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ORPG Original and detailed RPs for the experienced and ambitious RPer.

 
 
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Old 11/10/2010   #136
Joe
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After Lokka had seen off Kram, he began to gather the scrap metal and broken tech up from the floor. It wasn't much use to any of them as it was, but it wasn't useless. He carefully placed it all into a rucksack he'd found in the Winnebago, not wanting to damage any of the technology that still had functioning parts. He slung the bag over his shoulder and began walking back to the Keris.

We've been here for too long,he thought to himself, knowing full well that the Destrillians did not have the luxury of waiting around. We need to rest as much as possible and head out first thing tomorow. Before he entered the vehicle, he made eye contact with Jettison in the car behind, signalling that they wouldn't be here forever. It was up to the weird humans whether or not they would be following the Destrillians the whole way. They had aided in the escape from Osea and now that Lokka thought about it, they may not have even needed to. The girl's motivations, especially, were hard to understand.


Lokka pushed the thoughts from his mind. He didn't really need an explanation at this point so there was no use assuming. He opened the door to the Keris and walked in.

From what he could tell, most of the Destrillians were on board at that time; the remainder were probably nearby. It seemed most of them had taken the late hour to get some well-deserved rest, and who could really blame them after everything? Lokka sat down next to the sofa and rested his head back. Sleep wasn't always such a bad thing.

By the time he awoke, it was pretty early the next morning. There were still Destrillians in the Keris, most notably Kerr who had barely moved out of the driving seat. The dark-eyed man turned to see Lokka and it seemed clear that they both knew they would need to move on now. The Destrillians had had their breather from everything, and now they needed to jump back into the thick of it. Lokka was aware that he hadn't even conversed with all of his new comrades. The girls Emma, Terra and Thetis were among them. Thetis at this point seemed far too concerned with the injury Fiona had sustained to even hear anybody else right now. Emma and Terra had been huddled together for a while now. Atleast they had each other.

Lokka left the Keris in an attempt to gather up the remaining two members of his group. Unfortunately, when one of those members is Stolz, things become a little more complicated. The white-haired man couldn't help but see the irony in the situation when he found the child chasing butterflies around the campsite.

"Fiendish little devils! I know you're really spies of Francesca Von Heidelberg! I'll make you all talk!"

"Come on kid, we're going."

"Okey dokey, Mr. Barriers!"


Seeing the child wander clumsily into the Keris, Lokka set about looking for the last person. Or atleast he would have, if he hadn't already guessed where she might be. Climbing up on to the top of the vehicle he found Idris lying there, in much the same fashion as she had done before, but it seemed her mood was much for the better now.

"So I guess you actually like it up here huh?" Lokka said, leaning over the girl so their faces were upside down to the other.

Idris stared up at the man with wide, bright eyes. "Well, you know,"she replied, smiling a little.


"I guess I do," he said, smiling back.


"Slept well, I trust?"

"As best I could hope for. Yourself?"

"Oh, well enough,"
she said, blowing in his face to make him move, allowing herself to sit up.

Lokka stood up straight, giving the girl some room. He looked at the metal Destrillian and gestured towards the vehicle interior below them. "Well, we're heading out now. Just thought you might want a seat downstairs for the ride to Villnore."

"Your concern is truly touching," she teased, hopping down lightly from the roof and stepping, a little cautiously it seemed, into the Winnebago.

Lokka climbed off of the van and then into the vehicle. Everyone seemed a lot more up and about now, but what was important was that everyone was here and we were ready to move on. The tie-wearing Destrillian made his way to the front by Kerr.

"You know the way?"

"Yeah."

"Alright."
Lokka nodded to him and took the closest seat. Shortly after, Kerr stuck the key in the ignition and started the engine. He turned the Keris so that Jettison and Nova were visible in their own vehicle. Kerr turned his head in a way suggesting the general direction that they were heading in. From there, it was up to them what they would do. The Winnebago pulled away and on to the open road, the Destrillians and their makeshift plan went with it.

The drive to Villnore was seemingly uneventful, though anything would seem uneventful compared to their last experience in the Keris. Nobody was particularly talkative throughout the four and a half hour drive; the apprehension of being bang splat in the middle of nowhere, and of meeting yet another Destrillian that they had never heard of, kept them all to themselves. Fiona had slipped into a coma in the early hours of the morning, according to Thetis - she didn't have very much time left at all.

It was a grim reality check.

Lokka surveyed the tense faces of everybody in the back of the Keris and realized that he was the only person who really had any idea what was going to happen next. The rest of them were in the dark in this situation.

Thinking about it, Lokka wasn't much more the wiser. He hadn't seen Mileina in over two years, and even back then he knew very little about her. Even her files detailed little about her as an actual person, telling only of her ability to manipulate light. Back in Viola, Mileina had kept to herself. Lokka had never paid much heed to the girl, but he had noticed Hannah attempting conversation at multiple points. And even this had turned out to be a dead-end when all was said and done. Still, it had been two years. Things change.

Lokka didn't feel like he should be the one to give the Destrillians a pep-talk. They had come this far with him, all of the way out of Osea, and they were still going. The plan had been thrown together at the last minute and, looking back on it, Lokka still couldn't find much sense to it - it just seemed to have been the only option at the time. For now, all they could do was wait and see. A rare luxury for Destrillians.

It had been a pretty quiet drive, but after four and a half hours the end was finally in sight.

"Looky!" Stolz yelled, leaning over the dashboard, evidence enough that the child hadn't been wearing a seatbelt. Stolz was pointing at a sign just off of the road that read 'Welcome To Villnore'. Most of the Destrillians felt some degree of relief after noticing this. Some of them were just hoping for a chance to stretch their legs - the Winnebago was big, but this was cut back by the sheer amount of people it was now housing.

Lokka approached the driver's seat once more. He was going to give Kerr directions to the Limnades building, information he had knowledge of after his research of Villnore. He didn't need to, however, as Kerr already seemed to know where he was going. Either that or he had already seen the large, towering corporation that Stolz seemed to be staring at in a surprisingly detached manner, as though they were thinking about something else entirely. The Limnades building could be seen almost as soon as one entered Villnore, and it did well to raise the morale of the cooped-up Destrillians. Kerr weaved in and out of narrow roads and highways untill slowly pulling up opposite the main gate.

"I'm gonna head in on my own. You should probably park up around the corner. Can never be too careful," Lokka suggested to Kerr, as he leaned his head through the gap between the dark-eyed man and the purple-eyed child.

Kerr simply nodded in response. Lokka had gotten used to Kerr's mannerisms by this point; a man not unlike himself, saying only what needed to be said, and only when necessary. Efficient. Distant, but efficient.

Lokka left the vehicle, exchanging looks with some of the others on his way out. It was best that he went in on his own. To start with, Destrillians did not naturally fit in with society. The more of them there were in one place, the more attention they would gain. Attention was one thing they were trying to keep off themselves at the moment. The other thing was the situation. Aside from her quiet life at Viola, nobody really knew anything about Mileina. She might not react well to a full-on reunion.

He walked in through the front entrance of the building, carefully opening the door and approaching the receptionist. She didn't seem to be paying much attention to Lokka - she seemed much more preoccupied with whatever she was clicking around on her slick computer. The man looked around surreptitiously. There was no other way he would be able to move forward, other than speaking to this woman. Drawing upon all his proffesionalism, he approached the desk.

"Excuse me," he said, as politely as possible.

"Can I help you?" The woman asked in a tone that was questionable for someone who's supposed to be dealing with anyone who comes to the building for business. Lokka refrained from raising an eyebrow.

"I'm looking to see Mileina Grace."

"I see. And do you have an appointment?"

"No," he replied, cringing at how obvious this obstacle should have been. The woman was head of an entire department. She wasn't going to be easy to see.

"Well, I'm sorry, then. Miss Grace is a very busy person and cannot be disturbed."

The white-haired Destrillian racked his brains for something he could say or do to get the woman to even consider letting him see Mileina. Amusing. After everything they had gone through in Osea and their departure from there, this shouldn't even compare. Suddenly the answer came to him.

"If you tell her that there's a Lokka Kayne here to see her," he started, wondering whether the simple words would even work at all, "I'm sure she can move some stuff around."

The receptionist gave Lokka a sceptical look for a moment, then picked up the phone and dialed.

"Hello...Miss Grace? There's a person here at the front desk wishing to see you, a Mr. Lokka Kayne. Do you wish to see him, or shall I have security throw him out? ...oh, okay then, I'll tell him." She then put down the phone and looked up at the man again.

"Miss Grace says she'll be with you momentarily."

"Thank you," Lokka replied, taking a seat nearby. Who knew that being a Destrillian had its social perks?

After five minutes or so of awkwardly sitting in the lobby, the doors at the opposite end of the room opened, and a girl with midnight green hair that had ribbons in it came walking through. She wore a white, long sleeved shirt with frilly detailing on the sleeves, collar and front, a black ribbon done up in a bow around her neck, and a long black skirt which also had fancy detailing.

Lokka looked up to see the girl headed towards him. If it weren't for the hair colour, he wouldn't have recognised her - then again, his memory of how she looked was already hazy due to the lack on interaction with her in the past. That brought back up the thought of how she was going to react to seeing him. For all he knew she might lunge at him - anything was possible.

"Bonjour, Monsieur Kayne," Mileina said in a calm tone.

"Hi?" Lokka replied, not exactly sure what she had said other than his surname. He guessed it was a greeting.

"Comment allez-vous?"

Lokka was starting to wonder if she even spoke Basic. When he thought about it, it might have been possible, since he'd never actually heard her speak at Viola.

"Sorry, I don't really know what you're saying."

Mileina looked at him confused for a moment, then her expression changed into one of surprise. "Oh, my bad. I usually only talk in person with people who speak the noble's language, so I just use it by default."


Thank god, Lokka thought to himself, glad to have dodged another bullet. "Well that's good, I guess. I really had no idea what you were saying."

"Understandable. Now then..." She grabbed Lokka by the collar and quickly dragged him across the lobby and past the doors she had entered in, then pulled his collar down so his face was at hers.

"What in the name of the gods do you think you're doing?" Mileina asked him, sounding rather annoyed now.

"Wait... what?"

"You should know better. Coming to see me at a building in the center of a busy city, especially when you're being hunted by IRIN and the Artolians."

"I j--"

"Everyone is looking for you. It's all over the news about what you and your friends did in Osea, and a lot of people are very angry." She placed one hand on her head. "Mes Dieux! If the Council of Nobles were to learn you were here they'd be all over you in a heartbeat!"

Come to think of it, she did have a point, but he was here now, so not much could be done. "Yeah I know all about that, but we didn't really have any other options." Lokka removed the girl's hand from his collar, resuming his regular stance. "Plus, the Council of Nobles aren't looking for Destrillians, which gives us the advantage."

"Maybe..." Mileina then paused for a moment to think, and added, "So what do you want from me?"

"Osea was our home, but it isn't safe for any of us there now. You know this place better than any of us, and we couldn't take our chances on the open road. Is there anywhere you think we could lay low for a while in Villnore?"

The girl sighed. "Merde... Fine. There's a large statue of a woman in armor holding a bow at the southern end of the main city - it's hard to miss. Meet me there at 10pm tonight; I know for a fact that the area is practically deserted then. Just please for the love of the gods don't any of you go drawing unwanted attention, and I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you, Mileina."

"Don't mention it..."

Lokka quietly left the building, not looking back to see whether Mileina had returned to her office. Thinking back to whatever makeshift plan had caused them to go down this road, Lokka couldn't really remember what he'd hoped to gain from meeting Mileina. Whatever it had been, this was better than he'd expected. They had another ally.

Lokka took the winding roads leading away from the building, assuming Kerr would have picked a far enough away place to park up. Sure enough, around another bend he saw the Winnebago sitting there, waiting. He approached the front door and opened it to get in. He was greeted by many curious faces, wanting to find out what had actually happened during the meeting.

Lokka leaned his head back to address Kerr, but spoke loud enough for everyone on board to hear, so that everybody knew the situation.

"We need to meet Mileina at some kind of statue to the south tonight. We should get there before 10pm."

Wer u plannin on goin alone? eye cud help if u wantd me 2, Terra asked Lokka telepathically. She wanted to feel like she was doing her part to try and help them, and if that meant meeting with some girl she barely knew, so be it.

Kerr, by contrast, simply nodded in response.

So what now? Lokka thought to himself. It didn't take long to find out - it almost felt like Thetis had heard him, so quick and heartfelt were her next words.

"Have any of you even so much as looked at Fiona?!"Thetis shrieked. "She's getting worse by the hour, and no one is doing anything about it!" If the screech of her voice hadn't gained everyone's attention, the slam of her fist on the table certainly did. As if she had suddenly, accidently reminded herself, the blue-haired girl continued, greeting every and any gaze with an acidic glare.


"You may not like it, and you may not like her." She jabbed a finger at the unconscious girl "But this happened because she was fighting for YOU!"

"Really, Thetis," Emma said chidingly, her patience finally beginning to wear thin. "I know you're worried, but shouting isn't going to do anything to help her - we're already doing all we can!"

Terra frowned at Thetis, taking a quick glance at Fiona. Wiill help hir, okey? eye promis.

It was then, without any warning (and before Thetis could do more than open her mouth - her scathing reply died on her lips, unspoken), that Kerr picked himself up out of the driver's seat, opened the door and walked off into the street, his brow furrowed in concentration. Whilst not dramatic, the move had been sudden and without warning enough for the other Destrillians to stop their argument to watch his departure.

Whilst most of the Destrillians spent a few moments staring at the open door, Lokka didn't hesitate to find out what the problem was. There didn't need to be any more delays. He walked out of the Keris and followed Kerr a little down the street.

"What's the matter?"

Kerr was standing a short way away from the Keris, his back turned on the other Destrillian, though Lokka needn't have looked at his face, screwed up in concentration, to know that something had caught his attention.

"There's another Destrillian in this city," he said dismissively, his attention clearly focused elsewhere. "Not yours," he added, just in case his companion tried to remind Kerr of Mileina's presence.

"How do you know?" Lokka asked, unsure as to how Kerr could have picked up on this.

Kerr turned around at this, a curious expression on his face.

"I can sense them," he said, as though it was something that was clearly obvious.

"I must not have read that in your file," Lokka said, almost unsure as to whether or not Kerr was actually capable of this. "So what do you plan to do about it?"

"I'm going to go find them," Kerr said simply. His face momentarily turning into a frown at the mention of Lokka reading about him in some file. The very notion was enough to raise the hairs on the back of his neck. He liked that idea even less than having to spend more time in the company of the cast of soap opera characters that were currently bickering away in their stolen Winnebago.

"Hey! You're not going anywhere on your own," Lokka half-shouted, almost taken aback by Kerr's unwillingness to work together. "Right now, we need to stay together, and whatever it is you want to do, we can do in due time."

"I don't need to be told what it is 'we' need to do," Kerr snapped back almost instantly, taking a threatening step towards the other Destrillian. "Send somebody to follow me, if you think that I need babysitting, or that I won't come back at all." The frustration he had been feeling ever since the group left Osea seemed to be pouring itself out now, finding a release in the form of decisive action that he was in control of.

"I'm not letting you disappear! Go let out your rage somewhere and meet us when you cool down!" Lokka hadn't the patience for more mood swings; Thetis was enough for everybody. He turned his back on Kerr and entered the vehicle, closing the door behind him.

He noticed that everyone in the Winnebago was looking at him at this point. It seemed even Emma and Thetis had stopped talking just to hear what had happened.

"If any of you want to go after him, be my guest, but say so now."

Nobody said anything.

Finally, Idris sighed. "We should probably go after him." She looked around at everyone, and the displeasure on their faces. "We can't just let him go off on his own."


Lokka said nothing. He was already too frustrated with Kerr to let that go any further. Quietly, he walked to the driver's seat and sat down, ignoring the slightly perplexed Stolz that was now sat staring at him with a look that could have meant absolutely anything. He turned on the ignition and started driving, catching up to Kerr relatively quickly in the Winnebago. He pulled up just alongside the dark-eyed Destrillian.

This one's on you, Lokka said to Idris, telepathically. He continued to creep along in the van, matching Kerr's speed.

Isn't it just. The slight woman refrained from sighing again and stuck her head out the window. "Kerr?"

"What?" he replied, turning to face the Winnebago that was creeping up the street alongside him. A homely man paused in his sweeping at a doorstep to watch the strange sight occurring before him just a few metres away: a man walking down the sidewalk, and a large armored van creeping along beside him, with a young girl hanging halfway out of the window. I think I need to stop drinking...

What on earth does a person say to that? She tried for a reasonable tone. "What are you doing?"

"There's another Destrillian in the city. I'm going to go find him," Kerr replied, equally reasonably, as he pushed his way in between a couple holding hands that had stopped to stare at the spectacle unfolding down the street.

"Well," she began, trying quite hard to ignore the waves of silent fury she could feel coming off Lokka to her left, "it would be faster if you got back in the Keris."

Kerr, turned to look at Idris. His face relatively blank and expressionless. Though, there was some obvious uncertainty about wanting to go back into the Winnebago. "You're all coming too?"

"Yes." It was said to him just as much as it was to everybody inside the Winnebago, in case they had any second thoughts. Idris was once again of the same school of thought as Lokka - they needed to stick together right now. None of them could afford to go off on their own, even if they were as capable as Kerr.

Lokka hit the brakes on the Keris, bringing it to a stop to let Kerr embark. He got out of the driver's seat, having felt not quite right sitting in the place that Kerr had been sitting and sleeping in for the past few days. The two men passed by without a word as Kerr pushed his way through the packed Winnebago to sit back down at the driver's seat. Stolz' expression changed once again, but not to anything more distinguishable than the last.

"TA-DAAAH!" Whatever that meant; they let it be. They'd grown used to Stolz' outbursts over the days they'd been crammed together. Lokka went and sat down where he'd been before--a little to the side of Nova, who took up quite entirely the whole of the back of the Keris.

Kerr, once again at the wheel of the Keris, started driving towards the faint blip of energy that was detectable to him. Winding his way through the packed Villnore streets took more time than he was comfortable with, especially with the tense silent atmosphere that had settled in the Winnebago like a dense fog. Gradually, the Destrillians in the vehicle became aware of the presence of the other Destrillian that had compelled Kerr to drive them across the city.

It took them a while - whatever time passed felt even longer for the fact that every mind was straining to pinpoint the new energy signature amongst all the life of the city. It was hidden so well, in fact, that they almost drove right past it. This was avoided with the help of a pair of cesspool-green eyes. Lokka had noticed the Destrillian not by his energy signature, but instead just by his appearance.

Idris. Could you please tell Kerr to stop. He's going to drive straight past our target.

Wh... Idris shot him a look, but the white-haired man was clearly not joking. She didn't even have time for her exapseration.
"Kerr, stop the Keris - we've sort of gone right by your one," she said, quickly but not without mild irritation. She gestured out the window Lokka had been staring through for emphasis.

Kerr didn't visibly respond, only offering the slightest of grunts and squeezing the breaks of the Keris to bring the wrecked vehicle to a stop.

Without even pausing for breath Kerr turned to face the only person sitting outside the cafe who could have possibly been a Destrillian (the mohawk of pale green hair did not exactly blend in well with the conservative dress of most of Villnore's citizens.

"Hey. Get in!" he shouted hoarsely out of the window. Still feeling pent up from his outburst earlier, Kerr felt little need to actually sugarcoat the matter with small talk.

Telran looked up from his coffee, looking at the vehicle in mild surprise. For but a moment, he wondered who the driver was shouting at. And then something clicked. That buzzing he'd been feeling in the back of his head, that feeling that wasn't quite a headache and wouldn't go away, that feeling that had now intensified into a sharp pain that almost made him gasp.

Everything made sense.

They came for me.

He stood, dropped a few bills on the table, and cautiously approached the van. Before he could quite get to the door it swung open. Lokka had opened the door from the inside and stood plainly infront of Telran. Telran stopped dead in his tracks.

"Lokka?"

"Its good to see you, friend."

Telran's face broke into one of his lopsided smiles, and climbed into the Winnebago without another word.

Everybody's head turned to stare at the newest addition to the Winnebago's crew. He certainly was an odd sight, even for a Destrillian; between the shocking blue-green hair, the piercings, the tattoos on his face, and the lack of pupils in his eyes, even the most outstanding of their group weren't quite as much of a sight.

From the side couch against the left side of the Winnebago, Fiona's harsh coughing rang out. It was a jarring sound. Thetis couldn't take it any more; her patience with the others had long since worn out. "Okay, now we've got your precious mystery Destrillian. Now are we going to do something to save Fiona or what?!"

What's with her? he asked Lokka telepathically, nodding at Fiona's unconscious form.

She's developed some kind of illness. We don't know what. Lokka replied.

Plz stay calm, thetis, panickin isnt goin to halp n e 1, Terra urged, not wanting the situation to become any more tense than it already was, and not particularly sending her message to Thetis. She twisted her hands in her lap, she didn't want to seem mean to her friend, but she knew that without thinking about this situation, they may only make it worse.

Telran's eyes flickered toward Terra before focusing back on Thetis. "I'm a doctor. If you take me to my hotel, I'll do what I can."

"Where is it?" Kerr said testily from the driver's seat.


------------------------------


"Drop us off here. The side entrance, please."

As Kerr pulled the Keris over to one side of the street, along the western side of the Hotel Titorelli, Telran gently scooped Fiona up and slowly made his way back toward the front of the van, carefully picking his way among the others crowded into the suddenly all-too-tiny vehicle, making sure not to bang Fiona's limp form on anything as he went. He nodded toward the door, and Thetis quickly scrambled over to open it for him, a look of panic on her face.

Telran ducked down to avoid knocking his head on the top of the door as he exited (though not low enough to avoid brushing his prominent crest of hair on it), and stepped down to the pavement. The Titorelli was a mid-sized hotel, given the size of Villnore and its proximity to the center of the city, but was impressive-looking nonetheless, with its large columns of marble, numerous sculptures, luxurious lobby, and sparkling fountain out front. The side of the building, while infinitely more low-profile, remained just as impressive, down to the electronic doors, saving Thetis the hassle of having to somehow open both of the double doors to allow entrance for Telran and the unconscious flame Destrillian.
__________________

Reject common sense to make the impossible possible!


Last edited by Sheva Alomar; 11/10/2010 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 11/10/2010   #137
Rumpelstiltskin
Default

Viola:





“Promise: an express assurance on which expectation is to be based”




The click of high heels on a metal surface were the first signs of awakening, the usual routine began like this every morning. His eyes slowly opening, the hiss of gas releasing from the chamber as inch by inch his body felt whole again. The numbness of the night’s rest all but gone as the sound of the heels began to echo within the tube causing a migraine to instantly form in his temple. Struggling to lift his heavy eyes the annoying clicking continued until the noise threatened to drive him mad.
It was at this moment every morning that he knew she was outside waiting on him, beautiful and deadly with a grin that caused most to turn away in fear.

His ears were heightened much more than that of a normal human, his powers unfortunate side effect meant his ability to identify sound far superseded that of what he wanted. The breathing of those around him slowly came to him, the low thud of heart beats. The sound of clothing stretching as she moved ever closer to his tube, all of this was nothing compared to the annoying sound of heels.
The door outside his unit opened with the usual metallic drone, the noise would only last a few more seconds that much he knew.

Silence.

Beautiful silence.

The only time that true peace came to him was the few seconds when she stood outside trying to control her heartbeat and breathing before she disengaged the locks.
The soft clicks of the keyboard followed by the last release of gas as the front of the unit opened, that first waft of air felt like heaven before finally his eyes opened to blinding light.

“Hello Pulse, time for work”

Miss Penelope stood there as she often did, left hand on her hip as she tried to imitate the look of a model, her makeup pristine and flawless much like her hair. The only thing that defined the woman as a scientist was the long white coat she wore atop her tight tank top and black mini skirt.

Breathing in the air outside the unit felt like the first breath of life, the gas and chemicals they mixed into the tube caused his throat to feel as if Salem had caused the inside of his throat to explode…again.
As his eyes began to discern shapes properly and the glare of the lights began to dissipate he knew what was coming.

“Who am I fighting today?”

Miss Penelope merely grinned her devilish grin, the knot in his stomach tightened as it often did after waking up. The dreamless sleep felt more like a brief interlude to fighting rather than rest, each morning was the same though and with each day he saw Miss Penelope’s grin get a little wider.

“Today we have a special guest viewing your results, it’s finally time to show the CEO just how much you have progressed and through you I shall finally rise to the upper echelons of this pitiful excuse of scientists.”

One by one he tightened then released his muscles, it was a way to stop cramp taking effect and also a way to ensure he didn’t fall flat on his face the first step he took. When he felt ready he raised himself to full height, Miss Penelope continuing to grin as she handed him his clothing, the simple white and grey sparring clothes did nothing for protection and unlike some of the other Destrillians he never really cared about modesty when you were fighting for your life.

“You will be going up against a two stage fight, the first against that insufferable barrier boy Lokka. Use this as a practise for the later fight as I expect you to do me proud and show the CEO just what you can do.”

“And the second?”

“Hmm well it seems the CEO wishes to test out the little princess so your second fight will be against that Tao Hong girl you so often converse with.”

The faintest twitch escaped his face when Miss Penelope spoke Tao’s name, trying to cover it up he quickly threw his t-shirt over his head before turning away from her.

“Castiel…. I hope you aren’t thinking of going easy on Miss Hong. I don’t need to remind you of everything I have sacrificed to get us this far do I?”

He turned and looked at Miss Penelope with the vacant look devoid of emotion, the only time she used his name was when she was planning something. Somehow he knew his second opponent wasn’t just by accident.

“There will be no problem, Miss Penelope”

With the same devilish grin Miss Penelope left the room and waited on her pupil to exit.

“Come now, you have a long day and it’s time you ate with the other little monsters”





The day had been long; his body ached from his fight with Lokka. It always did, the boy always amazed Castiel in his ability to block almost every attack thrown at him then dish out a quick counter-attack, which immediately caused the fight to be flipped.
He would never admit it to anyone but he loved his fights with Lokka, he was one of the few opponents to whom he had been continually on edge with. With every new attack he thought of Lokka would have a defence to match, although practically the same age Castiel often thought of Lokka as wise beyond his years and his demeanour in fights seemed like that of a master chess player rather than a boy.
His thoughts of the day’s battle however were short lived as Miss Penelope’s heels could be heard growing closer.
Within seconds his handler was standing above him as he tried to massage his calm muscle out of a rather sore knot.

“Well that didn’t go entirely the way I wanted it to but you are indeed making progress, the statistics from the pre-battle simulation stated you had a 13% chance of winning yet you managed to make it to a stale mate without any serious injury. I see your finally breaking down his barriers so to speak.”

Looking at her face you couldn’t tell she was happy, she seemed to be reciting some information that had been passed to her by one of her lackeys. Castiel knew the only time that Miss Penelope was truly happy was when he won a fight or managed to exceed the battle report by more than 50%.

“Well it’s time to get you ready for your second fight, now Castiel im going to ask you to do something that I normally would qualify as outrageous. I want you to promise me that you will not go easy on Tao in the next fight, you have to promise me that you will do you utmost to kill the girl and show everyone here just how special you truly are”

The twitch hit his face again as she spoke Tao’s name, this time however Miss Penelope couldn’t have missed it. Her face became hard while her eyes seemed to glow the same crimson red of his own.

“Promise me Castiel, or else I will ensure the outcome of the battle myself”

He didn’t need to think about what Miss Penelope meant, he knew how ruthless she was and how she would stop at nothing to seize power through any means necessary. Although his opponent was Tao he had to fight her, he had to come at her with everything he had or else Miss Penelope would most likely kill her in front of the CEO and other scientists then pin it on an accident.

“I promise”




Crawsus, The Outlander Club:

Castiel awoke to the sound of ringing, not the usual clicking of heels but the high pitch electronic sound of fake bells. Opening his eyes he found the usual resistance of his body was gone, they slid open without pause and his body moved without hesitation. Before he could pause to wonder what was wrong the sound of a louder beep hit his ears before the click of a tape.

“Castiel, I do trust you are resting well. I have some important news regarding our deal that I believe you would like to hear, please call me back when you get this message.”

The voice did not belong to Miss Penelope; Castiel was not in Viola and what he had just seen was a dream.

“Ugh I don’t think im ever going to get used to dreaming, especially if they continue to drag up memories I wish I never remembered.”

Groggily dragging himself from the room to which he had inherited from Mr White, Castiel walked to where the sound of the voice had originated. A small phone much like that at Telran’s clinic lay on the counter, beside the handset lay a blinking light with a flashing “1” appearing on the screen. Pressing the button the message repeated and Castiel recognised the voice as that of Mr White, as the machine clicked off the automated response added a note telling him to hit “3” to redial Mr White.

“Hello?”

“Mr White, it’s Castiel. I believe you have more information regarding our discussion last night.”

“Ah Castiel my boy, im so glad you called I hope I did not wake you”

“Don’t worry about it I was having a bad dream anyway”

“Ah then it is a good thing I did wake you, it seems that this morning an armoured vehicle was reported slipping through Villnore this morning with what looked like multiple bullet holes perpetrating its side and rear. Now I do not have any first hand account of the occupants of this vehicle but taken into consideration the recent border incident and the accounts of the soldiers there I can only assume that this vehicle may be containing the individuals to whom you are looking for.”

Castiel’s hand tightened around the receiver so much he heard the plastic crack, the crack acted as a snap back to reality and he tried to compose himself quickly.

“Thank you Mr White, I think I may do a bit of investigating myself into this regard.”

“That wont be necessary Castiel, surveillance is in place and you are to be indisposed as of tonight.”

Castiel felt his jaw clench, if he didn’t control his anger soon he would burst. Looking around he saw a large post used as support for the ceiling. Slamming his fist into it was the only way to calm himself down. As the thud caused the post to shake Castiel closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

“What do you mean im going to be indisposed?”

“Well it seems the news that Cerberus goons were brutally murdered then dumped in a known safe house have hit the streets and now the hornets nest has been shook up so to speak. I wish for you to pay a little visit tonight and secure my standing with the Cerberus group at one of their downtown safe houses.”

