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

RJS

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[THE UPPER LEVELS, DESERTED HOUSE]

Dan raised his hands slowly in surrender. There was a faint click, and his holster, containing his gun, fell to the ground. "May I speak?" Dan said slowly. Shit. When did she leave the Institute? I should've paid closer attention. Damn, why was Tito sent on that bloody mission?

"And what do you hope to tell me that I don't already know? That you're a pompous hypocrite with a superiority complex? Spare me any lectures, Dan, because I'm not in the mood. Tell me, do you know the story of the Undurbis family?"

Dan was slightly annoyed, not that it showed on his face. "I actually wished to tell you why I do what I do, but no, I do not. Please tell me."

Tessie sighed. "I know why you do what you do, Dan. You think that the people of the Undercity, no matter who they actually are, are criminals with no decency and no self control to stop themselves. You think that anybody who speaks in their defence must at the very least be a Partition sympathiser, but most likely a Partition agent. And so, you come riding gallantly in, dispatching hypocritic sweeping statements with one hand and brutal vigilante-esque judgement with other. And you never see what truly is going on because your head is rammed so far up your own ass that you're blind to the world around you.

But anyway, the story of this house. I'm sure that from your rooting through my past you'll have discovered that I was picked off the streets of the Undercity as a child by my parents, who did the same for my three siblings. Rather than have children of their own, the took the conscious choice to find children who were in a bad spot and give them a chance to be so much more. If it weren't for them, I'd be dead. Wouldn't have made it past three. They gave me a home, family, all of it. They gave me this life.

Of course, anybody who associates with the Undercity must have treacherous intentions. That's just the way of the world, right?" Tessie's voice was thick with sarcasm. "So my parents got reported to the DPS the moment the fight with the Partition broke out. I must have been...only about 10 at the time. And they never came back.

So my older brother took over the running of the house, acted like a dad to us all even though he was only about three years older than me. Every time somebody came along, he'd say that the neighbours were helping to look after us. Of course, they never deigned to lift a finger to aid a bunch of Undercity slum rats. Either too stuck-up, or too afraid of following my parents.

I never gave up on them. Not once, not ever. I applied to the Institute - I always had a skill with code - and once I was inside I spent my time carefully sifting through files when I had the chance. I had to know how they were doing. I had to see if I could see them, show them who I'd become, campaign for their release...I had to do something. And then, one day, I found it."
Her voice choked up. "I wish I never opened it, wish that I never read it, that I didn't know what was done to them. But I saw the truth. I know what was done to two innocent people. Their crime being to help those below them. So I swore. Swore that I would live to burn it all down. I don't care what comes after that. So long as Mum and Dad get justice."

Dan was annoyed now. Tessie was wrong about why he did what he did. But he soon found that annoyance vanish as she explained her story. "An.. and what did happen to them?" Dan stuttered.

There was a long pause. "Whatever it was, you don't need to know. Needless to say that they're never coming back. Now, what causes you to be rooting through an old computer inside an abandoned house?"

Dan felt uncomfortable. That may have been obvious, as he had a gun pointed at the back of his head, but he also felt uncomfortable after hearing Tessie's story. "You know why I'm here, Tessie... uh, Tessiana. I found out about how you tipped off the partition about our raid. But I really do think that you don't understand my motivation. I don't hate the people of the Undercity. I was simply never enough to please my parents. I never knew love. Or friendship. I turned to hacking for the rush that it gave me, and when I was brought to the Institute, everyone was so... friendly. I met people that I could get along with. People were proud of me. To think that they would do that to your adopted parents... it's hard for me to understand why they would do that. The only person I could understand doing that would be Sayaka Guntram. She... she doesn't belong at the Institute. The Yeta Squadron are my family. When I said that day that the Partition need to show some respect, I didn't mean to me, I meant to the people who would be kind to someone who was so worthless. But if they did that to your parents..." He sighed. "You have the power here, so you'll do whatever you want, but if you're going to kill me, I had to explain." Dan stood motionless, and waited for her reaction.

Anything Tessie might have been about to say was cut off by the arrival of a hooded figure. "I see what you mean when you said you had been compromised. Good work keeping the situation under control." Dan found himself grasped by the neck and lifted up. The fingers digging into his throat were cold, and it didn't take long for Dan to notice that the newcomer had a metal arm. "Now then, what are we to do with you?" The grip tightened considerably, and Dan found himself struggling to breath. "It would be easy - and indeed convenient - to just dispose of you here and now." A slight pause, as the newcomer looked towards Tessie, who was still out of Dan's sight. A heavy sigh. "The things siblings do for one another." The other, organic fist whistled round, impacting heavily against Dan's forehead. Dan felt the blow land, and his vision swam and darkened. He did not, however, feel himself land on the floor as he blacked out.
 

Eruantien

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[THE INSTITUTE, MEDICAL WING]

Leo opened his food container. Hot beef broth with onions, and some bread and cheese. Not bad, all things considered. He began to slowly spoon the broth into his mouth, involuntarily shuddering as he felt the warmth.

He took another spoonful before replying to Tito's question. While he didn't want to treat him coldly, Leo felt rather disinclined to speak much on this topic, after having tucked this part of himself deep inside. "To put it bluntly," Leo said, looking up and staring intently at the opposite wall, "to put it bluntly, my family was killed. By the Institute."

He broke off a piece of bread, dipped it in the broth, and chewed on it for a moment. "Actually, it turned out to be more like a freak accident. But the Institute didn't do anything about it. So, naturally, as most headstrong, reckless young people would do, I decided to fight the monster that killed 'em. Didn't matter how, didn't matter who was in charge. I wanted to make someone else hurt. Someone hurt as much as I was."

Tito paused, spoon partway to his mouth. There was a long pause before he spoke. "I...I'm sorry. I know that those words probably feel like dirt, worse and less meaningful than shit, but they're all I have. I won't try and justify that, because it shouldn't be happening. I wish we could do more...be more." Tito lowered his gaze to his bowl, sat staring at it.

"Yeah, well... that time's over now," Leo stated. "I realize now that on both sides of this conflict, there are people with morals, and people without." Sipping from the broth again, Leo gave a small smile to Tito. "And I'm pretty sure that you have a decent soul. It's just a hunch, but hunches are kind of how I've been surviving lately. And so, I'll start a new routine here, I guess."

Tito raised his head. "Well, we'll make damn sure that we make things better here. Properly too. Not just ignoring the inconvenient truths. I don't want to go sweeping things under the rug. I want to be able to come back, look myself in the eye and be proud of what I did. Be proud of my service, and proud because it has made everybody safer. Somehow, I think having you around is going to make that a bit easier." He gave a slight smile. "Anyway, how do your wounds feel now? Those nanobots should have been working their magic."

Turning his attention to his hand, Leo stretched it and made a fist. Then he felt his side. "The pain is almost all better now," Leo mused. "Fancy medicine you've got here." He swung his legs over the side of the stretcher and sat upright, gauging his breathing. All right, time to get back into the swing of things. "So, what happens now? Oh, what exactly is this 'Yeta Squad' I heard about? Ina used to be in it, right? What is their mission?"

