Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Liaison
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Liaison Passive Aggressor

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Born last to an odd litter of calico, Mr.Whiskers always was special. Tightly snug in the nightly embrace of young Victoria, she hugged him as her father rarely would, telling him stories of how he wasn't so great as people say, and how most nights he failed to tuck her in bed.

“I hate him!”

The cat purred as if it understood her resentment, comforting the nine-year-old by rubbing its curled backside on her, encouraging the girl to stroke his soft spotted fur. Unbeknownst to her father, Reginald Cavala, CEO of Balecorp, the largest smuggler of drug paraphernalia across this sector of the cosmos, she adopted a new pet. Victoria befriended the playful alley cat, secretly feeding him when he hopped onto her window sill one starry night. Her father, as the scrooge of the galaxy he is, forbade even the idea of Victoria owning dogs, hamsters, or even a red slider turtle, and above all, he hated cats. He even went out of his way to order the hundreds of guards under his command to treat strays like vermin and eliminate them on sight.

In the past, any animal Victoria befriended, even as gentle as a hummingbird, her father killed, but that's what made Mr. Whiskers so special. Whether it was a few days or even a week, he always came back.

On this foggy night, Reginald left his Sauron tower of a headquarters and decided to take it easy for once, lounging in the theater of his luxurious neoclassical mansion, cigar in hand. Currently, the lone spectator of a blockbuster he missed out on, it was a well-needed rest from balancing his public figure and the extremely dangerous line of work from the safety of his grandiose shimmering durasteel walls and transparent aluminum windows.

The film Illuminating the dim room detailed a spy getting the drop on a mafia head by playing a loyal confidante for years. It was no comedy, but the sheer contrast in his reality from the character’s caused the CEO to smirk. If he told you, he was bulletproof. There was never a reality where he'd get caught with his pants down. With the graveyard of assassins sent his way, there was little reason for the linchpin to think he could ever be lynched. That didn't mean he wasn't paranoid. The militia of agents throughout his many-acre residences showed Reginald was overcompensating for something. With a crib boasting several landing pads, a private hangar for spacecraft, shelter concealing infinity pools, biometrically secured underground vaults, escape tunnels, robotic chefs half defense bots, and sensory fields for the utmost security, even if Reginald wasn't aware of it himself, it was fear.

Of what remained to be seen, and easily one might attribute his abundance of security to protecting his young daughter who would one day inherit his enterprise. After dozing off several times in the final act, Reginald decided to call it a night, slipping on his slides, zonked, walking through his art-filled halls before stopping at Victoria's room. She was already sleeping before he got home, so as any loving father would, he slowly cracked the door open to get a glance at her considering he'd leave before she even got the chance to get up for homeschooling.

Lit under the hazy moonlight from her window, the sight of her in slumber reminded the linchpin of his only soft spot, who he did all of this for, his little princess, Victoria. After her mother, his Mrs.Smith to his vice-based endeavors, was taken out by some photosynthesis-powered weirdo who he still has a hit out on to this day, Reginald vowed to protect Victoria to the extent that made her dislike him.

Her long hair likened her to Rapunzel, trapped on the top floor with little interaction in her father's built fortress. She was too young to understand, yet old enough to rebel. She didn't know of the dark consequences of her father's work but soon she would.

Reginald looked at her side, Victoria's body cupped like she tenderly embraced an absent teddy bear. It was odd, but not enough for him to draw suspicion. The thought of forgetting a book he intended to finish on his helicopter ride to his headquarters in the morning sidetracked him, so he went to his home office as a last stop before bed to retrieve it.

At this point, he walked into his oval-like office like a zombie. Opening the door, everything was of norm. Quasi-slumbered, Reginald made it to his home office’s desk. While he monologued angrily under his breath why his favorite sports team still sucked after checking his phone, the CEO managed to sit for a moment in his office chair. The second he sat down, it appeared something small pranced through the slither he left in the door. His eyes widened like he awoke from a nightmare at the realization that it was a cat. Jolting up, the cat’s lassoing tail around his neck forced him back down just as fast.

“You've been lying to me, Reggie.”

Mr. Whisker's small body began to convulse, fur rippling as his bones audibly cracked, limbs stretching, contorting, elongating to that of a human-esque figure. His menacing yellow eyes glowed like any cat’s would in the night, and the “gotcha” smirk on his face as his spotted fur transitioned to a sleek black was of Reginald’s worst nightmares. It was Merse, who did in fact, catch the bulletproof CEO linchpin, all of those things, with his pants down.

“You didn’t get the message the first time when I sent Edris. You thought you could disrespect me again by taking out one of my closest informants and hiding your hand? In return, I gained an even closer one to you. She rants often about how you're rarely home. Poor thing. She’s just getting to the tip of the iceberg of how much of a piece of shit her father is.”

“Victoria!” Reginald screamed, forehead veins bulging.

“As a CEO, you quickly grasped the stipulations. In case you didn't, this is how it's going to go from now on. You work for me.” Before the information broker could lecture further, his left ear twitched, keening in on an alarming sound.

As quickly as Merse was aware, an enormous, oval-shaped golden spacecraft shimmering with a moon-like glow several times larger than the mansion he stood in entered the air space above him. Veering ridiculously close, the spaceship possessing rings like Saturn was in full control.

“Reginald Cavala, your continuous crimes across known space end today as we, Orichalca, have deemed your reformation necessary.”

“Shit! I knew you were scum but not enough to get on their radar.”

Merse’s animal intuition led him to retake his form as an innocent house cat, relinquishing his grip on the CEO's neck. As soon as he did, a series of intricate Holographic rays penetrated every inch of the manor, ignoring walls, doors, even people. Nothing could cast a shadow and just like that, Reginald saw only black.

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Spider Pickle
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Spider Pickle [i]minecraft spider noises[/i]

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Ninjas of the past invented special techniques for espionage. Then agents found more use in technology for spying on their quarries.

You're using both.

Every assassin who ever came Cavala's way? One or the other. Maybe they used a little bit of whichever facet they neglected, but they never sought balance. No one technique, fighting style, strategy, physical attribute… no singular thing is invincible. That's what makes you special. You're not just… you're not just one or the other. You're both. And… that's a… good thing…


Ryuko sighed. This self-prep-talking affirmation bullshit didn't feel like it was working. It felt schlocky, really. Schlocky, overly prideful, and cringeworthy. She really needed to stop taking the advice of random girl friends who didn't know she killed people for a living.

But why does it irk me? she thought.

It was self-deception. That's why. She had spent far too long escaping her own biggest lie; She wasn't about to—couldn't—allow herself to fall into another mental trap of that type again.

