Hidden 18 days ago Post by Patches
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@Antarctic Termite@SIGINT
Looks like they were going to whoever was responsible for Mary. Family or caretakers maybe? Hopefully someone with medical expertise, the little girl might want to get that blood vomiting looked at.

"...Umm...am I in trouble?"

Oh! Um... Don't worry, you aren't in trouble. Ayem and I are just worried about you, that's all. We're not your caretakers, but we want to find the people who are. Grazia said, partially improvising.

Now looking to Ayem, Grazia stated. I actually just got off a cargo ship that came here... Kinda snuck on you see. She said, putting "kinda" in air quotes, a nervous grin on her face. If you need transport, I can point some out.
Hidden 18 days ago Post by Zarkun
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Rave "The Shadow" Mallard

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Rave glanced over his shoulder skeptically at the mention of a Door. Something that he guessed had to do with what she did to that poor bastard who'd been screaming for help, and the Spectre honestly had no desire to find out what had the guy so terrified. "I mean no offense, but I'd rather not do something super unfamiliar right now." Besides, he was sure they'd never be able to reach a high enough vantage point before the law enforcement spotted them anyways.
Hidden 18 days ago 18 days ago Post by FrankenDaughter
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<I mean no offense, but I'd rather not do something super unfamiliar right now.> Rave sent. Akagalcia sniggered very quietly.

<Then lead, runner. We shall be prey. They will not catch us.> Akagalcia stooped down to the floor of the cargo shell, tapping the kukri's spine against the alloy paneled floor for a surprisingly loud cleowng, cleowng, cleowng sound. <Project to my hand. I will teach you another pattern.> She held up the piece of glowing red asphalt, which was starting to crack, lancing a much more intense heat from within out into their confined space as the personnel searching for them gathered around the cargo shell. Her will on the asphalt was a beacon in his mind. Rave wouldn't even have to look to extend his will and give her what she was asking for.

"Athredani Circumstantial Forces! Disarm, disrobe, and deactivate that thermal charge or we will open fire! This is your only warning!

<Coldsnap the moment you project to me. They will not be harmed.> She stepped silently closer to him. He could already feel something new about Akagalcia's projection...
Hidden 18 days ago Post by Antarctic Termite
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Canal sector twelve. Where had Ayem heard that before? Not long ago, no, maybe a few hours. Canal sector twelve...

The crash site.

Ayem turned her head and gazed into the distance, where a faint haze of vaporised sludge still dimmed the satellites, and SWAT dropships hovered like harriers over a fen.

"You're not in trouble," she reaffirmed, but I know I am. She didn't sigh, but she did deflate a little, just faintly.

Then she picked up her breath and went back to business, thanking Grazia's intervention with a nod. Mary became much easier to handle when she wasn't alone, it had to be said. "If you could point us to a commercial flight that can carry a spacefighter, I'd be grateful. It's about twenty tonnes and fits in a six-meter cube." Ayem wasn't too confident of Grazie's ability to secure transport, but there was always the chance that she knew exactly what she was doing. Better to give her the benefit of the doubt.

"We have to find out where we're going first." Mary's energy was boundless but her legs were small. They could walk to the outskirts, or find a lift. "It might not take long. We should go soon, though."

@Patches@SIGINT
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Rave "The Shadow" Mallard

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Rave didn't turn back, but his crytokinetics reached out once more, though this time without the touch of his mind. "Make it quick. They won't wait long before-" A high strength laser shot tore through the wall of the crate and pierced the floor near his foot. Growling a curse, Rave traces the shot's path and fires a round from his own rifle, the gauss round tearing the man's arm off. His voice then echoes out. "Next time you shoot at me, shoot to kill. That was a warning." It was a bluff of course, there were plenty more of the law enforcement forces than him and Akagalcia, but someone hitting a sniper like he just had would cause them to hesitate and buy them time
Hidden 18 days ago 16 days ago Post by FrankenDaughter
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Akagalcia, The Exile


"Make it quick. They won't wait long before-"

Akagalcia didn't move an inch as the beam shot through the cargo shell, boring almost six inches into the pavement below. Rave could sense the rapid bindings she was weaving as he returned fire, all of that work in the span of a single moment. He might not even fully understand how it was done the first time she showed him when he was giving his full attention. Rave began the coldsnap as she'd asked for, Akagalcia closing her eyes on cincentration.

