Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Lady Selune
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"I've always hated it when people in movies go 'there's no time to explain." The woman that was talking had blue hair. Not unusual. Pale skin. Not unusual. Long leather jacket. Not unusual. Above their head though... There was nothing. That was unusual. Ever since you had become a police detective, the Ether had become more than the omnipresent memory aid that it was with most people. It was a glimpse into their life. Looking down the street you could see just from the neat text above people's heads what jobs they were going to or coming home from, their names, age, hell, damn near everything was available to you if you took enough time. To have that be missing, the text simply replaced with a dull Error: Person not Found? Inconceivable.

"So, I'll try to explain as quickly as possible." She turned and looked up at the sky. Yes, the sky. So high up that the low level smog was below you, the rushing wind and freezing cold didn't seem to register all that much. Police drones blared into position, lights illuminating the sky with red-and-blue flashes- flashes you were all too used to. "But from what I can tell, you've had a bit of a wetware malfunction, should we say." The woman reached into her coat and drew out a gun. Not one of the puny little things that gangbanging punks loved to flash, no, this was the real deal. Sleek and compact bullpup design. Judging by the Ether overlay that popped up, illegal as well.

Cerberus Arms Limited Ash Compact. CLASS 2 RESTRICTED WEAPON FOR CIVILIANS. LEGAL FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT. You had a sneaking suspicion that the woman wasn't law enforcement. "You're going to need this." The woman turned the gun over in her hand, breaking damn near every safety rule in the book. Her finger was in the thumb holder, yes, but the barrel was facing towards herself and you were willing to bet that it was loaded. "In thirty four seconds, a FREAK squad is going to kick down that door. They have a warrant for you, and there's a very long list of crimes on said warrant. Your only good chance of getting through this night, and off the roof of a eighty storey tall building, is taking this gun and trusting me."

She took a few steps forward, offering the gun over to you. From the maintenance door across the roof, you could hear slams and barked commands. "Twenty five seconds now. Best make your choice. Them? Or me?"
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by La Fleur
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Speechless. Sam Enduro was absolutely speechless. Her mind raced yet she seemed to have so little time. Who was this strange woman? Where were the two of them? And most importantly, why were law enforcement closing in on them? Sam was in fact law enforcement herself. She had never committed a majorly dishonest action in her entire life.

And then there was the lack of Ether over this strange woman’s head. This of course was a major red flag. Sam had never encountered this before. Everyone had the Ether hovering over their heads, a sort of public hub representing a person and a all that they were. So why does she not have it? Sam demanded of herself.

Of course she did not know, nor did she have the time to attempt at understanding this all. Sam stood before this woman, this armed stranger who now presented her with a firearm. An illegal non-civil model no less.
Sam simply stood, unable to move, but only briefly. Before she realized it her own right hand was grasping the stock of the heavy caliber weapon, followed by her left.

Sam pulled the gun from the blue-haired woman’s grasp and slowly held it before herself, the barrel pointed to the left as she held it in her hands.
Realizing time was short, heralded by the circling police drones, Sam could only muster forth a single question as she stood there with this strange woman and held a restricted model firearm.

“Who are you?”

Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Lady Selune
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"I'm someone that's really going to save your arse. Call me Guardian." Not her actual name, nor her street name, but it'd do for now. Rolling up her sleeve, words and data whipped past her vision in the blink of an eye. The police drone closest to them- so close in fact that its four armoured rotors were kicking up her jacket, spoke out to them in a noisy, mechanical voice.

"SAM ENDURO. YOU ARE UNDER ARREST. PLEASE PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD AND AWAIT FOR SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM." That wouldn't do at all. More code whipped by, and then Credit offered a wink to the machine. "SAM ENDURO. YOU ARE UNDER ARREST. PLEASE PUT YOUR HANDS BEHI-" Suddenly the voice cut out. The machine offered a damn near pitiable whine, a thin trail of smoke rising up from the central chassis. Turning to the detective, the blue-haired woman grabbed her wrist and started to sprint, feet pounding against the top of the roof.