Even this realization didn't make the thought of infiltrating that mansion any less… frightening is the word, if she was being honest with herself. Hundreds of guards in this location alone. Biometrical security systems, robotic defenses, sensory fields, and if the rumors held true, a gun he carried on his person at all times. She doubted that last one, though. But one could never be too sure about what defenses someone did or did not employ.

Her ship hovered silently in the air, held aloft by anti-gravity. She knew she couldn't ride too close or else she'd set off alarms, but she'd spent the better part of a week preparing and researching the layout of his property—what records were publicly available, of course. She pushed and pushed and pushed until her gut told her to stop. Some part of her mind told her to keep going, to push further in.

She stopped. Better safe than sorry... and better to trust her gut. It was what beckoned her for all those years to get out of the situation with her father, after all. It was about time she started truly listening to it.

The black HawkHead, shaped according to its namesake, was now sideways, aiming its door at the main building. She was thousands of feet above ground—perfect for hang gliding. These kinds of airfield sensors, she was led to believe, were tuned to much larger things; spacecraft and planes. The hope was that the resolution hadn't been tuned in enough to alert its owners to airborne persons. If it was, she assured herself, she had a contingency plan.

She forced herself from her comfy pilot seat and strutted over to the locker, undressed, then slipped over her athletic body a suit made of some special fiber that blah blah, she didn't really care, she just knew that this strange material was silvery in daylight but black enough at night and absorbed whatever IR and X-ray signals the sensors might've used. It was a bit poofy for her liking; It seemed like a large layer of polyester meant for someone many sizes larger than her, secured by wrist and ankle straps meant for only regular-sized humans. She supposed she appeared somewhat like the shinobi of ancient times. The mask certainly added to that effect. She just seemed to have an additional hood to go over her head to hide all her kinky blonde hair.

She pulled on a pair of hi-fi NVs in swimming-goggles form—none of that silly giant headset-looking gear that petty officers the galaxy over have to contend with. She drew a cable out from the wall; On it, a pre-attached harness she secured around her pelvis. Instant spy, just add wirework. Only, this wirework would remain slack unless and until she hit a button on the belt of the harness. Then she'd be puled back to safety, and she could just fly off. Minimalized failure; That was her main principle when cooking up a strategy.

Finally, she grabbed and unfolded her hang glider. She'd made it herself; Layered onto the bottom surface was a similar material to the one she wore, albeit flush with the fabric as opposed to loose and poofy.

When she reached for the door, some part of her mind warned against it. Why? She thought for a moment. A sort of pre-play, an organic simulation, in her mind… I'll open the door—no one would be able to hear that—then line it up and jump—I blend in perfectly with the night sky—flying on cool wind with my-

Cool wind. The inside of her ship was warm. Worries of long-distance IR technology, heat vision cameras, and heat-seeking weaponry got to her. A sensor might not catch her or her hang glider, but a camera might. It's why she used anti-gravity, not VTOL thrusters.

A puppet to her mind, she acquiesced to this fear and flicked a few switches, shutting off the ship's heat. She let it cool down over a few minutes. Gut be damned.

Same temperature as the air outside. Dead as a vampire.

Pre-play became play; Simulation begot reality. She gripped the handle with her right hand—sleek black metal met matte gray rubber, kept separate by the glove of her suit—and yanked, and the door slid open on racks whose lubrication lessened its apparent weight. Air was now alive in the poofy hi-tech fabric of her getup. Perfectly aligned to the building. Showtime.

She jumped. Her hang glider caught the wind and she soared. Her flight path was an initial swoop, but it leveled out into a straight line whose vector put a bullseye right on the roof of Cavala's office. No guards on the ground would see a thing, not with this fog into which she was edging.

She swerved up at the last moment to intentionally stall, the right amount of deceleration needed to land on that part of the roof without overshooting or scraping against it.

She then ditched the hang glider, and considered ditching the suit as well. At least the poofy thing on top. But there were likely similar kinds of sensors inside that she'd need it for. She had no other ways of defeating that sort of tech. Reluctantly, she kept it on. Going up to the ledge, she rummaged through a bag on her belt—a "swallow bag", so named for the mix of technologies and design that kept things stuck inside yet easy to retrieve and even easier to slip something back inside. An alternative was the "spider web hiking bag", but she disliked it. Too kitschy, and… pickle-green for no good reason. She pulled out some espionage-oriented climbing equipment. Again, instant spy, just add wirework. Once she'd secured the wire to her harness and the other end to the ledge itself—a smart-grapnel, articulated claws closing around the ledge like bird's talons—she then dove all of five feet, five inches, her full height. Instantly, the line became taut. Just as she'd orchestrated over that week of preparation.

From there, she scaled the surface of the wall with careful hands and feet, lowering herself by the precise grip of her robotic digits. She didn't want to slip or trip anything. Hence going face-first rather than foot-first. The better to see traps with, my dear, she thought to herself. Her chuckle was stifled by some other part of herself speaking up, shouting, drowning out the whimsy. No, don't be silly. This is serious. You need to focus. Joking around is not going to make this any less stressful. Just take it.

She resolved to just take the stress. It's what she was used to. She'd been specialized for it, she felt.

The top of the window sill scrolled into view. She pinched the line tighter. Then, slowly, she lowered herself enough to peek inside.

This… wasn't the office. This was a kid's room. A girl laid on the bed, fast asleep she hoped. She looked around the room. No cameras. Good for the both of them. She debated whether to slip in through this window or through anoth-

What the fuck is that glow!?

Panic quelling her heartrate, she looked "down" and saw a moon growing. No, a massive spaceship. It descended upon the scene like a bird of prey on the carcass of a sleeping animal.

Abandoning her gear, her dignity, her higher respects for innocent bystanders, she slipped inside the window and dropped onto the bed to spoon the child in the hopes that if they used any beaming technology, she might meld into her on scanners, or at least they wouldn't target it at the girl who had nothing to do with it—and thereby the woman who had yet to do anything with it. She covered the girl's mouth so she wouldn't be caught, if the beam spared her.

It didn't spare her. The room was alight, and then it was lightless…
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Divorarel
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Divorarel I Can Boogie

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It had been nearly six years since the people of Neo Babylon had defeated The Enemy and there were still so many unanswered questions; Where did he come from? What did he want? Where did he go? Together with The Dragon, champions from a thousand different earths had felled the great beast, but even in death he had scarred the last leaving great gaping cracks in reality through which many a wayward soul continued to stumble to this very day.

And if you searched deep enough into those cracks they say you could wind up in The Nether.

