Heavens Unite [CVU Mega Event: IC]

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Supra-Man

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#1  Edited By Supra-Man

Morning

No Caption Provided

Yet again the sun had risen perfectly, casting beautiful rays of light over the city. There had been no rain in recent memory, beautiful weather all that was known even in the tail-end of December in the Southwestern Dominion. Grass plains and glass panes sprawled across a land which had once been naught but sand, solar panels absorbing the warming beams to power the massive buildings they rested upon. Soundless vessels which hovered far above the ground flew across stretches of open clean air, citizens on their morning commutes evading each other playfully while the auto-pilot prevented any true chance of catastrophe.

Alongside the cars flew men and women sporting the colors of the Covenant, throwing out salutes to those who cared to come to their windows. With garb that ranged from flashy to plain and practical, they made their way to their normal vocations. Some bore the identity-tags of public defenders, recruited from the masses and deified for their reverence of the one who had made this world a reality. Others were simply representatives of New Eden, lawmakers and economists and educators who served the public good and had been rewarded with their own special abilities. Everyone had been satisfied for as long as they could remember.

Similarly happy was a family man who had just awoken as the sun shone through shut blinds, his rested eyes blinking as he fumbled for a pair of thick-framed glasses. Sliding them onto his nose, he rose from where he slept, making his way quietly to the living room.

Writing after breakfast with a warm cup of cocoa at his desk was one of John Nimitz' favorite things to do. It was much improved, however, by the presence of a certain someone else. Marie was a truly one-of-a-kind woman with a smile as big as her heart. She worked in Iconography, meaning most of what she did was design for building exteriors and flags; he'd met her as she was surveying a new plaza for harmonic installations five years ago, and they'd been married for four. Her hair was swept back in a raven curtain, straightened meticulously to match her professional attitude in the workplace. At home, though, she was playful as a kitten.

"So what's this story about?" she inquired, resting her chin on her hands as she propped herself on the table with her elbows.

"Well, it takes place in a world similar to ours, but without the Avatar. So...there aren't nearly as many powered beings, no Protector rankings, and the technology is obsolete by our standards. Sometimes even daily living is a struggle. People without enough to eat, that sort of thing. There's still crime and even murder in some places. Get this - the world is actually divided into a bunch of smaller countries. New Eden never even happened," he answered, finishing the initial synopsis as he spoke, tapping out the words slowly. He'd had the idea just last night, and though it sounded like something of a downer on paper, the details in his dream were so crisp on awakening that he couldn't help but smile. It was the perfect setting for his new book, if he could ever get it to materialize.

"A universe without the Avatar? Heretic," she whispered with a small smirk, planting a kiss on her husband's cheek.

"It's just an imaginary story, OK?" he said, turning his head to look up a her as she walked back towards the bedroom. They'd always been a pretty secular family, if respectful of the outside world's traditions. Today was another day of celebration, and more would follow, each leading up to the New Year. The kids' lessons would be cancelled, so there was no need to take them to the common area. He turned around, staring down the hall. Harlon and Cleo still seemed to be asleep.

"'Course. Where'd you get the idea?" she responded, pulling a sweater on over her shirt. An ID-code was already clipped to the right sleeve, containing all of her personal information and place of residence.

"That building in the Northeast Dominion. The old protector museum we toured, with the spires and fancy gadgets on the inside. I had a dream about it last night," he replied, shutting the lid of his laptop gently before rising. He was already dressed for work, given that it was a holy week; the office wouldn't demand formal attire, so a collared blue shirt and khakis was fine. He checked his watch - still way ahead of schedule. Passing through Los Angeles Prime could be a pain, especially if you missed your initial train. Waiting for another one was the only thing that could put a dent in his day.

Sometimes he wished he could just fly past everyone, just like the protectors, but he had something better waiting for him down on the ground every evening.

Quietly, he stepped into the kids' bedroom, and planted a small kiss on each of their foreheads. Harlon had Marie's softer features and his own creativity, whereas Cleo was more methodical in her behavior. Five and six, they were both the pride of their lives.

"Time for you to get to work, sunshine. Especially if you want to make it to the parade later," came the playfully stern reminder from the hallway. He pulled Harlon's covers up a little closer to his head and stepped out, meeting Marie in the hall as he stepped into his boots. Everything was just perfect. It'd all come together in the last five years, but it felt like a blur. Getting married, getting an upscale apartment in Southwestern Dominion...every day was just bliss.

"Everything OK, John?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.

He pushed his glasses up on his nose.

"Marie Rose..."

"I would trade the world for this."
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Pyrogram

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#3  Edited By Pyrogram

The Present...

..... Return of the Time Keeper: the Time Keeper entered a large cave. Half-way into the cave, there was a sudden drop as though he were standing upon a mountain and looking down at a volcano. Fiery lava bubbled as a demonic voice boomed from everywhere and nowhere. The Supreme Potentate's voice dripped with evil charisma.

"The Last Time Keeper, back again so soooon?"

No Caption Provided

From within the lava a humongous satanic creature rose, one horn missing as well as multiple teeth. His skin was red. Not just red. The colour red of flesh being burned.

The Supreme Potentate's entire body looking like it was perpetually being burnt. It's eyes where as yellow as the sun and the heat radiating from it's body even more grew uncomfortably intense as a laugh roared from it's burned lips, the horned head growing closer with the condescending howl.

The behemoth clearly recognised the Time Keeper but the Time Keeper's face did not seem to reciprocate the feelings. Stepping up, the Lonely God looked at the Supreme Potentate, pointing his wrinkly finger in it's direction rudely. "You're new here. What is this? The Izoli don't have a concept of the devil so what are you?" The entire time his finger had been pointing impolitely at the strange alien, remembering so, his other metal hand grabbed his finger and placed it back to his front in a comical manner, folding his arms sternly awaiting a reply.

"Flee, Time Keeper! For I have been ordered to destroy you and anybody foolish enough to accompany you. In return..."

The gigantic beast folded two insanely huge arms, breathing a breath of fire above and then gazing down domineeringly.

"...I reign Supreme over Izol!"

A jaunty laugh accompanied the last statement as the Time Keeper squint, unfolding his arms. "Ordered to what?" This day had already confused him enough. "By who? Who in their right mind would put you in charge of the most dangerous hive mind in this solar system?"

The beast looked down at the Time Keeper and let out another insane laugh. This time so loud it literally caused the floor to shake and air to spew everywhere. The beast was so hideously large it's 'lungs' were like a miniature hurricane generator. "AND WHAT..." he strained, feeling the wind pick up more and more but still missing the awful joke. "...OF THE INVITATION? WHY WOULD YOU INVITE ME HERE ONLY TO..." Having enough of this nonsense, the Time Keeper abruptly stomped forward and inhaled sharply, before shouting arguably as loud as the beast itself and causing the Supreme Potentate to stagger backwards as a shock-wave left the Time Keepers mouth. "...LAUGH AT ME FOR RETURNING!!!"

The Beast From Below shook it's head in annoyance, forgetting Time Keepers were insanely strong too. Leaning back, the beast folded it's arms, caressing it's spectacular chin with red fingers.

"It was by order of you, Time Keeper! In exchange for killing you in the event of your return, I, the Supreme Potentate, act as RULER and OVERLORD of the Dominion of IZOL!"

Two mighty fists slammed either side of the Time Keeper, sending rocks flying everywhere.

"Now I - THE RULER and OVERLORD of IZOL DECLARE IT TIME TO MEET YOUR DOOOOM!"

No Caption Provided

And then suddenly - in an invisible flash, faster than reality itself - all was well.

The fight had ended.

Not just this one.

But all of them - everywhere.

In it's stead...

The Present, Brutus City

...An unnerving silence.

No Caption Provided

The Time Keeper overlooked Brutus City - the de facto capital city of the Covenant. The Lonely God had served at the leisure of the esoteric Avatar for millennia - preserving the timeline wherever anomalies and disorder arose.

That was his purpose. His entire point of existence. The Time Keepers were gone. Wiped out in wars long since forgotten.

But he was here. Always, and forever, here. The Time Keeper was a legend woven throughout history.

When disaster arrived, he was there. He brought the storm in his wake and he had one constant companion. Death.

Creasing his ancient brow, the Time Keeper gazed out over Brutus City and smiled, speaking to the female companion sitting behind his fabled silhouette. "This world is truly perfect." There was no strife to end. No suffering to ease. No timeline to save. For the first time in his impossibly long existence, the Time Keeper had nothing to keep. It made his head hurt. Hurt? It made it thunder with the noise of silence. He had lived with it his entire life, though. It was just the burden of his all-seeing eyes. When one was as attached to the very essence of the universe in such an intimate way as he - the sound of silence was tantamount to sense deprivation.

But such was his curse. His gift. His life.

Turning, the Eternal Knight looked at the woman, folding his imperious arms.

A wicked grin joining his glowing eyes.

"Do you not agree?"

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Maxwell_Hastings

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GOOD MORNING NEW EDEN

Rays of light punctured the thin weave of Maxwell's blue and gold curtains. Each one knocking gently upon his eyelids in an ignored attempt to herald him awake. Luckily they would get some much needed assistance. With a loud SCHWING the curtains were ripped along a metal rod allowing the full force of the light to collide with Maxwell's face forcing him to groan and get up. His feet slipped into a pair of comfortable slippers which moved across his carpeted floor towards his closet.

There was a long mirror with an old photograph of a man, a woman, and a young kid all sitting underneath a large tree in a park. Max's hand gently clasped the bottom corner of the picture and pulled it closer to his face. He smiled a bit remembering the day this family picture was taken. Than the smile faded from his face signaling the return of what happened soon after. A kaiju attacked and his mom had to rush off to go stop it....she didn't come home that night. He wiped a single tear from his eye and put the picture back in place; the last thing she would want was for him to cry on his big day. She had been an inspiration to him his whole life and when she passed away he made a vow that he would follow in her footsteps and help people. He would serve the avatar like she had with the goal of making the world a better place.

The door of the closet opened revealing his very own costume designed to be almost identical to hers. His hand moved over the fabric "It looks just like hers son." A hand placed itself down on his shoulder and squeezed with a firm grip. "That was the goal dad." Max turned to see the smiling face of his dad who was staring at the costume but in his eyes he could see a bit of sadness. "Don't worry dad I'll do it justice" His father patted his shoulder again before leaving the room. He was most likely headed off to work like Maxwell would have to be soon enough.

He put everything on except the golden helmet which he held in his hands. He took a deep breath, looked at himself in the mirror, and placed it on his head. With a deep breath he moved to his front door, stepped out into the world, and took off into the sky.

It was time to make a difference
It was time to make a difference
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LittleSpark

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Morning. Sun totters up over the horizon like a baby learnin' to walk. Unsteady, sometimes all tangled up in itself, but it's so bright you can't help but smile. Filters through the gauzy curtains like coffee in a french press. Rise and shine. It's a brand new day. World's a beautiful place. Everyone gets along, despite our differences. Sure, there's differences. Take Sofia - never was much of a morning person. Only time she sees the sunrise is from the other end. Me... well, I don't sleep much. In the end, it doesn't matter. Better part of a year and we've been inseparable. I hold her hand while she sleeps, and watch the sun come up.

No Caption Provided

Sofia wakes up after a while, sits up with a stretch that proves the goodness of the world all by itself. Gets up and heads for the kitchen, busies herself making breakfast. Hums to herself the whole time - always did like to hear her voice. Everyone does. The nightclub where she sings always draws a crowd. Eventually she's got things ready, wipes down the table before she sets it so the wood sparkles in the morning light. She heads back to the bedroom, gives the bed a lingering look before she makes it up neat, then gets herself dressed for the day. As always, takes about twice as long as you'd think, but I guess that's just women for you. Never takes me that long to get ready. Eventually she's satisfied with the girl in the mirror. Pauses to clip a tag to her shirt: Museum of Living Bastions: Hi, My Name Is Sofia.

Couple of train rides and we get there. The trains are always an adventure. I swear some days the northbound's almost three minutes late. Sofia spends a few minutes chatting with the front desk girls in the employee lounge while she looks at the schedules. Looks like a couple of school groups are coming through this afternoon. Never quite know what those are gonna be like. Sometimes they ask questions you just wouldn't believe. Kids these days, am I right? Mostly I just hang around with Sofia, make sure things go... smoothly. I keep problems to a minimum, make sure they don't get out of hand. Bit of a thankless job, but I don't mind. Long as I get to stay by her.

She settles herself in a niche, ready to answer questions if anyone's got 'em. I lean against the wall beside her. The girls at the desk'll page her if anyone needs a tour, otherwise she floats around wherever she's needed. Seems happy with it all. I think she likes talking to people. I've always been the quieter type, more the sort to stay in the background. The world's got a place for everyone, though. Just gotta help 'em find it.

Sofia looks over a couple displays, refreshing her mind for the day. She knows more about some of the legends than anyone else I've met. She's always paying attention, always thinking. Everyone's got a history, but it's people like her that keep the legends alive.

Sometimes I think she'd have made a good hero.

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KidChampion

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#6  Edited By KidChampion

In a dark room, a pale boy stares into the glow of overlapping holographic screens. Streaks of electrifying lazers flash across the screen, as muddled figures flitted into view to combat whatever was striking the land from above.

Sam Howards looked up to each succeeding generation of young public Protectors; idolizing them for their talents, bravery, and unwavering faith. As an avid fan, Samuel kept close track of their weekly popularity rankings, live-feed appearances and blurry bystander recordings of them fighting alien forces in the stratosphere. He had his favorites of course. One of whom was a brave(and rather cute) Protector who had risen up through the ranks of ordinary foot-soldiers through her acts of nigh-reckless heroism, and had been awarded super-powers by the Covenent council. Hers was the hard way up, but every step of the journey was just another challenge to further prove herself. It earned her the admiration and jealousy of Convenent Cadets, who were trying to succeed as Protectors the traditional way, and at the same time, also earned her a rather rabid fanbase among the self-same crowd.

Speaking of which, Sam himself was enrolled as a student in the Cadet course. Every ambitious and starry-eyed kids from each Dominion flocked there to learn how to protect and serve the planet. After all, who wouldn't want a chance to join the ranks of their beloved heroes? The competition was fierce; made twofold with the pressure put on them by their trainers, and the tense rivalry among cadets which naturally manifested every time their quarterly field tests drew near. Sam reveled in all manner of exertions he had to expend there. Though admittedly, his mental scores were rather abysmal in comparison to his top class physical marks, Sam managed to make up for it by testing high in ideology. His faith in the Avatar, the Convenent, and the Protectors themselves, borderlined worshippful exctasy.

To the ones who demonstrate the most skill, bravery and leadership, came the honor of graduating as officer cadets. Every year there were only a half dozen chosen at each Covenent Command Academy; localized in every Dominion. If you earned your spot as the cream of the crop, you'd be granted super powers upon graduation, and be placed under another Protector for tutelage before moving on to become an official Protector. The dream.

It was 4:30 am. Time for early-morning class warm-up drills. In truth, Sam hadn't slept a wink last night because of that sudden radiactive space attack that had struck one of the south-east Dominions. He had woken up to the news by a series of mad system pings by fellow fans who hailed from different Dominions. After spending several hours simultaneously watching eight different holo-feeds of the same live event, and frenziedly commenting on it all live, Sam had finally been able to tear himself away from the post-attack fan community blow up once he had been able to confirm the 'end' of the battle and the safety status of his current favorite Protector. She had been able to rack up a good deal of credits in defending the affected area from further rogue rays, and had moved upwards in rank as a result. Sam expected that he and the rest of her adoring legion of fans would be basking in the glow of this accomplishment for the rest of this week.

Dressing up in his warm winter cadet uniform and grooming his bedraggled look into a more becoming appearance, the young man left his assigned compartment quarters in the CCA dorms and met up with fellow cadets as they embarked to meet their stiff-minded physical trainer at the Academy training fields across town. Just another brisk, beautiful day.

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Kaija

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#7  Edited By Kaija

@pyrogram:

She laughs for a moment.

"I think that your idea of perfection is a little cheap."