Then she leapt. Hyper-reactive pupils took every detail of the fall she could be hurling herself into as she crossed the divide between roof and drone. Her hand remained wrapped tight around Enduro's the entire time, until after what felt like a century she landed atop the beetle-like construction, fingers dangerously close to being turned into a fine paste by the rotors.

The weight of two human beings combined with the reduced lift output thanks to her little blowout meant that the drone could no longer stay airborne. Almost lazily it began to descend... But lazily wasn't good enough. Reaching into her jacket, another gun was retrieved, complete with another handy HUD warning on its illegality. HHK 'Shofar' Armour Piercing Handgun. CLASS 1 RESTRICTED WEAPON. BLANKET BAN APART FROM SPECIAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS. Two ever-so-slightly muffled barks of the gun and they were descending ever so slightly faster, the edge of the ceiling falling away just as the FREAKS appeared.

First Response Emergency Action Kill Squads. FREAKS if you were on the street, 'Special Response' if you were on the same side of the law that they were on. Sleek cyan masks hid their appearance and gave them a distinctly inhuman look, whist their hex-patterned powered armour made them damn near superhuman. Even so... An 80 story tumble was something they wouldn't be willing to risk.

She hoped.
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“What are you-“ Sam had no time to finish her sentence as the blue-haired woman, identifying herself as “Guardian”, dragged her along in a hurried sprint. Nor did Sam have time to call out or scream as this stranger yanked her down onto the top of a failing police drone. This is insanity! Sam thought frightfully as the two landed narrowly on the drone.

Her stomach leapt as her accomplice drew another weapon and blasted away into the top of the drone. She gritted her teeth to a painful extent and felt her toes curl tightly, fearful of the machine exploding or instantly collapsing and sailing them down to their demise.
Fortunately, neither happened.

Sam realized she still gripped the gun the woman had originally given her, with both hands still. Sam instinctively left one hand to hold the weapon, her left, and her right to grab and hold tightly onto the midsection of this “Gaurdian”. “This is crazy!” Sam stated sharply as the pair descended far beneath the rooftop edge. Having caught a glimpse of the arriving units, she prayed they hadn’t seen them, and prayed further that they didn’t begin blindly firing on the two. In their exposed position, they would surely die, be it by gunshot or the fall.
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"Very much so, but then again that's not the first time this has happened to me." 'Guardian' rubbed her nose a little with her free hand. "Now, if I've calculated correctly, their guns should stop them from firing on police property, such as the drone we're currently on. Smartlinks can be a bitch..." If she was correct of course. If not, she was a nice, neat, slowly-falling circle for them to unload a couple of magazines onto. She looked up, biting her lip as the cyan visors appeared, gun barrels glinting in the light.

Then... Nothing. No gunfire. One of them looked down at his rifle with confusion, and there was a burst of static, and yet still there was life in them yet. She looked down, her hardware calculating the fall. "It's going to be a rough landing, but the drone'll take most of it. Nonetheless, brace yourself." She tucked her gun pack into her jacket, then gritted her teeth. 5 metres... 3 metres... Bang. They crashed into the ground, and before she knew it she had sprung to her feet, yanking the detective along with her.

"I can't keep pulling you along. Just... Follow me, and if the FREAKS show their head, put the gun I just gave you to good use and toss a couple of shots their way. My car isn't far away." Feet pounded against the pavement, and she turned a corner to... Oh FUCK that wasn't good. Police blockade. Cars with their sirens, although the officers themselves... Must have been securing the building. Whilst she would have loved to have jacked that car, she had bigger fish to fry right now. Just getting to her car was going to be a nightmare, dealing with a no-doubt tracked vehicle would just make it even worse.

"Count that as a blessing. We're unlikely to get another one. Let's go."
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“But I-“ Sam didn’t finish her sentence. She couldn’t fire on police officials. She couldn’t! She had worked with law enforcement for years. She followed this woman though, this “Gaurdian”, a pseudonym no doubt. Sam was torn in her mind. Why was there a warrant out for her? Why were the police after her, and how did she come to be in this woman’s company?