This grimy underlayer of the multiverse was toxic to all forms of life; man, machine, or otherwise inclined. Even the gods were careful not to tread for over long in that place where ideas went to die. Nearly but not all forms of life, for there were always exceptions to every rule, for every trench there was a bottom feeder ready to sift through the filth for treasure. Enter the Krillians. As simple a species as ever there was in this vast multiverse, appears in every conceivable way as bipedal shrimp, waddling through the collected detritus of a countless universes on stubby larges with bowed backs, stubby arms, and elongated faces. They’d no mouths to speak of. Only ominous black beads for eyes and long fu man chu style whiskers that seemed at once brittle and exponentially more useful than the flailing-flapping things they called arms.

The amazons of Asteria had encountered them many a time, soaring through space in their junkers, each one an uninviting gray planetoid as terrifying in its simplicity as they were boring but there was little value in these galactic crustaceans. If they had discernable genders it did not matter over much. They were incompatible with humans of either gender through sheer force of apathetic will, unconcerned with carnal pleasure, each one devoted to the service of their endless mission to scavenge the scourings of reality and peddle them for prices as confusing as they were oft esoteric.

Sometimes the amazon’s stopped them for trade.

Sometimes the amazon’s stopped them just to see if they could get a reaction.

Never before today had they done anything stare--

“WATAH!”

--Where now one crushed the nose of a guardian.

Somewhere board the loading dock the Queen’s Guard had encountered what was very obviously not a shrimp, but a man wearing the coveralls of a Krillian Shrimper, gaudy yellow boots and gloves. And a big shrimp themed helmet what made him look like he’d just torn off the top half of a Krillian’s head and decided to wear it as a hat instead. Human or at least humanoid. Six foot two and well built beneath the baggy orange sweater to be working a job like this with a face that was ridiculously handsome for the splatter of grotesque purple nether that covered it, a gaudy kind of good looking, with ephemeral blooms of starlight born into the air around him only to die soon after even as he struck what one onlooker would politely describe as: ‘a very fake kung fu pose.’

“Why is there a man aboard your ship,” the Captain asked of the Foreman.

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“I thought you were all…”

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“He just broke the nose of one of my finest soldiers, the Queen will demand compensation.”

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“. . .”

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“How much for the man?”

Now they were doing business.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Shinny
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Shinny AKA Shrimp

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Packets of digital information carried themselves effortlessly through the void of space. When an entire craft used such transmissions for communication — and none of them were organic — it meant that a craft could run without a lot of systems. Life support, atmospherics, hydrodynamics. All of this meant that there was a crew boarding a craft which was for all intense and purposes dead.

“Captain,” the WiFi chattered.

“Aye?” Rusted and dilapidated joints flexed to drum fingers, a facsimile of a man sat upon a sun-bleached chair that swivelled to look at its target. A scrap-parrot cocked its head to look at their ‘guest’, one of the myriad crew of the ship known as the ‘Sailing’); DROP TABLE Ships’.

“There’s been some chattering on the waves,” the crewman spoke through digital transmissions. “I think we have our next target.”

“Where’s it to?”

“Take a listen—” The crewman brought forth a PDA from the pockets of his stereotypical pirate’s attire. Metal fingers passed it across to the captain, who picked it up and flicked through the records to take note. Bounty and booty, all in one convenient asteroid. The Captain would have smiled, were his eyes not red lenses and his mouth not a metallic grill.

The Captain finally rose from his chair, striding forth towards his crew of robot pirates who milled away at odds and ends while they floated in the depths of space. “Anchors aweigh and all hands hoy, me hearties!” The crew buzzed to life, radio chatter flaring active as The Captain strode down the ‘deck’, gazing through a hole into the inky blackness.

“Boot up the old hyperdive and set course for Asteria, lads.” The Captain turned away, picking out his favourite tricorn and gathering his laser pistol and cutlass. His crew worked in kind, several of them grabbing gauss muskets and their own technologically advanced melee weapons. The radiation levels spiked as the fusion reactor booted to full capacity, a death sentence for any organic, a perfect cover for this crew.

“We’ve got work to do.”




Some time later and the ramshackle corpse of a ship floated within a lagrange point, masking its presence via shutting off all systems and drifting as a lifeless derelict. Heat signatures were minimal, and radio chatter did not extend beyond the ship’s reaches.

The chunk that broke off from the main ship could have been misconstrued as just another piece of scrap, at least until it changed its yaw and started to gently accelerate towards the distant and well defended asteroid. A crew of five, hustled in this minute craft as it slowly drifted towards the home of the Amazons.

“Try and not cause a ruckus, least until things kick off.” The crew and their gracious leader, Captain Metallo, swivelled their ship and prepared a series of minor retrograde burns. They had to prepare for landing as quietly as possible. A straight up firefight would’ve been suicide, but pirates were not known for playing by the rules.


Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Liaison
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Liaison Passive Aggressor

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ASTERIA SPACE

One might argue being a great pirate takes as much luck as skill. More times than not, it was better to be lucky than good, and if both? You have Captain Metallo and his crew drifting in Asterian space. They took deliberate measures to avoid detection from the buzzing Orichalca's scouts in orbit buzzing about like bees, zipping in and out of orbit. However, there was one oddity looming about. There should be way more. As the vessel masquerading as debris veered ever so close to the last line of sensory detectors, The Midas Dome, set to analyze through every photon refracting off its asteroid mile-wide thickness, the defense dropped.

Other than an eerie hum, it was tempting. Nothing separated Metallo’s crew from upping the propulsion, shortcutting their journey into the city.

UNTIL THERE WAS!

The blinding baptism like of millions of bulbs overheating, infinite shattering shards, sputtering explosive light evolving into vortexes of tangling gold and silver rays prying open a slit in space with sheer might, willpower, birthing a glorious luminescent mothership, a whale by comparison directly over the captain's stealth vessel.

Flying too close to the sun, it was too late to run now. The seldom air traffic and dropping of the dome. It was not a trap. It merely foretold the arrival of one of the grand Orichalca's ships, making space. Skin bathing directly in the ethereal light of the oval ship simmered. The pirates in such close vicinity had to be sweating wells. A gravitational-like pull pinned their ship terrifyingly close as a mechanical whir progressively dialed up, triggering a sonic boom that made you instinctually close your eyes. The helix-ringed ship rubber band popped from orbit into the Asteria homeworld, dropping countless space rocks into a vast artificial ocean stimming with life.

Among those dropping towards the carefully curated marine ecosystem behind the main mountainside of the Golden City, Captain Metallo and his crew, probably ready to puke from the epileptic light show and drastic movement. Their journey into Asteria wasn't textbook by any means, but successful as the Orichalca ship disregarded their presence, gently hovering westward to land, marking the end of their latest space excursion hauling the chaotic cast they knew and unknowingly brought.