“Can you assure me that your surveillance will be accurate?”

“Oh yes the surveillance of the Cerberus facility is up to date –“

“Im not talking about them, I mean the armoured vehicle. Can you PROMISE me that the vehicle will be watched closely and any information no matter how small is sent directly to me?”

The line went dead for several seconds, Castiel felt strange using the term of phrase to Mr White but with the recent dream it just slipped out.

“I promise you Castiel, every bit of information will be sent to you as soon as I receive it, now back to the business of Cerberus.”



An hour had passed since the conversation with Mr White, it was agreed that he would be picked up by an armoured car and driven to the location with merely an order to make an example of the Cerberus employee’s.

His mind however wasn’t letting him think about his meeting tonight, not long after he had hung up the phone the club was filled with more humans. Raphael & Dominic to whom Castiel had met the night before had returned and brought what seemed to be an army of drones with them.
Within minutes the club was being destroyed and furniture ripped out as more humans arrived to fit new stuff.

As the club was transformed and with it the living quarters Castiel was ushered into the back of what seemed to be a mobile studio. Raphael made sure that every piece of clothing that was delivered was perfectly fitted and when pair of shoes were a tad snug he began hurtling objects at his assistant screaming incompetence.

For the most part Castiel tried to occupy his thoughts about the rumoured armoured van in Villnore, if it was more Destrillians his friends could be there and he was left wasting time playing hit man in Crawsus. Raphael continued the onslaught of clothing preparation until Castiel began to complain about his hair catching when he wore a particularly nice looking suit.
Raphael merely stared out the window at the remark and Castiel knew why, his hair had been bothering him also. The length was something he was not used to and even when he had the small skirmishes with the humans the previous nights he found it distracting as it often obscured his vision when he tried to move.

“Hmm do you have a knife, Raphael?”

The colour immediately drained from the humans face as both him and his assistant looked at him with the look of pure fear.

“I want to chop off most of my hair and I need something sharp to do it with”

The look of relief was priceless and before Castiel could say anything more Raphael’s assistant stuck her head out the window and shouted for someone named Karl.

It turned out Karl was their stylist and never left Raphael’s side when he went out to work, in the space of another hour Castiel’s hair had been cut and styled by the humans hands until it resembled it’s old style of being short. The suits now fitted without pain to his hair and Castiel knew that he would never have the problem of it getting in his eyes any longer.
Choosing one of the suit jackets and jeans from Raphael’s multitude of clothing options Castiel chose to escape the carnage at the outlander club and go visit Telran. Even though they weren’t close he deserved to know about Villnore.

The streets were busy with the multitude of humans going about their daily chores, each engrossed in their own little world few paying any attention to Castiel as he walked through the masses. Unlike the night before people were passing him and giving him looks of admiration as opposed to ridicule. It amazed the Destrillian how humanity held onto the façade of appearances, the simple thing of cutting your hair and dawning new clothing was enough to make a freak into a prince in the eyes of humans.
He remembered the news report about the Destrillians, “monsters” is what the news had branded them. Ironic considering all of them were once human themselves, humans would always fear that which is different to them. Yet how would humankind react if it were their own children being created into weapons, the entire human race subjected to the dangerous process that killed many in the early stages only for the strongest to come out breathing.

The thoughts whirled around his head much like the humans walked by him, each thought bringing forth more and more hatred, each human that passed presenting another possible outlet for his anger.
It didn’t matter anymore, soon he would find his friends again, and soon he would find truth to what happened in the years he was frozen, soon. Humanity would pay.



Crawsus, Telran’s Clinic:

It seemed like it had been a long walk from the outlander club to the clinic, his thoughts plaguing him with each step he drew closer to his comrade’s work. It only dawned on him that he never found out where Telran lived the entire time that they talked. People were continually walking past complaining about this and that and Castiel didn’t even notice as one person began ranting at the doctor not being in.
The clinic looked deserted, the lights were off and the door seemingly locked as one angry individual began grabbing the handle and practically tried to rip the door from it’s hinges.

“Don’t you think if the doctor was in the door would be open?”

The angry human spun around on his heels fist pulled back obviously expecting someone else. Castiel stood a full foot taller than the human and even though he no longer had his long hair his eyes were enough to stop the man from making any stupid moves.

“U-uh umm I need to see the Dr right away!”

“Well if you bothered to read the sign he has up in the window you would know he was away on business and wont be back for a while”

The man began moving his body in a manner that made him resemble a fish out of water, obviously embarrassed at missing the sign, the human merely gave a large grunt before storming off down the street in the opposite direction from Castiel.

Although the human interaction had proved comical the point that Telran wasn’t at the clinic made letting him know Castiel’s plans somewhat troublesome.
Reaching into the pockets of the suit jacket Castiel rummaged for anything he could leave a note with.
A piece of paper and pen were perfect, writing as carefully as he could Castiel tried to leave as little information as possible that may cause Telran any trouble.

Dear Bright Spark, I hope things are well and your absence isn’t due to anything unfortunate. Please note that the recent patch-up job you did has held out brilliantly and it’s all but healed. I have taken up residence in a local club and will endeavour to get in contact with you regarding information pertaining to our mutual friends.
Call me, 07789562131

Yours sincerely Cass.

Reading the note Castiel smiled and began folding it into a small slip of paper that he could slip underneath the door’s frame. He was curious what would cause Telran to close the clinic but what the man did in his own time was his to decide.
The only thing that remained for Castiel to do was return to the madhouse that was his new home and pray to god that they had finished.

Last edited by Rumpelstiltskin; 11/18/2010 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 11/12/2010   #138
Omega
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========== ???? ==========
FOUR DAYS AGO, NEAR THE ARTOLIAN/AUDOULAN BORDER
(Late night - the early hours before dawn)


Chaos.

Longing.

Sorrow.


As the girl played, the words of the violin's song took shape in her hands - soft, delicate hands, with nimble, clever fingers that never slipped. She let the words she crafted carry her away, a single entity lost in a sea of sound, slave to her own creation as it took her whither it would. It was always like this.

She smiled as she reveled in the pleasure it brought her.

The song echoed throughout her room and made its way into the halls, tamed by the hand of none, master of its own fate. None were there to hear it, but it was a melody of great and incredibly beauty - had any heard it, they would have been moved to tears. For the girl was very good at what she did. Very good.

How long had it been since she began making music in these halls?

She was secluded, isolated within the chamber of total darkness, for the others knew by now not to disturb her when she played - all save one, her always-welcome guest who would come to listen at times. Yet even so, as she threw herself into the beautiful oblivion, the girl could feel all around her, as she always did. She could feel the two men standing far away, down by the elevator in the entrance hall. She could feel the other girl as she walked the dark, empty halls (and could easily guess where she was going), and that the boy was at work once again, crafting some new treat or other that the girl would likely be privy to tomorrow. But they were creatures of the day, and now, it was night. The time of sleep. Of darkness.

Her time.

She played on, with a skill that surpassed even the great composers of the last centuries, a skill born of her own nature - of her very being. And how should it not be so?

And then she felt it.

Vibrations. A presence above, far above. A feeling she had not had in a very long time. And yet, even with the passage of time, the memory of it had not dulled or faded; and when she felt it, she knew the presence, and what it signified, and what was to come.

She smiled as she played on.

"He's home."
__________________

Last edited by Omega; 11/12/2010 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 11/16/2010   #139
Omega
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======== THETIS ALCESTEOS, FIONA MYRWIND, TELRAN MIARA, KERR NORDSTROM, and JETTISON BRAND ========
THE HOTEL TITORELLI
(Early Evening)


There was no thought of taking the stairs in the minds of the two Destrillians as they made their way towards the pair of elevators situated nearby, Thetis pressing the button to summon one. Luckily, no one was around to ask awkward questions about what the two were up to. Come on, come on, hurry up...

Following Telran and Thetis, Kerr and Jettison (whose vagabond appearance looked shockingly out of place in the pristine hotel lobby) hurried into the hotel lobby after the pair. As he sensed their presence, Telran's head swiveled in their direction, focusing on Kerr (I'm still not sure about that human...thing. Not yet.). Hands on hips, Thetis turned to face the two new arrivals.

"What are you doing here?" she scowled, glaring at Kerr before looking Jettison up and down. "And where are the others?"

"The others are going on ahead. We'll meet up with them later." Kerr stated plainly, his pitch black eyes focusing on the newest addition to their party. The ragged girl beside them followed his stare with the same impassiveness, unfazed by Thetis' verbal probing.

"We are here to watch and help." At this, Telran's eyes flickered to her for the span of a second before returning to the other male.

With a resigned 'hmph', Thetis turned up her nose and once again pressed the elevator button. "Whatever."

The obvious animosity between the two was not lost on Telran - nor was Thetis' disregard for the disheveled-looking tagalong that had joined the black-eyed Destrillian. He continued to gaze at Kerr. "And getting a feel for me as well, I take it." His words were as devoid of emotion as those of he for whom they were intended.

"Yes." If Kerr was the least bit surprised that Telran had so quickly guessed his reasoning for staying behind with Telran, Thetis and the injured Fiona, then he didn't show it at all. His face's appraising frown remained unmoving.

An incredulous laugh escaped Thetis, her anger manifesting in each violent stab of the elevator button. "Oh, because you're just the perfect judge of character, aren't you K-"

"It's fine," Telran broke in. "I would do the same. If Lokka had not been with you, I would not have come." There was a brief pause. "Or, at least, not so quickly."

Kerr nodded, inwardly relieved that this Destrillian was at least more reasonable than some of the others he had recently encountered. Though he said nothing else, instead just folding his arms and patiently waiting for the elevator to finish its descent.

The elevator could not have been in less of a hurry to return from the tenth floor. After what seemed like an eternity, the elevator finally reached the ground floor with a soft ding, and the doors opened. The four, plus the unconscious Fiona, entered the elevator, Thetis nearest the buttons to select their destination.

"Fourth floor," Telran said with a nod. His throat was slightly raw from having used it so little the past few days.

Thetis pressed the large "4", and the doors slid shut with barely a sound. And then, as they began their ascent, they heard it:


ENDLESS LOVE


Kerr raised his eyebrows, caught slightly off guard by the dreadful music that began to fill the elevator like bad odor.


I WANT TO SHAAAARE
ALL MYY LOOOOVE WITH YOU
NOONE ELSE WILL DOOOOOOOO

YOU WILL ALWAYS BEEEE
MY ENDLESS LO-



Thetis snapped. "ENOUGH!" she shrieked, the music coming to an abrupt end as the speakers flooded with water.

Telran picked a spot on the floor and kept his eyes on it. Don't say a word. Just stare at the carpet. Barely a moment had passed when the thought flitted through his mind: ...but at least that awful music's stopped...

Time seemed to crawl by, the compartment encapsulated in an awkward silence - and then, with the significance of a dinner bell to a starving vagrant, the elevator reached the fourth floor, and the doors opened once more.

The fourth floor was filled with suites. Telran's, number 410, was tucked away in a corner, with Telran having previously determined that none of the others on the floor were occupied, save 402, whose occupants, his senses told him, were not in. Excellent, he thought. No one to bother us.As they reached the door, the group came to a sudden stop. Telran caught Thetis' eye. "Back pocket," he said, jerking his head to his left, indicating that the electronic room key was in his back left pocket.

"Right," she said, gingerly fishing the keycard from the man's jeans.The door to suite 410 swung open, the automatic lights clicked on, bathing everything in a soft glow. Telran tended to prefer soft lighting, though he had never been able to figure out why. He carried Fiona into the bedroom, and gently laid her down onto the room's only bed, where Thetis immediately took up residency, whilst Kerr and Jettison took up positions in the living room, away from the trio, content to simply observe. For a brief moment, the two locked eyes, yellow on gold, before Telran closed the door, then made his way over to the small desk in the room and picked up his briefcase full of medications.

Hmm...let's see...symptoms. "How long has she been out?" he asked.

"Over two hours now."

Check. "And how long has she been ailing?"

The blue-haired girl paused to think. "Around three days, maybe longer."

Check. "Anything else that I should know?"

"Y-yeah." She pulled back the shoulder of Fiona's vest. "It's been spreading."

Telran turned...and froze. Fiona's upper body was decidedly greener than it should have been. Lamplike eyes fully alert to drink in every detail, he took in what was most decidedly the cause of her symptoms: her skin was frighteningly transparent, and her veins were a sickening, putrid shade of greenish-black, as though it were an infected, gangrenous mix of sewage sloughing through her veins, slowly spreading its way through her body.

Well, that narrows it all the way down to poison, then. I suppose that's something...

As he began to inspect her more closely, he found that it seemed to be radiating outward from her right shoulder. As he peeled her vest and stained tank top off for a better look, he could feel her skin beneath his hand. Whatever he'd expected the fire Destrillian's skin to feel like, it wasn't this - it was definitely colder than it should be, and it had an almost paper-like texture to it.

This is bad.

"Can you help her?" The words fell from Thetis' mouth before she could stop them.

"I...don't know," he admitted. Thetis sunk her teeth into her lower lip. That was the answer she had been expecting. "It's definitely poison - that much is certain. But this is like nothing I've ever seen before." Telran caught the look on her face, and added, "But I will do what I can." He began to dig through his briefcase, looking for...well, a miracle, but he wasn't sure he would find one this time.

While she was making every attempt to keep her face impassive, Thetis couldn't help but squeeze the fingers she had wrapped around Fiona''s hand. "I-Is there anything I can do?"She cursed herself for letting that stutter creep into her voice. Just like back in Viola, she was helpless, weak. What could she do?

Hmm...not really. "Yes, actually. Lay her back down for a moment?" he said over his shoulder, then, finding a small vial with a clear liquid, straightening back up to turn to the pair, a syringe in his other hand. With a reluctant nod, the girl obliged, setting Fiona back on the bed as carefully as she could.

"It's good that she's out...this tends to burn," he said absentmindedly as he began to prepare the dosage, then immediately wished he hadn't. "I-It's safe, it's just a bit uncomfortable when you're awake," he said quickly. Great. Just great. Way to comfort the poor girl.

What little colour there was in Thetis' face had vanished. Eyes as wide as saucepans, she merely gave another mechanical nod to the doctor. The grip on Fiona's hand tightened until her knuckles turned white.

"This is feuroxsemide," he said quietly, as he laid the syringe down on the bedside table, then, with the gentleness borne of much practice, slowly eased Fiona up off the bed into a sitting position, then began to peel off her leather vest. "It's a polyvalent antivenin - it works against a wide array of venomous bites and stings." His words had lost their relevance to Thetis, whose eyes remained fixed on the syringe on the bedside table. "Do you know how she got injured?" The girl frowned and shook her head. Perfect.

"I don't know," came the reply, her lips pursed into a weak smile. She felt so stupid- why didn't she know? Why had no-one told her? It took all Thetis had to keep herself from bursting into tears or flying into a rage. Instead, she kept up the charade. What else could she do? She was pathetic.

Mmm...probably a long shot, then...Telran could see from the girl's tense stance that she needed some reassurance. "This will help if whoever of whatever it was that did this was using insect venom, animal toxins - that sort of thing," he said with as much kindness as he could muster.

"Right." The blue-haired girl couldn't think of anything else to say. As long as it wasn't silent, she thought to herself.

"Well," he murmured, "let's try our luck." He slowly slid the needle into the area near Fiona's shoulder blade, and began to apply pressure to the plunger. The antivenin, clear as water, began to ease its way into her system.

Thetis couldn't help but feel her eyes practically bulge from her skull as Telran pressed his thumb on the plunger. Ever since Viola, she had harboured a deep mistrust towards needles. The phantom scratch of metal against flesh, the feel of the liquid coursing into veins; the very thought made her shudder.

Almost subconsciously, she squeezed Fiona's hand a little tighter.

None of this escaped the electric Destrillian's notice. Need to take her mind off of this. "You know," he said slowly, "I just realized - I don't even know your names." Keep her talking, Telran. Just like any other patient's family.

"Well." Thetis was somewhat taken aback by casual conversation. "This is Fiona," she inclined her head to her unconscious room-mate. "You should be glad I'm telling you and not her." The thought caused the water Destrillian to crack the first genuine smile of the evening. "She wouldn't be so polite." Telran smiled knowingly in reply. With a sigh and something of an awkward silence, the blue-haired girl turned to face Telran. "I'm Thetis, by the way." In her social naivete, the girl thought it fitting to emulate something she had so often seen on television. Despite being unsure what exactly would follow, the water Destrillian offered her hand to the doctor.

"Telran." The doctor reached out with his free hand to return the handshake. Thetis had a firm grip, possibly as a result of being completely on edge, which he returned in like kind. Thetis raised an eyebrow. Were they supposed to try and outgrip one another? They hadn't shown this part on TV. Her fingers tightened around Telran's, the strength of her grip strangely at odds with the smile on her face. Telran's head turned to face her, and this time the lopsided smile he gave Thetis was entirely genuine. If it was a challenge she wanted, he would certainly indulge her...out of curiosity, if nothing else. As Telran's handshake proceeded to crush her fingers, Thetis couldn't help but wonder how many humans had suffered broken bones from this all to strange gesture. As their hands continued to bob up and down, the water Destrillian couldn't take it anymore.

"...Is it meant to be this painful?" Her smile had turned into something of a grimace. Thetis swore she had just heard one of her fingers snap.

Telran instantly released his grip. "Sorry...got a bit carried away," he mumbled sheepishly, turning back to Fiona. Hmm. Interesting... "So...Thetis?" he said somewhat thoughtfully, as though he were trying to wrap his mind around the name. Her yellow eyes strayed from her crushed fingers, which she had been desperately trying to shake some life back into.

"Yes?"

"Her breathing." He nodded at Fiona, who he had laid back down. "It's eased up somewhat - not so ragged." He turned to look at Thetis. "A good sign." All of a sudden, the blue-haired girl felt the weight of the world slip from her shoulders. Flopping down next to her roommate with a sigh of relief, Thetis' face broke into a grin.

"That's good." her voice dropped to a whisper, as if reassuring herself. "That's good."

Telran turned back to his briefcase, and took a second small bottle out, this time filled with a slightly cloudier liquid, as well as another syringe. "Not out of the woods yet, I'm afraid."

Only seconds after finally releasing days of built up tension, Thetis sat bolt upright. She hardly bothered to mask her panic.

"What do you mean?"

He held up a hand. "Calm down."

Thetis gritted her teeth together as she spoke, her voice tight with irritation. "I am calm."

Her words, voice, and body language were all screaming one thing at him as loudly as possible: now, more than ever, was the time to choose his words extremely carefully.

"What I gave her may not work, Thetis."

"Why not?" the reply came almost instantly, with the tonality of an insolent child.

"It will only work if that's how she got poisoned. If she's been drugged, or it's a biological agent, or some other toxin, it won't help her much." He did not look her in the eyes now.

"Oh." Thetis sounded small and far away, like she had left the room entirely.

"But I can do something about those things as well. I actually happened to pack a few different medications for various forms of poison before I came here," he said, gesturing toward the briefcase. Good thing I did... "That's why it's not over."

Thetis was silent, her eyes locked on Fiona as if in some kind of trance. "You can still fix her though." His words unravelled in her mind, yet she clung onto them desperately, each thread of hope. After all, what would she do without them? Snow white bangs brushed Thetis' forehead as she shook her head. "You can still fix her."

He looked back up at Thetis. "I can't promise you that. But I will do everything that I can."

Contradictions had never agreed with Thetis, and Telran's words brought all her frustration to a head.
"Why? Why can't you promise me that? You're a doctor, aren't you? Don't doctors fix everything?" And as her voice grew louder, Telran's face slowly fell, his eyes somewhere that was no longer in the room with Thetis. "And if you can't, what can I do? I need to do something, I can't just sit here and do nothing while Fiona's-" Thetis was breathless now, and her reluctance to sound out the last word was almost painful. "-while Fiona's.." She couldn't say it. Her voice dropped to a whisper.

"She doesn't deserve this."

"Doctors fix everything," huh...I wish that were true. "I know," Telran replied, voice quiet, nodding almost imperceptibly. "But doctors can't always save everyone," he said softly, his mind somewhere else. You couldn't save her... He took Fiona's wrist in his hand, checking her pulse; her heartbeat was erratic and jerky, and much weaker than he would have liked. "Her pulse is reacting to the sound of your voice," he murmured. He looked at Thetis, clutching Fiona's other hand. "The best thing you can do for her right now is to not panic. So please, Thetis...try to stay calm - for the both of you."

"'Sorry," the girl mumbled under her breath. Guilt stopped her from meeting Telran's gaze as she locked her fingers into Fiona's. "It's been a long few days."

He nodded as he began to load the syringe. "You really care about her," he said, looking back up at Thetis. Yellow eyes met amber momentarily before darting back to the bedsheets.

"U-um," a rosy blush crept into her cheeks. "I-I guess so."

Telran's eyebrow twitched. "You guess?" came the words from his mouth, before he could stop himself. As he began the second injection (this one was for more common poisons like pesticides), he added quietly, "You're awfully worried for just a 'guess so'."

"W-well... if anything happens to her, I won't have anyone to pay rent this month." She laughed a hollow, humourless laugh. Thetis did't understand how Fiona did it, carry on with that cocky smirk, even in the face of adversity. The smile soon faded. "I do care about her," Thetis rubbed her eyes and threw a sideways glance at Telran. "I care about all of us."

"I see." Kind of what I thought. "You two live together, then?"

"Yeah, what about it?" Before she could stop herself, Fiona's words had spilled out of her mouth.

Telran hid his smile by looking back downwards to the bottle. "I didn't mean anything by it. Just that you're...close. Must be nice," he said, with a sigh, which was reciprocated in kind by the water prototype.

"Sometimes." She swung her legs absent-mindedly off the bed before a wry smile twisted her lips. "Sometimes she doesn't even notice."

"Doesn't notice...you?" Telran felt as though it was best to approach the subject in the most delicate way possible.

Thetis shrugged. "Maybe."

"Sometimes we never realize how precious something is to us until it's gone," he whispered.

"Yeah..." His words could not have been more resonant with the water Destrillian.

Heading back to the briefcase, he took out four additional vials of medication, then placed them on the bedside table. As he prepared the dosages in silence, a thought occurred to him, and he gazed at Thetis, a curious expression on his face, almost as though a piece of a puzzle he didn't know he was solving had fallen into place. "Blue hair..." he murmured, almost inaudibly. I wonder...

"Did you say something?" Did he just call me...? Thetis barely suppressed a twitch of irritation.

"Oh, sorry. It's just...I was at the first facility for a while, before they moved me. There was a girl there with blue hair..." He looked questioningly at Thetis, who let out a small chuckle.

"I was the only one with blue hair," she said, scanning him from head to toe. "I don't remember you, though."'

He chuckled ruefully. "Not surprising. I barely saw the outside of solitary." He frowned. "I think the entire time I was there, I only saw two other Destrillians. You, it seems, and another girl...she had glasses. Glasses, and green hair."

"Oh! She's called Terra, by the way."

"Is that so? Terra," he said thoughtfully, injecting Fiona with the next syringe. Interesting.

"At least it's over now, huh?"

"Yes. At least there's that. Dark times," said he, shaking his head, as he picked up the next dose.

The silence that followed saw Fiona being injected with more drugs, and Thetis couldn't bear to watch any longer. With an abject sigh, she began to pick at the rips in her jeans. Frayed, torn and covered in blood, Thetis was desperately in need of a replacement pair. Dried blood flaked beneath her fingers as she ran them over her knee.

The movement caught Telran's attention - and then he saw the blood. "You're hurt."

"It's nothing," she shrugged. "It'll heal in a couple of days."

Telran shook his head. "From the looks of that van you came in, you may not have a couple of days to wait. Do you mind if I have a look?" he asked. "If anything, I can probably ease the pain."

"Sure," she pulled open the rip in her jeans. The contrast of blood against skin had been an all too familiar sight over the last few days. Thetis sighed. Living a human life had made her careless. "Go ahead."

As Telran finished Fiona's final injection, he placed the syringe on the table with the rest, then walked around to Thetis. He knelt on the floor, gently cupping one hand behind her knee to raise it up. The concentration of a second was all it took for him to run a bit of current through her limb, caked with traces of dried blood, and to stimulate her cingulate cortex to numb the pain. While the latter was as successful as ever, the former left him disquieted - confirming that the trip to Villnore had not been all fun and games.

"A bullet." His words were soft, but almost entirely devoid of surprise. Thetis didn't say a word, opting to glare out of the window instead.

Wound is closed, but...that bullet definitely needs to come out. "I can take it out, if you like."

"It's got to come out, whether I like it or not," she said, a shade bitterly.

Well, won't this be fun. "Okay." He released her leg, then went back to his briefcase. His surgical implements were limited, but he'd been shot recently himself, so he certainly had thought to bring the necessary tools to remove a bullet. "Sedative, anaesthetic, or nothing?" he asked quietly.

"As long as I don't feel it, I don't care."

Anaesthetic it is, thought Telran. She would probably want to stay awake with Fiona, anyway. He took out a sterilizing swab and a syringe of local anaesthetic - Thetis wouldn't need to be sedated for this. He then removed a scalpel, a clamp, and foreceps. "Do you mind lying back?" he asked, as he approached the side of the bed, laying down the surgical tools on the bedside table, and began to undo the packaging of the swab, syringe held in the other hand. Making herself comfortable, Thetis obliged and lowered herself onto the mattress. She didn't dare look at the syringe in his hand; Viola taught her to be wary of needles.

Fishing out the swab, Telran parted the gaping rent in her jeans and swabbed down the area he could feel the small slug of metal resting in. He looked at Thetis. "Ready?" The blue-haired girl nodded and scrunched her eyes shut. Telran, needle in hand, stopped before reaching her skin. "You okay?"

"Yeah," she laughed weakly. "I just never liked needles."

Telran raised an eyebrow. "I don't have to use one, if it would put you more at ease."

"No, no. It's okay."

This is going to go better if I don't, especially since I'm not putting her under. "If you're thinking about the pain, don't. I've used my powers like this many times before - on myself and others."

"How?" Thetis quirked an eyebrow. She had never heard of that kind of power before.

Telran smiled. He placed a hand back under Thetis' knee, raising it up slightly. He then stretched out his palm, large enough to cover the kneecap itself, and held it close to Thetis' skin. "Just watch."

He began to focus, feeling the snap-crackle of neurons firing in his brain, and the sister synapses of Thetis' own. He let himself go, awash in the river of neural impulses, feeling their flow. And then he pushed - the river began to flow in a new direction, away from her leg. The barest of flickers began to light up the space between the lamp-eyed man's hand and the yellow-eyed girl's skin - a flicker usually hidden by the skin-on-skin contact Telran normally used.

Despite being a Destrillian, and thus not easily suprised, Thetis nearly jumped out of her skin. "Wait!" With an almost comedic awkardness, due to the fact that she could barely move one of her knees, the water Destrillian scrambled to the top of the bed and pressed her back against the headboard. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

Telran's only response was a puzzled look, head slightly cocked.

"Because of my power?" Without meaning it to, the girl's response sounded a little patronising. "Water and electricity don't mix." The slightest hint of a shudder crept over Thetis as she recalled her fights with Erthys. "I know from experience."

"Ah...yours is water, then," he chuckled. "Don't worry. My control over my powers is absolute - my abilities only do what I tell them to. No more, and no less," he said, with a single shake of his head. "All I'm doing is temporarily deadening the nerves. You'll regain feeling in about fifteen minutes." He smiled reassuringly (or hoped it would be taken that way). "I've done this before - on another water user, even."

Thetis' eyes narrowed. "There's another water Destrillian?" Telran nodded in reply. Folding her arms, the girl lay back with a grunt of indignation. "Whatever."

Indeed. "Tell me - can you feel this?" Telran asked, gently poking Thetis' leg, just above the knee. She shook her head.

"Go ahead."

Telran smiled in his lopsided way.

"Okay."

He picked up the scalpel and set to work. Five centimeters across should do it, and three in. With a soft whisper, the scalpel slid into her skin, and slowly made its way deep into the cartilage of Thetis' knee. The beauty, he said telepathically, of electricity is that it flows throughout your entire body. Tiny amounts, everywhere. It's easy to control its flow. And, when you know how, he continued, as he deftly maneuvered the scalpel on its edge, flicking under the metal slug, you can easily - the foreceps were like an extension of his own fingers, ferreting their way into the incision - do things - the foreceps gripped the bullet - like this - and then it was over. The entire procedure had taken little more than a few minutes before the foreceps were withdrawn, almost offering the bullet to Thetis as though it were a souvenir. She plucked it from the steel instrument and, after a short inspection, flicked the bullet across the room. With a slight clink, it richoceted from a chrome lampshade before disappearing in the curtains. He then bandaged her knee (not too tight), applying a light layer of topical antibiotic to her knee as he did so. He worked quickly, his hands nimble and skilled, with a proficiency borne of talent and training. "Should be good as new in a few days."

"Thanks."

He spread his hands. "It was nothing." He raised an eyebrow as he looked at her. "Just be careful, hm?" he said, his voice warm again.

"You know how it is," Thetis shrugged and smiled apologetically. "Easier said than done."

"All too true." He stood, then walked to the small sink in the room, washing his surgical tools down, then replacing them in his briefcase. Time to check on Fiona, then.

He walked to the side of the bed opposite Thetis, taking a seat beside Fiona, and took her wrist as he did. "Pulse is much better now." He frowned. Still a bit weak, though... He held an eyelid open, flicking a tiny handheld light to gauge pupil reactivity. "Responsive; that's good. And breathing is steady." He looked at Thetis, frowning slightly. "She should be okay, for the time being; she might even wake up."

For the first time since they had arrived at Hotel Titorelli, Thetis' lips cracked into a genuine smile. "Really?!" She said, or rather, shouted. As if to subconsciously curb her enthuasism, Thetis had already clamped her hands over her lips. The girl blushed, rosy cheeks framed by a snow-white fringe. "S-sorry," she whispered.

"Probably." Telran's smile was belied by his next words. It was good to see her smiling insteading of worrying, but she needed to hear this. "But please understand, Thetis." His face was very serious as his golden eyes met hers. "This is not a cure. She needs more help than what I can give her right now." He shook his head. "This is only a stopgap. It might buy her another day or two - a week if she is very lucky."

