day. His arms were cramping and his legs were beginning to buckle. He couldn't drag him any further. Jones groaned loudly as Alex laid him against a hill of rubble. Alex's hands were on his knees and he was breathless. He could barely mutter, "Get up! I can't take you any further."

James tried to get onto his feet but the pain in his chest was too much. Every time he was almost on his feet the pain forced him back down. Alex got a breather and tried to bring him up again but as James was almost up he felt a great pain in his chest. It was making him sweat. He couldn't breathe and his head hurt. For a second, everything went black. James vision came back but he was as pale as a sheet and cold sweat drenched his forehead. But he was on his feet and began to limp towards the door, his arm slung over Alex's neck. Only a few steps away. Then the pain came back again. Only this time ever more intense. It was like someone had stabbed him. James took a deep few breaths. But he couldn't. James wiggled for a moment and felt something slosh about inside. In his chest. Oh shit, internal bleeding. It had gotten into his lungs. James, for a moment, felt as he was walking towards a white light. Then everything went black again. But he could feel his legs buckle and hear the shouts of Alex that were only murmurs to him.

The drone was now off. It flew into the sky as it's system began to reboot. Engine one, damaged, not usable. Engine Two, working condition. Engine three, working. Engine four, working, protective cover missing. It scanned the surrounding field of rubble and detected four heat signatures. Two were grouped close together and were the closest. Top priority. Must deliver the package at full speed. Do not heed object collision warnings. Continue of delivering package until life systems cease. Preferably permanently.

***

Oliver is sitting on the side of the makeshift road. A tank passes by him, throwing up dust everywhere. Oliver coughs violently. It is not a good idea to sit so close to the road, Oliver tells himself and moves to a tent down the hill. It is a steep hill but a path has been carved into it. But it is still not easy and Oliver nearly falls. As he walks down he feels strange. He looks up. The clouds move a fast as race cars for a moment and the next does not move at all despite there being roaring winds all over. The sky turns from blue to red. Then to a sequence of many other colors. Like he is in a club.

He is no longer there though. He is standing in a crowd that writhes to the beat of some club music. He is no longer wearing his combat drab but rather a casual one. His shirt buttons are undone. Oliver frowns. Why would he do that? He cannot grow facial and bodily hair. His doctors said something but he cannot think of it right now. There is loud music in the air. Oliver cannot tell what type it is. It is not classic dubstep nor some popular modern song everyone thinks is great but in reality, is just crap. No, it is noise. Like static. Oliver swears he can hear voices in the noise. But he cannot concentrate. In fact, he cannot hold a thought longer than five seconds. After what seems like an eternity, maybe only a few seconds, Oliver can think. He can now hear voices. As clear as ever.

"This is Private Jessica Hardin of the 3rd Platoon. We are currently stuck in an ambush on 5th street. We need reinforcements and medevac. We have civilians and four wounded. One critical!"

"Help me, Oliver."

"Jones! Get out of there! It's coming again!"

That's not Jessica.


The first thing he sees is the sky. A blue one. It was a great day. No clouds. Oliver smiled and was starting to enjoy the sight when everything flooded back to him. The attack. Was it still going on? Oliver pushed himself up but his palm brushed against some broken glass. Oliver said some things that he was sure his mother would spank him for. He looked at the cut on his hand for a moment. It took a few seconds but it stopped. Oliver wiped the blood off on his catagen and winched. Do you know how hard it was to get blood out of your clothes? Takes fucking hours. He put his hand to his head. It had stopped.

Then Oliver noticed the commotion below. He saw the drone smash into some poor paramedic. It was so hard that he was lifted off his feet and into the air. He wanted to help but his body would not budge. Did that bitch actually tranq him? He saw the drone smash down onto the ground and sighed in relief.

Then it got up again. Oliver had to do something. With one great burst of effort, he found himself on his feet again. The woman seemed not to notice and stood on the ledge, just staring in horror with at what was about to happen. She didn't notice Oliver as he clawed through the rubble. It had to be here. He looked back for a moment. The drone was just hovering there. Maybe it was broken beyond repair? No, Oliver told himself, it was just rebooting its system. Those things tended to do that when they smashed into the ground at a hundred miles per hour. He shifted rubble around. It should be near. He didn't go too far. Did he? It could have been just a gross miscalculation. He could have been moved by the initial collapse. It had to be here. He lifted off what appeared to be a completely wrecked tablet and it was there. Oliver felt his heart jump with glee.

***

Jasmine could only look. What could she do? She was eight meters up on a ledge that she could not climb down. It hurt that all she could do was look. All she could do was to demand that security hurry to their location. They said they would be there in five minutes. When she let loose a slur of insults and threats the commander came on. Her voice was cool and calm from years of war. "Listen, lady. I know your friends are in danger but right now we are under attack by a thousand drones in the lobby here. So be a dear and fucking wait you pompous prick. Wait five minutes. Do not go into the open."

She was clearly British.

She held her hand to her mouth as she watched James collapse only four steps from the door. Alex tried to drag him but the drone had now stopped hovering and now began to slowly fly towards them. It picked up speed and it's exposed rotor was in the forefront, ready to decapitate them both. Then she heard the sound of stone crumbling and steps to her side. She looked to her right and saw him! How the hell was he walking? He broke his leg. But right now he was walking as nothing had happened. There was a great grin on his face. Jasmine was about to tell him to get back down but then she noticed the rifle in his right hand. He lifted the rifle into both his hands. Where had he gotten that? He aimed for a moment. The drone was maybe twenty meters away but it was large and, at least for now, moving at running pace. He only had seconds before the drone reached the pair. Jasmine didn't say anything. She crossed her fingers. Three cracks. Jasmine winced and cupped her right ear in pain. She really, really, really should have expected that. She looked up. The drone had veered away from the pair, the rotor barely missing them, and smashed into a wall. This time it was for good as the drone broke into half before bursting in flames. Jasmine breathed a sigh of belief. She looked away from the smoking ruins of the drone and at the man. "Thanks," she muttered.

The man did not reply. The rifle dropped onto the floor and so did the man.
Last edited by The Great Swedish Empire on Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Stuff. Just stuff.

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Durmatagno
Negotiator
 
Posts: 7028
Founded: Oct 10, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:22 pm

    BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025

Rosalie tapped her foot as she hummed to herself, quietly thinking about everything. Today was supposed to have been a good day, a great day even. First day at both her new jobs. The Team, Aegis, her new job with NEC. Instead she'd been stuck in traffic, was several hours late, and then she'd had to fight a group of stupid androids. Well she didn't have to, but it was better than just sitting in traffic and waiting. The cab she was in pulled up to her first destination and things got even worse. Officers, tape, the whole fiasco. She got out of the taxi, got the trunk popped to grab her bags, only two, everything else had been flown in, especially her suit. Paying the driver, she sighed, and moved up, looking at the mess. Didn't look like she was getting shown around or introduced to her new coworkers anytime soon. Setting down her bags, she pulled out her phone and began looking for somewhere nearby she could eat at. Something with good pie or ice cream, she needed something sweet to distract herself with. She sighed loudly, scrolling through the listings looking for something she thought sounded good.

"This day just keeps getting better and better."

She talked to herself, bitterly, as she sat down on the bigger of her bags. It was just clothes, nothing important. Nothing she had to worry about, not that she weighed to much. She kept herself in good shape, not entirely on purpose, but she liked to work on things by hand, and shape metal, kept one in good shape. She shoved her phone in her pocket as she chose a burger joint a few blocks away, reviews said it had really good pie. She wouldn't know till she had some, but it was worth a shot.

"Maybe things will get better after lunch. Can't start here, might as well head off to meet the rest of the team elsewhere."
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 3866
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:46 am

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S 1 E P 1 - 0LD_T0WN_R0ADS_P1.MKV

DATE // 1 THOUSAND TRILLION YEARS AGO (TO THE SEVENTH POWER)
LOCATION // UNKNOWN
CAST // UNKNOWN

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Before there were men, there were only gods…

And it was cold. It was very cold. Cold enough that there shouldn’t have been life, and yet, through some miracle, there were still some living things holding on. If you could even call them the same as the living things that had existed before and would exist in the future, despite their differences - The ones that roamed this place could only be considered gods, or perhaps the greatest engineers to ever exist, at least in this reality and likely a number of others, too. But technology when great enough could not be distinguished from magic, and the technology that they held was practically magic. It took magic just to survive a place like this, to not join the list of the perhaps billions of races which had tried their hand at the great game here and had been snuffed out by the enemy that every player was fighting against, the environment itself.

Of course, some of them had great runs while they were still alive. Some of them had lasted billions of years. There were a few that had been around for a couple of trillion, who had mastered their own forms of technology and who called themselves gods. But, even if they had managed to master life and death, even if they had managed to create utopias, they weren’t truly gods until they could conquer the real last enemy. Which was the cold. The entropy. The thing that was undefeated. Even if one could turn back death and live forever… One couldn’t live without somewhere to live, and even the greatest marvels of engineering, such as megastructures which encompassed entire solar systems, harvesting energy from stars and creating places to live where none existed, there was still one thing that could destroy a civilization that couldn’t deal with it properly.

