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

the_j485

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Dec 19, 2012
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Look behind you
Sy wandered through the abandoned cityscape, looking around at all that once was. What had been intended as shops, housing, places of business... all left to rot, erode, and decay. According to the institute, there had originally been an intention of a Utopian society - all would be happy and equal, with all of their needs met. They did not go into the specifics of how it had devolved into what now was, the Undercity and the Upper Levels, rich and poor. Something to do with blaming others...
All of it a lie. They seized control of what once was a benign research facility and ark of humanity against an invasion on a global scale. Ripped power from the masses and took it for the few, leaving the poor poorer and the rich richer. They even tricked their own people into believing it. The men and women Sy had fought for so long believed that their cause was righteous. You know what the worst part was? They were no more wrong than the Partition. That bastard Spider manipulated them all, he was just the same as the bastards at the Institute, leveraging psychopaths and zealots, even good men like Sy himself, into lifting him high, and striking down everything else.
Now, there was no doubt in his mind that they weren't done with him. The Institute with Karl Marquese, the Partition with Wolff and his mutts, one of them were still out for his head on a spike. Heck, maybe both.
"Now I know that I must be one of the most fearsome and dangerous men you've ever had the chance to meet." He called into the darkness, projecting his voice over the rubble, "but honestly... what makes you want to come after me so much that you'd follow me to this hellhole?"
 
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Eruantien

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"Ah-- naturally... and of course, coming... sir." The sentence, coming from Leo, was strained. Idiot. Don't suck up to them... but be respectful. I mean, it's not like you have daggers in your abdomen. Oh, wait. Glancing sidewise at Ina, Leo gave a weak smile. "See you shortly..." Leo stood up slowly, then winced as he again felt a pain blast through his chest. He couldn't recall quite how advanced the technologies at the Institute were rumoured to be, but hopefully there was a method that could help his injuries to heal quickly.

A turncoat, eh? Wonder if I get a special operative name. Leo smiled wryly to himself as he followed Lt. Graves off the transport. Maybe while I'm here, I can see whether I've been spouting nonsense this whole time... if I'm on the inside of the Institute, I can get a way better look at the bigger picture. Gotta be wary... make sure they haven't tampered with the evidence, for instance... He stiffened. What if this is a setup? What if they're just taking me in to be annihilated?

... Nah. Marquese could have goomba-stomped my face in, before. I guess I might as well see where this is going... Leo's inner monologue trailed off as he was interrupted by a hacking cough. Raising his hand to his mouth, he stared at specks of blood that had appeared. "Mr. Graves, um... tell me you can fix this..."
 
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lenscas

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Wyatt wasn't sure if he should be happy about the news or not. Sure he didn't have to kill INA right now but she betrayed them and even worse Leo did the same, either forced or willingly.

Then there was also the question of what to reply with. Syderis did leave for a reason, though one that had now become invalid. Wyatt decided to reply that he didn't know where Syderis was and headed to the location Syderis gave.

Wyatt didn't want to give the location to Wolf as he wouldn't be surprised if it would end poorly for Syderis. However Wyatt did want to inform Syderis about INA and Leo.
 

Lumaceon

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Ina strode out of the floatcar and into the familiar looking hanger. Putting up an act was easy enough, but the real question was what to do afterwords. The question of what lied out of the city still remained, nagging at her like an internal poison the nanobots could never remove. Well, there was an 'interview' to worry about now, and a rather important one. Best focus on that and discover things later.

As she wandered the hallways looking at the staring faces, Ina felt an incredible wave of deja vu. Only a few months ago she had walked the same hallways, so excited to use her abilities to help the Institute. Now her mind held suspicion and a bit of fear as well. Really, wasn't this whole thing normal for most teenage humans? Rebellion and questioning? Every day seemed to teach her over and over again that Ina was more human than robot...and that kind of disappointed her. It's easy enough to believe that you're superior, or special, or above 'human error', but failure after failure had taught her differently.