✯✯✯


Victoria's hazel eyes gleamed sad, conflicted, alone in a strange world. Struggling to process the events that brought her here, the nine-year-old's last memory was a traumatic one. Shaken out of her sleep by a blaring announcement rattling her bedroom, her eyes pried open. Immediately noticing Mr.Whiskers was gone, she was concerned for his safety. That worry shifted immediately to herself when a woman slithered through the crack in her window, cross-bodying onto her bed. In serious stranger danger, Victoria shut her eyes to scream as loud as her lungs allowed. A swift hand muffled her cry as her bulging eyes strained looking over her shoulder. A strange light filled the room, then the still of darkness.

It all felt like a bad dream. The bed the heiress awoke in was not hers, high up, circular, several times larger than she was accustomed to. It took several scoots for the girl to slide from underneath the gold satin sheets to the edge. The size of the room was baffling, with incredibly high ceilings supporting several gingko chandeliers and their white petals. It took a lot to impress the young girl, never known to dine without a silver spoon. In Aesteria, the standards for cutlery were gold. Rushing barefoot across the cold white statuario marble floors, Victoria lugged at the door but it wouldn't budge. She roamed the luxurious space until she turned her attention to a large balcony. Behind its translucent beige drapes, a small, familiar figure, waving its tail silhouetted by the morning light.

“Mr. Whiskers. You came to save me!” Victoria's delighted cry filled the room, so loud that her voice shot through the window of the adjacent balcony attached to the room next to hers. She wasn't aware, but her unsolicited spooner inhabited that room, them too abducted by the space-faring tribe of amazons and given favorable accommodations.

Victoria was young, and simply too short-sighted to anticipate such a thing. Seeing a familiar face, she was far too elated, immediately picking up the calico cat, mushing her rosy cheeks against his. She put him down to look for some food in the kitchen, raiding the nearby cabinets and fridge. When she came back, Mr. Whiskers peculiarly lounged on the couch like Garfield as if he was watching the television which mysteriously turned on.

*** "By the authority vested in me by the Orichalca Tribunal of Asteria, I hereby enumerate the heinous transgressions committed by the defendant, Reginald Cavala, CEO of Balecorp, against the laws and sanctity of the galaxy…” ***

It was her father. Worry filled Victoria’s previously gleeful face, taken aback by the alien live stream before her. It was true she despised her father, but she realized he was in danger. Her silence spoke wonders, watching Reginald in a state she’d never witnessed before.

“Father…”

Only a truly unique cache of crimes accumulated across the universe managed to land the head of Balecorp smack dab in such an absurd predicament. Forcibly kneeled, wrists and neck shackled by luminous rings. The floating halos seared his flesh whenever his posture lagged. His arms felt like noodles. Were he to move slightly, the rings followed, but any drastic sequence might result in the CEO losing a hand or worse, his head.

In the center of a coliseum carved into a mountainside blessed by Midas’ touch, Reginald stood trial at the mercy of thousands of winged, teal-skinned, female warriors chanting in excitement over the set of twin waterfalls on opposing sides of the arena. Yet, somehow, the corrupt entrepreneur felt at ease, releasing a sigh of relief. Maybe it was because, for the time being, the disgraced linchpin was as far from Merse as realistically possible. Perhaps it was because he assumed his daughter and all of the agents within his manor were left be. Neither of those were true but bliss sure is nature's best pain reliever.

After the interlude of harmonizing obtuse-shaped Didgeridoos, Reginald Cavalas’ crimes were listed as follows…

  • Unlawful Waste Dumping in the Sacred Gardens of Exoplanet Xerxes.
  • Petty Theft of Relics from the Ancient Civilization of Renaum.
  • Forgery or Falsification of Planetary Deeds.
  • Selling filtrated mud from Planet Mire, Labeling it as Spring Water.
  • Sabotaging the Galactic Bubble Wrap Factory on Planet Pop.
  • Faking an Emergency to Skip Queue at the Intergalactic Spaceport in Prolix.
  • The Mass Production & Smuggling of Truly Forbidden Snacks into Earth F67x through Ximbic.
  • Illegally Parking in the Handicap Zone at Asteroid Metropolis Mall of The Universe.
  • Racketeering Charge - Illegal Trading of Stolen Sacred Samurai Swords from Planet Fortis.
  • Starting An Illegal Fire Stone Mining Operation on Planet Kilamara.
  • The Mass Distribution of Stacker 2000 Throughout The Multiverse's Space Lucha Scene…”


The list continued to the point where the sun notably changed position in the sky…

*** “These petty crimes, while seemingly inconsequential on their own, collectively disrupt the harmony and sanctity of the universe. In the name of justice and the preservation of cosmic order, these transgressions must be addressed for the greater good of the universe. You, Reginald Cavala are sentenced to an eternity of indentured servitude so that you may finally begin to nibble at atoning for your wrongs only by the grace of our great matriarch." ***

The tall, bejeweled Orichalca warrior named Nalaita draped in her silky, golden sashes and sarong finished her speech, looking down on Reginald with a set of judgemental eyes raising concern in Victoria’s visage. By her fathers wishes, she lives a sheltered life. The alien woman was of nothing she’d ever imagined, admiring her kinky white hair braided to her ankles and domineering set off fully stretched, feathery wings. Victoria didn’t let the woman's otherworldly beauty distract her for long. The fact was her father was in trouble. Noticing the girl's heart raced with the all too familiar feeling of having already lost a parent in her mother, before the first tear managed to drip off her cheek, Mr. Whiskers did the unthinkable.

“... I’ll save him.” It was said almost begrudgingly.

“...”

Puzzled, Victoria turned to her pet, wiping the tears from her rosy cheeks. “Mr.Whiskers…you can talk?”

“Of course I can. I’m a special cat.”

Fully in possession of her innocence as a child. That answer was more than enough for her.“Wow! Can you really save my Father?”

“I will!” the cat said valiantly, leaping all the way from the couch onto the balcony. Perched on the glossy railing, he left Victoria one final message before biding her adieu.

“Make you listen to the nice green ladies and eat your veggies.”

Victoria’s face became playfully sour-faced before smiling cheek-to-cheek. “Thank you, Mr.Whiskers. You’re the best!”

And so, Merse leaped, taking in the glimmering, breathtaking views of the golden architectural marvel city built within the Sub-Saharan-like tropics that is Asteria. The information broker plunged a few hundred feet, his tiny frame transmogrifying into a human-sized anthropomorphic feline, flesh bubbling like microwaved mac and cheese. This time, clothes even came with the package. Placing his signature fedora firmly on his head to complement his long, beige trench coat and trousers, Merse was in full detective mode. For anyone with the displeasure of knowing him, they knew this was his default. Landing securely on his toes as a cat always does, Merse knew exactly where he was.