That was the very rules of the universe itself. Plenty of races had found success within the rules, yes. But unless one could break the rules, they were doomed from the start. It was just a matter of time. Because of the entropy. The freezing cold. The constant - at least for the time scale that the gods were used to - explosions of black holes and the expanding universe which would soon be left with no heat at all. Well, ‘soon’ in the sense that it would happen eventually. No one that had survived this long was particularly picky about the specifics of the passage of time. It might take hundreds of thousands of trillions of years for an event like that to happen. But it would happen eventually at that rate, unless they found a way to break the rules.

And if it did happen, there would be no more do overs. No more attempts at playing the great game. No more new galaxies, no more black holes, nothing.

Except for freezing cold and silence, across an entire universe which would be left with no light. There were only two ways to beat it, to either beat the entropy directly or to escape to somewhere else that wasn’t yet so far along in the process, and both of those ways would involve breaking the proverbial rules. Escaping the universe itself wasn’t something that one could easily manage. Even for the gods that had survived this far, past the era of nothingness except for black holes - which continued to disappear over time.

They had figured out something of a solution but it wasn’t one that was going to make everyone happy. Because this wasn’t a solution that could save everybody. It wasn’t a solution that couldn’t save most of them. Some would say it wasn’t a solution at all. However, it would do something that none of the other failing ideas that had been proposed would do: it would continue life for sure, regardless of what happened in this universe. Because in this case, the plan involved something which had been impossible before even for these gods: punching out of this universe and arriving in another, more stable one. There was a catch, of course, or it would have been a popular plan.

They couldn’t send themselves to another universe, which was the main problem. They could only send something that was a trace. A seed of sorts. Maybe in the future they would be able to escape this universe before it was the end. But for now, they had to settle. They had to settle for doing the one thing they could do… Sending a seed, in the hopes that something would go on.

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SCENE TWO - WAKEUP_CALL.MKV

DATE // June 20th, 2025
LOCATION // Toronto, Canada
CAST // Mari ‘Trailblazer’ Roux

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Mari Roux only wore the best things. At least, when she could help it she did. She woke up to the feeling of her expensive silk nightgown against her skin, as well as the similarly expensive covers that had been imported from some boutique store abroad, and even the pillow which cost far more than something like that should have. It wasn’t that surprising, however, that she was able to afford this. She had her own money, but half the time when she was spending it, it wasn’t her own - as the daughter of Nathanael and Svetlana Roux, the Candian-American superhero was one of those people that had an unlimited black card, one that she had no trouble paying the bills for. Even into her twenties, she had plenty of help from her parents.

This trait, this always getting what she wanted, was part of the reason why she was so annoyed when something, even something minor, went wrong in her life - she narrowed her eyes at the sound of her phone ringing, the thing that had woken her up. She was pretty sure she had set it to silent, and that immediately made her blood pressure raise in annoyance as she wondered just why this call was coming through… Unless… She reached out for her phone and looked at who was calling, seeing that it was the one person she could say she actually listened to at all times. That was because this was the one person who could boost her career or throw a wrench into it at any point and cost her tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of dollars in the process.

Mari cared a lot about her job. And that meant listening to her boss - who in this case, was Ace Warren, the leader of the Hero League’s Special Task Force Eta. It happened to be the organization that she was assigned to, and while it was hard work, it was exactly the place that she wanted to be… While other hero teams might be restricted to one small geographical area such as a city or a larger region of cities, heroes that were assigned to these teams were the ‘Special Forces’ of the hero world so to speak. They handled big name problems, went after big name villains, and, while they couldn’t always talk freely about the details of their missions, they had their faces all over the internet and TV for their services fighting for justice in every theater of the world.

Warren was one of the few people that she’d whitelisted on her phone, ensuring his calls would get through no matter what hour of the day or night it was. After all… Mari would do anything to stay on this team and continue receiving the publicity and fame from it, even things that others would consider regrettable. No matter the hour or where she had to go or wear. She wondered just what she was going to have to do this time, and even though she was annoyed at being woken up at this hour, she answered the call.

“You’re calling me early this time, boss,” she purred into the phone, doing her best to not sound like she had just woken up. “Do I have to come over right now or…?”

Ace’s voice wasn’t the usual one that he’d use on their phone calls. “Unfortunately, I need you to actually get shit done today. Well, something done other than what you’d usually do. I imagine you aren’t caught up on what’s going on, so I suggest you turn the news on.”

“The news?”

“It’s going to be hard to explain it. Just turn the news on and take a look for yourself,” Ace commanded, and Mari reached for the remote and turned on the sixty inch TV that was sitting in her room across from her bed on the other side of the bedroom. She flipped to the closest news channel and she indeed saw a scene that was hard to explain - really, she had to do a double take and make sure that she wasn’t watching a movie or a TV show, because it looked like something that had been cooked up by a special effects team with a hundred million dollar budget.

Image
But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?
The sky was on fire, somewhere in the USA. Not in the term of some figure of speech, but the sky was… Red and it was literally on fire. Mari looked down at the news ticker to see where this was happening and it said that the scene was from over Memphis, Tennessee. She thought about what she knew about the state. It had mountains, and it was thoroughly country and it was known for the country music that came from there. The football team at the University of Tennessee was often the subject of debate and conversation. The city of Memphis was at a crossroads between Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. It was also home to an airport which moved plenty of cargo around the world and now… It was the city with the flaming sky.

“What the hell?” she asked in surprise, looking at the scene but asking Warren for an explanation as the hosts on the news channel went back and forth in the background over what was going on. It didn’t seem like they knew anything themselves about this. They might as well have been as clueless as Mari was, from the way they were talking about what was happening right now. And so, she asked for answers from her superior instead of relying on the potentially inaccurate news.

“According to reports, the last couple of days have had some… Strange happenings around the region of the southern United States close to Memphis. These happenings have varied in type and scale but haven’t been anything big enough to get on our radar. At least, they haven’t been enough to get on our radar until right now. Obviously, this is the biggest thing to happen and the fire is really just one thing in a long line of things which were reported in the middle of the night. We’re seeing what we call… Anomalies. Things that shouldn’t exist, things that break the laws of physics, or things that are just highly dangerous. There’s a lot of them. That is, a lot of all the types that I mentioned. And they’re spreading. Memphis is what we’re calling the original epicenter but we’ve had to update our maps all night because the anomalies keep showing up further and further out until we’re seeing them in Oxford and seeing the furthest ones out in Nashville-”

Mari spoke to cut him off, moving to get out of bed and find her clothes to head to where she needed to be. She might as well start getting ready now, it seemed like they were going to send her out to deal with this, or something like that. “Why didn’t you call me earlier if this has been happening all night?”

Warren paused. “The situation was considered under control by the heroes back in the States at that point. Now that things are stepping up, the League is looking into making a task force to send down there. That’s what I was on the phone with the people back in NYC about, we were working on coordinating ops between Eta and everyone at HQ. Eventually they told me they’d like to send you down there, said your power would be useful for what they’re trying to do, which is reach the epicenter of these anomalies and figure out what the actual fuck is happening at the moment. The rest of us will be down there eventually… But you’re joining up with a group that’s heading in as the spearpoint for the League. Case Grey, they’re calling it. Lot of BMC types going to be there too, I heard.”

Right. Her power allowed her to hone in on a specific location and calculate the best path there. It also helped her get there by enhancing her movement speed and allowing her to travel at seventy miles per hour to get there. It gave her a bit of a durability boost while using this extra speed, too. She could probably head to the epicenter of this crisis right now if she wanted, but getting in and out safely was another matter than getting there at all. One that was much harder, and likely the reason they were putting her on a team instead of sending her straight into the madness.

It didn’t seem appealing, really, to walk into the city where the clouds were alight at this very moment with flames, seemingly breaking plenty of laws of physics. From the sound of it, the laws of physics had been thrown out entirely. “Do we even know what’s behind this and what these anomalies are?”

“If we knew what was behind it we wouldn’t be headed to the epicenter, and also, anomaly is a broad term. It can mean a lot of things but generally, we know that a lot of things that aren’t supposed to exist - such as the flaming clouds - as well as living beings who aren’t quite right have showed up in the past days. I’m talking inanimate objects gone animate, talking animals, humans that look like zombies, and all sorts of other shit I’m not going to go through in detail. It’d take too much time. You’ll be briefed in more detail when you get down here, but unless you have some reason to reject it, you’re going to be on the team making the trip to the epicenter. Understood? As soon as we can check things out on the ground, we’ll have a much better idea of what to do to end these problems,” Ace said. “I’ll see you at the office, Mari. Oh, and you can wear the black dress today. Might as well look good right now, plenty of important eyes at the office today.”

The call ended there and Mari was left to contemplate the new mission. Well, she would get more fame out of it if things went well, at least. Not many people could say they were the ones who were getting sent in to handle something like this, which had never been seen before. She could just imagine all the interviews and magazine covers and deals she would get because of doing something no one else had done. But… She had to survive before she could profit off of any fame gained from going there, and looking back at the screen, she felt a sinking feeling in her stomach.

If they didn’t understand what was going on right now, what was to say they understood all the threats? The last thing she wanted was to be killed by some sudden anomalous sensation which violated the laws of physics entirely. Still, it had been an order, right? And she didn’t disobey orders. Not when she wanted to stay in this job and continue benefiting off of the one thing that she was good at doing for herself and not relying on her parents for. Hero work was who she was. If she didn’t accept things like this… She wouldn’t be her.

