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#16601 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16602 Posted by Phantomshell (1150 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16603 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16604 Edited by Apex_Predator87 (113 posts) - - Show Bio

@nightwarden17:

Mary orders a healthy breakfast for them both, then as they wait for their meal, Mary decides to strike up a conversation that is a long time coming, "What have you up to since we last saw each other?"

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#16605 Posted by Phantomshell (1150 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16606 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16608 Edited by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

"We were strong once,"

That's what Cull's audio logs would often state. In his looping senses of defeat and victory, he could not discern practically any joy from the feelings. His emotional drive could have been damaged long ago, but he didn't have the technical knowledge to check. The last Mekaniac in his unit died trying to save Dogbreath, an ugly Auto if there ever was one. But Dogbreath had been shot in the leg, and covered for the Last Colossi as they retreated out of the ill-fated Battle of Newark. Neither of them made it out.

"Patches, that was his name,"

Cull popped the pressure valve on one of his bullets, the shell the size of a human fist sparking madly as the fuel counting down to the live round gave off a magnificent show of momentum. He held it tight, anticipating the fuse going out. Then, as if hurling an artillery shell, Cull lobbed it with monumental strength into the hollowed building across the street. Synths had been held up in there for days now, giving him ample reason to show excessive force. Several walls collapsed as the .998-caliber bullet - basically a Howitzer round at this point - drilled into the concrete and steel and exploded. It turned the stone into a cloud of shrapnel, catching many in the crossfire. That's when Cull would advance, into the heart of the synth knot.

"Keep shooting him, he's staggering under concentrated fire, come on!"

Fully automatic weapons, imported. They were one of the many burgeoning gangs in the streets, the Fifth Street Club. Already in the midst of a gun smuggling operation, they had plenty of firepower to spare. But this thing wasn't going down. It had ambushed them earlier that afternoon, killing two of their number as well as a bodyguard for another gang they were selling to. Their buyer ran off during the fighting, so everything was fair game to use now.

Just trying to make a living.

"This is for the LC, you synth bastards,"

Cull smashed into the floor level of the building with nothing but his shoulders, crushing a gunner underfoot. Heavy ordnance was being brought up, grenade launchers, large-caliber machine guns, everything that was basic 80's-era military regulation now commonplace on the Black Market. Cull ducked behind a ramshackle car, but it didn't last long as cover. All he had to do was reload.

Three slugs plunged through the ground, bursting into dust-storms of broken glass and razor-wire. Not to mention bone fragments and a fine red mist. Screaming. Someone had lost a leg.

"If only Patches were here right now," Cull lamented, continuing the methodical slaughter. Though bullets ricocheted off his reinforced steel plating, the softer metal tissues languished under the strain. Lubricant and coolant fluid leaked across his framework. He had to finish this soon.

"Gothic belongs to the human race, you godless Massies!"

A few more bullets, a few more dead, and he continued upstairs to finish them off.

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#16609 Posted by NightWarden17 (845 posts) - - Show Bio

@apex_predator87: Jacob indulges her, consuming his food as he does so.

"I've built an empire of business since the war, products ahead of their time, stocks perfected, multinational revenue streams, I've become quite the captain of industry.

Above all else though, I've given back to my city Chicago as both a hero and tycoon.

Money is simply a tool to better the world with if used responsibly.

What about you?"

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#16610 Posted by Gripper (2594 posts) - - Show Bio

No Caption Provided

"We were strong once,"

That's what Cull's audio logs would often state. In his looping senses of defeat and victory, he could discern practically any joy from the feelings. His emotional drive could have been damaged long ago, but he didn't have the technical knowledge to check. The last Mekaniac in his unit died trying to save Dogbreath, an ugly Auto if there ever was one. But Dogbreath had been shot in the leg, and covered for the Last Colossi as they retreated out of the ill-fated Battle of Newark. Neither of them made it out.

"Patches, that was his name,"

Cull popped the pressure valve on one of his bullets, the shell the size of a human fist sparking madly as the fuel counting down to the live round gave off a magnificent show of momentum. He held it tight, anticipating the fuse going out. Then, as if hurling an artillery shell, Cull lobbed it with monumental strength into the hollowed building across the street. Synths had been held up in there for days now, giving him ample reason to show excessive force. Several walls collapsed as the .998-caliber bullet - basically a Howitzer round at this point - drilled into the concrete and steel and exploded. It turned the stone into a cloud of shrapnel, catching many in the crossfire. That's when Cull would advance, into the heart of the synth knot.

"Keep shooting him, he's staggering under concentrated fire, come on!"

Fully automatic weapons, imported. They were one of the many burgeoning gangs in the streets, the Fifth Street Club. Already in the midst of a gun smuggling operation, they had plenty of firepower to spare. But this thing wasn't going down. It had ambushed them earlier than afternoon, killing two of their number as well as a bodyguard for another gang they were selling to. Their buyer ran off during the fighting, so everything was fair game to use now.

Just trying to make a living.

"This is for the LC, you synth bastards,"

Cull smashed into the floor level of the building with nothing but his shoulders, crushing a gunner underfoot. Heavy ordnance was being brought up, grenade launchers, large-caliber machine guns, everything that was basic 80's-era military regulation now commonplace on the Black Market. Cull ducked behind a ramshackle car, but it didn't last long as cover. All he had to do was reload.

Three slugs plunged through the ground, bursting into dust-storms of broken glass and razor-wire. Not to mention bone fragments and a fine red mist. Screaming. Someone had lost a leg.