The office from which The Timekeeper currently surveyed Brutus City belonged to a 24-year-old Uma Sayalami. She sat behind a mahogany desk in the most comfortable chair that money could buy over a spotless carpet floor. She wore a greyish-blue uniform, strapped, with her hair tied into a chignon bun and medals decorating her shoulders and the right half of her chest. The walls were lined with photos of the up-and-coming sergeant major, moments of valor preserved in photographs, and portraits taken with her men. On her desk were a few photographs of friends and loved ones that, although much smaller than the pieces hung on her walls, held far more value to her.

"I still have to manage a few dozen people on a daily basis, write reports on everything that happens under my watch, sit in this office for at least ten hours a day and make sure that every overgrown mutant that falls out of the sky or rises from the sea gets put down and disposed of. All while keeping myself looking presentable and not getting fat." She leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes as she took a deep breath, "But, you're not wrong. I can't say that I've ever gotten up in the morning with any real worries weighing on my mind."

When she opened her eyes, she took a closer look at her old friend's face. Despite his words, he looked tired and lost; maybe a bit worried. Needless to say, he hadn't bothered to really say anything to her about what might have been responsible for the newfound wrinkles on his brow or that empty look in his eyes. While she had him here, maybe she could get him to open up a bit.

"Hey, come have a drink with me, yeah? If you need an excuse, just say you're doing it to make me happy. Drinking's always more fun with your with friends," She opened a few drawers at the bottom of her desk and pulled out a bottle of wine with two shot glasses, "I'm... pretty sure these are clean," she poured two glasses, passing one to the edge of the desk nearest her guest, "Don't tell me no, just drink it. And tell me what's on your mind. I still owe you for introducing us, so you might as well use me to vent. I promise I won't say anything to anyone to tarnish that 'Invincible Alpha Male' reputation that you're so proud of."

Uma took a sip of wine.

She didn't honestly expect him to say much, but she figured she'd at least give him the opportunity to let her into his thoughts.

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Bloodhound_

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In the Minnesotan wilderness, a lone tree fell.

Birds burst from the nearby trees in waves, flying away from what they perceived to be imminent danger. The crash of the tree hitting the floor sent the wildlife scurrying, of course, but one creature did not run. Peter Carson looked down at the fallen tree, dirt coating his rugged pants and plaid shirt. With a deep sigh, he pulled the walkie talkie from off of his belt and pressed the small button on the side. "Come get it," he said, releasing the button. With a sigh, he turned his head away, taking in the sights and sounds of the forest. Peaceful.

Of course, that wouldn't last long.

In a few minutes, the crew of workers came to collect the tree, hacking off branches to bring back to the mill. Pete, removing his hardhat, was done for the day, as his watch was happy to remind him of. Nodding his head to the lumberjacks he passed by, he would greet each with a small hello, before arriving at his truck. Still as rusted as ever, it held a certain charm to it that was only really captured in some country music songs, a feeling of nostalgia from a time that most people experienced in a very different way. His early life spent mostly in the country, Peter was as rural a person as a person could get.

Part of the reason I kept it that way... he mused inwardly, looking over to the tranquility of the trees once more.

Shortly thereafter, he began his drive home, photograph of wife and child slid into the car's sunshield overhead. It didn't mean too much to him, really - not when he had his wife and son to go home to every day. Little did he know how drastically different the importance of that photograph would be to him, in another time and place. With a sigh, he noted the amount of government trucks that were rolling into the woods beside him, and looked over, narrowing his eyes.

Chain link fences all rose up around something that was too far away for Peter to notice, the surrounding area coated in ash and burnt forest. With a hmph, he decided that whatever it was wasn't really any of his concern, and looked back to the road. Meteorites were a rarity, and that was what Peter could only suppose it was. However, he was no astronomer, and surely didn't need such trouble as looking for the works of science fiction.

Though the whole damn world is a work of science fiction, he grunted, musing inwardly about the metahumans that populated the globe. Too many for his liking. Not nearly safe enough.

Pulling up to his cabin, he removed the memory of the government's gated area from his mind, and walked in, Daniel already running up to hug his father's legs. The government's actions didn't matter to him.

Eyes rising up to meet his wife's, he smiled. Only they do.

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Pyrogram

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@kaija:

No Caption Provided

Without warning the atoms within the room appeared to reorganise themselves, the two seemingly standing within a circle metal room, an uncountable array of windows adorning every side. The Time Keeper turned away, arms folded, and spoke. His voice dry and untouched. Not sadness. Just simply unremarkable in tone - overbearing, even. "There is nothing extraordinary in love. It did not tax me to provide you with it. Love, Uma, is quite an ordinary, fated occurrence." An image of Uma appeared in one of the windows, hearkening back to a time she she was single and remarkably bored.

"You were lonely and required companionship."

Another image was revealed. This time, Ali. "I told you were to go and you found it." Turning around, as this happened, an image of Ali and Uma first kissing appeared behind the Time Keeper in one of the windows. His eyes looked at the Kaiju Slayer. "I am not cupid. Quite the contrary," he wandered over, the world dissipating and the wine glass reappearing as he stood over the desk, his frame blocking out some of the light from the city landscape behind, "all I did was expedite destinies plan for the two of you, however much I think that that man is unable to meet the requirements to truly fulfil you."

The Temporal Knight was not unwilling to speak his mind, a trait birthed from the fact he could supposedly see all past and presents. This was a Time Keeper not alarmed to command his true aristocracy among time. Slowly, he took the wine glass, bringing it to his lips and listening to Uma carefully. Was she right? Was she wrong? Did it really matter? This world was perfect.

That was the problem. And yet, that was the divinity of this world which he worshipped so. He placed the glass down, two muscular hands touching the table as he leaned in, looking at Uma. "Do you see these eyes? They’re old eyes… and one thing I can tell you - The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, universe, a cosmos, or even an ordinary relationship... Everything has its time. And everything ends."

He stayed silent, eyes as dead as the silence in his mind.

And then he spoke.

"I have dreamed for a world like ours, Uma. Fought for it. For the peace. The silence. The happiness."

And he spoke, yet again.

"Perhaps this perfection is cheap."

Once again, he turned away.

"And silent."

Always, the silence.

It bore through his mind like a never-ending drill. "But happy, nonetheless."

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Kaija

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@pyrogram:

Despite every word that passed from his lips, Uma could sense nothing but despair. It was like he was... upset that things were going so well in the world simply because there was something to lose. She couldn't hope to see the world from his perspective, but his fears seemed illogical either way. There was no crime, no war, no civil conflicts to be heard of. Granted, The Covenant's sergeant major had spilled her share of blood and taken her share of lives... but from monsters, not her fellow man.

What exactly did he have to be worried about?

The two of them alone could deal with most of the threats that they had seen, disregarding the manpower provided to her by Covenant and the Protectors that worked to make a difference on their own. Uma leaned forward as her lips parted slightly... then simply returned to her resting position and held her peace. Whatever it was that was on his mind, she felt like he was withholding his actual concerns. She decided not to push him and simply refilled their glasses.

"Keeper. I don't know what exactly you're worried about, and I don't understand. But, then again, I didn't believe you when you sent me to meet Ali, either. So, although I think you're just being paranoid for no reason, if you feel like something's going wrong and you want me to look into it, just let me know," She slowly sipped her wine; a single tip of her glass and it was empty once more, "You have my support, which means you have Covenant support too. In the meantime, my boys have got it under control, so just do me a favor and instead of pretending to relax... would you relax? You're doing plenty to keep the peace, rest assured. More than enough to earn a break. I can get a stronger proof if you need it," she raised the bottle of wine into the air, shaking it gently with a laugh before gently placing it back on top of the desk, "I would recommend that you find yourself a girl or, hell, maybe a guy to help ease your mind... but I get the feeling that you're not interested in that kinda thing, are you?"

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TNTank

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There are times one must wonder, what if everything they acknowledged as truth could eventually be rewritten? If anything could be changed, would rulers become mere nobodies, would heroes take a turn for the worse... or even be heroes at all, would cruel dictators become mediocre spinning alongside the grinding gears of history? Men cannot erase the past, they cannot escape it or even modify it in the slightest. Truth, after all, is absolute. Still, fantasizing is all about letting your imagination run rampant. If I had turned right, if I hadn't messaged her, if I didn't drink before driving home with my friends... Ifs rule the countless worlds you make inside your mind, but one of those is the absolute question you will always ask yourself.

What if those worlds were real?

Northwestern Dominion - Now:

No Caption Provided

Ostensibly dead eyes gazed into the mirror, it didn't matter how often he washed his face there just wouldn't be any effect to his jaded visage. He had spent last night anxiously rolling around his bed, not even able to get any sort of rest before his big day. Indeed, it was an important day for the kid known as James Boomer, who recently finished university and could now officially look for a job to eventually replace the ones who had so dearly looked after him.

Hunting for jobs wasn't exactly the most exciting activity one could possibly have around the pacific borders of New Eden, those customed characters zipping by the windows of multiple edifices, bearing sympathetic simpers, shining hope and freedom through their iconic costumes. James always admired them, ever since he was a little child looking up to the skies, hands tightly gripping his mother's, a huge, dumbfounded smile across his childish face.

She took care of him almost by herself, his father was a pretty important man, after all. Even if he desired to stay alongside his family, his work required him to travel very often and, sometimes, sleep away. Days without seeing each other weren't exactly rare. Most of James' family had important roles within the society, especially those on his dad's side of the family. He was very proud to tell everyone about it, how his powerful cousins and uncles were part of the Covenant's forces. He couldn't, however, find reasons within himself to eventually join them. He wasn't special at all, and being requested to fight Kaijus and perhaps not even come home to his mother every night, well, even if it was a thin possibility he couldn't bear it.

So he settled with any good job at an office, dedicated his entire studies to that one purpose.

Minutes go by.

"Jaaaaaaaaaaames, you're gonna be late!" Her ferocious voice echoed throughout the house, getting a response on mere seconds as a completely suited figure slid carelessly through the corridor, well-nigh stumbling over their own feet. "I know, I know!" He sighed, his mother was his safe haven, just having her there to back him up erased all his insecurities, knowing he would have someone who loved him enough to back him up on his own journey... What else could he ask for. Leaning in, he smooched her cheek, a carefree smile surging on his lips as he contently chuckled. "Finally, huh?" His mom's rather jovial face sparked joy and hope on the atmosphere, he could swimmingly tell how much pride she had to see her own son growing up to become someone. "Yeah... Don't forget, shake their hands firmly, and don't look away even for an instant, and... and no lies either!" Boomer laughed once again. "I know, we've gone over every detail a million times by now, ma." Her preoccupied gaze soon shifted to a more relieved tone. "I know, James. I'm very proud of you, son." He nodded, embracing his mother quiescently. "May the Avatar watch over your interviews." Wiping away a few tears, he was quick to depart that embrace, otherwise he would seriously be late. Gulping down his cup of coffee and promptly chewing some toast his mom prepared beforehand, James hastily walked to the door. Looking back one last time before leaving, he gave his mom a smile, oozing confidence from all the trust placed on him.

"I'mma ace it."
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Orange_Water

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The Pacific Cluster

There I sat in the lounge with some of my fellow officers joking with some of the fellow officers in the fleet who had just yesterday pulled a prank on me pouring orange paint all over me as I walked towards the bridge. They all had a good laugh along with me over my new nickname, Agent Orange. I couldn't even see it coming for one moment I was dry and then the next I was covered head to toe in orange paint. It didn't matter we had been pulling pranks on each other for months and next it was my turn to get back at them.

One of the other officers I was sitting with finally stopped laughing for a moment to ask,"So Agent when do you start your shift on the bridge today?"

I looked at him for a moment with a smirk and replied,"I'm not telling you so you can pull another prank on me today," letting out a quick chuckle," I go in another hour and I'm expecting a quiet night so that I'm not tired after tonight. So that in the morning when I go on some shore leave I'm planning a surprise trip to the Atlantic Rings to visit my brother Blake who helps keep those factories going and then well the other person I'm visiting well a gentleman merely doesn't kiss and tell."

The various officers each smiled and laughed for a moment before one of them speaks up,"Are we ever gonna meet this famous girlfriend of yours?"

"Depends on if you play your cards right and our schedules ever align," I look down at my watch for a moment," Sorry guys I've got to get ready for my shift. Praise be to the Avatar and Eden." I give a wave as I walk away heading towards the ship I serve on where I use my powers to detect any Kaiju threat that would dare attack our perfect world and end our harmony." See you soon...Ruby." As I look down at the picture on my phone of the greatest woman I know.

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Pyrogram

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#13  Edited By Pyrogram

@kaija:

Breaking away from the harsh introspection, the Time Keeper allowed himself to divulge a different but more amusing part of his otherworldly person. "The Time Keepers progressed far beyond physical mating to conceive offspring." A glance was thrown towards Uma, and a slight, human smile. "Be that as it may - I am indeed still, 'into' that sort of thing." But even that was rare and incredibly scarce.

Turning around fully, this time for the last time, he grasped a chair and pulled it closer towards Uma's desk and sat down, taking the still untouched wine glass and raising it to his fellow Covenant ally. "I do not worry, nor do I fester paranoia. I just... Think."

He paused.

"And see."

Taking a small sip, he continued.

"I do not relax, however. Any moment The Avatar may present me a Divine Order - or I may recognise an anomaly."

Finishing the glass he softly placed it down, smiling. "We both know our place and duties along with it. You keep this world protected from the Kaiju, and I, from insurrection and temporal irregularity."

Clenching a fist, he smiled a wicked smile. "We are the hammers which forge this world into the Avatars image, Uma."

The silence within his mind dulled for just a fleeting second, before returning. There was work to be done amongst the silence. There was always work to be done. Men like him did not get to rest, not until death. Even a Time Keeper escaped that one too, sometimes. With a glance backwards towards the gorgeous city, he chuckled.

"If this world is cheap, cheap never looked so flawless."

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Maverick_6

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#14  Edited By Maverick_6

"But daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!"

The little girl jumped up and down in a fit, her arms like noddles with the only bit of firmness with them is the grip on her paintball gun. Eric looked down hand on hips with a firm no nonsense expression that had all but lost any sort of effect on her, for as many times as she'd seen it. "I heard from your. Squad! You were there leader! You were super-badass marine guy! Storming into rooms taking people left and right like PTEW PTEW!" The noise was supposed to emulate that of a rifle, but she had gotten more accustomed to the noise of blasters a lot of boys ran with now-a-days.

*SWOOP*

She looks down and the gun is gone from her hands. She looks around to see where it went, and her eyes follow Eric's arm, as he holds the paintball gun over his head. Que girl springing up and now. Up and down. Up and down. "Give it back! Give back!" The gun goes down to the ground and just as it's inches from her reach, she gets snatched up as Eric Bradshaw twirls with his second daughter. Her voice half-way between whining and laughing. "Dad stop! Ha ha ha ha Daaaaaaaaaaad stop!" He does, arms outstretched, her toes. dangling haplessly a couple feet from the ground.

“Dad do you have PTSD like in those Vietnam movies.” Bradshaw's eyes widen. He looks at his wife, Linda and then back at Tara. And then back at Linda. And then back at Tara. Laughter explodes from his chest. As he holds her close, letting her sit in his arm. “Who let you watch those? It was Eran wasn't it?” He asks, looking the apparently rather observant girl, too smart for her own good, in the eye. She shook her head. “Chase?” she shook her head. “Jorge.” She just stared at him. “I'll freakin' kill ‘em.” Little growl behind the tone of Bradshaw's voice

No Caption Provided

“No dad! Don’t! Put me down! I'm ten years old. You’re embarrassing me!” She exclaims, starting to push him away to which he replies. “You know whatcha did? You had your finger on the trigger. Stop putting your finger on the trigger and maybe I'll quite embarrassing you in fronta all these boys.” Beat. “Nah. I'll probably keep doin' that last part. Just more subtly.”

“Ugh!” She is dropped promptly to the floor. She crosses her arms picks up the paintball gun.

“Alright look. You know I'll kick ass for you any day of the week. But when I have to. If you are gonna show those boys what's up, I'll teach to you to fish.” He can tell she's a little irritated but her. “You want an old ass marine to fight all your battles or do you wanna show em what's what?” He picks up a paintball gun.

“You don't gotta be a retired marine to kick ass. Just ask your sister the next time she comes around to visit. Come on. I'll show you a couple tricks. Track Star like you on top of that? They won't know what hit 'em.

