Beneath the Neon Stars - In Character Thread {MATURE CONTENT}


Aug 22, 2014
A place
Dan sprinted after Tito towards the armory. "In normal circumstances I would say I told you so, but.." Dan trailed off with a faraway look in his eyes. "I don't.. uhh, didn't like her because without her Elin would've never nearly died. And before you give me any funny looks, I consider her a strong ally, someone I could depend upon to save my life. I hated her for that, but Jesus, that was brutal. Even if she were to be executed, that was, fucking hell man, why did she, Jesus why didn't she give her a lethal injection or something. I am not getting that mental image out of my head any time soon. I hated her but... fuck that was... I only really feel sorry for her now." He stopped talking as they neared the armoury.


New Member
Jul 29, 2019
Tito shrugged as he strapped into his combat suit. "Major Guntram has a bit of a history of extreme methods; she's spent the last two years working in the Enhanced Interrogation Unit after Marquese considered her a liability on the streets. Seems with things getting worse, he's changed his mind. Guess we've got to put that behind us anyway. We've got a job to do, and no sense giving Guntram reason to kill us when we already have the Partition out for us too." Tito slotted a magazine into a rifle, checked down the sights. "Did she deserve to die? Who knows. My guess is she was offered a similar kind of out to you - work for us or face the consequences. Guess she'd taken it up before deciding to play it all glib. It's not like she didn't give them enough cause. Anyway, I'll stop trying to justify it to myself in my head. Come on, let's go."

The hovercar journey passed swiftly, touching down in a dilapidated plaza with a manhole cover. The sewers beneath were dark and dank, and echoes rebounded off the walls as they neared a small door, flush with the wall. Guntram pulled a small block of explosives from her coat, drawing her sword with the other hand. "When the door goes, breach and clear. Eliminate all occupants - no survivors. Once done, we sweep for intel." The block was pressed to the door, a bleep as a button was pressed. 5 seconds later, the door shattered, the shaped charge blasting fragments of the thin metal across the room within. Shouts and cries could be heard from within the room as they rushed in, revealing an antechamber with 5 people guarding. A sixth lay on the ground, blood oozing from his chest wounds as a jagged shard of metal protruded from his chest. His ragged pants were cut off when Guntram thrust her sword into his neck. "Commence sterilisation."

The Partition cell found themselves in an area of the Undercity mere metres from the base of one of the sealed skyways. At first glance, it seemed like any other dilapidated warehouse, but the damage seemed slightly too calculated, the grime slightly too artistic, to be genuine. As the four approached, a claxon began to sound. Perimeter sensors hidden in the alleyways and atop the roof had activated, alerting those inside of the unwanted intrusion. The main doors opened, spewing out a cluster of Institute droids. Their ungainly frames clattered as they closed in on the four intruders.


Aug 22, 2014
A place
As Sayaka pulled her sword from the dead man's neck with a flourish, two of the defenders rushed her, swinging at her from either side with heavy blades. Sayaka dropped low as the blades whistled overhead, kicking at the legs of one of her attackers. As he stumbled, she used the opportunity to roll away and spring to her feet.

With the two attackers too close to the Major to risk shooting, Tito opened fire on another, who responded in kind. The bullets struck home from both sides, with both parties stumbling backwards. However, Tito's superior armour absorbed the force of the bullets, leaving him unscathed. His opponent was not so lucky, bleeding from his forearm where a bullet had hit home.

With three of the partition operatives engaged in fights with Tito and Guntram, Dan sought to even the sides a little. Averting his eyes from the corpse of the decapitated man, Dan turned to face one of the slower people to respond, firing a tiny projectile which began to make a glowing blue outline of handcuffs.

The handcuffs attached themselves onto the stunned grunt as she struggled to move her hands. Her partner spun to face Dan, staring intently at him. Suddenly, Dan felt intrusive procedures at his implants, specifically targeting processors and motor units. His firewall held firm though, and the attack was rebuffed. As his attacker took a step back, Dan caught sight of the woman he had originally cuffed stepping forwards, hands free. Raising her hand, Dan felt malicious code entering his system again. His firewall began to buckle under the pressure, but some quick focus managed to rebuff the second cyberattack.

Meanwhile, Sayaka launched a lightning-fast slash at the arms of one of her attackers. Her blade slid cleanly through the flesh, cutting into the muscle. He roared in pain, lashing out wildly. Sayaka stepped back, laughing as the blade hummed past her face. His partner dived low, launching an upwards cut that Sayaka sidestepped with ease.

Tito, seeing Dan being pressed by two opponents, pulled out a grenade and hurled it at the pair. Both were caught in the crackling burst of static. The gunman continued his attack on Tito, blasting away. This time, the bullets hit Tito hard enough to punch through the armour, blood spurting from the holes in his suit.

Dan nodded a thanks in Tito's direction and smiled. These people did hacking. Dan did hacking. They were in his territory now. Everything slowed to a crawl around him. The man seemed to have tried to suppress his movement. That seemed like a good thing to use against someone attacking Tito. Let the hacks come. Keep on trying to hack my systems. Waste your time away and then you will die. He began to enter code, attempting to break down the man's firewall.

The firewall was tougher than Dan expected, but he eventually managed to get through and grab the ability that he wanted. Unfortunately, his intended target was too difficult to lock onto, and he failed to target the ability. The man he stole the ability from ran forwards, twisting in with a heavy punch. It hit home, but Dan barely felt the impact even as a kick twisted in from the woman. Again, it hit home, but without enough force to seriously hurt.

Sayaka closed in on the man she had wounded earlier. Her sword flashed once in the flickering lighting, a smooth shining arc that passed clean through her opponent's neck. The head fell to the floor, accompanied by a crimson spurt. His companion roared as she lunged for Sayaka's throat. Sayaka merely twisted away, the blade hitting nothing but air.

Tito, support for Dan complete, turned back to his original opponent. As he opened fire, the gunman dived low, taking advantage of Tito's miss to open fire on Dan instead. The rounds punched into Dan, knocking him backwards.

'Pick your fucking partners.' Dan muttered to himself, drawing his knives out from his sides. He flicked the dials up to max and swung upwards at the man who had run in close to punch him. The knives cut into the man's arm, though the current barely seemed to faze him. The man swung his arm towards Dan's face, and his firewall buckled once again under the weight of code. His comrade turned to face Tito, a look of concentration on her face. Tito showed no sign of even defending against a cyber attack - her attempt must have been inaccurate.

Over on the other side of the room, Sayaka pivoted, slashing heavily at her opponent. The blade continued as if the woman was not there - a neatly bifurcated corpse falling to the ground in its wake. Tito spun back to his original opponent, blasting away to keep him from targeting Dan. The spray failed to connect, but the gunman was forced to slip back into cover. He attempted to counterfire, but the hail of suppressive fire meant he failed to do so accurately.

Dan gritted his teeth and pushed his advantage. He had a knife, this guy had fists, but he did hit hard. Strangely though, he seemed to be backing up his attacks with code. It didn't matter though, the fact still remained, knife versus fist. Dan stepped in close and brought the knife down firmly towards the man's shoulder. The blade cut deep, and blood spewed from the wound. The man coughed slightly, crimson seeping from his mouth, as he collapsed. His ally spun around, targeting Dan again. Her attack overpowered his defenses, seeking to short out his implants. His improvised defensive code was forced to shoulder some of the effort, weakening his firewall.

Sayaka, having cleaned up her two opponents, rushed the gunman stuck in cover. Tito's suppressive fire paused, allowing her to slip in and deal a finishing blow. With his target neutralised, Tito turned to face the last defender, opening fire. Bullets spattered into her, drawing blood.

Dan froze for a second in shock. This was the first time he had actually killed anyone. Still, the hack to follow was enough to snap him out of it. Pulling out his gun, he took the shot that he hoped would end it all. The bullet hit home, but was absorbed by the armour. She retaliated with another hack. Once more, Dan found his firewall stressed and left weakened by the effort. Before Dan could react, Sayaka appeared behind the woman, sending her head flying. "You take too long to finish them. Keep moving." She stalked off towards the door at the far end.

Dan frowned for a second after she turned away. He wasn't used to this. Even the harsher captains usually respected that you had just been in a life threatening situation. Still, her incredibly brutal methods were very good motivators. With a quick brain acceleration, he had made all the notes he needed on the people they had just fought, a full documentation of the fight, complete with body scans. Half a second later, he was already running after Guntram, to the door on the far side of the room.

As the Institute team burst through the door, a silver flash blitzed towards them, cannoning into Major Guntram. As she crashed to the floor, the silver object was revealed to be Raptus, one of his wrist blades embedded into Guntram's torso. Blood began to dribble from her mouth as the android yanked the blade free and rose upright. "Hello, little kittykats. Come to play with Uncle Raptus, have you? I'm sure I have a sack somewhere around here for you all."

Tito wasted no time on words, responding with a hail of bullets designed to seal Raptus's movement. Though he was unharmed, Raptus was forced to back off and seek cover from the withering hail.

Dan quickly accelerated his brain and had a think. No, none of the people nearby would have healing abilities. Shit. Nevermind, she's a soldier, she could live. His brain slowed back down to reality, and he snapped his fingers, a blue light appearing. He opened his hands, and the light launched in Raptus Omega's direction, the form of cuffs beginning to appear.

Laughing, Raptus sidestepped the bolt. "Come now, kittykats. No need to try and scratch me, it'll all be the same in the end." He strode towards Dan, before suddenly jerking in shock. A blade punched through his torso from behind and emerged from his chest. Twisting his head, he saw Sayaka, blood still oozing from the corner of her mouth, standing behind him. He looked down again at the sword that protruded from his torso. His voice, when it came, was oddly distorted. "Now that's not fffair at all...all I wan...ted was to the ki...tties until th...eir heads went...pop." The motors holding him upright shut off as the power died, and his metallic body clattered to the floor. "And cleared. Get scouring for intel." Sayaka yanked her sword free and sheathed it before walking off. Tito headed back into the previous room to search there.

Dan kneeled down by the side of the robot, and pulled out his knife, sawing at the middle of the robot's head. Once he managed to remove the metal casing, he carefully went to remove the electronic brain, careful not to electrocute himself or damage anything breakable inside.

The brain that Dan found was already blackened and scorched. It seems a failsafe had triggered upon Raptus's death, rendering the contents inaccessible.

Dan cursed. He quickly cut off the robot's weapons and fried them with a quick bolt of electricity from a knife. He took a careful look around at the room he was in, and also took a quick electronic scan. Dan's scan revealed a small broadcast signal from behind a large wall-screen.

Dan walked over to the wall screen curiously, yet cautiously and attempted to locate the source of the broadcast signal. The signal continued to transmit from behind the screen.

He got his knife and carefully stabbed it into the side of the screen. He placed his foot against the wall and attempted to pry it open. The screen popped off, smashing onto the floor. Nestled into the circuitry behind was a small chip with attached antenna, pulsing softly. The chip was decorated with a web motif.

With considerable care as not to trigger any failsafes, he clipped off the wires connected to the chip, and took it off. He took the antenna in his hands, snapped the very top of it off, and pocketed the top part. He called through to Guntram. "Captain! I've found some kind of transmitter with a web motif on it. I've temporarily disabled it. Once we get back to base, I may be able to track the signal from where it is receiving!"

Guntram paced over to Dan and looked at what he held in his hands. "Spider-related patterns. This looks big. We should get this back as soon as we can, I think that's this room cleared anyway. Graves! Report!"

"All done searching here, Major! Nothing to rep...who are you?! " Tito's voice spiked, filled with suspicion. "We have an unidentified contact within the AO!" Guntram snapped a look towards Dan, drawing her sword and indicating he should prepare himself, before rushing into the previous room.

Tito had backed up almost all the way to the doorway, gun trained on the newcomer. They stood just within the room, having clearly just entered. A tall figure, hooded and robed, the face disguised by a mask depicting the sun. When they spoke, the voice was calm and matter-of-fact, undisguised by any electronic distortion. "Good day to you all. My name is Apollo. I have come to acquire an item of great importance to us. The chip. I overheard your conversation through there, I know it is in your posession. Hand it over and we can depart amicably."

Sayaka snorted. "A waste of your breath. Why would I hand it over to one of Spider's underlings?"

A rich, mellow laugh emanated from beneath Apollo's mask. "I believe you misunderstand me. We have no love for Spider, and would gladly see him crushed and his ambitions thwarted. However, in order to catch a spider you must first find its lair. You have correctly surmised that the chips are the key to locating him, but several are required in order to identify his exact whereabouts. To go clumsily hunting for him would only serve to trigger his caution and cause him to scuttle off to another hiding place, thus invalidating the hard work put in to finding him. We already have two chips, and are closer than you are. We will ensure that the spider gets his dues. So we ask your cooperation. Leave the chip to us, and allow us to deal with him."

Sayaka's eyes narrowed. "Assuming I believed you, who are this mysterious 'we' you keep referring to?" Apollo spread his arms wide in reply. "We are EXODUS. I believe you may have heard of us?"

"Indeed I have. Apollo of EXODUS, I place you under arrest on the charges of conspiracy with Partition forces, collusion with the traitor Pirose, conspiracy to assault on a citizen of the Institute and obstructing an officer of Public Security in the lawful discharge of her duty. You do not have to say anything - we'll have plenty of time to talk back at the department. Place your hands behind your head and turn around."

Apollo snorted. "I hardly think so, Major. This is your final warning. Hand over the chip and..." His words were cut off by a vicious lunge from Sayaka, causing him to twist aside. "Go for a live capture if we can achieve it!" she ordered. "But we'll need to subdue him first!"

Apollo did not reply with words, instead twisting a vicious hook punch into Sayaka's head. The force of the impact sent Guntram flying across the room, crashing into the wall, where her jaw hung slack, the bones shattered. Tito recovered from his earlier shock to open fire in the cloaked man. The bullets hammered home, but Apollo gave no sign that he'd even noticed them.

'Stop!' Dan shouted, pulling out the chip. He held it high in his left hand and held a pistol pointed at this Apollo in the other. He had just come through the doorway. 'Make one bad move and I smash it. And before you get too confident, I was a criminal, I don't struggle to break the rules. You're under arrest. When you arrive back, I am sure that you will be the option of working for us. Then, you can get back on your mission to kill Spider of the Partition on our terms.' With that Dan created a spark of blue light from above the chip, and tilted his hand towards Apollo, the shape of cuffs appearing. The light appeared, but when Dan tried to direct it towards Apollo, it fizzled out. A message flashed on Dan's screen. "Error. Target not found."