Tito laughed. "We were traditionally the screw-ups of the department. We were the ones who did the operative equivalent of menial labour. Then you lot showed up on one of our tasks - back at that warehouse. The fact that we secured those weapons was the first point in our favour, then we wound up fighting the infamous Natalya Godetzka to a near standstill, and pulling our heavily wounded Captain back from the brink of death. Since then, it seems people have taking us pretty seriously, and we seem to be getting some fairly big jobs." Tito paused.

"I guess this is going to be awkward to say no matter what, but we raided a staging point for you guys just yesterday. Our new commander took down one of yours, mean guy called Raptus Omega. So, as contradictory as that must seem to you, from our perspective our fortunes are on the up. As for our mission, whatever the Director needs us to do. Dan's currently out on some ultra-secret job as it is, whilst as you know I accompanied the Director to come meet you two."

"You took out Raptus?!" With wide eyes, Leo suddenly felt a surge of... excitement? Foreboding? Fear? "He was one of the Partition's top operatives; that's not a small victory. But if Raptus is dead, I fear that Spider will only become more vicious and organized. Still... I think that with Raptus gone, a major danger for the city has been eliminated." Leo held no strong feelings one way or another with this news, but he realized it was of high importance in the long run. Raptus had been leading the Partition to small victories for some time, and there was no way of knowing what would happen now.

"It may be that there's some kind of fightback, but I'm sure the Director has plans for that. In spite of what you may expect from his appearance and demeanour, there's a lot whirring away behind that gruff, orders-man face. He's been playing this game for a long time, and I think he enjoys it." Tito stood up, tossing his food container into the recycling bin. "Anyway, since you seem to be all ok, I guess I should go take you to Room 3295 for questioning, but I think we've covered that over the course of this discussion. Welcome to the team, Leopold Cinder, DPS Operative." He held out his hand.

Standing up, Leo reached out and shook Tito's hand. "Some might think of me as a traitor, for turning against the group I assisted for so long. I know there are some people left in the Partition that don't subscribe to everything their leaders fight for. If it's possible, I'd like to speak to your Director sometime about their safety... we were a crack team, but we rarely had a successful run. Maybe that's for the best, now that I can see things from a different perspective."
 
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lenscas

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Jul 31, 2013
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"Soon after I got the first message from Wolf, I got one from Syderis and I decided to check it out". It wasn't a total lie, all Wyatt lied about was the time from Syderis' message. "I just got back and was about to get to you."

"Well, what does it say?" Natalya's irritation seemed only slightly mollified by this.

Wyatt took a deep breath before answering "He said I could find him in the abandoned area to the north-west but he isn't there."

Natalya shook her head despairingly. "Right, listen closely. You did not receive that message. That message does not exist. If anybody asks you, even Velos himself, you did not receive any message from him prior to his disappearance." She pushed her face close to his. "Are. We. Clear?"

"Yes" Wyatt answered, not really wanting to get into an argument with Natalya right now and except for not even telling Syderis about it it was logical to keep it a secret.

"Good. Right. Next thing we do is go find him before he gets himself in some real deep shit. He says the wrong thing to the wrong person and we can kiss his arse goodbye. He's not in that direction, so we'll try the other. Get your shit and let's get going."

Wyatt quickly stood up and followed Natalya. He agreed with the fact that the sooner they would find Syderis the better and going to opposite direction of where he said he went seemed like just as good as a place to start as any other.

Natalya set a fierce pace. "I'm being serious here Wyatt. Word of that message gets out, or he bumps into somebody undercover, and he's potentially a dead man. We need to find him before anybody else does. Keep your eyes peeled." She veered off towards the Institute-controlled area of the Undercity, raising her hood as she did so. "Let's get hunting."

"I understand, and believe me I also want to find him" Wyatt sighed "Too much went wrong already the past few days."

The two split up, so as to cover more ground. About 10 minutes into the search, Wyatt received a hasty message from Natalya - "Found him. Near the main marketplace. Get over here ASAP."

"I'm on my way" Wyatt quickly replied as he quickly made his way to the main marketplace.
 
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RJS

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[THE UNDERCITY, NEAR THE UPPER LEVELS]
As Sy checked back over his shoulder one more time to check on the man, he felt hands grab his jacket and yank him with surprising force into a nearby alleyway. He was shoved against the wall and a hand was pressed over his mouth before he had a chance to react. "For fuck's sake, are you trying to get yourself killed? Turn that damned communicator back on before you do something even more idiotic than you currently are!" Natalya's face was pressed close to his. "Don't talk, don't make any moves other than to turn that communicator on right now." Over her shoulder, he saw Wyatt as he arrived.

[THE INSTITUTE, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SECURITY]
The announcement rang clear through the whole wing. All members of Yeta Squad, including recent recruits, to the Director's Office. Tito turned to Leo. "Well, here we go. Wasn't expecting something to come up quite this soon though. Better hurry, it's probably important."

Once the trio arrived, they were met by Marquese. An uncharacteristically worried look crossed his face. "Your comrade, Operative Dan Tuite, is not responding after going out on a classified mission. We have a location track on him, but we do not know if it's accurate or not. Your mission is to find Tuite and retrieve him. Expect the possibility that he is held captive by Partition loyalists. Operative Graves. Due to Major Guntram's current hospitalisation and Captain DuVares's ongoing condition, you will take command of Yeta Squad for this mission. Your actions in the line of duty and the judgement you have shown on multiple occasions lead me to believe that you will excel. You have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, with immediate effect. Now ready your men."

Tito looked stunned, blinking a couple of times, before drawing himself upright. He threw a sharp salute to Marquese, before turning to face Ina and Leo. "Head to the armoury - Operative Ina, I trust you will be able to guide Operative Cinder there. Equip yourselves suitably - we approach this under a worse-case scenario option and so I am treating this as a hostage rescue. I will meet you at the floatcar hangar in 15 minutes time. Dismissed!" With that said, he headed back to Marquese's desk to begin scanning what information was available.
 
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Lumaceon

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Jul 23, 2014
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Not Kansas
Ina had trouble not sideways glancing at Leo as they were given their mission. Today was full of new experiences, and this was arguably the first time she'd felt such...discomfort supposedly? How had he taken his situation? Was he still mad with her? As soon as they were dismissed, Ina nodded to Tito and turned towards the door, motioning with her pearl-white hand for Leo to follow.

Internally shrugging, Leo decided it would be best not to press Ina for her feelings at this time. After all, if the mission involved interaction with anybody from their previous company, things might get hairy, and it entering a confrontation wouldn't go well if either of them were emotionally compromised. So, Leo simply followed Ina out of the Director's Office. However, once outside, he quietly asked her, "Everything okay?"

"I'm very confused..." Ina replied somewhat listlessly. "I always thought emotions were useful to control other people. An easily changed variable that altered the way others viewed you. I've never had emotions get in my way and I've never displayed an emotion that I didn't want displayed...until just now. I'm confused because I'm not sure whether it's something I need to fix or not. On one hand, it could be seen as a malfunction, but on the other...I've never felt more human." A very faint smile might be seen, or perhaps imagined, on Ina's face as she spoke the last part.