Turning a few corners, Ina finally approached her target. 3291, 3292, 3293, there it was. For better or for worse, she was going to continue surviving: telling them whatever was necessary. Live and become wiser, just like most humans do. Perhaps that's where she had her advantage too; an immortality of sorts. Maybe 1000 years later she would know all that one would want to know; or maybe her mind would simply corrupt over the expanse of time. Who knows. Her brief moment of star-gazing over, Ina swung the door ajar and stepped inside.
 
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LivingAngryCheese

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Dan walked down the street normally, and turned into the doorway of the house with the metal shutters. He tried the door handle first, but finding it was locked, nodded to himself as if he had forgotten he had locked it. He leaned over the keypad to block the fact that he wasn't touching it from other people's view, holding his hands up as if he was typing. He then began to attempt to hack into it, to open the door. He felt a strange pang of nervousness. He realised that this was the first mission he had ever been on by himself. If he were to encounter heavy resistance inside, things could go badly for him. But to be serious, why would there be heavy resistance? It likely had shutters to hide the fact that people didn't live there, it was simply checked... or so he hoped. Still, if he were to die, he would hopefully have enough time to upload his brain to the mainframe. He cleared his brain of those thoughts. He had to focus, now was not the time to be worrying. It was too late for that.

Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk
 

RJS

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[THE UPPER LEVELS]
The door clicked open softly. As Dan entered, dust swirled through the air. It was clear that the place hadn't been lived in for some time. Old photographs lined the walls - a couple, three children. Smiling, happy. Not that forced smile that was put on for photographs - genuine, joyful smiles. Something felt familiar in the photograph, but Dan couldn't tell. The living room, kitchen, bedrooms, all covered in cobwebs and dust. The only hint of life was a soft whirring - an obsolete computer tucked under a table, lights still flickering.

[THE INSTITUTE, ROOM 3294]
Ina entered the room to find a single table, with a chair to either side. Neither was occupied. Other than that, the room was bleak and clinical. No windows, with a single light panel and pastel walls. Even the floor was a charcoal grey. The decor screamed functional.

After a few minutes, the door clicked open behind her. "Sorry about the wait. I'm not as mobile as I used to be." Turning, Ina saw Captain Duvares, pale and sweating as she rested on a pair of sticks. "Please, take a seat and we can begin your debriefing." She hobbled over to the other seat and slowly lowered herself in, wincing as she did so. "Well then Operative Ina, I am ready to hear your mission report."
[THE INSTITUTE, MEDBAY]
Tito smirked at Leo's question. "I can't fix that for you at all. But then, I'm no doctor." White-coated personnel gently but firmly loaded Leo onto a trolley, and wheeled him off. The medical area was all sterile white lights and gentle bleeping. A needle was abruptly shoved into Leo's side, although the pain quickly faded, along with that from his chest and hand. Two more followed - one to the chest, one to the hand, and then reinforcing braces were fitted around these areas. The medical staff told him to lie there for the next 10 minutes, and then departed. Leo was left alone with the watchful figure of Tito, who pulled a chair up to the side of the trolley.

"So, how does a committed Partition operative like yourself find himself on the run from the Dogs? From what I've heard they only go after internal traitors and our own spies. What did you do to piss them off so badly?"

[THE UNDERCITY]
Sy's shout echoed down the alleyways. Silence followed, with the echo of his voice the only thing that could be heard. A window on a nearby house slammed shut, but not before the words "fecking pissheads" filtered through and into the alleyway.

Meanwhile, Wyatt found himself in progressively more deserted territory as he headed in search of Sy. Houses were run-down, dilapidated...even completely collapsed. However, no matter where he looked he could see no trace of his friend.
 
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Eruantien

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His pain quickly receding, Leo waited a moment to collect his thoughts. He closed his eyes... and then spoke to Tito quietly and slowly. "Wolff's agents? Essentially, I refused to eliminate one member of our squad. That member is Ina, actually. But I'd imagine you already know about what happened with the bomb, and the factory, and all that... I guess I am a traitor, but for all the wrong reasons." Leo paused. "Heh... all the wrong reasons... every single thing that could've gone wrong. I bet that even if you, or the Partition, know more about us than we do ourselves, you still can't imagine why I'd do something like that... I don't even know if I know, myself..."

