CVnU - Los Angeles (Location Thread)

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demonboundSitri

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@lunahawk:

"I'll be fine," Sitri assured her, "I'd only be bad off if people were being coerced, and honestly, I would have felt that as soon as I got in the building. If people are just pretending, it doesn't bother me. Or... if you're asking me if I'm gonna get all up tight about the sex stuff, that ship sailed a long time ago. I'll be fine." Given that she had used internet hookup apps more than 'occasionally,' Sitri didn't really feel like she had much room to judge other people about what they were doing with their own bodies.

"How many people do you have working at this location on a given day?" she inquired. It seemed like a good thing to know who was supposed to be there and who was just along as baggage. "And how does that compare with your plans for the new location?" She wasn't sure how many people were involved in film production, but it seemed like it was probably more than she expected. Camera people, microphone people, makeup people, technical support people... she had a feeling that once you added everyone up, you ended up with an awful lot of people involved, even in a relatively "small" film.

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LunaHawk

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@demonboundsitri:

Luna Hawk nodded. "Alright, I just have to make sure when I hired someone. I'm with you, I don't really care. Something about 82 lifetimes just takes the prude out of you eventually. The number of people here at any given time varies, but there can be as many as a hundred by the time you account for all of the staff. The new location should be three or four times that number because we'll be working much larger, more mainstream films. You need fewer people for porn than you do Indiana Jones sixty seven."

She opened one of the green lit doors and walked her into the room. There were a few people there, a director and three actors going over some parts of the script and minor staging bits and they all dutifully ignored their presence. "Directors will often bring people onto set to go over some minor details even when they aren't filming, stuff they didn't feel was quite right or stuff they really want to get right. In this case, a lot of the girls that work with the studio are also being trained as mainstream actors while they're here, I don't just want to produce adult films, I want to lift people out of bad situations. Since a lot of these women would turn to this or prostitution anyway, I'd rather they get education and help moving away from their bad influences."

Luna Hawk pointed to someone standing off to the side taking notes. "That woman is an acting instructor, she's taking notes to go over with her students later."

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demonboundSitri

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@lunahawk:

Indiana Jones 67? God forbid. The last one was bad enough - they should have stopped at 3. That made her start thinking, though. "Will there be a lot of traveling involved for all of this? For... what do you call them, location shots?" Sitri didn't mind traveling, but it was something she figured she ought to know about ahead of time, especially if she was going to need to call off from her other job in time. Although, maybe they'd get to go somewhere cool - that would be fun. Sitri had never been out of the United States before. Technically, before her move to California, she'd never even been out of Michigan before, but she was managing that all right, even if it did sometimes feel like she had moved to another planet entirely. Maybe that was just California, though. Or maybe it was just Michigan. Man, I know nothing about traveling. Oh, well. I guess I'll figure it out if I need to.

She didn't say too much about Luna Hawk's evident crusade to save young women from a life of prostitution. Sitri felt like the worst thing about prostitution was that it was illegal, which meant that prostitutes had to put up with a lot of stuff because they couldn't speak out about it. She'd considered it as a career for a while, she liked the sex part well enough, but the fact that it was illegal meant that the profession attracted a lot more negativity than it otherwise might have, which was... not good for Sitri. Or not good for the part of Sitri that thought people tasted best raw and screaming.

Yeah... best not to start thinking about that.

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LunaHawk

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@demonboundsitri:

"I'm sure there will be, a lot of films are filmed on location with mainstream studios...and I personally prefer movies with a bit of a real feeling to them and not a big pile of green screen." Kendra told her. "We'll cover your travel expenses and put you in hotels and so on, you won't have to deal with anything out of pocket." Luna Hawk had a lot of money and so did her company.

"Have you ever traveled anywhere before? Have any issues traveling at all for that matter?" She wondered.

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demonboundSitri

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@lunahawk:

"Ah... no," Sitri admitted, "The only traveling I've done was when I moved out here. I didn't have any major issues then, but I wouldn't say I'm really experienced. I mean... I can change a flat and jump a dead battery and all that basic stuff." Although, that probably wasn't the sort of thing that was likely to come up. Sitri doubted that Luna Hawk's traveling studio show went cross-country in a '98 Ford pickup. Not that there's anything wrong with my truck. Sitri was very fond of her truck, for all that it was almost as old as she was. These days, it was semi-retired, living a life of automotive luxury in a storage unit outside city limits, because parking in the city seriously cost more than housing these days, it felt like. She still got it out on free weekends, when she wanted to drive out to one of the parks, and it still drove. Most of the time. With a little help. Sitri was very good with jumper cables, anyway.

Probably a bit far from the point. "I wouldn't mind traveling," she returned to the original conversation, "I've just never had the opportunity."

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Ananke

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@ironcore said:

@ananke

(Thought you'd approve of that. :P)

Ironcore stared at the man, finding his avoidance strange. His body language was all wrong for someone who was afraid of him. Still, instead of setting off warnings in his mind it only made him more curious. The man was obviously hiding something, and if he went with him he would find out what it was.

Now, the droid wasn't stupid. Naive, absolutely. He watched as he took a drag of his cigarette, registering burning tobacco among other chemicals. "I have limited knowledge of civilian vehicles, but I will make an attempt. What is the purpose of that?" he pointed to the man's cigarette, not seeming to notice the rather abrupt segue in conversation.

"Oh, this?" Franklin held the burning cig out in front of his face, briefly fixing his eyes on it before taking another drag. His response was stale, half-sarcastic, and his voice possessed a deadened quality characteristic of his detached feelings. "Aside from slowly killing me? It's designed to produce a certain series of neurochemical reactions that make me feel fine despite the fact. It's to get me addicted to the nicotine so companies and the people running them can profit from my apathy with regards to my own slow suicide." He took another pull. That was the most comfortable he'd been all night.

"C'mon, I'll show you to the car." He nodded in the opposite direction, turned completely and started away, waiting for the automaton to follow.

To their credit, Ananke had been around for a good little while. Everyone knew Franklin and their choosing him for this task was in many ways deliberate. Designation "Ironcore," despite extant intel, represented a mostly unknown quantity. Its purpose, its capabilities...For all they knew, it could've had a built-in physiological monitor. Which was why, before sending the mutant in they trained him, rehearsed certain aspects of the interaction beforehand.

It was almost impossible for most people to lie without giving themselves away. A naturally nervous person like he, caught in a moment, would be given away either by his body or by holes in his story.