And so, she went through the rest of her morning routine preparing herself mentally to jump feet first into hell.



The briefing had been pretty quick and simple. Ace had run through things with Mari and shown her a map of the situation, one that had been updated plenty of times over the hours each time something changed within the place they were calling the anomalous zone. They would come up with an official name for it later on, but it was supposedly somewhere between Oxford, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee. They hadn’t figured out the exact size of the thing just yet, especially as it was hard to tell where the real sightings were coming from at times, but the reports so far had given them a general sense of the area.

And Case Grey, it wasn’t an American operation or a Canadian operation but an international one. The Hero League was involved, the governments were involved, and the BMC was involved, all to get to the bottom of just what was going on… Apparently, there was some kind of epicenter where the events were radiating away from, and no one had managed to survive coming too close to it. A large part of inner Mmephis had just been wiped out in the snap of a pair of fingers, apparently. One moment, everything had been fine and life had been continuing as usual. The next moment, the city was facing one of its largest losses of lives as part of the city center was suddenly obliterated, replaced by a pillar of light which could be seen from miles away according to testimony from those who were there.

She remembered seeing it on the news. It stretched up into the sky, beyond where her eye could see, and it was giant in diameter. Once again, it looked like it was something out of a science fiction movie rather than something out of real life, but as far as she knew, this was no alien spacecraft or something along those lines. This was the ‘epicenter’, the thing they talked about as being the largest and possibly the most dangerous of the ‘anomalies’ that were appearing. And as for the rest of the anomalies, she had been briefed on some of them and told that generally, they were impossible to predict but all of them were things that had either been created or changed by the power of the epicenter - whatever that power actually was. It didn’t seem like it was made from any known kind of energy.

Case Grey, she was told, was supposed to get to the epicenter before anyone else could, and unlike the others who had tried, they were supposed to survive and either put an end to things or send back a report so they could help the Hero League in their work with trying to figure out a solution. Everyone here, whether they were government or a superhero, had some interest in preventing this from spreading further. It wasn’t that often that heroes worked together directly with organizations like the BMC, but this time, the threat was definitely large enough to justify it.

“Remember, everything that we’re working on here is also confidential for now. The public isn’t going to be happy to find out the full scale of what’s going on in there, and hopefully, we can deal with it before it becomes a big problem. The news cycle moves on quickly, but only if we end the source of the headlines quickly. If we don’t want a panic across the southern US, and in turn one across the country as the word spreads and more people see what this is about, we need to take down whatever is in that epicenter. You might be one of the best ones to do it,” said Ace, giving Mari a thumbs up as she stood in the doorway, prepared to head out. “Now, I believe at the runway, there’s already a transport fueled up and waiting for you. Supersonic. You’ll be there in no time, where you’ll meet up with the rest of the group in Knoxville before heading in. Good luck, Mari.”

“For the first time in my life, I think I might need it,” she admitted, turning and heading off to find her flight. There was a chance she would die here, yes… But that wasn’t enough to stop her. Especially when there was a chance for her to profit and gain far more than what she could possibly lose because of accepting this job.
Last edited by Forest State on Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
e d g e l o r d
I'm the bad guy... Duh.

For: America, Tea Party, Not Stepping On Snek, Anime
Anti: Catgirls, EU, Wehrabooism/Prussiabooism

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The Cross and Davids Star
Diplomat
 
Posts: 622
Founded: Mar 01, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Cross and Davids Star » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:39 pm

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TEAM AEGIS - INT3RR0GATI0N.ISO

DATE // JUNE 16TH, 2025
LOCATION // TEAM AEGIS HQ COMPOUND, THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY
CAST // NEV 'DREADNOUGHT' HURN AND DUTCH 'MAGNUM' WHEELER

Collaborative post between The Cross and Davids Star, Aunt Carol, and Forest State
__________________________________

About two days following the battle in Brooklyn between Aegis and the androids, which had been hijacked by... Someone, - the investigation was still pending - there was a chance for the Hero League to get some more clues. In this case the clues were related to the man that was at the head of the company whose building had been used to transmit the signals to the hijacked androids. Whether or not the Nemain Electronics Company was truly guilty or not remained to be seen, and part of what would determine that was the answers of the suspect that had been brought from NYPD custody to the Hero League for questioning.

The suspect, Randy MacEntire, was waiting in a decent sized room within the Aegis headquarters compound, for two heroes to show up and do their own questioning after extensive interviews had already been conducted by the NYPD. There would be FBI and BMC officials coming in during the coming days to ask their own questions, but for now, the heroes had their turn. And as they would have limited time, it was a good idea for them not to squander it.

"The suspect will be in this room," said one of the Aegis aides, gesturing down the hallway to a door on the right side. "Good luck... And remember, it will be a bit before we can speak to him again after this. Make your questions smart ones."

The first of the two interrogators... hardly appeared human. Sure, it had the shape of one but hardly any other characteristics. A red visor was where the eyes should have been, and tubing ran everywhere across the body. Whatever it was it did not seem natural at all, but in truth, there was a human. One Nev Hurn, a new hero for Team Aegis, who brought in some new corporate support along with him. But no one really knew who he really looked like aside from the higher ups, and certainly not this Randy MacEntire.

“Any information on him that we ought to know before we begin?” A droning robotic voice came from him, and it would certainly seem intimidating along with his dehumanizing appearance. But he decided to save the intimidation tactics for the suspect, no need to waste it when the aide was helping him out.

"Just remember that the details of the situation aren't clear at the moment. It's easy to jump to assumptions but the fact of the matter is that we're still having trouble figuring out just what happened in Brooklyn and how the problems with the androids started. So, you should use this time to try to establish a clear picture of where things went wrong. Understood? Don't come in thinking you know everything, and be prepared to... Gain a better understanding of another side of the story," the aide said. "We need as many sides as possible for us to get to the bottom of this. At least that's what the higher ups told me."

“Understood. I hope he will not be resistant and waste our time, this information seems rather important to have as we face this sort of threat.” Nev replied, going down the hallway to where the suspect was. He was hoping things would go smoothly, but he was going to prepare himself in the event it doesn’t.

Dutch, silent during the previous conversation, followed Hurn to the interrogation room. The contrast between the two was day-and-night: not a single visor or tube was seen on her. In other words, she was as organic. Cowboy organic. A cotton shirt, brim hat, rugged trouser, and leather boots were her distinctive attire. Supposedly the *good cop* to the cyborg’s *bad cop*, her face told a different story. Rage does not subside easily in her; the embers of the raging fire still remained.

“Gitty-up, partner. He’s all yours to start with.” Dutch said to Hurn before her voice lowered to a whisper. ”Give him blazes.”

He wasn’t going to ‘give him blazes’ as Dutch had said, if anything he was going to let their suspect explain his side of the story in detail. He needed to keep a level head for this, he needs to be encouraging with the suspect to tell him, through persuasion or... other means.

Nev opened the door and entered the room, his visor aglow in the shadows where the light did not reach. With a mechanical pace, he walked to the table, and took a seat.

“Randy MacEntire, do you know why you’re here?”

"Already answered a bunch of questions like that for the NYPD and the feds, didn't know I would have to answer it here, too," the tired looking CEO stated when the two heroes entered the room, which itself was well lit but was somewhat empty, with not much else other than a couple of couches and the table in the middle which MacEntire was seated behind. "I believe you already are very familiar with the reasons why we're having this meeting right now."

“I am, though I must apologize for occupying your time, you must already have little spare time with this... incident.” Nev said, looking at the man.

“I am not here to ask questions, all that I am here for is to ask for your side of the story. What happened on your end?”

“Must be tired from all the publicity,” Dutch commented to MacEntire as she made herself comfortable on a couch. “I feel you. My partner’s the same. We’re heroes after all.” A haggard chuckle leaves her lips to highlight the point. “He doesn’t bite. If you answer his questions that is.”

"Right, then," said MacEntire with a sigh, before going into the explanation about what had happened. "I can't necessarily tell you what happened because we don't fully know on our end what happened. As far as I'm concerned, the NEC didn't have our hands in this... At all. It was a regular day out at the office and suddenly, we have cops and BMC people coming to kick the door down and telling us something about our servers. But ask anyone that was actually working on that day... And they'll tell you that everyone was going about business as usual. This happening was rather, let's say, surprising and unexpected. Which is why it's hard to give more answers on what happened. That's what all of us want to know."

“You mean to tell us you received no problems with the androids in question prior to the attack?” Nev asked, he wasn’t really convinced about the truth of it all.

"They aren't even our androids in the first place. My company is involved in AI, yes, but not the field of androids and robotics. They were produced by Clover - and announced by Clover not long before the incident happened, right here in New York City. You can look into the records and we haven't even come into contact with these androids before, focusing on other projects such as our mobile phone parts manufacturing business and our AI research as well as our weapon designs. What did happen, however, was signals being transmitted from our facility which, apparently from what I can see and have heard, were able to seize control of the Clover androids and cause the events that happened."

“Your AI research would have to involve some intense coding skill. Was there anyone documented leaving the building anytime close to the attack’s occurrence?”

“Any theories that absolves you and your company?” Dutch asks with a hint of interest. Oh, the hate was still there but mama raised a truthseeker. No matter her bias, something wasn’t right with the picture in her mind. “If you didn’t do it, it was ary a rouge agent in your company *or* a rather clever ploy to misdirect our attention by someone.”