Leo's eyes opened, and the room swam back into view. "If that's anything of an explanation, anyway... by the way, I'd, uh, like to offer my thanks for the pardon. I don't understand it exactly, but I imagine I must still be able to do something useful. And maybe -- maybe I can learn more about the truth." His words trailed off into silence, and his eyes closed once more, as he waited on Tito's response.
 

lenscas

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Wyatt had no idea what to do. He couldn't inform the rest of the Partition, not after he lied about not knowing where Syderis was supposed to be. But what if he was in danger, what if he got caught by the Institute? Another thought got into Wyatt's mind, what if Syderis joined the Institute again?

Wyatt went home, still having no clue what to do and feeling terrible because of it.
 

the_j485

King of the Wicked
Dec 19, 2012
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"Jumping at bloody shadows, what an idiot" Sy said, though internally he was still wary. Perhaps whatever it was still was waiting for a time when he wasn't watching, and it would continue waiting... oh god. What if it waited until he slept? He basically couldn't rest, the way he saw it. At least, it was a big risk, considering that he had no true idea what was following him - most likely one of Wolff's dogs.
Sy decided to search around the area for evidence of someone following him - any traces he could pick up or sights of them he would catch.
 

Lumaceon

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Jul 23, 2014
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Ina complied, taking her seat across the table. "A little over two months ago, I left for the undercity to infiltrate the Partition," Ina began to state in a dull, professional tone. "At the scrapyard, I found a lone Partition operative named Leo and convinced him I had abandoned the Institute under the guise of anger towards the robotics department's restrictive programming. Frankly, playing that part was easy, as they really have no respect for me as a person," Ina felt a bit of venom in her tone.

"I then took a risk and allowed them to access my core systems to confirm my cover story and remove the programs. From that point on, they placed faith in me and I continued to help with Leo's minor food raids for 2 months to reinforce this faith. Eventually, we were called in to a safehouse for an official mission. The mission in particular was..." Ina paused a moment to pick a good word, "absolutely savage. We were tasked with raiding the Institute's robotics laboratory and destroying everything, both data and researcher. I broke apart from my unit and attempted to evacuate the building. They must have caught on to me, because a masked commander found me. I kept prying for information, but he refused to tell me anything useful. While I was distracted, they murdered everyone and...."

Ina stopped for a moment, having come to notice something...peculiar. Throughout the debriefing, her voice had slowly gathered more and more emotions. As if they were slipping out, the disgust of the kill mission, the anger she felt towards Revenant's secrecy, and now...an overwhelming sadness and regret as she thought of the bomb. The others had been minor emotions, the kind that slip out from habit, the kind you may not notice. Thinking back on the worst mistake of her life, on the other hand, brought crippling levels of sadness, and it was this that caused her to notice.

"Where'd these emotions come from," Ina searched herself? "They...hurt. Why is recalling it harder than even being there?" Meanwhile, Ina's expression showed a distant look, mixed with confusion and perhaps a bit of pain. She continued where she left off, her voice quivering slightly, "They planted a bomb...which I..." Ina tried to compose herself for a second, failing to do so as she kept forcing memories of horrified people into her mind. "Which I flew...o-out of the building...b-but..." Ina's mind flew into a spout of anger. How dare these emotions make a crying fool out of her. This gave Ina one last burst of clear speech, "I miscalculated and dropped it into civilian territory!"

Having said this, Ina finally let out a few short and stifled cries. She covered her eyes, although no tears would be able to form on the plastic face. As far as Ina was concerned, the situation was incredibly unprofessional, to the point of being humiliating. Not to mention the story itself. Oddly to her, the pain had lifted somewhat though. After a few moments that felt like an eternity, she was able to speak weakly, "I want this war to end. Somehow, a second bomb was placed moments after I had removed the first one. After what he did that day, I'd like to fight Spider myself and end all this killing."
 