But a good con knows how to work the understanding of these factors to an advantage. Hence, his story was built on a foundation of "creative truths" rather than outright lies. He was stuck, with no means of extraction til the job was done; the area was entirely unfamiliar to him. And he did have a "mechanical problem" - which also happened to be its own solution - in the machine standing behind him at that very moment. The car had to be alternatively acquired, but for all intents and purposes it was now theirs. It was practised until he believed every bit of it wholeheartedly. Now they could only hope for the best.

He waited, turning back after several metres to ensure he was being followed as desired. Should the robot follow, he would proceed as intended several blocks away to a lone black Tahoe, extensively used, parked directly under a streetlamp in another back alley.

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Ironcore

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@ananke

The explanation of the cigarette caused Ironcore to tilt his head slightly, not really responding aside from a few slow blinks of his iris. After a moment he spoke, a tone of understanding in his normally monotone voice. "I see. Adjusting your neurochemical responses via an outside source. Interesting." he spoke.

Having no previous experience, Ironcore didn't feel strange at all about following this human to his vehicle. He was, however, running through his expansive scenario database, looking for any suspicious parallels with the man's behavior and any known military or civilian tactics. Nothing was showing up, so he followed the man with an even stride. As he walked, he observed the man's gait and began to emulate it, stopping suddenly whenever he turned around to make sure that he was following.

As they walked, the database had begun to connect certain aspects of the situation with known tactics commonly used in metropolitan areas. He tilted his head slightly, coming to a stop a few meters from the black SUV. His iris contracted as he looked up at the surrounding buildings, though he didn't detect anyone else around. "This is a strange place to park. I detect no other biological signals nearby."

Between his combat scenario database and the way the man was acting nervous, a thought crossed his mind. There were too many parallels to certain recorded instances of gang kidnappings for this to be a coincidence. Blunt as ever, he spoke again. "Is this a kidnapping?"

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Ananke

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#3208  Edited By Ananke

@ironcore: At the question, Franklin paused. Looked down at his own scrawny frame, and then at the large machine, clearly some kind of combat unit. "Me...kidnap you," he parroted, his own deadpan voice carrying a hint of its own tone as to suggest "that's the most bizarre bit of inanity I've ever heard." He stood ready to dodge, weave or dive out of the way in case the whole situation forced him to fight to preserve his life, but did his best to remain calm.

The voice on the other end of the comm had gone silent. Apparently he was on his own.

"Like I said. Mechanical problem. I didn't really have much of a choice where to park. So, think you can help?"

He was hardly alone, however. Never entirely. While the two talked, throughout their conversation his distant ally went to work, engaging the proper protocols for the main phase of their scheme. From a secure location some distance away that not even Franklin Park could guess, nimble fingers tapped away at a keyboard. Surrounded by various monitors and a powerful, incredibly expensive computer system, she worked furiously til several beads of sweat formed at her brow. They'd registered some kind of signal coming from it, most likely for allowing the creators or handlers to maintain control. People whom Ananke assumed would have an interest in maintaining control.

{Jewel in position. Ready for Jenga.}

And that was it. In one final series of strokes the operation commenced in earnest, and the viral digital form made its attempt on his system. Information turning on information in an attempt to breach and override whatever was there with an alternative program, the design of another.

{Okay, Hardware. Get ready to do your part.}

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Ironcore

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@ananke

Ironcore tilted his head again at the man's response. It took a moment to register, but he realized that the idea was absurd. He had gunned down dozens of highly-trained operatives during his escape, and knew that this one single human could do little to stop him. "You have a point. I apologize if my question has caused offense." he nodded once. "I will see what I can do."

He had begun to move towards the vehicle to begin his diagnostic when he stopped, his sensor array going crazy. It registered an unauthorized user trying to infiltrate his system, and he turned and snapped his gaze to the man in front of him. He wasn't the source of the attack, but his sensors were having trouble locking onto an exact location.

He looked around, scanning the windows and rooftops as his visual sensor glitched for a moment. "I am afraid I cannot help you with your vehicle at the current time. An unauthorized user is attempting to attack my system." he stated plainly. A visual map of Los Angeles was overlaid in his HUD, scanning quickly to try and find the source to stop it before it was too late.

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Ananke

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@ironcore:

"Ah man, you sure? I kinda need this to happen. Without it my life falls apart." He huffed, half-sighing, half-chuckling. "Kinda like a game of Jenga." Cue. As if it was even necessary. The situation was already monitored as heavily as the mercenary could manage with present resources. "But alright, take care of yourself first I guess."

The signal, as it was traced, would be routed and re-routed through several sources, though it was only a rudimentary defence mechanism and the military-grade peacekeeper would likely have no trouble discerning signs and cracking various encryptions to find the true source. It was an old storage warehouse several blocks away, technically reserved by a private company but functionally abandoned for quite some time; a fine place to set up for a freelancing techie without any official affiliations.

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Ironcore

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#3211  Edited By Ironcore

@ananke

"If I lose control over my central processor, I may not be able to regain sentience." Ironcore looked over at him for a moment before crouching and leaping nearly to the apartment rooftops. He clung to the side of the building, hands and feet dug into the bricks like they were clay. He jumped again and made it to the rooftop, his sensors zeroing in on the location of the attack. He took off at a sprint, HUD glitching as the attack burrowed further into his processes. He needed to take care of this fast.

As his tracker centered in on the source of the attack, he switched direction and continued his sprint. Clearing the gaps between the rooftops was nearly effortless, each step carrying him closer to the source. Before long he saw an old warehouse and zeroed in on it, his eye switching from a blue to a pale yellow. He cleared the last gap in a flying leap, crashing through one of the windows on the second floor.

His HUD was almost completely full of static at this point, and it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where the signal was coming from. He shot up the stairs and through a hallway, long gun barrels sliding from his forearms as he began kicking down doors in his search. He kicked down one last door, and was greeted by an array of electronics and a humanoid. His guns leveled on the person, his voice glitching and almost frantic as he spoke. "Cease yo-ur o-o-operations at once. This-s is your only w-w-warning." His guns gave a loud click as a round was put into the chamber.

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Ananke

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@ironcore:

Inside the room, there was total darkness save for dim bluish light emitting from the array of computer screens surrounding a feminine figure sitting in a chair, back facing the android. Completely still, she didn't so much as flinch when it burst through the door, weapons drawn.

Various images were on display across the central monitor, including several scenes within the building as well as over the city. The alleyway where Ironcore rested and had been found; the vehicle where Franklin sat, snuffing his last cigarette on the hood of the Chevy; a number of skyscrapers, homes to some of California's most prominent corporate icons; and Ironcore himself, standing in the doorway, aiming his guns at the sitting figure. Several smaller screens seemed to branch out, showing various bits of data, code and applications.