She took a deep sniff of air, tapping her foot against the floor of the cargo shell for an echo. She wanted to sense as much of what she was about to do as possible. Rapid condensation was already forming on both the interior and exterior walls of the shell. She could feel their persuers faintly... their weight against the pavement, their breathing. It was the perfect moment, when she could funnel the pattern for the exact effect she wanted. She braced against the pain...

...and then Rave felt the rush of the pattern. He heard the scream of air vacuuming at intense speeds through a pinprick opening he couldn't see, presumably a part of Akagalcia's pattern. Then, by the light of the glowing asphalt, he saw the walls of the cargo shell contort inward from the pressure change she was causing. This only lasted for a moment before the pattern finally terminated...

Little Athredan - Warehouse Block E, 'Repid Expulsion Grid'
@Zarkun


...in an explosion of force and steam that caused the cargo shell to blow apart, shooting flecks of shrapnel and twisted hunks of alloy throughout the interior. The roof of the shell did the most damage, slamming into and visibly denting sheet metal ceiling. Hunks of debris ricocheted off of brick walls and other cargo shells. A tall stack of containers labeled {Caution! Explosive Contents!} began to fall away from where Rave and Akagalcia were standing, both of them unharmed and unphased at the sudden chaos.

Akagalcia opened her eyes, looking around to see the unconscious bodies of the squad that had been about to light them up. "Feeling weakened, or in a state our enemy can exploit?" As if to emphasize her smug grimace, the frame suspending the dozen or so containers full of explosives crashed on its side loudly, over a hundred thick metal springs 'gloinging'. Whatever was inside those containers didn't seem to be active.
Hidden 17 days ago Post by Zarkun
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Rave "The Shadow" Mallard

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Rave wanted to be impressed with what he was seeing, the lack of harm to himself or Akagalcia, never mind the fact that the two different elements had combined so smoothly, but he was more concerned with what the fall out would be with the rest of the law enforcement. Turning, he beckoned into the docks, where he knew a spaceport was. "Alright, we've bought ourselves some time, and they probably still don't know what we look like. If we hit the spaceport and find a ship to another planet now, we can slip away and give the heat a chance to die down."

Making his way into the labrynth of storage containers waiting to be shipped off, Rave draws his C-150 and a punch knife and listens as they walk. "Besides, I had planned on seeing more of the universe anyways."
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Akagalcia, The Exile

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Akagalcia followed hurriedly as Rave rattled off their sitrep and lead them into the rear of the warehouse. As they disappeared from their brand new crime scene, the top-plate of the cargo shell, nested momentarily in dent it had pounded into the warehouse ceiling, fell back toward the floor. It made a queerly soft crunching sound as it crashed into the ground where they had been standing only moments before, swirling more hot steam vapors around the little clearing as they fast-walked in between storage containers.

"Besides, I had planned on seeing more of the universe anyways."

Akagalcia was only dressed out of place in her leathers and hides with turmeric stains on her thighs from what she'd lost of her supper. She shadowed Rave very well, checking her share of corners as Rave saw to his own. <I like this.> There were no pursuant footsteps from the squad they'd left behind, to her relief.

They managed to find a small door, opening into a poorly lit maintenance alley packed with complex piping and chemical fixtures--the warehouse they had been in neighbored a chemical refinery plant, packed to the gills with various industrial features to help safely prepare chemical compounds in bulk before they were divided and packaged so that independent contract freightors could ship such goods in whatever quantity they could, with whatever vessel they could make available for the job. Many of the non-hazardous auxiliary features had componens that exceeded the walls of the facility here.

It would seem impossible to navigate for most people, or at the very least like it would slow them down. Akagalcia though just began contorting in between pipes of varying temperatures and support cables and beams like they... like they were tree branches or bushes or rocks. "How do these ships keep us alive? We bred Theshkelg to go into the deepsky. Your ships belch fire to move as they do, but Theshkelg made our air as they breathed and held valleys and rivers in their bellies. Entire tribes lived out their lives in them when they traveled to other worlds, only knowing ths stars and the deepsky through the Theshkelg's eyes."