LivingAngryCheese

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Dan quietly entered the building, shutting the door behind him silently. The image of a happy family caught his eye on the wall. The building was most likely a Partition member's property. That happy family were now probably brainwashed monsters, capable of committing terrible atrocities. He did not feel sad. He felt only anger and disgust. He no longer allowed himself to feel sad for Partition operatives, it made coping with seeing their dead bodies far more difficult. He stood back from the room, in case the room was monitored for intruders. He stared at the computer from outside the room, and whispered 'interface start', attempting to access its data.
 

RJS

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[THE INSTITUTE, ROOM 3294]

A flicker of emotion ran across Elin's face. Her arm moved as if to reach out and comfort Ina, but the motion was suppressed almost as soon as it began. Her eyes ran down the automated transcript of Ina's statement, pausing occasionally to throw sympathetic glances in her direction. "I see. This...commander - did you find out anything about him? Do you have a description we could use to identify him? If we know who received the mission brief then we can start to see about getting some revenge - for the facility, our researchers and the civilians that the Partition got caught up in this. It's not your fault - had they not been bringing lethal munitions into a civilian area then none of those people would have died. You weren't to know that another squad apart from the one that you had infiltrated had been given the same task. We can't change any of that - but we can change what happens going forwards. Any detail regarding how a Partition cell operates, any information on commanders or locations - no matter how slight - will help us to bring this war to a peaceful conclusion sooner rather than later."

[THE INSTITUTE, MEDICAL BAY]
Tito sat listening with a grin on his face. "So, you threw away your freedom, your comrades and your cause for a girl, huh? Sure you're not the first one to have done that. Maybe the first one to do it for a robotic girl, but I ain't judging you. Too much, anyways. You say you don't know why you did it but I'd say that's pretty obvious. Anyway, I imagine you'll probably get slotted into Yeta squad with the rest of us - we've been a bit short on manpower since INA left. I'll introduce you to Dan later; he's the tech-wizz who you almost killed back in that parts shop. He's alright, though he did have a mini-breakdown and disappear for a week a couple of months ago. Still no clue where he went, and I daren't ask." Tito tapped his face where Leo had punched him all that time ago. "You'd better be watching my back out there - you owe me one, remember? Anyway, I'm going to grab something to eat. You hungry?"

[THE UPPER CITY, ABANDONED HOUSE]
The security system on the computer was as outdated as the machine itself, and barely offered any resistance. Searching through the files, Dan found pictures of family excursions, children laughing and playing in the sun at one of the many parks. Photos from the Undercity too, visiting some of the nicer areas. Adoption certificates too, for four different children. All of them nameless prior to adoption. Kids, abandoned in the Undercity, living on the streets. Those same children laughing and playing in the Upper Levels parks, splashing water at each other. Alessia. Andre. Tessiana. Wilfred. Smiling and laughing in a loving home. Searching deeper, Dan found a signal trace. The same message he was tracking had arrived, forwarded itself to another computer in the Undercity, and then deleted itself from the computer Dan was looking at.

[THE UNDERCITY, NEAR THE UPPER LEVELS]
Sy scoured around, hunting intently for any clue that he was being followed. The streets, the walls, the windows - all yielded no clue. The alleyways were devoid of life, Sy scanning the area as the occasional pedestrian that walked past looked at him as if he were mad. And he must have looked that way to them, scouring the streets. Just as he was coming towards the end of his sweep, a voice from behind startled him. "You all right there, sonny boy?"

[THE UNDERCITY, WYATT'S HOME]
Wyatt returned home to find a message waiting for him. Rendez-vous with Godetzka by the Scrap Market. Syderis not responding. Either captured or turned against us. Hunt for him. Find the truth. Deal with the situation. Wolff.
 