No Caption Provided

Across those data screens, moments after the intrusion, bits of cascading code stopped. Then swirled, then began to coalesce, to curve and set until it became apparent they were forming a deliberate shape. It was the shape of a woman, constituent data streams tracing a virtual three-dimensional outline along the curves of her figure. She appeared to look out from the screen, directly at Ironcore, wearing a smug smirk.

"Okay."

And just like that, the attempt on "his" central processors stopped. The intrusive presence at the edge of his consciousness vanished with nary an indication that it was ever there. From the screen the "woman" looked expectantly outward, and said nothing else. She said nothing else, but her look was daring.

Your move.

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Ironcore

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#3213  Edited By Ironcore

@ananke

Ironcore stopped, his eye flicking across the various screens. The data that was being shown was surprising to him, and what was even more worrisome was the fact that the woman in the chair didn't seem to flinch at all when he came in. He watched as the woman appeared on the screens, the static and flickering stopping almost instantly as the attack was ceased.

For several long moments he stood still, his guns still trained on the woman in the chair. After what seemed like an eternity his eye turned back to its pale blue, the guns retracting back into his arms. "You have been watching me. That man with vehicle trouble was merely a diversion, a way to get me in range of your attack." he pointed out, his arms lowering to his sides. "I can only make an assumption at this point, but it seems to me that all of this was simply a way for you to get me to meet you face to face. What is it that you want from me?"

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Ananke

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@ironcore: "Call it a diagnostic," she said promptly. The data streams flickered, almost as a visual representation of her ever changing evaluations. More accurately, "that man with the vehicle" was a variable. She assumed, then, that while the droid had some measure of sentience it had yet to fully adapt to its circumstance. New blood, perhaps. It still "thought" in terms of linear processing, not yet accustomed to the flexibility of the human mind.

"What I want...well, I'm not quite sure." And she appeared to give it a moment's thought before continuing. "But that's probably because I want a few things. And some wants will vary with you. But now? Right now it's not looking very good at all.

"What were you built for?"

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Ironcore

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@ananke

A diagnostic? So, he had been tricked. That much was obvious now, his eye focusing on the woman on the screens. His iris contracted slightly, trying to make sense of this entire situation. There was a strange sensation in the back of his mind, one that he wasn't sure he recognized. It made him want to leave quickly, made him nervous. He didn't like it.

Before he could ask for her to clarify what she meant by 'not looking very good' she asked her question, causing him to stand at attention. "I was built to reduce friendly human casualties in overseas defense operations." he answered. He paused as he realized that he was standing at attention, and promptly stopped doing so. "What were you built for? I am having trouble discerning whether you are an A.I. or a human behind a clever mask."

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LunaHawk

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@lunahawk:

"Ah... no," Sitri admitted, "The only traveling I've done was when I moved out here. I didn't have any major issues then, but I wouldn't say I'm really experienced. I mean... I can change a flat and jump a dead battery and all that basic stuff." Although, that probably wasn't the sort of thing that was likely to come up. Sitri doubted that Luna Hawk's traveling studio show went cross-country in a '98 Ford pickup. Not that there's anything wrong with my truck. Sitri was very fond of her truck, for all that it was almost as old as she was. These days, it was semi-retired, living a life of automotive luxury in a storage unit outside city limits, because parking in the city seriously cost more than housing these days, it felt like. She still got it out on free weekends, when she wanted to drive out to one of the parks, and it still drove. Most of the time. With a little help. Sitri was very good with jumper cables, anyway.

Probably a bit far from the point. "I wouldn't mind traveling," she returned to the original conversation, "I've just never had the opportunity."

"Ah I see." Luna Hawk smiled a bit. "I think you'll enjoy traveling. Getting out to see new people and places and to see how other people live is always an enriching experience." She considered, shifting the subject after a moment. "I was thinking about your particular issue and if you're willing, I'd like to put you in touch with someone that has some...experience containing inner demons, so to speak." Kendra told her. "But I will leave that entirely up to you. I want to make sure my employees feel they have every resource they need at their disposal, both in their lives with the company and in their personal lives."

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demonboundSitri

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@lunahawk

"I'll... think about it," Sitri answered, "I don't know. Who is this person?" She wasn't used to having people just... bring up her little issue like that. She wasn't used to people knowing about her little issue. She'd been hiding it all her life, after all, and it felt a little weird, that some people just talked about those sorts of things like they were... well, not really normal, but at least... common. Heroes were a weird bunch. Maybe she should just accept that the fact that no one was running away screaming was probably a good thing, but then again, maybe she should be the one running away screaming.

Probably not right now, though. It wouldn't be a good first impression for her first day at a new job. "I'd rather my problems not be... public knowledge," she added. "I don't like the idea of a bunch of people knowing about that stuff. At least... not until when - if - I'm ready. That may be some day, but it may be never. Still, I'd rather keep it quiet for now."

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CutthroatBitch

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@ironcore:

The azure woman of data stared at Ironcore and smiled, but her mouth made no words.

"Their purpose, at least for now, was to get you here. To get you to me." From the same space a different voice spoke, this one a few notes softer, and flavored with a hybrid Barcelona-Los Angeles Spanish accent. The chair spun around and the sitting girl rose to full height—a staggering six feet, three inches. The near-total darkness of the room along with the luminescence of the monitors made a scintillating silhouette of her well-muscled frame.

The Avalon Amazon took a few casual steps forward, admittedly revelling in her own mind at the theatrical qualities of it all. "Money well-spent and well-earned. You can ask them about the rest later. Right now what's important is you,"she said, jabbing her finger in his direction. "How much of your original programming remains intact?"

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Ironcore

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#3219  Edited By Ironcore

@cutthroatbitch

Ironcore's eye shifted from the screen to the chair as soon as the woman spoke, his processors working overtime as they took in every nuance of the human. Her voice, her shape, the way she moved, everything was committed to memory as he fought to try and figure out who she was and what she wanted. His head tilted up slightly, able to look her in the eyes despite the low light of the room. "Why am I so important?" he asked. He knew the chances of someone wanting to use him the same way the military did was high, yet he certainly hoped that wasn't the case.

After a moment of silence he answered her question, staring at her in almost a defiant manner. "All of my original programming remains intact and available for use. However, none of it will become accessible until such a time that I decide that it is necessary. If you brought me here for the purpose of utilizing my combat abilities, I am afraid that I cannot do that." His iris constricted as he stared at her, his voice almost taking a defiant tone. "I no longer recognize outside orders. The only being that I obey is myself."