"Wasn't our code and if you compare whatever you recovered from the attacks and you look at the code that runs on anything we produce, you can see that we don't have any programmers that use that specific style or that use that level of complexity. I don't know about forming theories about something like this," MacEntire continued. "As far as I'm concerned, it should be on the prosecutors to prove my company was involved in this... Not on us to defend ourselves following what was a normal day at the office until everything went to shit."

“Well, this is certainly a mystery in of itself. My theory is that someone, through whatever means, was able to gain access to your communication network. That said, how secure was it?”

"It was as secure as one would expect from a decent sized company but, as I said, the code that was used is, from what I know, fairly advanced. Not the kind of thing we work with, at least in terms of style. I wouldn't be surprised if some third party was involved here."

”Given your previous statements, would I be wrong in sayin' you had no previous dealings with Clover?”

"Not much in the form of dealings with them one way or the other," shrugged MacEntire. "We're involved in the same fields at times but we have a decent amount of separation between us. As I've said, our company has only done AI when it comes to things like this, while Clover is putting a lot of money into the more specific field of robotics."

“If this is the case, then we may have a huge problem.” Nev, despite looking the same, seemed much more serious now. “This may be the work of a technologically empowered metahuman, and if so, we will have to launch an investigation to whether or not they were present in the building or if we can track them through the signal they broadcasted...”

"If you have someone that can break the code, that would help both of us. Shows that NEC wasn't involved and you find your culprit and a lead to follow up on. Although, while I'm sure breaking the code would provide a number of leads, it's easier said than done. As I was saying, we might work on things like this full time and for the brief period we were shown the code pulled from the computer systems, it wasn't even anything we could... Well, wasn't even anything we could understand at all unfortunately."

“We have personnel meant for this kind of thing, sir. Though we would appreciate you supplying as many examples of this foreign code as possible to us, and we will likely collaborate with the US Cyber Command.”

"I don't exactly have access to the evidence right now," MacEntire said with another shrug. "I guess if you want that, you'll have to talk to the NYPD, the FBI, or look in your own stores... I was only shown it rather briefly during the last round of questioning, when they brought out some of the things they recovered from the site of the attacks."

“If that's what we must do, then it shall be done. Thank you for your time and input, and again, I apologize for occupying your time.” Nev stood up, signaling to Dutch that it was time to go, and promptly left.

Dutch shrugged and lifted herself from the couch to leave. “For your sake, I hope you’re tellin' the truth,” she said walking out the door.
Last edited by The Cross and Davids Star on Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Durmatagno
Negotiator
 
Posts: 7028
Founded: Oct 10, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:27 pm

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    POTOSI, BOLIVIAN ROUGE - SOUTH OF SUCRE
    The 4th Experimental Unit & Sage Shields
    June 14th, 2025

The group ended up a couple of streets over from the place where they were raiding. Well, it was the place Sage was raiding. The others would move into position once Sage was on the inside. Soon enough, they would be wrapped up in an intense battle as they had to bail Sage out and let her escape, but for now, things were calm. And Kodiak came back with the body of the person that she had lured away. She hadn't given all the details of how her lure had work, but apparently it had involved a spoofed call informing the officer that he needed to return home for some kind of family emergency. From there, Kodiak had been able to get him alone, and it didn't look like there was any kind of immediately visible damage. Maybe she had used a subtle method of killing.

"Alright, this is who you're going to be impersonating," she said, dropping the body in the alleyway in front of Sage and turning fully visible once again. "Work quickly, we don't want the others to notice that this guy is gone. Head in first, say something about being mistaken about the phone call you received, and get the task done... We'll be behind you shortly to cover you. And I'll be the closest one watching your back in the immediate vicinity. But I can't do much from outside, so don't spend too long in there."

Sage crouched over the body, taking in details as her body rippled and morphed, skin, eye, hair, the whole lot shifting to match the man. She'd gotten the height close, just a little shorter, nothing the boots wouldn't fix. As she worked, she stripped him of his clothes, she'd need the uniform after all, and checked. As he, now, crouched over the form he was taking, he eyed the weapon the guard was carrying and visibly sighed. Not his style, small, low power. Nothing to exciting, and he didn't know how good it'd be at killing the target. He'd need to pump a few extra rounds into him just to be sure. As he stripped to begin getting dressed, the last vestiges of his femininity were fading. He folded his old clothes and sat them to the side, where the others could bring them along, ands started getting dressed, careful to store items in the same places the man beneath him had. Final step, just to make sure their were no hitches. Turning to Kodiak, he went through a range of voices, as he'd never heard the man speak, until he could get it right.

"Just let me know when it's close enough to pass alright?"

"The accent's not that different from the local one around here, not sure if you'll be able to get it perfect but at the very worst you can keep moving quickly without saying more than a few words. They aren't really going to question you much around here. It's the reason why we picked someone as the target that's... High ranking within the guard structure," explained Kodiak, before holding up a hand towards Sage. "Alright, I think that's it."

"Let's get moving," Bea said, gesturing towards the end of the alleyway. "Longer we stay around, more problems there will be. Kodiak, follow her closely and watch her back the best you can."

"If she's indoors, I can't do shit..."

"The fight's not going to stay indoors forever. Team, move out."

Sage closed his eyes and took one final deep breath before standing, stretching, and walking as if absolutely nothing was wrong. She added an air of authority, though tried to keep it from being to smug, or egotistic. This body wasn't exactly one he would typically use, but it was just for a quick get in, shoot someone, and bolt mission. He wouldn't have to wear it for long. At least Sage was good with Spanish, made this possible at all. Without it he could never pass, unless he was trying to pass as having lost his voice entirely for some mysterious reason. Still the weapon at his disposal for this was disappointing, to the point where he might just be better off with a conjured knife, or his own hands.

"Hopefully they don't get to many hits on me before I can get outside, I'd like to avoid using my armor till we have no choice, leave them guessing as to what we can do."

With that, Sage shut his mouth firmly and moved out. There would be no more planning, just doing. Time for his first actual part of the mission with these guys, he was interested to see how they did. He knew at least some of them were going to be watching his own performance as well.

The others were quick to move behind Sage. Kodiak was the closest one and the most direct support because her ability allowed her to move around with a good level of stealth, but she wasn't completely invisible. If she was, she would probably be the one handling this rather than Sage. Minerva and Bea were headed to a nearby rooftop, and Aqua and Larissa were setting up on a rooftop next to them - Tali hated to have to support Sage, but the unique nature of her powers meant that she was stuck behind Kodiak, waiting to use her power more directly in case something kicked off. She was quite good at disrupting things when that did happen, and buying time for her allies.

"This is it... Time to move in," Bea said over the radio channel, giving a thumbs up from the rooftop at risk of exposing herself. But there were't any guards outside at the moment. This place wasn't really high security, per say. Maybe for Bolivia, but not for the rest of the world. The Bolivian Rouge spent a ton of money modernizing their military, but not modernizing all aspects of their country properly. "Stay focused and you'll do fine. They don't stand a chance with us camped out around you."

She sounded like she really believed her own words, but then again, positive was the kind of person that she was. Moreso than many of the others in a unit such as this. "Just a few minutes, and we'll be out of here and on our way tot he next town. Which also means shopping afterwards," she added, giving a bit of a motivation to Sage to get the job done.

Sage rolled his eyes at the last comment. Not out of annoyance so much as he could sighed or laugh at at, not right now anyway. He moved forward, acting exactly like he belonged here, and he was supposed to be here. Which in fairness, he was, just not for the reason the rest of the guards would want. He'd left the safety on his pistol off, one less thing to worry about when the time came. He moved steadily, but made sure not to look like he was in any kind of rush, looking for his target. Humberto would not last long if Sage had any say, he was tempted to hum or whistle to himself, but he had no clue of his meatsuit did that, so to keep things safe, he just moved quietly. He stopped at one point just to adjust the uniform a bit, before continuing onward. He wasn't going to say or do anything to the best of his abilities to risk his cover here. Once he found Humberto all hell would break loose. No need to risk it happening before then.

There were two guards outside of the main room that Sage was looking for, the one that had an office where they would find their man, the main logistics man within the Bolivian Rouge. They could deal a big blow taking him out, but it would start an immediate fight with the men standing just outside the door, wearing finely pressed ceremonial uniforms that reflected the communist ideology of the government, the hammer and sickle emblazoned on their hats in the middle of the red star - a famous Soviet symbol that had been co-opted by the upstart Bolivians. Both of them, though, were armed despite their more ceremonial uniforms, Type 56 rifles on their backs as they stood on either side of the door, standing guard but ignoring Sage. After all, Sage looked like he belonged there right now, and the leader of the guard compliment heading into the office of the one they were protecting wasn't at all a strange sight.

Sage moved forward as if he was going to enter the room, before both hands whipped out, using his enhanced strength to his advantage as two black, crystalline daggers plunged into the skulls of the guards before him, using that same strength to keep them from collapsing loudly, lowering them quietly to the ground. Crouching down she picked up the Type 56 rifle from one of them, and after checking to make sure it had ammo loaded, flicked the safety off. Opening the door inside, he took one look at her target, raised the rifle, firing off a pair of bursts that trailed up the target, putting rounds in his gut, chest, and head. He knew that things would kick off now, so he moved around behind the desk, and shoved it to block the door, before turning and smashing the window, moving outside. Finally he crackled onto the radio.