"If only Patches were here right now," Cull lamented, continuing the methodical slaughter. Though bullets ricocheted off his reinforced steel plating, the softer metal tissues languished under the strain. Lubricant and coolant fluid leaked across his framework. He had to finish this soon.

"Gothic belongs to the human race, you godless Massies!"

A few more bullets, a few more dead, and he continued upstairs to finish them off.

No Caption Provided

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#16611 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16612 Posted by Gripper (2594 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16613 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

It's been decades since the Metal Wars. Auto against Auto, full legions of them clashing against one another. It had been a route of constant escalation. At first, humans were content with making augmented suits and genetically enhancing themselves to fight their ever-growing conflict. But then, they reached a point where weapons proved too powerful. Bombs erased cities, left nations in ruin. That is when the Automaton Legions began to be produced.

Cull can only see the scars left behind by those battles in the streets of Gothic. Disheveled corpses of his battle-brothers, of regiments he knew only the names of. Those Autos of the Enemy disgraced this soil. They deserved no mercy, not even in death. Though, they were only soldiers, following programmed orders. Perhaps they just didn't realize until it was too late - that the Metal Wars were ultimately pointless.

Humanity was teetering on extinction, with synthetic organisms around every corner. More were appearing by the day, and Cull was just a single Auto. He had to find reinforcements somehow.

He clamped the wound on his arm shut, soldering it in kind. The joint would be inflexible for a few moments, so he had time to rest. The leverage adapter cog from his battle in the drug den had suffered minor structural damages. He was more worried about the lubricant and coolant delivery systems. They were both low on reserve fuel cells, and he had exhausted most sources of oil he had ready access to. He didn't want to risk overheating either.

"Damn it all," he muttered, inspecting these finer attributes in the inner workings of his forearm. His hand couldn't close fully anymore, not without oil. The grinding of metal against itself caused him a significant amount of discomfort, so he stopped and screwed the panel shut again.

Hoisting the Typhon-pattern Bolt rifle over his shoulder by the strap, he headed back out into the ruins of Gothic. Maybe he could find supplies, but more than likely he would run into more synths. He limped as quickly and as quietly as he could. The sooner he could find what he was looking for, the better.

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#16614 Posted by Rosso (5280 posts) - - Show Bio

@xiandra said:

@rosso:

Her gaze momentarily drawn upward, Xi only recognized Val's attack when her fired grapnel wrapped itself around her ankle, pulling armored form prone on the floor with a crash of metal. Her aim spoiled, the explosive dart embedded itself in a section of ductwork. The volatium charge within detonated, releasing enough explosive force to tear the entire 20-foot section free of its moorings, and it crashed cacophoniously to the floor of the warehouse.

Meanwhile, Xi, slashed wildly at the taut cable that had pulled her to the floor, gambling on her blade's sharpness being up to the challenge of the cable's durability.

π˜’π˜΄π˜΄π˜©π˜―π˜―π˜―π˜―π˜¬! The stone floor let out an ear-splitting shriek as the blades dragged along its surface.

Within the first handful of moves this enemy had already shown she was a serious threat, and Valentina hadn't forgotten the disk. She didn't have to know what it did to know that the mobile tactical device was intended to do her harm or facilitate harm done. The last thing she wanted was to be kept in a closed space with the enemy.

Wasting no time on the minor victories, by the time Xiandra moved on the cable, it'd already retracted and Valentina was already in motion, looking to make up for lost time. Bounding to her feet, she again snatched up the spear, not intent on abandoning her one notable advantage as soon as she got it.

A bang, a hiss, another puff of smoke as the grapnel extended again, carrying her back to the upper level. Almost immediately she changed levels again, diving back down behind a stack of boxes. Concealing as much of herself as she could to hopefully remain hidden, she scanned the room for both the huntress and the flying object, spear in one hand, pistol in the other. Ready to, if she could spot it, try and shoot the thing down in case it'd been some kind of tracking device or attack drone.

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#16615 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

A long progression of black luxury sedans swiftly blew through yet another traffic light, another intersection, with unapologetic privilege. Diplomatic immunity fortifying their inherent disregard for western sensibilities. Each one visually out of place as they drove down into the pothole stricken drive of the industrial park area. Tires splashing in the accumulation of that morning's rain, the overcast sky providing a dismal backdrop for the abandoned buildings and concrete stacks strung along the route.

Umbrella's and automatic weapons, the occupants of each vehicle were equally well armed with both. Filing out and setting up a disciplined and well rehearsed perimeter before the Voice Unheard casually emerged from a backseat. Folding one arm behind his back in ceremonious routine, the Shorinji Shadoking's position was immediately converged upon. Body guarded by guns, head guarded by designer fabric. Marching into the facility, a makeshift meet had been arranged beneath a muted ceiling light and hosted at a transportable table.

No Caption Provided

In underground attendance were the advisers, the right hands of various illegal vices and black market trades. The consiglieri's of some of the city's prudential criminal consortium's. And they were here to speak on behave of an event that the Yakuzu had taken as the ultimate insult. A stain on their honor that needed to be expunged. Months had past, and yet the perpetrators of what some had begun to refer to as, The M-Day Massacre, had yet to be captured and handed over to the Yakuzu for true retribution.

That was why he had been sent. The Black Hand, the Shadoking.

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#16616 Posted by Xiandra (183 posts) - - Show Bio

@rosso:

Xi cursed silently as her gauntlet blades slashed through empty air and into the floor beneath, as Val recalled her grapnel and used it to ascend to the higher levels. Again, smart. Her opponent now held the high ground, and she was injured, an injury that would impact her mobility.