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CutthroatBitch

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@ironcore: There was a slight jump in her expression, a sharp spark in her eye as Ironcore preemptively voiced his dissent. He'd apparently learned humans fast enough. At least in some capacity. If there's one thing that's constant with them, they love to use and abuse, she thought, a deep sneer forming across her face. The answer was somewhat disappointing, but the Lazarus couldn't help feeling some sort of connection. Kindred might've been too strong a word, but she felt a certain degree of relatability between them.

This, then, most likely colored her response. She took what she at least considered the more kindly approach. "Okay, then I'll ask nicely. I have a friend," she started, turning aside while on the screens the visage of a woman appeared on a black bakcground. Soft features; long, wavy blonde hair; and a deep scarred wound over her left eye. "My friend, Abigail, has been hailed by many as a 'hero.' And, for all intents and purposes, she is." The visage faded and several images flashed on different monitors. Many depicted combat scenes against various foes, crisis situations, aiding civilians throughout such, and coordinating charity work done in the name of the company that was responsible for Anastasia's own creation.

"She was recently reunited with her mother, but now she is in trouble. They were attacked, traumatised, and I only want you to help me help her with the people who deserve to pay for what they've done. Is esimple, no? For now, you are important because you are not a biological being, and among the attack methods we are aware of, you would stand to be the most resistant." And she turned back to face, head cocked slightly, and crossed her arms. "It should be self-explanatory, but now is where I ask and you answer your willingness to help...?"

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Ironcore

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@cutthroatbitch (Sorry there's been such huge gaps in my posts, I've been busy as hell lately.)

There was a part of the droid that knew that this entire situation was wrong, though as he watched the images on the screen and listened to the woman's story he felt a need to help somehow. He attempted to run a background check on both the woman in front of him and the one on the screen, but came up with nothing. A lot of his functionality in that regard had been limited, and it frustrated him.

"You wish for me to utilize my combat ability to kill, then?" he asked, looking away from the screen and back to her. "I cannot do that, based on your word alone. I trust that 'Abigail' is a good person, however I cannot begin a combat operation without adequate proof." He paused for a moment, running through his options. After a short while he spoke again, adding onto his previous statement

"Or adequate compensation. What are you offering in return for my abilities?" he stared at her, his iris contracting slightly. "Bringing me here under these circumstances has severely damaged my chances of trusting you. Or the strange, neurotic man with the civilian vehicle. I'm sure you understand."

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CutthroatBitch

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@ironcore: (No problem; I get it. Trying to work my speed back up too.)

"Que estup-" Anastasia sighed, muttering under her breath but catching herself mid-annoyance, neutralizing her expression. Freaking idiot robots. Had someone hit it with a logic virus or something?

But her head cocked, intrigued, as it mentioned "compensation." Quid pro quo...Looks like someone understands humans after all. Fair enough. It'd been her mistake to assume all AI were inherently selfless anyway. She could show it to Abigail, run through an overview of her history as a heroine...but she wouldn't, and she knew she wouldn't as soon as the alternative path revealed itself. Subject to Doña's conditioning, her nature was as a weapon first and a living thing second. In this, two questions were of greatest import upon meeting any new acquaintance--and every subsequent encounter.

What do they want? What do they fear?

So, in this...ultimatum, she saw a learning opportunity, and lay the ball gently back in his court. Folding her arms, she shifted her weight to one leg and nodded. "As of now? I'm not offering nada. But I'm not above helping. So, what is it you desire?"

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Legacy_

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soooo is this the official LA thread or nahhh?

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Zebediah_Shale

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CutthroatBitch

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Cormac

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#3226  Edited By Cormac
@legacy_ said:

soooo is this the official LA thread or nahhh?

This is the CVnU one. I think Nova mentioned the CVU one to you in Discord that she will be using.

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Zebediah_Shale

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@cormac: vex right? I don't have your number bud

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The sun's rays cast their soothing warmth upon his skin, the smell of freshly ground coffee beans filling the air and charming his nose, Alexander found himself retired to an outdoor café. Fingers drumming along his table, his eyes scrutinous as they read up and down the pages of a book that sat by his cinnamon raisin bagel, Alexander sighed, his piercing, crystal blue eyes wearing his disappointment well. "I should've ordered one with cream cheese", he thought, glancing at the bagel before returning to his book. A book that'd inspired his own, one he'd yet to finish but began the moment he moved to Los Angeles, a city his friends had deemed dangerous. But to a native of Schaarbeek where even the Belgian police feared visiting, Los Angeles was nothing.

Gothic City however, was something. In fact, to the mind of the Wilshere Wordsmith, a man interested in the dynamics of metahuman society and how their existence impacted the world, Gothic City was extraordinary. Or rather, it's people were extraordinary. Whereas the book he read focused on the conflicting humanity and godhood of Thee Champion; Thee Champion: Man Or God?, Alexander's book would focus on something more grounded. Exhaling and slowing his drumming fingers, he again thought of Gothic City's people, the ordinary people who donned fantastical costumes and compelling personas to, with no superhuman power to their name, destroy Gothic's status quo, a status quo that preserved it's reputation as the world's most dangerous city.

Of these people he thought of, of the ordinary men and women who infiltrate and become part of the metahuman community in the world's worst city... he wondered. Are some of them depressed? Are others antisocial? Do they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from witnessing the repeated destruction of their city and the death of their loved ones? Are they simply... not well? Jotting down his notes on a napkin, he smiled, this'd be his most ambitious book yet. Though he had no title and the personable introvert was lost in his own mind. Lost until he was found by the words of another. "Your coffee, sir", a feminine voice called out to him, a charming smile greeting him. A waitress at the café, one whose dark hair was like a waterfall of liquid ebony, and whose olive skin brought out a disarming pair of hazel eyes.

No Caption Provided

"Thank you", he answered, his voice somewhat hushed, a nod and quick smile before awkwardly returning to the book before him. It was a beautiful café, but if Alexander were honest with himself, he only frequented it because she, the waitress, worked there. And he'd grown addicted to the high of seeing her there from time to time.

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demonboundSitri

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Sitri walked in to the shadowy room, her gaze training instantly on the caped man silhouetted against the window. She never had gotten a good look at him, between the shadows and the cape and the mask and everything. Metas were odd like that - costumes and cowls to hide themselves away, flashy outfits to grab attention and direct it away, anywhere but the places that mattered to them. She crossed the room, footsteps echoing into the silence, moving to stand beside him.