"Target down, things are now hot."

The atmosphere around the previously calm building changed completely when gunshots were heard, especially when more gunshots shattered the front windows and obscured where the sudden burst of violence was coming from. They didn't seem to realize that the attack had come from the office in the back, targeted towards the main person they were here to protect. No, the fifteen or so guards that mobilized on the two floors of the villa went towards the front windows where six of them were quickly gunned down by the experienced shooters from the rooftops, the intensity of the situation kicking up despite things being oddly quiet for Sage. For now, they hadn't realized her crime. And she was free to leave through the back window without their attention.

"Start moving towards the extraction point we talked about," Bea informed over radio as the others fired around her, the sound of the gunshots audible on the channel. "We'll hold em off for a little bit and join you down there soon. Might be a hot extraction, but it's what we planned for. I believe Kodiak is following closely behind you, she can drive."

Sage gladly left without engaging further, bringing the rifle with him just in case. The knives were gone, those were damming, and by the time they discovered their boss was dead, and his door guards had been taken out quietly, it would be to late. He didn't respond, now that the guards were on alert they might find it suspicious if he did. Instead he sprinted quickly towards the extraction point. Once there he turned and readied his gun, ready to shoot any non-Kodiak pursuers just in case they showed up. Once Kodiak was revealed and in the drivers seat then he would climb in, but for now he was muscle. With his muscle came the need to cover Kodiak on the off chance someone had seen them.

The SUV they were using to get out of here was already on the site by the time Kodiak showed up along with Sage, quickly opening the door and seeing that the keys had been left in the ignition. She started the SUV up and pulled backwards as soon as Sage was inside, turning around and heading back towards the villa. "We're picking the others up from the side and hoping the lack of windows around that end of the building makes it harder to follow us," she explained, pulling into the correct position after only a couple of minutes and stepping out of the car with her rifle in hand, open firing on the soldiers that were shooting down on them from the balcony.

She took them out expertly one by one, as the others moved to climb into the SUV quickly. One guard flew backwards, body thrown back by the high caliber of the SCAR that Kodiak was using. She shifted her body out of instinct to the next man and pulled the trigger without even thinking, the death meaning absolutely nothing to her as the second bullet impacted and the third traveled through the air at the same time while it did, eventually burying itself in the forehead of the third out of the four guards on the balcony. She didn't take a shot at the fourth one, she simply climbed back into the SUV as bullets hit the side of it, now that everyone was inside, and she floored the gas, taking off and taking advantage of the fact that the guards would have to spend time getting all the way around the villa to the parking lot if they wanted to follow.

"How's that for a first mission?" she asked Sage, raising an eyebrow as she drove, a couple more bullets impacting the SUV but nothing major happening other than that. "We'll be out of this vehicle as soon as we lose them, from there... We work on getting to La Paz while they spend a couple days talking with the Politburo about what to do about this crisis."

With everyone in the van, and the target dead, Sage could switch out of this meat suit. He quickly turned back to the face he had worn before the mission, and quickly went back to being she. As her hair continued to shift back into place, she tucked the Type 56 down into the floorboards where it would be harder to see, though she could still pull it up quick if it was needed.

"Nice and easy first target. Probably could have taken him silently, but everything went off without any kind of hitch so it doesn't matter much. Probably ditch this rifle, as it has the old guard captains fingerprints on it. They'll know that the people from the airport skirmish were involved, but it also now looks like they have people inside the country working with them."

Sage looked down and frowned at her clothes. Once they ditched the SUV she'd need to switch back, make sure no one got the wrong idea, but for now it was fine.

"And they're going to be in chaos in there, as they'll soon find out their boss is dead, and captain is missing. Don't know if they'll follow us at all."

Sage scratched her head as her chest finally settled back into what she had it, soon she'd be back in the comfortable local like face she'd been using. As her voice returned to normal she smiled and stretched a little.

"Wasn't out of it for long, but it feels nice to be back in something more comfortable. Don't think I've ever had a hit go off that easy, though most of my targets in the Middle East were quicker to react and had more experienced guards."
Last edited by Durmatagno on Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

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Valefontaine
Envoy
 
Posts: 314
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:32 am

__________________________________

Collaborative post between Forest State and Valefontaine

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S 1 E P 1 - 0LD_T0WN_R0ADS_P2.MKV

DATE // JUNE 28TH, 2025
LOCATION // KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE
CAST // LANDRY PARKER, DINA VASINA, SIDNEY EMMETT KNOX

__________________________________

“So you say your judgement is good on this one.”

The statement came from Dina Vasina, who herself was a decent judge of character and experience - at least when it came to things like this. Jobs which required skills in various areas ranging from shooting to teamwork. She was military through and through, she’d never done anything else. Since the age of eighteen she had fought in theaters from Chechnya to Crimea, and had experienced plenty of the new kind of warfare. The kind that was fought between desperate rebel groups and nations, rather than two proud armies with fancy equipment and a nation’s worth of backing behind them. If there was anyone good at judging the character of recruits for an organization that was… Suspiciously like a private military company, it would be Dina.

However, she had deferred to her ‘second in command’ in this instance because of the insistence of that second in command on one person in particular. Landry had gotten to know her well when they met following the latter’s exit from the Hero League academy in California, and for once, Dina put trust in her to make the call. Landry believed that she wasn’t going to regret making that decision.

“She’s flying all the way out here to work with us, she’s dedicated at least. I wasn’t sure if she was going to say yes but I had to at least give her a call before starting something like this. I said back when we left the academy, after all, that I’d call her if I got up to anything,” Landry said with a shrug. “You did well with one academy reject, might as well put some faith in another one working out.”

“You seem to have a tendency to pick up hero rejects,” said Jessamyn Roux, exhaling smoke from a lit joint after speaking. She was sitting on the hood of Dina’s car - some eastern design that wasn’t anything special in terms of looks but wasn’t in a state of disrepair either - and waiting with the others in the parking lot of the hotel for their new arrival, who was supposed to show up any minute now. From there, they’d be able to head out and look for supplies. They had the main things they needed. But there was still a thing or two to pick up before they were ready to depart for Nashville, the first place on their list of destinations for this ‘road trip’.

And it was true. Jessamyn herself was a hero reject. Both parents were well known heroes, but she was less well known, as she was the one that hadn’t lived up to expectations unlike her sister, who had been willing to go further to make Nathanael and Svetlana Roux proud. “Guess I don’t care much about the new girl. Long as she doesn’t intrude on my space.”

“Not everyone wants to intrude in your space, Jessamyn,” said another thick Slavic accent, belonging to the ‘tech guy’ Nemanja Petrovic. One of Dina’s friends that had helped her in Crimea, Petrovic was a different kind of Slav - a Serb rather than a Russian. In a way, this was a Slavic group at its core. Despite the French surname, Jessamyn herself had Yugoslavian ancestry. She had grown up in Canada, yes, in southern Ontario specifically, but her mother had lived in the former Yugoslavia and had begun her hero career there. Oh how things had changed since then. These days, it was Jessamyn that connected more with her Slavic side - the girl preferred hanging out around the Serbian parts of Toronto to doing the hero work her parents expected of her.

“Yes but,” she started, exhaling again. “If she does, she can catch my hands. Just saying.”

“Just ignore her, it’s Jess being Jess,” shrugged Landry, watching in the distance and waiting for her friend to show up any minute now like she had been told. Hopefully, the introduction between her and the others went well.

Not far down the road, a rather unassuming car was approaching, presumably a taxi — and within a few seconds someone had stepped out — the new arrival in question. Black jacket, olive drab coat, white t-shirt and black suit pants complemented her fair skin and long, flowing brown hair. Judging by the case slung over her back, her weapons were stowed inside. The taxi soon took its leave, allowing the young woman to introduce herself.

"I apologize for the lateness beforehand. Sidney Knox." She introduced herself, approaching the group. These people would be her comrades and more importantly coworkers into the Zone — and that would be important.

“Zdravo,” Jessamyn said. The greeting in this case wasn’t in English but in Serbian - to which Landry rolled her eyes as she went over to greet her friend once again.

“That’s Jess,” she said, pointing over her shoulder at the smoking girl. “First thing you need to know about her is you can ignore her half the time, second thing you need to know about her is that she’s a Yugoslavia LARPer. Consider those two things and talking to her will make a lot more sense.”

She paused, moving to hug Sidney - she had definitely missed her during the time she had been gone. “But anyway, it’s good to see you again… Hopefully this is something more interesting for you than that academy was.”

"Sure sounds interesting enough. Already got the gear on me..." Sidney nodded — she probably knew enough to run guesswork that Jess was speaking Serbian. "Right, so what's the QR on the sitch?"

“We’re headed to pick up a few things. Body armor, stuff to eat and drink since we generally want to avoid running into looters if we get to the abandoned areas, and then staying here one more night before we head out. Government is imposing an exclusion zone on the Memphis area on the 30th. Almost like back in the day when the Soviets locked everyone out of Pripyat,” Dina explained. “We want to get in before that happens… As the zone could extend as far as Nashville, and it’s going to be a lot harder if we have to get past National Guard guys to get in.”