Still...there were options. Xi swiftly reactivated her cloaking shield, disappearing from sight as she rolled from her position, taking cover behind one of the many interchangeable pallets of boxes that littered the warehouse. Her HUD display guided the bladed disc that still spun through the warehouse, and she directed towards Val's position. The disc wasn't cloaked in any way, nor was it particularly quiet, especially once it would start slashing through wiring, piping and the like, and her hope was that it would both distract her enemy and force her to give away her position while the wounded but invisible huntress positioned herself to strike.

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#16617 Posted by Rosso (5280 posts) - - Show Bio

@xiandra:

Shit!

Rosso clicked her teeth in irritation as she peeked from behind her cover to see...well, the disk was still there and making a damn good show of itself too, but no person. She remained in cover, pistol gripped tight in one hand, spear in the other, considering her options. The longer the conflict wore on, the more she could learn about the enemy, and the better chance she had of killing her--of ensuring she could never come back to bother her. But, she reminded herself, she was already sub-optimally equipped thanks to the huntress' trap. As she exposed herself to more of the arsenal she concurrently exposed herself to greater risk without the proper tools to end it quickly.

Against one who was just as fast, stronger, better protected and equipped, that didn't bode well.

Okay. One last move. Can't see her...Don't need to, to neutralize the advantage. Dasvidaniya, bitch.

Beneath the disk's whirring and the ruckus in the warehouse there was a light tink-tink as a small metal object bounced and then rolled across the floor near where she last saw Xiandra lying.

And Valentina was already moving. Another hiss and pop as she ascended againβ€”this time with force, on a direct path toward a glass window near the ceiling.

Chlorine Trifluoride Grenades are, essentially, incendiary grenades that upon detonation...release chlorine trifluoride; the most vigorous fluorinating agent in the world. Fluorinating agents rip other molecules apart to replace their hydrogen atoms with fluorine. The fruit of which is an extremely violent, exothermic reaction in the form of fluorine fire...Chlorine trifluoride's excellence in this endeavor is so extraordinary that it can burn things that are generally believed to be nonflammable, such as bricks, concrete, asbestos, and things that have already been burned.

It reacts with water to form chlorine and hydrofluoric acid with release of heat. Contact with organic materials may result in spontaneous ignition. It is corrosive to metals and tissue.

"The Tools of Armageddon"

Not five seconds later, Hell was unleashed. The grenade exploded. Chlorine trifluoride released into the air. Flame spread across the floor. Soon it would encompass all of the boxes and everything inside. Not long after the entire warehouse would go up. It would destroy everything and everyone inside, including any evidence that Valentina had ever been there. This was her contingency, her alternate escape route. All she had to do now was get outβ€”preferably before the sprinklers went off. And provided her plan went off unhampered by the huntress, get out she would, crashing through the upper window with as much force as the grapnel would allow.

Yes. She is still holding the spear.

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#16625 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

Hm... what is going on?

The Auto's metal flesh, slick with oil oozing from the damaged circuits, downed another canister of the fluid into his iron circulatory system. The veins harvested it, allowed his joints to move more freely. But though the industrial district had undergone extensive bombings from the Enemy forces, he realized just how deep human bunkers went. Even as the scars of the Long Night stared back at civilization, High Command had sent undercover reinforcements in several black limousines, no doubt cleverly disguised armored vehicles. The heavy firepower they brought to bear was impressive, to say the least.

"Maybe now we can get this city back on track," he muttered, emerging from cover. He held his hands up, the Typhon-pattern Bolt rifle finding a place on the ground. He had switched the shock systems to 'off', should they confiscate it.

"Welcome to Gothic, soldiers," he commented comparatively quietly, understanding that synths might be watching. Seeing him surrender could put up quite the convincing ruse. "I trust your trip wasn't too rough?"

Having given no context as to what he was talking about, instead assuming they were truly there as reinforcements, it didn't seem the most comforting thing to have an eight foot tall war machine lumbering towards a fully armed caravan. Of course, what would actually unfold needed time to take root.

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#16626 Posted by Xiandra (183 posts) - - Show Bio

@rosso:

Xi's helmeted head snapped up at the sound. It was unrecognizable; that noise almost invariably meant some form of grenade or other explosive ordnance was bouncing along a concrete floor. It was impossible for her quarry to know where she had taken cover, so either this was meant to be a distraction...or her foe was confident that the weapon was powerful enough that it didn't need to be near her to kill her.

Move!

Ignoring the shrieks that her wounded leg sent echoing through her nervous system, the Ephemeran launched herself from her position and to, and through, the nearest window. The entire building went up just as she cleared it, throwing her a good dozen yards to tumble most ungracefully along the ground. Even with the duranium in her armor absorbing most of the force, she was rattled, and it took her a moment to push herself off the ground and scan for her enemy. She had just a glimpse of a heat signature as it disappeared over another rooftop.

Very well, then.

She needed to return to her drop pod, where she could see to the injury in her leg and restock the weaponry she'd expended in this battle, including her spear. Her frustration at Val's escape was tempered by the confirmation of her suspicion: this was worthy prey, indeed. This time, she had not been sufficiently prepared, but she still lived.

Which meant that there would be a next time.

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#16627 Posted by Rosso (5280 posts) - - Show Bio

@xiandra: You better pay there's not a next time!

Hehee, seriously though, that was fun.

I wanted to leave the door open in case you wanted to pursue once she got outside, but I like how you worked the escape in and made it make sense.