"Why are you here?" she inquired.

He turned to her. "Why are you?"

"I wanted to find you," she answered, "Find out who you are. Who you were."

"Do you have an answer?"

"No. I decided I didn't need one."

He reached out, a gloved hand touching her cheek, then dropping down, tracing a line between her breasts. She felt the chill of metal as he placed something there, nestled between them. She looked down.

BANG!!

She gasped sharply, sitting up. She was... no. Not there. She was in her apartment. In bed. Asleep, or she had been. She opened her eyes, but it didn't do any good. The room stayed just as dark. She made herself take a few breaths, then reach out absently for the water bottle on the nightstand. She knocked it over, recovered it, and picked it up, opening it and taking a few sips, hoping they would calm her. They didn't, but she made herself get up anyway, walking over to the window and touching the glass. Warm: it was morning. Or afternoon. Daylight, anyway. She could have turned on the radio if she'd cared, but she didn't think it mattered. Time mattered a lot less when you didn't have anywhere to be.

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SolarHawk

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No Caption Provided

The door she was touching slid open. "Well this is just pathetic." The voice would have sounded identical to Luna Hawk's to anyone who wasn't adjusting for being blind...but there was a difference. Her voice was just slightly more mature and there was a strange unplacable inflection. In reality it was caused by her concealed White Sentinel Ring, Solar Hawk didn't speak a word of English, it was all ancient Egyptian translated to English by her ring.

"Much worse than I anticipated. Kendra was worried you might be down on yourself, you're practically shaking. We have a lot of work to do. I'm Solar Hawk, I'm the one that's going to get your ass back in shape and unscrew your head. I've been watching your apartment for days...and I don't think I saw you leave once. You'll find my hand palm up in front of you, take it, we're leaving."

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demonboundSitri

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"What the $#^& are you doing in my apartment, you crazy bitch?" Sitri felt the quick surge of anger at the intrusion, fiery hot and a damnably welcome change from the apathetic chill of the last few days. She was angry at Solar Hawk for being there in her space, and angry at herself for letting it happen. She should have been aware enough that someone couldn't just sneak in to her place like that, but she'd been keeping the walls way up lately. They seemed to keep the demon in... not that it didn't have plenty to feed on from her emotions alone, but any time she'd pulled the walls down enough to be aware of others, it had surged, violent and unpredictable. She'd locked it down, locked it up, and herself with it.

None of that answered to the situation currently before her. She cracked the walls just a hint, enough to taste Solar Hawk's emotions, but they all seemed to be perfectly in line with what she was saying. Huh. I will be damned, she actually means all that. She exhaled shortly, then turned and walked away.

Fine. But I am not such a powerful hero that I can go fight for justice without any pants. She opened a drawer and pulled out a pair, then hesitated on feeling the fabric. Those are the purple ones. Aw, hell, no, I am not gonna be a purple-pants wearing hero, either. Why do I even own purple pants? Simple answer, of course, they'd been cheap, and she'd spent most of her life flat broke, and it seemed like she was going to spend the rest of her life that way as well, since she wasn't good for anything and couldn't hold a job any more and-

Shut it down, Sitri. She breathed in, breathed out, put the purple pants away and pulled out another pair that she knew were black. Better. It would do. At least she didn't need to see to put pants on. With a little more effort than she would have liked, she located sneakers as well and pulled them on as well, then dragged a brush through her hair. It undoubtedly looked awesome. For whatever reason, her hair always looked awesome. It was one of those weird meta-effects that was totally useless in the real world. She kind of wanted to throw the brush on the floor, but instead she put it down carefully, in the same place she had started trying to keep it so that she could find it again.

"Fine," she announced, "But I'm not holding your hand. I'm not three, and I don't even like you."

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SolarHawk

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Solar Hawk grinned, pleased to see the anger. She watched the girl put on pants and shook her head. Oh brother. Who owns purple pants? "Oh? Luna Hawk didn't inform me that you're capable of flying now. Your apartment serves its purpose, combat training isn't one of them. There's also no where in LA that serves that purpose well either. By the time I'm done with you, you're going to have your confidence back, and you're going to learn how to fight, the idiot on the security footage just gave you an advantage and I'm going to show you how to take advantage of it."

Solar Hawk stood waiting. The girl needed the truth spoken to her now, not kindness, not even compliments, the truth, harsh and bare. I'm going to force you to deal with yourself, because if you can't deal with yourself, you can't deal with anyone else either. You spend too much time trying not to be something and not enough time being who you are.

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demonboundSitri

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"Luna Hawk doesn't know everything about me," Sitri answered. "Can fly. Just don't." At least, she was pretty sure she could fly. There had been a couple times where she'd ended up with wings somehow. She wasn't really sure about the mechanics of how that had happened, though, and she'd never actually tested them. Mostly they seemed unwieldy, especially since she tended to hang out in confined spaces. It was a pointless adaptation, like the awesome hair.

That all aside, though, getting out of the city sounded amazing. She'd definitely been confined too long. Still, there were other options, she felt. "Can't we just take the train out?" Sitri might not have been comfortable with the idea of flight, but she was fully competent at navigating LA's public transit. Trains were nice. Plenty of people took trains. Daylight hours, there would be lots of people on the train. With several minutes between stations in an enclosed car, they'd have nowhere to run to. She could-

Whoa. She took a breath, let it go, reining in the killing urge and trying to get it back under control where it belonged. "...Maybe not the train," she admitted, quietly. Not in this state, anyway. Save the hunting desire for what it was needed for, not for a bunch of innocents on a train. "You can get me ready to face him?" she inquired.

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SolarHawk

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"Some guy with a few gadgets and flash bang fetish?" Solar Hawk shrugged, not that she could see it. "When I'm done with you, you'll wonder why you ever had trouble with him in the first place. You're used to beating up everyone around you, the moment you fought someone that was stronger, faster and better trained, this happened. Time to join the big leagues. If Kendra doesn't know everything about you, you may want to change that."

Solar Hawk took the stalling girl's hand, her grip was like an iron vice, a twitch of a muscle and she could break the bones in Sitri's wrist without a second thought. "Come on, let's stop standing around talking and let's go. Since we're not in an old Super Man movie, you need to step onto my feet and hold onto me like I'm your lover and we're in the middle of passionate sex. Do anything else and you risk falling or disrupting our flight."

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demonboundSitri

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"I'm straight. And you're crazy." Two entirely salient points, Sitri felt. She gave her wrist an experimental tug, judging the grip. It didn't do much good. Huh. How about that.