And the lack of Ether, the fact that her strange accomplice had no ether, this above all made her mind spin. It was then that she had an idea. A simple one and easy to execute. All she had to do was obey and follow, for now.
She slipped the magazine from the gun she carried out into her hand. After ensuring it was full, she slipped it back in with a click and followed Gaurdian.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Lady Selune
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She guided the woman through the streets, then hopped across a police cordon. More running, then she ducked into an alleyway, a relatively compact, yet also sleek design in a light-absorbing matt black colour. Placing her hand against the handle, she clicked it open without needing to do a thing, sliding her finger across to let the machine know it needed to unlock the shotgun door too. Once inside, she shut the door hard and sat back, running a hand through her head.

"I'm sure you have questions." She paused for a second, looking the detective up and down. Nodding, she turned back to her steeling wheel, one arm coming across to clip in her seatbelt. The car had self-driving functions, but this area was currently part of a lockdown, so it would refuse to drive her anywhere. Luckily, you didn't get far as a hacker without knowing how to drive, so pulling out of the alleyway was effortless, the hybrid engine barely making a whisper as she did so.

It might seem odd, to some, how she felt so comfortable giving the gun to the detective, but really the reason why was quite simple. The gun was hard-coded not to shoot her, and unless the detective had the skills for a hard rewire without making it look blatantly obvious, then she would be fine. Didn't stop her from being clocked across the head, but that ran the risk of her crashing the car and taking both of them down. "Feel free to ask them now. We're going to somewhere safe."

The handle seemed downright frictionless in her hands as she turned, driving gloves making a vaguely unpleasant scrunch as she did so, traffic started to return to the street, and after about thirty seconds of waiting she had pulled into the flow. The Metro never slept, and that just went double for the streets. She put her foot down, listening as the petrol engine kicked in and the speedometer began to tick up.
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“Oh I have plenty questions.” Sam said, her voice noticeably unsteady. Without warning she turned the gun barrel over in a quick snap, pointing it at the mystery woman’s thigh. A gunshot there wouldn’t kill her, nor would she likely wreck. Her most likely impulse would be to clench her thigh muscles and maybe push her ankle and foot downward. If anything it would just cause her to hit the accelerator harder, and currently, “too fast” was an inapplicable phrase.

“First I want your real name,” Sam demanded, her voice steadier but still on edge,”second I want to know why I’m with you? And most importantly, why are the police after me with a warrant to my name?”
Sam gripped the gun tightly, her right index finger resting loosely on the trigger while her left hand gripped just short of the barrel.
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The woman looked across at the detective, and then at the gun pointed towards her. Shaking her head, she turned her eyes back to the road, slipping between two cars to coast through a traffic light before it turned red. "Do that again and I'll snap your arm before taking my gun back, thank you very much." She didn't appreciate being threatened in her own car, and that went double when she'd just saved the person that was threatening her. "Try shooting me, go on."

Even if the woman tried to, the ETHER would flare up, a little red message popping up courtesy of herself. 'Hardware Doesn't Betray You.' "Now, if you'd like to start this again, maybe a little more politely, I'd be all too happy to answer some of your questions. Not all of them, but some. A horn honked as a self-driving car behind them braked, 'Guardian' staring in the mirror for a second before muttering a "Learn how to drive and don't just honk the horn."
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Sam didn’t even try to pull the trigger. She should have known better. Figures. she thought venomously, though with no real surprise. She let her arms relax and the firearm rest back in her lap. Ignoring the traffic and honking horns, she looked directly into Guardians’ face, turning her head completely to her left.