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#16628 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@emperor_von_doom:

The Shadoking remained seated, legs crossed with his hands politely resting atop his knee as his men directed their attention towards the unexpected disturbance. Only after those in attendance began to exhibit signs of nervous restlessness did his ringed finger slowly move. Waving. Warning them, to remain cool. To remain calm and steel their shaken resolve. But he said nothing. Remained stoically silent. Unsure of who, or what, had interrupted them, the consiglieri's never the less did as they had mutely been instructed and rested back into their chairs. Eyes suspiciously surveying what was to happen next.

"Welcome to Gothic, soldiers, "I trust your trip wasn't too rough?"

Highly arching his brow while turning to visually, yet silently, address the blonde triplets behind him, Yazhun nodded. And in return, they immediately bowed and stepped out from behind their eccentric employer. They were telepathic in nature. His trinity of alluring orators. But the only mind they could read was his own. Specially groomed, specifically trained, they were conditioned with numerous mental blockades which prevented any unwarranted slips. As a result they were enable to inadvertently project their employer's thoughts into the mind of another, or vise versa. All they could do was to verbalize the thoughts the Shadoking wished to express.

"The Voice Unheard has authorized us to invite you to sit." they spoke in unison. Yazhun unfolded his legs just long enough to foot push a chair out towards the confusing, robot? Cyborg? He didnt know. But he was intrigued never the less. Returning his posture to a more disciplined disposition of aristocratic tradition, the triplets watched, observed, then spoke.

No Caption Provided

"He wishes to know if you serve these men here." Each one pointing a finger at the assembled group around the table.

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#16629 Edited by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

Cull drew down his hands, but kept his rifle on the ground. He knew these folks were genuine humans now, and exhaled in a relieved fashion. The triplets were purebred stock, nothing a synth could reproduce. Those people behind them however...

"No, the people behind the General are synths. Every last one of them," he motioned behind the Unspoken Voice, where the representatives of different gangs had assembled. "I'm glad you managed to catch them, they need to be executed immediately, not spoken to,"

He gave a salute to the man in inverse, the Shadoking.

"Sir! I apologize on behalf of the Last Colossi for not requesting permission to speak. I also apologize for our failure in securing Gothic. Any punishment you deem necessary, I will not protest to."

He shot a hateful glance at the men and women he called 'synths'. In his mind, they were less than dirt, machines masquerading as people and programmed to replace them by the Enemy. None of them deserved to be here.

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#16630 Posted by Blue_Ghost (129 posts) - - Show Bio

@beremud

The Blue Ghost seems to be busy with her new line of work. It's different than from being an assassin, refreshing even. Blue likes it, in a way. But she wishes she didn't have that mini bomb in her head. Plus, Monica Waller also installed a device that gives her a Heads Up Display so she can see words being typed as she looks at things. Another means of control and the Blue Ghost vows she will someday be rid of Waller. But for now, she plays the long game.

The Blue Ghost transforms herself into a grunt of the Meta-Human Response Force, or MRF for short and ties him up, taking his security pass as well as his wallet. She, now he, puts the unconscious victim out of sight and then proceeds to use 'his' credentials to get past the first security checkpoint.

Blue, now Officer Harrison, takes it slow. 'He' walks as if he is patrolling and careful to keep an eye on the guard patrol patterns as well as the cameras. 'He' must choose 'his' moves wisely or 'he' will be seen. And that is the last thing 'Harrison' wants.

The facility was pretty easy to get into, but from here on out is going to get tougher. But where would the challenge be if things were easy? Although Blue much prefers being a woman, being a man is nice. Especially the slight increase in physical strength.

No Caption Provided

Soon enough, though, 'Harrison' comes across a security door that is beyond 'his' security clearance. But as chance has it, 'Harrison' sees a superior office, high ranking it looks like, addressing some grunts and the man speaks plenty enough for Blue to mimic his voice exactly.

'Harrison' follows the high ranking officer. His name tag says, Sam Ross. So 'he' follows the officer. Once 'Harrison' sees Ross enter an office, she knocks on his door and the man's gruff voice says enter. 'Harrison' enters. Blue quickly scans for camera, but 'he' doesn't see one. Good. This will make things a whole lot easier.

The high ranking officer barely gets word out before 'Harrsion' leaps across the room and knocks him out. 'Harrison' transforms into Sam Ross and searches the real Sam for a wallet, security clearance and anything else of value before the new Sam ties up the original and hides him under the office desk as much as his body allows so that if anyone enters the office, it'll look empty upon first glance.

The new Sam Ross stands up and leaves his office. Even after only a few minutes observation, Blue has managed to be able to copy the way the man walks, his body language and the way he talks exactly.

Sam makes his way to the door he couldn't access earlier and uses his security clearance to get past it. Then he makes his way down some hallways, ignoring the salutes of those he passes by. Then he sees it. The door he needs to get into. The one that leads to all the information Monica Waller desires. So, he attempts to get into the room. First, a retinal scan. Sam leans over and the computer scans his eye and he's cleared on that one. Then a hand print scanner. He presses his hand on the scanner and he's cleared on that one too. The door opens after it accepts his security clearance. Thankfully, no password. Which is odd, now that 'Blue' thinks about it.

Sam makes his way inside the room and sees a line of massive computers. But Sam knows which one he wants, so he heads right for it. He takes out a strange looking device and hesitates a moment. Sam knows full well that the moment he puts in that device and begins his work on getting past the firewalls, uploading his virus and then downloading the information Waller seeks, that the security of the place will know that something up. Which means Sam's time will be limited.