LivingAngryCheese

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Browsing through the data, Dan felt sick. They were all adopted. They all used to be innocent children before this war destroyed their innocence. What had happened to the other three? He didn't want to know. If the Institute had killed them, it would've been needed, but he still wouldn't be happy with the knowledge. And it was Tessie. It was flipping Tessie. He considered telling her to run. Telling her to get the hell out of there and never come back. But he couldn't. If he did, he would be betraying the Institute. At least he could beg for mercy on her behalf, that wouldn't betray anyone. He sent Marquese a message. Attached were the files which proved it was Tessie. The computer I found these files on was used to forward on a message to the partition. The message contained the details of our raid on the partition base. It could've been sent by four people in the institute, one of which was Tessiana Undurbis. I would like to ask that she be imprisoned rather than killed, she is on Institute property, so it should not be difficult to capture her. For reasons that I suspect you are aware of, I would request that mercy is shown to her. I am returning to the Institute, and slowly. If it is possible, I would ask that whatever decision you come to be carried out before I arrive, or that I am alerted if the punishment has not been carried out.
 

Eruantien

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"Like you wouldn't believe." Yeta Squad. Is that Ina's original crew? I'm a bit curious to find out their specialty. Tito, Dan... who else is in it?

A thought came to Leo. Marquese and Tito. Both of them have been described to me as ruthless and power-hungry. Leo glanced at Tito again. I don't know who to trust any more. Everything has suddenly become so... opposite from what I've always known. Or, well, thought I knew. There was a lot to think about; just earlier today Leo was the sworn enemy of the Institute. Maybe this is for the better. I'm a delusional fool for believing blindly once before. I need to be careful about who I trus--

Leo's heart jumped. Ina. They said it was a cover story. Was I just... being used? There's no way of knowing if her simulated emotions are truly how she feels. But... she's been loyal, except for the massa- except for the accident. No. I can't believe Ina's been lying. It's unfair to her. Leo gave an exasperated sigh. Why can't anything in this world just make perfect sense?!! Just for one, single day! Where people have enough to eat and everyone is honest and excellent to each other! Ain't that too much to ask?

"What's the best thing on the menu? And, do you guys have takeout?" With the braces on, Leo's pain had significantly decreased, but it felt like walking would still be an effort for now. Not that he knew where anything was in... wherever he was, in the first place.
 
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Lumaceon

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Ina listened silently, using the moment to consider the new experience. It was probably the most human she's ever been; not an act or a deception, just a great deal of suppressed emotions leaking out at an inconvenient time. Even so, it was remarkably relieving let them do so. After Elin finished, Ina answered with her usual composure, albeit a little less dry, "The commander took plenty of measures to cover his identity. He wore an opera mask with a voice modulator and a heavy cloak." Thinking about Revenant, Ina realized she had saved logs of her scan and, although most of it went beyond her understanding of biology (or anyone's for that matter), it may still contain traces of his DNA. While lying would be counter-productive here, she didn't exactly have undying trust in the Institute, so she'd leave that file out of the report.

"This mask also appeared to contain a targeting computer that interfaced directly with an ornate revolver through a blue laser. His combat skills were actually beyond my ability to handle and he eventually shot my shell to critical condition. Curiously, he then chose to spare my life and deliver propaganda instead, perhaps in the hopes of having me betray the Institute. Specifically, he weaved a conspiracy theory based on there being invaders on the planet's surface, rather than a radioactive wasteland. At that point he had delayed me long enough such that the scientists were already murdered and the bomb already planted.

A Partition cell consists of several ordinary people that might otherwise be civilians. The cell I found myself a part of consisted of 4 members: Myself, Leopold Cinder, a highly skilled engineer with amnesia who went by the name 'Wyatt', and the former Institute sniper Syderis Velos. When Spider requires a mission to be completed, they are contacted through a neural message and meet in a well hidden safehouse. The coordinates given for this particular one were kappa-9-alpha-3, and it is located within the sewers. Inside, members are given their mission through a commander, in this case the deranged robot known as Raptus, and/or Spider himself, through a heavily encrypted audio signal. While many members of the Partition hold a personal hatred of the Institute, most of their organized threat appears to come from Spider himself."
 