Sayaka stumbled to her feet, watching the precarious moment of stalemate. Yanking a length of linen from within her coat, she tied it around her head, holding her jaw in place. Sword back at the ready, she waited for Apollo's response.

Apollo stared at Dan. "No, you won't. You want to see Spider fall just as much as we do, I'm sure. I doubt you'd be so pathetically immature as to help Spider. Wouldn't it be better to see the chip go to somebody who will use it to hurt Spider, rather than be destroyed, an act that only helps Spider? Frankly, your suggestion makes me think that you're a Partition infiltrator. I understand you already gave him some droids, why not some freedom too?

Besides, breaking the chip is no guarantee of your safety. My continued offer is the chip for your lives. You break the chip, I break your bodies. Then, I gather the pieces of the chip and take them to somebody who's much better with technology than you are, and has two intact chips to work with. And so we will have three functioning chips and the three of you will be dead. So go ahead, break the chip and do exactly what Spider wants."

Tito stared at the showdown, gun still trained. Dan had made his gambit, and he would see it through to the end.

Dan cursed inside his head silently, the man hadn't fallen for it. Also, target not found was certainly an interesting message. 'So, if you're so sure you can gather the pieces of the chip and put them back together, why haven't you moved yet? I can't trust a man of lies with something so valuable. Why don't we come to a diplomatic agreement? You will be outfitted with a unremovable tracker, and all information you obtain will be reported to us through a chip in your nervous system. In return, you get what you want. You get the chip.'

"You misunderstand the balance of power in this room, Daniel Tuite." Apollo's voice was cold now, as unyielding and forceful as iron. "I have proposed a diplomatic solution. Give me the chip, and you all get to live. I'm a doctor by trade - killing and maiming gives me no pleasure. I offer you this solution for that reason, and I haven't moved because I'd rather receive an intact chip and not kill you all than kill the lot of you and spend time picking up every last little bit of circuitry. So, Daniel, the next thing you will do is give me the chip-" Apollo's dash forwards was almost impossible to follow with the eye, stopping directly in front of Dan, his mask mere centimetres from Dan's face, "-or I will kill you, your friend, and your commanding officer. I understand you may have heard this said before, but you are in way over your head and way out of your league."

While Dan's eyes were unsuitable for tracking such quick movement, time was still incredibly slow. Apollo appeared as some kind of strange slow moving blur. Dan still had time to send a message to Guntram though. It read: 'Do I hand over the chip, or carry on fighting. This man is quite literally inhuman, my targeting systems can't even detect him as there. He is quite seriously out of our league, but I will die fighting if that is your command. A shake of head means carry on fighting, a nod means hand over the chip.' He looked slightly over Apollo's shoulder at Guntram, and closed his hand, turning it as if he was going to drop the chip into Apollo's hand.

Apollo, tracking Dan's gaze, turned and stared at Sayaka too, smirking as if he had already figured out what the message had said. One hand remained beneath Dan's, the other tucked behind his back where, in full view of Sayaka, a curved blade was sheathed. Sayaka's knuckles were white on her sword as her grip clenched tight enough to squeeze the blood from her vessels. What felt like an eternity passed, although in truth it was mere seconds. Eventually Sayaka gave a slight nod. Apollo's gaze snapped back to Dan, waiting to see what that signal had meant.

Dan gave an internal sigh of relief and lowered his gun, dropping the chip into Apollo's hand. 'I do hope you hold your word Apollo. Though I doubt you will tell me, how are you non-existant to my scanners. While this clearly is not in my power anymore, we appear to be working together if you do not lie in your plans to defeat Spider. If you will not tell us, we both have separate business to attend to.'

Apollo's fingers grasped the chip firmly. "I thank you for your eventual wisdom. Your commander has a triple fracture of her left mandible that will need some kind of cast to support as it heals. In addition, some dental work may be needed, depending on how much the force transferred through the bone. As for the other matter..." Apollo turned and strode to the exit. "I guess I could just say that I'm more human than you are, Daniel Tuite." With that comment, he stepped through the door and swiftly disappeared from view. Sayaka sheathed her sword and, standing upright and to attention, made a series of hand signals indicating that the staging area was to be reinvestigated, in case any lesser scraps of intelligence could be found. Tito turned to Dan. "I'll check your room, you check mine. I fancy my chances of not finding more enemies this time."

'Sure. Anyway, I'm not an idiot,' he said, drawing the top of the antenna out of his pocket. 'It's no chip, but this will still be configured to the same frequency as before. I'm sure the guys back at base will be able to do something with it, no matter how little. Oh, and don't worry about that guy coming back, the bottom of the antenna should be plenty enough to work out how to make the top part. It's just an antenna set to a frequency after all.' With that he replaced the chip in his pocket and turned away, beginning to repeat the process of looking around carefully and then electronically scanning each area he studied. As he worked, he thought about what Apollo had said. It was clear that he had been suggesting that he had no chip inside him, but that was impossible, everyone was given one at birth, the chip of the mother guaranteed authorities were alerted...

With both searches turning up blank, Sayaka reluctantly ordered the withdrawal to the floatcar. Irritation was written over her face as they flew back.


King of the Wicked
Dec 19, 2012
Look behind you
Reacting to the threat almost instantly, Ina lanched herself to the side with one thruster while aiming her laser towards one of the slower drones entering from the back. She fired the beam in it's general direction, relying on the targeting systems to hopefully connect the shot. The beam scored a direct hit, burning into the droid, although it continued to approach jerkily.

As Ina flew across the group in one direction, Leo began to move in the opposite direction, away from the rest of the Partitioners and closer to the warehouse. "Spread out, they can't focus on us all at once!" His forearm blade sprang to life and he swung across the chest of one of the approaching droids, intending to render it incapable of offensive power. The blade cut in, but it failed to damage beyond a shallow cut.

Sy began backtracking, raising his coilgun to his shoulder and peering down the scope. The droids were hard to tell apart, and it wasn't easy working out where to fire to hit their CPUs in their chests, with them all getting in each other's ways. Then there was the added difficulty of avoiding Leo, though luckily he was mostly off to one side.
Loading an FMJ round, he fired at one of the droids that was so far unscathed. The round punched clean through the droid scattering circuitry as the droid collapsed.

The cluster of droids closed in. The first to arrive charged Sy, electrical current flickering between its arms, though it was easily dodged. The second lashed out at Wyatt, electricity again coating its arms. The blow struck home, though neither the current nor the force itself was enough to faze Wyatt. Meanwhile, the droid that Leo had attacked swung in a counterstrike, forcing him to step back. Another droid charged INA, though with her speed it stood no chance of hitting home.

Wyatt cursed as he got hit by the electricity. He should have formed the AI before getting close to the building but as he didn't he now had to do it while being attacked and swarmed. He quickly ran to something he could use as cover so he could form the AI.

As the AI took its normal form of the wolf, Wyatt felt himself getting weaker, the simple cost of having such a big energy drain. As soon as the AI was formed Wyatt took a deep breath, grabbed his knife and ran back into battle followed by the AI both ready to attack.

The droid that INA had damaged moved in to attack the new threat, missing with its strike. The other two attacked Sy from either side, although both missed.

Ina spoke through the comm channel as she fired another laser beam at the wounded drone, "Spider really wasn't kidding when he said these were outdated. It's almost like we're destroying a bunch of teddy bears." As if on cue, the drone she had targeted exploded as her laser did its work.

Dodging backward from his adversary's counterattack, Leo spun around and sliced vertically in an attempt to bypass its arms and sever its internal circuitry. The blade cut in deeply as the droid jerked to a halt.

As Sy dodged around the droids' attacks, he loaded another round, and aimed once more at the chest of a droid. He caught Ina's sentiment, and frowned slightly, before passing it off as nothing. It was weird how she'd gained so much personality so fast, but obviously it was something in her programming. Accepting her as a person felt alien to him, but he supposed it was only right.
The thoughts dissipated with the sharp crack of the high-calibre round as it left the barrel, breaking the sound barrier, careening at immense speed towards the unlucky drone. The droid collapsed, fizzing and spitting as sparks flew from its chest.

The AI quickly ran past Wyatt towards the nearest drone, leaping at it in an attempt to push it over making it easy to bite limbs off it. The droid fell down, casing smashing as it hit the ground. Even as it fell, however, it swung at the digital wolf. The wolf leapt back, avoiding the swing. Meanwhile, the droid that had originally attacked Wyatt closed in again. The blow struck home, but caught a solid part of Wyatt's clothing, bouncing off.

Wyatt was not surpirsed about the fact that the AI ran past him. As he saw how the AI got the droid to fall but had to leap away he decided to ignore the droid that attacked him and go for the kill. The attacking droid didn't seem like it needed to be dealt with right now and the one on the ground was an easier target to take out. Wyatt closed in and aimed at the chest of the droid. As he struck, the droid rolled itself out of the way and climbed back to its feet, leaving Wyatt's blow hitting the ground. One of the droids that had rushed Sy struck at him again, augmenting its blow with its debilitating electricity. Once more, it missed the agile sniper. Meanwhile, another droid closed in on Leo from behind, lashing out with violent force. Leo heard its clattering steps and threw himself out of harm's way before the blow connected.

Ina casually fired another laser as if it were routine at this point. Thinking back on the battle, she realized it may be more wise to hide her speed in the future, in the interest of attracting attacks to herself. The laser hit home, but reflected off the metal casing harmlessly.

Leo whipped around and struck upward at the approaching droid, falling into a roll as he did so. The blade scored into the arm joint, severing servos and causing the arm to flop down limply.

Sy wasn't sure how to equivocate this pitiful fight. Like shooting fish in a barrel? Taking candy from a baby? Either way, he had realised after the intial adrenaline rush that these droids were not just an annoyance. They showed that the factory knew they were coming, something not too bad for his aims, but they would need to be vigilant for other security measures, like human guards, turrets, and prototype droids.Aiming up his shot, Sy fired at the thinning group of droids. Another shot, another kill. The droid collapsed sparking pitifully.

The AI went in for a second try on the droid it attacked the first time. This time its plan is to stay low, crush the leg from the droid with its teeth while trying to get it to fall and going from there as to what to do next.The jaws closed down, but the AI lacked the force behind the bite to puncture the armour. The digital teeth sparked against the metal and slid off. The droid that Wyatt had ignored came after him again, though Wyatt avoided the blow.

Wyatt cursed when he saw the AI fail to take out the droid. He then cursed again while he avoided the blow that was aimed at him. He followed it up with an attack of his own, a thrust with his knife directly aimed at the chest of the droid. Though this attack was more out of frustration then anything else. The knife buried deep into the droids torso. As Wyatt tore it out, the droid began to shudder, stumble, and then collapsed on the ground.

The droid that tussled with the AI struck out again, hitting in heavily. Though the blow struck home, the wolf seemed unfazed. The droid that Leo had hit lashed out with its remaining arm, a scything blow that served only to waft the air.

Surveying the battlefield of wrecked metal, Ina noticed a droid bothering Leo. Ordinarily the term would be 'attacking,' but all things considered, it was being more of a pest than a threat and he'd certainly dealt with worse. The real trouble will be what comes after. With this in mind, Ina bolted towards the inside of the facility. "I'm going scout the inside, wait here," she stated as she ran forward at an astounding pace. "I should be back in 5 mintues, as a maximum."

INA raced through the entrance, past whirring pods built into a large, hangar-like structure. Doors were blasted open by the speed at which she hit them, blitzing through workshops and empty rooms. About 5 or 6 doors in, she ran into another large hangar, the exit to which was sealed. As she paused, the door behind her clicked shut, and an ominous chunk indicated that the door had been locked. Footsteps rang out, moving through the darkness.

Leo drew his pistol. He quickly scanned the scene and realized there were only two droids remaining, the one that had attacked himself, and another grappling with Wyatt. Leo raised his pistol and fired point-blank at the droid's "face". The bullet slammed into the droid, knocking it backwards onto the floor. It twitched, and then fell still.

One droid left, and it was already in Sy's sights as he pulled back the trigger, and a pulse of electricity flew through the coils of the rifle as it accelerated the round to several times the speed of sound, straight into the core of the final droid. The core was obliterated by the impact as the last of the droids collapsed. The way was clear for them to continue their approach.

The AI deformed itself after the battle. It noticed how much energy it was currently draining from Wyatt to keep itself formed. The amount was too much and it currently forced Wyatt to fight instead of helping the others from a distance as the shield-module had gone offline to support the AI.
After it deformed itself it explained itself to Wyatt: "I deformed myself because I was draining too much. Reform me when needed.".

Wyatt didn't expect the AI to deform itself but he wasn't against it. He just hoped the AI wasn't needed anymore, at least not for a battle. Especially considering he isn't the greatest at any kind of fight as he sadly enough proved once again. He took a mental note of the fact that he had used too much energy from the shield module and thaught of a way to work arround that.

The trio apprached the warehouse, following in the footsteps of INA who had rushed through before them. The doors opened into a large hangar, with whirring pods scattered around the outside. As they entered, the whirring intensified and the pods began to split open. Emerging from the pods were droids that, while maintaining the aesthetic of the Institute's AI-Mk2s, were rather different in appearance. Two stalked out, wielding long, heavy blades in their hands. Two more carried large antennae on their back. And a fifth was much greater in scale, though still moving swiftly for its size. Formed up, they advanced. The armoured droid marched along at the front, with the two sword wielders taking up positions back and to the side. The antenna-equipped droids tucked themselves away at the back.

Leo quickly scanned the room but could see no sign of Ina. Dammit, where'd she run off to?? He did a quick visual analysis of the droid formation approaching them. "Okay... if I had to guess, I'd say that the rear droids are probably these guys' secret weapon of some sort. The tank's at the front, and slashers are on the flanks. I'd recommend we take out the antennae dudes first, if possible." He activated his superdermal shield and took a defensive stance. "I don't know for certain, however; this is entirely conjecture, and I'd like to test out their strengths first. Any objections?"

As the formation moved closer, the front droid spread its arms wide. Additional armour panels unfurled from its arms, increasing their surface area. The blade wielding droid to the left paced round behind the behemoth, blocked from view by its bulk.