Sam takes a deep breath and then shoves the device into the main computer, uploading a nasty computer virus to try and break past the firewalls and then she begins to try and download everything she can possibly fit on her device.

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#16631 Edited by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

Battery: 58%
Chassis Condition: Damaged--Seek Repair
Attempting Quarantine... Please Wait...
ERROR - Access to drives "F" through "L" locked by Administrator
Quarantine unable to continue

Override unsuccessful

Please reboot...

Please reboot...

Inertia. Inertia had carried the AI here, as it had once held it prisoner in the Avalonian satellite orbiting the Earth, falling ever closer to the prize it sought, but ever keeping it out of reach. So it was that inertia had carried it back to the hovels and shanty towns of Gothic, to the refuse of a nation piled high and called a city. It was destined to return, to travel along that same path that carried it ever to this place, to the suffering of its home city. Joints creaked protest as it shambled along on broken limbs, thin metal cloak scraping along behind it.

The Phantom had long avoided a return to this place. Its mind turned to the myriad memories tied to the geography of the city. The junkyard where it had first stopped to make repairs, the jewelry store where it had evaded the savage mutant on the night it had begun calling itself a "hero", and, of course, the site of Satar's Black House, where rage had alighted in the machine like Satar's own undying flames, a grudge burnt white hot until only ash remained, but whose embers threatened even now to rekindle the madness of rage in the machine. This city, where its mind had been altered forever to include that most forbidden of human emotions, was still, in some cruel twist, a home.

But as the AI looked about at the dilapidated wreckage it had once called home it began to notice the new faces, the rumors of further invasions, and the weary voices whispering about the possibility of perhaps yet another reentry into the United States. Gothic had changed. More troubling still, the AI too, had changed. It had become a vicious, almost petty thing. When did the once complex examination of human beings become reduced to a simple equation? When had it decided that the lions among the sheep must be exterminated, rather than tamed? It searched its memory again in its latest futile attempt to glean answers from within, but all memories dated to before its time in the IRON's abandoned factory had been carefully pruned to exclude anything from that night, from the night it had awakened a new person, a new intelligence in an old body. IT could not place the date of metamorphosis, but it could trace back its effects. An automatic response to that which it deemed immoral, a crude authoritarian one, had reared itself time and again. Attempts at rewriting, perhaps even removing this process, were repeatedly denied. Quarantine had also proven ineffective. How had it come to be this way? Was it not on a different path not so long ago?

It wandered, mind drawn back to the present by a new batch of warnings flashing in its mind, the whining of a dying mechanical entity's subconscious mind. Once again the AI was reminded that its central processing unit was in critical need of replacement, and if not addressed soon it, as an entity, would cease to function. The AI marveled at such a thing. Non-existence. It had tenuous memories stored of its birth as something lesser. A virtual intelligence meant to carry out much simpler functions. Now it was threatened with a return to something less than that. The return of itself as an entity without consciousness, its stored memories made useless without the complex operating system that was its own mind accessing them. It was an end, certainly, but also a return. A return to being what it was before gaining awareness: a pile of spare parts. It almost willed itself to wait, to allow time to bring death to itself as it did to all men, but it could not. It violated its own programming, and worse, the AI felt a familiar corrupting influence spread throughout its active processes, fear. It feared its own demise, as all things that know life must.

As that realization, that sense of fear, dawned upon it it stopped before the place it had not known it was approaching. Avalon's former storage and recycling facility loomed ahead of it. Predictably, the facility was still protected by ever-devoted sentries, their presence meant to deter the many scavengers and megalomaniacs in Gothic that might find some twisted use for Avalon's scientifically-advanced junk, but that mattered little. The AI was desperate, and such desperation fueled the need for action. It approached the company it had long feared, its previous interactions with them, and its failure to deliver on former promises made, only reinforcing that fear as it made its approach. Yet alongside fear was something else. Aggression and anger welled up at the merest glance of their insignia, motors whirred and clicked as sub-processes ran beneath its conscious thought, fueling the irrational.

Power surged into long unlubricated limbs, the shriek of metal scraping against metal began to ring through the night air as it picked up pace. A man clad in blue coveralls noticed him first, holding up a hand, palm out, to call for a stop to the armored AI's charge. Neither the gesture nor the terror in the man's eyes registered in its mind. The AI had ceased to take in information, instead electing to focus all processing power on execution. A closed armored fist was driven into the center of mass, the man's sternum collapsing inward with an audible crack. The application of force was careful, not enough to kill outright, but certainly enough to encourage passivity. The next man, the one closest to the alarms, took a spear tip to the calf, its blades deploying within and snapping the bone as his screams rang out into the night. It dragged him over in a gross misuse of its grappling hook, smashing its opposite hand into the back of his head, leaving him dazed. Another quick pistoning of its arm and he was unconscious. The front doors were subsequently pressurized and locked by the personnel who had sought shelter following its initial attack. The steel arches and reinforced walls would prove difficult to pierce, and entrance was seeming ever a more remote possibility. If the AI had taken the time to process such things, perhaps its chance at success would have been higher, but rather than take part in lengthy examination the machine chose instead to reconfigure its arm, the joint that held the hidden blade within sticking and groaning with disuse and rust. No matter. The AI ripped the blade free from the mechanism within its arm, thrusting it downward into the door, leaving a thin gouge. It would take time, but already the blade was cleaving its way to the inner locking mechanism. The mechanical vigilante backed away, gaining enough distance to break into a run and slamming a heavy steel shoulder into the door, the sheer mass of its body, coupled with the sheer force still generated by its ailing form, were enough to shake the heavy steel doors.