Not even sure what to think of you as, Sam thought grimly, rescuer, kidnapper, extortionist? Hmmm. I think for now I’ll go with ‘extorting rescuer’. She spoke up, the previous shuddering in her voice replaced with a bitter tone,”Fine, we can talk civilly. My questions are the same though. I’d like your real name, why I ended up in your company, and why the police are after me. And one or two other things.” Sam’s eyes drifted up to the blank space over the woman’s head.
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"My real name, why we're together and why the cops are on your tail." She paused after repeating the words, raising an eyebrow as she glid through the streets. "Well, we'll start with the first one I suppose. It's not my actual name but it's far better than a bullshit pseudonym. Call me Aw3struck." After she said it she realised that she had just said another pseudonym, and so continued on. "It's what most people know me by." The leetspeak wasn't pronounced mind, leaving it just as 'Awestruck.' She hadn't even coined the name herself, but that was a tale for a different day.

"You ended up in my company because you took the gun from me and didn't let go when I jumped off a building." Sometimes things weren't that complicated. The woman could have kneeled down and surrendered to the FREAKS, and she would have just floated on down by herself. It would have been a shame to expose herself like that for no gain, but that didn't really matter when it was a do-or-die situation that she had made it out of.

"Thirdly, you're with me because, as I said, you've had a wetware problem. You won't be remembering much of the past few days if I'm right, and that's because someone took control of your brain. Then, having hijacked you, you did... Quite a lot, dare I say. Check in the glovebox." Inside was a dataslab. "Search name: Sam Enduro." The slab beeped in recognition, then dragged up the results on screen. News reports. Lots and lots of news reports.
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“I can’t believe this.” Sam said in a dead tone. She had done as her companion had instructed, searching her name, and the results were not exactly favorable. They were downright despicable really, at least that’s what Sam would have thought had she looked at someone else’s record. She bit her tongue at the urge to say ”I didn’t do it. She saw no bother in saying.

She had heard of this before, “brainjacking”, but had never in her career encountered it, nor did she know of any of her colleagues ever dealing with it. It was one of those “few instance” cases she had casually read about during break time at the office. Now she wished she had dove into it deeper.
Like I could have know though. she thought with a kind of bitter self-assurance.

She sat back in her seat. Something else this “Awestruck” said was also true. Same couldn’t remember a blasted thing. The last thing she could seem to recall was arriving at her apartment complex. But it seemed to have been such a long time ago...

She turned to her unwanted accomplice,”Alright... ‘Awestruck’, how long have I been in your company? Did you find me, stumble across me amidst one of these alleged crimes... what?”
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"Better start to though, because the evidence is pretty undeniable." More twists and turns- they were deep in the thick of the Metro now... Well, they had always been so, but now they were both thick in it and very likely utterly free of any sort of surveillance or following. She felt comfortable enough to turn the self-driving feature on now, allowing the wheel to take itself and slowly removing her gloves. They were neat things- black with heavy leather stitches to hold themselves together. "Put these in the box along with the slab, would you?" She handed the pair over and pushed her seat back a little, thinking idly.

"You've been in my company for..." The woman flicked her eyes up, looking at a display that only she could see. "Fifteen minutes thirty seven seconds. Thirty eight... Thirty nine..." She shrugged. "I 'found' you, but really I was looking for you. There were some interesting spikes in activity. Your crime spree, sure, but also something else. A lot of us were trying to figure out what was happening." She paused for a second.

"Turns out, whoever was jacking you had covered themselves thoroughly, but not quite thoroughly enough. I was able to essentially backtrack the hacking to its ultimate base... Which was you. I don't know who actually jacked into your brain, but given sufficient time I'm sure the breadcrumbs would lead me back, bit by bit, to the person behind it all.
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Sam rather indignantly pitched the gloves into the box, followed by the slab.
She leaned back again in her seat, her eyes staring blankly ahead through the windshield. Slipped the gun from her lap down into the floorboard and crossed her arms as she slouched in her seat. “Where are we going,” Sam asked,”do you have a hideout or place I can stay?”

She shifted slightly in her seat and then asked,”And, what sort of crimes? I... haven’t killed anyone have I? Anyone innocent.” She had notable fear in her eyes, which even from the side could be seen.
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"Well, I don't know if you consider politicians 'innocent,' or not." She turned towards the woman with an expression that could only be summed up as a 'whelp.' "Three. Quite important ones as well, all national government, and funnily enough all of the leading party. Not a single opposition member touched. Sort of suspicious if you ask me..." She drummed her fingers against the car's steering wheel. "Not to mention the myriad other domestic terror charges you no doubt earned yourself."