"We've got time now, time to figure something out," she smiled. "A day or two will be more than enough." The girl walked over to the curtains and parted them. "Some of the smartest people in Alvyssia are in this city. Someone has to have a cure."

She doesn't get it. But better to let her cling to hope, though, even if it's not much, than watch her drown in despair. "I hope you're right, Thetis." He gazed at the still unconscious Fiona, chest rising and falling steadily. "I hope you're right." He stood; moving toward the door, he quietly said, "I'll give you two some time alone to rest," then silently slipped out and shut the door behind him. As he moved into the living area, the only person he could see was the raggedy-looking human. At the time, he thought nothing of it, taking a seat on one of the two sofas, stretching out upon it to relax. After quite a while, however, he began to wonder where the black-eyed Destrillian had gone.

Hmm. "Where did the other Destrillian disappear to?" he asked.

As if on cue, Kerr stepped out from a door to their side. The Destrillian of gravity still seemed slightly wet and his short blonde hair still dripping with water.

"Will she live?" he asked in a tone of voice that indicated that he had no concern for Fiona personally, whatever answer Telran was about to give.

"Difficult to say," came the reply. "For now, yes. But without a proper antidote..." His words trailed off, needing nothing further to make his point.

Kerr grunted in response, making his way to the doorway and picking up the black jacket he had discarded before disappearing into the bathroom.

"I see you found something to occupy your time," Telran said, glancing at the spots of moisture the other had been dripping on the carpet. "Fall in?"

"I haven't had the chance to shower since I left Osea," Kerr remarked, indifferent to the slight tone of disapproval in Telran's voice.

"Sounds pleasant." Telran moved to the suite's small kitchen, opening the refrigerator. "Either of you care for a drink?"

"A shower first." Jettison pushed herself off the arm of the sofa and noiselessly made her way to the bathroom, the dank smell still lingering in the living room following her in.

Kerr was momentarily caught off guard by the show of generosity but regained his composure quickly and replied with a stiff nod.

"Water." he replied.

Telran took a bottle and tossed it to him. "My name is Telran, by the way," he said as he approached the unoccupied chair nearest him. "Where did the others in the van go?" he asked.

"Kerr," the Destrillian of gravity responded to the first line first. The rest of this conversation was going to be much less complicated if the two of them were on first name terms. "Lokka is taking the others to meet another Destrillian in this city." If Kerr's monotone voice was able to properly convey a lack of trust, then this answer to Telran's question would have been loaded with it.

"Another one?" asked the tattooed male, somewhat surprised. There weren't many Destrillians in Audoula - or so he had thought. "Here in Villnore?"

"Yes. One of the ones from your facility," Kerr nodded and then proceded to take a large gulp from the bottle of water before stuffing it into his jacket pocket.

Oh, joy. Wonderful. "Any idea which one?" he asked aloud. Let's see: Castiel, Lokka...I suppose it could be Kram or Salem. Maybe even Hannah...

"Lokka called her Mileina."

Telran, in the middle of taking a drink of his own, choked. "Mileina?" he sputtered. "Mileina?" His voice was growing stronger, and after a few coughs, he tried for a full sentence. "Did you just say Mileina?"

"What's wrong?" Kerr spoke up, his voice immediately hardening at the obvious change of character that had come over the self-assured Destrillian sitting across from him. Whatever was causing this change in Telran did not bode well for the other Destrillians.

His choking fit over, Telran sat bolt upright in his chair, leaning in toward Kerr. "Whatever they do," he warned firmly, "they must not meet her or they will be in grave danger! She'll kill them!"
__________________

Last edited by Omega; 11/17/2010 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 11/17/2010   #140
Tennyo
Default

====Dr. Thomas - before and after the escape====



The train ride home from work after learning about the Destrillians on the news was not a pleasant one for Dr. Jeffery Thomas. It was overcrowded with worried passengers eager to get home to their families and over-protective parents smuggling their sniveling, whiny brats off to what they assumed must be safety. As far away from the Orange Zone as possible, as it were.

It didn’t seem possible for the cars to become any more full than what they were as the train went on down the track, but they did. Of course they did. Life hated the good scientist and could never resist another opportunity to throw more garbage at him. He gripped onto the pole in the standing area of the train car tightly as he felt himself forcibly squished up next to it as the people packed themselves in tight like sardines.

He barely made it out of the car at his stop before the doors closed, but somehow he did, reaching back to hastily pull the small corner of his jacket out from where it had gotten caught between the doors. The platform was almost just as crowded as the train and there appeared to be some sort of hold up on the staircase as people tried to all squish through at once, causing more harm than good.

How did his life become this? Why?

Because those damn kids couldn’t stay in their pods.

It was all their fault. Every singly one of those escaped specimens. He sometimes fantasized taking his revenge out on the whole lot of them. He was supposed to be a scientist of renown, immortalized in history books for his contributions to the exploration of human potential. But now he was stuck teaching morons in a second rate community college, having to cram his self into a sardine can twice a day to get to and from work.

He stopped to rub his eyes, sighing heavily in exasperation as he thought more about the sorry state his life was in.

“Doctor Jeffery Thomas,” drawled a low, smooth voice from somewhere off to his side.

Every muscle stiffened as he looked up to see the one who had addressed him. Standing there only a few feet away was a man around the same age as he was wearing a black suit and an almost mischievous looking grin on his face.

“Agent Sbigs,” the scientist scowled, narrowing his eyes. “To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure.”

The agent closed the gap between him, the grin never leaving his face. “A lot going on in the city tonight, Thomas.”

“So I’ve heard.”

The man in the suit was standing annoyingly close now, invading Dr. Thomas’ personal bubble. “Wouldn’t know anything about that, would ya?”

“For the last four years you’ve been on my case and you’ve never had enough to press charges…”

And?” Agent Sbigs interrupted.

Dr. Thomas’ frown deepened. “Leave me alone or I’ll claim harassment.”

“Hey, okay, fair enough, fair enough,”
the agent replied, putting his hands up in the air and stepping away.

Without so much as a word Dr. Thomas turned to walk away from the man, but before he reached the stairs to leave the platform, Agent Sbigs called, “Some interesting things popped up in court today, Dr. Thomas. Have you watched the news?”

The scientist slowly spun around to face the man, keeping a cool exterior despite a growing inner paranoia. “No, I’m afraid I don’t watch much TV. I’ve been too busy enriching the minds of my students.”

The detective laughed and once again closed the distance between them. Then with a tilt of his head in the former Viola employee’s direction, he said, “Don’t leave town. Things are about to get really interesting.” He then spun on his heel and walked away, leaving Dr. Thomas to stand staring after him.

When he finally got home, Dr. Thomas had lost all his patience, and was in such a frayed state that he almost broke the locks on his door from trying to force it open too hard. After hastily entering his apartment and slamming the door shut, he warily stumbled into his bedroom and dropped everything he was carrying on the floor before falling face first onto his mattress. Feeling with his toes he managed to kick off his shoes without unburying his face, and there he remained until the next morning, having fallen asleep without another thought.

He woke up very early. It was still dark outside from what he could tell through the window. He rolled off of his bed and drug his feet into the bathroom where he stopped in front of the mirror and stared at his reflection for a long while.

“So this is it; the end of everything,” he said to the doppelganger staring back at him. He almost waited for a reply, but then shook his head to wake himself up a little more.

He was just being stupid, and he knew it. But he really didn’t care right now. His life was probably over and damn it, he was going to be surly about it. He had the right. Turning toward the bathtub, he reached over and turned on the faucet. When the water was the proper temperature he plugged the drain and opened a bottle of bubble bath, pouring in more than the one cap-full the instructions dictated was all that was needed. He then pulled a package of bath salts out of a drawer beneath the sink and poured some of that in as well.

The last thing to be done to complete the experience was turn on the massaging jets. Ah, the pleasantness of a whirlpool bath. He deserved such a luxury, and it certainly had saved him from having to pull out all of his hair in the past. Having to deal with absolute morons on a day to day basis certainly was exhausting.

He reveled in the relaxing sensation of the jets moving water over his sore muscles. With a laugh he imagined government agents busting down his door right at this moment, and the looks on their faces at finding him in the bathtub. He would think of something witty to say to Agent Sbigs, naturally, and be hauled away naked and laughing.

Not caring much about his classes, Dr. Thomas stayed in the tub for a very long time. His fingers and toes were quite wrinkly by the time he decided he didn’t want to be in there anymore.

There was one voicemail on his phone from work alerting him that classes had been canceled for the next few days. All the better for him, then. It wouldn’t look nearly as suspicious when he had not shown up anyway.

The rest of the day was spent watching the news and eating various things from the fridge that he could nuke in the microwave. At one point he even found a bag of microwaveable popcorn. It was a greasy buttery mess but it tasted fine all the same. He ate it slowly as once again the TV flashed images of the Destrillians who had been identified at the site of the wrecked hotel.

It made him wonder where his own specimen had ended up. As the face of the metal Destrillian flashed on the screen, he remembered that the last time number eight had been seen was with her, for number nine had been the one to break the redhead out of her pod.

He went to bed early again, having been up so early that morning, and he slept like a baby. He had never woken up feeling so refreshed than he had that morning. He had come to accept the fate that he knew would come, and hey, maybe being arrested for top secret human experiments would be what gave him the fame he so desired. He’d get his lawyer to get him into one of those upper class prisons where he’d live in luxury for the rest of his life. He would, of course, have only the best of the best for a lawyer, because really, what lawyer wouldn’t want to take on such a high-profile case?

But it was all a dream, really; a defense mechanism to help deal with the overbearing harshness of reality; a reality that hit him hard when he turned on the morning news.

The Destrillians had escaped the city only a few short hours before. A reporter walked through the path of their destruction, detailing the many aspects of what hat happened during their escape.

Jeffery Thomas nearly dropped his breakfast on the floor at the site of everything on the television. It wasn’t so much the level of carnage and destruction that put him into a state of shock, but more of something he noticed in the background as the woman told the story.

A military vehicle sat there, the bodies of the men trapped inside having already been removed. It was hard to make out what the vehicle was without the aid of the reporter’s words, but not for him. No, not for Dr. Thomas. For this vehicle was completely covered from front to back with flowering vines.

He quickly put his food down on the coffee table and crawled on the floor to be right in front of the television as if it would give him more information that way. There was just no mistaking the tell tale signs.

So she was with them, his precious prototype number eight. The specimen that was supposed to be his ticket to fame and fortune. It had to be her, for there was no other Destrillian in any Viola facility that could control plants or any living thing like she could. True, she never displayed any ability on this type of a scale, but he knew she had been holding back all those years.

Come to think of it, there was that night when Natasha tried to steal her away from the company. The girl had given a fantastic display of her true abilities that night.

“Well, well, I bet you think you’re so clever,”
he said softly, talking to the red haired girl as if she were right there in the room and could hear him.

The rest of the day was spent watching the news and browsing online news sites for more information, however nothing was given that satisfied him.

Just as he was deciding to go to sleep that night, however, the sound of his cell phone beeping caught his attention. He had just received a text message. It was a very odd thing, for he knew no one that sent text messages. He hated the things by principal. If you had something to say you call and say it. Text messages were for people who wanted to hide.

It was a number he did not recognize that had sent the message, and as he read it the absolute feeling of dread that he had been trying so hard to fight off returned to him three fold.

is this dr thomas i need ur help its about destrilans


Who was this? Were they typing so horribly on purpose or what? He decided to reply in kind out of curiosity.

Who is this?

A few minutes later he received another message.

come 2 luckys pizza plz i can explain

Directions immediately followed the latest message on how to get to the aforementioned restaurant. However, he couldn’t just rush off to this place. What if it was a set up? The image of Agent Sbigs’ annoying smirk entered his mind, along with the despicable man’s annoying drawl saying, “Gotcha,” as Dr. Thomas was slapped into handcuffs.

He decided to send another message.

Just because I worked for Viola doesn’t mean I know anything about Destrillians. Also, learn to spell.

A minute later came another response.

i no i still need ur help plz come

Every part of his being was telling the scientist to refuse. It would be wise to ignore whoever this was and just go to bed. Yet still, he was curious. Who would possibly be contacting him in such a manner than knew he was involved with the Destrillians?

If anything, perhaps he could get a free pizza out of the ordeal. He decided to go, and sent another message.

Alright I’m on my way.


Another minute later:

thx
__________________

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Old 11/21/2010   #141
NoenGaruth
Default

-12 years before present day-


“So is this the newest candidate?”

“Yes, the Shadow Intelligence and Operations Group brought her in just a couple of weeks ago.”

“What's the current assessment then?”

“We've placed them through all the same processes as the others and of course wiped their memories. Initial testing proved promising...but.”


“But what?”

“Even after the memory wipe, it seems her attitude hasn't changed. Despite being cooperative, he's still very arrogant, stubborn and often mocks our methods. She seems to learn quick and remember things well, and won't hesitate to correct myself or other staff whenever she notices a mistake in, basically anything.”

“So you're saying she thinks she knows better than us?”


“Perhaps. I understand that a requirement of this project is for the subjects to be intelligent, however this one seems to possess the kind that comes with arrogance, and despite our best efforts we've been unable to correct this problem, if anything our failed attempts just patter to her ego.”

“I see, well that is a shame. This one shall remain at Facility Two, if it can't be used as a real prototype it can still be of use in understanding the power given to it so we can implement it later down the track in a more 'cooperative' subject.”

“My sentiments exactly Sir, I could never see this one becoming a success. No one wants a soldier that's an arrogant snob...but then again it's not too surprising considering this subject's origins.”

“Indeed, I think we should advise the President not to go sourcing from the Audoulan nobles in the future – one way or another they always seem to rip you off.”




“...Ignorant fools, they're all the same.”



-4 years before present day-

“What the hell is going on now?!” Dr. Harmonn shouted, now in a state of panic due to news of the recent events transpiring at the Viola Headquarters.

“We're not sure sir! Everything is in complete disorder at our main offices, last we heard the entire building was compromised and government troops were storming the front gate”. A lab assistant replied as he frantically searched on a computer terminal for information on the current situation.

“Dammit! If the government is aware of the Destrillain project then Viola is finished! We need to conceal everything here.”

“Unfortunately, zhat is no longer of any concern to my forces or I.” The voice of Deitrich Von Krieg, Facility Two's military commander, echoed from down the hallway.

“What the hell do you mean General?!”


Krieg simply adjusted his monocle and replied in a calm tone “Viola's end means an end to our contract. Und considering zhe military is moving in on zhe main offices zhen zhere is no telling vether or not zhey know of zhis facility's location. Zherefore ve're leaving, und I'd suggest you do zhe same.”

The words left Harmonn speechless, their only means of protection in the event something goes wrong here also were preparing to up and leave. “But...but what about the test subjects? We still have Destrillians in hibernation here!”

Once again clearly not interested in the subject, Krieg sighed. “Do as you vish vith zhem, it's not like zhere's anyone left above you to say othervise.” and began to walk away from the panicky scientists.

“Wait! You can't just leave us here!” Harmonn shouted down the hallway, but the General just kept walking.

“Sir? What should we do then?” The lab assistant asked.

Harmonn thought for a moment, realizing the situation was hopeless. They were on their own now, and the Government might be coming for them, so there was nothing left to do...

...nothing except revenge.

“Inform the other project heads that we've lost all contact from the President and the Violan Military has now abandoned us, everyone can proceed from here as they see fit.” He then adjusted his neck tie and finished by saying in an emotionless tone “Now if you'll excuse me I've got old grievances to take care of.”

Dr. Harmonn walked into the chamber of Destrillian 'prototype' #14, and gazed towards the girl sleeping in the glass tank. Even when she wasn't awake it still looked as though she was taunting him, but soon she wouldn't any more. He punched a code into the nearby terminal that initiated the awakening process – he wanted her to be conscious for this.

After a moment, Mileina's eyes began to slowly open, and upon noticing Dr. Harmonn outside the tank, her gaze shifted to the cold, piercing stare that the man always received. That look made Harmonn's blood boil with anger. He then injected her with a high dose of sedative and began to drain the tank.

“This is the end of it 14. Viola is crumbling, the security forces have fled and ultimately the Destrillian project is canceled.”

Mileina retained the piercing gaze. “I always said you were destined for failure Harmonn. But the news that everyone else is going down as well is just magnifique.”

Harmonn clenched his fist at the sound of her taunting.

“A shame it's a hallow victory for you, Mileina Grace.” And hit a button on the console which opened the tank.
The girl tilted her head sideways with curiosity, then noticed the man pull a handgun out of his lab coat.

“You'll pay for all the ridicule over the years, 14. Viola might be through, but I can at least have the satisfaction of making you pay.”

Mileina's eyes grew wider at the threat. “That makes two of us, Doctor. Because you forgot one crucial thing.”

Harmonn looked at her puzzled.

“After so much use over the years....Sedatives aren't instant.” And as the words left her mouth, she lept out of the tank at Harmonn and knocked him against the wall, causing him to drop the gun. He quickly scrambled to get back on his feet, then looking up he saw the girl standing over him. It seemed no matter what situation she was always looking down on him, and this sent a blinding rage through his body. He charged forward at the girl and threw all his weight into a tackle and threw her to the floor. Now on top of the girl, he placed both his hands on her throat and began to choke her with all his might.

“You always thought you were better than me, always looking down. But not this time....not this time.”


Mileina attempted to remove his hands from around her neck, but the sedative was taking effect and her strength was fading fast. She could do nothing to stop the enraged man, but still she stared at him with those cold eyes.

“JUST DIE DAMMIT! YOU DESTRILLIANS DESERVE NOTHING BUT DEATH!”
He screamed as he choked tighter.

“You humans are no better.”
A voice spoke from out of nowhere.

Harmonn instantly looked up to see where the sound came from. “Who's there?! ANSWER ME DAMN YOU!”

During his rage, he hadn't noticed the door open, and as he turned his head to see who was there he was met by numerous sets of glowing red eyes looking back at him. The sight made Harmonn let go of Mileina and scurry away from the things at the doorway.

“What the hell is this? The government?”


“No I'm afraid we're not affiliated with any political entity.” The figure in the middle replied as it walked into the room, revealing a man in his thirties with short brown hair and glasses. His attire gave off the vibe of an Audoulan noble, which made Harmonn believe these are who the red-eyed monsters were.

“T-This is Viola corporation property. I'll h-have to ask you to v-vacate the premises or I'll call s-security.”

The other man simply gave a small chuckle in response. “By that are you referring to the large column of vehicles and aircraft heading away from here at great haste? No Doctor, there's no one here left to save you.”

Harmonn's heart sank. These people gave off a terrifying presence, and the eyes were like nothing he'd ever seem, and so in a panic he grabbed for the handgun on the floor and pointed it at the man.

“I don't care who you are, just die!” He shouted as his finger squeezed the trigger. However just as fast, the other man threw his hand forward and a stream on charged energy flew forward, striking Harmonn in the chest which threw him against the empty tank. His body spasmed from the shock as he tried desperately to get back on his feet, but before he could the other man grabbed him by the throat and picked him up.

“You Viola scientists are all the same. Suffering delusions of grandeur and only interested in bettering yourselves. But most importantly-” He looked down for a moment, scoffed and looked back up at Harmonn.

“THAT IS NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY!”.
He shouted as he sent a large amount of electromagnetic energy coursing through Harmonn's body. The scientist's arms flailed helplessly, his face began to distort from all the shock, followed by his eyes going dark as they began to smoulder, and with one final gasp his mouth fell open which released a black smoke that was all that remained of his charred insides.

The man dropped the dead scientist to the ground and turned to face the girl lying on the ground.

One of the other figures at the doorway spoke up.

“Yo, what should we do with that one?”


“Don't you worry yourselves with her, just focus on securing the other 'useful' ones and take them to the helicopter.”


“Fine, if you say so.”
The second one replied, and the two figures disappeared into the darkness.

The man stood in front of the girl, studying her. Mileina, barely conscious, turned her head slightly to look up at him.

“I don't...” She said softly.

“It's alright now, I won't let anyone harm you.”

“Who....who are you?”
She asked.

“My name is Avidez. And with your permission I'd like you to come with me, away from here.” Avidez said in a warm tone, reaching out his hand to her.

“...okay” Mileina replied, as she slowly raised her hand and placed it in his. Avidez then removed his coat, wrapped the girl in it and picked her up, after which he carried her into the hallway. As he walked down the dark corridor, screams could be heard echoing from all directions in the facility, along with the shrill cries of laughter from the demonic figures that accompanied Avidez into the facility. But Mileina didn't care at all for what was going on around her, all that mattered was this man who saved her, and while he held her it felt like nothing in the world could harm her.




“It seemed as though the world had forgotten me, that no one cared weather I died or lived.”

“But... but he... he did. I knew that.”



-6 months before present day-

Mileina sat in the back seat of the car, looking out the window as the rain fell on Villnore. Much had changed since the day she was rescued from Viola. Her life had made a change for the better – she had regained her memory that was stolen from her, along with the aristocratic lifestyle and position of power, and it was all thanks to one man – Viscount Maruca Avidez, CEO of the Limnades corporation, Audoulan noble, and most importantly, Lyverius. These beings sat high above Viola, it's scientists, and even mankind itself. They were everything Mileina wished to be, unlike a Destrillian. Despite the power it gave her, she simply considered it too weak and wished to be more, to be like the beings she so adored.

Her thoughts were interrupted as the girl sitting next to her, who had been starring into a screen she held, said in a flat, emotionless tone “We are here.”

“Good work Flutwelle. Now that we've located him, I think it's time we went and said hello”. Mileina replied as she opened the door and stepped out of the car. Flutwelle stepped out after her, followed by two males. All three of them were wearing similar outfits with sunglasses and caps, the only differences being the girl's outfit had a blue trim, the first male had red and the second had silver.

Mileina closed her eyes for a moment, sensing around for this presence she had felt. The source was coming from a building to her left, which she began to walk towards and stopped at the front steps. Not a moment later the door opened and a man, roughly her age, with a brown complexion stepped out to come face to face with her.

“Telran Miara I presume? I've been looking for you.”
__________________



Hey who wants to come home with me?!
Ok that wasn't very smart but totally worth it!
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Old 11/22/2010   #142
Mantichorus
Default

THE IRIN INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC ARCHIVES, VANAHEIMR -- DONOVAN EARLY (POSING AS NATE REYNOLDS)

BEFORE THE DESTRILLIANS’ FLIGHT FROM OSEA/WHILE HARTNELL RETURNS TO SETANTA

Early walked between the rows of databanks and books that made up the archive, impressed despite himself. From what he’d heard, Vanaheimr wasn’t even standing five years ago, and now…

While filling out the form was easy enough, it had taken a while for the pass to be issued. He wasn’t sure if it was Ms Hayle’s way of gaining a small measure of retribution for how she’d been overruled, or whether the system was just very thorough. It wouldn’t surprise him if it wasn’t an intentional part of the process: make a big noise about the data being accessible by anyone, but make the process so arduous that very few bothered to use it.

“The pass only works for the designated area,” the guard explained to him, after Ms Hayle had dismissed him. “Look for the area code printed on the pass, and use any of the designated terminals.”

After that, he was tossed into the labyrinth. Still, once again, the tidy ordering he’d seen on the streets worked to his advantage. Whoever had designed this place must be an autistic savant, or something. Very few people could turn their focus to such a mundane thing with so much precision. Unless of course, they’d just run the design process through a computer, and people had very little to do with it.

His mouth twisted into something halfway between a smile and a grimace as he finally saw the sector his card was designated to. He turned down the deserted aisle and sat down at a work station. With a sigh, he pulled out his glasses from his pocket and put them on. With a frown of concentration, he inserted the pass into the computer terminal. The computer hummed for a moment, before coming to life.

It was then he noticed someone peering over his shoulder.

“Good evening Mr. Reynolds. May I ask what are you up to?” It was the voice of the heavily dressed young girl from earlier.

Early felt a brief flash of alarm about her using that name, until he realised it was printed on the access pass.

“Oh, researching,” he replied with a slight smile, turning to look at her. “Thanks for your help earlier. I think that paperwork might have killed me.”

“I wouldn’t have ruled out the possibility,” she replied with a chuckle, her eyes narrowing in amusement. She took a step back from him as he shifted in his seat again. A bang of hair came lose from under her hat, and with one fluid motion she tucked it back. It was so fast, Early didn’t even register what colour her hair was. He replayed the last few seconds in his mind. Dark pink, maybe? Purple? Navy blue? Or was it just the shadows that made him think it was a darker colour?

“Uh, come again?” he asked. While he kept his persona as Nate intact, he was genuinely intrigued by the comment.

The girl giggled slightly and played with her scarf. “So what do we have here? A one Nate Reynolds it seems… I must admit it’s an interesting name, but to be honest it’s not the most inventive.”

‘Busted,’ he thought to himself. Aloud, he laughed. “Well, that’d be something to take up with my folks, I guess. Still, I think Nate’s better than Nathan… And worse, it could be short for Nathaniel.”

The young girl laughed too, her hand rising to cover her mouth. Early felt that the gesture was somewhat wasted considering her scarf.

“Convincing counterfeit ID cards can be easily acquired if you know the right people. Unfortunately, I have quite a keen eye for spotting such things.”

To emphasise the point, she winked at him and gave her eyelid a light tug.

“Ugh,” Early choked. He hated himself for the shudder of revulsion that ran through him at that point, but he couldn’t help it. He’d been squeamish about eyes for as long as he could recall.

Regardless of that, however, this girl had him busted. He was momentarily reassured by the fact that it didn’t seem like she was about to start screaming for help, until he remembered the guard’s reaction to her own ID. She was clearly a VIP in the IRIN. And more than that, how did she know about his ID card?

“So, uh…” he began.

“Oh that’s right! I’m terribly sorry but I haven’t introduced myself. Please call me Vier,” the girl said brightly.

“Right, Vier… How did you…come to this conclusion about my ID card?” Early asked.

“Very simple Mr. Reynolds. I see everything and anything coming into this city, and during my time I have seen many counterfeit IDs like this one. I believe they originate from a branch of the black market based in the Damascus region. Which would also lead me to the conclusion that's precisely where you came from.” Her words were spoken in the same warm, friendly tone as she had introduced herself in. Her eyes were closed the whole time she was speaking, the quiet confidence making Early smile. There was no hostility whatsoever in her voice or body language.

“I see…” he said. “Well, what can I help you with?”

“Understanding,” Vier replied. “You’re a peculiar case Mr. Reynolds. I know many things, easily more than anyone else in this entire city. However, while it is clear that Nathan Reynolds is not your real name, I can't find anything about you, even when I run your image against our entire database, and we have a lot of Damascans on file.”

She paused for a moment to allow him to take in what she’d said, studying his face. “So if you could kindly tell me who you really are and why you are actually here, it would be very much appreciated!” she finished.

Early lent back in his chair, frowning. He wasn’t used to people being this honest with him… At least, being this honest when they weren’t trying to kill him. There was also the question as to how much he could say without Chulainn getting pissed off if they found out. Well, there’s always the politically safe info…

“My name’s Donovan Early. I’m a merc. As to where I’m from… Well, I’m currently working for one of the provinces in Damascus. If you saw me talking to Blackmore at the gate, you probably already know I won’t tell you which. But thing is, I did tell him some of the truth. I am looking into those killings in Osea, as my employers believe it might be the work of an escaped experiment of theirs,” he said, and then paused. Maybe he should let it slide, but if she really wanted information…

“Also, the fake ID? It’s more black ops than black market -- a gift from a former employer who’s big on the spook stuff. And finding info on me might be problematic for you. The same employer wiped a lot of records on me as part of the payment.”

The news made Vier frown in disappointment.

“Really? That saddens me to hear.” After which she looked down at the floor and paused for a moment, then looked back up at Early and her cheerful expression had returned.

“I know! How about this? You tell me something interesting about yourself that nobody else knows, and in return I’ll answer you one question about whatever you want. Just please nothing pertaining to IRIN’s command structure or technology, thank you,” she said with her eyes closed and a warm smile on her face.

The restrictions on what he could ask her about suited him fine. All he needed to know about the command structure was that Vargas was in charge, and that by all accounts he wasn’t a very nice man. The knowledge of their tech wouldn’t help him at all, either -- he wouldn’t be able to remember enough to pass it on to anyone who could understand it.

But what could he tell her that no-one else knew? And what about himself could he describe as interesting? Somehow, he doubted his star sign would be of enough interest.

“Something you will find if you perform any searches on me: my first job was dispatching a rogue pyrokinetic in Audoula. The deranged bastard had scorched several small towns and villages off the face of the planet before I killed him,” Early said.

Seeing a pout of disappointment begin to form, he continued. “As you can imagine, that event’s given me a somewhat negative view of genetically engineered humanoids. I did some work on trying to track the origins of this rogue pyro. I’m positive that I’ve worked out who did the work on him, but I can’t prove it. And even though some of my employers had the resources to confirm or dispel my suspicions, none had the inclination.”

Early shrugged. “So, really, this isn’t about me, but you might still find it interesting. After all, they were possibly doing work on genetically enhanced humans with elemental manipulation abilities. And, of course, there’s no tangible link between IRIN and the defunct Viola corporation, who were interested in such matters, right?” He paused momentarily, aware that he was moving into dangerous waters. “The Archon Group. They’re based in Audoula. Or possibly were -- I haven’t been back there for a while.”

He glanced at the girl questioningly. “Is that enough to sate your curiosity, Vier?”

Vier placed her palms together once again and smiled at him.

“Correct you are, Mr. Early. Thank you for sharing that with me, I found it to be satisfying to my curiosity.” After which her face went completely blank and her eyes began to rapidly shift between the gold and silver glow. This lasted about 10 seconds before her face sprung to life again.

“Okay, I believe I promised you one question in return, so ask away.”

Early considered it momentarily, trying not to show his confusion and unease at the lights that had cycled in her eyes. Personally, there was nothing he could think of worth asking. Sure, there were a few things he’d like to know more about, but knowing more about those matters would most likely be bad for his health.

But for the job…

“As I’ve said, I’m here on the trail of an escaped experiment. So, the question I should ask is this; has IRIN International encountered any unfamiliar non-human humanoids recently? Specifically, here in Vanaheimr, or in Osea?”