... to control other people...? ......... Nah. "Honestly, I'd much rather have the emotional Ina instead of the emotionless." As they strode quickly past the medical wing toward the armory, Leo continued, "Just be glad you have a measure of control over your emotions... it's hard enough for humans, especially when there's so many aspects of a situation to consider." He tapped his forehead. "Gets pretty crowded up here sometimes. I guess I'm trying to say, don't sweat it, confusion is normal. Just do what you think is right, you know? And everything will work out."

"That's a very generic answer to a complex problem," Ina replied. "If I let these emotions run loose, will they continue to consume me until my every action is effected by them? At the very least, emotional manipulation would become much more difficult. With the world in the state that it's in, would I ever be able to experience the positive emotions? I doubt it matters what I try to do though, I tried my best and failed to stop them. They're just so uncertain and it scares me." The two finally approached the armoury entrance, directing Ina's conversation off to a new direction. "I don't really have a need for most equipment in here, but a backup battery might not be a bad idea if one is available."

Entering the armory, Leo was surprised by the extensive supplies. He didn't know where his wingsuit had gotten off to, but it had served its purpose well enough. Plus, it'd probably been destroyed after Marquese landed on him... "I, however, could use a good piece of gear to wear." He began to meander down the rows of armor, inspecting the various, alluring rather mundane specifications of each.

Ina made a quick sweep up and down, before concluding that no backup batteries could be found, at least not those suited to her needs. Figures. It was kind of a vain hope anyway. She made her way back to Leo, who seemed decidedly unimpressed at the equipment available. "Are you ready yet?"

By the time Ina had found him, Leo had gathered additional ammo for his breacher pistol, and decided to collect a pouch of grenades. Might be useful in a pinch. It doesn't say how strong they are, though. "This is the best thing I could find, so, yep. All set. Do you know where the hangar is?"

"It's not far, but we should hurry," Ina stated, turning towards the door. "My own troubles aside, I'm surprised you're willing to accept your situation so easily."

Leo raised and then dropped his arms in a helpless gesture. "Things turned out much better than I could have imagined, actually. This isn't a particularly bad place to be either. The Partition probably hates my guts, and your tubing, by now." He paused. "The only thing I'm concerned about is the possibility of encountering somebody from our squad... I doubt they'd just give up if they saw us. Still, I guess I'm resolved to go through with this, for now."

Ina thought for a moment before speaking, "That's a good way of thinking about it I suppose. I haven't decided how I feel myself. There's so much I don't know, but for now, I intend to survive until I can learn as much as I can. I hope you try and do the same."

"That's... pretty much all I was planning, yeah." He walked out of the armory, shifting the grenade pouch into a secure position on his waist. "Lead the way, then, if you would."

After a short, fast-paced walk, Ina arrived at the hanger with Leo following close behind.
 

the_j485

King of the Wicked
Dec 19, 2012
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Look behind you
Sy grunted as Natalya shoved him into the alley wall, reaching for his magnum before he realised that it was her. After a moment's consideration, he turned on a channel that'd only let him communicate with her and Wyatt, and sent her a neural message.
"Get the hell off of me and I'll explain."

The pressure against him intensified, as she hissed with renewed venom. "Stop. Fucking. About. And. Do. As. I. Say. My orders are to kill you should you prove to be a traitor. I'm currently trying real fucking hard to show the opposite. Now turn on your fucking communications properly...before I'm forced to gut you on the spot."

"Hell no. If I turn on my communicator, Wolff's Hounds will find me. I'm not taking that chance." He sent again to her, using the same secure channel.

"And why the fuck do they give two shits about an insipid little piss stain like you?"

"Fucking beats me. But I'm not risking it. Seriously, put me down already, it's not like I'm going to shout out you're helping me for all the Undercity to hear."

"It was a fucking rhetorical question you pathetic, snivelling, BITCH!" Natalya yelled at him. "They don't give a fuck about you because they currently have no reason to give a fuck about you. If you're really intent on giving them one, then keep acting this way. If you want to actually fucking live and continue to do so, then turn on your fucking communicator, because a message was sent that should put all of your moralistic whining to rest. I didn't yank you from the jaws of death for you to be this fucking abject. Best sniper in the Institute?" She spat on the ground. "Looking at you I'm amazed you managed to find your ass to wipe it let alone a fucking target. So reactivate that fucking communicator before I retrieve the blood that I pumped into you. You fucking owe me Sy. Don't waste my time with your pathetic pity party. Just. Do it."

"...Fine." Sy sent, and he closed the secure channel, his mouth set in a grim straight line. He then turned his partition communicator back online, and murmured through Natalya's hand. "Now put, me, down."

As Sy was released, a message flashed into his communicator. From Wolff. Mission is aborted. Target has returned to her Institute masters. Await further orders. Natalya watched for the flicker of recognition in his eye. "Now that you're done with whatever the fuck this is, I'll report to Wolff that you were having technical issues with your communicator, but had been tracking Ina in order to complete the mission. We caught up with you near the upper levels, and Wyatt here managed to fix the issue. As for that message you sent to him - what message? Either of you two mouthbreathers mentions that message, or anything outside of that story, I will personally cripple you before handing you over to Wolff myself. Are we all fucking crystal clear?" She shot a look to Wyatt. "Both of you?"

Sy's eyes widened in response to the message. Was it fake? A trick, to get him to come back just to be captured or killed? No, this wasn't right... He checked the time on the message. It had gone out little time after he'd gone dark, so it had to be real.
God. Fucking. Damnit.
"Crystal. Clear." Sy said to Natalya.
On a private line to Natalya, he sent her a message, reading "So you tell me I'm on my own, and now you come and make me come back to the Partition? You know full well I don't work to work for these guys any more, and what kind of use am I as a double agent?"

"No reason to fear that I won't considering I am also involved in this shit".Wyatt replied, he then looked at Syderis "For fuck's sake you could have waited at least until Leo was done talking to INA before you decided to "hunt her down".". Wyatt took a deep breath and said to both "Anyway, I would say we get out of here, no reason to stick around longer then needed."

"Agreed." Natalya said. "I have more reason than most to stay the fuck away from the Upper Levels. Pretty sure Marquese hasn't stopped fuming since I got released, especially since that Pirose bitch turned out to be more trouble for him than I was. Killing his subordinate probably hasn't helped his mood any. Let's go. Stick together, move quickly but not in haste. With the crowds, not against them."

As they set off, Sy received a reply. "You have a choice. You can either stay with the Partition, and quit with the fucking bitching, or you can leave again and be hunted down and killed by Wolff. He's risen up the ranks fast, he and his Dogs, and he won't let you get away. Such a failure would only hurt his position further - I imagine Ina's escape and Leo's defection already have him pretty fucking fuming right now. He'll be looking to send a message to any would-be defectors, and the next person to fuck up might well find the experience much less...pleasant than usual."

"Shit. I'm staying in the Partition, then. Better not try to make me kill innocents again, the pricks."