While talking, Akagalcia had already traveled almost twenty five feet toward the end of the alley, finding her footing carefully and then pulling herself up or lowering herself down to crouch. Just now she'd caught a sleeve on a large flathead and turned to look back to see Rave's progress as she unstuck herself.
Hidden 14 days ago Post by SIGINT
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Frixion Prime — Main Road
@Antarctic Termite @Patches
Mary fidgeted uncomfortably, her arms swaying back and forth, but with a small element of stiffness to them. "I don't really get it, but okay..." They wanted to find her caretakers? She supposed some of them might still be alive...even then, calling Papa would be a better choice. But then she'd have to explain why she didn't call him right away instead of going off on her own. He might get mad. Well, he doesn't really get mad, but he might be all, like, displeased. So maybe it was better not to. But...if they wanted her to...but she didn't want to...then who's wants want to want when one wants want what another's wants don't want?

"So...Canally place, and then the ship?" She asked, trying to get a better sense of where they wanted to take her. "Okeydoke. I can take us there if you don't know the way."
Hidden 14 days ago Post by Zarkun
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Rave let Akagalcia have her moment of speaking as he worked himself through the mess of wires and other such things, the knife and sidearm back in their respective places. The whole thing had become a mess, which honestly surprised him since he had a habit of trying to avoid causing messes, and it hadn't even been a full day yet. And that thought caused him the most concern. In the past, he'd always managed to stay undetected on a new planet for months at a time, but here...I got sloppy and I didn't put that group of thugs down fast enough. Wanted to play around with them too much...

Glancing up to note that she'd stopped to get herself unstuck, he realized he was only about a hundred or so feet behind his companion. Realizing she was done talking, Rave begins to answer the question. "Some of the ships use fire to propel themselves through the empty void of space, yes, but overall, that's all that fire does. Inside the ship you still have air to breath and they supply it with food before leaving port so that the passengers and crew don't starve to death or die of thirst. It's not quite the same as what you describe, but it works for us." He pauses a moment to make sure his armor doesn't break one of the chemical tubes and then says, "Plus the ships are able to survive coming under attack by pirates, though I'm not sure that's as big a threat here, due to the armor plating that covers the outside of the ship."
Hidden 13 days ago Post by Patches
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@Antarctic Termite
The pink haired mechanic was thankfully unaware of the SWAT ships that Ayem was looking out for. As a matter of fact, she was completely blind to just what Ayem was freaking out about. Scratching her head, she hummed. Commercial flight that could carry a spacefighter? She might've saw something of the like. Grazia looked over to Mary, gazing at the child as she bounced about. I don't know of one but I might be able to find one. I'm into cybernetics, but I know my ships. I can keep an eye or two out for a ship. she said, proud of herself. She at least knew about the various types of ships, from years of acting as a stowaway.

@SIGINT
The little girl just couldn't stay still. Guess little girls, even ones with a perchance for knives and possessing a habit of vomiting up blood, were still little girls. "So you guys want me to come with you to this "canally" place? Then find a ship? she asked, trying to get a grasp on the situation, Just what is this canal? She asked Ayem.
Hidden 12 days ago 12 days ago Post by FrankenDaughter
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Akagalcia

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Akagalcia offered a hand as Rave finally caught up with her, helping Rave onto a narrow metal catwalk that ran lengthwise from where they stood to the end of the alleyway. They continued on side by side, Akagalcia staring determinedly down her feet in thought, trying to avoid overstimulation. The chemical processing facility smelled overwhelming even from outside of its walls. Rave could feel her latent anxiety as her surface thoughts seemed to recoil from everything around them at once. She was squeezing his hand very hard actually, enough to perhaps cause mild pain. After a few moments they were out of the alleyway and onto the main street, air currents flowing enough to free Akagalcia's nostrils again.

"Your lead. We are beyond where I have stalked, and you seem to know what we will need to do."
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Rave "The Shadow" Mallard

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Rave nodded and got them back into the flow of people heading towards the ship dock, all the while keep an eye out for any police checkpoints that would force them to find a way around. As far as he could see, there wasn't any, but that could change quickly. "Only know what to do because this isn't the first time I've had to make a run from one planet to another. Was a common practice for me back in the Koprulu Sector for a good many years."

Stopping at a corner, he checked around it and in the other direction before continuing on down the way. "So I take it you've just been familiarizing yourself with a small area for the sake of familiarity?"
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Akagalcia

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"So I take it you've just been familiarizing yourself with a small area for the sake of familiarity?" Rave asked, pausing at an intersection to survey. Akagalcia stepped around him, not trying to step in his way, but subconsciously mimicking the flow of the crowd and then circling to the other side of him. She too was keeping her eyes open.