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lenscas

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Wyatt sat down, having no clue what to do. He has no idea for how long he sat there, repeating both Syderis message and the last one from Wolff endlessly and without much of a purpose in his head. Wyatt then decides to take a better look at Syderis message, maybe Syderis was scared it got into the wrong hands and thus the message is only a clue as to where he really went to? Wyatt doubted this, as encryption seemed a better choice unless he was also scared that those that gain the message also have the key to decrypt it.

Whatever the case might be, looking at that message for hidden clues seemed like a better usage of his time instead of walking aimlessly through the city.
 

the_j485

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Sy jumped and span around immediately at the sound of the voice. Instantly he drew his pistol and backed away from the sound, looking at the source of the voice. When he saw the man that had spoken however, he stopped, and lowered the pistol, observing him.
The man was middle-aged, with greying hair and beard. He was dressed... slightly better than he would have expected, for someone in the Undercity. Perhaps he worked for the Institute down here? He wouldn't be surprised, plenty of people were desperate enough for a job that they'd work for the very ones that kept them down here. Perhaps he was just lucky, managed to find a way to get a reasonable wage down here. Perhaps... no, he wouldn't be a dog. But he'd still have to be wary. He couldn't sense any weapons on him, however who knew if he was alone?
"I'm fine, thanks. Sorry for pulling a gun on you... I guess it pays to be safe." Sy responded. Uneasy, and unsure what to say, he looked at the man for a moment.
"Is there something you wanted?"
 

RJS

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[THE UPPER LEVELS, RESIDENTIAL STREET]
Just before Dan could send the message, he heard the sound of a pistol safety being snapped off. "Don't move. I have all communications travelling to and from this building monitored. If a message goes out of here, I shoot." The butt of the pistol dug into the small of Dan's back as Tessie approached him. "Take your holster off and lay your weapon on the ground. You so much as touch the gun itself? I shoot. You do anything I don't tell you to? I shoot. You honestly thought I wouldn't figure out what you were up to? It was clear from that time back then that you view anybody who speaks up for the people of the Undercity to be a Partition sympathiser. Everybody in this damn place does. My parents gave me a chance, and for the simple crime of associating with people in the Undercity they were taken away for questioning when this all broke out. The people who picked me off the street, who gave me a life, gave me everything - and for that they disappeared. I joined the Institute so I could find the truth. I wish I hadn't found it, hadn't seen the clinical, emotionless account of what they...did. So I'm going to burn it all to the ground. End this segregation. We are equal, and we will be equal."

[THE INSTITUTE, ROOM 3294]
Elin tapped away frantically as Ina spoke. "We had suspected the presence of Velos from our earlier...encounters with your unit, but did you say...Wyatt? He's classed as missing presumed dead following an explosion at his laboratory. He was one of our people - you say he has amnesia? That may be something we can work with. If we could bring back his memories, we may be able to deprive the Partition of another footsoldier. I'll pass that on to Marquese.

This commander you spoke of matches a description we currently have of a man who refers to himself as Revenant. However, are you sure that he was a member of the Partition. Our current records have him as being affiliated with a group known as EXODUS, who seem to be in opposition to our aims and those of the Partition. They seem to be intent on infiltrating and recruiting people within both camps - if Pirose's intel was good, then both she and Velos have had contact with this group. The story he tells you matches with the intel we have on them as well. Why do you think he spared your life?
"

[THE INSTITUTE, MEDICAL BAY]
Tito merely grinned and walked off. He returned with a pair of polystyrene containers, passing one to Leo. "Can't promise it's the greatest food you'll ever taste, but it's decent, and it's definitely nutritious. You probably need to eat a bit - shock and trauma and all that. Sorry about the finger-snapping, but I didn't much enjoy having lasers fired at me by your girlfriend." Tito opened his container, sitting back down next to Leo's bed. "Oh yay. Beef stew. Hope you got something a bit more exciting." Using one of the spoons he had brought, he began to tuck in, asking one question between mouthfuls. "So, Leo. Why did you sign up to join the Partition? What motivated you?"