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Lightning_God

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#15  Edited By Lightning_God
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The Unlikeliest of Heroes speeds his way across Brutus City. He is the protector of masses, adored by millions of fans worldwide. Aged 23, it'd already been 4 whole years since Ali Outsider had first entered the world from his home, the realm of the Beast. His story had been one of quick success, as he had managed to quickly adapt to his surroundings. The world was easier for the boy to live in, precisely because it was similar to his home, controlled by a single authority. With his power, Ali had opted to become one of the Protectors,and he was someone who could go places, fight crime and maintain peace in the world in a heartbeat if he chose to do so.

A second in Brutus City, a second in Africa and another in Australia was a piece of cake for the speedster. Distance mattered less and less as he could traverse millions of miles in a second. His home though was here in Brutus City, he lived in the top suit of a famous building that overlooked the city.

Millions of adoring fans, and yet, the boy of lightning had just one girl on his mind, as he now sat on the sofa of his home, looking at his smart phone. The screen displayed none other than the undisputed leader of the Covenant. How had they met? In a park. Ali had gone in disguise because going around normally attracted unwanted attention. It was in a park in Seattle where they had met for the first time. He didn't know who she was, and he was pretty sure she did not know either.

But there was a spark. Something different about her that slowed down the normally fast-paced protector. He felt a calm when he met the eyes of Uma. She was special and he was drawn to her like a fly to a bulb. There in that park, they confessed their love to each other and through the interaction, Ali had come to know who she was. By that point, he no longer felt like hiding, and he had also told her of his true identity. An unlikely bond was made that day for the most unlikely hero.

Unlocking his phone, Ali sent a text @kaija's way, "Missing you a fair bit Uma. What are you doing? May I come over if you aren't busy?" He typed it in and pressed send. And soon, it was sent her way as delivered. Now, he just awaited her response.

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slip

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@tntank:

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Everything about life was beautifully ----ing crazy Hruby felt. Some eighteen years ago she landed on Earth alongside another slime thing or as she called them xenoslimorph. Her grandma to be exact, Sofia a slime thing that'd been with Hruby until she was thirteen and helped her learn the ways of her strange alien biology. She landed beside a bird like person of an alien who did well at establishing communications with humans. They called him Beak and he was essentially the light pink haired beauty's uncle. Her mom's sister had actually married that bird person on a distant emerald rock of a world. Her mom had trusted in Beak to get the alien off the dying world. Alongside Beak had been the thing that was a mix between a beetle and snake with a exposed brain that looked to Hruby like a butt. Her name though was Silk in earthen languages though. Silk had given the once small pink gelatinous blob her name as xenoslimorphs were known for giving out names that went against the child they held. To them to be named ugly was to say the opposite. She currently lived with Beak and Silk to this day.

Her grandma had helped inquiring minds unravel how to make Hruby able to adjust to the world around her. There'd been some promiscuous adventures about a year ago as she came more into her own but it'd never been bad or against her will. She'd studied what she could bounce back from but it'd never felt cruel or like torture it was just an exploration of self. Really though it all seemed almost to good to be true, she would of thought she'd have crash landed and been a test subject instead. Yet here she was walking down the sidewalk having left family and home to meet up with someone who'd completed the rather pleasing thing she called a life.

Some time ago a girl with a tendency to spend time around gyms and anywhere people played sports finally got to attend a school. Looking like a person and not some pink skinned oddity her family didn't mind. She'd been passing through the gym after a rather long run when she spotted a blond with good abs and who'd been spotted dressed well when he'd initially come in. Good at working out and staying in shape but also well groomed and responsible it'd caught her attention. The body enough to get the slightly younger senior student to stop focusing on her own random activities to consider engaging in her favorite of the bunch. So she'd asked him out.

From movies with explosions to ice skating to finally having gotten to Hruby's favorite physical act on the roof near the end of homecoming. She'd done well to take a bit more time like most girls did by now though she was confident James knew where her head was often at. She'd loved the idiot and by now he knew just about all there was to know about her alien yet surprisingly tranquil upbringing. The alien powers she had down to a mastery and at least so far it hadn't chased him away either much to the slime girl's delight. She did however take care to feel entirely human, surprisingly soft skinned but nothing to outlandish. She'd never thought he'd of disliked her even if she did feel weirder but the point was in the peaceful world the Avatar had given them she didn't need to. So the mass of goo that would be her heart or brain like equivalent was all throughout her being. This was something her kind never did, but grandma had told Hruby before she passed away that the young slime thing could afford to do so.

"There's my shithead" to her such a thing meant brilliance and easy on the eyes. "Thought I might have to go in there and drag your ass out. Or call your cousin. You want him back by the usual if he doesn't land the interview right? Hour later if he gets it, so we can celebrate?" Calling Umathat seemed a last resort the woman being as respectable as she was busy in the violet eyes of the slippery minx. Hruby had already talked about what they'd do depending on results though. Texting regularly to make sure that James stuck to the routine of job hunting if this by some rare misfortune didn't pan out. Talking her into letting them stay out later took a little more convincing but it was hard to tell the energetic goo no. "So who's finally giving my boyfriend a shot? Swear to ---- it better be something better then a janitor." Though to be honest a lot of those less appealing jobs were picked up by machines.

Personally Hruby herself was nervous she wanted to go to the Museum of Living Bastions later ask about joining the Protectors. The thought of going out there and being at risk was exciting she had the ability to help others maybe one day be the number one Protector. She also didn't like the idea of making James wait on dates or worry about her though, didn't know how much stress he could tank but she really didn't want to find out either. A moment was stolen to lock lips the alien being adept at just sliding intimate moments in at her own leisure. "You sure you don't mind? After interviews I could just scoop your ass off the ice rink instead we don't have to go." It was what she really wanted though. Much fun as Hruby had in getting him in double bladed ice skates perfect for newbies and often in the cutest embarrassing colors, the alien felt like she could be out there doing more for this world that'd welcomed her unique presence.

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Nevermore_

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@maverick_6:

Eight Years Ago

No Caption Provided

"Know it's bullshit but this is what I want Nagi" Rayne remarked nine months in and outside the hospital smoking briefly before he'd shown up. The one benefit of her ability was it let her still live the life she'd favored without the risk of hurting the little thing growing inside her. She knew there was bound to be protest there always was when the topic came up and this time was going to be the last. It'd been the best time she'd ever been through though, and that had to sink in. She savored the kiss, hung on to the moment for once not as open to letting things be cut short.

"I don't mind serving the Avatar, I imagine being a soldier for him is better then for anyone else. But I need change and if I were to do this any other way that wouldn't happen." Farim Kusanagi had known her for two years but the living weapon had been a soldier all her life. She'd wanted to fight for others safety to help the world continuously change into a brighter one. She liked changes though it was a defining trait of hers that she rush off to seek new horizons or endings. And she knew what her current situation would lead to if she didn't look for a change, it was a time that called for something different and the road went two ways.

She blew a ring into the cold night air. "If I let myself recover I go back to them. I continue to take lives" she didn't know how many she'd taken. Peace was something hard to fight for but worth every life as far as the living weapon was concerned. With each year that got closer and closer to serenity though her purpose became more and more distant, killing got easier as the number of enemies drifted into smaller digits. She was to good at one thing and wanted to find a moment to change it and this was that singular chance. "I want to end as someone giving it, I trust in the Avatar to see that." It wasn't fair to do him and she often scoffed at other faiths. This one she did believe in though.

"Please don't argue with me" if he was going to protest then a finger would rest on his lip. A nail extending to a point just shy of nicking flesh in what was a dangerous tease to her. "Abelle deserves a family not a living weapon dressed like one. You can be that for her I trust, we both know I can't." She was a sharp object from the surface inward at her very core a bladed instrument of others ambitions. This though was her choice alone, fast forward and she's in labor.

Should of hurt more then it did but the wounds were nothing new to a woman who'd been struck by bombardments and plasma fire and so much else. She could have maybe recovered from labor but she didn't want to maybe it was biology maybe it was faith but better to put everything in trying to give Abelle a life then in Rayne continuing to take them. She doesn't recover and her heart rate is fading as she for a moment to short for others but gloriously prolonged for her she holds a little girl. A bit to much like herself then dad then the killer would of liked but still a beautiful thing. "Love you two, should cut down any who try to say otherwise."

Present Day

No Caption Provided

"You seem two years older I swear." The man remarked, her teacher to be exact. He was getting ready to head to a meeting with the other teachers as classes ended. To a small thing that was sitting alone.

Abelle sat with legs dangling over the stairway as she waited. "Or just an outcast."

"Beneath the Avatar such don't exist Bell." He clarified with an absolute certainty in his tone.

The taloned adolescent rolled her eyes. "Daddy says I shouldn't lie. So I have to call bullshit on that. It's like the westerns right. So you're watching Tombstone Earp and the rest go to settle down leave the gunslinger days behind them. How long does that peace last though?"

Her teacher smiled and shook his head. "Bell Earp used a colt, we've outgrown such tools. I know you and probably that dashing dad of yours can't help it. But try being orthodox, independent minded isn't safe." That sounded more like the words of an adult then a teacher's lecture. A fact that got the attention of Abelle. Much as she loved climbing trees and playing with legos she often would say how she wasn't a kid.

"Dad!" She called out the moment she saw him enter the front door to find her. A quick exuberant hop got her on the railing to begin the slide down. Had to be alert never knew if he'd catch her or leave her to make her own landing until last minute. And there was no way she was going to fall on her butt in front of her teacher and classmates that wouldn't be cool.

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_Gaige_

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#18  Edited By _Gaige_
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"Good job out there Lizzy" a woman remarked with vibrant violet hair as she set down a soda of the R&D's finest woke up. Drowsy eyes go to a monitor to watch a neon pink machine confront with other protectors a radioactive space threat in the south east dominion. "Wow don't even remember it huh? Don't let that ego go to your head." The other woman teased. Aren was her name, no powers or anything just a computer specialist amongst the ranks. Would have likely been nobody to much of note if not for her choice of fashion. Some of it bordered on going against regulation.

Tired eyes went to a collection of photos there was a girl, in one of them sixteen now. Lizzy vaguely remembered bumping into the girl sometime and being told that "hell was something you could chase away." What ever she'd been through the kid with heterochromia seemed happy in the photo. Beside it of course was a picture of Ali and Uma, she couldn't recall at the moment how they met. They'd all worked to lay waste to kaiju though Lizzy finding her way more into the Covenant engineers then going off on her own adventures. Going out there with her bones was a bad plan and while steps could have been taken to make that a non issue Lizzy rather liked not. She was happy knowing her own vulnerability. Besides the need for heavy weapons was seldom the brief slivers of reaction time lost by it being remote controlled was acceptable with the sluggish enemy of giant monsters.

Looking over her series of monitors she seemed to almost immediately go to check on the janitor's about the place, had to clean up the research lab well after all. Then to check on the rebellious few employees the ones who every once and awhile looked to break the few rules one could get away with. The pilot picked up a paper clip and flicked it toward the most stand out of those few. Didn't know her in person for some reason Lizzy thought it was an m name though, Megan maybe. The usual check up ended with a small plant she kept white morning glories catching her eye and soon being watered. Was all apart of her routine of waking up at her desk, a rather common thing.

She didn't want to say she was head of Research and Development seemed to good a title for a nerd who was still relatively new to all of this to most. Nineteen was rather young for people in her comfortable seat. She was brilliant though and seemed to work for the Covenant twenty of the hours in the day. A yawn escaped her lips as she stretched and then went to the monitors about her.

"Those cannons reading off by five gigawatts to you Blue team?" She remarked pressing a button to one channel a research crew working on a electro magnetic rail gun good for punching holes in large monsters. "Red, like the new HUD, mine's in pink though right?" Couldn't give them to much praise of course they'd done well though. "Should have some new blueprints heading your way Green." The mech pilot commented tapping on a hologram and making a few las minute edits to some designs she'd drafted up the night before. Lizzy and the rest rarely ever had a need to place such inventions to the test times were good. They loved building though so here they were another day destined to craft, build and create things at what most would consider a noisome amount.

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Weidmann

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"Hmm"

No Caption Provided

Erhardt raised his fingers to his nose, taking a sniff he closed his eyes. As he attempted to parse the scent of blood he twitched slightly as a conversation behind him suddenly spiked in volume yet again. It had been going on for nearly five minutes and even though it seemed to be going in circles in showed no sign of letting up. Trying his best to ignore it he squeezed his eyes shut even harder, focusing only the blood on his hands.

"I'm sorry, I don't care if he can smell out a perp from a mile away. He is contaminating the goddamn scene, walking up and sniffing around like that. I don't what kinda arrangement you have over at your station but this goes against all kinds of protocol. " Complained the much louder of the two voices, it's owner was the pudgy cop who was had been heading up the investigation. Ever since Erhardt had arrived he'd been nitpicking at every move he made. It was pretty obvious why too, murders were about as rare as a blue moon. Having someone swoop in and snatch it from you would probably piss him off too. Even still he didn't take too kindly to being lashed out at, which was probably why he wasn't the one getting the earful right now.

"And trust me I get that but look no ones made much headway on the case so far. So if he gets anything at all from sniffing around it's more then we had before. Plus there's a reason he got the moniker Hound, he'll find something." Replied the strained voice of his partner. While Luis tended to be the more level-headed of the two, this conversation seemed to be pushing even him to his limits. While it was true that Erhardt had picked up the title of Hound a while back for his uncanny ability to figure things out by scent alone. Luis had snagged the name Fox for both his striking red hair and his at times unnerving charismatic nature. Erhardt figured that he could talk the most pessimistic down from the edge and the most optimistic on to it. Though like now, his talent was mostly used to stop people from tearing out Erhardt's throat.

"I. Don't. Give. A. Shit." The man replied, seemingly determined to be as bullheaded as possible. "I want him out my scene."

"Well, that's the thing. Not really your scene anymore. So whether you like it or not he's not going anywhere... But fine, how about this give him five minutes and we'll be out of your hair." Luis responded, attempting to at least reach a compromise.

However, before the cop could let out was likely to be yet another tirade about how he was destroying crucial evidence, Erhardt's voice cut him off. "You can stop stalling Lou, I'm done here."

Raising to his feet Erhardt took off his white glove and placed it into a plastic bag before turning around and walking up to his partner. "Suspect goes by Thomas Gregorski, thirty-eight years old, white, black hair, around two hundred and forty pounds give or take, You'll probably find him working at the zoo."

The cop opened his mouth before closing it after a brief second of silence, he moved to try and speak again before Erhardt interrupted him once more. "You should really put out that search as soon as possible."

On that note, he turned towards the door as Luis gave the cop a shrug and followed his partner out of the apartment. Catching up to Erhardt as he exited the building and moved towards their car. "That was a bit too good, even for you."

Reaching into his pocked Ehardt threw something back as his partner. As Luis caught the object he realized what it was, a wallet. One side stained with dried blood. Quickly opening it revealed that it belonged to one Thomas Gregorski. Chuckling as he looked at the various forms of identification he realized something. "You know this is removing evidence from the crime scene right? Chief finds out about it and he'll eviscerate you."

Erhardt opened the door to the driver's seat and stepped in, turning to Luis. "Then you'll just have to bail me out."

Entering the passenger's seat Luis shook his head, "Starting to feel more and more like your get out of jail free card. Hope you're happy. Just remember I'm not the Avatar alright, there's a limit to what I can do."

Shrugging Erhardt turned on the car and began pulling out, slowing turning up the radio as he did so. Hoped he was happy huh? Happiness might be a stretch, but he'd always been a bit of a cynic. Even still, he'd found something arguably even better, contentment.

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Nikandros

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#20  Edited By Nikandros
No Caption Provided
Outer Space;
Now.
No Caption Provided

"Sir, I understand that now might not be the best time..."

Light flashed and dimed as Diomedes swung his high-density plasma saber, carving a path through an insectoid alien armada. "Really, Oracle?! Why? Is it because I'm up to my neck in xeno guts? Warships Gamma to Sigma, flank the xeno mothership from the rear. Use the debris as cover.", Felix growled. Swinging his blade in a wide arc, his weapon shifted size as the enemies continued to pile onto the surface of this organic alien spacecraft

Green blood and cauterized amputations filled the cosmos while dog-fighting brought Covenant fighters by for a moment.