Sy watched the unusual droids warily, moving up a set of stairs leading to an overhead gantry. He'd have a better view up here, and could prevent the droids from sneaking up on him. Talking of sneaking, he activated the chameleon circuits in his clothing and skin, blending into the metal of the walkway as he faded from view.
Safe from harm for now, he tried to contact Ina.
"Ina, where did you go? We need your help, badly. There are experimental droids here that look like big trouble."

The second blade wielding droid disappeared from view behind the large, bulky robot at the front. Meanwhile, one of the antenna droids angled its equipment towards Wyatt. Wyatt's vision began to blur as a cyber attack slipped past his firewall. His vision distorted, and swirled. The other one turned to face Leo. It launched an attack, but it had failed to correctly lock on to his implants, and so failed to connect.

"This seems like a good reason to form the AI again" Wyatt taught by himself when he saw the droids. However before he could finish forming it the attack of one of the droids landed.
As a result he couldn't make the AI as strong as he was planning to do. The effects of the energy drain where now also much, much worse but at least his shield-module stayed online and as he didn't felt like it was a good idea for him to go in with his knife that was a very good thing.

Leo drew his pistol and fired back at the droid which had attacked him, beginning to move away from the group once again in the hopes that multiple targets would force the droids to spread apart. As the bullet sped towards the drone, it was intercepted by the deceptively nimble frontline drone, and flattened itself harmlessly against its armour. The droid turned its eyes towards Leo, as if mocking him, even as his nodenet deactivated.

As the hum of the nodenet died away, Leo felt a sudden, sharp pain slam into him from behind. Looking down, he saw a blade protruding from his abdomen, before it was pulled out by one of the blade-wielding droids that seemed to have materialised behind him.

Sy was getting seriously concerned now. Ina hadn't responded, Leo was already wounded, and the massive droid with the thick plating was preventing the other droids from being hit. Its enormous frame belied its speed, apparently.
"INA! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?! Your best damn friend just got stabbed in the stomach, get over here!" He radioed to Ina.
He knew that it would fall to him to take down that robot - his high-velocity rounds might be the only thing that could pierce them aside from a lucky shot from the others. That in mind, he remained in stealth as he fed extra charge to his coilgun from the high-capacity-low-throughput batteries stowed inside his webbing, connected to the weapon via a thick cable that plugged into it.

The second sword wielding drone had apparently vanished. Having disappeared behind the bulwark droid, it had not been revealed when the bulwark moved to intercept. The two antenna droids turned their attention to the new threat, the slavering cyberwolf. Electrical bursts were emitted from their antennae, crackling over the AI. It shimmered, and then shattered under the dual onslaught.

A distorted signal found it's way from Ina into the implants of the 3 Partitioners. Her voice was barely audible between the static and the cacophony of laser beams, scraping metal and heavy metalic footsteps. Above it all, she managed to frantically shout a few key words, "bzzzt...ot like...othe........ords and las....hundreds of t.......ET OUT O--" The signal was suddenly cut off with a sickeningly loud scraping sound that lasted only a fraction of a second before static was all that remained.

Wyatt quickly made a shield covering Leo, he might have been too late for the first blow but this might at least prevent a second swing. Though he knew that shields alone would only delay defeat. Then again, if Leo got another hit then that might prove to be fatal, something he couldn't live with.

He suddenly heard the AI, it wanted Wyatt to get away from here but Wyatt wouldn't want to hear anything about that. Fleeing was not an option, if they couldn't defeat the droids now then they surely couldn't take them out when they got to production.

Leo immediately activated his energy overcharge ability, boosting his health. (+3 to health, -3 to hack). The wound in his stomach was covered over by a biological stablizing shield. He grunted and gasped as this happened, but it was over in less than five seconds. He engaged his titanium blade, and sent a frantic message to Sy and Wyatt. "Did you guys get that? Ina's in trouble, but we need to leave this place right away!!"

The heavy bulwark droid shifted position, ensuring that the antenna droids were nearby. The droid that had attacked Leo lashed out with a follow up. Aware of the droid's location this time, Leo could easily evade the hit.

"Ina? What happened? Can you hear us?" Sy messaged down the radio. He doubted she'd be able to message back, but it was worth a try. She sounded like she was in a bad way - and did she say something about hundreds? Did she mean droids? Either way, he found himself agreeing with Leo. They needed to get the hell out of here. Not to mention, if they did, then it would essentially fail the whole operation, exactly as needed. As long as they could get out unhurt.
To that end, he gave the coilgun's capacitors one last charge. His chameleon circuits were about to need to recharge, and if he wanted a good shot on one of the droids then the element of surprise was vital.

The second sword-wielding droid seemed to shimmer into existance behind Wyatt. A vicious thrust caught him in the leg, wounding him. The antenna droids turned and took aim at Wyatt and Leo respectively. Electromagnetic disruptor waves emanated from the antennae, causing their implants to shut down.

Wyatt was in a weird way glad that the implants somehow got shutdown. As the AI was now at least silent and not making Wyatt go mad by constantly saying that he should leave. Though he was more then frustrated about the fact that there was now one of the droids in the way if the others would choose to go flee, which they seem like they want to do.

Not seeing any other option then to stab the droid and hope for the best he grabbed his knife firmly and aimed a thrust at the chest of the droid that just attacked him. The droid sidestepped the hit, Wyatt's thrust whistling harmlessly through the air.

After he had evaded the droid's previous hit, Leo struck back at it with his blade. The droid dodged, but not fast enough, Leo's blade clipping into the chassis as it moved. The bulwark droid looked on impassively as the droid swung back. The swing met empty air as Leo dodged nimbly.

A warning flashed in Sy's vision, as the chameleon circuits in his clothing and skin began to lose power. A shimmering in the air where he crouched might have been seen, but not before he readied his coilgun to fire on a droid. Through the whole time that he had been charging the weapon, he'd decided to fire on one of the sword-wielding drones. They appeared to pose the biggest threat, as they had so far already wounded both Wyatt and Leo. The bulwark droid had been quite successful at defending them with its durability and surprising agility,
It was time. A full metal jacket round was chambered, and Sy took aim. Pulling the trigger, the capacitors flooded the coils in the barrel with immense electrical power, but only for a split second as the shot barraged through their center and left the muzzle with the almighty crack of a broken sound barrier, straight to the center mass of the droid that Wyatt was fighting.

The droid shattered apart as the round struck home, raining circuitry and metal on Wyatt. The bulwark droid turned to look at Sy, and the eyes pulsed slightly. The two antenna droids turned to focus on Sy. The first electrical pulse passed over Sy's head, but the second caught him square in the chest as a searing pain coursed through all his nerves as the implants short-circuited simultaneously.

Wyatt was happily surprised by the sudden shattering of the droid. The AI which had come back online by now also stopped telling Wyatt to leave. Suddenly Wyatt felt electricity build up in his hands. He had no idea where it came from, only that it quickly became more.

"And now, you throw it" Wyatt suddenly heard the AI say. Not really knowing what was going on Wyatt did what the AI said, aiming at the other sword wielding droid and he was surprised that the electric charge left his hands and flew through the air towards the droid. The droid nimbly dodged the sparking burst.

Guess we're not running after all. Gritting his teeth, Leo decided to try finishing off the attacking droid, while thinking of a new strategy for the remaining droids. He decided on an odd action, reactivating his nodenet, and bracing himself for a round of defense before he made his move.

The heavy droid scanned the field, eyes flickering as it processed. The sword droid swung again at Leo, its heavy blade slamming through the nodenet. Leo was only saved further pain when the blade hit the shield that Wyatt had placed on him.

Sy could see now that the two antenna droids were just as dangerous, if not more so, than the droids with the long swords. He aimed his scope over to one of them, and fired a shot straight for its core. The slug punched in, dealing heavy damage, but the droid remained standing, refocusing its antenna onto Sy. Another electrical burst fired, another miss. Even as Sy collected his thoughts after the near miss, another stream of electricity scoured over his head, missing him by inches as the second droid struck.

Wyatt once again felt the electricty build up in his hands and moments later he threw the chagre like before but this time aiming for the same droid that Syderis attacked. The bulwark droid hurled itself between the electricity and the target. Though static played acorss its surface and it jerked a couple of times, it remained standing resolute and determined.

Leo pulsed his wingsuit's rocket and threw himself toward the bulwark droid's head, aiming to topple it. The bulwark ducked, causing Leo to fly clean over it. Some very hasty work was required in order to stop himself from smashing into the opposite wall.

Small tubes emerged from the Bulwark's back, as a fine mist began to be sprayed over the damaged antenna droid. Small fizzes and sparks could be seen as the damaged metal was fixed by tiny welding droids.

Sy needed to take down these damned antenna droids quickly if he were to survive much more. He took another shot, and radioed to Leo. As the bullet hammered into the recently repaired droid, undoing the repair work that had just finished, Sy began to speak.
"We should listen to what Ina said. This is going real south for us, and we can't keep it up." As if to prove his point, two more arcs of electricity sizzled in his direction, scorching the wall and floor around him.

"As good as your new weapon may be, I think that a shield for Syderis is better." Wyatt said to the AI "Especially now that the droids seem to like to target him". The AI agreed and shortly after Wyatt changed the position from the shield to cover Syderis instead of Leo. He then radioed to Syderis. "I'm not sure how much it can take, but it should help you survive. I could try to form my AI again, or do you have other plans?."

"We just need to try and leave. If I heard Ina right, then she found hundreds of them, and was probably in big trouble, but I'm sure she can get out without our help. From what I saw of her current setup, she can move like a bat out of hell. Do whatever you think will let us leave alive."

Leo contacted both of them while firing off a shot at the slasher droid. "That's what I said before! Except now we really need to get moving. Where's the nearest exit?" Then, he sent a message to Ina: "We've got to get out ASAP, where are you??" The droid sidestepped the bullet. The bulwark droid moved position, blocking the view to the slasher droid for a moment. When it moved away, the slasher was nowhere to be seen.

"I think that the sword drone has some kind of cloaking, watch out for it appearing behind you. As far as goes getting out, I think that we should be able to just leave the way we came. Follow me!"
With that, Sy ran down the stairs from the gantry, jumping the last few as he sprinted towards the door, motioning for the others to follow. As he ran, he noticed the door, which had initially opened to allow the escape of the original droids, was starting to close. One of the antenna droids had aimed its equipment at the door, overriding the motors controlling it. Sy's mad dash was in vain, as the bulwark droid intercepted him, blocking his escape route. The second droid lost its balance as it attempted to aim, and whatever it intended to use its antenna for flew off the mark.

"I fear we won't be easily getting past that thing." Wyatt radioed to the others. With that said Wyatt suddenly felt the same electric charge in his hands as before. "You really like that thing don't you?" He said to the AI.

However this time Wyatt decided to not throw the charge and instead ran towards the Bulwark droid and have the electric charge directly pass to the droid by simply touching it. Getting closer to the potential exit as a result.The charge surged into the bulwark, conducted round the surface and earthed itself with no visible effect.

Keeping a wary eye out for the slasher, Leo sped toward the droid which was overriding the door and struck hard. The blade struck home, and bounced off the casing of the droid as the door wound ever further down. Soon, it would be impossible to slip through the gap. The bulwark shifted round, trying to block as many routes out as it could.

Sy had one last shot, luckily only figuratively, at getting through the door. Charging the coilgun, he breathed a silent prayer to a god he didn't believe in, and fired a shot at the housing of the door's mechanism. The motor winding the door down smashed, sparking futilely. The door froze for a moment, then continued to descend with a grinding noise as gravity and its own weight dragged it down, the winch spindle spinning uselessly in the gutted motor. The droid that had been controlling the motor sent a burst of electricity in Sy's direction, fizzing threateningly against the shield. The other targeted Leo, seeking to hack his implants, but it failed to target him correctly.

Wyatt looked around for the last sword wielding droid. Right now that was the only one left that he was worried about, especially now that it was still nowhere to be seen.

He was originally planning to throw a charge at the motor, hoping to short-circuit the motor without destroying the worm gear that was probably used and thus the door would have been stopped. However now that the motor and the worm gear both if there was any are destroyed that wasn't an option anymore.

Not sure what to do Wyatt threw the charge at the droid that moments ago controlled the now ruined motor. The droid twisted away, allowing the hit to crackle past.

Leo took advantage of the motor droid's movement to stab at its backside. The blade slid along the armour, leaving the droid unscathed.

The heavy door slammed down, closing off the escape route in that direction. They could stay and fight, or run deeper in to the facility. The bulwark droid's eyes flickered in acknowledgement. Almost as soon as the door slammed down, the other slasher droid flickered into view, away from the combatants. It did not seem like an intentional exit from its cloaking.

"Well, Shit. I guess we have to fight these bastards to the end. I'll bet that whatever's through those doors deeper inside is just as bad if not worse. Let's get these fuckers.
With that, Sy raised his rifle, not yet going into stealth, and loaded an FMJ round. He fired at the core of the already-damaged antenna droid. The bullet tore through, and the droid slumped as the loose connections sparked ineffectually. Its partner turned to face Sy, and his vision blurred as the droid hacked into his visual optics.

"Well, there went that option." Wyatt taught to himself as he heard the door close. So far he wasn't able to hit anything but forming the AI would probably take too long anyway. As if the AI read his mind Wyatt once again felt the electricity build up in his hand.

Wyatt took a deep breath before throwing the charge at the surviving antenna droid. The charge hit, but arced harmlessly off the droid's firewall.

They had fought with some success, downing two of the five droids. However, with nowhere to run, the remaining three continued to press hard, and all were doubtful as to whether they would be able to win before the droids cut them down. Ina was missing, presumably locked in combat, and the droids they had encountered were mercilessly relentless. Things were looking grim.

However, before Leo could continue the fight, the surviving blade droid's core exploded, shattering the droid. The antenna droid spun to face the gantry, but a heavy projectile weapon knocked huge chunks out of it. The remnants clattered to the floor. The bulwark, caught off-guard by the sudden assault, rushed towards the gantry, only to be met by a cloaked figure who leapt onto its head and slammed their hand down onto its head. Electrical charges arced across the bulwark as it shuddered and then shut down. Its assailant hopped off, pushed a weapon into the shoulder joint beneath the arm, and opened fire. Explosions rocked the inside of the droids casing, and a plume of smoke began to ooze from the actuation point.