"Innocents? Who in this world possibly deserves such a title?" Natalya's response carried mockery, but there was a certain weariness beneath it.

"Fuck's sake, don't get all cynical on me. There are plenty of good people in the world, and even more that aren't bad enough to deserve death."

"Really? All I see are people who want to go further, do what they want, but they hold themselves back. You see it as goodness. I see it as fear of the consequences. The little whisper at the heart of every person, telling them that nobody will know or that they deserve it...that's the true voice of humanity."

"You're telling me that there's not a single person in this city that's good? That wants to help others, and stop the ones that are hurting them? Bullshit. Hell, even if they just want to get on with their lives, they don't deserve to die."

"And yet they all do. One way or another, through means that are human or through the brutal toll of nature. Why should the man who pulls the trigger be any more guilty than the man who paid him to do it? The man who sold one child to feed three, is he innocent or guilty? The woman, who hears screams from next door, but ignores them because she wants to get on with her life, no matter who is suffering, nor how many? Is there a time when just getting on with your life is wrong and evil?"

"People don't just get on with their lives because they're 'evil'. They do it because they're weak, because they're afraid, because they don't understand or fully grasp what's happening. The Institute was originally meant to be the force that would take action instead of them, and they wouldn't need to feel the crushing guilt of it all. But they fucked up, and so the Partition was born, but they fucked up too. There are still those of us, though, who still want to make life as it was meant to be, before those in power showed their true colours. I know you're not in this for the good of the world, you just want to get revenge, don't you? Well, not everyone thinks like you. Not me."

"Then you'd better get to work, hero."

"Guess that means I'm right." Sy sent, as his final message before he shut down his connection with Natalya.
"Wyatt, Natalya, thanks for coming to find me. I'm sorry for... whatever this is. See you on our next mission together."
That said, Sy took off, back to his apartment.
 
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RJS

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[THE INSTITUTE, FLOATCAR HANGAR]
Tito met the two of them at the entrance to the floatcar, before waving them on. Once they were airborne, he pulled out a small tactical screen and flipped it round to show a street map, with a pulsing beacon on it. "This is the area of engagement for today's mission. The pulsing beacon marks the last known location of our extraction target, though whether it has been deactivated or dummied is unknown. We must move in regardless - there will be no man left behind." His face was serious as he said those words, and they were said in a tone that brooked no argument. "Our landing point will be here." A green cross flashed on the map, 3 streets away. "We'll set down a certain distance to try and maintain the element of surprise - this street has a large number of tall buildings, which should hide us quite nicely. Once we hit the ground, Leo and I will advance through the streets to the front door. I have a cryptoscrambler given to me by Chief Officer Rowlands of Cybersecurity that should pop the lock open in under a second. We advance to the house fast, and push in, clearing rooms of hostiles and checking for Tuite's location. Ina, you will advance across the rooftops, taking care not to be seen. Once we breach the front door, you will enter through one of the upstairs windows. Use the advantage of surprise and their focus to the front to sweep the upstairs, again searching for Tuite. We do not know what they have planned for him, and it's imperative that we do not let them succeed. Until we have Tuite secured and his safety confirmed, any hostile forces should be terminated." Emphasis on the last word. "Once his security is assured, then we think about trying to take enemies alive. But only then. Any questions?"

[THE UNDERCITY, PARTITION TERRITORY]
Shortly after Sy and Wyatt returned to their homes, they found messages waiting for them. Security needed for important person. Likelihood of attack low, but taking no chances. Report to Safehouse 2-7-Alpha. Wolff. Each had their own addendum. Wyatt read Good job finding Sy so quickly. Godetzka tells me you were of use in narrowing down where he might be. The appendix to Sy's message was longer. I appreciate your dedication to the mission, chasing the traitor almost the the Upper Levels itself. In future however, please move with somebody else at least. The technical failure you were suffering could have caused you to be ambushed and captured, and we'd have no way of knowing you were in trouble. I have no desire to lose such a committed agent. Rest assured, your fervour has been noted, and if ever we get the chance to put together a revenge squad against the spy and the traitor, I will consider you as a candidate. I appreciate people who hate leaving a job half-finished.
 
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Eruantien

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[THE INSTITUTE, FLOATCAR HANGAR]

Ina shook her head slightly, the mission being fairly self explanatory. While the prospect of 'terminating' people wasn't a pleasurable one to her, she had resolved herself to do what was necessary to continue surviving. If that meant killing a few people to move closer to the war's end and stay in good graces with the ones protecting her...well she'd just have to manage.

War is hell. Leo also shook his head. He would fight as strongly for the Institute as he had for the Partition.

Tito gave a sharp nod. "Prepare for touchdown in 5 minutes." He pulled the magazine from his rifle, checked it, and reloaded it. He did the same for his pistol, before patting down his armour checking the locations of his grenades and shield generator.

Ina continued to stand near motionless. She had already recharged to capacity, but it wouldn't hurt to run a quick system check. Her vision was swarmed with a simplified system overview. All the systems appeared functional, though several were operating at minimal power levels. In her experience, this seemed the best 'standard' power allocation. The other systems could be activated as necessary. Nanobot levels seemed a bit low, but not compromisingly so. All-in-all, everything seemed to be in order.

With a flick of his wrist, Leo drew his pistol out from its pouch, giving it a small spin so that it came to rest on the palm of his hand. Although the wind blew in his face as the floatcar travelled nearer to their destination, he staunchly loaded this pistol with a full round, depositing it back to his sidearm pouch. I can't remember the last time I participated in a sting operation. The only one that particularly stands out is... the Short Circuit. Leo's face suddenly paled. "Lieutenant Tito, sir? Have you... considered the possibility that we may be heading into a trap?"

"Of course I have. But what else do I do? Leave a committed member of my team out there, in the hands of the enemy? Abandon those who have helped me? Who have come from unconventional circumstances to serve our cause? What message does that send to our allies? To our enemies? To those who look on, debating who is the better? No. That is not how the Institute should be. That is not how my unit will be. If they have set a trap, then we will overcome it. If they are waiting for us, they will regret that we came. It's as simple as that." Tito touched his communicator as the floatcar began to descend. "Showtime, people. Let's hustle!" He dropped from the door as it opened, and began to move through the streets with purposeful strides.

Ina flew from the opened doorway, hovering upwards and then forwards a ways, until the location was in sight. All things considered, it just looked like a normal home. That was how the Partition operated she supposed: otherwise innocent looking residential areas stocking weapons, bombs and all sorts of things made to kill. Ina claimed herself a spot ontop of a nearby roof and waited for the other two to catch up.

Dropping from the door after Tito, Leo followed shortly behind him, pistol in hand. From where they were, Leo couldn't see their target, but he remembered that Tito had said they had to go through three streets first. Since Tito was on point, Leo decided to keep especially focused on any potential dangers from the sides and behind them as they walked. His neural implant would alert him if any heat signatures arose, but it had a weak range, so that even Ina didn't register on it.

As they reached the right street, Tito gave a brief hand signal to Leo, before running to the door and taking up a position to the side of the door as he dug into one of his armour's pockets.