"No, it was the tone."

"WHAT?!"

"I said you have some trouble at home. The school called to let you know that he's been skipping classes. Apparently to visit The Academy again."

"*sigh* Squadron Alpha-6: Thunderball Formation, sector B4.", he frustratingly barked and immediately the nearby dots of his armada wove itself into something different. This turned the tides of their battle with the alien hive-mind. Even though The Director's thoughts were torn between the professional and personal facets of his life.Years of experience. "Contact Bonaparte. Tell him that he's been assigned as my son's personal trainer. Frenchie won't like it, but tell him that I'll owe him. Diomedes out.", and as he closed the comm-line his saber shifted length again.

Now not much larger than a rapier, he spun it dextrously into an underhand grip and pierced the belly of the last xeno behind him. "Alright boys! We've got the 'roaches under our boot. Now it's time to bring the foot down. Whoever has the most marks by the end of the day earns a week off! FOR PEACE! FOR GLORY! FOR NEW EDEN!", Felix roared over the army comm before launching himself towards the alien threat once more.

"FOR NEW EDEN!"

From the various debris all around the battlefield, his Super-Spartans did the same without hesitation. Some flew with rainbow fires, some leaped miles into the fray under their own power, others deployed from the various Covenant ships and others still showered the enemy with their unique energy salvos. Never-the-less all were all united under the banner The Avatar. And it was his guiding light that led them onwards in the dark of the night.

Behind them the Earth spun calmly in it's pristine perfection and all was well as it ever was.

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TNTank

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@slip:

Now it was a complete day. If there was one thing that his home ambient couldn't suffice it was Tank's happiness, simply having an amazing family and a great home wasn't enough, yet apparently the Avatar managed to bless him with some unbeknownst supreme luck, one he couldn't ever complain about. His scores during his school life were always above-average, physically speaking he was in his prime, and, somehow, even with a somewhat shy personality, he got the one girl he always had his eyes on to, somehow, ask him out of all things. If anything, James Boomer was living the dream. His incredibly astonishing luck was about to aid him once again, as every passing second did wonders to his confidence.

Hruby arrived just in time to grant his mother an ease of mind, even if she didn't quite agree with the qualities he had seen on them, she fully supported the boy in the pursuit of his love life. In fact, she was glad Hruby had been the one, some quirks aside the xenoslimorph was perhaps one of the most caring women out there. Nodding accordingly to the girl's statements, she sighed before closing the door, nervous for her own child now leaving to face the real world. James' mom acknowledged when she meant "one hour late" that James would most likely be later than previously settled, but wasn't it fine? It was his life, after all, and he deserved every portion of joy he could get.

The boy's eyes glistenned upon seeing those golden locks of hers, it always felt as if they had just met. That one girl slyly asking him out without granting him much room to maneuver, perfectly aware of his crush and inciting his own mind to be unable to refuse her. That same dominant personality as she dragged him around Homecoming, shamelessly engaging at what she loved the most with who she loved the most. She never failed to enthrall him, not a single day went by without him being thankful for her presence in his life. That was his future right there, a steady job, a woman he loved and, maybe, even a family of his own.

A bright smile lenghtened on his lips. "Drag me out? We both know even if I am slow, I'd still get kicked out by my mother independent of my excuses." He chuckled. "So, how do I look? Good enough you'd want me employed right off the bat, huh?" He remarked, a supercilious smirk taking shape as he closed the gap between them. "Janitor? Actually, I was thinking more along the secretary line, you know? Get phone calls. Get hit on by my boss. Take notes of everything." He teased, they both knew very well he had applied for multiple companies, his area of expertise being administration, he dared to hope he would be granted a very stable job, good enough to be simply a climb upwards after his employment.

This time it was the alien who came closer, taking the lead and lovingly pressing her lips against his. Soft as always, he drew that moment out for as long as he could, leading both hands to her cheeks. Her skin was outstandingly velvety, always so pleasant to touch, her biology would disgust many, but to him, every exotic detail of hers was welcome with open arms. The question afterwards brought a little bit of despair inside him, obviously he was glad she pursued her dreams, and evidently he would never stand on her way, yet even if she could become a hero... Would he have to endure what his mother did?

James sighed, a gentle gaze meeting her own.

"We don't have to go, we must go. It's your future, I want to be a part of it as much as I can." He smiled, messing her hair a tad before turning his back. "C'mon, if you keep daydreaming I'll seriously be late." He chuckled, stepping towards the station, his first stop was Los Angeles Prime, it was complicated enough getting there around this time of the day, let alone finding his way around the city. As soon as she caught up, he would nonchalantly grab her hand, pretending to not even know what was going on.

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TimeSiphon

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@maverick_6:

No Caption Provided

So that's what it looks like. Bradshaw, I have never seen you happier. I watch from my window of time, one step out of phase with everything as he interacts with a family I know he doesn't have. This world of false happiness...it gives certain people some time...a break...from reality. They deserve to have that moment. I won't stay, I wasn't actually here until after it happened. I'm off with Sitri showing her reality, all of time and space and everything that lies between. When I felt a shift I came back to see what had occurred, I watch only from a glimmer in time. It's not my place to intervene anyway...and if I step into the time stream it may attempt to re-arrange my memories...a disaster we don't need.

Look at him though, that man has never been happy. Now I understand...I get what drove him. This is what a family looks like, a real family, not the disasters we Time Siphons like to call families. They're happy, they interact...hell...they touch. A simple thing touch, simple and so distant for those of us who can't trust anyone but ourselves (and rarely even that).

In a moment of weakness I reach out, but I can't touch him, not out of phase with time like this, I can only observe. I swallow past the grief that coils around my heart and crouch down for a moment in the greyness of between time and close my eyes. It takes considerable force of will to hold back the tears. I hope...that this gives him something, in the end. I hope that this is worth it, I hope that...even a few more days with his family will give him just a little hint of a smile later...because on the day he dies, I will be there for him, to say goodbye to my dearest and only friend and I don't want to see pain in his eyes. I don't know if I could handle that. This is powerlessness. To have all the power in the world and not truly know how to make someone happy. Perhaps if my memories of my own family weren't so fragmented and filled with nothing more than the vision of their mangled corpses I could understand family...perhaps then I wouldn't have screwed up my entire race. Enjoy this Eric.

I stand up again, wipe a few stray tears from the corner of my eyes and watch him again. After a few moments I step away. I have one more person to visit.

My daughter. She's caught up in all this, whatever all this really is. She looks happy though, but I know her body will try to tell her this is wrong, it knows, she just hasn't figured it out yet. She's painting right now, painting an entire space ship from head to toe with those spray cans of hers and she's enjoying the hell out of it. She's actually fitting into society, taking care of a daughter at home like a real parent and making people's days brighter and more colorful. Her art is everywhere, it's on billboards, on holographic displays, painted on sidewalks...wherever the government will let The Artist make things happier with colors. I may not be the best friend in the world to Bradshaw...but I am a horrible, horrible mother and that has passed on to her...here though, in whatever this is, she's good at it. I can see her training Pandorika, teaching her to wield a spray can instead of a temporal blade (though she's good with those too).

Sahi stops for a moment and looks around as if something is tugging at her mind...but she sees nothing. She can't, she's not strong enough. I step again and appear in her apartment, empty while she is at work. I remove a piece of paper from a pocket and scribe a note on it in the language of the Time Siphons, reach out and push it through the barriers of time where it lands neatly on her dining room table.

I take a look around the apartment for a moment, smile bitterly and step through time again, away from Earth. I leave in part a note on the table, a notice to my daughter who will one day understand its meaning...but not today.

One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.

(A simple one off observation post to tie some development into Raeyn for later use)

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Sahi_

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@orange_water

"Another day's work." Sahi grinned to herself as she holstered her spray can. She smirked a little and watched the paint settle onto the anti-kaiju ship's hull. As always, a little of the paint was just outside of the lines...not on purpose, but always present, a signature of sorts. No matter how careful she was it always ended up that way. She stood in silence, looking at the little happy accident again and contemplating its greater meaning in the universe. After a moment, she shrugged.

"Lunch time." She said and walked away from her work to actually go inside of the vessel. She wasn't bothered by painting it while the ship was underway, a little water never hurt anyone. As she entered the mess hall she found her daughter already seated with two trays of food out and slid into the seat across from her. Pandorika was toying with something, a folded scrap of paper that she seemed concerned by. After a moment she slid it across the table to Sahi.

Sahi put her helmet down and lifted the paper, reading over the Time Siphon inscription. What in the heck? "Do you know who left it?" She asked Pandorika.

Pandorika shrugged. "I time hopped to our apartment to pick up something I'd forgotten to bring with me when we set out on this three hour tour and found that on the table. Isn't that grandmother's writing?"

Sahi nodded a little. "Yeah but...Raeyn left earth a long time ago...not too long after your fifth birthday." She shrugged and tucked it away. "I'll just look at it later." She put her hand on the trey, temporally dissolving the food (and the trey) and watched as Pandorika actually ate like a normal person. "I think I'm about done with this ship, there's one or two more touches I want to put on it before we depart for the next one."

Pandorika smirked. "Mother...you ALWAYS have one or two more touches to EVERYTHING. Like literally last time we were on the same ship for their entire deployment because you were being a crazy perfectionist and weren't quite sold on what you were doing yet."

"Hey, it worked out." Sahi grinned.

Pandorika rolled her eyes. "Yeah, the Captain was pretty happy too."

Sahi smirked. "Single captains get lonely."

Pandorika laughed and downed her drink. "Mother, he's still single."

"Yeah, but he's happy isn't he?" She teased. "Do you want to go screw with the bridge crew a little?"

Pandorika looked at her strangely. "Are you going to paint the captain's chair pink again?"

Sahi stood up, her spray cans clicking against her belt. "I'm offended. I would never use the same color twice."

Pandorika face palmed. "I have an idea actually. Remember how I was wanting to practice painting with a brush?"

Sahi gave her daughter a questioning look. "Yeah..."

Pandorika finished her meal and stood up as well, offering her hand to her mother. "Let's go to our quarters and work on that. I have these videos by a guy called Bob Ross, you should see his hair."

Sahi walked with her but shot her a skeptical look. "You know I don't like using paint brushes, they always splotch on me, I can never get the shapes quite the same way as I can with my spray cans."

Pandorika just smiled a little. "There are no mistakes mother, only happy accidents."

Sahi couldn't help herself. "Hello happy accident."

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Allure_

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Los Angeles, Present Day

I wake up, not to an alarm, but to the feeling. It’s the same every day. The glowing, warm, content feeling permeating everyone in this beautiful city. It’s like the sun coming up over the horizon, steadily growing as the world’s populace awakens to another perfect morning. I feel it. But I don’t really. I feel cold inside. Not that I’d ever say that aloud. It’d be crazy not to be anything but happy. I have a house, no debt, full fridge of food. But what the hell is my ultimate purpose in all of this?

I roll out of bed just like always, slipping into my coat, ID tag secured firmly to my sleeve. I have my normal coffee. It tastes great. Or at least, there’s no reason it wouldn’t. I step outside to see the Capes with their glittering smiles going about their roles as Protectors. I’m a Protector too. I just don’t like capes. I may not be able to fly, but as a Protector, my role is no less important. See, I can feel what other people are feeling. If there was any hostility nearby, it’d be clearer than a neon sign. I’m there if anything was to go wrong. That could almost sound threatening I suppose, but it isn’t because nothing ever does go wrong here.

I walk everywhere I can. There’s no danger in even the shadiest of allies. I mostly I just walk the streets to waste more time until it’s time for sleep again, when the warm feeling all around me falls with the setting sun and the night gradually enshrouds the even colder iciness of the emotional vacancy. To be honest, I barely pay attention during my patrol, just wade through the positivity. It’s so thick, it’s like swimming with only the blisters on my soles tell me otherwise. I suffocate within the emotional ocean as the heavenly nature of this place fills my lungs. And that’s my day, in and out. I could die happy in this utopia.

But not today.

No Caption Provided

My brows furrow as I sense something strange. I don’t even know how to describe it, but it was different. A tightness in my chest. Shortness of breath. This is fear. What is there to be afraid of in this place? This is not my feeling. I stop dead in my tracks. My head turns, eyes gazing down a narrow street. That way. The abomination of sensation is that way. My feet carry me onward, my hands buried deep in my pockets. Maybe I should have felt excited… or feel anything really at this profound and unfamiliar experience. But I found it was better to keep my own emotions dull. An empath could threaten the peace. One wrong emotion, and people around could turn… less than idyllic.

I arrived at a large house. Beautiful, well kept, but not unusual on the outskirts of LA. I knock on the door. The feeling gets steadily stronger. A face peeks out. A pale man, probably mid-fifties with black hair and brown eyes, peers out at me. His wide eyes encapsulate the emotion he exudes. Sheer panic. But then a change. Something calm and cool. Relief. He vanishes momentarily, and the door is opened to me.

“Oh, Christopher, it’s you!” He says, his words tinged with a nauseating French accent. I arch my brow, somewhat bemused that he knows my first name. I step inside, my eyes taking in my surroundings casually. A clock ticks steadily upon the mantle. Nothing out of the ordinary apart from the man, apart from the feeling.

I fix my gaze on him, observing him as he wrings his hands nervously. “What seems to be the matter?” I ask dryly.

“I’m so glad it’s you who found me. It was only a matter of time before someone did.” He speaks quickly. “Something is wrong with the world. Mon dieu, I feel like I’m insane, but I just know I’m not. I’m different than I was. I wasn’t always like…” he moves his hands hastily around to indicate his body, “like this. I… I don’t know how. I don't know why. But I intend to find out. Find out the truth. This whole world is a sham. Things aren’t supposed to be this way. I don’t know why it is this way, but it is. We need to fix it. Things need to go back to the way they were!” He grabs me by the lapel, nearly shrieking as he did.

I tighten my jaw as I feel something rising within me, a definitively unpleasant feeling. I forcefully push his arms from me, his pathetic frame falling backwards onto the floor. I shout down at him. “You’re insane. Don't $%^&* touch me!” He can't be right. He feels so genuine though, the most pure thing I’ve ever felt in this life. It makes me feel sick.

He holds his hands up in supplication as he looks up at me. “You feel it, don’t you? Something wrong. Something empty. You feel it in yourself. That is your nature.” I feel. Yes. I feel a lump growing in my throat. His emotions are overwhelming. There’s the fear, but deeper lies a sorrow for something lost. I stumble backward, my head spinning. An overwhelming despair grips me. I can’t deal with this. It needs to stop. It needs to die for things to stay sane, for me to stay sane. My hand trembles as I let the feeling fester into something monstrous. I let it permeate my body and spread beyond to the quivering wretch before me. In response, he pulls himself to his feet, tears beginning to well up in his eyes. “No… Christopher. Please… don’t do this.” He choked on his words as he walked into the kitchen. “Can’t… can’t live like this. Can’t live in this lie.” He opens the drawer to pull out a butcher knife and places it to his throat. I’m not controlling him, that's what I tell myself. If what he’s saying is true, there’s no point in continuing. This is what he should feel. What we all should feel. We should all just kill ourselves. It would be chaos.

I watch as his body goes weak from despair, the only power left in his limbs directing him toward a singular purpose. The poor bastard pulls the blade over his own throat, cutting through it with surprising ease. The blood sprays out like a crimson fountain. It’s almost beautiful the way it shines red in the light. As he dies, the feeling fades, and I can again feel the warm contentment of the world around, as if the entire planet is happy at this aberration’s elimination. The globe can continue spinning in perfect alignment just as it always has. It isn’t murder. It’s keeping the peace.

I step past his body. I didn’t even know his name. I suppose it doesn’t matter now.

I walk further into the house, and I come to a study. The door is slightly ajar. It creaks as I push it further open. Sitting upon the desk is a paper on which is scrawled various names and places. The Covenant. Brutus City. Something inane about conspiracies and timelines. Yada yada. None of it makes sense. Obviously just the written rantings of a madman. My fingers move over the page. “The Avatar?” was written so aggressively that the pen pierced clean through the paper. I pick it up and carry it into the kitchen. I step over the blood pooling on the floor and walk to the sink. I pull out my lighter and hold the page to the flame. And I just hold it there. Every breath feels like an eternity. I look back and see the glint of the flame caught within the mystery man’s eyes. I snap the lighter shut. This page is all that remains of the man’s ruinous message. As long as it exists, it’s as if he is alive to speak his truth. I know it should be destroyed. Something strange compels me, and I fold it up and put it in my breast pocket, right over my hollow heart.