"As for where we're going... Well, basically yes. We're going to a safehouse of mine. Nobody else knows I even own this place so it should be fine... Certainly the last place that anyone would look for you at any rate." A few more turns and then the car pulled itself into a small underground parking lot. "Gun." Aw3struck snapped her fingers and held a hand out, stashing the SMG back underneath her coat once it was handed over. With her highly illegal arsenal placed back into concealment, she then stretched her legs a little and stood up, indicating for the woman to get out.

The complex that the parking lot was attached to would prove itself to be a reasonable-size apartment complex. Thirty floors, actually fairly reasonable for this part of the Metro. A high-rise, rather than a true skyscraper. Aw3struck would lead the other woman to the elevator and press the thirteenth floor button, smoothly letting them up. Unlike a real poorhouse, the elevator was quiet and in good condition. Things here were cleaned and well-maintained, suggesting that for most folks it wouldn't exactly be cheap.

It was a good job then that Aw3struck wasn't most folks.
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Sam Enduro followed in silence, trying to wrap her mind around what she had been told. Politicians? She had committed political assassination? She honestly couldn’t believe this. She half-expected to wake up any minute sand be unplugged from a sim-seat. I only wish. Deep down she knew this was reality, harsh reality. And it seemed after all her dedicated years as an honest police detective, her life had been stolen. She was now a state criminal for actions she hasn’t even willfully committed.

“Names,” San finally piped up in the elevator,”any names on who I killed? Parties? Suspects other than myself? And furthermore, do you think you can backtrace to who exactly brainjacked me?”
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"Uh..." The woman paused for a few seconds. "Lauren DuPont, Samson Hale and Jeremy Hawk...s? Not entirely sure what his name is. Secretary of Agriculture, Tourism and the head of taxes. Suspects other than yourself?" She looked at the woman, an awkward smile on her face. "Nobody. Pretty obviously and definitively you. Got you on camera, honestly, a miracle you even managed to get away after the third one considering how blase it was. I guess whoever jacked you only cared insofar as you could kill those three, and then couldn't give a rat's arse."

They departed from the elevator and up into a long hallway. A single turn and they had finally reached Aw3struck's bolthole... And all things considered it wasn't bad. The sheer fact that it had enough space for a proper kitchen with an oven in it was a step up from how most people lived. There was a thin layer of dust across almost everything, but that just meant that nobody else had been here between when she had last left nad now.

"Welcome to your new home. As for if I can trace it... Like I said. It'd take me a long time."
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Sam stood at the end of the hall, looking over her “new home” as Awestruck put it. Though she kept her mouth shut, it was a definite downgrade from her heights apartment. A definite downgrade. She stepped forward sheepishly as she continued to look over the place. She still had so many questions to ask, though she decided to keep them limited for now.

“So what now?” Say decided to ask,”What do we-what do I do? Is my hard earned life done and over with? Or is there a way back from this? Any way.” She tried to shield the pleading look in her face. She couldn’t go soft. Not now.
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Was there a way to come back for this... "You'd have to prove, beyond reasonable doubt that you'd had a wetware hack. That's not an easy thing to do, and only a few peopel have ever been charged for it." She paused. "But, it would exonerate you legally. You'd likely still be a pariah, but the cops don't really give a shit about their own people being reviled, so you could likely continue on with your job as a detective too. If we can exonerate you." she shrugged. "We'll see how likely that one is."

She sat down on the corner of one of the beds, and ran a hand through her hair. "As for what we do now... Eat. Sleep. Tomorrow we'll need to make a trip somewhere fun, so get your rest in now Sleeping Beauty." As for dinner... Well, they could fill their stomachs here, but it wasn't like kibble was that pleasant to eat. At least it filled you, she supposed.
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