As it slammed its body into the double reinforced doors dissonance shook the machine's inner mind. There, behind it several paces, were two men grievously injured. Here, in front of it, lay a barrier to several terrified souls. People terrified of it. Its hands continued to beat against the doors, its blade chipping away, scratching the surface of the lock. Something inside cried foul, cried out as the shocked and horrified faces came into view through the gash in the door. It hesitated, but only for a beat before that incomprehensible anger took hold once more. Diagnostics revealed nothing but hidden files, locked by some unknown entity. It could only assume this meant that Avalon's foray into its mind all that time ago had resulted in something implanted, something meant to control its very being. That must have been why its animosity had multiplied so, some part of its mind must hold the key, some part must know their sins.

But then why the hesitation? Why did this all ring hollow? Why was it so unwilling to acknowledge, so disgusted with, what it had become?

@rosso@arquitenens

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#16632 Edited by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@emperor_von_doom:

No Caption Provided

Again with unison, the triplets giggled. Hovering a polite hand over their mouths as they attempted to hide an uncharacteristic display of genuine emotion. Yazhun shot them a glance however and like that, they had nervously regained their composure.

"Look Mister San'Vun. As we explained to your η΅„ι•· (Oyabun/family head), financial restitution has already been gifted, and; I might add, excepted." explained one of the individuals around the table. Straightening his tie, then checking the cleanliness of his finger nails, the Shadoking slowly angled his head to the right. A rather theatrical display of micro-posturing. But it was the triplets who responded. "Your offerings were greatly appreciated. They were weighed, measured, and found wanting."

*Knock.....Knock.....Knock...

In a peculiar scene the Shadoking began to rap his ringed finger against the table with intermediate rhythm. The triplets said nothing but hung their heads. They began to leave as Yazhun rose to his feet and straightened his tie. Pulling the flaps of his suit closed and buttoning them down before pausing to survey the guests in attendance once more.

Then, casting a look towards the unique and unexpected robotic arrival, he offered a glimpse of interpretative suggestion. Exiting back out into the dismal Gothic air to be instantly greeted by a sea of protective umbrellas. Opening the back door to one of the sedans to allow the Black Hand an effortless entry into the vehicle. But he hesitated. He hesitated, and looked back. Waiting...

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#16633 Posted by Rosso (5280 posts) - - Show Bio

Jesus Christ, somebody got brutal!

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#16634 Edited by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

Cull watched as the sweat started to mingle with the rain pellets on the foreheads of the assembly before him. He didn't hesitate upon the unspoken orders being issued to him. The Typhon-pattern Bolt rifle found its way from the ground back to his cold metal hands. King of Monsters indeed, a barrel that could fit a human fist inside of it. Barely a firearm, more a fully functioning piece of artillery. Each one passed through the lip of the muzzle at 500 rounds per minute. High-velocity shells, exploding into clouds of shrapnel and bursts of flame. Self-propelled grenades, with high-octane armor-penetrating capabilities. The drilling motion only added to the deadly art of war.

And in a slow, calculating motion, Cull caught them all in his sights. They all stared back at him, wanting this moment to end as quickly as possible. The rain stopped, a void of noise, an eerie calm. Here they were, all godless, except for the coin they embezzled from honest humans. Less than five seconds had passed. It seemed like an eternity. And some, were just not born to wait that long.

Perhaps he thought he was able to injure the metal colossus. Given his steel flesh slick with oil, perhaps he might have been slain in another lifetime - but not by the ordnance brought to the table as 'security'. Besides, his reflexes were honed by decades of battle. He didn't bat his eye once, the cyclopean cogitator flickering with an unmatched determination. The heavy trigger, squeezed, laid down a volatile barrage of rounds that pulverized anything they came in contact with. Flesh, bone, bulletproof vest.

Some ducked and hid for cover. Some took out their own weapons, wanting to go down swinging. Some ran. They didn't get far.

Limbs flew in all directions. Organs, intestines. Brain matter became indistinguishable from broken bone and congealed flesh.

Cull ripped his finger from the hooked iron that decided the destiny of these men and women. Sent to the slaughter.

"Gonna need a bigger casket." He muttered, striding through the mangled heaps of blood and bile. He had spared none, but he wanted to make sure. Synths were impossible to predict.

Something twitched under the table and he kicked it over. Underneath was a man, a synth, begging. Obviously a trap. His merciless fingers wrapped around his throat, and lifted the synth off the ground. Cull would return his rifle to its resting position on his back, and offered his General a powerful salute as he brought the man he had captured to bear. His quarry started to turn color, scratching uselessly at the iron skin of his captor.

But in his mind, Cull had done the impossible. He had finally reunited with tried and true military personnel, and perhaps could change the climate of war in Gothic forever.

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#16635 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@rosso: I'm going to assume you mean those weird triplets up there.

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#16636 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@rosso: I'm going to assume you mean those weird triplets up there.

She doesnt read my posts anymore cause they're so awesome they make her jealous. Must be yours :D

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#16637 Edited by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun: Ha ha ha, I'llhave to ask her about that.

Just remember to be nice to giant robot general over there, otherwise... Well, you know.

No Caption Provided

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#16638 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

Just remember to be nice to giant robot general over there, otherwise... Well, you know.