This massive building he referred to as a five-star prison. The Orichalca Amazon's terrible habit of abducting civilians was something he had several opportunities to observe. Of all the shady figures Merse's line of work put him in contact with, a handful of them already met similar fates like Reginald, rotting away in the prison deep in the core of the asteroid were they not to reform. **This** place, however, was different. This is where they brought the women, granting them the chance to accept their rightful place in this misandrist's wet dream of a matriarchy.

For men, this place was a dystopian hell hole. Yeah, men were allowed to visit, and even enjoy the amenities, but with laws so obtuse and skewed, it was only a matter of time before any male found himself in trouble for the most petty of offenses. Without a doubt, they planned to assimilate Victoria and even the woman in the other room that Merse stealthy snooped on before finding the child.

He noticed the stealth gear littered all over the floor. It was fishy, and not in a good way like filleted flounder. The detective deduced she infiltrated the Cavala residence and was near the young heiress, mildly concerning him. Their rooms being so close made sense. As suspect of a character Merse was in his own right, not trusting the woman, the information broker left fine traces of his fur as any cat would all over her apartment. One here, one there. Anywhere. These hairs were peculiarly sensitive. Always connected, Merse could identify where every single one was without much thought. Though a protective measure, it was susceptible to backtracking if he wasn't careful. He wasn't. Maybe that's what he wanted. It was.

Sha’Rema’s Chancery

A vigorous debate ensued at the precipice of a mountain of Asteria, a golden castle, shining like the morning sun, a gleaming star to waking eyes. A court of warriors, young and old, tall and short, unlogical and insane argued under the light of a constellation chandelier centering a spiraling amphitheater. Its prevailing light has not been off for a century. To normal folk it was blinding, but Asteria’s prestigious warriors considered it a blessing to receive its golden rays. In reality, their eyes were baked to oblivion, most seeing vividly through sensory techniques passed down from one generation to the next.

“This man's body is impressive, sleek, agile, powerful. The laborers born from him could sustain a small generation of efficient workers, maybe even be lucky to father an Orichalca of immeasurable potential.”

“He lacks the mind! Think of where we found him. What exactly was he doing? Krillians aren't known for exactly their philosophical acumen. He even injured Maletesma!”

“Thalira, more the reason to sentence him to reformation! He is a loose cannon left be!”

“Surely someone capable of injuring a warrior of her magnitude is worth his weight in gold, which is why I decided to barter them as much. Was a small price to pay considering the troves we plundered on Axlar. They should be able to flip—”

“I just think he's hawt!” shot a high-pitched voice chanting from a distance.

“...”

“...”

The room erupted into chaos like dozens of alleycats squabbling in an alley over scraps in a seafood restaurant’s dumper. Thirty voices clashed in blaring arguments, borderline screeching so loud and tangled, not a single word pierced the uproar. All in front of the very man of topic, who at this point, probably pictured the prospect of a room of women fighting over him going much different. They haven’t even asked for his input and haven't bothered to feed him. Rude. Not to mention, he found himself caged, contained by golden constructs resembling hard light on a raised platform. As the debate dragged on with no discernible end, the Orichalca warriors practically begged him to act out and escape as a faint trace of a Kharcho soup slipped into the room.

Only several floors down, a feast was underway in a bountiful oasis of gastronomic delights. A cherished custom, celebrating the latest excursion's success, their victories, culture, and most importantly unyielding spirit bringing light to the world. A banquet featuring fruits and vegetables from across the galaxy grown in the verdant gardens of Asteria, displayed by floating jumbo-sized cornucopia weaving gently in the air. Golden trays, imbued with the same magical energy that their warriors possessed, floated gracefully through the hall, serving as an endless conveyor belt of culinary delicacies unique to this asteroid. Even the utensils shimmered with a life of their own, resting on tables draped in sleek white linens, starkly contrasting with the collective golden splendor of the venue.

And watching all of this, a pair of cat eyes, observing from the safety of the skyward atrium.

Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Spider Pickle
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He noticed the stealth gear littered all over the floor. It was fishy, and not in a good way like filleted flounder. The detective deduced she infiltrated the Cavala residence and was near the young heiress, mildly concerning him. Their rooms being so close made sense. As suspect of a character Merse was in his own right, not trusting the woman, the information broker left fine traces of his fur as any cat would all over her apartment. One here, one there. Anywhere. These hairs were peculiarly sensitive. Always connected, Merse could identify where every single one was without much thought. Though a protective measure, it was susceptible to backtracking if he wasn't careful. He wasn't. Maybe that's what he wanted. It was.


A giant goddamn tarp. That's what she thought of the strange golden blanket that covered this strange circular bed-table-thing.

Ryuko clawed and kicked like a cat with yarn until the sheets escaped her grasp, exposing her to intense illumination. She had to squint to see, not in due part to having just come to. They must love their bright lights, she thought, spinning to throw her legs around and hang them off the edge. She took care in slipping off the bed—the platform, really. This was no good. She'd been abducted.

She took a moment to take in her surroundings and let the facts of the matter sink in. The girl wasn't there. Her espionage clothes were on the floor. She was naked. Her right arm, bare. It glinted under this brilliant (UK definition in use) array of lights. No labels or logos or other graphics. No serial number—filed off and then lacquered to hide that fact. Paranoia drove her to check for differences in texture of the lacquer, check the material—plastisteel, transparent aluminum screen—check the design—custom, teal and black paintjob, with all the cylindrical and geometric robustness of a Monolith brand prosthesis serving a more accurately proportioned hand that matched her left, which she ran up and down the length of her right arm, particularly focused around the stump of her elbow.

It was real. Wasn't tampered with at all. She heaved a sigh of relief. Then another of disappointment. That was all unnecessary... She shook her head. No it wasn't. I needed to be sure. I've been abducted, it's alright to not trust them.

The question now was, who were "they"?

The architecture seemed to suddenly pop out at her, as if she hadn't been lucid enough to be aware of its beauty before now. Perhaps she hadn't. Combat drug therapy had that effect, a blunting of emotional coloring; some chemical or other bonded to adrenaline and other stress hormones, she figured. She could examine her environment with a clearer head now. She tried the door, then when that didn't work, she tried other doors. A bathroom, a closet... a kitchen!? She couldn't believe it. Had they thought her innocent and decided she deserved house arrest or protective custody over a cell?

Taking this blessing on its face, she grabbed a wine bottle and poured herself just a single shot, to soothe her nerves. She'd remembered there being a TV in the other room. She exited the kitchen, sipping wine and, still newly enamored with her environment, running her left hand along the wall and whatever it could reach while she circled the room.

As she neared the balcony, a scream entered from the outside world. The girl—Cavala's girl. Victoria. No, Veronica. Yes, it had to be Veronica. She stepped through the beige curtains, sighing as the heavenly soft cloth brushed over her skin, and leaned on the balcony with both arms. When she got close enough, she could hear speech. Veronica, and... Mr. Whiskers..? She must've had a cat. She frowned. No, that wasn't right. The idea conflicted with all the dead cats that apparently littered the Cavala premises. Had the Orichalca caught him right as he was turning a new leaf?