"You're underestimating him," she said calmly, "He found something that worked, and he used it, repeatedly, to his advantage. In doing so, he learned a hell of a lot more about me than I learned about him. He's intelligent, he's determined, and he's ruthless. He's an interesting adversary. He might not be yours, but you can at least give him the credit he deserves. I respect him. Right now, he's taught me a lot more than you have. I would like to respect you, but impatience and innuendo isn't going to do it." She appreciated the directness, but the last bit had been a step too far. Or maybe several steps too far.

She took a breath, flexed her wrist again. "Let. Go. Of. Me."

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SolarHawk

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(On phone so no bold)

Solar Hawk smirked. "You're not my type, it was just to help you form a mental image of how close you need to be. I apologise for crossing some sort of uncomfortable line." She meant it, Solar Hawk wanted to test her limits, not make her feel weird.

"I do respect him, but I've also seen a dozen others like him. There is a difference between respecting the ability of your opponent and making him the focal point of your life. I'm not going to train you to beat one person, I'm going to train you to beat yourself, to control yourself and to fight anyone and anything that threatens you again because Kendra respects you and quite frankly she likes you."

Solar Hawk watched her and kept her hand right where it was, for now. "You feel that? I can break every bone in your wrist with very little effort and you can't get your hand free. You have to ask. I want you to remember what it feels like to be helpless, both now and when you fought him in the studio, you need to engrain this in your head, burn it into your memory because it can fuel you."

She let go. "I'm neither impatient nor using ineundo, I want to see what you're made of, I want to know that when I act like this you will care enough to protest." She smiled a bit. "Now I know you're not completely lost in your own self loathing. If you want to fail to help those you care about, those you are hired to protect again then we can stop now, but if you never want to feel that way again, come with me, because I promise you, I will prepare you for him and everyone else. Your hearing has adapted to compensate for you loss of eyesight, you can learn to visualize it in your head, you can learn from me to use your hearing as a weapon, as a superior sense, to your eyes because I am a Hawk Lord, I can hear so much, too much. I can hear your heart beating as we talk, but I know how to focus and push out background noise. Come with me Sitting and let's get you ready."

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demonboundSitri

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Sitri nodded, calming down a little bit. She still didn't know if she really liked Solar Hawk, but at the same time, she had a number of good points. And sitting around all day wasn't going to change any of those points. She might not have liked it, but in the end she went with Solar Hawk.

They ended up as close to "nowhere" as the city of LA could provide, outside a rundown building surrounded by other rundown buildings, hallmark of a building project that had probably been exciting and new back in the '60s or '70s, but now was falling in to decrepitude. Sitri could feel the gravel and occasional remnants of scrap metal that had taken a tumble as she walked across the uneven landscape, and the air smelled stagnant, unused, yet heavy with fallen hopes in a way she couldn't quite describe. Maybe that last wasn't quite a scent... did places have emotions? Maybe if they were strong enough.

In her mind, she pictured the falling factories and abandoned buildings of Detroit. It felt like it fit well enough. She hadn't thought much about Detroit in a while. She tried not to. Most people tried not to. Detroit was a cesspit of broken dreams and breaking spirits. She heard Grimm City was like that these days, too, but she'd never been there.

She took a breath of the dead air, let it out slowly. "All right. Where do we start?"

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SolarHawk

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Solar Hawk found a relatively stable platform to sit on and hopped up on it, watching Sitri with interest. "What do you see?" She asked her. If she focuses she'll hear the sound of a train in the distance, the clattering of the metal rail above her head as it swings back and forth on a cable and taps lightly against the side of what was once a building, the rats scurrying around in the nearby warehouse...it'll be a start. To add just one more thing for her to try and pick out Solar Hawk reached up and smoothly lifted the helmet off of her head. It would make the slightest of sounds as the lifting caused the computer inside to shut down and again as she set the Nth Metal helmet down on the object she was seated on.

No Caption Provided

"Don't answer instantly, take a moment, really think about it." Solar Hawk instructed.

She picked up a discarded metal bolt, playing with it between her fingers as she eyed the cable supporting the metal beam.

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demonboundSitri

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Sitri hesitated. "What do you see?" No way she hadn't done that on purpose. "Crazy bitch," she muttered to herself. Of course, Solar Hawk would certainly pick up the statement, but it wasn't anything that Sitri hadn't said before. More like a reiteration of the obvious. One of these days she was going to meet some people who were normal.

Actually, Luna Hawk seemed pretty normal. Maybe this was more of a "there's one nutcase in every family" situation. For however the Hawks defined family. Or maybe they were all crazy and Luna was the outlier.

Enough of that. Sitri turned around slowly, focusing. She could feel the warmth of the sun, and she turned towards it, trying to gauge position, distance. It was in the western sky, not too low. "It's afternoon," she commented, "Two or three hours before sunset? Something like that. We're in a place that was meant to be something once, but is abandoned." She knelt, ran her fingers through the gravel, picked up a rusted screw. Heavy. "Not a residential area. Something else. Warehouses, maybe, or factories. There's a railroad east of here, I'd guess there's probably a station somewhere close, for shipping purposes. That makes warehouses more likely, factories would have roads and trucks to take smaller loads to the warehouse. There's..." She glanced up at the sound above her, "Construction equipment, maybe? Something half finished, I don't know. You're over there," she pointed, "Sitting. Up... a little. More than chair height." She stood, turned the screw thoughtfully in her fingers, then tossed it towards her best guess as to where Solar Hawk was.

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SolarHawk

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Solar Hawk smirked a little and watched her go to work. Not bad, looks like I have more to work with than I expected. She watched the little projectile and caught it. "Better than I expected." She admitted. "You're good at painting a picture with your senses, that's good...but you're not very good at the rest of it." She tossed the thrown bolt onto the ground. "It's easy to track a voice, easy also to pick out the time of day based on the temperature...of a place you're familiar with. What if we were in the middle of Siberia? Could you tell what time of day it is then and...how much would it really matter in a combat situation?"

Without a word Solar Hawk sent her own bolt flying straight for Sitri's unprotected mid section with just enough strength to make it sting if it struck but not enough to cause any real damage. There would be only one sound, the sound of the bolt moving through the air, extremely faint, hard to pick out from background noise. "It's easy to follow a voice, but what if your opponent wasn't talking, or what if they were talking to make you listen?" She said a half a heartbeat after releasing the bolt.