Ina watched as the two approached the doorway. She hovered to the side of an upstairs window and stealthily tried sliding it open to see if it was unlocked. The window did not budge.

Following Tito's lead, Leo ran up and positioned himself on the opposite side of the door, pistol at hand, and continuing to scan the street. Nothing was approaching. No noises could be heard from their position, either inside or outside.

Tito looked across at Leo as he placed the cryptoscrambler against the lock. A soft click was heard. He gave a clear hand signal. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. The moment the last finger dropped, he spun into action, kicking the door open as he pulled his rifle up to cover the entryway. "DPS! Lay down your weapons!" He moved swiftly down the entry corridor, kicking in the doors to the right, whilst motioning that Leo should work round from the left.

Ina waited for Tito to unlock the door, then promptly hovered backwards a bit to fire her laser at the locking mechanism. The laser burned through the lock in a matter of seconds, as the sounds of banging doors filtered upwards.

Leo imitated Tito's maneuvers, bashing in doors on the left side of the hallway, quickly scanning corners and the rooms within. Between the two of them, the lower floors were quickly cleared. There was no sign in any of the rooms that this house was anything other than a normal residential house, if a bit unused.

Ina slid the window open and slipped inside, her eyes beginning to glow in the dim light. She took a quick glance around the area for anything noteworthy about the room. The room looked just like a small bedroom. Nothing seemed out of place. Proceding forward with caution, Ina left the room and began sweeping through the rest of the upper floor. All of the doors that she tried opened without issue, with the exception of one, which seemed to be jammed or obstructed by something.

Down below, Tito motioned to Leo that it was time to move to the upstairs. Taking the lead, he moved up, assault rifle covering the floor above, as his eyes flickered to each corner.

Leo followed suit, holding his pistol steady as he swept his gaze around the hallway.

Several of the doors were already open up here, and they moved swiftly until they reached a closed door, with Ina stood by it. Tito whispered quietly, "What's the matter?" Ina responded in a similarly soft voice, "This door is blocked by some obstruction. It could just be barricaded, or it could be rigged with explosives to blow us all up." Tito swore softly under his breath. Pulling a small length of cable from his suit, he started to feed it under the door, connecting the other end to his helmet. "Looks like some kind of wardrobe, a bed...he's in here. Past the blockage. Something near him, can't make it out from here." He pulled the mini camera back under. "We clear the blockage. Door seems to be unlocked at least, just barred. On the count of three, we barge it."

"One. Two. THREE!" Tito hurled himself against the door. Ina joined in as best she could. Leo, too, smashed the door with all the strength he could muster. The blockage shifted but held firm. "Again!" Again, Leo smashed his forearms against the door, putting the force of his body weight into the hit. Ina joined in once again, ramming the door with the aid of a thruster burst. A small crackle of communication came through on their line as they charged, but it was muffled and unclear.

The door burst open accompanied by a cacaphony of splintering, thudding and crashing as the blockade fell and was smashed. The room was otherwise empty, except for Dan, tied to a chair that was lying on the floor. His left hand was free, but badly injured, and a knife lay on the floor outside of his reach. At the foot of his chair was a bomb, identical in appearance to the one Ina had found at the Droid Facility.
 

the_j485

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Sy tensed up as the message flashed up in his implants, displayed in his vision as scrolling text. He relaxed slightly when he read that it was just a mission, but he was still worried as to whether Wolff believed Godetzka's story or not.
The tension returned, however, as Wolff's word turned to praise for his "fervour", unsure if it really was the truth...
"if ever we get the chance to put together a revenge squad against the spy and the traitor, I will consider you as a candidate".
Syderis' blood ran cold at that last statement, as he realised, he might well be forced to fight Leo and Ina. They'd been his friends, but... what, were they forced into the Institute now? He could understand Ina going there for safety... and maybe Leo went because of his feelings about her? There was no way for him to know, but it left a bad taste in his mouth to think about it.
Doing his best to put that to the back of his mind, he left to meet Wyatt and any others at the safehouse.

As Sy arrived, he found the entrance to the meeting place - a rusted old door in the alleyway he was walking through. He rapped three times on the door, waiting to be let inside.
 

lenscas

Over-Achiever
Jul 31, 2013
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Wyatt sighed as he gained the message. "Better get going then" He said to himself as he grabbed his stuff. While he was walking towards the safehouse he was of course hoping that there wouldn't be an attack. However he feared that it wouldn't be so easy and what if they had to fight against INA and Leo? There was no way he could kill them and Wyatt doubted that Syderis could. His mind wandered off with thaughts like these while he walked to the safehouse. Only as he reached the safehouse Wyatt got out of his trail of thoughts
 

LivingAngryCheese

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Aug 22, 2014
676
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A place
Dan woke up. Memories of how he had reached where he was rushed to his head. Memories of the man knocking him in the back of the head. He had many questions. Who was the man? Why had he hit him in the back of the head? However, now was not the time for questions. He felt the bindings around him. Adrenaline rushed through his system, and he kept his eyes shut. He used his scanners to silently check for any electronic devices in the room, and any signs of life without moving.


The sweep returned no signs of life. He detected a small electrical signal from beneath his chair, although it did not seem to be network enabled.


Dan opened his eyes, and looked around as much as he could with his bindings, discovering that his knives were still attached. Pulling in a breath, he attempted to break the fingers on his left hand in order to pull them free.


With a series of horrific snaps, Dan managed to wriggle his hand through the rope loop, his fingers blazing with a nauseating amount of pain.


Dan gritted his teeth, and shut his eyes at the pain. He moved his left hand around to the knife on his left side, releasing it with a mental signal into his hand. He winced again as the horrible, sharp pain returned, but managed to hold on to it. With that done, he began to quietly cut away at his remaining bindings.


The knife began to cut through, but maintaining the grip on it with his broken fingers whilst pressing against the rope proved too difficult, and the knife slipped from his grasp.


"Shit." Dan whispered under his breath. As the knife clattered away, he stuck out his elbow and tipped the chair to the side, trying to make as little noise as possible.


The chair clattered to the floor, laid on its side. Dan felt the breath knocked out of him as he thudded onto the threadbare carpet.


Dan let out a slight moan before he could control himself, but it was quiet, as his pain was slightly subdued by the adrenaline running through his system. He reached for the knife and began sawing at his bindings again. He only managed a couple of strokes before the knife slipped from his hands again.


With his hand shaking, he waited for a few seconds and took a deep breath. Calmed, he picked the knife back up, and began to saw again. The knife slipped away again, this time skidding across the floor, coming to rest outside of his reach. As he lay on the floor, he heard noises of shouting and of doors slamming from downstairs.


Dan was slightly confused, before realising that he may have been knocked out for a long time, during which time he may have been found by the Institute. He scanned signals downstairs for Institute communication lines. He identified three communicators, now clustered just outside the room, behind him.


He connected to their communication. "Hello? Who is this?" he said.