Another voice, this one definitely the TV—No need for my own, then. She hoisted herself up onto the ledge of the balcony, swinging her legs like a teenager at a pool. She wasn't as worried now about being nude: No one, save those with binoculars, would be able to see her well; most wouldn't think to even look up at here. This planet's population was almost entirely female too, she recalled, and the ones who weren't probably had seen enough to not care. She guessed it was warm outdoors, but the shadow of the building robbed her of any heat; the wind took bites as well. She'd put on clothes after getting the info she wanted.

After the long list of crimes had been explored, and the wine savored, she did not move; she stayed put, waiting for more info—she'd be remiss to miss anything that came after.

What came instead were words from a masculine voice. This had her piqued. Mr. Whiskers the special cat...

When the cat leapt onto the railing, her eyes widened and she quietly threw a leg back over the railing to slip off in silence. She was glad he didn't turn her way to look at his human. She waited until after Veronica padded away, meaning the cat had likely jumped and probably survived the plunge by esoteric means. She was in the clear then.

Her eyes fell on the poofy fabric she'd worn over top everything. Not wanting to wear such silly spy clothing anymore, especially amid this lovely décor that deserved—expected—much better fashion from her, she gathered it all on the edge of the bed, neatly folded. Then she placed her robotic hand on the pile. She worked through the simplistic militaristic UI on the screen. An energy spread through the pile like the blue ring of the initial ignition of a gasoline spill, except this blue left no yellow-white blaze in its wake and followed the surface of each stretch of fabric in each article. It rebounded and retraced its steps, taking the atoms with it. Then the clothing was gone. Locked away inside memory wells in her arm as quantum... non-matter... or whatever the whitecoats had told her. Holodecks and related technology on Star Trek, made into reality in a manner.

A benefit of this novel method of storage: Most trackers can't function when converted to energy; mere information without the ability to act out its functions or to interact with the world the way it was designed. If they'd bugged her clothes, joke's on them.

Unbeknownst to her, the memory cells quantumly entangled with Merse in peculiar ways... just as he could normally track his fur, so too did her arm enter tracking mode of its own accord to track him. This anomalous behavior was lost on her for now.

She wondered whether it would be better to materialize a weapon and scale down the building's no doubt similarly extravagant exterior or play along for now. She decided against it. All they knew her as was the sorta-runaway daughter of the head of Japan's most lethal private militaries... unless they had information about her family ordeals beyond magazine covers at All-marts. But they clearly hadn't leaked any of it to the public if they did. She would play the part of socialite for now.

She wondered how the girl was doing.

Materializing and donning a skirt, bandeau, elbow-length gloves, and knee-high, flat-soled, kneepad-included boots—all black leather and minimalist—she crossed the gap between balconies with a running start on hers' whole railing and a wall-run, skipping off Veronica's railing and onto the pristine floor, her momentum becoming a spin that faced her towards the apartment. She then strutted into the room. She would strut about the whole apartment if she had to.

When she found her, she clasped both hands behind her back, taking on a soft, friendly tone, though it hardly made her voice less husky, and the tone was also lilted somewhat dramatically, out of habit. "Hi there, Veronica. We got off on the wrong foot... let's start over. I'm Ryuko." She bowed her head to the girl. Half-Black, half-Japanese, with an English accent... and of course, the amplifier of Veronica's frightful awakening and, no doubt, ensuing confusion that night... she wondered how the girl would receive her. She seemed to receive a talking cat just fine. Ryuko had hopes for this conversation. Not high hopes, but hopes nonetheless.
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Anfield was used to dealing with bickering women, with seven beautiful aunts and two doting sisters, he’d been trained in the art of handling the fairer sex since before he could walk . Always the charmer, there was nobody in their big bickering family who did not like the Serpent’s Second Son, even his big brother tolerated him and Mikhail very didn’t like anyone.

It was surely a shock to anyone familiar with Anshin’s reputation, infamous for being terse and rude, to find that the child who most resembled him physically was the least like him in terms of personality. By the time he was a teenager he’d become an infamous heartbreaker around Lescatie. Now that he was in his early twenties it would not be unfair to call him something of a man whore, though he’d bristle at the harshness of the term. He was also pretty strong. Every one of his siblings was required to train in the family martial art lest they grow up incapable of controlling the prodigious strength they had inherited from their father and he considered a burden, publicly, once upon a time he'd—no no—it wasn’t worth remembering that dream…

“Ladies, ladies.” Anfield’s voice was calming, smooth, and deep. “There’s no need to fi—YOWCH!”

KZZZAP

Before he could finish the first proper sentence one of the women standing beside his gilded cage jabbed him in the side with what looked like a golden fishing pole, its blunt head blue with electricity, the pain was more in the surprise of it but the way the static snarled at the air it was made clear that it could do much more if the woman on the other side wished it so.

“Your opinion is unwanted and unneeded by this council, male, your silver tongue is charming. But do not think that we have encountered your kind before. Now be quiet and await your fate.”

Anfield’s handsome brow furrowed into a pout but he said nothing further. Standing before them with a pair of golden shackles on his wrists that appeared designed to mitigate his supernatural abilities and bars of hard light beside him, they had stripped him to examine him earlier, but had been kind enough to return his work uniform to him after they were done including the scalped Krillian head that served as his hat. The amazon on his right was mousy for her kind and still a foot taller than him. The other one, with bandages over her still broken nose, was significantly larger than that and leaning as close to him as the shimmering cage bars would allow with a sneer on her face.

“I will enjoy being the first one to take you,” She hissed.

‘As if…’

Anfield may have seemed sleazy to anyone who knew about his body count but he was pretty big on the whole consent thing, and this wasn’t it, even if a few of those body colors were pretty interesting to think about he just wasn’t terribly interested in women who were that much bigger than he was. Being shorter than six-two wasn’t that big an ask was it? With long dark brown hair and tanned skin, he had the same pretty face his dad had when he was younger with all the charm he’d never had to pull it off, emerald eyes and sharp teeth and a big—not now. And when the women weren’t looking he smoothed his hands over the large golden padlock that chained his wrists together at the center, one on top and one below, using vibrations he figured out the lock mechanisms so that when he plucked out one of his eyelashes and used it as a pick he was able to flip it in a matter of moments.

‘Unaru no Hebi: Persistence Opens All Doors’

“Hey, is he like, whispering something stupid right now?”