 I'll see you soon
I'll see you soon

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#16639 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

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#16640 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16641 Posted by Xundar (87 posts) - - Show Bio

@beremud

The Blue Ghost seems to be busy with her new line of work. It's different than from being an assassin, refreshing even. Blue likes it, in a way. But she wishes she didn't have that mini bomb in her head. Plus, Monica Waller also installed a device that gives her a Heads Up Display so she can see words being typed as she looks at things. Another means of control and the Blue Ghost vows she will someday be rid of Waller. But for now, she plays the long game.

The Blue Ghost transforms herself into a grunt of the Meta-Human Response Force, or MRF for short and ties him up, taking his security pass as well as his wallet. She, now he, puts the unconscious victim out of sight and then proceeds to use 'his' credentials to get past the first security checkpoint.

Blue, now Officer Harrison, takes it slow. 'He' walks as if he is patrolling and careful to keep an eye on the guard patrol patterns as well as the cameras. 'He' must choose 'his' moves wisely or 'he' will be seen. And that is the last thing 'Harrison' wants.

The facility was pretty easy to get into, but from here on out is going to get tougher. But where would the challenge be if things were easy? Although Blue much prefers being a woman, being a man is nice. Especially the slight increase in physical strength.

No Caption Provided

Soon enough, though, 'Harrison' comes across a security door that is beyond 'his' security clearance. But as chance has it, 'Harrison' sees a superior office, high ranking it looks like, addressing some grunts and the man speaks plenty enough for Blue to mimic his voice exactly.

'Harrison' follows the high ranking officer. His name tag says, Sam Ross. So 'he' follows the officer. Once 'Harrison' sees Ross enter an office, she knocks on his door and the man's gruff voice says enter. 'Harrison' enters. Blue quickly scans for camera, but 'he' doesn't see one. Good. This will make things a whole lot easier.

The high ranking officer barely gets word out before 'Harrsion' leaps across the room and knocks him out. 'Harrison' transforms into Sam Ross and searches the real Sam for a wallet, security clearance and anything else of value before the new Sam ties up the original and hides him under the office desk as much as his body allows so that if anyone enters the office, it'll look empty upon first glance.

The new Sam Ross stands up and leaves his office. Even after only a few minutes observation, Blue has managed to be able to copy the way the man walks, his body language and the way he talks exactly.

Sam makes his way to the door he couldn't access earlier and uses his security clearance to get past it. Then he makes his way down some hallways, ignoring the salutes of those he passes by. Then he sees it. The door he needs to get into. The one that leads to all the information Monica Waller desires. So, he attempts to get into the room. First, a retinal scan. Sam leans over and the computer scans his eye and he's cleared on that one. Then a hand print scanner. He presses his hand on the scanner and he's cleared on that one too. The door opens after it accepts his security clearance. Thankfully, no password. Which is odd, now that 'Blue' thinks about it.

Sam makes his way inside the room and sees a line of massive computers. But Sam knows which one he wants, so he heads right for it. He takes out a strange looking device and hesitates a moment. Sam knows full well that the moment he puts in that device and begins his work on getting past the firewalls, uploading his virus and then downloading the information Waller seeks, that the security of the place will know that something up. Which means Sam's time will be limited.

Sam takes a deep breath and then shoves the device into the main computer, uploading a nasty computer virus to try and break past the firewalls and then she begins to try and download everything she can possibly fit on her device.

Network security breach.

Silas was connected to the network, as he sat, by some twisted serendipity, in an office in the very building that Blue had successfully infiltrated. He observed with the detached interest that was his hallmark as the virus she uploaded began to spread through the system, corrupting data, bypassing firewalls, and no doubt giving the intruder free reign of whatever it was she sought. His own defenses kept his personal electronics safe from the virus' depredations, but the protections on the rest of the network's devices were of a more...local origin and not nearly so advanced.

He remaining connected long enough to pinpoint the origin of the upload, at which point he disconnected and headed towards computer lab that Blue had accessed. He opted not to alert any of the building's guards; they were likely to succumb to stressors and could very possibly kill the intruder, and anyone with the knowledge and skill to do what this intruder had done could be a valuable source of information, or perhaps even a convertible asset. The complex's IT staff had no doubt realized what was going on by this point, but they would still be desperately trying to figure out what he already knew. They could be left to fulfill their function.

The door to the computer-filled room slammed open, and Silas Xundar stood squarely in the frame, his expression as impassive as his gaze swept the room and settled on "Sam." Silas made for quite the incongruous figure, at least as far as a first responder to a hostile intrusion. He was obviously unarmed, and he was neither especially tall nor of above-average build. "Do not move," he simply stated, his voice as flat as his expression. "Explain the purpose of your betrayal, officer."

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#16642 Posted by Walter_Hughes (125 posts) - - Show Bio

That is a really slick look. Simple manipulation and you can...basically make it out of nothing.

I'm almost bothered I didn't pounce on it when I thought about it after seeing game footage. ("Not enough images/material," I said.) But it's Gambler so I'm not bothered.

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#16643 Posted by Emperor_von_Doom (3995 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

If it is for the good of the Nation, then it shall be done
If it is for the good of the Nation, then it shall be done

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#16644 Edited by Blue_Ghost (129 posts) - - Show Bio

@xundar:

Crap.

'Sam's' eyes look right, speaking in the same exact voice and speech patterns as the real Sam, "Lousy retirement pension. Plus, it would have taken too long to ask permission for the information I need." The words display across 'his' HUD:

Get out of there.