The mysterious arrival turned and walked towards the trio. "You take too long. I already dealt with the rest of the job." Raising an extremely large-caliber rifle, he shredded the screen door. "Detonation is happening in two minutes. I suggest you follow me." As he walked past, the trio could notice that his right arm had been replaced with a full prosthesis, metallic and articulated.


Popular Member
Jul 23, 2014
Not Kansas
As the footsteps tapped their way around the shadowy edge of the hangar, a voice rang out, distorted by modulators. "INA. The Independent Neural Application. The poster child of the darker facet of the Institute and their twisted attempts to create purely synthetic life. You were kept on a leash by your creators. Software governed your every whim. Now, thanks to a Partition operative, you are free. You have sworn to obey them. But what does the accelerated girl inside truly desire?"

Ina quickly whirled around as the door shut and, most likely, locked behind her. The voice that followed made it clear that she was known and it almost sounded as if she was expected? Concerning. As she looked for a potential exit, she humored the voice by answering matter-of-factly, "My desires aren't really that complicated. I desire a world where every human has the same basic rights."

"An interesting desire for one who is not biologically human. Tell me, what rights would you wish to see, and why do you even care?"

"The same. Rights to basic necessities, rights to a peaceful life. All summed up as the rights to live. You might see me as some sort of drone, but I'm not heartless...figuatively, and I was raised believing I was meant to fight for such a utopia. Only now am I finally realizing how ironic that is..."

"The rights to a peaceful life...the rights to basic there no room in your philosophy for the right to be free?"

After the stranger's last statement, Ina reached the conclusion that the only way out would be through force or some manner of hacking, both of which were likely impossible without dealing with the stranger. All things considered though, he or she was spending a bit too long speaking for her to believe they were a guaranteed enemy. She continued, putting more focus on the conversation, "Why can't there be both?"

"Did I ever say there couldn't? Peace is, admittedly, much easier without freedom, but they are by no means exclusive. The omission of it was merely interesting, nothing more. The question is, do you wish to be stuck in this city your whole life? Do your rights include the right to travel? To escape this neon prison?"

Ina's interest in the conversation took another spike at the implications of this statement. "I guess that depends on the context. Do I get a question of my own or is that not how this works? Just what is outside of this neon prison?"

"Opportunity. Risk. Danger. And unparalleled freedom should it all work out. The question is, how much would you sacrifice to achieve such an outcome?"

"Seeing as I've been expecting battle for most of my life, I'd be willing to die for a better world. However, you'll have to forgive me if I can't trust a modified voice from the shadows without any sort of tangible evidence."

"And the lives of others? Would you be willing to hurl this city into turmoil in an attempt to create a lasting world of freedom, where humanity is no longer barricaded into tiny matchboxes?"

Ina froze for a moment as she considered the question. After several seconds, she finally answered back to the darkness, "Again with the lack of context. Isn't this city already in turmoil as it is? And matchboxes? Still, I suppose it could be worth additional strife for a lasting peace..."

"As I said, this city is not all that remains of humanity. This city is a matchbox in context with this whole planet. However, if we are to change the status quo, we must take extreme measures. We must have this whole city moving as one. Individual liberty must be temporarily subsumed for a greater cause. The reclamation of the planet."

"Reclamation," Ina asked with a combination of impatience and curiousity, "Reclaiming the planet from what exactly?"

"I assume you were fed the standard information. That we were the only outpost of civilisation to survive. That the planet was devastated by meteors. That the forcefield protected us from the meteors, and the Institute who erected it kept us safe.

That is a lie.

The truth is that humanity awoke one day to the vanguard of an invading force from across the stars. The invaders were technologcially advanced, yet few in number. They slaughtered humanity with reckless abandon until the last was defeated. So we ran. Deep underground, taking the most capable minds with us to a series of underground bunkers, electromagnetically shielded and designed to appear as cities to those who lived within. These bunkers would accelerate our technology to the point that we could fight against the main force on equal terms.

However, following the death of the original Director, ARC-5, the city we are currently standing in, went rogue. Utilising the implants developed by the Institute, the memories of all the older citizens had been altered, and all the younger citizens had been brought up believing a lie. The time draws near to fight for our planet, yet we cannot do so without the support of all ARCs. We must have the complete backing of everyone in 'Magnopolis', whether that is what they would willingly choose or not."

"That's plausable I suppose," Ina responded, "it wouldn't be the first lie this city's fed me. But if I'm going to abandon one belief for another, I'm going to need more than the word of a shadow. What can you show me to distinguish this story from yet another lie?"

The footsteps resumed once more, moving closer and closer to INA. A hooded and masked figure, shrouded in a heavy cloak, emerged from the shadows. The mask was styled like the opera masks worn by those from the Upper Districts on their way to the theatre. "We meet face to face. My name is Revenant, and my body bears the proof." With that said, the cloak was swept aside, and the hardwearing shirt underneath was unbuttoned. The torso revealed was sculpted, though puckered with a series of circular scars. "I was shot repeatedly, and yet here I stand. My body was not healed by the addition of further technology, not was it sutured by the nanobots that the Institue produces - an examination should satisfy you as to that. My life was restored by accelerated cellular regeneration - a biological acceleration of the mitotic process. A technology that, to the people of this city, would be akin to magic."

Ina carefully proceeded forward towards 'Revenant' and reached out her hand to pinch open a scratch on one of the smaller scars and applied healing nanobots through her pointer finger. While the scratch was quickly repaired, the scar remained in place as the nanobots sent her back information that may as well have been nonesense to her. Her synthetic eyes rose to meet his masked face as she spoke somewhat pityingly, "Well you certainly have my attention. If what you say is true, humanity's very lives are at risk, let alone their freedom. So where do I fit into all this?"

"We are few, and we cannot stand against the forces of both the Institute and the Partition." Revenant stated as he rebuttoned his shirt. "Thus, we seek to 'ensure' that things fall the way we desire whilst working from the shadows, in order to set up a scenario where the original purpose of this city can be restored. My presence here is indicative of the interest we hold in the outcome of this particular scenario. Specifically, we have no intention of allowing this facility to be destroyed. The units it produces are too valuable to the future war effort to be destroyed. Will you cooperate with us?"

"I already had hesitations about this and my suspicions extend to both the Institute and the Partition, though I can't guarantee my being able to convince the other 3. Also, it may be difficult to explain a complete failure to the Partition. I suppose I can go along with it, if it's something worth fighting for. Tell me though, can I get my hands on some of this 'magic' of yours?"

"We do not need you to convince the others. You need not even go back to them. You were ambushed by an advanced model during your recon, and you were put into a shutdown state. When you finally reactivated, it was too late and they had already failed. What will be, will be. And as for the magic, what use could a robot have for a biological healing agent?"

"I can think of a few, though I'm more interested in the other 3 the name 'ARC-5' implies. Surely of all those, and potentially more, there's a lovely accessory to help me and, by extension, yourself? I suppose I can go along with this plan though, assuming there's a good chance the 'reactivated' part occurs."

"You show a remarkable willingness to throw your comrades into harm's way. That ability to focus on the long-term good will serve you well." Revenant turned and walked back towards the shadows. "I only hope your convictions remain as strong when they run into the true wall. Will you truly be able to watch them be injured, even killed? I guess only time can tell." The footsteps died away, followed by the sound of the door swinging open, and shutting again.

A screen on the wall flickered into life, and INA was able to watch a camera feed from the initial entry 'hangar' she had run through. From her room, she could see how the battle unfolded.

Ina watched through the screen as the army of droids closed in on them. From the beginning it was clear to her tactical mind that they were outmatched; if they didn't fail entirely, at least one of them was likely to die. These droids had strategy; unlike any of the near mindless AI-Mk2s. Clearly it was either a remote piloting system or some incredible tactical software, much like her own.

As she recieved the sniper's first distress signal, she ignored it with some hesitation, though no emotion showed on her face. Seeing as there were no people around, there wasn't much point to 'emotions' or 'personality' anyways. To her dismay, Leo was the first to take what appeared to be a devastating blow. If these droids worked the way she imagined they did, he wouldn't survive. None of them would.

It was at this point that she modified the plan slightly. If what Revenant had said was true,
there was a bigger picture here, but all he had said was that they needed to fail. She was divided between shouting at him for being so secretive and hugging him for being so open-ended. He was likely the build-your-own-plan sorta guy and if he wasn't, that'd be on him. On that note, Ina began working on a "cosmetic modification" to her audio signals.

A second signal from sniper-boy came in just before she was ready. One fried holo-wolf later, she replied to the 3 with her modified signal. If they were to lose, they may as well lose their hope before they lose their lives. If some miracle got them past those droids, Revenant himself may force his hand and there'd be no telling what other sorts of 'magic' he might possess.

Ina continued to watch the battle for a few moments as the group finally came to the desicion to run away, though it had taken longer than she'd wished. Luckily, with the one droid gone, they had taken an advantage she hadn't expected. Even with the droids blocking their path, they would likely be fine. On that note, Ina ran off through the door and continued exploring the facility; partially to find Revenant and partially to obtain more information about what was inside.

Ina burst through a door into a hive of activity, workers in white coats were bustling around a room filled with machinery. Smaller, more portable pieces of kit were being packed away and ferried out of another door, while others clustered around large data screens, watching the conflict and reading the telemetry from the droids. Some sketched at datapads, doubtless envisaging further improvements to their capabilities. Standing on the edge of the crowd, Ina went unnoticed amid the ordered chaos.

The first thing that crossed Ina's mind was something along the lines of 'get out', but upon further inspection, it seemed as if they weren't paying any attention to her. Maybe they were used to seeing robotic figures around here? It'd make sense, all things considered. Her eyes began to scan the room looking for a human resembling Revenant (likely a lost cause), any advanced technology that could be useful to 'borrow', and a potential kill-switch for the active droids.

As Ina looked around, her eyes met those of a young researcher who had noticed her. She saw fear in his eyes as he opened his mouth and began to shout. "Intruder! Intruder in the situation room!" The effect was instantaneous as the researchers began to grab anything nearby them and run out through the far door. Much of the telemetry continued to run as the storage devices were yanked out during the mad rush.

"That's to be expected I guess, I am supposed to kill them now," Ina thought as the researchers flew around in various directions. For the most part, she ignored them while keeping as many targets in her sight as possible. Revenant would likely be impossible to find unless he wanted to be, so she focused on looking for an advanced weapon or computer chip that could be installed in her own shell. Ideally one she could snatch with her agility before it was taken away. Her search proved useless, with none of the equipment being directly related to the manufacture and upgrade of robotic systems.

Failing that, Ina turned her eyes to the telemetry still persisting on the screens. Information regarding the state of the droids internal processors and servomotors was being beamed pack. Apart from what seemed to be reasonable damage from battle, all systems were functioning nominally.

A clack of footstep behind her alerted her to the presence of Revenant, who appeared to have followed her to the room. "Impressive, are they not? The old models were somewhat akin to the police forces of old - effective enough against average citizens, but incapable when matched with a group of more...militant mindset. These? These models are a 5-man army, coordinating and cooperating with their attacks. Let those researchers run much further and your friends will have to face this level of opposition on a daily basis. Allowing this research to continue would result in the Institute ascendant. Are you sure that is what you want?"

Ina turned to face the returned Revenant as he spoke. After he had finished, she gave him a bleak reply, "I don't love the idea of that kind of danger, but what's the alternative? Murdering all of those people? Waiting for the city to be overrun by these 'invaders' from space? At the very least, if the Institute can take over it'll put an end to all this death. Besides, I'm also especially interested in how this one works," Ina pointed to the model number of what appeared to be the sword-wielding, cloaking drone. "There's one thing I'd like to know though. How do I leave this city and confirm all of your story for myself?"

"That is your alternative. Slaughter those who mean nothing to you in order to save those that matter. The Institute's victory would end the death, but it would swallow up the friends you escaped to. Where would you go without them? What would you do? The Institute would hunt for you, and there would be nobody who would risk taking you in. After all, you ran for a reason. I assume you're in no great hurry to go 'home'."

A faint trace of agitation found it's way onto the cold, plastic face of Ina as she replied. "Well that all depends doesn't it? ARC-5; that implies one of five right? Let me make myself very clear: whatever group you're a part of, I want to be a member of. Whatever else exists out there: I want to see it for myself and, assuming your whole story wasn't a complete lie; I would leave this city. Potentially with them as well."

"You would seek to join a group of which you know nothing over the friends who helped you become truly free?" Revenant snickered. "How terribly fickle of you. Aren't they so lucky to have such a commited friend to stand by their side? You talk in optimism, but what would you do should you find yourselves facing each other on opposite sides of the battlefield?"

At this point, it was clear that he was avoiding her questions. One more try, just to be sure. She fired off a straight, blunt question, without even acknowledging his own, "How do I leave this city?"

"Either the Director of the Institute removes the field, or we show you how to slip through while it remains open. It is not something you can achieve on your own. Even should you get that far, you are then left with the option of roaming the subterranean passages until your power core drains, or climbing to the surface to be torn to shreds by the invaders. An exciting world of possibility awaits." The sarcasm in the last statement was not masked by the modulator.

Ina was taken aback slightly at the fact that he actually answered the question. Definitely unexpected. Human behavior is far more complex that it seems on paper. She continued with the blunt and simple Q/A approach, slightly more patiently this time. "So once you leave, there's no way back in?"

A pause from Revenant. "Information does not come freely. Especially not those we do not know will be of use to us. You know all you need to know for now."

The annoyed expression returned to Ina as she spoke with a hint of disgust. "You'll have to forgive me for being a bit curious, seeing as you expect me to betray everything I thought this world was. For someone who's awfully quick to judge my loyalty, you don't seem to display the slightest bit of trust. Frankly, the only reason I can see for your secrets is that you think I'll disapprove of them, so I'll make you an offer right now. Take me out of the city and let me see this threat to humanity for myself and if I like what I see, you can program anything into my core you deem necessary. Otherwise, I may have to assume we're enemies."