Vier's expression changed to that of scepticism.

“At first it almost sounds as though you’re hunting Destrillians. A path you’ll find yourself in an ‘early’ grave I might add. However if you’re inquiring about something unfamiliar to us, then I can tell you that we received a couple of reports out of Osea concerning incidents that don't quite add up as known Destrillian handy work.”

Vier then withdrew a small PDA from her coat and began tapping away at the screen.

“There was a case a couple of nights ago where the remains of a girl were found in some back alley, apparently all that was left were the bones. Investigators believe the body had been doused in acid.”

She turned the PDA around to show a picture of what was left of the victim.

“Next we’ve heard from within the Artolian government that someone or something has been lurking in the Sewers under the Orange Zone, however it’s worth noting that Denann Industrials have shown particular interest in this case so it simply might be their mess that’s running amok down there.

“Aside from those specifics, of the few remaining reports, the occurrence that they seem to have in common, is people being what can only be described as ‘partially eaten’. You would think they were just caused by some animal, however Osea isn’t exactly known for being home to large, man eating creatures, so process this information as you will.”


Vier then switched off her PDA and placed it back in her coat.

“Well then, did you find the answer you were looking for there Mr. Early?”

Early sighed. “Unfortunately, yes, I believe I have.” His brain went back through the conversation in reverse. The use of the phrase ‘partially eaten’ was proof enough to his mind of the presence of an Animus, and would probably be considered uncomfortably close to the truth by Chulainn.

He could discount the thing in the Orange Zone, as Animus inevitably had a heightened sense of smell. He knew from experience that sewers rarely smelt as bad as you expected them to, but an Animus would probably avoid them, despite the obvious advantages for covert movement.

With every Animus victim he’d seen, both from his experience tracking the one in Chulainn Hub and the images Volsung had provided, there was a good deal more left than just bones.

He allowed himself a brief, humourless smile. He’d heard enough puns on his surname over the years to barely notice Vier’s comment. Still…

“Quite frankly Vier, I’ve had enough encounters with elemental manipulators to last me a lifetime. Still, thanks for the info.”

Early began to rise from his seat, when an observation about his luck reared its ugly head. As he stood, he smoothed out a crease in his coat.

“Look, I’m headed on to Osea. Those reports about the victims being ‘partially eaten’ sound like the handiwork of the things I’m hunting. All the same, going by my past experiences, there’s an off-chance I might encounter one of these Destrillians. If I do, I’d be willing to pass along any info to you. In exchange, I’d appreciate you passing along any more reports about people turning up ate.”

Vier giggled and replied; “I think we have a good arrangement then, Mr. Early. If you find anything please contact the ISS, ask for me directly -- anyone who actually knows my name can get through to me. And if I find anything of use to you...well don’t worry, I’ll find you.” She finished off her sentence with that trademark warm smile.

She then gazed over at a clock on the wall. “Good heavens look at the time, I really must get back to my duties.” And started towards the door, but stopped halfway and turned her head back to face her interesting new contact.

“Until next time Mr. Early, please take care of yourself!” she said with a wave, and as quickly as she appeared, was gone.

Early allowed himself a wry smile and shook his head. “Bye now,” he muttered. He wondered what his immediate course of action should be.

Vier’s information had confirmed his initial suspicion about the murders he had heard reported. Interesting that whoever had passed her the info had pegged it as similar to an animal attack while the news crews were calling it a murder. Maybe they thought the populace would be calmer at the prospect of a nutjob than a wild animal on the loose. Maybe someone who knew something of the truth was involved at some point.

But, unless Vier was playing her cards incredibly close to her chest, it would seem IRIN hadn’t had a direct confrontation with an Animus, or autopsied one. Doubtlessly, Chulainn would prefer it if that state of affairs was continued.

Early went to walk away from the terminal, when he recalled that he had left it active, with his access card still in the slot. He considered whether he should bother using it at all now. They might have ways of telling he hadn’t used the terminal, but there was no doubt in his mind that Vier would gloss over any problems that could cause.

He needed some details of the cases -- of course there was the chance that the cases he might look up might not be anything to do with the attacks that left the victims ‘partially eaten’, but frak the odds.

Sitting back down, he quickly pulled up the data files the card had given him access to; it seemed to be a bunch of murders in Osea from the past few months. He noted that a few had been tagged ‘possible Destrillian connection?’, and felt it prudent to leave them alone.

Using a notepad and pen, he made note of a few cases where the victim had been ‘mauled’ or ‘partially eaten’, noting that it had been suggested that a few of the latter had been post-mortem scavenging by feral dogs. He put an asterisk next to these cases.

One of the names stood out, and Early tried to determine why. In a flash, he understood; it was the name of the victim reported when he had met Smythe. One Wilhelm Grant; early twenties, no dependants, survived by live-in fiancée and his parents. His brow creased for a moment and he drummed his pen against the desk. The name of Grant’s workplace seemed familiar to him for some reason.

He shrugged. He’d figure it out later, and scribbled down ‘Omnis Freight Co. Ltd.’ next to the kid’s name before logging out of the computer, ejecting his pass card as he did so.
__________________
I work all day and I think all night
I break my body, but that's all right
Cos it'll take all my mind and all my might
To keep one step ahead of you
L.E. Modesitt, Jr wrote: Sometimes cynicism is the last refuge of the idealist.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up.
You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder.
Gym Leader Kris sprite by Brooke


Sam Vimes arrested a dragon... and carries the law with him like an Ampharos
Vimes and PokeSammies sprite by GLD
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Old 11/28/2010   #143
Sheva Alomar
Default

Fiona had been running. From what, she wasn’t certain, but she had to keep running. Her legs were extremely sore, as if she had been going like this for miles on end. What would she run from in the first place?

"So my precious lab rat returns."

The fire Destrillian froze, completely disoriented by the voice. She hadn't heard it in four years and thought she would never have to again. "Fringe." It wheezed out of her throat like the end of a bad cough. That one utterance seemed to be all she was able vocally muster as she stood in the dark, alert to any movement. She placed a hand on her throat. Where had her voice gone? What was happening?

"She's even at a loss for words. How endearing." The end of the statement came out in a menacing hiss. "Guards! Let's show Number Four just how much we have missed her presence."

Go choke on a dick, little man!

The familiar vibration of summoning her power washed over her as...
Nothing happened.

What the--?! Fiona was tackled to the ground by ten heavily armed men. She fought back writhing and punching, but nothing seemed effective. No voice, no strength, no fire. The redhead could feel her heart and head pulsate in panic. Panic. Something the fire prototype hadn't experienced in a very long time.

Fiona perservered vainly in trying to escape the brutes, but they had now wrapped her in heavy restraints. A gigantic screen came to life out of nowhere in front of the Destrillian as the guards seemed to vanish. Dr. Finley Fringe's face appeared. "All dressed up for me now, excellent."

The redhead wanted to scream, but her face turned beat red instead.

"Tut, tut, tut. Under my superior direction, I demand MANNERS!" The scientist's voice shrieked at a frequency that nearly crippled Fiona's ears. She cringed and fell to her knees. "There's a good little Destrillian," Fringe's voice called, returning to a tolerable tone. "Now let's have a look at how you've progressed since we last saw each other."

The fire prototype looked back up at the screen to find the image of Fringe's facade stretched out into three dimensions right in her own face. She fell onto her back, inching away like a worm. This time, she was able to just make out the most basic grunt of a sound.
The Viola doctor cackled like the madman he was. For a relayed image, she sure could smell the stale caviar in his breath. "It seems the tables have turned on you, Number Four. Once, I was the scared rat, but now it is evident that you are."

A scared rat? Fiona Myrwind was many things, but a scared rat sure as hell was not one of them. That's when they came. Summoned from thin air, a stampede of rats assaulted the powerless Destrillian. They bit and scratched at her relentlessly; each scrape and bite felt like an icy sting that surged throughout her body. She tried to get onto her feet, but the restraints she was in gave no leeway to permit her such a relief.

The ice. The tortuous feeling manifested itself into a lethal, physical sheet of crystal. It started to spread all over her being while the vermin continued to gnaw and cut away at #004's flesh. Even through the harsh, freezing layer of frost, Fiona could still feel the cold pricks of the sharp teeth and claws that came from all sides. Her body went into shock. It was too much. The fire prototype began to spasm and gasp for air as if she were drowning. Who knew she would die in such an embarrassing way? And to that vertically challenged creature of a man? No more air. The pain was too much. The darkness grew and grew.

Fiona snapped her eyes open, paralysed and numb where she lay--her breathing was laboured and rapid. What the fuck just happened? She remained still, trying to compose herself. The fire prototype's dreams were becoming nightmares on a daily basis and she would not let that shit fly. Raising an arm in front of her eyes, Fiona knew that it had something to do with the poison. As she delved into thought about the toxin, the dull ache of it rushed back. It didn't ail her as severely as it had before she'd passed out in the Winnebago, but it was still there. Fiona guessed that she was finally getting over it. She knew she would eventually; nothing ever held her back for long.

The flame Destrillian had to get some fresh air, she decided. Being cooped up, even unconcious, with everyone else took its toll. She winced as she sat up...and realised that she was somewhere completely different. Between the crazy dream and pain, Fiona didn't take the time to sense her surroundings. Where was she now? It was a large bedroom; there was an expensive-looking duvet, and a soft mattress beneath her. They certainly weren't roughing it in the countryside anymore. Her weakened senses, for what they were worth, were now at eleven.

Fiona looked down at her body, finally realising that someone had left her in only her pants and sports bra. Had she taken her vest and tank top off at some point? It wouldn't have surprised her; everything from the last few days was a blur, anyway. She ran a hand over her abdomen, noticing a strange glisten. Was she sweating? Sampling the translucent liquid on her tongue told her that she had. The fire Destrillian was lucky she was able to taste at all--it seemed that her senses had dulled, to the point that there was the slightest tinge of surprise to find Thetis in the room with her. She had been sleeping soundly, even if she did look a little uncomfortable in the fetal postion.

Thetis being there calmed her down. If she was able to find the time to sleep, they must have been somewhere safe for the moment. Fiona decided to check out the rest of hotel room, standing up with hesitation. Looking at her, one would have thought she was balacing on a thin wire. She stumbled over to the far wall and leant against it in an attempt to get a hold on her senses. This bullshit needs to stop.

"Or does it?"

"What the f--?"

"Now now! Curse words are not very nice!"

Fiona couldn't believe what she was seeing in front of her. There was this... little person, buzzing about in front of her face; she was sparkling, and had wings bigger than her little body. "What are you and what the hell do you want?"

The little faerie smacked the fire Destrillian right on the nose. "I just told you that bad words are a no-no!"

To say the redhead was weirded out was an understatement at this point. Sure, she had powers and strength that went far beyond human capacity, but the creature before her was just out-of-this-world bizarre. "Whatever! Get out of my way you creepy, little bug."

"That's just mean!"

"You'll get over it." Fiona pushed off from the wall and slowly shuffled into the large living area. Whoever had brought them here must have had a lot of money, which raised a flag in her mind--she didn't get very far beyond that thought process, though, before another wave of disorientation took its toll. The fire prototype thumped into the closest piece of furniture, which happened to be an excruciatingly comfortable couch. Her whole body was still sore, but she enjoyed a brief reprieve in the embrace of the extra fluffy sofa.

Fiona must have had a another relapse in conciousness because the next thing she realised was that she was laughing as she never had before. It sounded like she couldn't even stop herself. She chortled and giggled as bright, tiny people danced and flew around her. They made funny faces, sang, and wrestled all for the Destrillian's amusement. It all seemed so funny to her and, in the back of her mind, she had no idea why. If anyone had seen #004 like this now, well, the name 'Blazing' Fury might have been thrown into serious question.

The faerie festivities were cut abruptly short as a sick feeling squeezed at Fiona's insides. In a blind need to rid herself of the nausea, she nearly tripped over herself to find the bathroom. The redhead fell to her knees in front of the toilet and let a stream of pure bile pour out of her mouth. The vomiting went on for what seemed like forever; Fiona felt like she was hacking up everything in her body.

Eventually the ill feeling subsided, if only temporarily, and the flame Destrillian sat down on the tiled floor of the bathroom against the bathtub. A disgusting taste of what could be best described as regurgitated feces was left in her mouth--to rid herself of it, she reached over and grabbed the first towel she saw and wiped her mouth clean as she caught her breath.

The mirror on the other side of the room caught her eye. For how bad she was feeling, she only wondered how crappy she looked. After hoisting herself up and dragging her feet over, she was met with a reflection that was nearly unrecognisable. At first, Fiona looked at herself like a curious animal seeing its reflection for the first time, carefully examining all of her features. She placed her hands on the sides of the sink in front of her and leaned in to get a closer look at the face looking back at her.

For once, the fire Destrillian's eyes almost looked, well, normal. The bright orange orbs had dulled to look almost brown in colour, all of the energy having been sapped from them. Her brilliant hair now fell down her face like a dead thing, the large fringe messily brushed to the side instead of straight up. #004 vainly ran a hand through it, half-thinking it would just go back to its usual style. No such luck. Fiona's olive complexion now looked pale, even tinted with hint of green in some areas (no thanks to the poison that still ailed her). Veins riddled with the toxin had spread from her shoulder and were now reaching parts of her neck and chest, even reaching as far as the small of her back. The redhead couldn't help but laugh; she looked like one of those zombies that her and Thetis had jeered at the few times they'd watched those sorts of films on the TV.

Her mind wandered as she stared at her reflection, not actually focusing on it. What brought them to this point? Granted, she must have missed a lot considering they were hiding in an established hotel, but what about everything she was concious for? The fight with those two weirdos out of nowhere in the club was the start of it all. Did anyone even know who they were? Someone had to, especially seeing as they'd showed up AGAIN when they were escaping Osea. Then, there was the whole ordeal of making the plans to actually get out of the city and all of the fighting that entailed. The whole of the military was on high alert, both Artolian and IRIN forces. They were only chasing them because some douchebag framed the lot of them for getting out that creep, Spencer. Fiona couldn't care less about his first name, she just knew that he had to deal with Viola. This had to be all his fault, one way or another.

But was he to blame for what happened to Thetis? The fire Destrillian's thoughts zeroed in on her. No one seemed to have the answers about what had happened to her roomate before they'd seen each other in that freaky pod room. Something didn't add up with that, but she would find time in the immediate future to inquire about it again. With the end of that train of thought, came the recollection of verbal exchanges they'd had along the way. Fiona and Thetis not having the isolation from the rest of their Destrillian comrades seemed to put a strain on everything. She couldn't quite place what that strain was, but there was a feeling tugging at her subconcious that said something hadn't been right. The redhead racked her brain for an answer to that mystery, but nothing came. The only constant was the nagging feeling, not yielding any insight as to why she was bothered.

There was also the metal Destrillian, who seemed to be the only other person who bothered to interact more with Fiona aside from the occassional side glance of despise or disgust, or terse comment to show that they weren't completely ignoring her existence. What was her angle? The fire prototype always had a unique relationship with Idris, to say the least. Of all of their crew, Fiona could tell that Idris was trying to fill a spot in their team that wasn't easily replacable. Whether it was a concious effort or not, it sat better with the firestarter that #009 was taking charge instead of someone like Kerr, who--if it weren't for his useful driving--should have been kicked to the curb well before they made a run from the hellhole that had Osea had become.

And those new people, who the hell were they? She still didn't have the lowdown on them all quite as well as she hoped for and would mend that in due time, as well. For the moment, though, it was easier to just focus on the now--and take care of this putrid shit coursing through the fire Destrillian's veins.

Fiona suddenly snapped back to her surroundings. It wasn't often that she delved so deep into thought, and for good reason: too much distraction from what was going on immediately around her. With all of the weight on the Destrillians' collective shoulders at the moment, she couldn't afford any of that.

She pushed off and away from the sink, thinking she had enough strength to make it back to the bedroom. That was not the case. Fiona grew dizzy once more and this time it was just a little too much to handle. Before she could go a step further, she sought balance, but instead fell straight to the floor. The fire Destrillian passed out once more.

As long as no one found her laughing at imaginary faeries, she would be fine.
__________________

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Old 12/04/2010   #144
Alex
Default

JASON SPENCER, NEAR THE AUDOULAN BORDER
-The day the Destrillians leave Osea-



To the mind of Jason Spencer, the inner workings of every establishment under his control had to run like clockwork machines whether he was present or not. The people under his employ continued to carry out their jobs and fulfil their assignments with the same precision and impeccable dedication that they would have regardless of whether or not their employer was issuing orders from his office a few minutes walk away, or locked up in a prison cell on the other side of the country. This security that his plans would be able to be carried out independent of his actual physical presence looming over them like a grand overseer, meant that he was always able to stay two steps ahead. Whilst the attention of an entire nation had been fixated on him for years whilst he had been drawing their fire in prison, it meant that certain other elements of his organization had been able to carry on more important work in the dark and beneath the radar of any public, government or military figure.

For this reason, when Jason Spencer pulled up through the broken down brick walls that marked the perimeter to his mansion estate, he knew with absolute certainty that the CCTV cameras hidden amongst the brickwork were still operational and being monitored by a control tower hidden amongst a small orchard on the grounds, and that at least two dozen armed guards had all witnessed his arrival. This facility practically ran itself, and the thought made him smile through the dense forest of greying hair that surrounded his mouth. It was like he had hardly gone at all, he thought calmly to himself as the exterior of the mansion complex came into view.

The mansion itself had not been used or even taken care of for the better part of two decades, since Spencer himself had purchased it from an Audoulan nobleman with a particular penchant for expensive wine. As such, without the attention of a team of dedicated staff the mansion had fallen into a state of catastrophic disrepair. The brickwork was stained by the elements and overgrown vines and foliage seemed to envelope its tall walls and pillars, punching through the old windows to truly give the house the look of outright abandonment.

Exactly as planned, Spencer thought to himself as he pulled the car up into the driveway of the house. He paused momentarily to take the scenic beauty of the grounds. The house itself had been built on a small rise that overlooked the extensive fields that were contained within the bricked wall borders of the estate. The fields themselves eventually gave way to a small, deep lake; that even in the broad morning daylight still shone a deep indigo.

After what had seemed like years of just staring at the same four tiny, filthy prison walls the wide open expanse of pure untouched countryside that spread itself out before him seemed almost overwhelming. It had seemed almost impossible to behold that so much of the world seemed to exist beyond the four walls that had been the be and end all of his existence.

He pushed his way through the abandoned front door to the mansion, it was never locked, and was uncannily aware of the four hidden cameras that were trained on analysing his facial features as he got to the first set off double doors right on the right.
Their wooden exterior was merely a facade, the wooden panels sliding into the wall to reveal the polished mirror sheen of an elevator doorway. There was only one button, set into the centre of the left hand door. He pushed it, and without a sound or a delay the doors slid open, revealing the Spartan interior. There was only one button in here too.

The elevator lurched into life and began its descent into the countryside. Spencer closed his eyes. Never one to openly show weakness or discomfort, there was something confining about the elevator that seemed to be just a bit too familiar. A bit too reminiscent of the cells he had uncomfortably endured for so long. At least nobody could see him in here. The slightest hint of frailty needed to be purged before he could meet and address his subordinates. That was the way it had always been done. Whoever said that a man in a position of authority could gain the allegiance of those under him by indulging them in his innermost concerns or fears clearly had no idea what being in a position of authority meant.

He tightened his grip on the scabbard of his sword.

The doors slid open again and his tired eyes were greeted with the great yawning expanse that was the mansion’s entrance hall, frescoes adorning its walls and towering stone statues. This hall was large enough to hold over a hundred people, easily.

And today, it was holding over a hundred people. Security guards in identical black uniforms, scientists of all genders and colours, all had come from the stations and labs within the mansion to welcome him home.

The smile of gratitude on his face certainly was not a smile of weakness as he weathered the cheers and applause, shook the hands of those who rushed up to congratulate him as though he were some legend made real. Many of the faces and voices he saw and spoke with were people that he had not seen for years, sometimes even longer than that. Yet all had tirelessly worked under him, first beneath the banner of Viola and then now under him personally. Even Abaddon’s usually impassive face cracked a small smile as he shook Spencer’s hand. Only his keen eyes betraying the smallest traces of annoyance at being torn away from this lab for such a meaningless social event. Yet he had attended anyway, his presence among the staff was great for company morale. Spencer knew that his Head of the Scientific Department was merely anticipating the order that he was going to give himself. That it would take more than just the scientific research being conducted below this mansion to keep this organization together.

“Is my daughter here? I want to see Persephone,” Spencer asked as he released his grip on his chief scientist’s hand.

Abaddon shook his head in response.

“When you do see her, Malcolm. Tell her I’d like to see her immediately. Please.” Spencer replied gruffly. Not wanting to show it, but secretly disappointed that his daughter wasn’t here to welcome him home.

It had been two years since she had last seen her. By his own request. He had been adamant about not wanting to let his daughter come visit him whilst he was in prison. However, that was not to say that he hadn’t had contact with her. Despite his status as one of the most dangerous prisoners in the country, even strict Artolian law couldn’t quite deny him the basic rights and privileges of using the prison phone when he needed to speak to his daughter.

Though each conversation was recorded and scrutinised by analysts for hidden messages, they would always come up disappointed. Those brief phonecalls were just that. Brief phonecalls from a father to his teenage daughter.

As he ascended the stairs of the mansion, his back turned to the gradually diminishing crowd of his employees, he did remember the guilt he had felt whilst alone in his cell. He had known in the months before his arrest that this stage of his grand plan would involve sacrificing time e could have spent watching his daughter grow up. He had known, and he had deemed it an acceptable loss despite the constant weight on his conscience.

It was only after he reached the top of the stairs and started walking into the finely furnished corridors of the underground mansion that the excited sound of his employees chattering died away, finally hidden from his ears by the walls of wood and marble. They would return to their tasks now. This brief disruption shouldn’t have posed too much of a setback.

The rest of the day proved uneventful for Jason Spencer. Nobody seemed all that keen to bother him so shortly after his return and truthfully, although whilst most of him felt frustrated with so much inaction, a small part of him was relieved. There was something truly comforting about being able to simply hang up his sword on the enormous rack of dozens of bladed weapons that he kept in his bedroom, or to spend a lethargic hour having his unruly hair and beard trimmed into something more presentable by one of the mansion’s maids. As he wandered through the vast galleries and corridors of the mansion taking small comfort in the wealth of statues of paintings that he had collected to furnish this place, he knew full well that the peace of mind was short lived of course. There was only so long one could go without having to turn their mind back to the subject of Destrillians.

Following a few hours of solitude, Spencer returned to his study, a small and sparsely furnished room compared to the rest of the mansion. Dressed in clean clothes and determined to focus on unfolding events both within and outside of these walls. Reclining in a leather seat so worn and cracked that it looked as though it had to have been one hundred years old and behind a vast wooden desk, overburdened with piles of reports and files all coated in a thin layer of dust.

When this room was examined alongside the rest of the mansion it seemed too small, too vulgar. Lit only by a single, cheap iron chandelier and walled by bookshelves that were almost bursting at the seams with books, papers, reports and documents of all kinds. Everything in the history of his old corporation, among many, many other things both secret and speculation was contained in this boxy little room.

Feeling right at home behind this desk, Spencer wasted no time in picking up the phone embedded into the desk and calling the head each and every department currently stationed at the mansion. Everyone from the head of the catering department, to the chief of security. From the head of the science team involved with monitoring Elvan Fatima, to the team of medical experts paid to watch Finn Eliot’s medical health twenty four hours a day.

There were five Destrillians currently living in the mansion. Spencer requested amazingly detailed reports on how each and every one of them had changed and developed in his absence from the mansion.

The only man who came to visit him in the study had been Malcolm Abaddon, who had come requesting that Spencer undergo a routine medical exam.

“Is there some reason you couldn’t have asked me this over the phone?”
Spencer asked testily.

“I didn’t think you would have appreciated other people overhearing me quiz you on your medical history.”
Abaddon replied drily, as he sat in the equally worn out seat across from Spencer, the only other item of furniture in the room.

Spencer’s green eyes flicked up from the extensive report on Salem’s disciplinary problems that he had been catching up on, to catch Abaddon’s telling glance.

“Quite right,”
He conceded, though he showed no further indication of indulging his chief scientist, who simply sighed in frustration.

“I haven’t experienced any further symptoms. You would do well not to bother yourself with it Malcolm.”
Spencer spoke up, in the hopes that this hollow reassurance would be enough to placate his physician.

“Given the physical strain you’ve been under in the past twenty four hours, you don’t know how accelerated your condition could become.”
Abaddon insisted, his sour tone indicating to Spencer that his motivation wasn’t out of concern for his employer’s physical health.

“You should get some rest, Malcolm, you look like you could use some,”
Spencer spoke up, blatantly changing the subject to ignore the doctor’s insistence. Though, this wasn’t an entirely unfounded accusation. The scientist’s eyes were bloodshot and ringed with dark shadows, and there was a thick build-up of dark stubble building up around his chin.

“I didn’t have you recall Finley, Alison and the others for nothing. You look like you haven’t slept in days,”
he stressed the last sentence just enough so that the mutinous looking Abaddon got the message.

“If you’ll excuse me, Malcolm. I have another appointment.”


Wordlessly, the scruffy looking man picked himself up and stormed out of the room. Leaving Spencer to momentarily ponder the wisdom involved with leaving somebody so self-important in charge of his organization for so long.

There was a faint knock at the door of the study, light but firm.

"Come in."

The door opened quietly, revealing a girl half Spencer's age, who strode in silently, her movements betraying an almost unnatural grace. She came to a stop a short distance in front of Spencer's desk, and then gazed upon him, vivid cobalt eyes wide, head tilted slightly. The man opposite her still radiated that same sense of power he always did, and she could feel the calm, unwavering confidence he constantly exuded, almost as though it were tangible.

There was a brief pause where the two looked at each other before the girl's face broke into a warm smile. "Welcome home, Mister Spencer."

"Thank you, Lorelei. It's good to be home,"
he said, gesturing to the single seat that stood before his desk. "Please, take a seat."

Her eyes flickered to her periphery, her eyes narrowing for an instant before she tapped one bare foot on the floor. She then took her place in the chair as directed, then waited for Spencer to speak. She had been summoned here by one of the guards, and she wasn't entirely certain as to why. Is it something I did? she wondered.

Seeing the unease in the loyal Destrillian, Spencer forced himself to give a small smile -a slight gesture to try and set her mind at ease. It had been two years since he had last spoken to Lorelei Jaeger; it went without saying that she would have felt at least a little bit nervous in his presence.

"It's good to see you well."


The cloudiness in her expression cleared as she returned the smile that she felt rather than saw. "I'm as good as ever. I just wish it wasn't always so cold here," she said with a shiver, pulling her muffler tighter about her. "It's nice to have you back. But I'm guessing the escape didn't go as well as planned?" she asked, forcing herself to master her curiosity. Nobody liked being bombarded with questions the moment they got home, after all - and that wasn't even taking into consideration having to break out of prison to get home in the first place.

Spencer shrugged his wide shoulders, "It went as well as I could have hoped. There were far too many variables involved to hope that everything would go according to plan," he paused to let his eyes take in the difference in appearance and posture of the Destrillian. She seemed to have changed much more than Salem had.


"I have a job for you."


Lorelei perked up. "A job?" It had been a very long while since she'd been aboveground, in the lands outside of the surrounding area; she was used to hearing the constant, never-tiring song of the twin mansions. But while she was elated at the chance to leave the mansion grounds (she loved the song of water and longed to hear it sung in a new voice), she knew that whatever this was about was a serious matter indeed for her to have been called here.

"No doubt you've heard about the Destrillians incident in Osea?"
Spencer asked the obvious question. He doubted there was anybody in the entire country who had not heard about the catastrophe his renegade creations had caused in Artolia's capital city.

She nodded in reply.

"I've had a field team following the group since they left the city. Apparently, they're heading towards Audoula. I would like you to rendezvous with the team down there and provide them with whatever backup they require," he paused, as though considering whether or not it would be worthwhile telling her any more than that.

"The situation in Vilnore might prove too chaotic for just one team down there," he concluded.

Lorelei was silent as she absorbed this information. So she was headed to Villnore, then, and was meeting a team that had been tailing the rogue Destrillians. Simple enough, really. And if it was backup that they needed...well. She'd just have to provide it, then, wouldn't she? She nodded. "Anything else I should know? Are we to engage the other Destrillians?" she asked, a slight hint of hopefulness in her voice.

"Quite the contrary. Do your best to stop that group from getting themselves killed. But don't reveal yourself unless it is absolutely necessary. I want to keep my involvement a secret." Spencer turned away and impatiently leafed through a few of the files on his desk before finding the appropriate ones, two big, thick blue folders both marked with a long string of numbers.

"Take these dossiers; and give them to the team down there. I assume they'll be familiar with the subject matter," he reached across the desk to hand over the files to the Destrillian, who took them and held them in her lap.

"I'm going to need you to apprehend at least one of the subjects listed here and bring them to me."


Her eyebrow twitched involuntarily. So that was it. "Bring them here?" she reiterated, unable to keep herself from slightly emphasizing the word 'here'. "Alive, then?"

"Alive." Spencer reiterated firmly so that there could be no mistake, keenly noting that Lorelei's distate for the renegade Destrillians had not lessened with age.

A slight sigh escaped her, her chance to deal with the ingrates vanishing just as suddenly as it had appeared. "Would you prefer both of them?"

"Only the strongest one. I trust you to be a good judge," he spoke after a moment of consideration; in giving Lorelei this small measure of his trust, Spencer had hoped that he would have been able to smooth any feathers ruffled by this assignment.

She looked down into her lap, blushing slightly at this small praise. "And the other?"

"Expendable; just don't interfere too much. Secure your target and get out as fast as possible."


She nodded. "I can do that."

"I don't doubt your ability, Lorelei,"
he said quietly. "I'd appreciate it if you left for Audoula as quickly as you can."

"Yes, sir," she murmured. The slight rebuke made it perfectly clear what the intent and scope of her mission was, and eliminating the weaker of her targets was not included in it.