[THE UNDERCITY, WYATT'S HOME]
Wyatt spent his time poring over Sy's message, seeing if he could glean any extra insight from it. As he was nearing completion, his door slammed open with an almighty crash as Godetzka walked in. "The fuck is up with you? I've been waiting in the market for too fucking long. Any number of Institute spies could have picked me out and flagged a strike team on me. What the fuck is taking you so bloody long?"

[THE UNDERCITY, NEAR THE UPPER LEVELS]
The older man jumped back as Sy pulled his pistol. "Damn, sonny boy. Calm it down, will you?" As the gun was lowered, he relaxed slightly, though he remained physically tense and kept casting glances down at the pistol in Sy's hand. "Just concerned, what with you shouting out into nowhere, rummaging around through the alleyways. Thought you might be in trouble, or a bit odd in the head and slipped away from the person who normally looks after you. That's all. Just wanted to make sure you were ok."
 

Lumaceon

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[THE INSTITUTE, ROOM 3294]

"EXODUS," Ina questioned? "It's possible, he never mentioned his group by name, only 'us' and similar pronouns. I'm not sure why he spared my life. If his alien story is true, or at least as long as he believes in it himself, he might have spared me hoping for a future ally against them. That seems most likely, as he didn't appear to be very bloodthirsty to begin with."

"I see." Elin paused, thinking. "So, it seems EXODUS are becoming much more open. They've directly interfered in our operations, and now it seems in Partition operations too. This is a bit of shift in strategy for them. It could be that they are beginning to prepare for something major. Something I would like to know about before it happens, if you catch my drift. Do you have any way of contacting this Revenant? Or perhaps identifying him?"

"No, he was extremely effective in hiding his identity," Ina stated.

Elin sighed. "Damn, that would have been useful to have something - anything - that might shed more light on who they are, what they want. Well, Operative INA, this concludes your mission debrief. You are free to go, unless you have any questions for me."

"You said his name, or presumably codename, was Revenant? Is there anything else you know about 'EXODUS' that might be helpful?"

"We know that there are at least 4 of them, all using voice modulators and wearing masks. We know their codenames: Apollo, Dracul, Revenant and Wodan. We know that Syderis Velos has been in communication with them, as was Gardenia Pirose prior to her treachery and subsequent execution. We know that one amongst them, from Gardenia's testimony, appears to be able to produce illusions through what we presume to be hacking of sensory apparatus. And we know that they share a common belief in this 'alien invasion' and the existence of other cities like ours."

Ina stared back at Elin, absorbing every word of her, albeit vague, information. "Seeing as he did spare my life, I have to ask...has anyone ever left the city and come back alive?"

Elin snorted. "As far as I know, it isn't even possible."

Ina responded again. "Revenant claimed he knew how to 'slip through' the shield as he put it. Obviously, when I requested more information on the process, he refused, so I assume it's either a lie or another one of his secrets. I don't trust them, and I won't take their story at face value, but I would like to visit the surface someday in the future."

Elin's face hardened. "I should probably tell you that none of what you have been told has been disseminated around the department yet, let alone to the public. Marquese had a meeting with the Director about EXODUS earlier today following an instance direct interference. The Director officially declared them as enemies of the Institute. You can expect a big information briefing in the next day or two, covering what you have been told here. Marquese wasn't best pleased by that meeting though. No idea why."

Ina nodded, thinking of Marquese. If the Institute already knew just about everything she had to tell, why had he gone through all that trouble to capture the two of them? It seemed like a lot for just the chance of information. Then again, that's how war worked right? You take any advantage you can get. In a way though, she probably owed him her life as well. How many was that now? 4? Maybe this wasn't a tactful way of thinking.

"Of all the systems I have built in, I would love the addition of a mind scanner," Ina half joked, half fantasized. "Thanks sir, I will avoid spreading information prematurely," she concluded, standing and turning towards the door.

Elin merely nodded. "By the by, I have reason to believe that your friend is still in the medical bay. Should you wish to visit him, I'm sure somebody in there will show you to him. And...it's good to have you back, Operative Ina. GIve me another month or two and I may be able to rejoin Yeta squad as well." With that she struggled to her feet with the aid of her sticks. Ina could see a clear and obvious bulge on her back.