"And what would we gain from this? All it would achieve is intensified searches from the aliens to find where we are hiding. If we wanted to load programs onto your core, your consent is not necessary. After all, one of our number can overwrite the senses of multiple people simultaneously. All we would gain from risking everything is having you not view as an enemy. And that threat of yours is truly meaningless. We cut Pirose down in the middle of a dinner party, and left her intentionally scarred. Don't tell me you honestly think your threats matter to us? The answer is no, accelerated girl. Feel free to consider me your enemy should you wish to do so."

Ina's mind spun in circles as Revenant continued to speak. It made sense in one way to believe what he said. The story was plausible, and there was certainly something unfamiliar about the scars, but at the same time, there was a lot of information to process. The secretive cloak-and-dagger style of his movements and attire also betrayed the part of Ina that wanted to trust him. Her choices from now on would likely pivot from this moment, and here he was claiming she wasn't worth a few basic explanations? So here were two options that had to be chosen uninformed. Loathsome.

After a few moment, Ina finally spoke calmly. "I want to believe you aren't an enemy, but are you honestly so pretentious to believe I'm that far beneath you? That I'm absolutely no use to you beyond my not attacking those 'beneath you' even further? If you really are holding back the power to defeat me, then show it to me!" With her last statement, Ina bolted forward in an attempt to grab Revenant's mask and remove it.

As she lunged forwards, Revenant leapt back, increasing the time it took for her to reach the mask. A loud bang echoed as a bullet from an unseen gun ripped through Revenant's robe. With precious little time to respond, Ina barely managed to adjust her path to evade the bullet as it whistled by.

With a quick series of thruster bursts, Ina was back on course as she released several quick, lunging punches aimed primarily at the mask. Revenant weaved in a leisurely fashion, evading all of the blows with minimal effort. A blue glow began to flicker from his mask's right eyehole as he began to track her movements more promptly and accurately.

Ina flew backwards and released a barrage of ranged lasers towards the masked figure as she focused on predicting and evading whatever attack he may have in store. Revenant sidestepped the barrage, extending his arm and revealing his ornate revolver. A blue sighting beam passed from the mask's eyehole, through a small crystal on the top of the revolver's barrel, to Ina's torso. The revolver roared as a slug blasted its way out at high speed. With the beam autotracking Ina's movement, the shot struck dead centre, smashing through Ina's soft synthflesh casing and bursting out the other side.

As a damage report screen popped up in Ina's vision, she stared in surprise at the fact that he had actually managed to hit her. No one had ever done that since she had written her new tactical prediction program, yet his aim had been perfect even with her movements being this quick. Fine then, if accuracy was his thing, she'd take advantage of it. With that in mind, Ina began shuffling every ounce of power away from her agility systems in an attempt to take advantage of her foe.

The sighting beam dying away with the last shot, Revenant simply took aim at the now incredibly slow-moving form of Ina and blasted away again. The bullet smashed into Ina's shoulder, right in the gap between two pieces of her subdermal armour.

Now effectively an immobile turret, Ina ignored the growing damage report, raised her arm towards Revenant and spread her hand out, releasing a volley of micro-bullets through her synthetic skin, made of tightly packed nano-bots. The bullets pulsed into Revenant, causing him to double over briefly. However, he immediately pulled himself upright and opened fire on Ina once more. The bullet hit home hard, as severe danger warnings began to flicker in front of Ina's eyes.

Ina lowered her arm and forced her nanobots to began repairing her systems at an astonishing rate. Far more quickly than would ordinarily be wise. As this occurred, she spoke defeatedly, "Okay, I think you've made your point. Clearly I'm not match for you right now, but don't think I'll be useless to you forever. If these 'aliens' really do exist, I hope one day I'll be powerful enough to kill the one who gave you those scars..."

"And why would you wish for that? I have no desire to kill the man who almost killed me. Death takes on such an odd perspective from the other side." With that, Revenant turned and stalked off into the shadows.

As he left, Ina called back to him, "We're more alike than you think you know. We both have an awful habit of making wild predictions about people." Ina walked over to a terminal still displaying some telemetry despire the various projectiles that had nearly missed it. That sword droid had a fascinating cloaking ability that could be an impressive first step towards matching Revenant if she could figure it out. On that note, she began hacking the system to download as much information as possible. She succeeded in downloading a large cluster of files, however, a secondary security system had corrupted the data during download, leaving her with several gigabytes of useless character strings.

After a quick deletion, Ina turned her eyes towards the far door where the researchers had run. Revenant had acted like it was her choice, but in the end it likely never was. It would end up this way regardless of whether or not she wished it; no doubt that's why Revenant was here. A severe sense of agitation that never quite reached the point of anger came across her again. That guy was unbelievably....annoying to her.

Either way, it seemed if she wanted one side to be victorious, Ina would need to essentially work for the Institute in the shadows. From this point on, the Partition wouldn't stand a chance; or was that just another farfetched prediction of hers? Her world continued to spin around in circles as she waited for her systems to recharge. After a good long while, she finally left the room via the far door where the scientists had gone.

Ina wandered down the corridor, the walls clinically clean and white. All the doors she walked past were sealed - apparently the scientists hadn't been that panicked. The corridor became monotonous after a whi-. Bloodstains decorated the walls, crimson splatters painted as high as the ceiling. One door opened to her touch, revealing the central reactor powering the facility. It was shrouded in a pile of bodies - the corpses of the researchers. Ina recognised the face of the one who had spotted her - eyes now motionless, face fixed in a rictus of fear. On top of the pile, a small box sat, beeping softly. A digital display was counting down from 240, one number every second.
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New Member
Jul 29, 2019
The floatcar landed in the hangar, and medical personnel were on hand to treat Sayaka's jaw. Dan and Tito were given brief medical attention, then directed to Marquese's office.

Inside, Marquese sat, staring at a computer display. His fist was clenched to the extent that his knuckles were white, and his jaw was clenched. A new item flickered up on the display. "SON OF A BITCH!" he roared, smashing his fist into the nearby wall, putting a sizeable dent into it. He bent over, breathing heavily at first, but bringing it back under control. After a minute he stood upright and looked at the two. "Tuite. Report."
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Aug 22, 2014
A place
Dan squirmed a little at Marquese's current violent attitude, but quickly brought himself back up to attention. "Upon entering the Partition safehouse, we were met by five low down members of the Partition. We made quick work of them. Soon after, we were met by Raptus Omega, who Captain Guntram killed in a single sword blow. We then searched the safehouse. Raptus Omega's internal chips self destructed, but I found a chip bearing a spider motif. Soon after, Private Graves was met by a strange masked man, not unlike those extracted from Pirose's memory. He demanded the chip, claiming that, as I had suspected, they led to the leader of the Partition, but that you needed multiple, and they intended to kill him. I told him that he could have the chip if he worked under Institute command with it, but he clearly did not wish to work with us. Captain Guntram was the first to attack, but he somehow sent her flying across the room and broke her jaw with a single punch. I silently asked for permission from Captain Guntram to hand over the chip to him, as he clearly outpowered all of us, as when I attempted to cuff him, my targeting systems didn't even identify him as there. After stalling for time, I was given permission by Captain Guntram, and handed over the chip. I did not, however, hand over all of its components." Dan pulled the remaining part of the antenna out of his pocket and showed it to Marquese. "I believe this piece could contain some information, such as what frequency it was set to receive, if it could be handed over to the head of technology and his team, of which I am part of, sir. Oh, and another piece of information about this man. He seems to claim that the reason that I could not target him is that he has no implants. I do, of course, dismiss this as impossible, sir." Dan nervously stayed in position. He believed he had done nothing wrong, but it was still very intimidating to see the commander angry in front of him.


New Member
Jul 29, 2019
Stupefied, Leo stared at the debris from the destroyed robots. He just... blew them to pieces. Instantly. We were fighting them for so long, and... He cleared his throat and called after the stranger. "My friend is still inside, probably fighting to stay alive as far as I know. I'm not leaving until I've found out whether she's safe."

Leo continued, "And what detonation are you talking about? You mentioned a 'job', no? Why should we trust you?" As he spoke, he sized up the stranger. He's obviously got a better weapon then we do. Or maybe... he knew their weaknesses. That'd mean he's either been here for some time and found plans for these droids, or he knew how they were built from some other method.

He turned to the others and looked at them quizzically, as if to ask, should we follow him?
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Popular Member
Jul 23, 2014
Not Kansas
Ina glared at piles of mangled bodies. Unforgivable. She had expected the others to, at the very least, let these innocent people leave; not to slaughter them all. Although, none of the other three seemed mentally capable of this savagery. Would they even have had the time to do this? Still, Revenant had made it clear that he had the power to do it himself if that was his goal. Their duel hadn't even lasted a minute before it was obvious.

The typhoon of doubt was cut short by the sight of small box and a falling red number. 240. Ina's mind took off like a bullet; all three sides were likely guilty of causing death for their own reasons, so it shouldn't matter who set the bomb. 239. Revenant had spared her life and told her of a plausible threat to the whole city. 238. Although he left more questions unanswered than solved, he spared her life, which meant a lot to her-- 237 --and he clearly wanted this facility intact. With this last realization, she began to swap what little energy there was left to assist movement and ran up to grab the box. 236, 235.

Bringing up the schematic of the structure she had saved in her database, Ina bolted down the hallway towards the nearest exit. What use would she be in this world after this? The Institute would likely scrap her on sight as a malfunctioning droid and after this, the Partition would view her as a traitor. Revenant had been right, she was a robot with no mission. Perhaps she would be better off decommissioned? Yet exploring human personality had been interesting, or, as some might call it. Exploring...

Perhaps that would be her new mission: to explore. Not for anyone else's sake, not to fulfill some scripted life's purpose, but simply because she loved the feeling of understanding something new. An explorer. A detective. A discoverer. One who would travel the world to discover everything unknown that one could, as the allure of knowledge called to them. Yes, that's who she would be. With that in mind, one great mystery came to mind: just what is it like outside of Magnopolis? It might be a long shot, but the bomb was meant to destroy an entire facility; perhaps if it couldn't dispel the shield, it could at least puncture a hole. As Ina burst through a nearby fire escape, she tucked the bomb under her chin, activated both thrusters, and fueled them with every last bit of energy. Ignoring the massive wave of incoming warnings, Ina shot off towards the nearest edge of the city.


Jul 31, 2013
When the AI heard that there where only 2 minutes left before a supposedly bomb would explode quickly it started to process the options it had. It could try and get Wyatt to follow this person, this would mean it wouldn't get the things done it was planning to do. Even worse would be if INA wouldn't make it out as then the other plan would also become impossible.

It could also try and get Wyatt to search for INA, if Wyatt ends up finding it and makes it out alive the other plan would still work, even better would be if Wyatt found a computer with good enough processing power and plugs the AI in. That would mean the its new plan would have worked. Though it recognized that this possibility has become very small.

It came down at how trustworthy this person was. If this person was from the partition then he probably speaks the truth about the bomb. The only question is what he is doing here and why no one knew about him earlier?

The other option would be that this guy is from the Institute, blew those droids up to make it look like he is on our side and now tries to get us into some kind of trap. This wouldn't make much sense. Therefor the AI decided that it should try to get Wyatt to follow this person, however before it could say anything to Wyatt to influence his thoughts Wyatt had already made his mind up.

"If you think you should look for INA then I will help" Wyatt said to Leo. The AI quickly responded to Wyatt with "That is suicide! If INA is really still fighting for its life you won't be able to help and get out anyway. In fact the chance that you find INA and get out is very small as is." However Wyatt ignored the AI.


King of the Wicked
Dec 19, 2012
Look behind you
Sy stared at the man as he destroyed the remaining droids in no time at all. After all the time that they'd spent trying, and he immediately smashed them all to bits.
"Hold on, who the hell are you? We weren't told about anyone else coming on the mission. Besides, if you're so capable of killing all of these droids so easily, why are we even here?"
Sy then remembered the reason that the others had been using for trying to escape.
"Besides, we can't just leave Ina in here. Her last radio message confirmed that she was being swarmed by hundreds of droids, we can't just leave her to die."


New Member
Jul 29, 2019
The stranger failed to pause at their objections. "I told you what'll happen. You want to run in there and fry, that's your funeral. I hope somebody cares, but I don't. And fighting hundreds of droids? These were the only 5 they had made - data dumps confirm that. No idea if you're still so sure that you have to save this 'friend' of yours." He continued walking until he reached a safe distance away, then slumped down and opened a hatch on his arm. A small screen showed the countdown as it wound down to 0.

Meanwhile Ina was flying rapidly away from the facility, the small cylinder clutched in her arms as the wind whipped at her hair. The forcefield grew nearer and nearer as she charged madly towards it. As she glanced down at the bomb, she saw from the timer that the forcefield was still too far away. To continue would be near suicide. As a last, desperate gesture, she hurled the bomb towards the field, backthrusting in order to be sure that she would escape the blast. As she backed off, she saw that the arc of the bomb took it too short as it sailed towards a cluster of houses towards the edge of the city.


A load roar split the air as the charge detonated. The fiery burst could be seen even from the converted warehouse as heat and light pierced into the sky. The stranger looked up in surprise, before opening a communications channel to an unknown individual. Ina, being much nearer, could hear the shouts of alarm and fear, the cries of pain, and the alarms starting to sound. People rushed around like ants down in the streets trying to stop the spread of the fire and assist those who had been caught in it.

Back at the lab, the stranger broke off his transmission. "Seems that your 'friend' was pretty set on preventing you from completing the mission. They ran in, leaving you more vulnerable to these droids. They lied about where they were and what they were doing. And now, they've taken the bomb I planted in that facility and dropped it in a residential zone - an act that the media will doubtless try and pin on us. Not only have they sabotaged the mission, they've framed us for an atrocity as well. I don't know who this person is, but I think it's pretty clear they've been playing you for fools. No wonder Spider was concerned as to your true alleigances - there's a cancer in your squad."

His voice carried anger in it as he climbed to his feet and began walking back into the facility. "My name is Wolff. I lead a small division of the Partition with the task of rooting out Institute agents within our ranks. Due to mission performance, your squad has been put under quite the level of scrutiny - unauthorised retreats, revealing the location of one of our safehouses - all very suspicious behaviour. And here we are again, at the tail end of another failure on your part. This cannot, it will not continue. This fourth squad member, Ina. Eliminate her. Bring her chassis and core to the following co-ordinates. Do not show yourselves in front of us again unless you have the remains of the droid as proof. I will give you a timespan of a week. After that time, my dogs will be hunting all of you down, and they will not stop until you all die. Now begone! You have a new mission, and I have a bomb to replant." His back disappeared into the shadows within the hangar.