Either Sidney had a 'quirk' for these things or had traveled enough to know — raising an eyebrow at the mention of the Zone's expansion. "Cuts right through the I-40, one of the biggest highways in the goddamn country... there'll be a shitstorm I'm sure. —anyway, I'm down. Lead the way, boss." She nodded, interrupting her own brief tangent.

“Shitstorm ain’t the half of it,” said Landry, climbing into the passenger seat next to Dina while Jessamyn and Nemanja climbed in the back, one seat left for Sidney — to which she promptly hopped onboard. They pulled out of the hotel parking lot and started towards the first on the list of places that they had to be at. This was a gun store, but they weren’t headed there for guns - they were looking for extra protection in case they ran into trouble. Last thing anyone wanted was getting in a gunfight when law and order broke down, and dying of something that could have been prevented.

“You have any body armor already, Sid?” Landry asked curiously as they entered the parking lot.

"Flew outta CA, chartered flight... hell nah. They'd think I was about to shoot some place up— just purchased an AR-15 and all. Did keep that in mind tho, I've got a good amount of money on me...cash, no credit cards... don't want those glow in the dark Feds to think I'm up to somethin' funny..." replied Sidney, her vague paranoia of government apparent in the various measures she'd taken beforehand.

“You’re hanging out with us so I’m pretty sure they’re watching in some way already,” Jessamyn said with a chuckle. “One Serb and one Russian who fought in the ‘illegal annexation’ of Crimea, and uh… There’s me, wouldn’t be surprised if my parents told someone to keep an eye on me. And Landry, with her strange as fuck power.”

Landry just chuckled and opened the passenger side door, climbing out. “Don’t buy into what you hear on the deep side of YouTube.”

Sidney followed, chuckling to herself — she wasn't about to get started on how the big corporations that ran the 'Internet of Things' were cracking down on free thought, shutting down YouTube channels for that kind of stuff — even if she did find a lot of conspiracy theories delusional, what was going on did make her think... but that was beyond the point. Following behind, Sidney kept quiet about her own power as the group made for the store in question[.

They went inside the store and it was easy to see how far tech had progressed during the past decade or so. No longer were ballistic guns the only options. There were displays set up to show the new laser rifles which were being produced by a few different companies - one of the newer St. Eden models was on display prominently, not far from one of the ones produced by Lockheed. More and more companies had jumped on the new tech, and it was easy to wonder where the future of warfare was going. With metahumans in the ranks of the development teams of various nations, inventions that would have taken 30 years to complete in the past could now be created and sent into the field within decades.

“Those are out of our price range, but damn I’d like to try one at some point,” Landry said, pointing out the laser displays as she kept moving and went towards the wall that displayed body armor - which was also plenty advanced these days. If one wanted, they could splurge and put down the cash to get armor that looked like it was straight out of a Call of Duty game. Not one of the realistic ones, but one of the ones set in the far future or in outer space. It made her wonder just how much of it was effective and how much was for show. The weapons on display were enough to leave Sidney in childlike awe as she followed, looking about.

"..just need something to protect what matters, I guess." said Sidney, browsing about the various helmets — then glancing down herself before looking through the various sets of body armor on display.

“You sure some of these are going to fit you, being a bit uh… Top heavy?” Landry asked with a smirk on her face, as she also compared the different sets that were available to buy. The main options were the basic stuff that didn’t look out of place, but on the other end of the price scale, there was the more futuristic stuff. However, the latter was meant to be used as a set and they didn’t have the funds to get a good set, meaning they would be better off with something like kevlar rather than adding extra weight just for the same of having the heavy but ineffective cheaper semi powered armor models.

"I'm— uh, yeah, I'm sure." The comment had mildly caught Sidney off guard, though she'd managed a stifled laugh. One of the body armor sets, graphene sufficient to cover the torso region and protect its wearer aptly, along with a simple combat helmet, had seemingly struck her fancy, Sidney's attention set on the two items in question. "..I think these'll do. For me, at least. Too much shit's just tacticool juggernaut LARP we can't afford... always those types who die first, anyway."

“I already have something,” Dina said, and Nemanja also nodded. Of course they did, they were the veterans around here. Landry and Jessamyn still needed something, and they looked around slightly more before Landry settled for a thin graphene vest that she could put on underneath regular clothes. Eventually, Jess picked something similar, and they moved to pay.

Dina was complaining about the prices as soon as they finished with checking out. Well, it made some sense as she was the one paying for it all, and while graphene wasn’t as expensive as some of the options, it was also more than the basic kevlar. Hopefully, the durability of it would make up for the cost. “Right, there’s a couple other stops to make. We can either keep going and look for some of the other things we need, like water and food to bring with us, or we can look for something to eat first,” Dina stated, as they stepped outside and moved back towards the car.

"Either or, works for me." nodded Sidney, stepping out with her new purchases in question — she'd at least want to load it onboard the vehicle first.

“I can give your friend something to eat,” Jess blurted out to Landry, causing the latter to elbow her for the innuendo. She just chuckled slightly, entering a slight wrestling match with Jess before subtly activating her power - a black tendril shooting out from around her ankle and tripping up Jess, causing her to catch herself by grabbing onto the car as the tendril disappeared before Jess was able to see it.

“Oh yeah, third thing to know about Jess… She’s the most hedonistic person around here, fortunately you can apply the first rule of Jess when it comes to that also,” Landry said, standing straight as Jess balanced herself.

This'd made Sidney chuckle, though her exact preferences were ambiguous to the rest of the group. "Right, right. No problem with that—"

“You’d be too, Landry, if you went through what I went through,” Jess said once she was standing straight, moving and grabbing Landry by the collar as if she had been legitimately pissed off by the remark. At which point Dina put herself between the two of them, grabbing Jess by her own collar and putting her against the side of the car.

“Don’t start with this shit,” Dina told her, which seemed to end the argument… Although it left some of the underlying tension from the altercation unresolved, as Dina climbed back into the front seat and Landry paused for a moment before getting back in. Sidney kept quiet as she packed away her gear in the back and climbed back aboard the vehicle, evidently not inclined on causing any more tension in an already awkwardly tense atmosphere.

“Guess I misread that situation,” was all Landry said, as Dina seemingly decided they were going to go in search of something to eat. They drove for about… Five or so minutes at which point they came to a street that had some fast food chains located there.

“McDonalds should be fine. In the Soviet days, this would be luxury food, you know,” Dina stated, which in reality was a subtle jab at Jess - as if she was saying that she didn’t have the right to complain about anything when her parents were worth far more than everyone else in the car combined, and because she was here by choice rather than circumstance like some of them. She pulled into the parking lot, stepping out. “Not going through the drive-through and arguing with the person at the counter because they can’t understand my accent.”

Hesitantly Sidney followed the others in, keeping quiet — she'd probably ask for something simple and leave it at that, simplicity being an almost impromptu motto in that regard. The group went inside and most of them followed after Sidney in not ordering anything extravagant- those of them who were familiar with this PMC work were used to getting by on what was available rather than what was the best tasting. Landry herself ended up ordering a burger that cost a couple of dollars, before the group moved to sit down by one of the window tables.

“Apparently,” started Nemanja, finally bringing them to another subject after the awkward encounter from before, “There’s been reports of the outer areas of the Zone, as they’re calling it, expanding. Supposedly there were some mutant animals or something not far from here in Knoxville.”

She'd raised this point by the time Sidney had returned with a simple, plain cheeseburger, fries and McFlurry™ — the mention of anomalous creatures catching her attention. "You mean some kinda mothman type shit?"

Nemanja was looking down at his phone, reading social media to get a better feel for the situation. “Not sure, apparently people saw uh…. Three headed dogs, five winged birds, some kind of… Deer man? There’s a picture but it’s pretty grainy, not sure if it’s authentic or fake or what but we were just on that street not long ago.”

"Deer man?" The prospect seemed pretty unnerving. "Weird ass shit. Whole world's gone mad and I figure we've only seen the start of it..." Sidney held herself back from mentioning how the additional consequences of the I-65 being cut by the next 'expansion' of the Zone, beginning to quickly eat away at her burger. The euphoric look about her said enough about how long she'd gone without some half-decent food — or maybe she was just a sucker for these things.

“The sky in Memphis was literally on fire before, shit’s getting crazy,” said Landry, recalling the scenes that had been on the news. “And in the middle of everything there’s some kind of massive ass beam of light that’s visible from space or some shit. I have the feeling as we get closer to the epicenter, mutants are going to look normal.”

Jess spoke up once again, setting her eyes on Sidney for the first time since the argument from before. Well, if argument was the right word. It had been rather one sided. “I’ll pay you ten bucks to do the tapioca challenge,” she said, putting the cash in the middle of the table with a smirk on her face.

"..uh, where'd this come from?" Sidney raised an eyebrow, confused — she'd just finished her burger and was about to move onto the fries when it'd been mentioned.

“I felt like it and unlike Landry I’m not afraid to just say what I’m thinking,” Jess stated, before going back to eating, as if she was doing so to avoid having to reply when either Landry or Dina said something in reply to her. Although, maybe because of the tension from before, neither one of them said anything in this case.

"Ten bucks.. sure thing." replied Sidney, smirking. Balancing the McFlurry™ on her chest with relative ease, she changed her focus to the dessert of the meal — the fries could wait, probably. "Easy.." she gloated.