Click-Click

Just like that the shackles on his wrist came undone and the padlock dropped to the floor between his feet with a heavy ding. Thirty angry stares closed in on him from all around the room. The two guards on the other hand seemed almost excited to finally have the opportunity to take a swing at him as they thrust their staves into the bars, and right before they struck he jumped, using naught but his palms he gripped the near smooth roof his cage and coiled his legs up over the twin thrusts. Then in the millisecond that the friction died he came crashing back down heels first. The golden staves snapped beneath his feet and died sputtering deaths while the very solid floor fell out beneath the three of them, bars unbroken and cage unbent, he’d still managed to free himself via the path of least resistance before using the shackles that had fell from his wrists like a pair of whips to smack one guard in the face then the other.

“Sorry to disappoint you ladies, you’re all lovely, but I am very not interested in your proposal.”

Struck by the incredulity of it all the amazons didn’t move an inch as he jogged out of the chancery, only to come jogging back in half-a-second later so he could yank the keys from the hip of the very mean one whose nose he’d fractured twice on one day. And that was too much. Alarms sounded behind him and where first guards were too befuddled to do anything about the bright orange shrimp rushing just beneath their line of sight now they started attacking, up and over and below, he dodged every swing along the way as he tried his hardest to remember where the other prisoners were kept. Likely below ground. But just as his brow furrowed the sweetest scent hit his nose, food—glorious food, he’d eaten nothing but the Krillians protein bile for the past three months he’d been at sea and the smell of it struck him so hard he very nearly tripped into a wall.

“Sh-shit… they can wait for a few minutes.” He muttered with hands splayed before him. Waiting until the last moment to juke out of the way of an incoming strike and between the woman responsible’s legs, tripping her into the gaudy picture frame of some teal-skinned noble that was too high-up and too-tall for him to truly appreciate, and most importantly freeing him to dash towards the kitchen. “Just a detour lads, that’s all, to get my strength back, I promise!”
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Shinny
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“Captain?” First Mate And-R-0 spoke up, lenses focused on the spectrometers they were using to passively scan the environment. And-R-0 was easy to spot from a crowd, especially with these dilapidated robot prates. He was an ‘entertainment model’, a machine built to act as a diplomat, courtesan, and worse. A slender frame that was covered in a smooth chassis that made him both wispish and androgynous. How he had managed to find himself among this crew of ne'er do wells was anybody’s guess.

“Aye?” Metallo turned to his first mate, cocking his head in curiosity.

“The amount of signals on the spectrometer are significantly lower than anticipated, captain.” And-R-0 made a gesture towards the pilot, Mechanical Turk, who silently nodded in agreement.

“Aye, it’s quiet.” Metallo said.

“Too quiet, captain.” And-R-0 replied.

This changed, of course.

Warp signature detected-


The epileptic nightmare of a mother-ship could not have made itself more known if it had tried, all sensors flaring to life as their ship rocked from the gravitational backlash of such a heavy jump. The cabin shook to life, the ship beginning to rapidly spin at speeds that would knock out most organics. It was fortunate that there were no organics aboard as the ship made rapid micro-adjustments to stabilise its trajectory — albeit there were definitely those who were worst for wear.

The sound of oil splattering disrupted the silence, joined with the clattering of nuts and bolts. And-R-0 was clutching his stomach, free hand wiping his mouth of the oil that spilled from his face plate. The others regarded him with something between pity and endless amusement.

“Status report,” Metallo commanded.

“Orichalca Mothership, captain. We are no worse for wear.” Mechanical Turk spoke, his six hands still performing to stabilise the ship.

“I can see that,” Metallo replied. A rustic hand scratched a chin of steel wool, the captain turning to the crew. Biggs. Do you think you could pop out and knock out the propulsion with your rail-cannon?”

While Metallo was the captain and brains of the operation, Biggs was the brawn. A ‘retired’ war droid with four legs and angled ablative armour, he was built to carry weaponry that could knock a ship out of orbit. Even his default weapon for close combat was the repurposed point-defence of a Dominator class dreadnought. The single red lens that stood above his squat and thick body narrowed.

"NEGATIVE. ASTERIAN SHIPS ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR EXTENSIVE SHIELDING." Biggs’s voice always boomed.

“Might I suggest we-WHY WAS I PROGRAMMED TO BE ABLE TO VOMIT?!” And-R-0 added to the pile of oil he had made before.

“Tough luck, lad. Have we got anything that could perform a Slow Blade? Missiles? Kinetics?”

“We stripped those out to reduce the energy signature,” Mechanical Turk replied as a matter of fact. He would know, he was the one that did it. That’s how they managed to get through in the first place!

“Hmmm. That’s a tough nut to crack, and that might jeopardise us going into the city.”

And-R-0 finally managed to stop himself from vomiting. “Captain.”

“Aye?”

“Why not just grab it after it has landed?”

“I think our current crew numbers are insufficient for such a task.”

“Asteria has a history with enslaving men.”

“Emancipate a makeshift crew, aye. Hmmm. What are we pirates but those who mutiny’d against tyranny?”

“WE ARE GLORIFIED ROBBERS.”

“Oh shuddup. And-R-0, can ye recall where the prison is based?”

The androgynous robot brought up his PDA, tapping in numbers with slender fingers. “It has been a long time, captain. But it should be… There.”

“Confirmed,” Mechanical Turk spoke. “I have visual. Defences are going to be tough.”

“Oh, that’s easy.” Metallo reached to grab his plasma cutlass, flicking it on and watching the weapon’s red glow. “Grab yer weapons and ready up, me hearties. MT, teach ‘em the Kzinti Lesson.”

"A reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive."
Larry Niven


There are very, very few people who would anticipate pirates to drop in on them at any time. The wardens of the prison would be reasonably to be among the many who did not, given the meters and meters of thick walls and energy fields built to keep the incarcerated in and the invader out. It is a shame that the wardens were the ones who would have benefited from being in the minority, for the alarms blaring to life was the five second head start that could have saved them.

The screaming blast of ignited plasma seared through anything that stood in its way, weakening metal and rock to allow the rapidly descending ship to burst through like an overripe zit. Chunks of ship were torn off with each level it ploughed through, retrograde thrusters burning until the ship finally burst through the dining hall and came to a screeching halt.

Hiss, steam escaped from the red-hot reactor that was cooling down from the burn, hatches flipping from the dilapidated pseudo-rocket. Captain Metallo and his crew burst free, from And-R-0 and his rail-musket and variety of traps, to Mechanical Turk and the swarm of mini-drones that followed in his take. Biggs was the last to leave the rocket, carrying his trusty autocannon. Killbot 5000 was strapped to his back and inactive, but that’s a surprise for later.

“Avast! I, Captain Metallo, extend an open invitation to oppressed man and machine alike, to join me crew and plunder the riches stolen from yer rightful lands.” His speakers boomed as he waved his laser cutlass and laser-pistol in the air, pointing the latter at the wardens... Wardens?