I leave the premises. The horizon looks different somehow as I make my way back home. I can’t decide if I like it.

No Caption Provided

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Kaija

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#25  Edited By Kaija

@pyrogram: @_gaige_: @nikandros:

“I guess…” she replied, swirling her drink in hand.

The phone on her desk beeped as a small screen lit up. A glance revealed that it was a subordinate calling.

“Sir, There’s an extraterrestrial incursion in sector B4. Squadron Alpha-6 is currently intercepting.”

She leaned forward and pushed a button to answer, “Go on”

“Everything’s going by the book and our offense has proven effective. Victory is practically assured at this point.”

“Then why are you wasting my time with this?” Uma replied, slightly annoyed.

“This group of xenoes is a species that we’ve never seen before. Their tech isn’t overly impressive, but it’s fundamentally different than ours. Diomedes is under order to eliminate all incoming threats without mercy, but, in a situation like this, it might be worth taking captives and commandeering some tech for research.”

Uma thought it over for a moment before replying, “Send down an order to Diomedes and make sure he knows that it's from the Sergeant Major. He is to take any hostages, spacecraft, and technology that he can commandeer without endangering the lives of my men. If his squadron suffers any significant losses while attempting to acquire these assets, then he is to return to his original directive and wipe them out. I’m going to send a notice to R&D to prep for possible autopsy and E.T. tech analysis.”

“Sir, Yessir.”

The call ends. Uma put down her drink and turned to a nearby laptop on her desk, completely forgetting that she had company. She typed two lines of an email before glancing over and remembering that The Timekeeper was still in her office.

“Sorry, just give me one second to get this taken care of. I’m going to send some idle telepaths to R&D in the event that Alpha-6 does get their hands on some captives. I don’t expect any of them to speak English, but they won’t have to for me to get everything out of their heads.”

Without even realizing it, Uma would spend the next 30 minutes sending, receiving, reading and replying to emails. At some point, someone sent her a text message that only annoyed her in that moment. Every once in a while, she would look up to Keeper and assure him that she’d be done in “a sec”. Finally, after she finished sending out her emails, she would check to see who called.

@lightning_god:

"Missing you a fair bit Uma. What are you doing? May I come over if you aren't busy?"

“Aw, shit.”

She opened a drawer to reveal a stack of upper management complaints, research division requests, and recurring case reports that she still needed to review and respond to. She turned and scrolled down on her computer to find a mountain of emails that she needed to read; most of which she knew were a waste of time, even if she couldn’t skip any. Then she met the Timekeeper’s eyes, a guest that she had kept waiting who she wanted to help despite the fact that she had no idea what was causing him distress. Finally, she sighed and reluctantly replied to his text.

I know I said that I’d have more time to spend with you today, and I meant that, but work’s just been piling on today. I promise that, as soon as I’m done, I’ll come home and we can do whatever you want tonight. It’s going to be a few hours, but I’ll be there. I promise.

She sent the text message, then read it over briefly. There was a moment of panic as she realized what she forgot to say.

I’m sorry. I know I keep doing this to you, but I’m trying to balance everything right now. I love you. Sorry.

After sending the second message, she paused for a moment to wonder if he actually believed her words. She almost wanted to let him come to her office to see how much that she needed to get done, but she knew that that would only slow her down even more. She put her phone away and acknowledged Keeper’s presence once more.

“Uh, sorry to cut our visit short, but I really need to get some of this shit done so I can get out of here at a decent time and stretch my legs.” She pulled out a stack of paperwork from her desk, “I’m gonna end up single again at this rate.”

@hound_of_war:

She pulled a sheet from the top of the stack and started to read. Before she could finish two sentences, she heard another annoying beep from her phone.

“Sir, there’s a recruit who wishes to join Covenant. They’d like to speak with you.”

“I pay people to handle recruitment. Why are you wasting my time with this?” Uma replied.

“He goes by the name Black Bat. His resume’s surprisingly impressive.”

“Mhm… I don’t care. Don’t bother me unless it's something important or I’ll find a replacement to do your job.” She replied, hanging up on her subordinate so she could get back to her paperwork.

As Uma began to read through the document once more, The Timekeeper walked to her side and leaned over her desk to her left. She looked up and met his eyes, his facial expression hinting that he had something he needed to say.

“I think you should talk to this Black Bat guy.” he met her eyes with a confident smirk, “I really think you should talk to him.”

“This is another one of your Timekeeper fate things, isn’t it?” She asked, staring him dead in the eyes searching for the faintest trace for bs.

“Yeah.”

“Ah, fine. You’re lucky you have a good track record…” she reached over to her phone and returned her last call, “That Black Bat guy? Send him up.”

Uma hung up the phone, finished what wine was in her glass, then simply waited for this recruit to make his way to her office. She had no desire to bother putting away the bottle or the two wine glasses. She was probably going to need them to get through the night.

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Nikandros

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#26  Edited By Nikandros

@kaija:

Xeno Mothership;
Then.
No Caption Provided

"It's like my dad used to say: Give 'em a hand and they'll bite off your arm." The violent inferno of this cosmic conflict was slowly being doused by Covenant forces. Under the leadership of Felix Faraday, we have managed to fight them ouf of orbit and past the moon's distance.

Faraday himself was currently locked in battle with some of the last few xeno elites as ships whirred past. "Luckily, we got plenty more to give. Ain't that right boys?!--", cut off he ducked beneath a blast from a friendly fighter. Behind him floated away the limp body of a huge xeno.

"Getting rusty, Director?"

"Haha! I have to leave some for your sorry asses, Valentine!", he waved in thanks as the hoplite took off back into the dogfight. A moment of respite ensued, atleast physically. Felix' mind was always in the game. Since the days of The Academy. He lived for this. To ensure security no matter what cost.

"Hm.", the A.I. installed into his body brought up a new item on his HUD - orders from the upper echelon on Earth. His crystal blue eyes looked around the battlefield and weighed the stakes. A sour moment passed before he opened the army comm. "New orders. Take control of their vessels. Heavy cruisers are henceforth reissued for scavenging ops.", his tone cold and bitter. "Kill only most of them. Then switch to neurophasers."

After a few minutes of fighting, his forces broke into the hatchery and functionally what also passed as the control room. Then and there he personally drove his tampered lightning through the queen's heart.

"Ad Pondus Omnium. Ad Victoriam.", with that his weapon vanished back into the light and he walked away.

Outside the Covenant forces fought the last remnants of the enemy force and would soon finish this pathetic temper tantrum.

Satellite Installation - Designation: "ATHENA";
Maintaining Geo-Synchronous Orbit with Covenant HQ.
- ATHENA -
- ATHENA -

"Everything ready and accounted for?", Felix asked. In his hand he held a holographic ledger of everything NIKANDROS managed to collect up until now and around the nape of his neck he had a wet towel. There was some moisture still in his hair.

"Yes, director.", the manager of logistics nodded and Felix politely handed him the device back. The worker then went back to his elevated post.

Felix then nonchalantly merged the loading queue with the various boxed technology and caged xenos. One of them in particular snarled at the bearded soldier who in turn scowled.

As the loading into the space elevator finished, Felix then turned to the manager with a smirk. "Beam us down, Scotty."

And, enveloped in a curtaining spiral of various oranges and pinks everything including Felix entered the thermosphere. Then the stratosphere, troposphere and eventually they reached New Eden. Where the beam of light connected with the headquarters. They descended directly into the R&D department where a security detail waited to secure the packages.

"Hey there, @_gaige_. You look bored. I brought you some presents."

Behind him the huge xeno elite buckled his containment field.

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Hound_of_War

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#27  Edited By Hound_of_War

@nikandros: @kaija:@pyrogram

Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer

No Caption Provided

The Bureaucratic staircase within the Covenant was a tall one. He had appeared at the bottom reception and one call led to another one. Some of their secretaries had secretaries even. Anything to make their calls a little easier. Eventually he got tired of waiting for them to ring him in. Reaching one of the heads of the Covenant wasn’t easy. Neither was sneaking into one of the most secure buildings of New Eden. Incredibly difficult even for someone with his training and gear, but far from impossible.

“Recruitment forms aren’t really my thing.” A growling voice echoed through the entire office. He deactivated his camouflaging mechanism, appearing right in front of her desk. He was tall, but not too tall. He wasn’t built like a monster, rather slim for someone who was his age. The nanomask and the armor stuck to his skin along the rest of the costume like a second layer, but altered his facial features specifically. His voice was altered by a modulator.. The symbol on his chest popped the most out of the entire design.

“I’ll keep this short since we’re all busy people. I want to join your clubhouse. I don’t exactly believe in the Avatar , I think he’s just something made up to keep the peace.” Even in this altered plane, the Black Bat’s political theory remained consistently cynical of the house of cards that held the society around him.

“But...” The tone of his voice softened up. The modulator altered the the amount of glass shards it sounded he had based on neurological command. “..I see you get results regardless of what I believe. To me, that’s more important than what’s true or not.”

“Like your secretary said, look me up. I’m sure my rep will speak on its own. Or give Felix Faraday another call. He’ll vouch for me.” He crossed his arms, waiting for her to decide if she was going to call Zigmund or look him up in her data logs.

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Pyrogram

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#28  Edited By Pyrogram

@kaija: @hound_of_war:

For the most fleeting of seconds the Time Keeper considered aiding Felix Zigmund Faraday prior to realising he simply did not want to. As the message regarding the Black Bat was transmit, the Temporal Tyrant felt the songs of fate seep into his ear and out of the other, letting him know this individual was not a waste of Uma's valuable time. Quick to relay this information knowing she would not protest, he calmly clasped two palms behind his back and turned to face in the direction which the Hound of War was going to appear from, so seamlessly it seemed the Black Bat had called out his name. The alien took a cursory glance at Uma without addressing the recruit, "entertaining as expected."

Odd - but from him it was a compliment. Sort of.

No Caption Provided

With a wave of his hand the Time Keeper reverted the window to Uma's office into thin air - erasing it entirely from the timeline as he abruptly took a run towards it and jumped out. Milliseconds later, a loud noise appeared as his palm tightly gripped the ancient hammer, sending the Time Keeper away in a thunderous shockwave as he broke the sound barrier, joining other Protectors in the sky as the window to Uma's office materialised once again, reverting to it's former state as the Time Keeper used his power over time to correct the damage.

By now Uma would be used to his dramatic exits; or not. He did not really care in truth.

A brief moment later the Eternal Knight landed softly. Upon landing, his hammer levitated briefly, prior to zooming off high into the sky for other purposes. "Anakia." Loudly he requested her presence, knowing she was here. The Time Keepers abode was huge. In the middle of the city, a large, golden palace.

It was a beacon of not just his but the Avatar's strength. If there was a seconds thought of insubordination, even the slightest, most inconsequential hint?

A mere gaze upon the mighty tower of the Time Keeper would be enough to deter any foe. This was where @interstitial, his pupil resided. "There is work to be done."

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Interstitial

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#29  Edited By Interstitial

@pyrogram:

No Caption Provided

"Office of the Time Keeper, how may I assist you?" The computer screen flickered, numbers and dates and words scrolling by as a young woman spoke cleanly into a headset. "No, he's stepped out for a moment. Would you like his voicemail?" Rust-colored hair, pulled neatly back with a barrette, more-or-less professional attire, calm gray eyes scanning the screen. "Of course I can help you with that." A hand touched the screen, precise, and information scrolled by. "It looks like your appointment is still set for three-fifteen Friday." Time was a well-kept secret. For some, it was infinite, but to allow others to embrace its infinite nature would disrupt the continuity. It was important that things went smoothly, and that meant keeping time neatly compartmentalized in a series of boxes.

"No, I'm sorry, I don't see anything earlier. I can certainly get in touch with you if something becomes available." Communication was a simplicity, easily accomplished when desired, and yet it was one of those things that required time, and presence. Certainly the Time Keeper could have accomplished it, but sometimes it was easier when there was another presence that could be relied upon to handle communications. These days, that was the young woman most commonly known as Anna Knight. Three years ago, he had taken her under his wing as the sole survivor of a distant world. She had little memory of the place other than her name, Anakia. Sometimes she felt there was more to it than that, but the world soothed away the worries into quiet contentment.

There was, after all, no reason not to be content. Certainly, she had lost something, but the Time Keeper had taken her as a ward of sorts, and made sure she was appropriately cared for and mentored, and allowed her to develop her skills - including an inherent ability to teleport - beneath his tutelage. She'd quickly grown accustomed to the role, and adapted easily to working as his assistant. "Very good, sir. Thank you for calling, and have a pleasant day." She disconnected the call, entering a few notes into the system to confirm the appointment, and glanced up as the palace shuddered, then shivered as it refocused itself in time. Most people did not even notice those little moments, she had learned, but Anakia was extraordinarily sensitive to time, likely due to her experiences with the Time Keeper himself. It wouldn't be possible to work so closely with him and not understand the vagaries of time.

And yet, sometimes... again that feeling that there might be more to it. She shook her head slightly them hinted at a smile, rising from the desk as her name echoed into the room. She stepped out, closing the door quietly behind her, glancing at it for half a second.

All doors...

No, there was nothing there. She let the latch click, then went to find the Time Keeper, calmly walking up to her teacher. "Good evening, sir. Did your meeting with Sergeant-Major Sayalami go well?"

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Jason_ford

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#30  Edited By Jason_ford

Jason looked out into the street, he pressed a hand against the glass feeling its coldness and smiling at the sensation. There was something very unusual today, he could tell that much, his body, it just didn't feel right. It wasn't reacting to the outside world like he was used to, but he wasn't quite sure what he really was use to. He turned around and grabbed his uniform stepping out into the street.

No Caption Provided

He didn't really care too much about the Avatar himself. As far as Jason cared, he could be real, or he could be fake, it didn't really matter because whatever it was it served the purpose of gaining this together.

His eyes narrowed as he looked around. Everything seemed so peaceful, and yet so wrong. He could feel his particle beam rifle strapped to his back, and the nova steel embedded armor under his clothes and left arm in particular. That was one of the main reasons he'd been qualified to be a protector, his ability to come up with inventions that outclassed some superhumans. Not to mention his combat skill.

Sure, the world was at peace, but there was no such thing as true peace. It just couldn't exist. There would always be rebels somewhere, somebody trying to destroy the peace.

He set himself into a jog, his eyes looking every which way for every single chance where somebody might throw off the peace. His keen eyes and fast feet had managed to let him notice things that were off before, it gave him a feel for the city itself.

He didn't intend on just letting people ruin this perfect world. It was not allowed.

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Orange_Water

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@sahi_:

It hadn't taken me long to reach the bridge and sit down in the chair next to the radar station I laughed at the piece of technology it wasn't nearly as accurate or as far seeing as myself. I laughed at every moment it picked up a whale or some big fish turning around in my seat to tell the bridge were not about to get attacked by Kaiju. They were always jumpy about it but I guess it was because of the job description that we may be forced fight Kaiju I was no use in a fight but I imagined that if we couldn't stop them Sergeant-major Sayalami would show up to save us or one of the Earth's many Protectors. It was funny I once imagined myself as one of those Protectors but I always felt like I couldn't willingly hurt anyone so I instead decided to use my powers to benefit the Covenant like any good citizen would so I served as a superior warning system to keep the Pacific Cluster and by extension everyone else safe.

I looked outside all that separated us from the ocean was glass and metal which I assumed a Kaiju would tear right on through but at the moment everything was just calm as there were some nearby whales I was checking in on as they made there calming noises and.... as I slumped backwards into my chair falling asleep for a moment before waking up with a start,"Darn it... I need some coffee..."as I look around for a moment and everything seems absolutely quiet and walk into a room off to the side where some coffee is stored and make myself some.

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Maverick_6

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@nevermore_:

Funny how this works.