“Impressive,” Jess said, the same smirk still on her face as Landry finally smiled - despite the tensions, eyes also on Sidney. She looked like she was going to say something, except Dina and Nemanja were looking at something else in the distance outside the window, that seemed like it was more impressive. At least, enough to take their attention off the table in front of them. Out there by the road where was… Something walking around, but whether it was man or animal was impossible to tell. It looked suspiciously like the thing from the pictures they had just been looking at, with the furry head of a deer but the body of a naked man.

"Huh? Wha—" Turning her attention to the visage just past the window made Sidney almost drop her McFlurry™ — though she narrowly managed to keep it stable. Confusion quickly turned into awe-filled shock. "Sksksksk that's fucking sick!"

The thing outside seemed to be wandering around without a clear goal. It turned its attention towards the building - staring at the building from a distance as Dina stood up like she was prepared for a fight. “Guns are in the trunk,” she informed the others. “In case that thing comes over here looking for a fight. Don’t know if it’s hostile or not but from what I’ve heard a lot of the things created by this Zone are.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t hang around that thing too long-” before Landry could finish what she was saying, the deer headed man started walking towards the general direction of the building, focusing on looking through the windows still. Not the best situation for them to be in at the moment. Landry looked back to Sidney. “You still have that case, right? Anything of use in there?”

"Hold up," Sidney quickly finished her McFlurry™, setting it aside as she opened her case, setting it down on the table. Inside she'd arranged a Glock-17, AR-15 and something else.. a nailgun. "I was wondering when you'd ask about this stuff," continued Sidney, reaching for the nailgun. "...my ability is magnetic in nature," she explained, loading a clip of nails in. "Which means even some civ-grade shit like these nails can fire at dummy fast speeds, just uhh.. see it in action I guess."

Drawing the nailgun and taking aim, Sidney breathed in, aiming at the approaching abomination through the glass. Any semblance of humanity was lost in the creature, with little idea of where exactly 'man' ended and 'deer' began. The hooves of the horrid creature seemed almost vestigial, morbidly protruding from the undeniably human palms of the beast. It was an abomination, a true horror of nature that neither looked nor felt right — and Sidney hesitated little as she hurried to the door of the McDonalds — clearly she didn't want to cause any unwanted property damage, peering to fire at the deer.

Rather than the sound a nailgun should've traditionally carried, there was seemingly a lot more power to the shots, a 'crack' sounding off as she fired away a few shots at the creature. The projectiles in question shot forth with incredible speed, acting practically akin to bullets as they cut through the throat of the monstrous thing, arterial spray forming a puddle on the asphalt of the parking lot as the horror keeled over in the wake of the rather well-trained set of shots.

Exhaling in relief, she lowered her nailgun, walking on back to the table in question — hopefully she hadn't startled onlookers beyond their own group too badly, although the deer had probably done more in that regard. "...holy shit. That was awesome. And, uh, don't worry about security footage or any of that." Managing a chuckle, it dawned upon Sidney that this was one hell of a way to start an adventure...
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

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Durmatagno
Negotiator
 
Posts: 7028
Founded: Oct 10, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:32 pm

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
    BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY
    Team Aegis - New York City Division
    June 14th, 2025

Rosalie tapped her foot as she hummed to herself, quietly thinking about everything. Today was supposed to have been a good day, a great day even. First day at both her new jobs. The Team, Aegis, her new job with NEC. Instead she'd been stuck in traffic, was several hours late, and then she'd had to fight a group of stupid androids. Well she didn't have to, but it was better than just sitting in traffic and waiting. The cab she was in pulled up to her first destination and things got even worse. Officers, tape, the whole fiasco. She got out of the taxi, got the trunk popped to grab her bags, only two, everything else had been flown in, especially her suit. Paying the driver, she sighed, and moved up, looking at the mess. Didn't look like she was getting shown around or introduced to her new coworkers anytime soon. Setting down her bags, she pulled out her phone and began looking for somewhere nearby she could eat at. Something with good pie or ice cream, she needed something sweet to distract herself with. She sighed loudly, scrolling through the listings looking for something she thought sounded good.

"This day just keeps getting better and better."

She talked to herself, bitterly, as she sat down on the bigger of her bags. It was just clothes, nothing important. Nothing she had to worry about, not that she weighed to much. She kept herself in good shape, not entirely on purpose, but she liked to work on things by hand, and shape metal, kept one in good shape. She shoved her phone in her pocket as she chose a burger joint a few blocks away, reviews said it had really good pie. She wouldn't know till she had some, but it was worth a shot.

"Maybe things will get better after lunch. Can't start here, might as well head off to meet the rest of the team elsewhere."

At which point a low to the ground sports car which had received plenty of upgrades pulled up to the front of the NEC building, someone else coming out of it and looking at the yellow tape around the site. The entrance was unfortunately closed off, but the person, a member of the Hero League, stared at it as if contemplating whether to try to enter. She decided against it and turned so Rosalie could see her face: Shayla Rush was her name, and she was mildly recognizable in this area. "Fuck me, aren't you the new employee?" she asked, raising an eyebrow and cursing herself for not immediately recognizing the other girl. "Some day you picked to come here. Like, Jesus Christ, things can really change quickly..."

Rosalie jumped at the voice as she'd somewhat zoned out in her grumpiness. Turning to Shayla, she blinked before realizing what she said. Jumping up to her feet, she nodded and held out her hand.

"Oh! Sorry, was zoned out a bit. Yeah I am, was told to come in earlier but there was this thing with androids, and traffic got backed up, and I had shoot a few of them, and it just made everything much slower. Rosalie. Rosalie Morrigan."

Rosalie smiled semi-genuinely, mostly though she was grumpy and frustrated from her entire day being put on its head. Her bags were still on the ground behind her, though the bigger one now had a big crease from where she'd been sitting. The smaller was just to it's side, and was much cleaner.

Shayla offered her hand, seemingly amused by the fact that the girl was surprised to see her. "Came here to see if they moved the tape but it looks like this place is going to be closed for a good while. Don't even want to think about how much money we're going to lose from this whole thing. I just hope we can get to the bottom of it quickly, I have my theories - Oh, I'm getting a bit off track. Name's Shayla... Rush. I was told that I'm going to be working with you, at the company and at the Hero League," she replied. "You seem talented enough from the report they gave me. Reminds me a little of an earlier me, actually."

"A compliment, not many people give them to me."

Rosalie turned away and grabbed her bags, looking at the map on her phone before turning back.

"So I was going to hit lunch before I headed in to report to the team's HQ, and after that start unpacking. Seeing as you're sort of my boss, want to hit lunch with me? Not much reason to just sit around here waiting for the tape to be taken down."

Rosalie glanced back at the building and sighed.

"Just hope my armor doesn't get wrapped up in all this. It was hard enough to build that in a backyard shed, I don't want to have to do it again."

Shayla pointed to the sports car, pressing a button on a remote to raise the doors, which went upwards instead of outwards. "Yeah, sure. We can ride in here, I don't get enough chances to use this thing really," she said, moving to the driver's seat. "And it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to keep going with my research into this event anytime soon. Just name where you want to go," she said, pulling out her phone to look at a map of the local area of Brooklyn.

"Found this place called Brooklyn's Greasy Spoon a few blocks from here. Reviews said it has amazing pie."

Rosalie packed her bags away and climbed in. She wasn't used to anything this expensive, she mostly used public transportation. Most of her spare money had always gone to one project or another. Including the plasma potato gun, that unfortunately exploded and destroyed her old deans car. Oops. She hoped that hadn't hit her boss' radar. That'd be one awkward story.

"I'd ask what the hell is going on, but seems you don't know much more than I do."

Accelerating quickly, Shayla pulled away from the curb and started towards the place that Rosalie had named. "I was on duty with the Hero League when things kicked off. One moment they were telling us there was some kind of problem with rogue androids, and me and the others flew out to deal with it. Midway through the op they tell us we have to be redirected somewhere else because they found where the signals are coming from, and apparently it was somewhere in the NEC office here."

She sat back as they waited in the infamous NYC traffic, hand moving to her temple in frustration with the situation in general. "I haven't even been to the place in a few days, I still have projects left out that I can't even keep going with since they aren't letting anyone in. I have a personal theory... But meh. I also feel that if I'm right, we're fucked and we aren't going to be able to do much."

"Greeeat. So I finally land a dream job and it may not even last long. Just my luck."

Rosalie sighed and crossed her arms, looking out the window.

"My armor is in there, it's part of why I was accepted to the league at all. Hope no one messes with it to much, she's still a prototype. Don't even have an AI in her yet."

Rosalie pulled out her phone to scroll through her texts. Nothing in a few days. From anyone, even her friends from before she moved up here weren't talking to her anymore. And now it seemed like it all might be for not.

"For whatever it's worth, I hope we aren't fucked, whether you mean NEC, Hero League, New York, or so on. Whatever happened it sounds like someone was trying to sabotage the NEC, and may have succeeded. A big enough company could survive this, but it's going to hurt."

"I'm not saying anything definitively, just saying that this might be a case of someone working in the experimental wing fucking with something they shouldn't have and causing way bigger problems that they didn't forsee coming, problems that we already sort of anticipated and took steps to prevent. But it only takes one or two dumbasses fucking with how things are supposed to be for everything to go to shit," Shayla continued, semi-frustrated, before calming down a bit as she pulled up at the restaurant.