His reply was a thunderous crash as the door behind him burst open, sending furniture smashing to the ground and splintering. Tito, Ina, and the Partition Agent he had encountered at the Short Circuit burst into the room. Tito glanced around before dropping his rifle and grabbing Dan's knife from the floor. He immediately began sawing through the ropes that held Dan. As he did so, Dan caught sight of a lieutenant's insignia on his shoulder. "Leo. Do you have any familiarity with that sort of explosive device? Is it a design you've seen before?" Tito queried, as he cut through the last few ropes.


Leo took a quick glance at the apparent bomb, but saw immediately that he didn't recognize it. "I haven't seen this before, no." He turned to Ina and asked her, "Is this familiar to you?"


By the time Leo had asked, Ina had already rushed over to peek at the bomb. Recognizing it immediately as the firebomb used to destroy the droid facility, she hastily replied, "Run! We need to get out of here now!"


Dan was surprised for a few seconds, before realising that recruiting INA and this Leo guy must've been his secret mission. He lifted himself up with his right arm. "Lieutenant Graves." He said, smiling, nodding at the new insignia. "Firstly, thanks, secondly, I detected a small electrical signal underneath my chair, but it wasn't network enabled, it must've been the bomb, would an EMP shut it down?


Tito looked pensive. "It depends on the design. If it's damped, then the surge that knocks out the timer won't activate the explosives. If it isn't, then the surge will trigger the charges early. Ina, you know anything about how this bomb functions?" He checked the display. 5 minutes remained. Without waiting for a response, he activated his communicator. "Tac support, this is Yeta Squad. Need an expert from munitions on the line, ASAP."


Ina's flight response was growing stronger by the second, but she managed to reign it in enough to continue studying the bomb. "It appears to be the same model that destroyed the droid facility," Ina detailed hastily. "How do they keep making these anyway...?"


Tito nodded as he connected his portable camera to his helmet and began to rotate the bomb, imaging it from all directions. A tense minute passed, before he motioned to Dan. "Need your knife."


Dan disconnected the knife on his right-hand side nervously, placing it into Tito's hand. If this went wrong, it could mean the end of the Yeta Squad. Tito took it with a shaking hand, listening to his communicator. He gripped his right hand with his left, squeezing tightly until the shaking subsided. He took a deep breath, then another. There was a moment of tense stillness.


Tito smoothly reached out and cut...1...2...3 wires. He withdrew the knife carefully, whole body tensed. The knife was laid down, tentatively, on the floor. He checked the countdown. 1:40.


1:40.


1:40.


With a sigh, Tito yanked off the timer and detonation circuit, completely separating the ignition from the explosive. An age seemed to pass as he stared at the two halves of the bomb, one in each hand. Then the circuit was thrown across the room, the explosive placed on the floor and Tito collapsed on his back, breathing heavily. "Holy shit. We're alive." He laughed giddily, relief tinging his tone. "Well, Leo, here's the final member of Yeta Squad. Dan, this is Leo, new recruit. You guys make friends now...I...I need a minute." He lay sprawled on the floor, his body limp. The tension that had gripped him throughout the process had fled his body, and he lay on the floor like a damp rag.


"Hey, good job man. And Leo, nice to see you won't be trying to kill me this time. But seriously, thanks to all of you for saving me." He seemed to remember something, "This might not be the best of times," he said, "But did you... did you find out who the traitor was on the way up?" He asked Tito.


Ina cut in, "We can talk on the way out, this isn't the best place. Can you both still walk?" She clearly hadn't let her guard down, as she headed for the door; scanning up and down the hallways.


Tito sighed. "We'll talk later - Ina's right. I shouldn't have relaxed like that. Let's go." He handed Dan's knife back and followed Ina from the building.


Dan re-attached the knife, picked up the knife from his left side with his right hand, then reached round and attached that too. He then hurried after them.
 

RJS

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[THE UNDERCITY, PARTITION SAFEHOUSE]

The two operatives were swiftly ushered through the door, to be greeted by Wolff and two unfamiliar ladies. "Good job getting here so fast." He gestured towards the seats in the living room. Like the last safehouse, this could easily be mistaken for a residential home by an untrained or disinterested eye. "Allow me to make the introductions here. First," he said, gesturing to one of the two, "We have Jerana Meroth, who recently enlisted with us. Following the unfortunate incident with that Institute infiltrator, all new applicants are being screened by me and my men. She's come through clean, and I'm assigning her to your cell given that you're currently understrength. I'll give you some more details on that front later. Secondly, allow me to introduce Tessiana Undurbis, a very valuable agent for us. She's been feeding us information from the heart of the DPS for several months now, although her cover has now been blown. She is the important person who you will be protecting. She's also my adoptive sister, so I expect you to do a very good job protecting her."

"Now, to business. Firstly, you probably aren't yet aware that shortly after you departed for your mission the Institute attacked the staging area. Raptus was killed trying to defend it. Though it hasn't always been obvious, he was the person responsible for your cell. In light of this, Natalya Godetzka has taken his place. She will co-ordinate the majority of your larger operations. You will answer to her from now on. Spider or I may still pass assignments down, but she is your immediate superior. Secondly, the specifics of this mission. You will protect this place overnight, before escorting Tessiana to The Crooked Axle tomorrow. One of my own men will be there - he will ask "Do you have enough change for a spin on the jukebox?" You will respond with "No, the coins are in my other jacket at home." He will then take responsibility for her protection."


Wolff arose. "Now, unless anybody has any questions, I'll be heading off." He headed towards the door.

[THE INSTITUTE, FLOATCAR HANGAR]

Yeta squadron were scarcely offloaded before Marquese appeared before them. "Lieutenant Tito, report."

"Sir." Tito threw a crisp salute. "Myself and Cinder entered through the front door with the aid of the crptoscrambler, whilst Ina took to the roofs and entered through a first-floor window. We encountered no hostiles on our sweep, and located a barricaded door which we knocked down. We found Tuite inside, along with an explosive device similar in design to those used recently by other Partition units. With the aid of Tac Support, the device was defused. Commendation to Operative Ina for keeping a level head and vigilant eye until we re-embarked the floatcar."

Marquese threw a wry nod in Ina's direction. "Very well. The three of you are dismissed. Tuite, follow me to my office. I need your report on your investigation, though I suspect I know the answer at this stage. I'll have somebody come up to look at your hand as well." He turned and headed off to the office.
 
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LivingAngryCheese

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Dan followed Marquese up to his office, and, once Marquese was ready, gave his report. "While I was here I found a suspicious message sent to a personal computer in the building I was found in later. The message read, "I am coming, hope you're ready for me." It was sent slightly after we were told about our mission, and I realised that it probably meant, "They are coming, get ready." I narrowed the possible senders down to four people, and as one of those people was Tessiana Undurbis, I wanted to go myself. Upon arriving, I discovered that the message had been forwarded on to a Partition safehouse, and around the house were pictures of Undurbis and her apparently dead family. I tried to send a message to you, but found a gun pressed to the back of my head. Undurbis told me that she was monitoring all communications in and out of the building. She then went on to tell me how her adopted family had apparently been executed for being nice to people from the Undercity, as that was a weak link to the Partition. I believe this must be exaggerating, and while she lost her family, which must be horrible, her adopted family must've had ties to the Partition. Then, a man with a metal arm, came in, said something about the things siblings do for each other, then knocked me out. I woke up tied to a chair. I then broke the fingers on my left hand to free it, but upon repeated attempts to cut myself free, my knife clattered out of reach. After that, Lieutenant Graves, INA, and Cinder came in, and Lieutenant Graves cut me free, then defused the bomb that had been under my seat."
 