She could feel the subtle shift in Spencer's here mood that indicated it was time for her to go. "As you wish," she said as she rose, then began to glide across the floor. As she reached the door, she stopped and turned back.

"Mister Spencer?"

"Yes?" he asked her back.

"Salem didn't come back with you, did he?" This, however, was not a question - rather, it was a polite way of stating what was, to her, very obvious. She had been one of the first to become aware of Spencer's return to his private kingdom - if Salem had been with him, she would have known.

"Salem has returned to Osea. He's tying up some loose ends for me there,"
he paused.

"Don't worry. I'm sure Mr. Locke will grace us with his presence again soon enough." Spencer spoke wearily.

"Oh, I wasn't worried," she replied, a little too quickly. "I was just wondering, that's all."

But Spencer caught the hint of a smile that began to spread across her face as she turned back and left the room.


.oOo.



With Lorelei now gone, Spencer continued to make significant progress into the small mountain of catch-up reading he had to do, well into the night. When he had first put his mind to designing this complex, he had specifically asked that this room be built without any windows so that even the artificial lighting system would not encourage him to retire to bed any earlier than was necessary. By the time he checked his watch he discovered that it was now quarter to midnight, and other than a few dozen scattered moments of rest inside Salem’s VTOL he had not slept a wink since the escape from prison.

With a tired reluctance Spencer closed the report he had been busying himself with reviewing and left the study, heading towards his bedroom.

The master bedroom of his mansion was located closer to the surface, and at the top of a spiral staircase accessible only by way of a locked doorway located behind a painting in the smallest portrait gallery. This ensured that even if somebody had stumbled upon the door, they would never have been able to get into his bedroom.

The reasons for such elaborate security measures were not nearly as profound as any potential infiltrators would imagine. The large bedroom at the top of the staircase did not hide any great secret or insight into the machinations of Jason Spencer. Instead, he simply enjoyed it for its privacy. Every moment of the day involved dealing with people, plans and the massive interconnected web of connections that spread outwards from this place. Having this room so detached from everything else was able to give him the breathing room he needed to sit and think away from all of the reports and the planning.

As he got ready for bed he took a moment to reflect on the day, on the empty feeling that had been gnawing inside him all day. Where was Persephone? Where was his daughter? Did she even know that he had returned home? He poured himself a large glass of whisky from the dark and dusty bottle that had stood tall and in his absence. He knew full well that he had only thrown himself so thoroughly into his work today so as to stop dwelling on the matter. He downed the drink in one and turned to face the photograph on his bedside table next to the old bottle.

It was an old photograph, but even so, it was possibly the one item that held more significance to Jason Spencer than his old sword. The frame of the photograph was neither expensive or cheap, but plain and unremarkable. Far less valuable than the memories of the four figures that stood in the photograph.

There was Spencer himself, who stood tall and proud. His hair was far less liberally streaked with grey in the photograph, his beard was shorter and tidier too and the angry scar that stretched down his face was less obscured by the increasing wrinkles around his eyes. His arm was placed around a woman who was a full head shorter than Jason; her lengthy auburn hair only starting to gracefully grey at the temples and framing a face that held a dignified beauty that had not been lost to age.

Spencer poured himself another glass of whiskey. It had been so many years since he had last seen his wife.

Beneath them in the photograph were a pair of children, each had inherited both their mother’s good looks and their father’s dark hair. Persephone, the younger of the pair was smiling her best and fiddling with a strand of her flowing long black hair. Her brother stood next to her, looking bored and impassive from beneath a thatch of messy ebony coloured hair.

He downed his second glass.

Now was not the time to dwell on the ‘what if’s’ of the past.

That was when he became aware of something else in the darkened room with him, the faint rasping sound of another person’s breath. He turned around, alarmed, his other hand simultaneously reaching for the revolver he kept underneath the pillow. It was impossible for anybody else to get here.

“Who’s there!?”
he shouted out into the darkness of the room. The artificial light only barely emitting a dull silvery glow that illuminated little in its attempt to emulate the moon’s light.

It was then that Spencer saw it amongst the shadows.

A shadow that seemed darker than the rest, barely visible from across the room but unquestionably there; a figure that seemed to darken even the shadows around, using them to mask its true appearance. Though to Spencer’s eyes it appeared to be vaguely shaped like a woman, though any further details were lost to the shadow.

The shape appeared to tilt her head awkwardly on its side.

"Who's there? Who's here? Such a quest-ion can warrent mul-ti-ple answers, for I may be here and I may not, may not be here. It's not that easy to tell, tell."


Spencer instantly relaxed at the sound of the familiar voice, though this was not enough to life the sense of unease that had settled in the room. The voice was unmistakable, the way in which it randomly slowed down and sped up, the way that it sounded as though he was listening to a voice on badly tuned radio. It could have only belonged to one being.

“It’s good to see you, Solaris. Or not, as the case may be,”
Spencer said with a smile, he didn’t bother straining his eyes to try to discern more of his shadowy visitors features. He knew there would be no point.

“I had a feeling that you would be stopping by,”
he gestured to his bedside table and to the bottle of whisky.

“Don’t suppose I could offer you in a drink, could I?”


"The gesture is noted but the offer is declined, declined. An-y fulfilment such an item may have off-ered me is long expired, expired."
Solaris responded in her alien voice.

Spencer nodded. He made a move with his hand as though he were to turn on the bedside light, a purely instinctual move, but then his hand twitched as he thought better of it at the last moment. He knew Solaris was dictating the circumstances of this meeting, there was no need to change that.

“So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, old friend?”


"Oh.....I was just in the nei-bor-hood and thought I'd stop by and make sure you're settled, settled in alright..."
the figure was rigidly unmoving, only tilting her head from side to side in an unsettling manner. It raised the hairs on the back of Spencer’s head, he felt examined. Like a rat in a cage.

"You seem to be looking, looking well." She concluded.

“I am well, Solaris. Considering the amount of time I’ve spent imprisoned,”
He stressed the last word grimly. It’s emphasis lost on neither of the old acquaintances.

“I trust that you’re well too?”
he trailed off. Paying attention to the shadowy silhouette with which she was visiting him with. Not even her eyes were visible beneath the veils of darkness that Solaris was hidden under.

His visitor let out a laugh in response. High pitched and sing-song, it was uncomfortable to listen to and spread the goosebumps from the back of his neck all the way down his arms. It was a genuinely alien sound.

Inhuman.

"Keeping well is another, another question that can va-ry in answers. To say I am isn't correct, nor is it incorrect. My work goes well, goes well as always....however my or-ig-in-al form ceases to exist, and this state can not survive for long, for long, and as such re-qui-res a new vessel to ensure my being, being continues to function..."
the figure lectured. Her voice occasionally stifling the bursts of laughter.

“Your original body might be gone, but it's good to see that your commitment to your work remains unchanged,”
Spencer said candidly. Solaris had always been more defined by her work than by her appearance, though hearing her complete dismissal of the problem did little to ease the situation.

“You’ve heard about the Destrillians incident in Osea?”


"Of course I have. Everyone has, everyone knows, it's all in the open, open. We have already had Vanagloria's brigade, brigade engage them... un-for-tu-nate-ly interference seemed to have occured but no mind, we are here, we are there, we are everywhere, everywhere. It's all a matter of 'when' and not 'if' they are, they are found again." The voice replied, suddenly calm and composed, though nonetheless still ethereal sounding.

“My trackers currently place them in Audoula. Do you think we should alert Avidez that they are about to walk straight into his hands?”


"Oh I think he'll know, know very soon. That girl he kept has a keen nose for Dess-trill-i-ans, she's already ensnared a few, a few, and we've made.....good use of them."

This simultaneously piqued Spencer’s interest and raised alarm bells in his mind. He made a swift mental note to triple check the known whereabouts of all the Destrillians that were still alive. What was even more troubling was the ambiguity with which she made the statement. He had not been absent from the Sponsors ranks for so long that operations like this could be carried out without his knowledge whatsoever.

“You’ve already captured a few of the strays?”
he asked cautiously, hoping that his guest did not pick up on the subtle way in which her last statement had caught him off guard.

"Why yes, yes. Most of them were during the period, period after ev-er-y-thing broke down, although if memory serves correct, correct, they aquired a new one not long ago. Maybe a week, maybe two, my com-pre-hen-sion on the passage of time is another, another lost attribute..." the shadowy form was tilting its head from side to side again.

"Although, although, I did come across some-thing myself that you might hold, hold interest in. I personally saw it, saw it as a failure ex-pend-ed of it's uses, and 'He' would think it better off being terminated....but if you have a use, then no sense, no sense putting it to waste."


“Please. Elaborate.”
Spencer asked. He was now sitting bolt upright in bed, the seeds of a number of different plans were now starting to take shape in his mind. Shadowy forms, much like Solaris. Their intricacies and details were yet to be defined by clarity.

"Long, silver hair is the only detail, detail I cared to note. My drone reported it being, being called by the name, 'Tao Hong'."
Solaris made no attempt to hide revulsion at uttering the name of her captured Destrillian, or at the fact that her keen eyes observed the widening smile on Spencer’s face.

“Would you mind terribly, old friend, if I had her transferred to this facility? I think I might be able to find a use for her?”
the details of a plan were now coming together in his mind. Different spidery threads connecting together to form one intricate whole.

"If you want, want the creature then it's yours. Although I wouldn't expect much, or you might, you might go finding yourself diss-a-point-ed" she replied, her bizarre speech again punctuated by derisive laughter.
“You’re a scientist Solaris, you know that every piece of equipment no matter how small, can serve a purpose,” Spencer said confidently, pouring himself another generous glass of whiskey.
[COLOR="SeaGreen]
“If you wouldn’t mind, could you have your people deliver her sometime in the next few days?”[/COLOR]


"Of course, of course. I wouldn't dream of keep-ing you waiting, waiting dear Spen-cer," she said, the nature of her voice making it impossible to determine whether or not she was being sincere or sarcastic. Spencer declined to ask for specifics.

"And now, re-grett-a-bly, our time, our time is up. I'll leave you to your things, your deal-ings. But I'll never be, never be too far away..."

"...and neither will 'He'."
She finished speaking and left Spencer watching as her form seemed to dissolve into the shadows of the room. The deeper inky black darkness that made up her visage, and the area around her returned to normal. Leaving Spencer to ponder the significance of her final words as he finally was able to lie down flat in bed.

It had certainly been a long time since he had caught up with ‘Him’.

‘Keep your friends close...’
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Old 12/06/2010   #145
NoenGaruth
Default

--SOMWHERE IN DOWNTOWN OSEA--

“And then? Well I killed both of those disgusting little creatures of course! That should go without saying really.”
Vana said in a rather proud tone to her two comrades who found the entire story hilarious.

“Ha! so you even brought the mom's severed head in?!” Inveja exclaimed before skulling a bottle of the wide variety of Alcohol assembled at the table.

Vollerei slumped himself to be facing in Vana's direction and added “So lemme get this straight. This chick like won some beauty contest a long time ago, you didn't, and so you decided to butcher the slut an her family?”

“In a word, yes.”

“Nice.”

The trio were at their usual spot this evening, a place in downtown Osea called 'The Wallgreen Tavern'. It had pretty much everything the three Lyverius needed – Food, booze and a location that didn't attract too much attention but was not far from a number of Clubs and Bars where they could find 'easy prey' when any of them needed to blow off steam or were bored.

The seating they always occupied at the Tavern was a corner booth on the second floor, which allowed them to avoid contact with any patrons as well as look down on the first floor. The owners of the Tavern knew of the three well, and also that as long as their booth was always free and they were brought what they wanted, then they would cause no trouble, and in the event someone from outside came in looking for trouble...well it was best to just allow the three regulars to deal with it as they saw fit and ask no questions.

There was one thing however that concerned the owners – The waitresses. On a number of occasions the Taven had been known to lose them due to a number of factors. The three most common ways are as follows.

The first: Waitress is attractive, Vollerei takes notice, after which Vollerei takes them to god knows where, then a few days later the police find a body doused in acid somewhere.

The second: Waitress is very attractive, Vana gets jealous and they are never seen again (In one piece anyway).

The third: Waitress is what would be defined as unattractive. Neither aforementioned Lyverius is amused and these ones have the shortest life expectancy.

So it's not surprising the owner, Vill Hammersly, is cautious when hiring.

Fortunately, the current new waitress, has been luckier than most.

“Hi. Can I get you three anything else?”

“More whiskey, I think that's staring to run low.” Inveja replied as she searched around all the bottles to see if anything else needed replacing.

“Wine. Anything over thirty years old.” Vana commanded at the girl.

Vollerei grinned at the waitress and said “How bout the time you get off work babe.” which was met with a swift punch to the side of the head by a purple-gloved hand. “Oww! Jeez what was that for.”

“Don't you even go thinking about it asshole, I'm getting sick of having to constantly be dealing with new people on a daily basis just cause you can't waltz down the street to get off.” Inveja snapped in reply at him, then looked back at the waitress, pulled her visor down to reveal her slit eyes (Something not too bothering to the girl as this part of town was known for people with bizarre appearances)

“Ellie wasn't it? Word of the wise – don't go falling for any of this jackass's advances, he'll just make you regret it.”

“Oh, umm okay, thanks I think.” Ellie replied and scurried off to fetch their orders.

“Bitch.” Vollerei mumbled.

“Careful now. Strangelet beats Toxin.” Inveja retorted, and flexed her fingers in front of the green-haired Lyverius' face.

The two's bickering was then interrupted by the 'Senior ranking officer' at the table. “Quiet the both of you, the Ignorant mass media on the television is saying something relevant for once.”

The three focused on the TV mounted on the wall nearby.

“And after what was a gruelling series of events that transpired over the last couple of days, the government has given the all clear stating they are positive there are no more Destrillians currently in the city, which means the curfew is at an end and we can all return to our normal lives. Of course some things may never be the same after the knowledge that the Viola corporation had been secretly creating superhuman soldiers, which of course leads to many questions. So here tonight we have a number of experts on the program to discuss the topic that's on everyone's lips. I'd also like to remind our viewers that we're broadcasting tonight from the Chancellery building as IBC headquarters was damaged during a Destrillian attack.”

“Humans gathered around to discuss Destrillians....this should be amusing” Inveja commented sarcastically.

“Joining us is Lieutenant General Maya Circe of IRIN International, General Marcus Farant of the Artolian Self Defence Force, Charles Moore of the controversial Artolian Liberation Movement, Jules Miller from the human rights group 'The Benevolence Foundation', and finally Vice Chancellor Magnus Nordstrom. Ladies and gentlemen thank you for coming on the program.”

The various officials and experts all gave some sort of acknowledgement.

“Now the first thing I'd like to hear everyone's views on is the recent attacks from the Destrillians, what do you think caused this to happen all of a sudden?”

Farant was the first to speak up from the group.

“From what our initial intel discovered, it would seem that a pair of them had gotten into a fight for reasons we're unsure of, and as the fight progressed and our forces became involved then more Destrillians began to appear. This had lead to our analysts to believe that a Destrillian engaging in combat draws others to it, which wouldn't seem all that far fetched given that there are claims they also possess some form of telekinetic abilities.”


“Interesting point you bring up there General” Circe added. “From our own records of the events that transpired during the initial incident, we also noted at least another one appeared just before our battleship fired its particle cannon on the motel area.”

“So you're both saying this whole thing could have been simply sparked by chance from two Destrillians having a disagreement.”

“I wouldn't go putting it like that howev-”

“Now wait just a minute here General” Charles Moore interrupted. “I find it highly unlikely that this was all just a unfortunate coincidence when shortly after the former President of Viola broke out of Prison.”

“Interesting point. General Farant, your comment?”


“I will admit there is a strong possibility that the two incidents are connected giving the circumstances, however I was stating that we believe when a Destrillian engage in combat it attracts others to it.”

“Again I'll concur General Farant's view. The elements of IRIN that formerly served in Viola's security force observed the Destrillians would work together and believed to sense when others were in danger.”
“Formerly served in Viola's armed forces, you bring up an hot topic there General Circe.” Moore butted in once again. “I understand that you yourself were formerly in the employ of Viola, along with most of IRIN's leading officials.” Circe gave the man a look of detest.

“So therefore you had full knowledge of the Destrillians and their capabilities, and yet, this information has remained secret from the public for the last 4 years.”

“IRIN isn't a charity that hands out everything it knows to the public, as a private corporation we reserve the right to withhold whatever information we see fit.”

“How convenient for you then General. IRIN gets to know everything while the public remains in the dark until there's a battlefield on their doorstep. It's such a reassurance to know Seth Vargas is deciding what's best for us.”

Circe simply flicked her hair with her left hand before retorting.

“And I suppose we should all be listening to the A.L.M. then? If I recall correctly your organization is known for radical conspiracy theories, in particular that old world gods are manipulating from the shadows to take over.” The entire sentence spoken with a cold stare directed at Moore.

“Point conceded General. I'd prefer if the policies of my organization are left out of this panel.”

“That's right! What we're here to discuss are these unfortunate individuals” Spoke up the voice of Jules Miller.

“Ah Ms. Miller from the Benevolence foundation. What do you have to add the the discussion?”

“The fact we seem to be all missing here is that these Destrillians were once regular children who were snatched from their homes by Jason Spencer and his thugs, then experimented on for years and robbed of the basic things we all take for granted.”


“It doesn't change the reality who they are now or what they've done.”
Circe flatly added.

“Maybe not, however we have no idea what's going on in the minds of these poor individuals. For all we know they are still just scared little children who act violently because they are outcasts and treated like fugitives!.”


“We are all aware they were normal people once, however what Viola did to them robbed them of their humanity – the goal of the company after all was to create ultimate weapons of untold destruction. And as a soldier of numerous campaigns in the past, I can tell you that even the most innocent looking thing can be deadly. It's unfortunate to admit but all our intel on the subject tell us that the people these Destrilians once were are now gone.”


“Intel, reports, data. I'd like to also confront the Military and Government about withholding the existence of the Destrillians from the public.”

“Such information was deemed classified in the name of national security.”

“Oh please General Farant, that's how you military types avoid questions by stating that it's simply 'Classified'”.

“The General is correct none the less, Mr. Moore.” The voice of Magnus Nordstrom finally spoke up, who had remained silent until this point.

“It would be prudent to go divulging every piece of information in our possession, especially when there's a possibility of causing panic amongst the citizens. You can say what you want concerning us knowing about Destrillians prior to this incident, however it was limited to their existence and nothing more. The same can be said here for IRIN International, who had been cooperating with this government in perusing the Destrillians covertly, which we had hoped to resolve quietly so the public need never worry about it.”

“So you're saying you were trying to stop the problem before it became one”

“That is correct. The government takes any and every threat to this nation with the greatest amount of seriousness. And in that we see it as our responsibility to stop any potential threat before it can become one, most importantly without causing unnecessary worry amongst the people.”

Magnus then took in a deep breath and finished by saying “With that, the government continues with it's pledge of erasing the Destrillian threat. They might have disappeared from our sight, however now we are prepared will engage them head on the moment they resurface.”

“Okay thank you there Mr. Vice Chancellor. We're going to continue this discussion after a short break, so stay tuned in.”


The three sat in silence for a moment, digesting the bombardment of information.

“So 'ol Spencer is out of the big house.”
Vollerei commented.

“Yep, seems we're always the last to be informed of these things.” Inveja added.

Vana simply let out a sigh of annoyance. “So that Spencer thinks he can just waltz in and resume his business in the hierarchy. How dare he after all the time I've spent carefully laying out my plans...I SHOULD BE THE ONE IN CHARGE! NOT ALL THESE EXECUTIVES AND SCIENTISTS!”

Both Inveja and Vollerei just had the look of 'not this again' on their faces, after which Vollerei just bluntly said.

“Vana, shut the fuck up.”
__________________



Hey who wants to come home with me?!
Ok that wasn't very smart but totally worth it!
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Old 12/09/2010   #146
Baldy
Default

- IDRIS, EMMA, TERRA, LOKKA, STOLZ, NOVA; AUDOULA -


The Keris had pulled away from the hotel a moment ago, leaving behind Thetis, Fiona, Jettison, and Kerr, not to mention the newest addition to the Destrillian list. With any luck, whatever training the strange man had as a doctor would enable him to save Fiona, or at least buy her some time. Thetis went wherever Fiona went nowadays – that much had been obvious. Jettison did everything for reasons none of them understood. And the look Kerr had given their newcomer just before he’d climbed out of the Keris to follow the three had said it all: despite having been the one to sense him in the first place, Kerr didn’t trust him one bit.
And who could blame him? They hadn’t even learned his name. The only indication they had to not be on guard was Lokka’s mention of the tattooed Destrillian being his friend—but that had been back in Viola, and things changed. The Facility One Destrillians, at least, knew what it felt like when one of their kind turned on them.

Idris clenched her fists quietly as the memories slipped by one after another. The destroyed cryogenics floor; the panic on Emma’s face the moment before Idris had appeared to break her free of her pod; Eve in the redhead’s arms. Dying.

She shook her bracelet a little bit to loosen its cold grip on her arm. William had been unstable from the beginning, sure, and he’d also been pumped full of something or other to accentuate the crazy, but in the end it all came back to how much one Destrillian on the wrong side of the fence could do to ruin everybody else’s lives.

Ironic, then, that Kerr is the one who’s untrusting, a voice in her head sneered. A wry half-smile twisted her thin lips. I suppose once you defect you start becoming paranoid that everybody else will, too. But Kerr had stuck with them this far – hell, he’d come up with the plan to get them all out safely. He could rattle off words like “statistically” and “chance of surviving” all he wanted, but it didn’t change the fact that he was choosing to stay with the group. That had to count for something.

The Keris picked that moment to roll over a bump in the road, jolting Idris lightly out of her thoughts. She looked up and around at the people still with her in the vehicle: Stolz up at the front with Lokka, chipper as ever. Emma and Terra sitting side-by-side, as per usual. Nova to her right, taking up two seats. Everybody seemed… calmer. More relaxed. It didn’t take much thought to figure out why: the group’s most stressing components had been removed, leaving the rest of them to unwind a bit from all the tension that had been building up over the last few days.

Idris cast a sharp grey eye over her companions. Were they really so incapable of existing together for a few days’ time?

No, it’s not that, she reasoned with herself. Anybody would have gotten sick of each other after that much time stuck together. Literally stuck together, in some cases: after Jettison and Nova’s car had broken down halfway to Villnore, they’d had to squish into the already overcrowded Winnebago and the result had not been pretty. Surely it wasn’t their fault that they’d finally had enough of one another after so long.

But it wasn’t just in the Winnebago, though. She remembered with painful clarity the escape from Osea and how hard it had been to work as a team. The Destrillians had never been social butterflies to begin with, but at least back in Viola, they’d known how to cooperate. How to work together. They might have been nothing but empty soldiers but at least they’d been well-trained as a collective.

But we’re still that way, the girl reminded herself harshly. Training is practice, and practice makes perfect, and we’re all out of practice. Give it long enough and things will go back to how they were before. Did she really want that?

No, she corrected herself. Things will be better than before.

She hoped. Letting a sigh escape between her teeth, the metal Destrillian replayed the day’s events back in her head, to make sure she hadn’t missed anything. Her thoughtful expression fell into a deadpan – an amused deadpan, but a deadpan nonetheless – when she got to the part where Lokka and Kerr had had their little falling out.

She stood up, shifting as the Winnebago switched lanes on the road, and walked past Emma and Terra, giving them a passing smile. They returned it, and for the first time in a little while it looked natural. Maybe it was for the best that we split for a while. Everybody needs time to cool off.

Speaking of cooling off.

Idris stood behind the driver’s seat, giving Lokka a look through the front mirror. Her eyebrow arched up. “So is that how you act every time something doesn't go your way?” she asked, quietly enough to not be heard by the others behind her. Lokka let out a sigh.

"It's been a long day." The stress had finally gotten to him, it seemed, and it had only taken that little extra push for his calm demeanour to snap. Now that he had had his vent, however, Lokka knew it wouldn't happen again. Things like that only happened once.

He tilted his head back slightly, so that Idris could see one side of his face. "It's best we stick together. We can't have that crumbling around us. Not now."

"Telling Kerr to go off on his not-so-merry way isn't really sticking together," she said simply.

"Maybe so," Lokka replied, "but I can't deal with people like him; people that think they can just abandon their allies whenever the hell they want." He thought back to the times he'd stuck with his old allies, through thick and thin, sometimes just on sheer principle. "I may not have handled that the best way, but I will not apologize for it."

Idris gave the man a good, long, calculating look. He was certainly being reasonable enough, but there was also certainly a bitterness behind his words. She chose her own carefully. "Y'know, truth be told, Kerr's not used to having allies. Nobody's ever really gotten along with him."Except for Ariel, she told herself, but then quickly shoved the thought away and continued. "I'm not asking you to apologize for anything. I'm just..."
She sighed. "Just letting you know. Not all of us have had people to rely on all these years."

Lokka was silent for a few moments, considering the statement. "Well, maybe that was for the best."

"Was it?" She leaned her lean body over the passenger seat a little, to the left of Stolz, and stared out at the road they were driving over. "Was it worth being alone?"

"What use is it, having someone to rely on..."Lokka turned and looked at the young woman as she gazed out in front of them. "...if they can't rely on you?"

In response, she reached a pale, spidery hand over, took delicate hold of the wheel, and adjusted the path of the Winnebago, which had begun to skew due to Lokka's attention being placed elsewhere.

"You wonder, don't you." And she smiled her little smile.

In the meanwhile, Terra had been quietly watching Idris and Lokka speak. She couldn’t quite hear what they were saying, but their voices seemed relaxed enough, and that was good because everybody had just really needed to calm down after all that time sardined together in the Keris. During those few days she’d almost been glad she couldn’t speak, because it had saved her the obligation of trying to; you couldn’t have gotten more awkward than they had on the way to Villnore.

She snuggled closer to Emma, who absentmindedly placed her arm on the smaller girl’s shoulders, her warm fingers idly playing with a lock of Terra’s brown-going-green hair. The dye had been fading out as the days went by, as it always did; dyes just didn’t stick to her hair. But Terra had none to fix it with and besides she was tired of trying so hard to hide her hair colour. Fiona and Thetis had never bothered, and they hadn’t been attacked or caught or arrested for being public eyesores, so it was fine.

Hao long doo u think et wil taek 2 gett there? she asked Emma.

“Not too long,” the girl replied, squinting out the window a bit to see where they were. “Villnore looks like a big city but I’m sure there are fast ways of getting from one end to the other. Looks like there’s going to be a bit of traffic though,” she added on after a moment.

“Haha, bit o’ traffic my ass!” Everybody who wasn’t Lokka turned at the booming sound of Nova’s voice. He grinned at all the curious eyes. “Take a city this big an’ a nine-to-five workforce and you got one motherfucker of a rush hour. We gonna be here a while, kids.”

“It’ll be alright,” Idris commented, though not without a bit of trepidation. “It’s… what, quarter to five? We have a whole five hours before we need to meet up with Mileina; even if we get overrun by a bunch of breadwinners, there’s still plenty of time.”

That statement went stale about an hour later. Terra wobbled to her feet so she could look out the front window, just to have the experience of seeing the absolute sea of vehicles surrounding them. They couldn’t have moved more than a few inches in the past fifteen minutes, and there was all manner of car horns and angry drivers and cacophony outside. All of the winding sidestreets of Villnore made it hard to turn off the main roads, and when there were several hundred cars around you trying to do the same, a few almost-accidents were almost ensured.

Terra looked at Lokka, wondering how he was doing as far as road rage was concerned, but the white-haired Destrillian seemed alright with the long wait. Stolz, still beside him in shotgun, had fallen quite loudly asleep half an hour ago; Idris had taken the same cue and was curled up tight in one corner of the couch, her body looking even smaller than usual due to how she coiled it.

Terra walked over to the couch in question – surprisingly steadily, although the absolute non-movement of the Keris helped – and took a seat beside the blonde. Feeling the warmth, or the movement, or maybe just feeling another presence, Idris opened one eye and looked at Terra.

“We there yet?” she asked. Terra shook her head no.

Stil cawt in traffic. Go bak 2 sleep,she replied. Idris’ lips twitched upward in one corner, gently.

“Wasn’t sleeping in the first place. Just resting.” She unfolded herself and stretched her limber limbs out, feeling the satisfying tension as the muscles strained. She looked over and caught Emma's eye, and smiled at the redhead. "And how're you holding up?"

"I'm okay, I guess," the nature Destrillian replied. "I can't wait to get out of this thing, though," she added a moment later, gesturing to the Keris.

"I can imagine." Idris shook her head, taking in the all-too familiar sights of the inside of the vehicle. "It's not exactly blue skies and sunshine in here." She wrinkled her nose a bit. "And it smells."

Emma laughed. "I think we are to blame for that ourselves." She lifted a bit of her shirt up to her nose for emphasis.

Terra would have had to agree: she hadn't taken a bath since she and Emma were back at their apartment. And although she had packed a bit for herself and her redheaded friend, she had not exactly packed assuming that there wouldn't be anywhere to shower or bathe.

"More likely than not, though it certainly isn't me stinking up the place," the blonde snickered, referencing her dip in the pondlake back at the campsite. "My hands are clean in this... literally."

"Nor me," Lokka called out from the driver's seat, clearly eavesdropping on the conversation. Nobody blamed him - he had little else to do in all the traffic. The Keris was only moving once every five or ten minutes, and even then it was the slightest of moves.

Her cheeks turning the same color as her hair, Emma looked down and said, softly, "Well it's not like I can just hop in the non-existent shower."

"You know I'm only jokin' around, Emma," Idris replied, looking back at her. "And a little joking is good, right now." She ran a hand through her wiry blonde hair. "We could all use a little humour."

Emma looked up with a smile. "I know, and it's nice to have something to laugh about finally. These past few days have been rather hard."

It was at this moment that Nova gave an almighty snort in his sleep. Idris' little smirk reappeared. "More to some than others, it would seem."