"Home is where you spend time. Athredan is full of people that seem happy. Young people who fight well, artists, storytellers, cooks, crafters." As they continued down the main road she seemed to relax more and more, the chemical facility now out of sight. "My tribe traveled with several others for safety and things felt much the same. It is not good to run alone." Akagalcia spoke the last with some sorrow. But, looking around, that was forgotten as a little clothing shop came into view. Akagalcia started toward it, cooing under her breath at a pair of pants.

"I will need to look like some of the part of this world." It was a true statement. For all Akagalcia's manner could seem beneath notice, several of the pelts among her leathers belonged to no creature Rave had even read about. Anyone with a keen eye would find them unmistakable.
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Rave "The Shadow" Mallard

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Having followed Akagalcia, he looked in the window with her, appraising the items inside before nodding. "It would help us shake any pursuit as well. Shall we?" He approached the door and followed his companion in, taking a spot against the wall near the entrance. "Pick out some things that you like, few different sizes. Find what fits. You can try them on in the changing rooms that I imagine are near the back."
Hidden 10 days ago Post by FrankenDaughter
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Akagalcia

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Akagalcia lead them into the small shop with little fanfare. It was not a place for... subtle... shoppers. Indeed, Rave could see that throughout the shop were several different name plates featuring collections of outfits and mismatched articles, names that sounded like companies and names that sounded like individual clothiers. Every name plate had its own style, and while the few display pieces at the window had only vaguely caught Akagalcia's attention, she found herself drawn like a hummingbird in a garden from one piece to the next.

A couple of other less enraptured patrons were milling around, affecting disinterest in their arrival. Rave noticed that one of them was paying Akagalcia a fair bit of attention. She was already being approached by the proprietor, a plump old man huffing sweet-smelling cigar smoke. They seemed to hit it off immediately as the proprietor lead her to a back room, giving Rave some genuine time to himself. In a few minutes both patrons had departed, one of them taking a pair of pants and paying at the autokiosk. Rave was alone.

Several times over the next few minutes Rave heard one or the other of Akagalcia and her new friend laughing. Out the shop window, crowds surged in either direction. But Rave sensed something, peering amongst the teeming masses for... he wasn't sure. It was a sympathetic resonance. It tickled at his surface thoughts and then he saw it, a small, red wicker basket, floating in the center of the busy street. No one seemed to notice, but everyone seemed to give it a safe distance. From it, a pale gray head emerged, perhaps the size of a peach, with huge, opal black eyes and a small mouth set in a forlorn frown. It was attached to a long, worming neck that coiled out of sight in the basket. But the creature's face was looking directly at him, staring.

Figures passed in front of it, but it never moved. Then, a Door appeared behind the creature, and moved forward, swallowing him and closing. It was gone.

Akagalcia and the priorietor were still in the back, conversing loudly.
Hidden 8 days ago Post by Zarkun
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Rave watches the creature with an air of caution, one hand moving towards his C-150 as laughs come from the back room while Akagalcia and the store's owner talked and joked. This creature was drawn here for a reason, but before the Spectre could ascertain what it could be, primarily through a rather unpleasant encounter for it, it vanished into one of those holes that his traveling companion had made when they dealt with those rather unpleasant fellows back in the alleyway. On top of that, he noted that an announcement was being put out to watch for anyone with blood on them walking the streets as the Athredan law enforcement wanted to bring them in and that if anyone saw people covered in blood, to report it to them.

The psionic assassin laughed as he returned to his vigil of the store and closed his mind off the the area around him for the time being. The two of them had been careful, never mind how foolish it would have been to let blood get on himself and he was sure that Akagalcia was clean as well, though it wouldn't matter soon enough. At the moment, he was just grateful that the doors had been closed and that the store's owner couldn't hear the announcement.

It was still sloppy. We shouldn't have toyed with them, should have just gotten to the point and put them down. Plus the guy with the sword had tried to send off a runner...that means that their gang will be looking for the perpetrators...we might have stirred up a hornets nest... And so his thought process went, running likely scenarios through his head. At the very least, he was grateful not to be the only person wearing some kind of armor, though his was definitely of a fairly unique appearance based on what he was seeing in the streets.
Hidden 5 days ago 5 days ago Post by Antarctic Termite
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"It used to be a river," said Ayem, swishing a speck of dust off her coat and leading them out into the night lights. "People still call it that."