"Might head to one of our satellite offices later today to check that out and look into it more. Actually it's not far from where I grew up, Yonkers," she added, stepping out and opening the door for Rosalie.

"I have no clue where that is. I'm from California, was at MIT for awhile but....things didn't work out."

Rosalie climbed out and looked up at the Greasy Spoon, a little tucked away burger joint that didn't look like it got a ton of traffic, let alone any from sports car drivers. She pushed open and found a clean, older styled diner, with pie on the counter and everything. She chose a booth, so they could have a measure of privacy as they kept talking.

"Was supposed to have been here a few days ago, but a flight got rescheduled and I had to change terminals, and then I was stuck in limbo at the airport for a few days. It was a nightmare."

"Ugh. New York City airports, not sure anyone is that big of a fan of them," said Shayla, stepping inside the diner and looking over the menu. "I guess I'll have whatever you're having, I suppose," she said, looking up with a slight smile. "And it's on me, too. You need something good going your way after these last past few days, and I need to repay you for distracting me from this work."

"That might not be the best idea, the same as me part."

Rosalie smiled slyly before putting in her order.

"One habanero burger, hold the tomatoes, a side of fries, a chocolate shake, and a cherry pie."

She turned to Shayla and grinned. The pie had been the cherry on top, what she had been real excited for was somewhere that had a habanero burger on the menu. Not many places this far north carried them, seemed it was on of this joints specialty items, and it had good reviews in of itself.

"That is unless you think you can handle the burn. Otherwise reviews said they have a good grilled chicken platter."

Rosalie put her phone to the side, she wasn't going to use it here. She just wanted to talk.

"So...."

Starting a conversation was always hard.

"What made you decide on the career path?"

"I'll take the chicken, then. Never been one for super spicy stuff," said Shayla, before turning her attention to Rosalie's latest question. That was... Well, the answer to the question was one that went back quite a long time. Messing with tech and the like wasn't something new for her, she was experienced at it and had been doing it since she was just a kid. Before she even knew what eveyrthing she was messing with was.

"I've always done stuff with tech, this was a way I could do it and have someone else pay me for it while providing me with the parts I need. That, and I won't get arrested like I did the time I sent a rocket into the Hudson river just to prove that I could do it," she said sheepishly, slightly embarrassed at her humble beginnings. "As far as the Hero League and the NEC, they just happened to make the most competitive offers."

"I'm kind of a free spirit, I guess," she added. "I like working for places that will help me with what I'm doing without controlling me too much."

"A rocket? Into the Hudson? Hahahaha. What got me noticed at all was....I blew up my old deans car with a combination of a potato cannon and a jetpack. Looooong story, but I hadn't calibrated the potato cannon right and well.....it exploded."

Rosalie looked down a little sheepishly at the last thing. It had been an accident of course, but her dean had been convinced she had tried to kill him. Even got cops involved, thankfully her own meticulous not taking and videos of testing showed it was an accident, but it was a long annoying process that still ended up in her leaving college..

"Parents weren't happy about that, my mother hasn't even talked to me sense then, and that was over a year ago."

"Sometimes it takes awhile for things to work out with parents. I guess mine are kind of fine with me right now, but they were pissed the fuck off when I dropped out of Georgia Tech because I felt like doing other stuff and didn't like the weather. Pretty sure they assumed I was some kind of deadbeat slacker until NEC gave me a chance and they realized I was going to be working with big companies," shrugged Shayla, chuckling. "And from there, things only picked up. The Hero League approached me after I was already on the design team at NEC."

"They approached me about the same time, once I got my armor working. NEC was about a week ahead of the League, but that's close enough to say they were probably considering it about the same time."

Rosalie looked over at the counter wondering how long their food would take, she was actually kind of hungry.

"But then my mother never wanted me to do any of this, she wanted me to be a quiet trophy wife with a rich husband, was pissed when I brought my first girlfriend home. Even more pissed when I told her I had no intention of just lazing around drinking like her."

"Don't think mine wanted me to do this kind of thing until they realized I can make actual money with it. But like I said, I have no idea what they really think these days. Not always the best with managing relationships and the like, I'm good with people but only... Up to a certain extent," said Shayla. "I'll show you around NEC's satellite office I guess, since you aren't going to get to see the one here for awhile. It's not as impressive, but like I said, I need to check out a few projects there for my investigation into this."

"Sounds fun, be nice to see something while I'm separated from my armor."

Rosalie perked up as the waitress came out...with only the chicken. She slumped back down as Shayla got her food and drink, and she had to keep waiting.

"I'm...not good with people. Every girlfriend, and the two boyfriends I've had made the move with me, and eventually dropped me because I had a hard time telling when, and what to say. I always seemed to say the worst things, or not notice I needed to say anything at all. So I dropped the dating scene two years ago, focused on my work instead. Made some friends, but they haven't talked to me since I headed up here so don't know how much longer I can say that. New city, new friends I guess, if I can make more."

Rosalie laughed a little bitterly at the end, knowing full well she probably would, but had little faith in her ability to keep them..

"You might find some decent friends around the NEC if the office ever opens again, it's a pretty small company in terms of total people. I'm pretty familiar with the CEO in fact, and all the other top designers. Might help to be around like minded people, but hey... It's not always the worst thing in the world to keep to yourself sometimes," Shayla said. "Heavens knows how much time I've spent alone working on stuff, I'm still working on this armor prototype of my own before I send the final version into St. Eden for them to look at putting it into production."

"Mine....well it itself won't ever be made into production. It's tailored very specifically for my....powers, and no one else I've ever heard of could use the majority of the systems because of it. Of course, many other things I put into it I'm testing for actual production models. Like the armor transformation system, and some of my own tweaks to the HUD and the like. Still gotta get an AI for it though, I can use it just fine without one, but it's better to have one."

Rosalie sat up, beaming as her food was finally sat down in front of her. Picking up the burger, she took a good sized bite, relishing the taste even as her cheeks turned red from the heat.

"Oh my god, that is delicious. I didn't realize how much I missed this kind of burger till I took the bite."

"Should try the ES-7 or the ES-8 body armor, you're getting the same stuff that'll eventually be used by some of the biggest organizations around. The Hero League, potentially special forces, that kind of thing. Make something for yourself and you've got to come up with every feature and fix everything for yourself. Rely on something with big funding behind it and you get a lot more support - There's AI integration, the same kind of HUD that the military is looking into, it's electronic warfare capable, and has some EMP resistance due to the backup electronics systems. The ES-8, of course, is the heavier model. More physical protection and all that. Hard to beat it in melee either," Shayla said, getting distracted enough by the conversation that she hadn't touched her food.

"Then again, I'm kind of biased when it comes to this whole thing. That's what I've been working on, my 'M' version of the ES-7 is the prototype version that they're trying out different features. It's with me right now in a way, actually... AI system that I'm using happens to be wired to my watch," she added, slightly embarrassed.

"My suit has most of those features, or at least something with comparable quality. Haven't been able to test the HUD with AI yet, but on paper at least it's comparable. Then I still have the Mk. II and Mk. IIIs, a medium and heavy respectively, to finish designing. The big thing for me is that getting something synced up with my powers requires making it from the ground up, and that means normal models aren't near as efficient for me as an identical production model."

Rosalie ate a couple of fries and chewed quietly as she considered what they were talking about. Swallowing, she took a drink from her shake before continuing.

"I've not messed with much AI anything in general, so I've been a little wary about integrating one finally, especially as it should be made custom like the rest of the armor. Thankfully NEC was supposed to help me with that end of things while I was working on other projects. One of which was supposedly seeing about getting the Folding Armor System to where it can be used in production models. Allowing for more compact storage, or something like that. I wasn't paying to much attention about the business side of things."

"Different schools of design, I suppose. Don't really believe in making things from the ground up because of the reasons I stated but, well... I guess not everyone thinks that. I've seen a lot of others like you, with gear custom fitted for them. It's the superhero school of thought I guess. But that's not the one that I came from, I've worked with the defense industry longer than I've worked with the Hero League," said Shayla, and the conversation continued down that path. They talked about design aspects, different features, technical details... Wasn't surprising, it was one of the things both of them were confident when it came to talking about.

They talked until they finished eating at which point Shayla looked at her phone and stood up, gesturing back towards the door and the street outside. "They want you at the Hero League HQ at some point today to fill out some more stuff. You know, paperwork and all, for joining the team. I have some stuff to work on there, too, being one of the main engineers. But tomorrow I'll take you out to the office in Yonkers and have you meet someone? Just don't come without a gun, it'll put my mind at ease."

"Okay, I have a few guns I could choose from, want me to bring something small or something with some kick?"

Rosalie talked as she stacked their plates, what unfinished food there was on the top plate, and put a twenty dollar tip on the table for the waitress. Was a bit much, but Rosalie didn't have much cash on her and nothing smaller, so it'd work. Probably be nice for the waitress to. Standing, Rosalie stretched and yawned.

"Never liked paperwork much, but you gotta do it to get things down so why not. Probably have to fill some out just to get all my stuff that went to the compound . Anyway, thanks for the lunch. Made my day a little better."
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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