Lumaceon

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Jul 23, 2014
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"I'm going to go recharge," Ina stated as she exited the hanger. Truthfully, the mission hadn't taken all that much energy, it was more her desire to get away from people for a while. Time to figure things out. Moving at an obnoxiously fast pace, she almost ran through the hallways towards her quarters. When she finally made it in, she promptly locked the door to seal herself from the outside world. Bringing an interface up into her vision, she elected to search the Institute database for files on recent bombings. Perhaps the incident hadn't been as bad as it looked, but either way, she really wanted to know.
 
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Eruantien

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Leo decided it would be best to go off somewhere solitary for a while. He returned to the armory and spent a few minutes wandering down the aisles of military gear, not really focusing too closely on anything in particular. Ina had been remarkably terse lately, and Leo wasn't quite sure what about, but he had his suspicions. Anyway, it wasn't as if they needed to hang out constantly. Leo was quite sure there was bound to be something around the Institute that'd catch his attention.

So... nothing new had come to light yet regarding the power struggle between the Institute and the Partition. Still, they'd only arrived a few hours ago; of course there hadn't been any time for a briefing, at least with anything related to that sort of thing. Leo wondered if the DPS employed a public relations team. Maybe they'd have the most current news about the city and the Undercity. He exited the armory, and strode off to find a building map, making a neural note to requisition area maps for downloading to his implant when possible.
 

sgbros1

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Jerana shifted slightly in her seat, culture-shocked. She hadn't expected this large of an enterprise lurking right below her feet, in her home of the Undercity. For the last 17 years of her life, she had only been content with the modest lifestyle, accompanied by her parents. Now that they were gone, however, she had to make some dramatic desicions on her own.

Sy took in the safehouse, and glanced at the new member of their team, as well as Tessie, their important person they were told they'd be escorting.
"Welcome to the team, Jerana. I'm Syderis, and I usually act as our team's sniper. Got any specific role you'd fill?"

"Role? What role?" Jerana asked, confused, "I collect scraps for a living. I know how to disable those droids, if it would help."

"Uh... yeah, that sounds pretty useful actually. Is it just droids, or can you disable other things?"

"No, but I figure most things wouldn't be that hard." She stopped and picked out her multi-purpose knife from her pocket, flashing it out a bit. "I know how to use most of this," she added.

"I... guess that's useful." Sy said, not really knowing what else to say until someone else would chip in. She seemed pretty poorly-suited for combat... then again, they weren't exactly the strongest squad, and she'd probably be of some help.

Jerana's mind wandered off somewhat, finally ending up back at her parents' death, shuddering at the thought.
She blinked twice before realizing what would happen to her should she join the fight.
"Sir," she stumbled in front of Wolff, "I-I'm probably being hunted right now by the Institute. M-Maybe it's not a good idea for me to be fighting at the frontlines..."

"Everybody here is being hunted by the Institute. In case you didn't notice, we're in the middle of a war. A war to stop what happened to your parents - what happened to my parents - happening to anybody else. If we lose, there will be nothing to stop them. And nowhere will be safe. Not for you, for me, for anybody.

Yes, the Institute will be looking for you. Eventually they will find you, no matter where you are. So it's simple. You can run and hide, and be found when you aren't ready, when you're alone. Or you can stand and fight, and find them when you are ready, and when you have people at your back.

What did you expect when you came to join us anyway?"
Wolff sounded genuinely confused. "Did you think we had the resources and the manpower to just hide people at no benefit to ourselves? Did you think you could just selfishly take advantage of us, and put the people fighting for your freedom in a worse situation as a result? Everybody contributes, otherwise this whole system falls down. Sy and Wyatt have been fighting the Institute ever since they signed up, either openly or covertly. Tessie has spent the past 2 years spying on the Institute for us from the inside, and is now moving to join our cyberteam due to her first-hand knowledge of the Institute Cybersecurity division and the defensive coding they have been doing recently. Based on your skills, this is where you are best suited."

"I-I can't!" Jerana wailed in protest, "they know where I am, they can surround me -- and potentially the rest of you and kill us all! That will achieve nothing, won't it?" Collecting her thoughts, she sighed and continued, "Perhaps I could work with Tessie, behind the scenes, where they can't find me..."

Wolff's face showed a flare of irritation. "First things first. If they know where you are at all times, why on Earth would I then let you go to a secret location that houses an elite team we've built over the past year and get them all caught, especially since you have no skills whatsoever that would make you suited to that kind of work?

Sy raised an eyebrow at the word "elite" being used to describe their team, but decided that interrupting Wolff, now of all times, was a poor idea.

Secondly, if there was any trace that you were actually being tracked or followed, do you honestly think that I would have let you join, come to a secret safehouse to protect somebody who I am trying to keep away from the Institute? I run the internal security of the whole Partition, Jerana. Not a lot gets past me, and what does doesn't get past the eyes of my subordinates. They have no clue where you are, otherwise they would be here already. Hell, Sy recently followed a target of his to the gates of the Upper Levels, deep in Institute territory. He's a former Institute sniper, so there's no way they wouldn't recognise him if we were watched that closely. Your commander, Natalya Godetzka, was recently released in a prisoner exchange and is one of the most wanted Partition Operatives due to her abilities and history. Do you think if it were that easy to find us and follow us that any of us would be standing here now?"

It grated a little that Wolff revealed Sy's past so easily to the new girl, but he supposed that probably just about everyone knew at this point. Again, he kept his mouth shut.

"And yet you stand there - you, who is only guilty of finding a few Institute droids and scrapping them to stay alive, and have the gall to say you think the Institute would have you under constant surveillance? And that I would have missed that?"

Jerana kept a grim look. While she admitted that Wolff was probably not lying, she was still wary from fear as the memories were still fresh off her mind. She gave her superior a quick nod, before turning back to the rest.

Wyatt was silently listening to the whole conversation, trying to get a more complete picture of this girl. It was obvious that she has no idea what she signed up for and felt forced to join.

"Thus, you have at least some experience with disassembling machines?" He said to Jerena. "Ever tried to use the parts you gathered for something?"

Wyatt didn't expect she would be of much help during a fight considering she is already panicking a little and if she has at least a bit of knowledge with technology then maybe that can come to some use if its needed and he can't do it or can't do it alone.

Jerana shook her head. "Often times they're too small for me to build anything useful with them," she then replied, "I use them mostly to repair my weapons and sometimes as ammo for my gun."

She sighed a bit and let her mind wander off again, but yet it seemed to settle on her parents' deaths. I'm fighting for them, she chanted in her mind, I'm fighting for their vengeance...
 