That was, it seemed, all she had to say.

* * *


If Ayem's arms had been strong enough to pick up Mary and carry her along in her sweeping stride, their walk would have been faster; but children are, of course, always heavier than they look. Ayem didn't feel like wearing her hollow arms out this early in the night, and she'd just been through the laundromat, besides.

Even so it didn't take long. The primary bridge was being repaired under a mound of bright yellow danger tape, for whatever reason, so they approached from the back. There all they could see was the ruin of the bio factory, still steaming in its piles of goop.

A crash site normally swarmed with police. Now, not so much. They were all airborne, or operating high-alert patrols elsewhere, where the frigate's cargo had been dropped or taken. Where crime had flared with the loss of the drones. It only took ten seconds.

Things slipped through the net on Frixion Prime. Anything that failed to keep up with the flashing lights and crowds, anything that stopped, even for a minute, stayed. The hand of the law had passed over this place and it would not come back. Maybe it won't even be repaired. Maybe it stays a ruin of industry until the next corp comes to erase it. Ayem could already see the urban ghosts dripping their way across the floor.

And the city moved on. Pedestrians already acknowledged the fresh wreck with nothing more than a glance. She could see window shoppers. She could see cheap fashion peddled on mannequins, the exact same company that had just clothed Mary. And the same traffic.

"Start looking for bodies, if you can," said Ayem, low, to Grazia. "Cartels. Before that there was a private security skirmish. They might have claimed their dead. Or, they might have cut losses." It was obvious which choice the officer found most likely. Which one she'd have made herself. "They probably sent Mary. Definitely after whoever ended up with the ship. If you identify the company by their implants, we can contact them on our own terms. That'll be a strong lead." And Ayem knew how to deal with her own kind.

To Mary, she said, "Hey. Wanna go explore the dingy death factory?"

@Patches@SIGINT
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Frixion Prime — Outskirts — Canal Sector Twelve
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"...You said that...we'd stick together..."

"But...you abandoned me...back then..."

"And you've...abandoned me...now, too...huh...?"



Mary stared forlornly up at the clouds. The same sky where she had stood and watched, while her с̶̨̛͡е͢͟͜͞с̸̡́̀т̢́́■͏͜҉а͏̴͘͠?̵̵ slowly float away from her, like a balloon that she had let go and couldn't get back.

What happened to balloons, when you lost them in the sky? Did they float out into space? Waaaay into space? Super far away into space where you had to chase after them through all the stars and suns?

Probably.


"Dingy death factory...?" The little girl was noticeably forlorn, her mind wandering elsewhere and her ears not listening, perking up at least enough to pay attention to the phrase. "Yeah..." Her brain was scattered, and there were a lot of things that she didn't understand. But she at least understood a few feelings. "...I...lost something here." She said seemingly unprompted. "Someone I...loved? I think? I feel like she's like that..." Trying the best she could to vocalize her inner thoughts, she shifted uncomfortably next to Ayem. "But...even though that's true...every time I see her, she dies, and my arms keep stabbing her. It happened over and over and over. And then she just...floated away, like it was nothing..."

...Jealousy? Envy? Was that it?

"I wanna float away, too. It's not that I don't love Papa, I really do. But I wanna be able to just float away and go places and do things, like she can...like she's doing right now." The girl frowned, with no proper measure to know how well she was articulating herself at all. "But, I'm too little, I guess. But if I'll always be too little anyway, why does it matter...?"
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Ayem's silhouette wavered in the breeze. In the end it was just her coat, tugging at a pole of a woman who didn't move much when she listened.

What would be more wrong- to talk to this child with the same meaningless comforts that were all she yet knew how to offer, or try and work through the cloud of depressive mystery above her like the spirit's puzzle it so clearly was?

Ayem's shins showed up at Mary's level again and she lifted her chin with a spindly finger, letting their eyes meet. "You came this far, didn't you?" she half-whispered. "If you really believe you can, then you'll find the people you love again. No matter how far you've floated apart. And in the meantime I'll be big enough for both of us." She ruffled Mary's hair. "So, do you think you're ready to keep going? Just say the word if you're too tired to- too sad to walk."
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