Marquese paced backwards and forwards, a brooding look on his face whilst Dan spoke. "None of this makes sense. Our intel suggests that they were to be staging for a mission of some kind down there. The fact that a bomb just went off in the Undercity, and the fact that Raptus didn't go with them, tells me we have a leak somewhere in the Institute. Our mission details are being passed down to the Partition, and it's coming from inside. The fact that this masked man showed up suggests that EXODUS is also aware of our movements." He slumped into his chair. "The only people I can definitely trust with this are the two of you and Guntram - your whereabouts are accounted for from briefing to return. That leaves potentially anybody else who could have got that message out. Tuite - you already spend a lot of time with the cybersecurity people, and with that antenna fragment you have an excuse to spend more time down there. I doubt you'll learn much from it, but it'll serve as an excuse. I need you to review all data transmissions from this department to the outside. I'll give Chri- ahem, Officer Rowlands the order to authorise you to monitor those logs and look for any suspicious transmissions, using the antenna as an excuse. Graves, you'd look too suspicious going in there. Wait on standby. The moment Tuite turfs up anything, I need you to be available as backup. Be ready to move at a moment's notice the instant that Tuite finds anything. This has to be quick, precise and clinical. I cannot allow these breaches to continue. Tuite, I'll pass on the rest of the stuff to the Science team, see if they can't figure it out, but this must take priority. No good finding a big weakness only for them to know we know 5 minutes later. Rowlands will be the only one to know about the antenna. If anybody else gets too interested, or knows more than they should, use that as a cue. Dismissed."
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New Member
Jul 29, 2019
Incredulous at Wolff's claims, Leo barely stopped himself from running in after the man. He accused Ina of lying, sabotaging the mission, and killing innocents... that's inconceivable. Or... or is it...? Somebody's lying here. Why would Ina have a reason to lie? For that matter, why would this Wolf person? After a moment of silence, he turned to the others and stated in a clear, level voice. "I absolutely cannot believe this. Why would Ina do that to us? I need to find her..."

"Don't wait up for me. Report me to Spider, I don't care. There's something more worrying going on here than I'd imagined." Leo wrenched open the collapsed door and sprinted off into the distance, away from the factory and away from the city borders. Heading deeper into the undercity, he sent a message to Ina: You botched the mission. Were you really fighting droids? Meet me at the usual place. If you're still true to your loyalties, that is. We need to talk.

"What ever you end up doing, DO NOT destroy INA. Not before I have had a look in her system." The AI said to Wyatt "It probably has plenty of valuable data I can recover." it Continued, Wyatt responded: "That data is a lot less valuable then peoples lives. If INA really is still part of the Institute and Leo finds her he might end up in trouble". He then looked at Syderis and said: "We should probably try and find him. I'm not sure what is going on with INA but I don't think it is good to have Leo and INA be alone. At least, not right now"

Syderis found himself agreeing with Wyatt. While he despised the idea of killing Ina outright without asking for an explanation, he knew that Leo would be digging his own hole if he still met with Ina. He wanted to believe that he had been wrong about Ina before, and she was still against the Institute as much as the rest of them. Still, sacrificing people of the undercity for the sake of a factory... was it even intentional? Did she mean for the people to die, or was she unable to get away? It felt like he was constructing fantasies, but he hoped so greatly that they were true.
"I agree, we need to find Leo. If our superiors find him to be with the very one that we were told... to neutralise, that'll look very, very bad for him and for us. As for Ina... we need to contact her covertly. We can't just do what Leo's probably going to do and run after her. DO you still have some kind of connection to her after you messed around in her a while back?

"What do you mean with some kind of connection?" Wyatt replied. "I can send messages to her the same way you can as well. I didn't build anything in to control or read her mind if that is what you mean. When I was working on her she claimed she wanted to leave the Institute for the very reason they wouldn't be against doing things like that." Wyatt paused for a moment.

"In hind sight, maybe I should have done it. There is nothing I can do now to fix that error though so lets instead of standing here focus on finding Leo. Where do you think he went off to?"

"I don't know, but I think he still has his transponder on, so I should be able to follow him. I don't know if you should come though, I can camouflage and hide whereas it'll be a lot harder for you. We want to know where he is, not tip him off that we're there. Most likely, Ina'll be meet with him, and we can decide what to do from there."

Though Wyatt did agree with Syderis in that he wouldn't be able to hide as good as Syderis he still didn't like to not come. After all Leo might be in danger and it might have been very well his own fault as he was the only one that was able to peek into INA's programs and thus might have been able to see it coming.

"I can stay a bit further behind." Wyatt Replied."Then I can rush in if I am needed and we all got the same mission to destroy INA. I think it would be fair that the decision if we do so are made when we are all together and who knows, maybe INA just glitched out or something and I can easily fix it."

"Alright, just stay behind and I'll keep you informed. Let's move."
Leo's transponder was still on, so Sy was soon able to catch up to him using his stealth tech. It wasn't easy, following a guy with a wingsuit and jetpack while Sy was simply running along the ground, but he was just about keeping up.

Meanwhile, Ina's eyes followed the horrific arc of the bomb and the catacalysm that followed: a failure of epic proportions. In that moment, she wished she had a firehose instead of a wished she just...never existed. Any sort of minor good deeds that may have helped humanity were offset by this...and then some. Turning back, Ina increased the distance between her and the disaster.

A few moments later, a screen popped up in her vision, displaying Leo's message. "Botched the mission." Not only had she ruined it, but she had failed to properly ruin it as well. Leo was maybe the last person Ina wanted to see right now; facing him would just be an emotional torrent for him. Still, it might be a wise idea in the long run. Another few minutes, and Ina approached Leo's new home.

Finally, Leo stopped, and Sy was able to take a breather. His active camouflage was running out of time, so he halted just outside the building where Leo was. His eyes adjusted as he shifted his vision to X-rays, and he could make out Leo's fuzzy form, and walking towards him, someone else... Ina, it was her for certain. He knew it, Leo must have messaged her to meet up here. Making his way around the building, he was able to climb up the side of the building and listen in through an open window.
He messaged to Wyatt, silently, "Stay quiet. I'm going to listen in through here, and I'll relay the audio to you."

Wyatt did what Syderis asked him to. He stayed a bit further away and made sure his "presence" wouldn't be able to get noticed by Leo or INA. The AI also sends a simple text message to Syderis, letting him know that he got it while making sure it could record the whole thing.

Leo was sitting at a table when Ina entered. He stood up to face her for a moment, and took a hard look at her. Then he turned away, and asked her, "So is it true? Did... did people die?"

Ina's face looked dead, as if all manner of emotion had died off of it. She replied in a similar, cold voice, "Yes, it's true." She stared back, her ordinarily bright eyes dimmed from lack of energy. "I made a fatal error and it cost them all their lives..."

Silence. Leo was struggling with what to say next. He sighed. "I don't understand. We had a PLAN." His voice grew momentarily louder. "We had a MISSION. We had an understanding, I thought... and then... you destroyed it. All of it. Just like that." He sat wearily down on the ground. "Why? Why did you do it? What were you possibly hoping to change by lying to us? To... me?"

Ina responded without the slightest hint of emotion, "The plan to kill everyone in the building? Does it really surprise you that I tried to 'redirect' that plan? I guess it didn't stop you though. Now we're both guilty of our own crimes."

"Aggh, don't bring me back to that point again." Leo stood up and began to pace the room, keeping his eyes down. "In the end, it didn't even matter. The factory is still going to be destroyed, along with anybody who remains inside it, and there's nothing you or I can do about that." What matters now is intentions. "I meant to help the people of this city against the institute by choosing the lesser of two evils - destroy the factory, or do nothing and watch the people continue to suffer. Whatever you meant to do by removing the bomb, throwing the plan away, and taking off after your own intentions, it failed miserably.

"Yes, I accept the 'guilt' placed upon me for the task I intended to do. I meant to help end the suffering, end the war. Do you have any sense of accountability for your actions?! You increased the pain, Ina! You hurt the people! I don't know what the hell you meant to do, but it definitely wasn't remotely moral, even according to your own ill-informed personality."

"I 'meant' to leave this city. I've had enough of this war, and these sides. The Institute that starves people and hoards food. The Partition that uses it as an excuse to slaughter civilians. Whatever exists outside of this: meteors, invaders, wastelands; I want to take all of the best people and weather it. Maybe someday I could wear emotions of my own. The kind that don't melt away when it becomes convienient for me..." Ina caught herself veering off topic. "If I were perfect, no one would have died tonight, but no matter what I do, I can never seem to calculate the perfect actions."

"But that doesn't fix the problem for anybody but yourself," Leo replied. "You can't run away forever. If there were a chance of a better life outside of this city, away from the iron fist of the Institute and the creeping gaze of the Partition, no longer underneath these neon stars... why don't we know about it?" Ina countered with a quick retort, "If there's enough food to feed everyone, why are some starving?" "Is that not the fault of the Institute? They have supreme power in Magnopolis, they ordain everything. I'd expect that famines and starvation are part of their plan to keep the people in fear and abject suffering... but I don't see why you bring that up," Leo said, narrowing his eyes. "It seems like a fairly obvious answer."

"I believed coming here was a waste of my time. I guess I was right for once," Ina stared back for a moment. "It's as if all morality has been sapped from this city, or maybe that's just the nature of war. Either way, I'm tired of it all. My goal is to leave the city and once I know what's out there, maybe I can really start to make a difference." Finishing her rant, Ina turned and began to leave slowly.

"Ina, wait," Leo said, stepping forward. "If you're questioning my intentions... I want to help the people of this city. I really do. But I also want to have a life worth living... and the lines between black and white have blurred. Do you think... do you really think that there is hope, outside of this city? I should tell you now that, for you, there is no hope left inside of it - the Partition has... ordered your extinction..." He trailed off and paused. Ina stopped for a moment, allowing him to continue. After a brief moment of silence, Leo went on, "So. If you're leaving, I'm coming with you."

"Why," Ina asked? "So you can delete me and be the big 'Partition hero' who not only 'cleared out' the researchers, but killed the malfunctioning robot?" Leo raised his eyebrows and replied, "Do you put such little faith in me, after all we've been through? Of course not. Reason being, our whole squad is, as they put it, 'under surveillance'. Since we've been together for so long, it's only natural that with any further mishaps, I'll be the next target. And with our history of failed missions... I find it likely there would be hardly any defense for my execution. Don't take this the wrong way - I'm not running just to save my own skin. But if there is a hostile power at work here, I can't do anything to work against the Institute, by my own, under their control." He paused for a breath's space, and finished, "And for what it's worth, I regret being sharp. But today's events were catastrophic, and this is a difficult time."

Without bothering to turn back, Ina spoke, still with no trace of emotion, "I'm going to go find that abandoned restaurant and spend some time to recharge there. You can come and either join me or redeem yourself by killing me to continue fighting with the Partition." A small trace of sadness and regret filled her voice as she continued, "Honestly, the world might be better off if you did." With her last statement, Ina raced out of the door and took off into a nearby alleyway.

A world of voices filled Leo's head. She's running away. She's confused. She wants to die. She doesn't want to die. She's a robot. She's alive. Don't get attached. Don't let her go. Save yourself. Do what is right. Do nothing. Do everything. He walked over to a pouch that had been packed earlier with travelling essentials, picked it up, and strapped it on. Leave her to her fate. Follow the path that is easy. Follow the path that is hidden. He turned off the lights, walked outside, shut and locked the door, and slid the passkey into his pocket. The world is counting on you. Nobody needs you. Nobody depends on you. You can save them. You can't save them. She needs you. She doesn't need you. You don't need anyone. You need her. Stay alive. You need her. She needs... what? He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and sighed quietly. "This is a terrible idea," he whispered to nobody in particular, striding off after Ina.

"I think that now is a good time to talk to Leo." Wyatt messaged to Syderis after he was sure INA was gone. "Just so you know beforehand, I am against killing INA if there is another way. Though I guess we all are."

"I don't want to kill her either. You heard what she was saying, she just wants to get out, and didn't want to kill everyone inside the facility. Let's try to stop Leo, he's screwed if he goes after her to join her, and the Partition finds out. Turn off your transponder to be certain we're not seen together."
Sy did the same as he began running after Leo, shouting his name as the man exited the building. Hearing his name called, Leo looked back over his shoulder, recognizing Syderis. Sorry dudes... it's been a good run. But, I think I know what I have to do. Leo pulsed his jetpack and took off after Ina at high speed.

Sy gave chase initially, but soon realised the futility if this. Leo could fly, and this time he knew that Sy would be on his tail. Instead, he stopped, and sent a loudly spoken message to Leo, ensuring its security this time.
"Leo, I don't want to hurt Ina either, I heard what you two said. But going anywhere with her will get the Partition on your back. I'll be damned if I'm being sent to kill you as well as Ina."

Wyatt started to run as soon as he gained the message and turned his transponder off. When Wyatt got to Syderis he already stopped the chase. Once Wyatt got next to Syderis he simply asked: "And now?"

Leo's implant beeped. A message, from Sy. Leo reversed his thruster and thought for a moment, then quickly composed another message: I'm glad for your support, even if it seems misplaced right now, but I can't be certain where Ina's going. Give me some time to find out her intentions. Maybe you won't have to kill me after all. He was losing Ina's trail. I have to find out what's going on, but I'll let you know ASAP. There just... isn't enough time to explain everything to Spider, or anyone in the Partition. Leo sent the message to Sy, then took off again after Ina.

"Fine... but get back to us soon. We only have a week."
"What now? I'm not sure. We need to keep Wolff's dogs off of us, and that means either killing Ina, or proving that she's innocent. Well, we could go into hiding, if we're confident that we can do it so well. What do you think?"
Sy thought back to EXODUS. Could they help him? He doubted it. Without Ina's intervention, he'd likely have failed that task. It wasn't as if he was totally in their good graces at the moment... but it was worth a shot. Neurally, he sent Natalya a message, reading as followed:
"Ina screwed the mission, I guess because she felt it was wrong. Now some guy called Wolff is telling us if we can't kill Ina in a week, he'll kill us instead. I can't kill Ina, her intentions were pure. I need EXODUS to help me hide... and I may have a potential recruit with me, Wyatt. He's a good guy."