Everyone had desires or thoughts they considered dark. Things that if people knew, it would warp perception beyond imagination. What he told few was a vivid description of how killing had always felt. At first, it was just an action. A thing. It was neither good, nor bad in itself, as it was something he had to do. Something similar to finding something delicious and scarfing it down just cause you'rre hungry rather than because you want to actually taste it. The sight of his blade slicing through necks to see what was inside and of watching the pale of a man's eyes, it was exciting. Thrilling even! Killing a grown man as a kid. Legends circled the brush of a bastard demon child with white hair and red eyes, who feared nothing and enjoyed pain. A kid who roamed around with his sister, cutting down men with machine guns using only his father's Katana. How such a creature was born of natural means was beyond scientists, let alone the town folk.

The only thing that really kept him alive was his sister. He loved pain so much that he'd rush head first into conflict, not caring of his own demise. But then he wouldn't be able to protect the person who showed him any affection. If he was injured all the time, how could he do that. One day his sister was gravely wounded. The tide of a battle in the had chnged when a mutant manifested among their ranks. And the small sliver of humanity he had left was almost gone.

Then covenant came. And they saved that one thing that kept him kinda human.

Fast forward and everything seemed to be lookin' up. He'd been reformed and under covenant, he found a productive way to channel his talent. Education. He had potential for a life beyond the battlefield. But the desire still lingered, like something of an animal.

Killing never brought with it vivid memories or anguish. More so, it brought an emptiness. You could take the world's best steak and eat it, and it would taste great. But years and years of it? It got old no matte what you said. One day, he met some else who was like him. Someone who damned from day one.

But she made him feel something...different. It was more fufilling, more meaningful. His mind naturally flocked towards it, and he flocked towards her. Lust? That's what he'd thought at at first really, but lust didn't really pander to that sensation of longing. Warmth. Two walking weapons, together? Who'da figured. Difference became evident, though. Farim enjoyed what he did, and it was a choice. He regretted almost none of what he had done. She did, and there were times he could see when killing took it's toll on her.

Eight Years Ago

"Ohohoho. Babe!" His voice cracked. He tried to keep that same cool, cocky "I don't give a shit cause I'm an asshole" kind of humor he always did. But, for the first time in a while, he'd failed to keep it. His mind was spinning. "....Don't do this to me...."

She locked her lips around his before he could rebuttal. Invariably, he was drawn closer to her, embracing her as she approached. Warmth felt good, especially in the snow. His heart was racing and his mind was going so fast that the snow that he felt his heart thumping in his chest as he pressed her against him. To him, she was the only person in the world who could actually understand. His sister was a soldier back in the day, yeah. But Rayne? She was wired for war, just like him. There wasn't a single person on earth with whom he would share that with.

No Caption Provided

"Been smokin' haven'tcha? I can taste it. You always gotta be so stubborn?" His question was rhetorical. They'd gone over this many times before and the humor helped him....calm down.

He could taste the nicotine. Really, he had no clue as to what effect it was that it would have on the kid. Last thing he wanted was to try to mingle metagenes and drugs.

A soft sighs softly, his forhead leaned up against her as his hand remained at her cheek. He listened to everything she had to say and it almost sounded like something he should be saying to her, not the other way around. She had all this confidence in him, someone who who made the choice to be a weapon to be pointed at whoever was deemed a threat.

"Rayne, I know what you're thinkin' but you don't gotta-"

She silences him with but a finger. Her claw extended just a little short of his skin. He leaned towards it, his deadpan expression shifting to that arrogant-shit eating grin he was known for. Farim liked it when she cut him.

"I want to end as someone giving it, I trust in the Avatar to see that."

"Yeah? Well I trust in you to do that."

Rayne was so calm and so sure. The air she had was contagious and in the back of his head, he knew what she was talking about. She saw herself as too far gone. Too much blood for too long. It wasn't an addiction like it was for him, it was a dependency. He couldn't argue with those eyes. They told him that if he kept her alive that she'd end up dead from going batshit on someone and being taken in from the covenant. Bouncing from one fight to the next. Or worse, degrading in mind into some kind of PTSD.

As much as he hated it. As much as he hated the thought of letting go of the one "mutant" who anchored him to his humanity, he knew that there was no better way for her to go than for this.

----

He couldn't explain why she wasn't healing. Maybe, she was willing it? Maybe she poisoned herself? No no. She wouldn't do that to the kid.

Doesn't matter anyway.

It scares him a little how clear his mind is as he watched her die. His hand clutched her own as he leaned over from her side to gaze at his child. "Made a helluva kid, didn'tcha? She's got your hair." Fingers curl around her own, as his arm smoothly went under hers, him laying on the hospital bed with her.

"Love you two, should cut down any who try to say otherwise."

"You don't gotta worry about that." World moved in slow motion. Doctors and paramedics rushed in the background, and Farim Kusanagi took the child wholly in his arms. One hand went to her face, fingers gently touching her eyelids so as to lower them.

"Sweet dreams, Rayne."

He kisses her forehead.

Present Day

"It'll be alright. She'll be glad to see you after all this time!" His sister reassured him. She was bright, and beamy. Could hardly believe such a nice, upbeat, woman was ever a child soldier that pulled his ass out the fire more times than he could count. There was also the fact that she looked to be of actual African Descent, vice Jackal who's features manifested strangely in an unheard of case of albinism.

"Thanks, Kali." A light smile, and he was slowly trying to tap into that cocky demeanor that reassured some folk. Especially for Abelle.

No Caption Provided

Been a while. He didn't wanna see his kid without getting his head checked. He kept having a dream. He was in a bunker, being interrogated by terrorists. Somewhere along that, he gets shot in the face. Blood everywhere and a lot of people dead. And someway, somehow? He saw it. A little piece of the strings. Everything in his life was some sick twisted story that had morals and themes and other literary symbolic bullshit. He'd no idea of what force was behind. The avatar? Some cosmic entities or kids playing some sick game. The visions didn't have much basis in real life, indeed, it seemed almost an entire world. He felt like a monster.

What the **** was I thinking?

He let his mind run it's natural course, and he focused on something else. His mind would often flutter between his various desires and whims. Killing was one. Art was another thing. Cooking. Exercise. But he was tired of all that. He could have that any time. In his daughter, he saw the most fufilling thing. The person he most wanted and a source of his fear. Killing got old eventually and it left him feeling hollow, and he hoped to God, be it the Avatar or whatever the hell was really behind the workings of cosmos, that love would never get old to him like everything else.

He opens the door, suit, tie and all, and there she is. His red eyes light up and glimmer like red stars, and a rambunctious grin appear on his face. As she slid down the rail, he burst forward in some whir of motion and stopped abruptly at the end of the railing, arms open.

"Gotcha." He catches her in his embrace, spinning once before letting her feet touch the floor. "Hey." He said casually, rubbing her hair as he did.

"How's my pup doing? Hasn't been too much trouble.." He looked towards the teacher.

"I hope."

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Bloodhound_

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Something was off.

Peter wasn't sure of this, though. Everything looked the same. The table was set the same for dinner, the boy was smiling and chatting about school the same as ever, the wife was talking to him about the same bills. Peter's eyes narrowed, as he looked down at the roast beef laid before him. Smelled right. Sounded right. Looked right. He grabbed the silver fork beside his plate and collected a serving of beef and green beans, taking a bite and chewing slowly. Tasted right. It was the same table that he had sat at for years.

He looked out the window, where lights from the crash site were shining through. About a mile off, but bright as ever, disrupting the tranquil forest setting. Maybe that was it. Maybe the government's fences and lights and noise and urbanization of his home were the problem.

Satisfied that that was it, he looked back down and continued eating.

"... Dad?"

His eyes snapped back up, to meet his son's, both pairs of eyes holding the same intensity that only blood could share. "Sorry, Danny, spaced out. What was that?"

"I said, maybe tomorrow after school we can.." his son's words faded, as his eyes wandered back over to the lights. Was it him, or did they grow brighter the more he stared?

Shaking his head, he decided nothing of it. Instead, he finished his beef quickly, and declared that he didn't feel well.

"What's wrong, Peter?" The wife asked, coming over and gliding nimble hands over his broad shoulders while he sat, as she'd done a million times before, once to whisper the beautiful news into his ear that he would be a father. Peter felt the sense of familiarity with this gesture, and was warmed by it, but that warmth seemed miles away, as his eyes did not come away from the lights.

"I... Don't know. Feels like motion sickness, or something.."

"Climbin' up in those trees, I bet!" Danny chuckled, to only a sweet smile from Mother.

"Yeah, son, that's right... Climbin' those trees..." Peter repeated, verifying his son's joke as most parents were supposed to do, yet failing to smile. Standing up, he kissed his wife, and told them that he would go lay down, their worried eyes following him as he went.

It did not help that his bedroom window looked straight out across the forest to the spot that the crash site was located. With a frown, he slid into his bed, and stared out to the light. Before he fell into a dreamless sleep, a single word came to him, a voice that he had never heard before, and one that he would later discount to be part of his dreaming. It said one thing, before falling silent -

Come.

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Maxwell_Hastings

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Crunch

Maxwell bit into ham, cheese, and potato chip sandwich his dad had made for him the night before. They were never as good as the ones his mom made but, the skill gap was growing smaller. Honestly it was the balance that he could never get right. Too much mayo, not enough chips, too much cheese, not enough mayo, etc. Still it was the sentiment behind it that really mattered to the young protector. He was forced to sit through briefings, first day seminars, and a whole bunch of rules videos before finally getting to go out into the world. His first order of business...eat a sandwich at the same park where their family photo was taken.

Bring Bring, Bring Bring

"This is Hastings"

"Report to the Training Room"

click

"Well that was quick...but what am I gonna do about my sandwich....screw it"

With one hand he lifted up his helmet and with the other he shoved half a sandwich into his mouth. A few waves of his hands and he was in the air heading back to the Divine Aether's Protector Tower.

Training Room Not Long After

"TROTH!"

No Caption Provided

Maxwell's forearm shot out accompanied by blue mystical energies weaving themselves into a variety of sigils and shapes. The flames struck his protection cantrip but, it wouldn't hold for that long. In his other hand he began charging something, four circles filled with hieroglyphs began taking shape. They rotated and spun pouring magical energy into a small sphere of light in their center. BANG BANG BANG A mechanical fist struck the blue circle, its weave beginning to weaken, Max was running out of time. He could try and reposition himself but, that would break his concentration on his spell forcing him to start over which would take time he didn't have. He could try and wait out the flurry of blows but, his cantrip would break before then. He just needed a moment to think before...that was it.

He needed to take a risk here and it would most likely shatter every bone in his arm. His control over mana was at just enough of a level for him to force a spell into completion. By pushing what remained in his mana reserves out through his hand he could jump start his cast. The only downside was that all that mana rushing through him at once would definitely shatter every bone in his arm and maybe even blow up a finger or two. Still it was worth a shot.

It was almost instantaneous, the large golden arcs of pure mana extending from his arm poured into the sphere of light. Hot pain ran up through ever nerve, his brain screaming at him to stop but, he withstood it. "Morne" The sphere switched color to a burning red. "Jedark" Now it was a vibrant gold with hints of red running through it. "SVE.."

"CUT IT!"

Everything around him turned off at the last second, the almost completed spell slowly dissolving back into its base components. Max took off his helmet, wiping beads of sweat from his brow. A man in a uniform strolled into the now dimly lit room his presence forcing Max to stand at attention.

"Its good to know how far you would go to defend the Avatar; even going as far as to hurt yourself...thats called loyalty and you'll be surprised how far it can take you."

The officer turned to leave, stopped himself, and than started to walk leaving Max alone in the training room.

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_Gaige_

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LA

@allure_:

No Caption Provided

With the various protectors of the world there was no need for drones like Lizzy had once favored. While she might use them in a combative situation for the most part she was connected now to a world safer and more aware then she could ever dream. And the technology was a marvel to behold. This allowed the pilot to when news caught her attention react in a much simpler way. A holographic projection. From a phone to a neon sign the world was open to her making such calls.

Someone had died today, it was already picked up on and being in love with multitasking Gaige of course was quick to make a call. "Protector Frost right? Don't think we've met, though that could just be my lack of sleep" the girl yawned. Small hologram displaying such an action and the routine typing of hers. a look over the shoulder suggested the pilot was looking instead at a monitor. Likely one of seven or more. "Lizzy Leet, more R&D for the Covenant then a Protector." She was still shy about her status a bit, way to young to be as counted on she thought. But if Uma trusted her then that was more then enough.

"Mind giving a report on what happened back there now while it's fresh? Was that the last job of the day? I can probably clock you out or something if needed." Was hard to know who followed what policies and pay methods in a world so vast yet united. If the engineer could help though she was more then happy to. "Or if you just need a conversation that works to. Know I look busy but swear I can multitask just fine."

Covenant Research Center

@nikandros:

"Lizzy is fine you know Felix" made more sense to go by protocol and the like go by monikers or ones rank. Those had a tendency to feel to elevated though from the people, separated from the rest of the world and when there was so much cohesion the engineer didn't want to be against it. "That's sweet" she remarked eyeballing the technology "didn't get you anything though. So hows a maintenance check and repairs later on the house sound? Every little gadget and gizmo checked on by the best hands in the business." Odds were he'd improved things on his own and could completely do such business himself. The engineer loved working on things however be it her mech someones own suit of armor or just something in the city needing a fix building was her fascination. With things as tranquil and easily handled as they were she didn't have to worry about people as much and instead could focus on inventing.

"Seriously look at their tech" the nerd remarked closing the distance between arrival and her own desk. A small hologram floated in her palm, she was both talking to someone else yet in the room. Technology allowing her to be in two places at once and having a conversation without rudely ignoring the other. "From the wiring to the energy source to even the metals it's all different. Not better of course but still damn." Her head was already racing around to try and imagine what one might be able to do with the technology and the insights it gave. By figuring out the framework of the tech from xenos encountered with their own she thought she might be able to even boost various stats of things by a good twelve to fifteen percent.

Pink eyes drifted to the alien elite scanning the biology. "Your friend have a name? Oh do we get to play good cop bad cop? A psychic is already working through his mind to figure out the language to translate for us." Lizzy remarked giving a brief smile to a man in a suit near by with his index against his temple. "If he's just the first wave or something we really should find out." But having a conversation was always more fun then simply letting a psychic dig it out. Of course a enthusiastic gear head was nowhere near as intimidating as the Spear of The People.

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slip

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@tntank:

No Caption Provided

For the briefest of moments the alien felt different then usual when she waved a goodbye to the loving mother of Hruby's boyfriend. Had always been supportive and sweet, despite his dad his mom was always there. Slightest of instances though Hru found herself feeling anger toward her. Was only a second but weird all the same. Maybe it was best to try and be punctual as she could be this time even if all three of them typically expected later. After all it wasn't like she was late any other time in her daily life, James was the one exception to the rule.

Lips meet and a moment is shared that the alien chick would of loved to let last an eternity. The joys of life were only that way though cause it never could last forever in most cases. She could love the guy till she died but that didn't mean tender moments between them could last as long. "Strong woman that she is she might just throw you out" the alien teased.

Velvet soft hand goes to straighten the tie of his. "Pretty sharp, do look damn good in a tie" she answered. "Not sure if right off the bat however, your lucky as ---- but maybe not that lucky." Though she wouldn't have been surprised if he was, from where she stood the guy deserved a chance moment he entered the door of any building they went into. "Probably wouldn't make a good janitor though anyway, bedrooms not always the cleanest" though usually was on point she'd thought. "Also I have dibs, so you better shoot a flirting bosses advances out the window else I'll toss her out of one." Granted the slippery minx probably would let her hand become like fuchsia colored jelly and catch a person mid fall. Heroes didn't let people die after all and Hruby dreamed of being the greatest of protector.

"I could probably just settle for you, really do think I can help others though. This world embraced a shithead like me I really should do the same. Look after a world that's been so good to me, and protect the best thing I've ever had." That of course being a specific guy who's hand she reached out to. Didn't seem like much could endanger the tranquil world they were fortunate to be on but that didn't mean she wasn't any less eager to contribute. Eventually feet lead to one of the metro rail ways. They'd get the interviewee to the place in no time and the alien refused to let them be late for something as important as this. Granted she did however stick rather close to him not to fond of vehicles and the like and always one to avoid them when possible.