As Ina opened the doorway, her curiousity demanded her to ask the question, "Thank you. Can I ask how you received those injuries?"

Elin laughed bitterly. "As it turns out, experimental technology isn't always necessarily safe to push to the limit. I waiting so long for my chance, and...I blew it. I was too hasty, too incautious. I'm lucky to even be on the path to recovery after what I did. But I will recover. And I will have another chance. And I will not waste it." The last sentence was delivered emphatically, with the somewhat frail Elin projecting much of the poside and posture she had back when Ina remembered her. The moment passed, and her body seemed to weaken again. "But that's for the future, after all."

Ina thought of her own systems. They had never failed on her, but then again, plenty of safety precautions were in place to make sure numbers were well within limits. "Well I look forward to your recovery then. I would offer to help, but human recovery often accelerates with effort, so I wish you well." With that, Ina exited the room with the intent of heading towards the medical wing.
 
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the_j485

King of the Wicked
Dec 19, 2012
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Look behind you
[THE UNDERCITY, NEAR THE UPPER LEVELS]

"I'm fine, thank you. Just... someone bad is -or is going to be- coming after me. I don't know who, but definitely someone. Just leave me, for your own sake, it's safer. I don't want you getting hurt just because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time." Sy said to the man. He hadn't mentioned that he also just wanted to be rid of the man, so he had one less distraction if an attack was sprung.

The man stood there, poking around in his ear. "Someone bad? What, you borrowed from a loan shark and refused to pay it back or something? These streets are safe. The Partition haven't got here yet, and the Institute still keeps the peace. So relax. The droids will keep you safe."

"Yeah... that's what I'm hoping." Sy had pretty much given up on getting the man to go, he seemed to be content right where he was.
"So, you live around here I guess?"

"Yup, best district in the Undercity. Upper Levels have no flavour you know? Here there's so much more going on. Life seems more lively over here, especially when you run into paranoid pistoleers on the run from the sharks. Whereabouts are you from, originally?"

Sy hesitated for a moment, before going with a lie, making sure to keep his voice normal and not to give any tells.
"I'm from one of the poorer areas, but I've done fairly well for myself, I guess. So you're originally from the Upper Levels are you?" He said, redirecting the conversation back to the man. The man would think he was keeping a normal level of eye contact with him, however, in truth, he was constantly moving his focus about within his field of vision

"Fairly well for yourself? Weren't you on the run from someone bad? That doesn't sound like you're doing too well now does it?"

"Well enough, I guess, until they started coming after me. I'd rather not go into the details. So you were from the Upper Levels, were you?"

"Who me? No, Undercity born and bred. Got to pass through the checkpoint a few times for business purposes, but what I saw meant I never even bothered applying for a residency permit. I'm much happier down here. Why the keen interest in my life?"

"Uh, sorry. Just wondering what it's like up there, I guess. Plus just making conversation, haven't got much more to do right now. I didn't interrupt you doing anything, did I?"

"Ah, just out doing the shopping before my wife relegates me to the doghouse. You know how crazy women can be. Anyway, are you sure you're ok?"

Sy's eyes widened unitentionally, and he quickly stopped it before he thought the old man might catch it. The dog house? Was he one of Wolff's, or the man himself, messing with him? All this time, had he been working on making him let his guard down, before he made an attack? Perhaps there was someone else, looking down at him right now. One of those hounds that he'd heard mentioned.
Even if the man wasn't threatening him, he should go. It was best to keep moving, and it wasn't worth the risk of Sy being right.
"Uh, sorry, I've just got a message. Nice meeting you, I'll be heading off now." Sy said, looking around himself with both thermal vision and normal vision to try and find any threats. He walked off briskly, leaving the man behind him but stealing the occasional glance behind him to ensure he was still there.

The man merely shook his head. "Kids these days, getting themselves in all kinds of funny business...I don't know." He turned and wandered off in the general direction of the market.
 
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