The red-haired girl burst into a long fit of giggles she could not suppress. It was the first time in days she’d laughed that hard, and it felt good; she couldn’t even remember the last time she’d done that. If she tried, she only saw a glimpse of a face she knew she had to forget, and that only served as a cold, sordid interruption to her mirth.
She looked up at Idris. "Do you think they're okay? Back in Osea, I mean." Her voice came out sounding more defeated than she would have liked, but then it was still a sore subject for her. It probably always would be.

The switch in conversation, sudden as it was, was not surprising to Idris. She switched tracks with her regular smoothness. "They didn't dig in too deep - I'm sure they're alright. They might be taking it a little hard but they'll definitely survive," she said, picking her words so as to be honest at the same time as being optimistic.

Emma closed her eyes with a sigh, trying not to let her sudden change in emotions affect her too much. "I'm not too worried about Riese; she's very resilient. But Chris..." She quickly wiped away the tears forming in her eyes and forced a laugh. "I'm sorry, I really don't know why I suddenly thought of them."

Terra, who had been silently listening to the two girls talk, decided now was a good time to pipe up. Et's ok, she told Emma, shuffling back over to pat her friend's head. Eye'm going 2 miss them 2. Not quite as much as the nature Destrillian would, no doubt - Terra had never gotten particularly friendly with either of them - but enough to make the statement truthful.

Having been beaten in terms of giving reassurance first, Idris simply nodded. "Don't feel bad about thinking about them - it must be nice having people to care that much about." She regretted the words almost before they'd even left her lips; it had come off so much more melancholy than she'd intended, and given that she and Emma had talked about this back in Stolz' apartment, she was sure it wouldn't go unnoticed.

Emma raised an eyebrow at her, remembering not only their conversation earlier, but also the strange energy signatures she had picked up from the metal Destrillian from time to time in the days gone by. She had been meaning to talk to the blonde about all these things, but the past couple of days really hadn't been an appropriate time to do so. Maybe now that things were a bit settled she should. It might be a while before they had another chance to really talk alone, after all, and by then it might've been too late.
However, Emma still didn't want to talk about it in front of the others. Luckily, they were Destrillians, and Destrillians had another method of communication going for them.

Idris, I think we need to have a good heart to heart chat, she said using her mind's voice.

With expert deftness, Idris quelled the sigh that was rising in her chest. Oh yes? she called back, sounding for all the world as if she'd no idea what Emma was talking about.

Emma knew that tone. She pressed on. We never really finished our talk from a couple days ago. You know, in Stolz's apartment?

I seem to recall it ending as Stolz came back triumphant from the shower. Smile.

Emma thought on that a moment. Was it really an ending, or just an interruption? She felt a slight pang of annoyance at the other girl for trying so hard to deflect the subject.

I'm serious, Idris. I worry about you.

For a moment Idris thought about just skipping along 'oblivious' to what Emma was saying; if she played dumb then Emma couldn’t get her talking too much.
But they both knew Idris didn’t play dumb. And the plant Destrillian's voice - internal though it may have been - was too genuinely caring for the blonde to just slough her off again. Now why would you say something like that? was what she came up with instead, wondering how this new angle would take to things.

Now that she had finally said what was on her mind, Emma wasn't quite sure how to proceed with the conversation. Running her fingers through her hair, she tried desperately to put her response together very carefully in her head.
It's just... you've spent the past four years alone. When we all split up after escaping from Viola, I never thought any one of us would end up with no one.

I've had friends, Emma, Idris chided light-heartedly.

People you can count on? Like a family?

At that precise moment, a car horn blasted from the car right beside the Winnebago, making the three girls start. Idris took a quick glance out the front window and saw that the traffic was clearing up; now they were the ones holding up the show. “Might want to turn off before we get lynched, Lokka." The triumph in her voice at having finally gotten out of rush hour masked the tiny hint of gratefulness that might've been there to hear, if you listened carefully, because she had not been about to answer Emma's question. That was twice now that she'd been saved from it by random happenstance; hopefully it would keep happening until she had a proper answer to give.

Emma could tell that the conversation was probably over, as everyone's attention seemed to have now been turned toward Lokka getting them off of the main road. It really hadn't been the best time to bring up the subject anyway. She decided that she would try again later, when there was less of a chance that they would be interrupted.

The group in their van turned off onto a smaller, more easily traversable road, and from there it was much smoother sailing. Villnore was an old city, and plenty of its roads were small and winding; one-way streets of cobblestones and wrought-iron streetlights, which slowly began to come on as the drive continued. At last, they turned a sharp corner around an artistically crumbling apartment complex, and arrived in some sort of miniscule town square.

They'd driven onto a largish roundabout, paved with the same sort of cobblestones as the rest of the older parts of the city. In the center was a parkette, a pretty little green thing with an old wooden bench and a few neatly-trimmed bushes, and a tree small enough to be a normal tree's toy doll. The statue Mileina had spoken of rose up behind the scene, its grandiosity serving to further humble the little scrap of sculpted land it was sitting atop.

"I daresay we're here," Idris said to the rest of the group, admiring the work of art from the window.

"I daresay you are correct
," Lokka confirmed, pulling the Keris over beside the roundabout, out of the way of the little bit of traffic there was. He got out of the chair, not really wanting to spend more time in it than he had to. The others were quick to follow suit, Idris pulling on her wig as she left - even Stolz and Nova, who had seemed to wake up instinctively once the prospect of stretching their legs had been presented to them. The six companions clambered out of the vehicle all at once, eager to be outside their confines properly for the first time all day.

The cool evening air felt nice on Terra's skin; she sighed contentedly and followed Idris and Emma as they stole across the tiny street to sit on the bench in the parkette. Together the three closed their eyes and simply enjoyed the feeling of being outside - Emma most of all. She was finally back where she belonged, with nature and with life, not cooped up inside a little metal box. The redhead opened her eyes and concentrated on a tiny patch of withered wildflowers that had somehow survived unseen beneath one of the bushes; a huge smile graced her freckled features as the vibrant colours returned to the petals and the stems straightened, leaving the little patch as good as new.

Idris, meanwhile, had stood back up and was stretching her body as taut as it would allow. Small as she was, the Keris had been cramped even for her, and the sheer amount of open space around her felt fantastic. The Gunmetal Glint let her pale, wiry arms fall to her sides, looking up at the statue of the woman holding her bow. It really was a piece of mastery - Idris would've known, having been taught how to sculpt for practical uses in Viola.

The Destrillian took a step towards the statue, aiming to look at it a bit more closely, then felt something like guilt. Guilt? Why? She bit her lip as she figured it out in her head - what with what was going on, she shouldn't have had the time to just la-di-da up to a statue and examine it like some posh tourist. She should have been planning what to do next, or preparing for Mileina, or—
Or nothing, she told herself chidingly. You have almost three hours before Mileina even shows up, and you've gone almost four straight days doing nothing but planning and fighting and preparing. Didn't you say you all deserved a break? Goes for you, too.

And so she took a few minutes to enjoy herself, examining the statue in detail, sharp eyes grazing over the curves and angles like the chisel used to carve them. It was nice to concentrate all her analytical ability on something that needed no rush, for once—to just think about it for the sake of thinking about it, as opposed to serving some greater purpose. When the statue began to feel familiar to her, she figured she'd poked at it enough. She spun on her heel and leaned gently against it, watching across the road as Stolz hopped around frantically beside Nova and Lokka, both of whom were looking at the child with expressions that made the slight girl in her black wig laugh.

Probably needs a washroom break, she thought to herself, shaking her head in an amused way at the scene before her. We have been on the road since about ten this morning.

As it turned out, a washroom break wasn’t quite what Stolz had in mind. After a moment of conversation, they crossed the cobblestones to join the three Destrillians already in the parkette. “I’m staaaarving – there’s gotta be somewhere to eat here!” the child said, running to and fro in the little circle of grass and looking out to the shops lining the roads.

“It would be a good use of our time to find a restaurant of some sort,” Lokka said to Emma, Terra and Idris. He let the words hang in the air a moment. He didn’t need to clarify why: everybody’s stomach reminded them at that moment precisely how long they’d all gone without a proper meal. “I have the money to pay for it, provided they take Artolian currency,” he added as an afterthought, just in case somebody brought up the non-problem of finance.

“I’m sure they do,” Idris replied calmly, hopping up onto the very top of the back of the bench and balancing there, looking out over the little square for a place to get a bite. She glanced right and there it was, a quaint looking little place with a wrought-iron fence around its patio and little closed-up parasols above its tables.

L’Assiette Argent,” she intoned softly, tasting the words on her tongue; they came easily enough, but they felt as exotic as she was sure the food there would be. “Over there,” she called down to the others, sweeping her arm in the direction of the place.

There was no outright objection. They parked the Keris on the side of the street, the occupants piling once more out of the car, trying to be indiscriminate. Terra limped onto the sidewalk, noticing a parking meter. Et luks leik wii need sum change.

Lokka shoved one of his hands into his pockets and pulled out a few random coins (as well as a button, oddly enough,) and shoved whatever he had on him into the parking meter. He seemed satisfied with the amount of time it gave them, and they strolled into the restaurant.

And immediately realized their mistake.

The place was nice. Quite nice. In fact it seemed it was one of those 'homey, but in a manner that you would keep your home if you happened to have a couple hundred thousand to blow on furniture' sort of places. And here they all were, in their ragged, dirty, blood-spattered clothing, dragging their sewer stench in like a cat drags in a dead mouse. The maitre d' stared at the group with immense distaste, noting the disheveled appearances, the less-than-well-groomed hair, and the missing footwear of some of the party.

Idris had noticed it too; it was like some age-old, socially adept part of her brain had awoken just as she’d crossed the threshold, reminding her that normal people did not enter restaurants like this in the state they were in. Naturally, the Destrillians couldn’t even get their out-to-eat etiquette correct.
Nonetheless, the small, pale girl smiled with all of the courtesy she could muster, thankful that her clothing, at least, was clean, and calmly said, "Could we get a table, please?"

He looked less than pleased at her request, but due to the fact that no matter how much he was paid at his job, he was still part of the service industry, he put on his best shit-eating grin and gathered menus for them. He turned and glared at a lesser waiter and handed him the menus, while the poor boy frowned and told the Destrillians, "U-uh, yes, um, right this way, mademoiselle."

They were seated at a pleasantly cushy booth; every single member of the group got at least half a dozen looks, some scathing, others snooty and disdainful, still others just plain frightened. The more self-aware of the group did their best to not dignify these looks with any sort of reply.
The lot of them squished into their booth almost as tightly as they had the Keris, considering they hadn't realized that the booth was not, in fact, made for six people to sit in that comfortably. The waiter sort of half-tossed the menus at them, realizing that this particular group of people would probably not tip well, and walked off to go help some of the other, more socially acceptable patrons.

Stolz, being the only person who was starving with several a's, excitedly opened their menu first, only to widen their eyes to the size of the dinner plates they were looking at. "Geeeeeez, it's like, a million dollars just to pay for a glass of water!"

Terra's eyebrows practically shot off of her forehead at this exclamation and opened her own menu, only to almost fall off her seat at the prices. She had been expecting it might cost some money, but this was absolutely outrageous. How people could even charge this much money for something that was likely to be a mouthful of food with a pretty display was beyond her. Um, maybee et iz nawt mai plase 2 sei dis butt purhaps wii shud go sumwhere elz?

"Don't worry about it, Terra," Lokka said, looking over the menu. "I have money for it; order whatever you like."

Emma looked at him with even wider eyes at the gesture. "Are you sure? This is really expensive!"

He shrugged and gave Emma a small smile. "Isn't like I really need it anymore. Not going to be using it on the run, obviously."

Nova gave the menu a single look and laughed aloud. "Damn son, you must got some serious cash to blow if it's on you!"

Terra squirmed uncomfortably at what Lokka had said, but opened her menu back up and looked over it again. She saw something called coq au vin, and since she didn't even want to try saying that in her mind to everyone, she nudged Emma next to her and pointed it out with a nod, indicating that it was something she wanted to try.

"I want a moose!" Stolz declared triumphantly, with the rest of the table staring in confusion. "A chocolate moose!"

"So, then, you want some mousse?" Idris asked idly, after it was clear nobody else was going to say anything.

"You say it the same way! Besides, it's more of a visual gag than anything else," Stolz said, continuing to baffle the table they were sitting at.

Seeing as the words on the menu made about as much sense as going to an alien planet and trying to communicate with the native lizard people, most everyone else applied an age-old practice called the point-and-hope method: they pointed a finger at a random spot on the menu and decided on it, hoping to every higher power they knew that their Destrillian metabolisms would be able to handle the nightmarish challenge known as foreign food.

The indignant waiter arrived and took everyone's orders – or tried to, anyway, before quickly realizing that a mute could pronounce Audoulan more accurately than the people at this table. After a great deal of embarrassment, Idris, who had the best accent of them all, took it upon herself to explain everybody’s orders. The waiter, glad to have gotten through the ordeal, glided away as quick as his smart, polished shoes could take him, returning with glasses of fancy-looking water to take occasional sips from in case these people decided to look either awkward or as snooty as the rest of the patrons seemed to.

The air of the restaurant was so filled with the delicious scent of cooking food that it was absolutely impossible for anyone to do much besides feel like they were starving to death. There wasn't any conversation until the dishes finally arrived at the table.

Lokka lifted one forkful of food into his mouth, savouring the taste of real food. It had been quite a while since he hadsomething proper to eat, and to sample such an expensive, exotic platter was an added luxury. He had been unknowingly staring at the gargantuan man sat opposite him most of the time; paying attention, he began to realise just how little he knew about the man, and his female companion. 'Nova' seemed to be the only thing that came to mind when he thought about how much was known about him.

"So..."he asked, shortly after finishing a mouthful of food. "It's Nova, isn't it?"

"Sure is, kid." Nova picked out a forkful of something indeterminable on his plate, and took a mouthful without bothering to see what it was. "Don't wear it out. What's your handle?"

"It's Lokka,"he replied, at this point questioning his own choice of meal. "You from Osea?"

"You could say that, heh. Made to perfection." Nova grinned. "I seen you around a few times. You another of these Destrillian fools, right? But you all don't seem all shacked up together enough. What gives?"

Lokka glanced around at the group of people he was taking company with. Idris, Emma and Terra. The three girls had been at the other Viola facility. It seemed they had their own bonds between them -compared to some of the other relationships between the Destrillians that he'd observed, including himself, they had as much as their kind could hope for. But Nova had a point.They never felt close to one another; even sharing a telepathic link wasn't enough to enforce this.
Then there was Stolz. Their origin was unknown as far as Lokka could tell - he wasn't convinced the child was human, but they definitely weren't a Destrillian. The white-haired man turned back to Nova.

"I guessIt's quite complicated. In all honesty, none of us have had easy lives - add to that the fact that we only met a few days ago, and there you have it. Which leads me to my next question." Lokka took a gulp from his glass of water and placed it back on the table. "What role do you and the girl play? You were both there when I found the rest of my kind; any way you can explain that?"

Nova sniffed, blowing his nose into his napkin loudly. "You guys just figured it out, but you fellas been hunted for a long time already. What'd that kid call them? Lyverius? Something? Shit, whatever. We're a small bunch, but I guess they knew we're one of the few groups who had eyes all over the city. So we ran a deal with them. We show 'em around the city, find them magic city men that Viola lost a couple years back, they take out a few guys for us. Tit for tat, or some shit. We found you guys. Brand wanted you back at her place, so led you to her crib. The other crazy bitches show up, suddenly Jettison has other plans. That's where we are now." Finding difficulty cutting a particular lump of meat with his knife, Nova picked it apart between his fingers.

Lokka listened carefully to what the dark man had to say. It had been the first he had really heard of the whole ordeal and, even though he had been there to witness most of it, it all seemed rather bizarre at best.

"So is that why you’re staying with us nowworried the Lyverius might catch up?"

The other man chuckled, a darker gleam in his eye. "I ain't worried. Either way, I'm not the centrepiece of this shitstorm. You guys are. Me and Brand, we know how those crazy-ass motherfuckers tick. This ain't a matter of whether or not they'll catch up, it's when. Let's just hope Jettison gets herself together again before it comes to bite her in that skinny ass of hers."

"But..."Lokka continued, now engrossed in the topic, "if that's the case, and we ARE still in danger from them, then why are you guys still tagging along?” The man leaned back on his chair and finished his glass of water. “Seems as though you're putting yourselves at an unnecessary risk."

"Now fer that, you're gonna have to ask the lady herself. I ain't the educated one by a long shot, but I'd say she wants a little hand stormin' the castle of Denann." Nova's brow furrowed in thought. "And she's the kinda girl who gives favors before askin' for them."

Denann. Where had Lokka heard that name before? Usually it would be a case of checking his PDA, but it had long since run out of battery after it had last been charged. It seemed more like something he should ask Jettison personally, anyway. He still had more basic questions on his mind.

"One last thing that's been on my mind..."he began to ask. "You and her. Are you both human?"

Nova laughed, a grin full of teeth and eyes full of amusement. "Me? Bitches used to say, 'it's complicated'. So yeah - it's complicated. And her? No more than you are. Probably less. You know how it is, people take things out, put stuff in and then you get shit like a killing machine except with all the angst in the world and no-one in the place to share it with. That crazy girl got as much in common with the little guys as a knife does with a spoon. Doesn't mean it ain't different. Just means it's better for stickin' someone with."
He sculled the rest of his water down and set it down hard enough for it to crack at the bottom. "I mean, not that you can't do it with both, right?"

"I agree with you there, and yeah. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to share it with." He tilted his head towards Idris, who was at the moment listening to a wild tale told by none other than Stolz. She was smiling that smile of hers again. A memory flashed in Lokka’s mind of the way things were; as quickly as it appeared it was gone, stored at the back of his mind for now. He looked back at Nova, who until this time hadn't really explained much about their situation. "Thanks for that. I guess you people aren't all that bad."

While Lokka and Nova had been having a conversation on one end of the table, Emma, Idris, Terra and Stolz had been having one of their own.

“…so I tell him he can KEEP the snowmobile, I just want the hamster!”Stolz finished, accentuating the end of the story with a huge mouthful of whatever strangely-named dish they had chosen.

Idris shook her head, amused. “I suppose everybody came out on top, in the end of all that.” She looked at her own plate: tiny, delicate portions, foreign smells and tastes, and ridiculously expensive to boot. Everything she'd expected going into this—but it was this or nothing at all. She forked a little piece of what might have been crab and put it in her mouth. Good, but not nearly enough to satisfy them all - they were Destrillians, after all, and their metabolisms demanded plenty of sustenance. Add on the fact that they'd been more or less starved for four days, and it wound up being a wonder that they all managed to keep their table manners.
Well, almost all. Idris noticed right across from her that Emma was stuffing little pieces of her food into the front pocket of her backpack. Now why would she do that...?

"Emma, I highly doubt you'll be able to stock up on enough tidbits to feed us all until the next time we get a bite to eat," she teased, inclining her head in the direction of the bag.

"Shush! I'm not sticking it in there to save it," Emma replied, holding a finger to her mouth and casting a glance at nearby tables and wait staff.

"Then what are you doing?"

The redhead slowly lifted her backpack up high enough for Idris to see, carefully unzipping the front flap to reveal something small, white, and furry inside. "He's starving!" The mouse stared at Idris. Idris stared back. It nibbled at the tasty little morsel of food clasped in its paws. Idris chewed and swallowed her own morsel, hardly any bigger.

"...you brought a mouse?" she finally asked. Thinking back, it wasn't a mouse so much as Emma's mouse - Idris had seen it in the apartment when they'd been taking their breather. But to bring it with them?

"Well, there wasn't time to think about it, and he was in the backpack when Riese gave it to me. What was I to do, let him out into the street?"

"I'm not accusing you of anything," Idris replied, a low chuckle slipping through her teeth. "I'm only asking."

Emma carefully zipped the front pocket of her backpack up and hung it on the back of her chair, blue eyes shifting around the room to make sure no one was watching. She stole a guilty glance in Idris' direction. "I know it was risky bringing him along. But it's like... oh, never mind," she broke off suddenly. "It's stupid."

"From you, I'm pretty sure it won't be," the smaller girl replied, tucking a stray lock of her black hair behind her ear. "Go on."

With a sigh and a tug on the collar of her shirt, Emma went on. "It's like... he's part of me. A piece of my soul. I feel like something is missing when he's not around. I can't really explain it—but I raised him. Natasha gave him to me when he was still a baby."

Idris blinked her grey eyes. Natasha...? Emma's first doctor, her brain reminded her - the one who had tried to escape with the plant Destrillian. The woman had given Emma a mouse? Like a pet?
It was a strange thought. Then again, the idea of a Violan doctor doing anything kind to their prototype was odd—and then again, Idris' doctor had done the same, in his own way.

"I told you it was stupid."Emma had apparently mistaken Idris' pensive silence for incredulity, or maybe some sort of cold shoulder. Quickly, the pale girl shook her head.

"It's not - really, Emma. I'm glad you've got an old friend with you," she said, grinning through the fork held between her teeth.

"I have a lot of old friends with me these days," the redhead replied, looking up at the blonde with a smile.

"So you seem to!" Idris exclaimed, laughing her wickedly delighted laugh. "And I guess that's one good thing that's come of all this, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it is. I...did kind of miss everyone, while we were apart."

"We are a missable bunch, I suppose."

Emma laughed, and then thought of Kerr and Fiona. "Well, some more than others." The joke was not subtle in the least, and that’s why everyone who heard it laughed along. After calming down, Emma added, "Even still, we are kind of a family, aren't we?" She then looked back up at Idris. "All of us."

Idris cocked an eyebrow, chewed her pseudo-crab, shifted in her seat. "Of course we are."

Emma turned her attention back to her plate of food, mulling over Idris' response. She wasn't entirely sure how to respond. Now might be a good time to bring up our previous conversation, she thought to herself. But how? She didn't want to seem like too much of a nag, but she still felt it to be an important issue to discuss.

Idris, ever-sharp with these things, noticed the shift in Emma's mood. "You alright?"

"Yeah," the redhead replied. Then, out of the blue, a perfect response came to her. "I was just thinking that no matter what happens or how we may feel about each other, or even how many fights we get into with each other, we all need to stick together. It's like you said – we’re all that each other has. We need to have each others' backs. From now on I'm going to try to do better by that."

"Oh yes?" Careful lightheartedness. "How so?"

"By being more open to their needs and how they feel, instead of closing myself off."

Idris considered Emma's answer. "Seems to me you've already got that in spades," she commented eventually.

"You think so? I always feel as if I don't do enough,” Emma continued, lowering her gaze as she said it. “Four years ago, maybe I should have spoken up. Said 'no' when we all decided to split up."

"Do you, now?" Idris asked, leaning forward with an interest she couldn't hide. As far as she'd remembered, after burying Eve, Emma had wanted nothing more than to escape to the city with Terra, leaving Idris behind in somebody else’s grave, with blood and dirt and death on her hands. Of course, Idris knew better than to think Emma would ever do this consciously, but when she thought of it that way it did sting a bit.

"I never liked the idea of everyone splitting up, but everyone seemed so keen about the idea. But at least I had Terra," Emma replied, looking up at the bespectacled girl beside her with a smile, "so at least neither of us was alone." After a moment she added, "And I guess neither Thetis nor Fiona were alone, either."

"Indeed they weren't. Where are you going with this?" Idris speared another morsel of food and stuck it in her mouth, chewing without really tasting.

The plant Destrillian laughed. "Sorry, I've started rambling," she said, running a hand nervously through her hair. "I guess I'm just glad we're all together again, despite whatever grievances some people have about it." She turned to face Idris again, staring her straight in her grey eyes for maximum sincerity. "I'm glad I have you as an ally again."

"You always did," the pale girl retorted, one corner of her pale lips twitching up in something you could call a smile.

Emma smiled back, a wide, genuine smile. "And you've always had me." She blushed a little at how awkward the statement sounded, but she’d felt it important to strike the idea home. "I just...I hope you know that."

Idris took a delicate sip of her water, looking over the rim of the glass at Emma. "I know.” The way her voice dipped made it sound as if she’d been told this thousands of times before, and the bare truth of it all was so obvious it was causing her offense to just think of not knowing it. It was convincing.

U hav me 2 Eyedris, said Terra beside them, wanting to assure the Gunmetal Glint that she was never really alone. Terra didn't know what Idris had been through in the last four years, but she had always felt close to the metal Destrillian and if Emma thought that a bit of reassurance was in order, then she was going to get her in on things.

“Aren’t you two just the sweetest things,” Idris cooed at them, the honeyed tone of her voice distracting the other girls enough for them to miss seeing one pale, spidery hand dart down to her plate and flick food in both their faces. After the second of shocked surprise, Emma and Terra laughed it off, and the three resumed their meals.

A silence swept over the dinner table for a few minutes; most of the group were polishing off the last of their half-delicious, half-indescribable food. As she finished off her plate, Terra found herself thinking of a question that she hadn't yet voiced. Now felt like the most opportune of times, with everybody so calm.

Emma, do u fink Milaynar iz nice? she asked.

Emma chewed on her food for a moment in thought, then replied, "I don't know. I hope so." She looked up at Lokka. "Is she?"

Lokka finished his last forkful of food, laid his cutlery neatly down on his plate, and then addressed the entire group, who seemed now to be focused on him.

"It's complicated. The girl always kept to herself back in Viola,"he explained, visualizing the old memories as he said so. "On the other hand, she seems like such a different person now. I think she can help us, but I don't think she'd want to join us."

"I suppose not, if she's got a comfortable life here," contemplated the redhead, poking at the last tiny bit of food on her plate. "But a little help is more than enough."

"Ha! Not everyone can handle jumping on the bandwagon yo'," Nova cackled, his voice almost causing the table to vibrate.

"I can't say that's the choice I'd prefer, but oh well." Lokka sighed. At this point, just knowing where Mileina was seemed like enough for now. She wasn't unreachable; if she needed to stay put for the time being, he could always find her at a later time.

"You think she should come with us?" Emma asked, hearing the hesitation in the white-haired man’s words.

"Maybe not now. We're disorganized enough as is. But..." Lokka glanced around the table at all the new allies he had made, the people he had been trying to find for the last two years. "...I don't think we should be apart. Do you?"

"Well, at least we know she's here, right? That helps." The nature Destrillian smiled at him encouragingly.

"Yeah, I guess. I don't want to have stirred up things here for her—she seems more than capable of handling matters like that, though. Strange how she is so different now, compared to back then."

"Did you expect any different? The last few years have changed quite a few of us, last I checked," Idris chimed in, dropping her two cents for everyone to think on."Nothing is static – everything changes. And based on what you're saying Mileina seems to have changed for the better." She scrutinized the bit of cheese on her fork before licking it off. "Let's just hope she can help us."

Wot hapens after all ov dis? Terra asked, not able to contain the new question that she had become aware of.

A silence descended upon the group. None of them had actually thought this far ahead; most of their actions until this point had been mainly reactionary, and given their current relationship with the military and the Lyverius, nobody could blame them. Their motto so far, it seemed, was “do you have a better idea?” Coming to Villnore had seemed necessary at the time, and had been the safest option... but where would they go after this?

"I think..." Stolz started, munching down the last of their chocolate mousse, "...we should have icecream after this."

All eyes fell on the strange child, who returned their incredulous stares with a look of genuine sincerity. "With lots of whipped cream. Oh! And cherries!" they added. The group continued to stare for another moment as Stolz eagerly began flipping through the dessert menu. They all then turned and looked at each other.

Emma was the first to burst out laughing. "I think you're on to something there, Stolz!" she managed between gasps for air.

"Son, I think I'll get in on that," added Nova, his voice and laughter booming across the entire restaurant.

Even Lokka and Idris managed a smile at the enthusiasm being shown by the hyperactive youth, although neither one was sure whether more sugar was a good choice of action. Whether or not the child was aware that they had managed to skirt around a dangerous topic was a different matter, as now they had found their icecream of choice.

"This one!"the blonde-haired kid exclaimed, pointing at a particular ice cream on the menu. Nova leaned over Stolz' shoulder to see what they had picked, and was amused by the result.

"Kid, there's enough icecream there to feed the entire Orange Zone!" he bellowed.

Idris also peered over the table,getting a good upside-down look at the icecream, and then laughed. "I'msure we won't have much trouble with it if we share."

"It seems like a reasonable investment." Lokka smiled, realizing just how rare moments like this were amongst their kind. Four Destrillians and their two odd companions, discussing what sort of delicious frozen treat to buy for a polisher at a posh Audoulan restaurant. It could warm your heart or break it, depending on how you looked at it.

But moments later the gigantic icecream sundae arrived, leaving looking at things to another time. The waitress handed each of them a spoon and placed the dessert in the middle of the table;before any of them had even a chance to think about taking a spoonful, Stolz had already lopped off the cherry placed at the top of the mountainous treat and put it in their mouth.

"YUM!"

The group chuckled at the child’s antics and dug into their well-deserved treat. It didn't take long for them to finish it; Stolz seemed to have a never-ending hunger at this point, and Nova looked like he was trying to keep pace with the child. Before they knew it they were leaving. Lokka handed over what was left of his credits to the waitress, Idris tossed a “merci” over her bony shoulder, and they headed for the door, back out onto Villnore's now-dark streets.

"Let’s head back to the Keris," Lokka said, crossing the road and stepping onto the bumpy yet beautiful pavement. Everything from the people to the floor they walked on indicated that the area was steeped in culture - you couldn't miss it. "We have about thirty minutes, and I wouldn't want to be late."

Hay evrywun... Terra reached out quietly as they walked together back to the Winnebago.

Idris stopped for a second and turned around to face Terra. "Hmm?" Emma stopped too, having also heard Terra as they had been walking side by side. Lokka had walked off in the lead and hadn't noticed the message from her; Stolz and Nova also hadn't heard her and continued walking. As per usual, it seemed, the three were left to their discussion alone.

Emma looked Terra in the eye. "Are you alright?"

Evrythings going 2 be ok isnt et? she asked slowly.

Okay? Define okay. Idris had grown used to dealing with less than okay, but Emma and Terra, she remembered, had had quite a good life going for them before the Destrillian anvil had dropped. I suppose she’s just… worried. About herself, and everyone else. And about you too, Savage.