"I need a distraction so pop quiz. Interviewer questions go. "Besides dashing good looks and a fine ass why should we hire you?" Question had some embarrassing elements to them, she'd intentionally used them to try and throw him off trajectory. If he could handle such situations like those here then being in an office should be easy. "You seem to work out but what's your real strengths scrub? What could you improve on tie game is weak but it's surely not your worst damn trait? Real talk why the shit you want this job think you're better then Bill over there?" She gestured to a girl with weird headjack like ears a few seats down.

"You know it's Ana bitch" the other girl remarked with a smirk and a roll of the eyes.

A rare pft sound came from the smiling alien as she continued "Ignore him answer my questions damn it." Wouldn't be to long before the real deal and the light pink haired alien was left waiting in a lobby. For now though the interrogation helped avoid dwelling to much on the fact of being on the Metro in such a confined space.

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Nevermore_

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#38  Edited By Nevermore_

@maverick_6:

No Caption Provided

"What me? come on dad I don't get in trouble ever" she remarked once set down. A beanie being dragged over head to shield ears from the cold post landing. The teacher was about to speak up. "Okay maybe a little bit. Scouts honor." She didn't really care to much for the various scouts stuff wasn't as much fun lessons as she liked. She enjoyed some of it more then she liked to admit though to. Carving in particular.

"She climbed the tallest tree, Ms Rudy thought she was going to jump." The teacher clarified, they didn't like it but it wasn't to much trouble.

She rolled her jade eyes "I mean I'd of been fine don't see what the big deal is not like I used my claws." Her ability to recover hadn't kicked in to much but it'd been evident it was there for years. That much running around, carving and occasional hunting had led to some scrapes and bruises of course.

"Little liar that one" the teacher remarked.

She did her best to widen her eyes and give the most innocent of expressions. "Okay, but it was only cause it was quicker. I totally could of done it without, just would of lost like two whole minutes. Two" she finished with a peace sign to display said number.

Her small arms briefly moved to encompass his waste in a hug before she went on and started heading toward the door. Though she stopped briefly to turn and give the teacher a salute. "So how'd the tests go? Love Kali but your the best" He often went off to do other things sure but of course Bell wanted him around more. Maybe learn some combat tricks and skills. Or show off that lego castle she'd been working on for weeks, took up her entire dresser and she thought was rather elaborate.

Across the street a news station played on a projector along one of the walls of a shop some meteorite in Minnesota or something. "Hey dad what's that!" Her finger quick to point it out as her other hand tugged on his sleeve. "We can check it out right? Please. Swear I'll do my homework soon as I get home if we do." As if that was any bargaining chip really to use. Of course the kid would try though.

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Allure_

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#39  Edited By Allure_

@_gaige_:

No Caption Provided

I finally arrive at my house. I open the door and step inside as I have every night for... you know, I’m not even sure how long come to think of it. The past is a blurred mess of monotony. But tonight is a little different as I lean against the back of the closed door. I killed a man today.

I make my way over to the nook and sit on the chair. Just one chair. Never needed any more than that. I take off my boots, and they clatter to the floor. My eyes focus, and I think I can see a little blood splatter on them. I’ll have to wash that off later. I pull the paper out of my pocket. I flip it over. It’s a personalised stationary. Jacque Quentin.

I hear a buzz from the phone. Dammit. Someone from the Covenant. It wouldn’t be anyone else. I put the page back into my coat pocket and shuffle across the floor to click accept on the call. A flicker of light coalesces into a holographic image of a woman. She looks young.

"Protector Frost right? Don't think we've met, though that could just be my lack of sleep."

“That’s right. Christopher Frost.” I nod coolly as I await what she really is calling about.

"Lizzy Leet, more R&D for the Covenant then a Protector."

She seems uneasy about something, but she is too far to get a proper reading.

"Mind giving a report on what happened back there now while it's fresh? Was that the last job of the day? I can probably clock you out or something if needed.Or if you just need a conversation that works to. Know I look busy but swear I can multitask just fine."

I exhale. Well, it was only a matter of time before someone found out someone had died. Violent deaths are nearly unheard of. Can’t remember the last time. I can’t help but crack a smile as she offers conversation amidst her seemingly hectic work schedule. She seems nice enough, but I don’t feel much like small talk, much less if it meant sharing it with other holographic conversations she might be having.

“Yes, ma’am. I was on patrol today when I felt an emotional disturbance, so I followed it up. The man seem mentally unstable. He was babbling incoherently before eventually killing himself in front of me with a kitchen knife. I wasn’t able to stop it." That's a lie, but I don't plan on telling anyone what really happened until I have a better understanding of the situation myself. It's too soon to say. As as far as the evidence is concerned, my account is entirely accurate. "I plan on writing up a full report on the incident soon. Yes, it was my last job. I have an arrangement to work directly from home, so I clock out via interface here. I appreciate the offer though, Ms. Leet. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

I take off my coat and hang it up on the coat rack before returning my attention to the Covenant caller. Probably could help with her sleep problem, but I’m not about to offer that. I could use my own sleep.

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Csill

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Blue eyes fluttered opened to catch the early morning light. No… late morning? Noon? Did it matter? She smiled and rolled off the king sized bed, then threw open the curtains. Brutus City was beautiful at this time of morning… day. It was inspiring. And as a professional artist, Arabella Stover loved anything that could inspire her.

She moved around the loft in her bathrobe, lovely pink face catching everything that the sunlight did. Each breath was a gift, each step a reminder of how alive she felt. She painted to make sure others realized what a beautiful gift life was. Personal pieces hung on the walls, some calm, others bright and staccato. No one could see the secret color codes she slipped into the paintings, but that was okay. It was her little secret, the breath that gave her art life. It was all beautiful no matter the theme or the colors, because she made it. All except one.

She didn’t know why she kept it, or why she’d even made it in the first place. It was dark, and the meaning equally shadowed. The colors were nice, maybe when she was younger and experimenting she’d decided to fool around with colors. But she did nothing without symbolism. As she brought a steaming mug of green tea to her lips, the woman who signed her work “Stove” couldn’t help but ask herself, not for the first time in recent memory, why the painting of the black rose hung on her wall, or what its significance was.

_____

Ruby stood in the doorway of the small apartment room. Landon was always promising that when he was home, he’d move them into a bigger place, if not into his own home. All of them, she, he, and the two kids. Of course they weren’t her kids, she was too young for that. Angeline and Dallas were legally adopted by Ruby while she was with her last boyfriend, Lloyd. She couldn’t exactly remember why Lloyd’s name left a bitter feeling on her tongue, but the thought of him would have darkened her otherwise perfect world had it not been for the laughter of the children.

Angie and Dallas were about the same age, and got along… about as well as could be expected. Both children were obviously mutants of some kind, but had displayed no immediate signs of power, so they had been overlooked by the Covenant for now. At this moment, Angie’s wings fluttered and Dallas’ reddish eyes glowed with delight. She had just given them a new board game and they were playing noisily, but happily.

In another life, this woman might have been a crime lord’s daughter, or perhaps a crime lord herself, but somehow she’d avoided that fate. By some happy circumstance, Ruby was blessed with two beautiful children and a man who loved her very much. In another world, perhaps he would have loved another, perhaps things would not be as it was.

This world, however, was perfect. There was nothing to fear, nothing to run from. This world was hers. And the children and Landon were her world.

_____

“What do you mean I’m too young?” The demand was sharp and insolent, but good humored, in its own way. She’d been through this many times before, being told different reasons why she wasn’t meant for the NIKANDROS program. “Bad health” and “age” were the big ones. Amita Volante had never had so much as a sniffle in her life, but they just kept telling her that something about her physical body was amiss, like it was… missing something. Nobody could explain it and so, obviously, she didn’t believe them. And she’d now been eighteen for six months. On top of it all she didn’t even want field work, she wanted lab work. Even for that simple job the answer was a strict but polite “no”.

She sat through the whole “I’m sorry Ms. Volante, I know how much you want to serve the Avatar” speech again impatiently. Her blue eyes were unsettlingly calm despite her furrowed brow and folded arms. She just sighed at the end of it and nodded to the recruitment officer. “I understand, sir.” She smiled as she rose from her chair. “I’ll see you again, this time next week.”

He shook his head at her. “Most kids would have quit by now, Ms. Volante. Honestly I think someone’s going to recruit you for your sheer stubbornness.”

A tip of a pink baseball cap emblazoned with a logo that nobody seemed to understand. “That’s what I’m hoping for, chief.” And she disappeared out the door.

____

Who were these three? What was the similarity, the key, the binding? Why was he watching them in particular? A successful artist. A mother. A teenager aiming unsuccessfully to enter the service of New Eden and the Avatar. Csill Mituruodo sat quietly in meditation in the Divine Aether, contemplating what he had seen.

What did they matter? And why did he feel he knew them?

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Pyrogram

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@interstitial:

"Good evening, sir. Did your meeting with Sergeant-Major Sayalami go well?"

The Time Keeper brushed past Anakia, speaking whilst gesturing the woman to follow. "It went as I had anticipated." As did all things in this world - there was little capable of surprising an unrestrained Time Keeper willing to access the full facilities available to his species. In fact, Anakia understood better than all. She could fill in back to back meetings - within seconds, in fact, due to the simple fact that he was able to travel through time. A meeting at 15:00 followed by a meeting at 15:01? Certainly possible. In truth, meetings were but a bore for the Guardian of the Avatar's Realm due to their laborious nature but others saw them as a necessity, so he complied where needed.

The two entered the Time Keepers study. Adorning the walls were trinkets from different worlds and times. Past, future, even present. Some of which not even from this universe. He had travelled them all; none as perfect as this. None ever would be to him. Turning, the Time Keeper folded his arms and looked upon his student. "I have sensed an anomaly. It is nothing yet," Pausing, a palm retreated down as he plucked up a old-fashioned monocle from his desk, "but it will become something soon."

Clicking his fingers, the archaic hammer of the Time Keeper zoomed through an open window and landed beside him. "To continue your training you will locate, watch, and report back to me regarding the details of this anomaly and suggest required actions."

The hammer flew beside Anakia, telepathically relaying the location of the anomaly (@bloodhound_) into her mind. The Time Keeper pointed at his student, stern eyes careful in their approach. These were sensitive matters after all. "Do not fail me, Anakia. These are delicate matters. I expect perfection in all things."

Folding his arms, the Eternal Knight smiled.

"I have faith in you."

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ParagonxXx

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#42  Edited By ParagonxXx

@jason_ford: (OOC: You need someone to play with. ^_^)

No Caption Provided

Alethea, also known as simply Thea, is walking down the street when she is nearly run over by a jogger. "Whoa, be careful there cowboy." She says teasingly.

Thea glances down at her daughter, Diana, who is busy licking some ice cream from a cone. Thea wishes for all the world her father, Steve, was still alive. But he is not. Even in a perfect utopia such as this, people still die. Perhaps not from crime or some of the other causes in the world Thea once knew, but even in paradise, people are not immortal. Especially if they fight the Kaiju for a living. But, Steve left behind a legacy when Thea became pregnant. Diana is the only living reminder of what Steve left behind aside from a photo album at home.

Diana, like her father, has blonde hair and blue eyes. Her face is a good mix between both parents. Even at only ten years old, the resemblance is there. Diana glances momentarily at the jogging stranger who nearly barreled into them, but she doesn't say anything because her mother taught her never to talk to stranger. Yes, even in paradise it is not a risk worth taking.

Thea has never been happier. True, her husband is dead and she can never go back to her Amazon home, but she has everything she needs. A great job serving the Covenant as a Super powered agent, a daughter, a nice home. What more can she possibly ask for?

Still, even though Thea cannot remember the world from before, she has a feeling of unease. Almost like there is something not quite right with the world. But, this feeling is small and not worth dwelling on. She doesn't wish to ruin paradise by thinking there is something wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with it and she'd give her life to protect it. The Covenant is never wrong and Thea owes it her undying loyalty, which she pays every day and gladly.

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Lightning_God

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@kaija@littlespark

I know I said that I’d have more time to spend with you today, and I meant that, but work’s just been piling on today. I promise that, as soon as I’m done, I’ll come home and we can do whatever you want tonight. It’s going to be a few hours, but I’ll be there. I promise.

I’m sorry. I know I keep doing this to you, but I’m trying to balance everything right now. I love you. Sorry.

"'s alright Uma," Ali sent her a text/ "Finish up the work there, and we will meet up later. Love you too babe," He hung up, putting down the phone. She was busy, an entire world fell on her young shoulders, and Ali respected her duties and abilities to fulfill them as best as any old fart could that might have held the position.

Ali was admittedly slightly disappointed. He'd taken the rest of the day off hoping to spend some time with Uma, but it appeared he was going to wait for her some more. With plenty of time on his hand, he decided to not sit home, and shuffle through T.V channels. Something about that was strangely familiar, as if he'd done so in the past, which sounds crazy when he thought about it. Four years ago, he lived in the realm with no such thing as Television.

With no real destination in mind, the boy lightning took a step out of his apartment. The world was a peaceful standstill, calmer than New Eden ever was. Only he could enjoy such serenity. If he wanted Ali would sit atop a car speeding at 40 miles per hour, but frozen in time thanks to his super heightened senses. He took a leisurely walk past cars and crowds of people until, about an hour later, he was standing in front of the Museum of Living Bastions, in a part of the city that Ali hadn't been to, before. Shrugging as time resumed with his lowered perception, Ali walked into the museum amidst crowds of uniformed kids, blending in with them perfectly, well, as best as he could. It wasn't easy to blend in with preschoolers when you are over 6 feet tall. Though, it did not matter, it wasn't like the museum was reserved for just the kids.

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SavageGhost

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#44  Edited By SavageGhost

No Caption Provided

Savage Ghost considers knocking on the door to tonight's humble abode, but he opts to kick it down instead. Creating the least cautious entrance possible. It's dark inside the home, but the details of the fight are apparent in the mess of dents mottled throughout the walls and appliances thrown about. Savage's filmographer, Blip, takes a light and camera to every corner. The scene of the crime was now immortalized in media, and Savage could save Mrs. Eva Mully from the cruelty of her husband.

Only one light was activated in the home, that of the couples' bedroom. As Savage Ghost closed in on the door frame of said room, he hears muffled cries, followed by the hammer of a loaded gun and stark demands, "Take another damn step and I'll kill her! I swear I'll do it! I swear-" Mr. Mully's commands were eventually drowned out by Savage's own remarks though, as he begins to address the audience watching at home, "And this, folks, is the horror of domestic violence... Imma' about to go kick some ass, but in vain of the victim we won't be streaming footage of her in such a moment of *cough*cough*... Peril."

Finally, Blip ceases the recording but feels obliged to bring attention to the fact the Savage's coughs produced blood. A concern they quickly decided to handle later. At last, he charges in.

Earlier

The Supreme Guardian buries the shame on his face in the palms his hands while inquiring "Why couldn't you have just stuck a finger up my ass, Doc?"

To which the responding Doctor answers without peeking from behind his clipboard, "Well my finger wouldn't solve your cancer, sir. And quite frankly, these scans show that your problems stem far beyond regular procedures."

"So this is it huh? I uh, there's too much to just cut out or kemo-out? I mean, from those scans it looks like I've got more in common with the Stay Puft Marshmellow- by the glory the Covenant- I feel sick even joking about this."

"Well, speaking of the glory of the Covenant, they have really revolutionized cancer treatment technology you know..."

"No, I didn't. So..."

"So you're going to live, just fine in fact, with this prescription of daily supplements."

"Wow... And just like, things change and things stay the same, don't they?"

Now

No Caption Provided

"'G'morning folks and jokes." The Guardian, now in his famed regalia, strolls down the line of today's performers ushering commands while simultaneously flexing his ringleader status. Pointing out little costuming flaws. Correcting postures. Advising the acrobats that they look too sweaty and wet already. Telling the singers they sound too dry and boring this morning.

"Come on everyone! Help me help you! This parade isn't just for the Avatars, it's for the combined honor of the whole damned World-Nation of New Eden... Kids these days, I swear"

One of the performers, a short and stocky woman dressed as Uma on a UNKD float retorts, "You start should start putting in as much effort into serving with the rest of the Avatar's crusaders as you do being a dickhead around here."

"Well, maybe you should-"

"I mean, anyone else ever notice how every time something goes down, Guardian is the first to be found on the sidelines"

"Well- well maybe you should-"

"And your nose is bleeding, dickhead."