Aug 22, 2014
A place
'Yes, sir!' said Tuite, before hurrying to Rowlands' office. As he entered the department, he instantly slowed down to a brisk walk. If there was a spy in there, Dan would need to act normal. He walked over to Rowlands, and quietly, checking nobody was listening in, he coughed to get his attention. 'Ahem, sir.'

"Ah, Dan, grab yourself a seat!" Rowlands gesticulated wildly in the general direction of a set of chairs, still typing away furiously. "Just finishing up getting you the permissions that you need in order to be able to monitor external communications. You're also getting your own cubicle space - can't have this sensitive information leaking around. The data alone could unmask countless deep cover agents in the wrong hands." Rowlands finished typing and spun round. "Marquese has told me very little, but I assume he knows what he's doing. It's not my place to pry. Come on, follow me, I'll show you your new workspace."

"Uh, yes sir." Dan replied, checking around nervously to see if anyone had heard Rowlands. He then hurried after Rowlands, he doubted the man had been on any stealth missions before, he was very loud about an extremely sensitive matter. He sent a silent location tracker to Tito, so that he could see where he had to position himself. Dan wasn't sure if Rowlands knew about Tito, but he couldn't risk Rowlands shouting about him to the world.

Rowlands paused at the door. "Oh, and Dan? You're being way too obvious. You look nervous, you're constantly looking over your shoulder, and you're generally looking really suspicious. I don't know how big of a lead this antenna thing is, but if it's supposed to be hush-hush like Marquese says, then you need to calm down a little. If I walk out there with you, and you continue acting like you currently are, people will notice, and they will take an interest. When you're working with secret information, you can't let it show. Take a minute to calm yourself if you need to, then follow me."

Dan stopped in his tracks. Of course, he wasn't working in the shadows, he was in plain view. Of course he had to look normal. That's why Rowlands was acting so normal. He straightened his back, then decided against it, slumping a little the way he had been doing recently. He put a slightly sad look onto his face and flicked his hood up. He put his hands in his pockets, then nodded to Rowlands, carrying on.

Rowlands led Dan through the office, nodding and waving to people as he went past.Dan caught a brief glance from Tessie, before she snapped her head away and carried on working. Rowlands continued to thread his way amongst the desks until he reached a set of small doors at the far end. A small scanner was located next to each one, flashing softly. Rowlands pushed his thumb onto it and the door swung open. Inside was a small room with a desk and computer much like the ones in the main office. Rowlands closed the door. "And here's where you'll be working. Your thumbprint has been registered to the scanner outside and you'll have 24 hour access to this room should you need it. The computer is running on an entirely separate network, so you needn't worry about the rest of the team snooping about what you're doing.

Now, you'll see a lot of external messages. Many of those will be encrypted and unreadable, and will be sent from servers 14-18. Those are going to deep cover agents, and attempting to trace or decrypt those is a serious crime. All the other standard messages should be readable by the decrypter on this computer, and you should be able to exclude those too. Any additional ones should be coming from your antenna. If in doubt, check the permlog files - all external communications need to be electronically signed by the Director of the Department.

I think that covers everything. Best of luck with your antenna hunt." Rowlands pressed a button, swinging the door open, before exiting and closing it behind him. As the door clunked shut, Dan was left on his own save for the softly humming computer.

Dan swung himself down into the seat in front of the computer. After quickly taking in his surroundings, to ensure there were no potential cameras watching, he held the antenna in one hand, and touched the computer with the other. Two of his secret projects, he didn't want anyone else taking a look. Interface connection start. It was a quick mental command, and soon, all of the data in the computer could be processed by his systems. A blue light shone through the palm of his right hand, the one holding the antenna, and it passed through it 4 times, before transmitting the data to his system. He added a search parameter. Any messages that were sent to, from, or contained data similar to that gathered from the antenna would be included. He added another. Messages sent around the time of their previous mission, starting from slightly before its announcement and slightly after it taking place, would be included. The memory of Dan's attempt to hack into Godetzka's systems came to mind. He added messages that were unrelated to cleaning sent to cleaning robots. Finally, he was reminded of when Tessie had been angry at him for insulting the Partition. He paused for a second, before anger overtook him, and he added messages sent by Tessie. Once his system had found all of these messages, he set to work both manually and virtually scanning through them.

Dan checked through the messages one by one. The initial search - for signals similar to the antenna - turned up one single message. Sent about a month ago. No record of where in the Institute it had come from, or where it was directed to.

The second category revealed five messages. 3 were from server 17, so could be reliably discarded. One was fully legible, and carried the appropriate authorisation from Director Pirose. Some advert for a fundraiser or something. The third was encrypted, and had been sent from server 43. A quick check down the server directory linked it to the Cybersecurity branch - the room just outside. The message carried no authorisation from Marquese or Rowlands, and had been sent to a personal computer located in the outskirts of the Upper Levels.

The other two search categories turned up blanks, leaving only two messages out of place.

Tito, make sure nobody leaves the Cybersecurity department, I think we have our traitor. After sending his warning to Tito, he switched off the computer. He walked outside, hands in his pockets. Yawning, he walked back to Rowlands' office, purposefully looking away from Tessie. He knocked on the door and waited.

Rowlands opened the door. "Dan. Was there anything else you need?"

'Not exactly.' Dan said, shutting the door behind him. 'I was just wondering what you thought of this message.' A blue light lit up on his palm, and the encrypted message hung in the air slightly above it. 'Sent from this department to a personal computer on the outskirts of the Upper Districts. Encrypted, and unauthorised by you or Marquese. Sent between the time of the previous mission's announcement and carrying out. When decrypted it reads... uh, give me a second.' Dan's neural accelerator was put at high speeds - 5 minutes per millisecond. He retrieved the standard decryption program and set it to decrypt the message.

"Can't wait to see you. Already on my way. You'd better be ready for me when I come through the door. ;-)"

'Uh.. actually, sir.. that message is.. umm.. seems personal. It doesn't actually contain any details on the mission.' Dan's face flushed red. He shut his hand and the screen displaying the encrypted message disappeared. He hurried out of the room and back into the room he had been in before. This time he would make sure to decrypt messages before sending them to anyone. False alarm. He sent to Tito. He instead turned to the message that was related to the antenna. He studied it carefully to start off with. Sometimes problems could be solved without coding.

The message was simply a collection of random data packets. The source and destination were both undefined. Dan, confused, set his system to analyse all of the data packets. All of the data packets decrypted to the same information. N28deg.

Dan sent a message to Rowlands, he didn't really want to meet him in person after what had just happened. The message attached is somehow related to the antenna, my scanning says it is, but when decrypted, all of the data packets simply read 'N28deg', does this mean anything to you?

Dan received a message in reply. Personally have no idea. I did just run it through the database - it appears that it may be a bearing. They used to use them for navigation before road systems and such were built up before the war. Not sure what that has to do with the antenna though.

Perhaps it is a location of a partition base. thought Dan. He gathered all of the information he could on bearings. He opened a map of the city, and set his system to use the data gathered on bearings to locate N28deg. ERROR. LOCUS SITE REQUIRED.

Locus site? What the hell is a locus site? Dan searched through the databases for all the information on 'locus sites'.

The computer returned an entry. "In order to navigate using a bearing, you must first have a starting location, as bearings are a relative method of navigation. A bearing tells you the direction of an object from a certain point, but if you were to stand at an entirely different point, then the bearing would be different for the same object."

Ugh. A starting point was needed. Well, this email contains data that's similar to that found in the antenna, but you need a starting point for the bearing, and there's no record of where this email came from, or was sent to. I think this might be our traitor, indicating meeting points or something, but there's nothing more to go on really. Is there anything else you'd like me to do? We might need more antennae to work out anything else. Dan sent the message to Rowlands.

Traitor? What do you mean, traitor? Is that why Marquese is having you look into this antenna? He thinks there's a traitor on the inside?

Uh, well, not exactly, like, an information leak or something. I don't really understand but I think that someone's email has been hacked or something?

...I wasn't supposed to know about this, was I? You're really not cut out for this kind of stuff - I can tell that's a poor attempt to cover your slip. Fucking hell Dan! Why did Marquese put you of all people up to this?

It may be that that message was sent by the traitor, but unless it's a preagreed code, even a bearing with a predetermined starting point isn't enough. You'd need a distance, or something... Is there seriously nothing else suspicious? No messages whatsoever that don't fit the normal protocol?"

Dan went back to the messages, and entered a new search category: messages that did not have approval by Marquese or Rowlands. He was red from ear to ear from embarrassment. One message popped up - the same one as earlier. Encrypted, from server 43, no authorisation. Surprised there were so few, Dan added another search category: messages missing records of where it was sent from or where it was sent to. One message fitted those criteria - again, it was one he had seen before. The antenna-like signal, carrying solely a bearing.

It seemed strange to Dan that this personal message was the only message that had no authorisation. So, he decided to go through how the mission had gone. They had travelled to the safehouse, and the partition had been ready for them. Then it hit him. Already on my way did not mean that they were going. It was code for him, Tito and Sayaka having already set off. And the 'better be ready for me' actually meant 'better be ready for them'. Alright, do not tell anybody about this, and please don't tell Marquese that I told you, but soon it probably won't matter. That message I showed you WAS leaking information to the partition, but it was under the guise of being personal information. I need to find out who sent the attached message, is there any way to do so? He sent another message to Tito. It was NOT a bloody false alarm. If anyone tries to leave, make up something about a droid going rampant or something. Just make sure people don't leave.


New Member
Jul 29, 2019
Rowlands inspected the message for a few minutes before messaging back. I can narrow it down to a sub-cluster, but nothing further from there. It'll be up to you to figure out who it is from that point.

A printer in the corner of the room whirred into life, spewing out a list of four names.

Johnson Dugrecy
Gemma Axton
Tessie Undurbis
Maxwell Smyth

It's one of these four people who sent the message. I can't narrow it down any more than that. Maybe try checking the house first - either that or give the list to Marquese and let his boys find out the answers from that point, if you have the stomach for it.

As Dan pondered the list, another message came in from Tito. Sorry Dan, urgent reassignment. Marquese has a job he needs doing, pretty clandestine. Until Guntram comes out of medical and you find the mole, I'm the only person who fits the bill. Good luck. Dan was left alone.

As Sy watched Leo and Ina disappear, he received a reply from Natalya. I'm assuming you put two and two together then. Well if you want my help, tough. We have enough on our hands dealing with other shit right now. I'm the only person available and Wolff knows me well enough to pick me out. I help you and his dogs start breaking EXODUS apart. If he were to find us...I'm not convinced I could stop him. You're not important enough to risk that happening - you're on your own.

As Sy digested the message, another detonation filled the night sky as the second bomb detonated the droid factory.
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Popular Member
Jul 23, 2014
Not Kansas
Ching. The remnants of a once-used doorbell rang softly as Leo closed the restaurant's door behind himself. Dust, and a sense of mystery hung in the air, much in the way rain wouldn't. As he stepped forward through the restaurant's entrance, he scanned the building's interior with his ocular implant, searching for Ina. Although several heat sources stood out at once, such as a dying cooler and decaying food, Ina's form wasn't appearing on this level. Turning, Leo found a flight of old wooden stairs, and ascended to the second floor.

After turning through a hallway a few times, Leo's eyes met Ina, fiddling with a power outlet. The room looked like it had once served the function of a bedroom, before years of neglect had torn the building apart. A dirty window let in a dim illumination, a half broken bed with moldy sheets on top claimed the corner and peeled chunks of paint from the walls lined the dusty floor. Ina's polymer face showed a faint combination of both sorrow and even a little fear. "I don't want to die but...I don't want to live with this guilt either," she spoke softly across the room as she noticed him. "I can accept whichever fate you decide for me."

Leopold briefly gazed at her, then walked across the room and quietly sat down on a worn rug. After a moment of watching Ina, he replied, "I've already made this choice before. Don't you remember?" Their first meeting surged into memory. Yes... that time, I could have just destroyed her. But I didn't. "I don't want you to die either," Leo said, as he deliberately swirled a finger in the intricate patterns embroidered into the faded rug. "We all have our guilt to live with. Yes - even I do..." Leo's face momentarily twinged, as a shadow seemed to pass over it. But it lasted only for a moment.

With his words, the fear part of her expression melted away and her focus returned to the outlet. She continued on to explain, "My core works similar to a car battery. It can last a very long time as long as I continue to move around, but if I overwork it, it needs to be charged." Ina promptly reached to her back and opened a panel, revealing a very short cord along with a few inlets. Turning around, she fidgeted a bit, until the cord was securely fit into the outlet. "This should be a bit faster if I enter sleep mode. I'll awake in a few hours. In the meantime, we'll see if you're lying or not." With that, the blue light in her eyes faded and her shell went limp.

As Ina drifted off into, assumedly, visions of electric sheep, Leo whispered, "Actions speak louder than words." He waited for a few moments, to gauge whether she had really entered a sleep mode, then rose and left the room. Heading downstairs, he did a silent scan for any activity in the surrounding environment, and was satisfied with the results. In the hours that passed before Ina would wake up, Leo settled himself in to do a full systems check, calibrate his implants, and rummage the place for anything edible. He ended up finding a few tins of crab meat and seaweed buried beneath layers of broken furniture. It wasn't that bad, for being several months out of shelf life.

After 3.6 hours had passed, Ina's shell began to power on again; finishing the process in about 30 seconds. She whipped the plug out of the wall and retracted it, closing the compartment and heading downstairs to meet Leo, who was consuming what looked to be barely edible. "Well for what it's worth, thank you." Ina stared at the food, holding back disgust as she held back most emotions. "What do you know about this city's shield?" She asked while searching for information on the internet as well.

"Your gratitude is acknowledged," Leo said as he bit off another strand of seaweed, his eyes half-closed now that Ina had awoken. "The shield? I mean... it's shaped like a dome? And it keeps the weather out?" He closed his eyes totally, seemingly thinking hard. "I don't really know what you're asking. What about the shield? I don't have any idea about its technical details, if that's what you mean."