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demonboundSitri

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"Better than I expected." She admitted. "You're good at painting a picture with your senses, that's good...but you're not very good at the rest of it." She tossed the thrown bolt onto the ground. "It's easy to track a voice, easy also to pick out the time of day based on the temperature...of a place you're familiar with. What if we were in the middle of Siberia? Could you tell what time of day it is then and...how much would it really matter in a combat situation?"

"I don't know," Sitri answered, "The sun might matter. If I'm fighting an opponent with normal sight, maneuvering them so the sun is in their eyes could give me an advantage. It's not really the temperature, it's that it feels warmer in the west, which means afternoon. I can sort of feel the angle of the sun as well, that's how I'm factoring the time. I don't think it would work as well if I were somewhere unfamiliar, but I think I could still pick out where the sun is, anyway."

She was contemplating the issue when she picked up a sudden hint of the aggression that went with an attack. She moved before the bolt, back and out of the line, then glanced at Solar Hawk with a hint of confusion. It hadn't been enough aggression to have been a true attack, unless she was reading Solar Hawk very wrong, but she didn't think she was. More like the surge of focus of a pitcher playing baseball. "You just threw something at me?" A question, not a certainty.

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SolarHawk

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"I did." She confirmed. "Kendra told me you can feed off of and sort of detection emotions. That's all well and good, but you're not combining your senses like you need to. You either hear things or pick up on emotion. You should have heard that coming. It's the slightest of noises but it's there and if you were focused, able to pick out sounds, you would have heard it coming even while I was talking. Not every opponent even feels emotion and not every opponent makes sound."

Solar Hawk hopped off of her perch and walked forward. She stopped when she was about forty feet away. "Attack me, I don't care how."

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demonboundSitri

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Sitri listened carefully as she moved, then pulled the 9mm from her side and shot her. She was still carrying the smaller caliber, she wasn't quite sure why, especially given that if aiming was a problem - which it was - it would have made more sense to carry a .45 just to go for maximum damage on minimum impact, but she was still a little hung up on the idea. If she hit a bystander, they'd be more likely to survive... but mostly it was that Sitri wasn't really sure she wanted a killing weapon right now. Even if a 9mm was just as much a killing weapon... well, she tried not to think about it, because trying to rationalize it just made it apparent how little sense it all made.

She's certainly right that I need to get my head screwed on right, that's for sure. Even I can't pretend I'm making sense right now. Not thinking straight will get me killed in combat faster than anything else, even inexperience.

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SolarHawk

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Solar Hawk tracked where the barrel of the gun was pointing and shook her head. The shot fired and the bullet smashed into the Nth Metal Weave shirt that she wore near the hem, just above the exposed part of her stomach. The Nth Metal easily absorbed the kinetic impact and the bullet crushed and fell uselessly to the ground. "Yeah...I thought so." She said aloud.

She walked up to Sitri to stand directly in front of her. "I'm going to touch you." She warned so she wouldn't be uncomfortable, she knew now that Sitri had issues with women that liked other women...at least in the sense that she was very much straight and knowing otherwise about Solar Hawk, might feel awkward otherwise. She placed her hand on Sitri right where the bullet had struck her. "This is where you hit. You weren't aiming, you were pointing and clicking." She reached over and wrapped her fingers around the gun, gently trying to pull the weapon from her hand. "You don't need a gun right now, before we do anything else, we need to fix your head."

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demonboundSitri

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It hadn't actually been as bad a shot as Sitri had expected. She nodded acceptance, and when Solar Hawk moved to take the gun, she let her have it. "I think the head will follow as I get some of these other things down, but... yeah. I don't know. I'm pretty screwed up right now," she admitted. "I just... I hate feeling like I can't do anything," she said, "And, really, I can't. I couldn't before, and I'm even less capable of it now, and if I don't get something sorted out I'm going to end up having to move back to Michigan and live with my mother for the rest of my life. And I moved here to get away from my mother, and this isn't how it... am I whining?" She broke off, paused. "...I totally am. I gotta cut that out. Christ." She got it back under control, resumed with more calm. "Anyway. I need to figure out how to do stuff, so I don't end up doing nothing."

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SolarHawk

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At least she knows she's whining. Solar Hawk removed the magazine and the chambered round and slid the weapon into the band of her pants. "Everyone hates feeling helpless." Solar Hawk said. "We've all been there, even Hawk Lords." She said, allowing herself to be a little gentler, for the moment anyway. "Combat training is easy and I can make you see without your eyes, eyes are great but they aren't the only way to see. You can paint a picture while you're not under duress but once you start worrying about attacking someone you're all...well you're all instinct. That guy in Moon Bird Studios kicked your ass because he was thinking, he forced you to react rather than act. The reason Kendra was able to talk to him and end the situation is because she didn't operate purely on instinct."

Solar Hawk walked over to where he helmet was and set the gun down beside it. "So we're going to start from the beginning, we're going to treat it as if you know nothing and we will build from the ground up. You have to learn to fight all over again and you have to learn to combine instinct and intellect. You have the traits to be an excellent fighter with nearly precognitive abilities, but you're not fighting street goons anymore, you're in the big leagues now Sitri. You're going to do what I say from now on and that includes in your personal life. Your job now is to train, treat it like that. You will meet me here every morning at nine am. You're going to change your diet according to a plan I'll have a nutrition and fitness expert put together for you. You'll enroll in a yoga class as well. Yoga will help you learn to focus your mind, something you're going to need for the rest of it."

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demonboundSitri

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Sitri nodded slowly. A lot of that made sense. Some of it she liked, some of it she didn't - that bit about starting at nine a.m. wasn't particularly delightful. Sitri sometimes felt like everyone she ever met was a morning person, except her. That or they just had boundless infinite energy and never got tired. It seemed unfair, somehow. Still, nine was the same time she'd needed to be at her job with Moon Bird, and she'd managed that just fine. Managed it with a side order of a caffeine habit, to be sure, but it had been doable. She could do the same here.

She wasn't all that sure about the whole yoga idea, either. She'd tried a class once with her mother, when she'd been a kid, but it had been on the boring side. Sitri was more of a fan of active sports, like kickboxing.

So, enroll in that, too. There's no reason not to, it's good for coordination and muscle tone, and it'd be something to look forward to when you're doing focus-your-mind boring yoga.

"The problem I worry about is the nature of my instincts," Sitri said quietly. "I was not... born to be a hero. I want to kill. I want to tear flesh from bones, to taste blood and smell death. All my life, I've fought against that. Until recently, the only way to fight it was to keep it locked inside. Luna Hawk, though, she... anchors me. Somehow. I don't know how, or why, but before, when I fought and she was there... that was the first time I'd ever been able to retain some shred of rational thought. Something more than a desire to destroy and devour. She... makes me think it might be possible, to be better than that. But I don't know how. And I'm afraid of what may happen, while I learn."