Finally, the Supreme Guardian curses under his breath and produces an orange bottle from his golden belt. The showman pops a pill like he was in Hollywood and finishes his march down the line up of talent.

At the end of the line was Eva. A strong woman on every day except for today, where she was hiding the pain on her face in the palms of her hands. The Guardian caught her hiding in the back of a float, sighs hard and reluctantly asks, "Everything good over there Eva? Ready to uh- You still up to perform today?"

She's hesitant to reply but eventually claims without looking up, "Everything is... Everything is as it always has been, SG." And as her gazes meets his, The Guardian is surprised to find her nose broken and lip busted underneath band-aids.

There's a pause. Eye contact can no longer be continued. And then, Supreme Guardian barks, "Great! As long as you say you're good-" now louder for the rest of the performers to hear, "-let's get this show on the road!"

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KidChampion

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#45  Edited By KidChampion

5:30 am

Disembarking from the city's thankfully timely train service, Sam Howards jogged into the Covenant Cadet Academy training grounds with two minutes to spare. Sleek grey concrete walls enclosed the vast green spaces, but the entrance differed in having a blue hard-light construct serving as the gate.

Students filed in; their bodies passing through as the hard-light wall dissolved around their forms upon verifying their qualifications through their ID-unit trackers. His was implanted in his cadet badge, gleaming brightly over his breast pocket.

Some kids, especially those who adored being in on the latest cutting edge trend, even had their ID-unit chips implanted in their bodies. Sam wanted to do the same, but hadn't gotten around to slotting an appointment yet. His schedule was busy, what with memorizing the correct terms and order of procedures for proper Convenent Star Cruiser maintenance and take-off, the history of space battles and starcraft fatalities, learning to nail more advanced hand-to-hand techniques, and most importantly, NIGHT ANGEL'S FIRST FAN SIGN TOMORROW!! Even at the mere thought of it('specially the fact that he was able to land a seat) made Sam fist pump and energized for the morning.

After lining up in a grid pattern with the other cadets, Sam saluted his phys. ed training instructor, an old spry Protector who had more stamina and flexibility than anyone in his class, despite being of retirement age. There were training sessions where everyone would be either soaking in sweat or too shaky to stand, yet their teach would still have enough energy and limberness to jump backflips around them. It would be amazing if you finished the class without feeling sore. They paired off to warm up and stretch as classical music started playing through the arena's sound system. Samuel went through the motions; pulling up his partner's foot or pressing down on their leg in positions that they wouldn't be able stretch by themselves. There were some quiet chatter; enquiries about breakfast, some Protectors gossip, or if they'd seen bursts of the latest alien-covenant engagement in the skies last night. Sam chatted eagerly with his friend about his plans downtown tomorrow night. His friend amusedly put up with his overeager antics, before the instructor came over with stacks of matts balanced on each arm. They were going to learn grappling takedowns, and he was going to give each and every one of them a personal demonstration for the first hour before letting them go to practice in weight class groups. The whole class had varying looks of reluctance and resignation. Sam sniggered at the inevitability, and looked forward to getting his own ass handed to him.

---One heckuva embarrassing public grappling loss later---

After explaining and demonstrating various ways of taking down an opponent from a disadvantaged position on the ground(and leaving the entire class feeling semi-assaulted), the instructor had them split to grapple amongst themselves in their own weight groups. Sam and his fellow featherweights practiced basic sweeps, transitions, strikes, and escapes. The whole practice was rather unglamorous. The young cadet still couldn't decide whether defending from above or below would be more advantageous, since it was always a struggle for him to find a way out in either position. He was fast in taking advantage of openings when he saw 'em, but had his face pressed against the mat more than once(way more). Only one thing was for certain, his back and limbs was a lot more flexible than he gave them credit for.

No Caption Provided

After landing sorely on his butt for the nth time today, a red-faced Sam wheezed in relief when his partner let up on his choke hold once the instructor called to end of practice for today. They were to spend the last half hour running laps before taking the rest of the day off, on account of the Brutus parade today. Most of them were not interested in attending, since that kinda stuff was only exciting as a kid or if you had a date to take with you. Since the instructor left first, this just meant free time for the rest of them. His opponent got up, and helped pull Sam to his feet. They exchanged knowing looks to show no harm done and made their way to the grass field at the center of the sports arena, where another cadet had brought out a football to kick around. Though his joints ached, and body felt bruised in places, Howards still had energy enough to chase the ball around a grass turf with friends.

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Weidmann

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@allure_:

Not more than ten minutes after pulling away from their last scene there was a crackle as the police radio installed in the dashboard came to life. There was a moment of static before a voice came through alerting both passengers in the vehicle to something neither of them had seen in a long time, suicide. They both glanced at each other momentary, Luis raising an eyebrow at his partner. It was clear neither of them would have ever expected two cases like this in the same week, much less day. While murders themselves were uncommon, in a city like these suicide was ever less.

"We heading over? Because this isn't exactly our forte." Luis asked, confident in the answer even before the words left his mouth.

"Yeah but if we only stuck to what we were good at we wouldn't get anywhere. It's on our way anyway, not likely to be linked with the last one but you can't say it's not unusual." Erhardt said, hanging a left as he made a detour towards the edges of L.A where the body was found.

One Quick Drive Later

"A Protector?" Erhardt asked, not bothering to hide the hint of skepticism in his tone as he accepted the clipboard from one of the officers who arrived first on the scene. As the woman nodded her head he gave a slight scoff while flipping through the pages. "And this was at the same moment the man killed himself right? Yet he didn't think it was worth reporting... Interesting." He mused, tapping his finger on the clipboard as his eyes wandered over to the body lying in a pool of blood.

"Pretty early to be insinuating something like that," Luis said, staring absentmindedly into the man's study as he did. "Plus this guy was clearly off his rocker, certified insane."

"Not sure of anything yet, just making note of it is all," Erhardt said, handing back the clipboard to the officer before proceeding to look over the body itself. Even if he wanted to he didn't have the clearance to get access to the Protector in questions name or abilities. All he had to work with was the scene, and he needed something more then just it being a bit odd to justify tracking him down. The suicide checked out, the man had slit his own throat with the knife, that much wasn't up for question. However, it was interesting to note the method, cutting one's throat was far from the most common method. However, it did create quite the show, the blood spray covered a cone-like area in front of the body. Except in one notable area, a couple feet from where the man must have cut his throat there where two distinct places in which blood hadn't touched the ground. While no blood splatter specialist himself, he had a pretty good idea of what could have been blocking the blood.

Standing up Erhardt beckoned for Luis who had gotten sidetracked chatting up the office as they waited for forensics to arrive. "Come on, we're gonna have a chat with the Protector."

Luis cocked his head, "I'm sure they already have someone on it as we speak, and there is no way we're gonna get his address."

"Yeah well I'm not a fan of their secretive circle jerk over there, I wanna ask him my own questions without the hoops your average protector would have to jump through. We don't need his address either, I got a trail." Erhardt replied, tapping his nose as he left the large home and began to follow the faint scent of the man's blood tracked home on the Protector's shoes. He wasn't so willing to accept that this guy had just watched a man spray his blood everywhere and simply walked away without telling anyone, least not if he was completely innocent. He had a couple questions, and he wasn't backing off until they were answered.

Several Minutes Later

A sharp knocking would be heard from outside Christopher's house as both Erhardt and Luis sat waiting on the other side of the door. This seemed to be the end of the trail, just a matter of the man was willing to talk. Keeping one hand on his pistol Erhardt waited in silence for any kind of response.

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Nikandros

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#47  Edited By Nikandros

@_gaige_:

No Caption Provided

"You know I could order you to abide protocol, Liz.", Felix smiled warmly. While he did in fact outrank Gaige by a fair amount he would never go out of his way just to boss people around. Atleast, not outside the battle zone. Similarly, he did not further cut into her speech. It was obvious that stepping in between her geeking and the xeno technology might cause an aneurysm. "I might take you up on that offer later...", he said tapping the holster attached to his hip. "Ol' Blizzard has been acting up lately."

It was funny. In a way, Lizzie's enthusiasm for science reminded him a lot of that of his son.

He then paced in front of the xeno containment field. The monster behind a shimmering blue field was bounch around the beck and limbs with thick metal cuffs that were connected to the cage with pneumatic rods. Even with a muzzle strap, the visible corner's of it's toothy maw conveyed anger. The Golden Bulwark of New Eden folded his arms. "No.", his tone contrasted his previous words. The rev in his voice was now more commanding. "I can already tell what they'll find."

After a brief pause in speech, he turned to Liz. "Nothing.", replied he bluntly before turning back to the beast. "We fought off The Diretide as we always do. Biweekly these 'roaches come and brush against us in search of footing only to find us at the wall. The enemy never really changes. Sometimes the queen is a king. Other times there are material differences in their tech. Their numbers change, so do their tactics.", he locked eyes with the xeno elite.

"But I've been fighting this battle longer than anyone and -- call me crazy -- I think that deep down they are all the same thing. Their strategy and methods remain identical. Their goal never really changes.", Felix proposed while frowning. He didn't dare elaborate further for the sake of his sanity. But somewhere within the crevices of his brain, the idea survived: What if they didn't want to destroy New Eden? What if they existed solely to keep us from leaving New Eden? He shunned the very possibility of this being true.

"I've killed the matriarch. The xenos are pure instinct now.", his arms unfolded and hung closely to his weapon. His stare became even more animalistic. "I told Uma plenty times to stop with this PoW shit."

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LittleSpark

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#48  Edited By LittleSpark

@lightning_god:

A man walks into the museum, towering over the crowd. Not too hard a feat, since the crowd's about knee high to a grasshopper. Sofia's sitting on the floor. Kids have got about a thousand questions. 998 of 'em are "Why?" and the outliers are "Where's the bathroom?" and "Do you like cats?" Not the most educated group she's ever guided, but I guess everyone's gotta start somewhere. Sofia's good with kids. I think she'd like some someday. Not me. Just doesn't feel right somehow.

Eventually the miniature horde is shuffled off by their teachers, gives Sofia a bit of a breather. Man's still there, looking over some of the displays. She knows who he is, of course. She knows who all of 'em are. Doesn't much matter, as far as I'm concerned.

No Caption Provided

Sofia don't need no Protector but me. She stands up, gives me a little smile like there's nothing to worry about. Of course there ain't. Her hand finds me, and for a moment, there's no one else in the world. Just the way it's supposed to be. Little spark doesn't last for too long, and the world's back in a heartbeat. Sofia gives the man a smile that don't mean half as much as the one she gave me. Tells him to let her know if he needs anything or has any questions.

You never know who's gonna have questions, or what they're gonna be. Protectors are an odd sort. Two-thirds of 'em are convinced they're in the top one percent. No arguments logical or mathematical are gonna convince 'em otherwise, either. Arrogance seems to be a job requirement. Sofia doesn't let it bother her. Most things don't. She's pretty easy-going. She hums to herself, something upbeat and old-timey. Kinda nice.

A little song never hurt anyone.

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Allure_

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@weidmann:

I walk further into my small house to the bathroom. I push the door open. The only light in the darkened room was that which flowed in from the narrow hallway. I don’t bother to rectify it. The darkness is soothing. I turn on the tap and look into the mirror. Half of my face is illuminated while the other side remains shadowed except for the faint glimmer within my eye. It’s hard to recognize the face looking back in that reflection, and the person staring at me offers no emotional queues. It just sits there on the glass as if from another dimension.

I splash my face with the cool water. The beads of moisture run down my cheeks and catch the meager light within the room. They glisten like transient gems, each catching my halved reflection before beautifully falling into their obliteration. I pat my skin with a clean towel before turning to leave.

No Caption Provided

I step into my open bedroom and my finger moves to one side instinctually to turn on the light. A small lamp flickers to life upon my desk, and I drop down into the chair before it. Upon my desk sits a waxen mannikin hand, four fingers bedecked with silver rings, their settings empty. I unlock open the desk drawer and take out a tray of precut diamonds and place them upon the flat surface. The fire is exquisite, but the valued gemstones have more purpose than vanity for me. Each ring I place into a clamp, each adjusted meticulously with a needle file to accommodate the uniquely cut crystals. I set diamonds, closely inspected under magnifying glass before I press the metal prongs around each.

No Caption Provided

A knock interrupts my delicate task. My eyes dart toward the open door way. I put down my tools and pocket a few of the diamonds before hastily make my way toward the house entrance. I open the door to see two men, Covenant affiliated no doubt. Something feeling akin to impatience emanates from one while the other remained more opaque. My eyes instinctually descend toward the second man’s hand upon his weapon before returning to his face. It is older, somewhat worn but his symmetrical Germanic features still retained a level of attractiveness. His eyes were probably his most striking feature, golden, almost catlike as they reflected in the light.

My eyebrows arch up, my hand still on the doorknob whilst my other fingers nestled into my pocket to fiddle with the gemstones. “Something I can help you with, gentlemen?”

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Gale_Xanders

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No Caption Provided

The Lone Predator, Xae...a protector that had no allies, that made no friends and didn't care about social media. Xae was brutal, swift and stalked threats to New Eden with the ruthless and savage abilities of an apex predator. Terra needed its Protectors but at least one Protector did not need anyone else. On holographic visuals sent across the Protector Net for everyone to view Xae slid across a rooftop, with her wings extended and lightning crackling across her clawed hands. Her target? An alien of some sort, something deemed a threat to the Covenant. She had been stalking him for weeks, much of the video left unwatched because people didn't enjoy a good stalking...it was the end of the hunt that people enjoyed watching.

Anchors shot from the bottoms of her booted feet into the rooftop and brought her slide to an abrupt halt. The Reptonian dropped into a defensive posture, a smirk playing across her lips. She never spoke, no one even knew what her voice sounded like. Xae simply waited as her opponent tired of running. He turned, black trench coat flaring out behind him, human visage gazing upon her own be-goggled face. "You know this is wrong!" He shouted. "You are a Reptonian! Your mind can fight this! IT WILL fight this! You shouldn't be taking orders from Humans, you should be questioning their short sighted nature!"

She cocked her head slightly, the only indication that she heard a word he said.

"You have a ten thousand year life span, your mental ability is in excess of Human genius, you can build technology that makes this world's advances laughable. You are a scientist, a warrior, a predator...and you reduce yourself to this?! THINK Xae! THINK! Cut through the haze."

Dead silence.

He sighed. "Fine. Then answer me this...what makes you happy?"

Silence.

He walked up to her and paused twenty feet away. "I am a Binary, you can't kill me. You were lucky with my brother, he was in love, I am not. Why do you think your precious Avatar would deem me a threat when it allows The Custodian? Binaries are not a threat to Humanity. I am The Scholar, when are Scholars threats?"

A pause...but a silent pause. Then movement, movement so fast it was almost a blur, so fluid that it gave no indication of its impending occurrence. She closed the distance between them in moments. In that same moment she moved forward she slipped a hand down and seamlessly drew a blade from her hip. It was this blade that she shoved up into his chest at a seventy five degree angle. His eyes widened in pain and he gasped for breath, his systems began to adjust to reject his death and then....they stopped. Fear colored his face as yellow blood ran down her hand and arm. The realization of impending death gripped his mind as she withdrew the blade and he staggered backward.

"How..." He tried to speak. She stepped forward and pushed him so he fell onto his back. Xae stood over him as he struggled with his lasts breaths.

She looked down at her blade and flicked her wrist, casting blood from its surface. For a moment it seemed she would stick her tradition of not speaking. Xae crouched down and leaned forward, she whispered something into his ear where the cameras and recording devices couldn't hear it. Even if they could, she spoke in her native language, for which there was no translation. No translation save for a being named The Scholar who's vast wealth of knowledge included tens of millions of languages. Whatever she said, peace settled over his features as his last breaths escaped and the Binary died.

Xae stood up and wiped her blade clean on her leg before she slipped it back into its sheath. She looked into the ever present eye of the Covenant and the public, maintained her gaze for a long moment and then folded her wings neatly on her back. She turned away from the cameras and headed off into the darkness of the night, without saying a word.

Happy. The word echoed in her mind. She shifted her focus from the act she had just committed to the concept of the word. In the shadows of Terra she smiled and dropped from the roof of the building to land on the sidewalk below. A shift and she began to walk again. Terra is safe.