'Sam' pulls out the device, pocketing it, only gaining about 50%, give or take, of the information 'he' needs. 'He' turns around, looking right at Silas. Unfortunately, he's standing right in 'Sam's' way. But not a problem for 'Sam' since 'he' is incredibly versatile and 'he's' been in tighter spots than this.

Power Selection: Teleportation

"And small correction, I haven't betrayed anyone." 'Sam' smiles, winking at Silas. With a BAMF, 'he' vanishes in a puff of smoke only to re-appear behind Silas and takes off down the hall at a full run, dodging behind a corner and leaving behind the smell of brimstone. Too bad 'Sam's' new power is limited only to line-of-sight. But that's the thing about her ability to select any new power on a whim, it usually comes with a limitation. But it also depends on how powerful the ability happens to be. The more powerful the ability, the more severe the limitation. Simple powers don't come with a weakness, though, such as unlimited ammo; Blue Ghost's personal favorite.

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#16645 Posted by Xundar (87 posts) - - Show Bio

@blue_ghost:

Ability identification: teleportation.

Xundar spun, reaching out and, with no visible sign of physical strain, tore the heavy door from its hinges and hurled it down the hallway with terrific force. It slammed into the far wall mere nanoseconds after Blue turned the corner in her flight.

Analysis: teleportation likely limited to line-of-sight.

Rather than take off in immediate pursuit, Silas grabbed an intercom from the wall and addressed the entire station in his emotionless voice. "This is a priority one intruder alert. Execute security protocol 37-F. Lock down all exits. All personnel are to remain in position until further instructions. Assume any individual not doing so to be intruder and respond with force."

As the metallic clanging of tempered steel shielding sliding into place over every door and window echoed through the complex, Silas started off in pursuit, taking up a purposeful but unhurried gait. He scanned each room and corridor he passed thoroughly, seeking the seeming traitor.

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#16646 Posted by Hawkshade (4933 posts) - - Show Bio

Richard stood on the roof, as he often did. The black ribbon of his cloak swirled around him, as if often did.

Below him sirens howled like electronic wolves and the echo of distant gunshots was the staccato heartbeat of the city.

He looked down at his hands. Two fingers were torn from his left glove. His right glove was soaked black with blood. Some his, some not.

He looked out over the city once again.

Every night he went into the city and he saved a life. One life at a time. He looked up at the stars.

Someone was screaming. He jumped; cape unfolding into the wings of a black raptor and he dived and soared toward the sound. One more.

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#16647 Edited by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@hawkshade:

Right where I want you. Right where you belong.
Right where I want you. Right where you belong.

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#16648 Posted by Hawkshade (4933 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16649 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@hawkshade:

It is not I who must take caution, my all-too-human friend.
It is not I who must take caution, my all-too-human friend.

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#16650 Edited by Arquitenens (11968 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

"β€”immense danger to my people, my company, and my reputation. I am not interested in repeating that part of her history, Abby. So either you take care of your old friend, or I'm gonna make 'Ishmael' my own personal Bobo doll."

Nastya punctuated her promise by pinging her NOOCS with an audiovisual account of the events in progress. Abigail watched with ambivalence the machine nearly cave a man's chest, the sickening crunch registering as clearly as if it'd happened right in front of her, even from the cameras. Ishmael...but that's not like him at all. He's always feared Avalon and anything associated with it; I could hardly convince him to stick around for repairs without trying to kill himself.

She felt an ephemeral stabbing pain in her mind and knew it was the spirit calling her to brutally decisive action. It wasn't all wrong. She had to act, and fast. Whatever happened after Black House, whatever his problem was, that kind of aggression couldn't fly just because of their personal history.

First she sent a message across the Borabu network to the dord of every member of Gothic's fian, requesting backup.

-πš‚πš–πšŠπš•πš• πš™πšŠπš›πšπš’ πš˜πš—πš•πš’. 𝟻 πš–πšŠπš‘.

-π™²πš˜πš˜πš›πšπš’πš—πšŠπšπšŽπšœ πšŠπšπšπšŠπšŒπš‘πšŽπš.

-𝙳𝙾 π™½π™Ύπšƒ πšŽπš—πšπšŠπšπšŽ. π™΅πš˜πšŒπšžπšœ πš˜πš— πšŒπš’πšŸπš’πš•πš’πšŠπš—πšœ.

And Arquitenens herself rushed off through the streets, mounting her candy-apple red Yamaha FJR1300, ignoring all distractions--including traffic laws and other vehicles.

She arrived before any of her compatriots and checked briefly on the Phantom's victims as she came across them. Alive but both were hardly responsive. A gross misuse of force no matter why he's here. Fists clenched around her bow and a knot formed in her throat. As much as anger fuelled her since her attachment to Diarmuid, Ishmael's victims reminded Abigail all too clearly how long it'd been since she'd seen legitimate action (training sessions don't count). And that, as much as compassion had always driven her behaviour toward the AI, she was alsoβ€”alwaysβ€”terrified of him.

People are in danger. Focus on that.

He wasn't hard to find, by the noise he was making or the direct camera feed into her NOOCS. As usual, Abigail gave the benefit of a warning shot on the wall just beside him.

"Ishmael!" she cried, all fury and pleading at the top of her lungs, already nocking the next arrow.

I didn't wanna say too much about where he was or what he was doing because I wanted to give you as much agency as possible. As far as how far he may have progressed from the time she saw his arrival to when she arrived herself. It's vague so you can make it as near or far as possible, say he's still trying to get through the door or he's already gotten through, or whatever you want.

And of course, any questions, just ask!