The last thought had been practically subconscious, so quickly it came. Her clear eyes widened the tiniest fraction as she registered what she’d come to accept unknowingly: both Emma and Terra cared for her. She’d known that, of course, but after four years apart there had been a bit of a crack in the logic of it all. Their bond as friends had been renewed in the past few days, it seemed, and if she was being perfectly honest that suited her just fine.
She composed herself and smiled at her friend, remembering what had been said in the restaurant. "Ofcourse, Terra. Everything’s going to be okay. We're here for each other, after all,"she said, glancing forward at the three members of the group that had kept walking. She saw the Keris in the distance; remembered all the people who she had spent days with inside of it; remembered what she had screamed at them from its rooftop. And what Emma had repeated back to her. "It's like Emma said. We're family."

Being very obviously pleased with this answer, Terra gave a small smile at the blonde girl standing before her. Standing beside the earth Destrillian, Emma couldfor a moment do nothing but stare at Idris as she mulled over the words that the shorter girl spoke. Then she, too, gave a smile, happy at the prospect that just maybe everything she had said before wasn't just total nonsense. Some of it seemed like it had gotten through to Idris after all.

Yes, they were a family. Now more than ever. Emma placed a hand on the shoulders of both girls and looked between them. "And families stick together."

“If that’s the case then we oughta be moseying ourselves back on over to the Winnebago, where the other three are,” Idris noted, tongue-in-cheek. Emma nodded and the girls turned as one to head back.

Lokka sat patiently in the driver's seat of the Keris, quietly observing the area around the statue. This part of the city seemed to be rather tucked away, as there were not many people in the general vicinity, and fewer around the roundabout itself. It seemed that Mileina had picked the perfect spot for their rendezvous.

Time passed. Lokka glanced down at the dashboard, spotting a small digital clock that told him that the meeting was about to happen.

"She's here!" Emma piped up from the back of the Winnebago. The plant Destrillian had managed to sense Mileina without yet seeing her. "...Wait."

"What's the matter?" Idris asked her.

"There are...three of them?" Emma stated, confused by her own statement. "There are three Destrillians. None which we've met yet."

"She must have invited some friends - I hope they brought dip!" Stolz added, ruining the tension.

Clearly also ignoring the situation at hand, Nova questioned the blonde kid. "You just ate! Boy you got a killer appetite!"

"Can we focus please? Emma, where are they?" Lokka commanded from the driver's seat.

The girl got up off her seat and stepped into the front of the Keris, squinting through the windshield. "Over there." She pointed toward an archway that opened out onto the roundabout from the right-hand side. Sure enough, the redhead was correct;the group could see three figures walking through the archway. Lokka instantly recognized Mileina from what she had been wearing earlier on that day - and her green hair also stood out, even at this distance. Two other figures stood on either side of the girl. They wore matching uniforms, with caps on their heads and sunglasses covering their eyes.

"Are you sure these are Destrillians? They look like they could just be security from Limnades," Lokka asked, confused as to why Mileina had felt the need to bring security with her in the first place.

"They're definitely Destrillians, Lokka. Though this only raises more questions," Emma responded, clearly not at ease with the way things were playing out.

The group watched as the trio approached and waited beside the statue. Like cats watching mice, or snipers watching targets, or maybe like frightened children watching crazed murderers. No one would have been able to tell which. After a minute or two, they decided to make their way out of the Keris and onto the street.
Stolz exited the vehicle first, with the rest of the Winnebago’s occupants following after them. Lokka closed the door behind them and slowly, the six approached Mileina.

From the fancily-dressed woman's stance, Idris figured that Mileina had known they had been in the Winnebago the whole time. Also of note were the two other people, who positioned themselves around the green-haired girl as if she were their master more than their leader. Considering what Emma had said about them being Destrillians as well, the thought was a bit creepy.
The team stopped close to the three new Destrillians; Lokka decided it was his responsibility to initiate conversation, having been the one to have brought everyone here in the first place.

"Miss Grace. I'm glad you met us here,"he started politely. "I must say I'm a little confused."

"En effet, Monsieur Kayne," Mileina replied calmly."I'm sure you remember Jamelyn Halevy and Travis Bailey. They've been in my company for a few years now."

"I'm sorry, I guess it's been a while. It's good to see both of you; I honestly didn't expect to see any more of us out here. These are my own companions, Terra, Emma, Idris, Nova and... er, Stolz."

Mileina gazed around at the assembled party with a confused look on her face."That's odd. I thought there were more of you. The news report identified Kerr Nordstrom, and Thetis Alcesteos as well."

"Yeah, they're with us. We had a medical emergency, though,” Lokka said, trying to explain their situation without giving too much away. Something about the circumstance he’d found himself in wasn’t right, and that nagging feeling refused to allow him to trust Mileina completely. “So they are elsewhere right now. Is that a problem?"

"It's a shame I couldn't meet all of you at the same time, but it's no bother."

"None at all," Travis added, his tone sounding slightly unusual despite its snark.

"The situation is within acceptable parameters,"Jamelyn spoke, in a monotonous voice.

Lokka was taken aback somewhat as she said it. Was that really Jamelyn’s voice? He'd already pointed out earlier that Mileina seemed very different now, compared with how she had been in Viola; Jamelyn seemed the same, in some respect. It was a little thing, but she had always had one of the warmer personalities amongst the other Destrillians at Lokka's facility. Had that disappeared over the years?
She also looked a little...off. Lokka noted her skin colour seemed somewhat different, but that could just be the way he was seeing her in the dark.

"So what happens now?" Idris asked, looking directly at Mileina.

"Oh, you know. We have a big, fuzzy reunion with cake and streamers, then I'll take you all to a far away place where you can all live peacefully and never have to worry about Viola, IRIN or Lyverius again," Mileina replied, her tone now uncharacteristically sarcastic.

"Could you...repeat that?" Lokka said, alarmed by the terms Mileina had used, not to mention her sudden change in character.

Mileina dropped her head down forward and replied, "You just couldn't stay away, could you? You had to come here, to my territory. Everything was fine – my life was going great...but then you had to show up. You lowly creatures bring nothing but chaos wherever you go, but not here, not here, not here…" She began breathing heavily as her sentence came to an end.

"What are you talking about? You're one of us! You said you would help us!"Emma shouted at the girl, surprising everybody. Lokka stood still, glaring at the green-haired girl in front of him. Idris' and Nova's stances had changed slightly too, as if they sensed danger. Terra's expression had become a worried one after hearing her friend's voice become that way.

Mileina just stood there, with her head still facing down.
Suddenly, she began to laugh.

The laughter was hysterical and twisted, grating on the ears almost. And after a few seconds she finally raised her head to face the assembled Destrillians, and now her eyes were wide and deranged-looking and not at all the eyes of an ally.

"A good question there, and the answer is very simple," Mileina replied, her voice sounding even more deranged than her expression.

"You wanna spell it out for us, chuckles?" Nova growled, cracking his knuckles at the same time.

Mileina gave a large, twisted grin at the man's words.

"I lied."
__________________

Disappear with the stars and come back alive.

Last edited by Baldy; 12/26/2010 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 12/20/2010   #147
Joe
Default

The Hotel, Audola & The Statue Plaza.



After the news broadcast the group had seen in Osea, the plan had been to find this "Mileina" that Lokka knew, and hope that she was willing and able to provide a temporary safe haven from pursuit while they figured out their next move. Instead, they happened upon this strange new Destrillian, Telran, who was an unknown entity, and Mileina's promise for aid had turned out to be a trap laid by another insane Destrillian.


To say that Kerr was less than pleased would be a gross understatement.


From what the new arrival had briefly explained, he had had some sort of past run-in with Mileina, and it was made clear that if he came anywhere near her, she would not hesitate to try to kill him. While Kerr would normally applaud this action, as it would be one less for him to hunt down, now was not the time. The facts were clear - for him to survive, they needed to work together. Even if he didn't like it one bit.


So now they were on the move again - Thetis had been left behind with Fiona, who, the "doctor" said, was not fit to be moved. Given that she hadn't graced the company with a string of her typical profanity in some time, Kerr had to agree. Thetis wouldn't be particularly useful now, anyway - she had done little in the escape from the military force of Osea beyond worry about the flame Destrillian. Rather than poke a head into the bedroom and be drawn into a conversation that they didn't have the time for, they simply left a note.


And so the two men had brought the unknown quantity called Jettison with them, hoping that the three of them would be enough, and arrive in time, to fend off whatever nastiness Mileina had up her sleeve.




=====




It all happened so fast that it caught the group off guard. The area was suddenly flooded by lights from above, and the sound of many, many firearms being cocked could be heard.


"They've got us pinned, Lokka," Idris said quietly, raising her arms slowly in a defensive way.


"I don't care!" he yelled in response, and within one beat of his betrayed heart he extended his left arm forward, exerting energy outwards. At the same time he raised his right arm to the air as he heard the first gun fire. His left arm sent the trio backwards a few metres, but not enough to knock them off their feet. He heard the familiar sound of a bullet ricocheting off of one of his barriers and he knew that more gunfire would follow. "Get rid of them!" he shouted, staring down the trio he'd just sent back.


"Awww shit just ain't ever right yo-"


"Nova," Lokka interrupted


"What is it kid?"


"Don't go too far, I can't keep all these bullets off you."


"You got it man," Nova said, flashing him a grin and a thumbs-up.


The large dark-skinned man ran head first at the Destrillian trio, his fist raised high in the air - he brought it down to pound the male of the group who was now standing closest. "HA!" the man screamed at his attacker, followed by quickly leaping backwards and throwing his left hand forward to send a ball of fire in Nova's direction.

"Shi--" Nova fell to the ground to avoid the fireball that had been sent his way. He had a habit of running into the unknown. He stood up quickly and patted down his arm, which had been grazed by the flames. "Damn, man, you almost got me with that, but the PAIN is coming now!" he yelled, before throwing his body into a jump, launching himself toward the man.

"Target accquired. Proceeding to eliminate," the other girl said, before waving her hand in the air. Her action caused all the water in the fountain of the statue to go hurtling toward the unknown dark-skinned man who was attempting to attack her comrade.


"Two on one? Ain't I lucky today." He brought his right arm out in front of him as the water connected with his body, avoiding most of the damage. Still, the sheer force of the ability sent him flying back to Lokka's feet, no further from where he began. "Shit man, I ain't getting nowhere with these tricky bastards!"


"I have my hands full," Lokka said, as calmly as he could, still fighting back the rage he felt from Mileina's betrayal.


"I think I can help," Emma said as she stepped up next to him, trying to help the man up.


"I sure hope so. Immah get hypothermia if these bastards keep it up."


Standing beside the large man, Emma took a firm stance, spreading her feet wide to help brace herself and spread her energy, almost as though she were putting down roots of her own. She scrunched her hands into tight fists and held her arms at her side, elbows bent. She reached out to the small bushes under the statue and with a quick, RIDER THRUST! mighty thrust and pull of her arms, they reached out for the three opposing Destrillians, grasping at them with with their branches like fingers.


She managed to take them by surprise, for none of the three were watching what was going on behind them. The bush was able to grab hold of the water Destrillian, snaking its tendrils up her body; however, her fire counterpart was able to quickly burn away the leafy shoots that reached out for both him and Mileina.


"One down out of three is an improvement, I guess," Emma observed, prepairing to charge.


"Ha! Works for me!" replied Nova, leaping at the fire Destrillian while his attention was still off of them.


Emma, meanwhile, took aim for Mileina, charging forward and reaching out to grab more branches off of the bushes to try and trap the girl with. Her opponent dodged the grabbing hands of the plants, however, and leapt out of the way, a look of crazed amusment on her face.


The plant Destrillian discarded the thought of trying to get this newcommer with the bushes and instead fell back on her combat training to make a direct attack. She closed the gap between them quickly and lunged fist-first at the girl's stomach. This proved inefective, however, as Mileina easily dodged the manoeuver. Not missing a beat, the redhead swung upward, going for the face, but her opponent threw up an arm to once again to block the redhead's swing.


Mileina seemed to have no trouble avoiding Emma's attacks. The new Destrillian was quite agile and a very good fighter, Emma thought. The redhead inwardly reprimanded herself for allowing her skills to grow soft. I haven’t exactly been keeping up with things the way I should, have I? She was confident that had she been fighting this Mileina girl four years ago she would have had no trouble in subduing her, however now she had grown a bit rusty in her hand-to-hand combat skills.


Emma found herself wishing she could use her powers to predict where Mileina would try to block her advances. She'd never tried using her powers that way before; she'd only used them for avoiding attacks from other people, and even then it wasn't always effective.


But I've got to try something, she told herself. Mileina wasn't making any offensive moves in this battle at all. This didn't leave her very open for Emma to make an effective move against her, so she'd have to try to resort to a different tactic.


She concentrated as hard as she could, reaching out to try to read Mileina's energy. Emma made a move for the girl's face. Mileina blocked. Emma dropped down to the ground to try to swipe her feet out from under her opponent with a swift kick, but Mileina leapt back and out of the way.


Concentrate harder! she kept telling herself.


The redhead ran up to her as fast as she could, exerting all her strength in her direct assault.


Mileina leapt again, and again. The third time a little spark of intuition ignited in the plant Destrilian's head, and she saw, plain as day, what Mileina's tactic would be here. Emma spun around quickly, bringing her leg up in a kick that collided with the side of her opponents head as she was standing up from her landing, sending the green haired girl down.


Emma smiled at herself, satisfied at having finally landed a blow. She was too early in celebrating her victory, however, for at that moment Nova's voice bellowed out from somewhere off to her left, outside of her peripheral vision.


"Hey! Watch it!"


She spun around to to see what he had been yelling about, but all that greeted her was a yellow ball of flame hurtling at her head.


Emma had never been able to keep track of more than one person at a time when using her powers in battle. It was too confusing, and quite honestly the different energy signatures of her opponents ususally had a negative effect on her when she tried exerting herself in such a way. However, this was no excuse. She should have been at least paying attention to the other fight going on next to her own.


Time seemed as if it was suddenly moving at a much slower pace. She turned away, willing her body to move away from the path of the fireball, but she wasn't quite quick enough. With cry she watched as it set the zip-up hoody she had been wearing on fire as well as the searing object singe the tips of her hair. She quickly pulled the outter shirt off and threw it on the ground, dejectedly watching as one of the very few pieces of clothing she brought with on this trip was destroyed.


There then came the sound of a heavy thud at the grass not far away. Emma looked up to see Jamelyn wiggling out of the branches of the bush that had held her. It seemed that the fireball had been well placed in freeing the water Destrillian.


As Jamelyn stood and took offensive stance in preperation of a strike, Melaina let out a shrill laugh beside her.


"Oh, this is not good," Emma quipped.


"Ya think?" Nova yelled as he passed by Emma, making another lunge at the fire-wielding Destrillian. Travis easily jumped out of the way and landed a few meters back, launching another scorching fireball toward Daniel. This had been the fourth ball of flames that had been launched his way, and Nova was getting a feel for the pattern. As he charged forward again, he knelt as he neared the hazard and slid underneath the flames as they hurtled off past him. Using the few extra seconds he had gained, he threw his clenched fist forward and connected with the Destrillian's shoulder, sending him a few yards back. Travis hadn't expected such force from a human, and so was confused by his sudden repositioning.


"Terra!" Lokka shouted, still holding off the bombardment of bullets that was being fired from every seeable angle. "Where's the kid?!"


Terra scrambled around looking for Stolz in the midst of everything. She saw their head poking out from behind a stone bench a little to their left. Eyell take care off stols!


With that, Terra rushed off to take the kid somewhere safe. Only problem was that the lights were confusing her, and being in the state that she was, she spent a majority of her time wandering around in absolute confusion. If only she could call out to Stolz, she needed to get them out of this place before something dangerous happened.


Idris didn't need any instructions. She had been ready to start fighting as soon as she sensed something was wrong. The battlefield as it stood presented her with the perfect opportunity to use the metal in the ammunition fired at them. She begun collecting the metal together and firing it off one at a time to make sure each bullet connected with one of the armed goons. However the sheer amount of enemies that had appeared out of nowhere led her to believe that this process would take far too long, and they would already be in a worse situation before it started helping.


Before long the hired goons had begun advancing on the group, not satisfied that a long-range bombardment of ammunition was proving ineffective. The opposing armed men began approaching from different angles, entering the plaza to further disrupt the peace. Lokka was the first to realise that something had changed, noticing that there was a lot less gunfire coming from above.


A small bundle of mercenaries started approaching hesitantly through the archway that Mileina and her posse had come from. They stepped out, aiming their assualt rifles on the group of Destrillians, their footsteps making a slight noise as they walked along the stone. Terra noticed the enemies approaching and clenched her fist ever so discreetly. As she did so the heavy archway cracked. A little more and it fell apart completely, dropping a few tonnes of stone onto the unsuspecting group. The obvious leader of the small group could be heard cursing aloud as he himself could hear the bones in his right leg snapping. The other members of his group were either dead or trapped underneath the stone. He attempted to pull himself out or reach for the weapon he dropped, but failed under the weight of the stone.


Terra gripped her arm as she turned around to focus back on Stolz, whom she had moved to a relatively safe area just to the side of a covering building.


"Watch out!" Idris yelled as dived at Terra, knocking them both to the ground as a small explosion went off near where the green-eyed girl had been standing. Idris stood up when it was safe, and pulled Terra to her feet.


Fankyoo eyedris. She told the metal-destrillian, almost apologetically


"It's okay. They're coming in from the left!"

Idris ran forward to tackle the next group that had made their way into the plaza. The first man to notice the pale girl was not fast enough to stop her from sliding along the ground, between his legs as she pulled at his ankles to take him down. She stood up in time to disarm another mercenary and floor him with a punch to the face, snatching his bandolier as he fell to the ground. She used the few seconds of surprise she had acquired to finish of the rest of this group with the excess metal ammunition she had taken from the last man. She scouted the area briefly for signs of the rest of the enemy group.


A small squad had managed to sneak up on the group from the rear, using the commotion caused by the early groups to their advantage. They had acted smartly as well, not focusing any gunfire on them even in their superior position, knowing that the barrier that had deflected their bullets before was very well still present. The group then split up, approaching each of their enemies carefully to avoid being seen.


One of these men focused on the small pink-eyed child, recognizing their unwillingness to engage in the combat and seeing an advantage. He drew his combat knife as he got within a few metres of the child, speeding up as he went in for a silent kill. His presence had not gone unnoticed however. The man's shoulder could be heard cracking as a large decorative rock had been sent at him by Terra, who had not let Stolz out of her sight. The victory was short-lived however as Terra felt an arm grab her by the wrist. She turned slowly to see another of these goons, grinning as he reached for a pistol with the other arm.


However as the man felt out for his gun, he too felt an even colder hand wrap around his arm. His expression changed at that point, the fear settling in.


"Get your hands off her human, know your place." Lokka said, his calm demeanor completely absent as his own eyes filled with pure hatred. The man let go of Terra, fearing for his life. Lokka swung his left arm around and grabbed the dark-haired assailant by the throat, choking him. The white-haired destrillian gripped tighter, not able to contain his anger any longer. His fingers disappeared slightly as the man's skin was pierced, blood seeping down onto Lokka's arm and the ground. The merc struggled for breath as he felt the pressure tighten more around his airway, choking on his own blood. Lokka's own arm was shaking as he held the man above the ground with his left hand, his eyes never backing down from the stare he held with his enemy. He snapped out his anger, just long enough to realise the fight hadn't ended yet, and tossed to man to the side. The man would only be alive a few seconds longer anyway.


The green/brown haired girl stared at him and asked, hey locka r u o k? u did nawt look o kay.


He walked past Terra, saying nothing as he returned to a more centred location where he could see the rest of his group.


Emma and Nova seemed to be having trouble holding off Jamelyn and Travis. Nova found himself struggling slightly as he tried to bridge the combat gap between himself and a Destrillian. Emma carried on fighting, despite Travis rendering most of her attacks completely ineffective.


Nova managed to grab hold of Travis and whip him around, throwing him toward the statue. The young man was able to catch himself and push off of the statue with a quick leap, but at least his attention was directed on one person for at least a moment. Emma took this opporutunity to try to take Jamelyn down. She had used her powers to make the very grass in the park grow taller than their heads, and she used the once-small plants to again subdue the water Destrillian.

There's something wrong with her, Emma thought in her head as the attack failed and this new girl leapt out of the way. She couldn't for the life of her peg what the issue was that bothered the her, but something about both the water and the fire Destrillian's energy just seemed off, for lack of a better term.


Mileina's crazed expression was starting to change to that of being unamused. The Destrillians were not dying like she had intended; obviously a drawback of having humans do the grunt work.


"They won't die? They won't die? Fine. I'll have to resort to alternate measures."


She raised one of her hands up to her head and closed her fist, concentrating for a moment despite the chaos ensuing. She then threw her hand forward and opened her fist to expel a large stream of teal-coloured light that shot right through the middle of the battlezone, causing all the Destrillians in its path to quickly dodge out of the way.


"Flutwelle. Brennan. Clear us an exit path," she commanded at her subordinates.

"Order acknowledged," Flutwelle replied. Brennan just make some kind of snickering laughter. The pair began focusing their abilities on their foes to keep them pinned down.


Emma had managed to dodge the wave of fire that had blasted past her, but in her haste to dodge she had placed herself in the path of an oncoming onslaught of water. The wave hit her square in the chest and sent her flying. The wind was completely knocked out of her and, in addition to being engulfed in a barrage of water, she found that she suddenly couldn't breathe. It was in this moment that she found herself feeling completely paralyzed and helpless, not even knowing what was going on around her.


It was because of this that Emma did not see the small stone walls that ran along the edges of the park. She crashed backwards into one of them, her head being thrown back and colliding heavily with the side of it.


She may have blacked out for a moment, but the red-haired Destrillian wasn't entirely sure. The entire world seemed to slide in and out of focus as Emma lay crumpled on the ground against the wall.


"Very good, now let us depa--" Mileina stopped midsentence. While the other Destrillians had scattered to avoid her dolls' barrage, one of them had been separated. Mileina saw an opportunity and dove in, charging at the lonesome girl and punching her in the gut as she turned to see who was approaching them.


The punch knocked the wind out of the green-eyed Destrillian, but it didn't knock her out. She collapsed to her knees, struggling to catch her breath and return to the rest of the group. Terra concentrated for a moment as she tried to get away, sending a stream of dirt flying at her assailant at an extraordinary speed. Mileina reacted just as quickly and dodged to her left, wasting no time to once again charge her opponent and brought her fist down on the other girl's head. The green-haired girl then grabbed the other Destrillian, ran back to the waiting car, and threw her in, the whole event taking place in only a few short seconds. Before getting in herself, she turned back towards the chaos and yelled out.


"What a lovely reunion this has been. Aurevoir!"


The words caused Flutwelle and Brennan to cease their attacks and move to quickly get in the car, which then sped off as fast as it could - in moments it was all the way down the street, and then it was gone.


"Aw shit. What was that?!" Nova shouted out as his eyesight focused just enough to see the car speeding off.


Emma slowly reached up and managed to throw her arms over the top of the wall, pulling herself to her feet. The wall was really only about the hight of her hips, but it was big enough to have done some damage. She attempted to let go and walk away from it toward her comrades, but the world began to spin again and before she knew it she was flat on her face on the ground.


"We need to keep mov--" Lokka's sentence was cut-off by the sudden arrival of a more favourable trio. Kerr, Telran and Jettison rounded a corner and entered the plaza, obviously having been aware of the situation by the time they got there. The group grinded to a halt a few metres away from Idris and Lokka, aiding in the fight against the remaining goons.


Jettison approached where Nova and Emma had been fighting, giving Nova a silent nod when they made eye contact. The young girl found the red-head on the ground, damaged from the last attacked. She bent down and patted the girl on the shoulder, trying to get her to stand up. "Come on, get up."


The words of the human girl sounded very far away to the injured Destrillian. She pushed herself up onto her hands and knees and turned her head to look at her.


"What...what happened?" Emma asked, placing a hand on her own forehead to try to ease the pain.


"You look like you got hit hard."


"Where is everyone? Where's Mileina and...the other two?"


"They got away."


Emma slowly got to her feet, teetering a bit and almost falling over once again. Jettison quickly grabbed the Destrillian's arm and pulled it over her shoulder, supporting her so she could walk.


"Everything is... it's all spinning," Emma said, trying her best to remain upright. Together, the two of them made their way over to where the rest of their group was standing.


"What now, Lokka?" Telran asked, burying a large knife deep into the chest of an enemy, having just paralysed their body.

"We're following Mileina. Kerr," Lokka said, turning to get the dark-eyed destrillian's attention.


"I know."


The group ran back to the van, avoiding gunfire by keeping behind Lokka's defenses. The group barrelled into the winnebago, Lokka entering last as he kept all of the fire off of the already quite beaten up Keris. Kerr quickly made his way into the driver's seat, with Stolz perching next to him and Lokka right behind him, leaning over the back of the his chair.


"You know where to go?" Lokka asked.


"Yeah. I can still sense her."


"Good. I'll make sure those grunts out there don't damage the vehicle too much."


Lokka made his way back to the door of the winnebago as he felt the van lurch forward a little as Kerr started up the engines. The door swung open and he leaned his body out, keeping a tight on the bar above him. He kept an eye on the remaining enemies, and the direction in which to block any gunfire. The mercenaries had for the most part, ran out of the majority of their ammunition. The few that still possesed the ability to fire their weapon were doing so, spraying their guns in the vague direction of the Keris as it rounded a corner and exited the plaza. As it hurtled down the first right-hand turning, Lokka closed the door and entered the vehicle properly.


Kerr seemed to be concentrating hard enough on driving and following Mileina's trail, so Lokka didn't want to add any additional grievances. He sat down next to Telran who was beside Nova. Now was not the time for idle small talk between friends, but Lokka still had a question for the tattooed man.


"The other two. Where are they?" Lokka asked, regarding the wherabouts of Fiona and Thetis.


"Back at the hotel. Didn't think bringing Fiona would be a good idea." Telran paused, mulling over just how long the fire Destrillian needed. "She's probably stable enough to be moved, though."

Lokka nodded in response.


The rest of the journey was quiet inside the winnebago. Emma looked pretty dazed in the back of the vehicle, having sustained some kind of blow to the head. Even Stolz didn't really say anything, adding more tension to the situation than was needed. Idris and Nova were checking their bodies for signs of hidden injuries, the latter being surprised to have come out pretty well against a pair of Destrillians. It wasn't long before Kerr brought the vehicle to a complete stop. It was hard to see in the dark, but it seemed like the van had pulled up at some kind of dock. Lokka got to his feet and approached Kerr.


"What's the matter. Is she here?" He inquired rather hastily.


"No. She's still moving." Kerr responded.


"Moving. Moving where?"


Kerr didn't have to motion forward, for Lokka to glance out at the open sea in front of them. It was on this sea that a cluster of lights could be seen floating into the distance. As he looked closer, Lokka realised that the lights were actually coming from what seemed like a large boat-- a ferry. He clenched his fist as he realised the chance to catch her had slipped away. He rested his palm as he tried to focus again.


"Where does that ferry go?" Lokka asked aloud, not directing it at anybody in particular.


Telran had been the one to answer the call. "Crawsus," he answered. "My home." The golden-eyed man got out of his seat and moved to the front, checking the Keris' digital clock for the time. "The next leaves in forty-five minutes. We should take it and head to my place to rest."



The topic didn't need to be put up for discussion. There were more reasons to be on that side of the pond than there were to be on this one. Idris was the one to make the only inquiry.


"What about Fiona? Is she ready to join us?" She said, looking at Telran.


He nodded in reply. "If anything, I'd be more concerned with Thetis."

The 'plan' was settled, and Kerr who had been listening to the conversation, spun the Keris back around to head back toward the hotel, whilst Lokka and Telran sat back down.


The ride in the Keris was all a blur to Emma. She couldn't make sense of anything that was going on around her, and so she tried to cut herself off from everything that she felt. She was laying down, that much she could tell. However when she opened her eyes to see what was going on around her the inside of the vehicle shifted and swirled. It was enough to make her feel sick, and she shut her eyes tight to fight away the feeling.


There was someone sitting on the edge of the bed with her. Emma couldn't see, but she reached out her hand and touched whomever it was, hoping that physical contact would help her figure out who it was since she was having a hard time making sense of things in her current state.


Emma was surprised to discover that it was Jettison. The human girl had been the one to help Emma back to the Keris, but Emma had half expected, and hoped, to find Terra sitting there. Terra would have been a great comfort right about now. She must have been sitting elsewhere in the vehicle.


Turning her head toward the front of the Keris, Emma took a chance and opened her eyes, trying to make out the blurred shapes of her comrades. From where she sat she was certain she would be able to see everyone who was in there, but oddly enough she couldn't. The blurr she was looking for didn't seem to be within her sight.


What Emma felt then was akin to sobering up after having too much to drink. Her head felt a bit clearer, most likely due to the sudden rush of addreneline, and she felt like she had a tiny pit of self control back to be able to use her powers with.


She scanned everyone in the Keris, looking for one energy signature in particular. However, it wasn't there. It was however, present in a much further away location, alongside three other energy signatures.


Emma screamed as she sat bolt upright in the bed, taking those sitting next to her by surprise.


The red-haired girl scrambled to get up out of the bed, holding on to a cabinet for support.


"Terra," she said softly, a look of horror on her face.


Lokka turned his head to where the green-eyed destrillian was sitting, expecting to hear a reply in his head. He felt his fingertips go cold as his eyes rested on the seat he had looked at. A lump built up in his throat and if his skin could go paler, it would have.


Emma slowly made her way up toward the front where Kerr and Stolz sat, supporting herself by holding on to the cabinets and countertops as she went, ignorning her friends pleeing for her to sit down behind her.

"TERRA!" she screamed, having finally come to her full senses and realizing the gravity of the situation at hand. She gripped the back of Kerr's seat, digging her fingers into the leather.

"MILEINA HAS TERRA!"