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SolarHawk

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"Kendra can be like that, she anchors a lot of people." She said with a smile. "Myself included. Not everyone is born into this and some people really have to fight against their base instincts. I served alongside someone when I was in STRIKE. She was a Time Siphon, they're basically time vampires with a constant desire to kill and subdue everything around them. She'd seen whole galaxies burn at her feet, brought whole species to their knees and she had to fight that desire and that memory every day of her life. Some people...some people just have to fight to be reasonable people."

Solar Hawk shook her head a little. "Kendra believes in you or you wouldn't be here. The only way you'll ever fight the crap in your head is force of will and often times force of will comes from simply believing you can deal with it. We'll both work with you on developing an ability to fight off your instincts...and better, to control them and use them for your benefit."

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BladeBrave

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#3249  Edited By BladeBrave

@solarius: @demon_diane: @iridum:

The Safeguard team's base wasn't really a base at all. A base was generally some impenetrable fortress, hidden somewhere in the mists, accessible only on the third full moon of the lunar new year after the sacrifice of an unladen swallow (African and European varieties were both acceptable). The base was, in fact, an apartment suite located in Los Angeles, an upscale little 4-bedroom number that was probably nicer than Nathan would have chosen on his own, but he'd been outvoted, and Diane had made it pointedly clear that she had the finances for an apartment and also that she wanted to live somewhere nice, so there they were. Nathan knew when to surrender gracefully.

The place had some decent amenities: pool, tennis courts, weight room that Nathan had never seen anyone other than the team actually use, nice green space and a pavilion outside that he intended to rent from the front office for their use on the day they were planning to invite over half the superheroes on the planet. It probably wasn't that bad, but it seemed like it. Every time he thought about the guest list, it seemed to double. He was a little worried about throwing that many metas together, sometimes those sorts of events seemed to be an excuse for everyone who had ever worn the wrong color on a Tuesday to remember ancient grudges and demand a throw-down. Metas, he thought sometimes, had all the power of the cosmos and all the maturity of an elementary-schooler.

Mostly he was thinking about it to keep his mind off of other things. The team had made it home after the destruction of the Warden's satellite, but they hadn't come home unscathed. Nathan had put Rana in bed, tucked her in, and quietly removed as many objects as he could from her room and put them away in the closet. He wasn't quite sure how her eyes worked, but he knew they showed her the worst of everything. The less she had to look at and process on waking, the better. There wasn't much else he could do for her, though, other than wait for her to wake up. He'd let Diane tend to Solaris, and gone out to the kitchen, starting up a pot of coffee and throwing some eggs and flour in a bowl, rolling them out as thin as he could and starting in on them with a knife, impossibly small slices. Fine-cut noodles were one of those things that was good for mental stability - easy, but time-consuming and labor intensive. It was sort of a zen thing, and he'd been raised to believe in the restorative properties of chicken noodle soup anyway, so it made sense. It was something to do, anyway, while he waited for the others to come back to themselves so they could figure out how they were going to take care of everything else.

First they had to take care of the team, though. And right now, the team needed a fair bit of taking care of.

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Demon_Diane

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#3250  Edited By Demon_Diane

@bladebrave:@solarius: @iridum:

A few hours later ... in their apartment:

Diane sat in the sofa, her phone in her hand, and texting.

L.A is pretty exiting - I was in space today! - Diane

She was texting Wes. Although they hadn't made it official, both of them were kind of together. A smile could be seen around the corners of her lips. The day had been stressful. She was up in space, with no guarantee she might ever be able to get down to Earth. Unlike some people, like Solaris, Diane was not to be able to breathe in space. She loved the ground, and she loved air. Monsters. Space belonged to Monsters who held no qualms about endangering the lives of millions of people.

I know --- it was all over the news! - Wes

Wes texted back. He was worried. Diane appreciated the concern. Diane was no less worried about her teammates. Solaris did what she said she would. As soon as she'd reached the apartment, she'd locked herself inside her room. Nathan brought Rana, unconscious. Diane had freaked out, "What the hell happened?! Is she alright?! Who did this to her?!" She'd burst into Demon Mode, ready to punch someone, or something. Most of the anger was directed towards Warden. The mission was supposed to be easy, with little to no complications.

In the end, the worst of the worst happened. Aliens and Telekinetic users & every other kind of vigilante's and villains you could name, had come out of obscurity, some against the project, some seeking to preserve it, but the result was still the same. Warden failed. He'd endangered the team. Warden must've known this would happen. He must've. Diane wanted answers. She looked calm, but she wasn't.

The teenager didn't always have the best attitude towards her, neither did their current leader Nathan, but they were the first people that she'd been acquainted with since coming to Earth. They accepted her into their team. They were friends. They were family. Anything or anyone that brought harm to them were her enemies. Or at least, she would make sure to pay them back, equally.

We should meet up - Diane

Diane could hear Nathan storming across the apartment, mostly between Rana's room and the kitchen. He seemed more a house maid than their leader. Diane laughed to herself. Well, this was more a home than their "base". Diane had already placed an order from some electronic equipment and setups for their apartment, they would be arriving within the next few weeks. It was essential for the team to maintain communication, and the capability to observe the world at large. Just as their previous base in the Arctic, they would have to be able to know what happens in the world.

Diane got up and headed over to the Kitchen counter, behind which Nathan was busy working on some kind of soup for Rana, "Well, Solaris seems to be okay, and as soon as Rana comes around, we can decide what we want to do next. So what are we doing anyway?" Nathan hasn't exactly told her what was up. But she knew Nathan had something on his mind that he'd been planning.

Whenever you are ready lol - Wes

Diane let out another small laugh. Wes had a sense of humor. He was blunt and direct, but also funny. The only reason they don't hang out much was because of how busy Diane was always with her work, team & the business she handled, and her home in Seattle which was in need of immediate attention. Once business with the team settled down a bit, Diane really wanted to visit Seattle again, meet WES and work on her home their. It was usually better to not think about anything for Diane. She found thrills in combat, fighting and going on missions with ridiculous terms of contract for this reason.

[I really need an Assistant to handle my affairs] ... Diane thought to herself. She needed someone who could take care of her business & made sure money was flowing as it should. But that was something Diane did not want to burden her team with, even to the point of telling them about it. It was her problem, and Diane had a feeling none of them would fancy what she did with her life.

You are such a smart-ass WES - Diane