RJS

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[PARTITION SAFEHOUSE, THE UNDERCITY]

The group of 3 operatives spent a quiet, uneventful night. When they awoke, they found Tessie already awake and ready. A strange light glowed in her eyes, as if she was lit by a fire from within. The mere thought of starting to directly combat the Institute clearly had her gripped with a strange fervour. While she did not speak openly, her body language before they set off expressed her impatience with the delay. The Crooked Axle was nearby and, once they were all ready, it would not take long for them to reach it.

[MARQUESE'S OFFICE, THE INSTITUTE]
As Dan finished his report, the door buzzed and a member of the medical team came in. Marquese waited patiently whilst she treated and splinted Dan's broken fingers, before dismissing her. Once the door shut, Marquese let out a heavy sigh. "The Undurbis incident. I see that it's still going to be a thorn in our side, even after all these years. It may have spawned two of the most dangerous opponents we have." His voice softened for a moment. "The man with the metal arm is undoubtedly Wolfram Undurbis, known to his 'associates' as Wolff and Tessiana's adoptive brother. He is also one of the most extreme leaders within the Partition, heading up a merciless squad of experimental soldiers that carry out an ideological war within its ranks. He's weeded out and killed several of our best informants since he rose to prominence, and he has few qualms about his methodology. The explosive device that was placed under your chair would have caused a large number of civilian casualties as well - we believe it to be identical to the devices used a couple of days ago in Partition raids. You are a lucky man to come out of that situation alive. Now, if you will excuse me for a moment."

Marquese opened a communication line. "Christian? It's me. The traitor is as you feared. I know it'll have you all pulling double shifts again, but we have to try and move faster than her information. Rewrite the entirety of the defense code. We don't know how much she saw, helped and tweaked while she was in there, and I can't take any chances. Not now that we've reached such a critical juncture. Yes, fine, you'll all be able to take staggered holiday time, but after this is done. This is a matter of paramount importance - cancel any current leave at once...Whatever, fine, use me as a scapegoat if you have to, but get them in."

He sighed. "If there is nothing else, Operative, then you are dismissed. There will be a briefing at 0900 tomorrow. This information will be passed around later, but I suspect you may need to rest immediately."

[0900 THE FOLLOWING DAY, BRIEFING ROOM]
Once more, Marquese ascended to the podium in front of the entire staff of the DPS, barring those on active duty. There was a tight set to his jaw before he began to speak.

"Women and Men of the Department of Public Security! I have called this briefing for one reason, and one reason alone. There is more afoot in this war then we initially thought. This briefing will be to inform you of the existence of a third power, that goes by the name of EXODUS. Up until now, their operations have been covert, their movements minor. All the information we have had has been minor, unsubstantiated rumour. However, recently we have encountered instances where they have sought to directly influence the course of this war. Their objectives do not align with those of the Partition, and we have reason to believe there is no co-operation between them, but their objectives do not align with ours either. They preach a creed that claims all of our history is a lie, that we must stand together and fight against an external menace. All of this will merely be a pretext to push the city into martial law for their own ends. The Director of the Magnus Institute has therefore declared that the forces of EXODUS are to be considered enemies of the Institute and so are to be classified as hostile whilst on deployment.

The modus operandi of this EXODUS appears to be to operate from the shadows, seeking to distort the outcome of this war to their own ends. From what we know of them, they operate as a single small, elite cell. We know of four members for sure, with two other potential members, but as to the extent of their reach and associates, as well as the majority of their powers, we have no information. Nevertheless what we have will be shared with you here.

Firstly, the person we presume to be the leader, who refers to himself solely as 'Wodan'. He appears to possess unparalleled hacking skill, and has been known to hack the sensory feeds reaching your brain to create an illusion indistinguishable from reality.

Secondly, there is the man who refers to himself as 'Apollo'. He claims to be a doctor, and possesses incredible physical strength capable of sending an opponent flying with a punch. He also appears to have some kind of dampening system which disrupts the use of hacking on his implants, and so is also considered to be a great threat.

Thirdly is the man referring to himself as 'Revenant'. He uses pistol weaponry, and has shown himself to be able to strike even the most nimble of targets with minimal effort.

The final member of the main four is the woman who calls herself 'Dracul'. We have zero data on her battle capabilities and powers.

As for the other possible members, firstly is the individual that we have designated as 'The Faceless'. He first appeared during the mutilation of the traitor Pirose several months back, and has not been seen of since. He showed the ability to create a lifelike mask, and high levels of precision with medicine and blade. We believe, based on some claims, that this man may well be one of the main four, most likely Apollo, but we must also consider that they may be separate people.

The final possible member is the Institute traitor Syderis Velos. He defected to the Partition some time ago, but we have solid evidence that he has also been in touch with EXODUS. His true allegiance is unknown.

Should you encounter any of these individuals during the course of an active mission, summon backup before engaging with extreme caution. From the information we have, all of these can be considered to be incredibly dangerous opponents. Live subjugation is preferable, but it may be that they must be killed immediately, for safety's sake.

You are all dismissed. Think on what has been said. I will be here for the next five minutes should anybody have any additional queries."
 

sgbros1

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
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Jerana awoke abruptly, amidst a recurring nightmare. It has plagued her for days, watching her parents' deaths over and over again, and especially the moment when she was almost taken hostage to the Institute. Masking away the fears as she left her quarters. They have provided me with so much, Jerana reminded herself yet again, I will not even last a day without them.

She promised herself to keep a low profile within the Partition. Never to act irrationally, or become a martyr. She will follow through with her assigned tasks obediently, never to again argue with her superiors. I just have to survive in here, nothing else.

A quick breakfast later, she got properly geared up and met up with the rest of the operatives.
 

Eruantien

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
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For the second time in as many days, Leo didn't know what to say. The revelations of a moment ago had made something come together in his mind, and he shifted restlessly in his seat. With Exodus being a reality... has Ina been taken in by them? Sy, too...

If the Institute states that Exodus is necessarily lying, there's not much chance I'll get any useful information on any other viewpoints while I'm here.
As they'd already been dismissed, Leo rose and began to exit the room. However, he circled back after a moment to stand before Marquese. "A question, if you would, Director. Does this new information have any immediate influence on our operations? Aside from, I'm sure, increased awareness of Exodus' movements."
 

LivingAngryCheese

Over-Achiever
Aug 22, 2014
676
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A place
Hmm.. EXODUS. Dan thought. So that's what that guy was part of. But dampening? That guy must be extremely good at hacking along with his abnormal physical abilities. Could he even challenge Marquese? Then there's Revenant, who doesn't miss. And Crow, whose hacking skills far surpass mine. I'm both impressed, and a little jealous. Oh, I just remembered, I didn't get the chance to properly thank everyone yesterday. Dan headed over to INA, as Cinder had gone to ask Marquese a question, and he was sure that he'd see Tito later. "Hey INA." he said. "I didn't really get the chance to properly thank you yesterday. I know it was a mission and you had to do it, but I'm still really thankful that you saved my life. Also, I'm glad you decided, uh, finished your mission in the Partition, with Guntram in charge until Elin recovers, I've really been wanting somebody who might break the rules." He laughed, but then his face turned serious. "But seriously, do not break any rules with Guntram in charge. It is a very, very bad idea."