Her fingers then slipped from the seat as she succumbed to vertigo and fell backwards onto the floor, unconcious.
__________________

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Old 12/22/2010   #148
Bex
Default

THETIS ALCESTEOS, TELRAN MIARA, FIONA MYRWIND, KERR NORDSTROM ET AL
HOTEL TITORELLI, FERRY TO CRAWSUS

Thetis Alcesteos was hardly what one would call a deep sleeper, but after the past week's whirlwind of events, nothing could have lulled her from her rest. For example, she hadn't been woken up by Jettison, Telran and Kerr charging out of the hotel room, nor had she even stirred when Fiona started to talk to herself before throwing up all over the bathroom. In the end, it was the chill of room 410's air conditioning that roused the water prototype from her dreams.

When she sat up, Thetis realised that she was very much alone. There was not a whisper of conversation from the living room area; it seemed as though the others had gone for a breath of fresh air. It took the water Destrillian a few more seconds than it should have to realise that Fiona was nowhere to be seen, or sensed for that matter. Panic spurred Thetis from the embrace of the armchair as she blustered around the room looking for Fiona. First she checked behind the curtains that lead on to the balcony, but there was no sign of her. Then the walk-in closet, and after that, another search under the thick layering of duvets and blankets on the bed. Flinging open the door to the living area, the water Destrillian felt her panic lift as she caught sight of Fiona in a crumpled heap on the floor.

Without a second thought, Thetis gently slipped her arms beneath Fiona, the crook of the flame prototype's knees rested on one arm, the spread of her shoulders on the other. The water Destrillian felt her roommate's head flop onto her chest as she rose to her feet. Ever-so carefully, Thetis carried Fiona back into the bedroom and lay her down. Her fingers lingered for a moment as she brushed a few strands of hair from her roommate's face. But no, Thetis thought to herself, Fiona needed to rest. The water Destrillian quickly covered Fiona with a blanket, and, with a fleeting glance, marched back into the living room.

Thetis couldn't hide the smile on her face as she closed the door to the master bedroom. First of all, Fiona's skin had regained some of its former glow, secondly, Thetis could tell from the steady rise and fall of her roommate's chest that her breathing was no longer as laboured, and thirdly, while it may have not been the most healthy course of action, Fiona had been up and moving around. To Thetis, this was nothing more than a cause for celebration.

And the only way to celebrate? Pizza.

As she picked up the receiver, Thetis realised, much to her disappointment, that Lucky's would not be delivering her a piping hot Fabulous Pizza for a number of reasons. Those reasons being; A) The call would be picked up by a gossip hungry Tonio; B) Lucky's didn't deliver to Audoula; and C) She was the delivery girl in the first place. The sound of ringing on the other end of the phone broke Thetis' train of thought, and there was a small 'click' as the other end of the line picked up.

"Bonsoir, Reception! How may I help you?"

"Umm, hi?" A grimace spread over Thetis' face. She didn't quite know what to say. There was a moment's silence before the water Destrillian finally blurted her piece. "Do you do food?"

"Of course, mademoiselle. What room number is it?"

"Four One Zero,"

"And what can I get for you?"

The receptionist had opened the flood-gates on the water Destrillian's boundless appetite.
Hardly having exotic tastes, Thetis knew what she wanted; everything and anything she could think of. So, she ordered just that. Pizzas, fries, burgers, sandwiches, potato chips, milkshakes, soda, ice-cream were just a few of the things the Destrillian listed to the no doubt gobsmacked woman on the other end of the line.

"W-will that be everything, mademoiselle?" The woman's polite tone barely disguised her disgust towards the base tastes of room 410's occupant.

Only when she was told of the cost, did Thetis Alcesteos realise something.

She had absolutely no money.

The receptionist, however, seemed to be savvy to such silences. "I can charge it to your room if you'd-"

"Yes." Thetis interrupted, barely suppressing a sigh of relief as she hung up the receiver. As she slumped into one of the suede couches, the water Destrillian smiled a little to herself. If the luxury was available, why shouldn't she indulge herself? After all, it had been a long week. Besides, if Telran hadn't wanted her to take advantage, he would have told her, wouldn't he? Whatever the case, Thetis was stuck in here until the others came back.

One of the bottles in the mini-fridge caught the Destrillian's eye. Padding over to the small glass box, Thetis retrieved the bottle, carefully inspecting it as if she could truly decipher all the lines and squiggles on the label. It reminded her of something she had seen on TV once, something she had always wanted to do. A smile crept over Thetis' face as she held the bottle of champagne at arm’s length and began to tear gold foil from the bottle top. After shaking the bottle with vigour only a Destrillian could muster, Thetis eased the cork from the neck.

It was only after the cork shattered a mirror and the carpet was covered in champagne that the blue-haired girl began to wonder if the spectacle had been worth it. There was a knock at the door. Alcohol fizzed around Thetis' toes as she tip-toed across the room, allowing herself the smallest crack in the suite's door to crane her head around. She was greeted with the sight of platter upon platter of food, as well as a somewhat alarmed bellboy. Wearing a nametag that read "Johnny", the look on his face spoke volumes.

"Umm, may I come in?"

Thetis didn't say a word, yanking the door open in response. Horror spread over the Bellboy's face as he glanced from the shards of broken glass to Thetis, whose biting glare said everything he needed to know. After scurrying back and forth to place the platters on every available surface (of which there were not enough), the Bellboy stood awkwardly on the threshold to the corridor. The pair of them stood there in silence for a couple of moments, staring one another down. Finally, Thetis spoke.

"Well?"

"Uhh...umm..." Johnny the bellboy stuttered, shuffling slightly under her glare. He was nervous - it was his first day on the job, and his first big order. He wasn't sure how this was done, but the prospect was too good to pass up. "I-it's usually custom to tip for big orders like-"

He was cut short by the door slamming in his face. With a defeated sigh, he hung his head and slouched off with the now empty food cart.

The abundance of food was more than Thetis had seen in her entire life. Pizza with more toppings than she could count, sandwiches with exotic fillings wedged between granary bread, milkshakes of every flavour and ice-cream practically piled up to her waist. Mouth parted in anticipation, Thetis stooped to pick a silver spoon from one of the trays on the floor.

What happened next went without saying.

Satisfied after ploughing through her feast (though somewhat disappointed that most of the ice cream had melted), Thetis decided there was no better way to further indulge herself than in the shower. As she entered the bathroom, the cool touch of marble against her feet made the Destrillian shiver. She stepped out of her jeans and threw her vest-top to the floor. After testing each gilt tap with little success, Thetis twisted a small knob that jutted out awkwardly from the wall, and warm water burst from the shower head. Deciding that the pitter-patter of water wasn't enough, Thetis fiddled with the inbuilt radio until she had tuned it perfectly. Triumphantly, the Destrillian climbed into the shower as music flooded the room.

Highway run
Into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind


She had heard this song somewhere before.

Restless hearts
Sleep alone tonight
Sending all my love
Along the wire


Now she remembered. It had been on one of Tonio's 'mix-tapes', as he liked to call them. Thetis never understood why, but he seemed to have hundreds of them made to suit a variety of his moods. Most, if not all would begin with the same introduction. "Lucy," Tonio would say, "last night, I met a dream-boat on the dance floor..." Usually this introduction was followed by an hour-long recollection of what happened, and would often end in one of three ways. Tonio was triumphant, Tonio got a phone number, or Tonio was jilted.

This song was from the jilted mix tape.

They say that the road
Ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line
It's been you and me


The sound of something so familiar was comforting, and before she could help herself, Thetis was singing along.

She just prayed that no-one could hear her.

=======

After days of wearing the same clothes, there was nothing more welcome than the touch of a soft, fluffy dressing gown against Thetis' skin. Steam poured from the bathroom as she opened the door into the suite. Her feet sank into the heavy shag of the carpet as she padded over to the bedroom to check on Fiona. Still asleep. Satisfied, the water Destrillian wandered back into the living area. What next? she thought to herself with a groan as she unfurled her limbs to stretch. Yellow eyes rested on the plasma television screen. Well, there was always that.

Picking up a couple of pizza slices, Thetis dove onto the velour couch and retrieved the remote. With the press of a button, the television flickered to life, illuminating the room beyond the light of the few lamps dotted here and there. But then again, settling on something to watch had never been the water prototype's forte. The sound of canned laughter rose over the hum of the room's air-conditioning as the TV landed on a typical human sitcom. Boring. She stabbed another button and arrived at another station and another disappointment; a national talent show. Thetis frowned and changed channel again, this time landing on an animal documentary, commentated by a soft, calm and informative female, who addressed the murder of an animal's prey as though it were nothing more than rain on a summer's day. Resigning herself to the television, Thetis casually threw the remote on the floor and sprawled over the couch, taking a bite of pizza as the documentary addressed the brutality of the predator with all the concern of a passer-by.

==================================

Fiona opened her eyes and stared into the vast, clear sky that faced her. Birds flew overhead, racing for the mountainous horizon. The fire Destrillian lay still, not recalling where she was or how she had gotten there. As she rested on her back, she realised it felt wet. It was then that she noticed that she wasn't relaxing on solid ground, but a large pool of water. The expanse of water was heated, it seemed: small billows of steam floating up into the air around her. Positioning herself to tread water, the redhead ended up standing--the pool wasn't deep at all. The drink only came up to just below her chest.

Looking down, the fire prototype also took note that she wasn't wearing anything. Not that she cared, but it made her question what exactly was going on all the more. Fiona felt hands slither around her hips, clutching her abdomen and pulling her back up against another person. Why the redhead couldn't sense who it was before that moment went over her head, but she took it in stride and met with a very familiar face. "Nice of you to join me, Thetis."

The water Destrillian let go of her and appeared to float away, putting some distance between them. She sparkled and dazzled as she ebbed farther from where Fiona was standing. As if in a stupor, #004's eyes became heavy and mindlessly followed after her counterpart, nearly tripping over her own feet in the process. Thetis giggled and splashed at the redhead, but it went unnoticed. Fiona simply laughed like a buffoon and kept on pursuing her would-be prize.

The blue-haired girl instantly stopped, making the fire Destrillian crashed into her (even though it took some time to catch up). She fell backward into the water, but not before Thetis gripped her shoulders and kept her upright. Fiona's head lolled a bit back and forth from all of the quick movement and she let out one long syllable of a laugh. The next thing she knew, they were both submerged, laying on the floor of the hot spring. Thetis had locked lips, giving Fiona the air to stay beneath the surface without worry of not having the ability to breath. The redhead felt as if she were literally on fire. Something about the way they were kissing sparked something in her that made it feel as if she could turn her entire body into pure flame.

The fire prototype wanted to take it further, but never got the chance. Thetis pulled away and had the strangest look on her face. Fiona couldn't place it. Still underwater, the flame Destrillian tried to resume their little session when her water counterpart placed her feet on Fiona's stomach. Just what was Thetis trying to do? Before she could figure it out, the blue-haired girl used her feet to launch the redhead straight out of the pool and into the air.

It felt as if Fiona fell into the bed of the hotel room, her body sending a jolt throughout and waking her abruptly. She recklessly sat up, sweat once again matted on her skin and her breathing a bit laboured. #004 looked to the chair where Thetis had been resting last, seeing that she was no longer there. With her senses still dulled, Fiona wasn't quite sure where her roommate was now.

Propped up by her arms and hands, the fire Destrillian noticed the ache that ailed her all over had numbed, as well as the core of the pain--her shoulder. It hadn't left her system completely, but it was certainly far more tolerable than it had been before she passed out the last time. She was drowsy overall and dehydrated, but nothing she couldn't fix herself at this point. Clumsily, she got out of bed and made a beeline for the door. Even though she had lost all sense of time, Fiona knew she was in that bed and room for far too long. That, and she had to see where Thetis ran off to.

There was a buzzing in her ears that the redhead couldn't dismiss and realised it grew louder as she approached the closed door to the rest of the suite. Opening it, she had to shield her eyes momentarily from the barrage of bright images emitted by the large TV. The fire Destrillian didn't care what was on the screen either. Rather, she was far more interested in who she saw lying on the couch in front of it. Fiona couldn't help but grin as she spotted Thetis stuffing her face with an over-sized slice of pizza. She leaned on a large chair some distance still from where her roommate rested. "I didn't think you could open your mouth so wide."

The sound of Fiona's voice practically made Thetis jump out of her skin. Hastily cramming the pizza crust into her mouth, the water Destrillian turned bright red as she saw the grin on Fiona's face. Thetis scrambled across the sofa's cushions, half tripping over herself as her feet caught in a luxuriously woven throw. The blue-haired girl nearly choked as she swallowed the rest of her pizza, spluttering as she tried to form a coherent sentence. "W-what are you doing up?"

Fiona couldn't help but chuckle under her breath as she ran a hand through her limp hair. "You kicked me out of my own dream."Confused, Thetis stared at Fiona in silence for a moment, completely clueless as to what her roommate was talking about. She decided better than to ask. "Never mind." The redhead said with a grunt.


The fire Destrillian pushed off of the chair and walked a wobbly path over to where Thetis sat. With a loud thud, she fell in right next to her, resting her head on the back of the couch and looked right at her counterpart wordlessly. Fiona studied her face and could almost swear she saw that same glitter-like radiance that she had seen in the dream.

Thetis, on the other hand, didn't know where to look. Fiona's eyes were dulled with the toxin, and the way she was staring made the blue-haired girl feel a little awkward. She tried to focus on the television, which was showcasing a montage of the most violent predator kills. It was hardly the perfect companion to the silence. A nervous sideways glance told Thetis that Fiona was still facing her. Maybe she was still delirious, the water Destrillian thought to herself as she plumped a cushion and clutched it defensively to her chest.

The redhead cupped Thetis' face in her hand, recalling the kiss they had in the dream. Just maybe... Fiona drew her face closer to Thetis', testing a theory that was itching at the back of her mind.

"Umm, Fiona?" the blue-haired girl mumbled under her breath, her cheeks flushed pink. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"Just fine." The flame Destrillian's words almost came out in a strained whisper, her orange gaze still fixed on Thetis. She brought their lips together and thought she felt that same spark from the dream. To say that Thetis was confused would have been an understatement. How Fiona could have recovered from a fatal toxin without even being grouchy was something of a surreal experience for the blue-haired girl. Not to mention the way the fire Destrillian was acting. An unprovoked display of affection? From Fiona? It was all a little bit strange. After a couple of minutes indulging her roommate, Thetis lifted a plate of pizza from the side table.

"I, uhh, saved you some pizza," the water prototype's smile was somewhat awkward as she offered the food to Fiona in the vain hope that she would take it and stop staring.

"It has chillies on; your favourite," the plate was thrust under Fiona's nose. The redhead blinked several times in quick succession, a far-off look in her eyes now. Her mind had completely blanked out. She looked again at Thetis and then the pizza. Her expression gave off in the impression that she was suffering from amnesia, but her senses (what little were available at the moment) came rushing back. Fiona cautiously took hold of the slice of pizza, as if it was going to jump out of her hand if she handled it any other way, and nearly devoured it in four big bites like some starved animal.

Thetis smiled as she watched Fiona wolf down the pizza. Everything was back to normal. Well, almost. They were still stuck in a hotel in the middle of some city they didn't even know, the others were nowhere in sense, not to mention the fact that the entire Artolian military was chasing them. Still, things weren't too bad, the water Destrillian thought as she slumped back into the expensive couch. They were living in luxury here, after all. She reached for her milkshake, clamping her teeth on the straw and slurping rather unceremoniously. Turning to face Fiona, Thetis couldn't help but giggle at the strings of cheese that hung from her lips. With a careful sweep of her thumb, the water Destrillian removed the last remnants of pizza from her roommate's chin. "I knew you'd be okay."

With her cocky smirk she replied, "Like this shit would really keep me down."

"I dunno," Thetis mumbled, half to herself. "Things were looking really bad back there."

"Yeah well whatever the hell this is", she motioned her shoulder, "it can kiss my ass. I'll snuff it on my own terms."

There was a click of the lock, and the door unexpectedly opened to reveal the returning Destrillians.

There seemed to be very little space left in the spacious suite all of a sudden, as the party filed inside and began to solemnly huddle around the doorway expectantly. Like mourners at a wake, nobody spoke. The group was led by a particularly surprised Telran, who didn't even bat an eye at the state in which the room was now in - his attention was focused solely upon Fiona, who, by all reckoning, shouldn't be awake, much less awake and functional. Surprising...she should still be out. Is it not as bad as I thought? Or maybe...

Without moving her body, Fiona's eyes instantly locked onto the doorway. "Who the fuck is this?," she inquired testily.

Telran's eyebrow twitched. I can see she's going to be a real joy to deal with. "I take it you're feeling better, then." His gaze moved to Thetis. "We need to go, Thetis. Now." The water Destrillian sighed and shrugged her shoulders. So much for the life of luxury. Throwing off her bath-robe as she wandered into the bedroom, Thetis reappeared fully clothed almost immediately. She tossed a plain black back-pack to Fiona as she turned to face Telran.

"Let's go."

Fiona was on her feet now, alert as she could be at that moment. "Would someone mind telling me what the hell is going on?" Carefully, she studied everyone's face as she posed the question.

Nobody seemed to want to break the uncomfortable silence until Kerr's monotone voice piped up from the back of the group.

"The meeting didn't go as planned."


=====

"So, what happened to Terra again?"

The night-time air was keen and dust free as the party of Destrillians boarded the ferry to Crawsus. After her over-indulgent feast in the hotel suite, Thetis was beginning to feel a little sick (though not quite as sick as Telran when he had looked at the bill while checking out). As the ferry crawled from the harbour, the water Destrillian watched while the bright city lights of Villnore shrunk in the distance.

The Destrillians, having spent far too much time crammed into the Winnebago, like so many sardines, were now scattered about the ferry. Emma still lay unconscious on the van's single bed, while Kerr remained in the driver's seat, reflecting on the evening's events, and how quickly things had changed in such a short time.

Jettison and Nova stood off on their own, on the starboard side of the upper deck, conducting a hushed conversation amongst themselves. Idris, who had taken up a position aft, gazed out over the water as the ferry slid quietly along, listening to the ambient sounds of the river as they cruised downriver. Stolz, remarkably, was asleep, curled up in the waiting room. The newest addition, Telran, sat on the railing of the upper deck, staring at the stars in quiet thought. Fiona rested on a bench on the deck just below him, breathing easier and taking in the fresh sea air. She would have been up and about if it weren't for another series of dizzy spells that reminded her she wasn't healed just yet. Lokka stood fore, on the port side, running through scenarios in his head, as he weighed their options with their current situation.

Meanwhile, Thetis had taken up her place on the lower deck, at the back of the ferry. Draping her legs over the decking, the water Destrillian brought her arms up to the railing and rested her head on her hands. There was so much to take in. Water churned and twisted around propellers, hurling trails of spray in the boat's wake. With Terra gone and Fiona barely healed, Thetis was began to think that leaving Artolia had been a bad idea. In truth, the water prototype felt guilty. What help had she been? Thetis curled further into herself. So much for staying off the radar, she thought to herself. The others seemed ready enough to leave the hotel room without so much as telling her. Even the doctor hadn't been able to completely cure Fiona. Who could she trust when other Destrillians seemed so eager to betray each other? The thought put Thetis on edge, and she threw a cautious glance over her shoulder.

She was still alone.

Slumping back over the railings, Thetis closed her eyes. In the end, the only person she could trust was herself. The sound of a ship's horn blared in the distance, and Thetis sprawled back across the decking. As she drank in the night sky, the water Destrillian couldn't fight the feeling that they would be staying in Audoula far beyond their welcome.
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Old 12/26/2010   #149
Omega
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========== TELRAN MIARA AND FIONA MYRWIND ==========
THE FERRY


As he gazed up at the sky, alone in his perch on the upper deck, Telran let out a sigh. What have I gotten myself into?

Ever since he had woken up in the labs of Viola, Telran had been alone. Isolated. Cut off from everyone else. And while this was due, in large part, to his being physically removed from the other Destrillians, it was an incomplete truth. Even after his escape, there was something about him that kept him from other people. Maybe it was some side effect of his treatment at the hands of humans; perhaps it was a self-defense mechanism, formed both from and due to his inexperience in dealing with others.

This had continued through his reintroduction to society: Audoulan society at that, one where socialization was extremely important. He was somewhat of an oddity in Crawsus; not out of place, per se, but unusual. In truth, when people shot him looks in the city, it was due less to his appearance, which was outside the norm, and more to his general demeanor. He always kept far too much personal space to himself. The only people who were ever allowed inside were Alessa, and whatever woman he intended to share his bed with that night.

Telran had never in his life trusted anyone until he met Alessa. There had been no need. It was pure survival instinct - if you ever let someone see you back, it made it easier for them to stick a knife in it. And so for the past two years, the only person he'd ever been close to had been Alessa. And even then, he had always sort of kept her at arm's length - never really let her in. A mistake, that, he thought, eyes sliding out of focus as he stared into the glittering darkness. Things could have been so different. But I was too busy trying to keep everyone out to let her in. He closed his eyes. I was a fool.

The golden eyes opened again.

But what now? Now I'm reunited with these, my long-lost brethren, and nothing has changed. I haven't changed. He shook his head. No. No. I've changed. The situation is the same. I can either keep to myself, or I can try to be "one of them". Throw in my lot with theirs, and see where it takes me.

He frowned. But that's the real problem, isn't it? I'm not one of them. I don't know them. I don't know who they are, or what they're doing. What they're about. I don't know the first thing about them, and here I've gone and thrown myself into their midst without asking the most basic questions. Good job, Telran. He sighed again. Can I even trust them? They may be Destrillians, but Mileina is proof that they're no more trustworthy than anyone else. Maybe I should just give them a place to stay for a few days, and then remain in Crawsus.

What to do? I just don't know...maybe I should just keep an eye on them for now...


A flurry of light coughs just beneath him brought him out of his reverie. And what of Fiona? he asked himself. Do I just leave her to her fate...? He was surprised she was moving around, and, truth be told, was extremely curious about her rapid turnaround. Might as well see what happens...

His steps were as quiet as ever as he took the stairs leading down to the level below, but they echoed slightly on the nearly empty vessel. He found Fiona lying on a bench almost directly under the railing on which he had been sitting. He spoke quietly as he approached. "How are you feeling, Fiona?"

The fire Destrillian didn't show the surprise on her face to see the newcomer advancing toward her, let alone bothering to speak with her. Instead, she went about business as usual. "Who wants to know?", the snark was rife in her voice.

"Someone who'd rather not lose a patient," he replied, coming to a stop in front of her. He gazed at her for a moment, golden eyes taking in the now conscious firestarter, before continuing. "I didn't expect you to be up and about so quickly, after what I gave you."

Her cocky grin surfaced. "Yeah, well, I don't bend over for anything, including death. That shit can piss off. Wait. 'What you gave me'? Just what the fuck are you on about?" Fiona was on her feet, staring harder at Telran than she was when she first caught sight of him. Her fists clenched at her sides, upset by the thought that her recovery was not of her own stubborness and willpower.

One eyebrow twitched. She seems lucid enough. Good. "I'm a doctor," he said aloud. There was a pause, confirming his suspicion that Fiona didn't seem the type to waste time with niceties like introductions. "You've been poisoned, Fiona. Not sure what by. But while you were unconscious, I gave you a cocktail of meds to try and counteract the toxins coursing through your body." His expression became thoughtful. "Appears to have worked somewhat better than I had anticipated."

"And when the fuck did you get to pull this all off, Mohawk? Just because you're a Destrillian does not entitle you to slipping me who the hell knows what with your little bag of shit!" The redhead was getting worked up. The back of her head started to throb and tiny drips of sweat formed at her temples.

Telran raised an eyebrow, the hint of a smile playing across his face. "You certainly didn't carry yourself up to my hotel room, Fiona." His gaze hardened, his eyes narrowing slightly. When he spoke again, his voice was quiet but hard. "And while you're right, I didn't see any reason to not do something when Thetis was panicking about finding help for you."

The fire Destrillian tensed when Thetis' name fell from his lips. She stepped forward, marching right up to the lightning prototype, bringing her face inches away from his own. Her flickering orange gaze met golden straight on. "Playing wise-ass with me isn't the best choice to make. Especially when you're already on my shit list," Fiona said, gritting her teeth together. "You're lucky Thetis found you first, because I sure as hell wouldn't have given you the time of day."

Fiona was able to get out the last syllable before the throbbing in the back of her head pounded relentlessly as if she were constantly being assaulted with a steel bat. She winced, groaned and growled, taking a few steps away from the doctor.

"Then I think that makes you the lucky one, doesn't it?" His eyes never left hers, until she began to stumble backward. "Because I can assure you that you would be very dead right now if she hadn't." Telran had treated many patients in his clinic, and had met quite a few like Fiona - gruff and belligerent to a fault, and always with the chip on their shoulders. Experience had taught him that the only way to get them to back down was to never flinch or waver - not for a second. Although I suppose it didn't hurt that they were sick...

"Argh! Shut it, Mohawk!" In her blind pain she found the bench she had been resting on, sitting back down. "Go work on stealing someone's kidney or something!" Fiona kept her hands over the very sore spot at the base of her head.

Kidney? For the first time since he had joined the errant Destrillians, he actually wanted to laugh. Instead, he shrugged in reply. "Suit yourself, Fiona." As he began to walk back toward the Winnebago, the shores of Crawsus in sight, he stopped. "I could have helped you with the pain, you know," he said over his shoulder.

"When I want someone's help, I'll ask for it!", the fire prototype snapped bitterly.

As expected. "One last thing, then," he said, his tone serious again. "You've only got about four days left before the poison kills you. The more you strain yourself, the sooner you will waste away. So don't overdo it, all right?" He turned and began to walk away from Fiona again. "...for Thetis' sake," he said quietly, without turning around.

Fiona lifted her eyes away from the wooden floorboards and kept her sight on Telran until he was completely gone from view. Her expression softened at the thought of the water Destrillian, and then a menacing chill ran down her spine.
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Last edited by Omega; 12/26/2010 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 12/26/2010   #150
Baldy
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- IDRIS SAVAGE; the ferry to Crawsus -


It was dark.

The night sky, untouched by the foggy smear of clouds, shone clear and cold overhead; if you looked the right way, it joined the horizon of the lake seamlessly, creating an undulating, black limbo, with stars above ands stars below.

Like a Destrillian sandwich, Idris thought, the old saying coming back to her from her days on the rooftops of Osea. Only in this case the stars below weren’t the endless lights in a city a million-strong. They were the reflection of the real ones above, and that made them so much more real and so much more fake, all at once.

She missed the stars below. Part of her did resent the four years being alone in the city, true – it cried out indignantly at how unfair it had been for her to have to begin her new life with nobody. But part of her missed the freedom, the liberty, the ability to run and leap and dance and do anything she wanted, and to have nobody slow her down. Back in Viola, she had been hailed as an excellent team player, but her team always knew that if it came down to it, the Gunmetal Glint would be just as able to fight on her own. Independence was key.

A breeze sent her light dress fluttering, cold wind whispering off her pale skin. She exhaled and leaned on the thin, hard railing as far as she could, looking out at that horizon where the sky met the water and trying to find the place where they connected. She couldn’t. For all her Destrillian-level eyesight, the perfect stillness of the faraway water made it impossible to tell where one ended and the other began. It was continuous. Unbroken. Endless, and in that moment Idris felt small in the world and didn’t like it one bit.

Like images on the black screen of the night, she replayed the events of the evening. Mileina’s crazed laugh. The crack in Lokka’s voice just before all hell had been set loose. Fending off dozens of armed men. The terse chase, right up to the ferry. Emma’s scream, and then her faint.

Terra.

Idris stopped there. Stopped dead in her tracks and couldn’t go forward or backward. Couldn’t avoid or evade or swerve with all her usual grace. And for the first time in years she was gripped by pure, cold, unadulterated fear. Where was Terra? Was she alright? Was she hurt? Was she dead? Mileina had taken her away and was probably doing horrible things to her and poor Terra had never done anything to deserve it and for gods’ sakes nobody had noticed she was gone.

She winced. Terra had always been that quiet presence, only there if you looked for her – a lot like Idris in that sense. But the difference was that people might’ve noticed if Idris went missing. She certainly wouldn’t have gone without a tremendous fight. But Terra didn’t have that luxury, did she? She was crippled, hindered horrifically because of the seizure she’d had all those years ago—and Idris felt horrible for it. Terra had never done anything but try to help them all, in any way she could. She’d never complained, she’d never yelled, she’d never done anything wrong. But she had been the one to go. It was just so cruel.

She’s probably not even upset with us, Idris thought, hands gripping the cold railing, fighting the sudden urge to just vault over it and jump into the cold and the black and see if there really were stars down there. She’s probably terrified but she’ll never say it was our fault. But it was our fault. It was our fault and that means YOUR fault too Idris, and you probably could have saved her but now she’s gone, and you might never see her again and you only just started to show to her how much you cared and STOP.

The small girl squeezed her eyes shut tight, forcing the feeling of welling tears to go away. Stop. Now. Thinking all dismal is going to do nothing for her. The rational, down-to-earth comment began to calm her down. Calm down. You’re acting like a human, standing here and despairing over something that can be fixed. You’ve spent too long out of practice, Idris – start being a Destrillian again.

She opened her eyes, looking up at the stars with determination.

“Right.” It was going to be fixed. All of it. She’d do it herself if she had to – not that she would. Idris knew that Emma would jump at the slightest chance to save Terra… once she woke up. Some of the others, at least, would likely help, too. And they were Destrillians, for goodness’ sake; they could take on anything. They’d get Terra back.

We’ll get her back. You’ll get her back.

She turned to look ahead of the ferry and saw the shoreline startlingly close. In a mere minute or two, they would dock and get in the Winnebago and go to the new Destrillian’s place to stay and sleep for the night and somewhere, amidst all the hustle and bustle and necessity, somehow Idris would come up with a clever plan to get Terra back and they would act on it. Because now that they had arrived in Audoula and their meeting had failed, nobody had a better idea. She awaited the day they had a real, proper, long-term plan in place with true relish, but until that day came they were playing it by ear.

A worker on the ferry announced to all the passengers, human and Destrillian alike, that they were now docking in Crawsus. Idris turned swiftly from her place to the Winnebago, just as all the others did the same. And they all began to move towards it to get ready for the next great leap of faith, and as far as playing things by ear went, Idris thought she could hear something in their footsteps.

The sound of moving forward.
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Disappear with the stars and come back alive.
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