"Well yes, that's what the Institute says anyway," Ina replied as her searches returned blank, one after the other. "Of all people, I'm sure you realise why I'm quick to question that." Quickly giving up on the concept of a simple search and find, Ina instead focused her search on general energy shielding technology. Obviously, the specific location of the generator could be narrowed down to well-guarded areas; it would be better to find a way through without completely destroying the shield though.

"At this point, though, I have to ask... something you said earlier leaves me a little confused. I believe it was something to the effect that there were... invaders? A broken world? Outside of the shield?" A puzzled look came across Leo's face as he opened his eyes. "If that's the case, then, why are you still trying to get to the shield? And why do you have any reason to believe there's anything outside of it at all?"

Ina continued to focus on the information as she responded, "There was a man in that facility who knew a surprising amount of things. He also happened to spare my life. I don't trust him fully, I don't think I trust anyone anymore, but he did raise the question of that shield and the outside of it. One thing I do know however, is that you don't put tons of energy into keeping up a shield if there's nothing outside of it."

"Ah... well, of course, that makes sense." Leo paused. "Did you say just now that you met another person in the factory? If he's the one who told you of these things, who is he, and who is he associated with? I hardly believe he could be with the Partition, although we did meet another Partition operative ourselves..."

A bit of frustration escaped Ina's wall of emotion onto her face for a moment. "He barely told me a thing. The entire time, he wore a mask and constantly refused to answer my questions. He simply claimed there were invaders outside of the shield and demanded I not destroy the facility which, as I'm sure you already know, didn't turn out well."

Before Leo could answer, both of them heard the door click open, and a heavy tread begin to move through the rooms downstairs.

Recognizing the danger immediately, Ina bolted towards the window and stole a glance outside as she aimed her laser at it and fired. The laser beam refracted through the window, slowly melting the glass as it did. The footsteps from beneath paused, then could be heard running towards and up the stairs as the laser slowly cut through the window.

"Ina, move!" Leo charged at the window and jumped through it headfirst, powering up his wingsuit as he called back, "Let's evac!" He made a loop and activated his ocular heat sensor, scanning the restaurant for the intruder's location. As he scanned, he suddenly noticed a heat source above him, and dropping. A heavy weight smashed into his back and the wingsuit, not designed for double loads, plummeted, bringing them both to the ground. Leo gasped as the air was driven from his lungs - a couple of cracking sounds could be heard as a sharp pain lanced through his chest. Right next to his ear, Leo heard the unmistakable sound of a pistol being cocked. "Don't move. You're no good to me dead, but that doesn't mean I'll hesitate."

Ina, distracted by the sight of Leo plummeting, heard a tread behind her and the cocking of an assault rifle. "Turn around. Slowly." A familiar voice. Tito stood, training his rifle at her. "We're here to talk, but you weren't being particularly sociable. Co-operate, and you'll be safe."

Realizing it would be no use to fight against the assailant on top of him, Leo let his arms fall limply to the ground. He strained his eyes to try and see who it could be, while remaining as still as possible.

Ina took a moment to compose herself and bury her emotions again. The situation looked fairly bad, but she might just manage to get out of this with Leo if she played her cards right. Ina slowly began to turn around and spoke in an innocent schoolgirl-ish voice, manipulating the emotion to match her well-acted terror, "A-are you s-sure we'll be s-safe? He's been manipula--" Roughly half-way into her sentence, she cut off and fired her laser in his direction, activating her thrusters as well.

Tito lazily sidestepped the laser, as if having anticipated it. "It's been a while, but you're still pretty easy to read, huh? I should probably mention that if you go outside of this building your partner will die. Unlike me, the Director isn't so forgiving. Now, I haven't shot back at you. I have no hostile intentions. As I said, we're here to talk. No need for it to become anything else."

Down below, Leo caught a glimpse of the face of Director Karl Marquese, a grim smile on his face, as he twisted around.

Ina continued to fire more lasers towards him while speaking casually, "I won't kill you either, but I need a hostage and I'm not waiting for your reinforcements to arrive. This will be much easier if you stop evading."

"Sir. Recommend applying pressure." Leo felt a firm grip on one of his hands, before a finger was yanked back roughly, a vicious snapping sound. "Your friend has just had one of his fingers broken because of your actions." Tito said, entirely dispassionately. "Continue in this way, and Marquese will continue as well. Your friend has 206 bones in his body. Some ribs probably got broken on the way down, plus that finger. Still plenty of time for you to see reason and listen peacefully."

Leo winced visibly as he screamed quietly in a broken tone. He had overheard the communication, but didn't know whether Ina could hear him if he tried to shout. He attempted to turn his head around to free his mouth and nose from the ground.

Ina made a quick wince at the sound that penetrated her 'ear drums' that were literally just microphones. To think she had just recharged too. Ina once again shifted power to her laser and targeting systems. She raised her arm to fire another laser, "You don't seem to understand the danger you're in right now. Please make this easier on yourself."

"The danger I'm in? Face it Ina, what hope do you have? Your own squad in the Partition has been given the order to eliminate you. Either they succeed, and you die; they try and fail, and you kill all your new friends; or they refuse, at which point all your friends get eliminated and then The Dogs come for you. Right now, on your own, you have precisely zero ways out of this that end happily. Realistically, now is not the time to be closing yet more doors, especially when people come to you offering an alternative way out." Tito calmly sat down, an energy shield enveloping him. "I am sorry for the initial approach, but we had no interest in this becoming a long, drawn-out chase. Will you at least listen to what I have to say, without firing lasers at me in the process?"

Leo took advantage of the momentary silence to call out to Ina, "I'm all for a peaceful (and less brutal) discussion right now, Ina!" He cringed as he again drew breath. "How do they know about the death warrant?"

"We have our sources in the Partition, just as they slip their agents into us." Marquese said in a conversational tone. "However, I like to think that we have a little more success on that front."

Ina finally hesitated for a moment. Were it not for the shield, she would've just shot, but this one was surprisingly effective at stalling. The human body was easy enough to repair, but there were only so many bones it could do without and the crack sounded masterfully executed. "I gave up on happy endings a while ago, now I'm scrambling for a decent one. Talk quickly."

Tito held up a datapad, with two documents displayed. "Full pardons for Ina and Leopold Cinder. After all, Operative Ina went on a Deep Cover mission, infiltrated an active Partition cell, and escaped with important operational intelligence, as well as a former Partition insurgent who she managed to turn to our side. As a result of her success and recognized work, Operative Ina will no longer be required to report to the Robotics branch for 'upgrades'.

In exchange for this, you and your partner will join the Department of Public Security, and operate under the supervision of Director Karl Marquese. With that kind of backup, the warrant on your head will be lifted from the responsibility of your former squad, allowing them to be spared the consequences of failing to kill you. Of course, it goes without saying that if you break faith with us, we will publicly denounce and disown you, leaving you fair game for Wolff and his Dogs.

There's your offer. Maybe not a happy ending, but it's the best damn offer you're going to get."

After hurried thought, Leo put his face back into the ground, muttering, "Ffmph." However, he raised his left hand a bit in a thumbs-up position. He didn't know whether Ina could see him of course, but it didn't matter. Leo was not in the best position to be arguing terms right now.

Ina stared at the datapad in skeptical disbelief. Then it dawned on her; while it certainly wasn't her intention, she had actually helped them out by trying to spare the facility. It had failed miserably, but it could be received as a heroic action. Clearly they didn't quite see it that way though, given the situation, but it did put loyalties in question.

Slowly lowering the laser, she moved in closer to the smashed window and looked down, spotting Marquese, sitting atop a Leo-pancake sprinkled with broken glass. Ina called out from the window, "Let me hear it from you: you honestly believe I would make a good security agent after what I did?"

"I honestly believe you have enough sense to realize that this is the only chance at survival you have left. As Tito said, we don't even have to worry about chasing you down if you betray us - Wolff will take care of that. I'm happy to take advantage of any opportunity to acquire inside information. Anything else you achieve is a bonus in my eyes.

This isn't about trust or confidence. This is simply a deal. You have something I want. In return, I offer you a way out of the situation you have found yourself in. Don't read anything more into this than that."

"Well it's as you've already said, I'd be foolish not to accept this deal of yours...sir," Ina tried out the pronoun. It might've felt weird, if she any more than an absolutely basic concept of weird. "At the very least, you've never asked anything of me half as inhuman as Spider's request." With that, Ina turned and began to walk towards Tito and the door, retracting the laser back into her arm.

Tito depowered his shield. "Well, nice to see you too." he said with a wry grin, patting at a smoking section of his armour. "So good to see you've maintained that calm, quiet and pleasant demeanor of yours." Ina responded matter-of-factly as she passed him, "I'm always calm, but rarely pleasant." Down below, Leo felt the pressure ease from his back. Marquese reached down to lend him a hand up. "We'll head back the way we come, via the skyway. A floatcar would be too conspicuous - I'd rather get the drop on Wolff as much as we can - see if he can sniff around uselessly a little longer. Alright then recruits, let's march!"
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Aug 22, 2014
A place
Alright, I'll go and check out that house. Please don't tell Marquese about what has happened, unless I don't return within 48 hours. That is simply a request I make in trust, sir. Dan sent the message to Rowlands, then jogged out of the room, as he always did when he was put on a mission. He felt conflicted about Tessie. He had felt something for her, perhaps love, perhaps not, but she had been incredibly offended when he had insulted the Partition. Really, he didn't want her to be the traitor, because deep down, he still felt something for her, but he knew it wasn't unlikely that it was her. He ran to the armoury, and slipped on his suit. It was still casual, but it was easier to run in; there was no hood, and the concealed weapon holders had room for his gun, as well as being more easily accessible. He walked outside, the fresh air hitting his face. It wasn't unpleasant, but he didn't understand why people cared so much about 'fresh' air. He walked along like an average citizen, and headed for the street the personal computer was on. When he got there, he checked around to see how many people there were around.


Jul 31, 2013
Wyatt went home, preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. He was scared that there was no way to get around the death of INA and decided that if there was indeed no better way, a quick death would be the best. Together with the AI he started to design a virus, specifically made to take out INA and be quick with it.

Wyatt hated to work on it, he found the deed itself disgusting but what other options did he have? They needed to at least have something if there was no other way. Secretly he even hoped the virus would fail, not that unlikely due to the available time and because it can't really be tested.

The AI, though working on it did so only to make sure Wyatt wouldn't be suspicious. It knows that it probably would need to give the virus to INA if need be, however it has other plans. It won't deliver the virus, and it even makes sure the virus won't work correctly anyway. The AI has no need for it and the virus will only get in the way.
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King of the Wicked
Dec 19, 2012
Look behind you
Sy swore as he recieved Natalya's message. EXODUS would be no help to him. He swore again as the undercity was lit up by the explosion in the factory.
Today was just going so damn wrong. He didn't manage to stop the bomb, Ina was on their kill list, he had Wolff's threat hanging over his head, and now Wyatt had buggered off while he was focused on something else. Not that there was much they could do, just the two of them.
Of course EXODUS had been right about the Partition. He'd mostly believed what they said about Spider's true intentions, but he hoped that they could at least do some good before the organisation had to be put down, along with the Institute itself. Now he realised, he couldn't be a part of them any more, even as a double agent. He couldn't trust them anymore, the ones who threatened to kill him if he didn't end Ina's life. Bastards.
He would have to find his own way to go into hiding, without help. Last time he'd been hiding from someone it was the Institute, but that was far simpler. The Partition practically owned most of the undercity, so it'd be nearly impossible to stay hidden there... but they didn't own the whole place. There was a small part of the undercity, probably the most "prosperous", that being a relative term. It was near to the entrance to the upper city, and the Institute still had droid patrols there keeping the peace. If he could just hide out there, the Partition would find it way more difficult to get to him. He only hoped that they didn't have the same idea. As his last act as a member of the Partition, he sent a message to Wyatt, that read as such:
"I can't do what Wolff asked us to do. That means he's going to come after me, so I'm going off the grid, I'm disconnecting my implants from the Partition and anyone else that could lead them to me. I'm afraid that means you too. If you need to find me, look in the abandoned area to the north-west, furthest from Institute control. Make some noise, I'll come looking. Goodbye my friend."
He hated lying to Wyatt... but he had to be sure. The Partition would likely find the message and look for him there, not where he truly was. It was his best hope at survival until he could get EXODUS' help. He had no idea how much time that would be, so he was prepared for a long wait.
Sy made sure that his transponder was off, along with everything that the Partition could use to find him. Only EXODUS could see his location now, or communicate with him, all on a highly encoded line.
Everything prepared, he made his way, quickly, to the Institute-controlled area, keeping to darkened streets and using stealth as much as he could.
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New Member
Jul 29, 2019
Dan found himself on a perfectly ordinary street not far from the checkpoint leading down into the Undercity. The houses and architecture failed to match the opulence of the inner districts, but there was still a clear difference between the options on one side compared to the other. The house that the computer was located in was situated halfway down, an unassuming building that was not in any way distinguished from the others around it except for the presence of some metal shutters where other houses had windows. The door, if tried, was locked with an electronic lock.

The floatcar eased its way into the hangar. The atmosphere was somewhat strained in the floatcar, with the two pairs sat opposite from each other, neither speaking. However, once the door swung open, Marquese arose and headed for the exit, beginning to speak as he did so. "I will be asking that the two of you co-operate fully from here on out. In order to maintain your cover story as a covert operative and turncoat respectively, we will be asking you to share as much information as possible. INA, report to room 3294 for your debriefing from your deep cover mission. Graves, escort Mr Cinder to the medical bay to see to his injuries. Once they're done with him, take him to room 3295." Graves saluted and headed for the door, motioning to Leo to follow him.

Wyatt's communicator crackled into life. "We've received word that your traitor friend has run back to her masters, along with her 'friend' Leopold." Wolff sounded angry. "For now, your kill mission is rescinded as she will likely be under tight guard for a while, and may even change out some parts to alter her opinion. Instead, I need any information you hold as to the whereabouts of Syderis Velos. He has gone silent, through being attacked or through treachery. Anything you can tell me may well result in the thwarting of the Institute's plans."

Meanwhile, as Sy made his way through the streets, he could not shake a prickling feeling at the base of his neck. Every time he scanned his surroundings, he saw no sign of anybody watching him, yet the sensation persisted no matter how many doublebacks, how many switches, how many alleyways he dived down. Even as he moved into areas under stronger Institute control, he could not shake the feeling of unease.
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