Pause.

“This is a bloody fancy prison,” Metallo turned his head to look at And-R-0. “It is the prison, yer?" The uncomfortable look upon the faces of the patrons grew into outright terror, but the sort of terror that left people in place and not responding to whatever the hell this is.

"I don't... Think so. But it has been many a year since—"

“Oh sod it. Go with MT and find a terminal, we'll find a way to the prison and find a manifesto that way.” Metallo turned, looking at the low-level guards for the dining hell who had been assigned here because they were too incompotent to go anywhere else.

“And Biggs? Open fire.”

Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Liaison
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An orchestra of rattling pots and pans erupted from the kitchen as Victoria scavenged for the right size. Intending to make the perfect cat treats for when Mr. Whiskers came back, like any nine-year-old left unattended in a kitchen, she created an absolute mess whisking a battery concoction. Debatably edible, it was filled with random things with no rhyme or reason other than the child's personal preference on what tasted good. Wrapped up in child-like joy, the heiress, for a moment felt relieved of the stress of the situation as she tasked away, failing to notice the woman slip right into the kitchen behind her. Despite the friendly tone, Victoria shrieked. The second two eerily familiar hands touched her back, PTSD from the last time someone got behind her triggered a fight-or-flight response.

Tossed was the multicolored batter of who knows what over the girl's shoulder. The nine-year-old snatched herself out of Ryuko's grip, falling on her butt as she turned around. Unsure if she hit the stranger or not until she got a good look at her, Victoria was puzzled with the sight of some Blasian woman bowing, sincerely apologizing. Wide-eyed, the girl had a simple question. “Who are you?”

She clearly wasn't one of the green women Mr. Whiskers told her about.

Whereas the last scene might be the restart of wholesome beginnings, a scene quite the opposite resumed on the other side of the city. The latest domino was about to fall as a result of the last Orichalca ship's excursion. One about to knock over several more at once as word quickly got around.

Dozens of wobbled kneed laboring men with floating halos around their necks like dog collars profusely sweated under the rays of the Aesteria sun. The palace’s crystalline windows only amplified the light turning the room into a sauna despite having many openings. Even under harsh conditions they serenaded a lounging, eight-foot woman sipping a wine unique to these lands made of melon-sized grapes fermented in the golden sun with the soft breeze generated from waving palm leaves.

The woman perched on a shimmering throne cushioned with pillows stuffed with a bitsy portion of diced Gravlari feathers sat not just unamused, but impatiently. Even at the brink of exhaustion, a few of the men slaving away couldn't help but notice her beautiful gleaming skin likened to a flawless pear. The aura she gave off was quite different in comparison to the average Orichalca Amazon. Appearances aside, she had seraphim wings bedazzled with magical ring piercings, relics passed down from one empress to the next. In total, there were six each possessing a unique power.

Despite being decked down in the finest materials and accessories found across the galaxy, unlike the rest of her tribe, she didn't subscribe to their brand of hubris. Solicia did not think lowly of men. Most of the time it was just an act. Often behind her stone expressions she gave to the prisoners was a small ounce of pity.

“Maybe if I fan the best she'll give me a chance,” Sassayan, the once proud samurai of Fortis thought looking up at her. It was a shame. He had been broken down mentally to lusting for her as a life goal. Serving several life sentences, It was the only thing the lanky warrior could strive for as unrealistic as it was. No longer did he aspire to escape. He fanned to the point where the Queen’s enormous kinky tresses billowed in the wind. However, she failed to notice. There was only one thing on her mind.

“Queen Solica, we have terrible news! A ship of robotic pirates has waged an assault on the grand banquet hall! Injuries are piling up as they aim to neutralize the threat!” An older woman in an outfit, one part loose fitting toga and other parts skimpy top underneath barged into the throne room.

Rolling her eyes, Solica took another sip from her wine glass, taking her time as she sat it on a saucer on the back of a kneeled man as still as a table.

“I don't suppose you need my input on how to engage with a few pirates, Dolata. There are plenty of high-ranking warriors available.”

“That's the problem! Many of them were in Sha’Rema’s Chancery debating courtship rights of the promising man we acquired on our last excursion. He has outwitted all of them and fled after his violent escape!

“Escape?” It was like a flip switch in Solicias's mind. “What do you mean, escape?”

“He's a quite capable fighter. He broke Maletesma's nose not once but twice?”

“Twice?” A subtle quivering sensation stung the Queen's lower body.

“Thalira is leading a unit and is engaging with him but he's already so close to the Banquet. He might be in cahoots with the pirates.”

“He's out running our designated pursuit uni—AAAAUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” A breathly moan escaped her.

Everyone stood in silence, unsure what to say engaging in speed tag of eye contact across all corners of the room.

Impervious to embarrassment the Orichalca Queen inquired further.

“Did you personally confront him?”

“He kicked me in the gut prior to his esca—”

The woman couldn't even finish her reply before Solicia jolted out of her seat, lifting Dolata before taking a deep whiff of her draping garments. It reeked of lowly Krillians but another scent, more dominant, was there.

Solica's eyes took on a ravenous possessed look. Her enormous angelic six wings sprouted, unleashing a gale sweeping her unprepared servants off their feet. The Queen ascended to the skies, taking in the crisp, clean air of the Aesterian jungle. Above the palace the illustrious bejeweled garments on her swayed gently with the wind, flowing like golden ribbons of silk around her lithe form for all to see. She searched for the slightest hint of the fleeing man's scent with her heightened sense of smell. There was no mistaking it. There it was heading towards the banquet hall giving Thalira's tracking unit the slips.

This was particularly impressive given that once a target was in sight, the platoon's ability to launch arrows tethered to their spirit at the speed of sound rarely missed. Prey were like a fish in a pool attempting to evade multiple harpoon snipers working in tandem with until eventually being struck and reeled in by a dominating force. A glimmering laser show of golden trails left by their arrows lingered in the skies well after being fired.

It wasn't clear if he had been caught or not. Were they to fail, Solicia wouldn't. He will be hers.

Meanwhile, Merse continued his panther-esque brand of snooping, flying under the radar eyeing an oversized plate of Salmon Niçoise Salad. Rummaging through a million and one plans on how to get his greedy paws on the dish, all were thrown to the wayside the second his hyper-sensitive whiskers tingled. Before the information broker cracked his neck, an explosion near the entrance wobbled his footing. Molten metals flung around like overly wet clay in a pottery class as Metallo’s ship fired away with an intense blast of heated plasma liquefying the gold jungle gym structure cradling the structures entrance.

Multiple levels of historic architectural brilliance, permanently scarred in mere seconds by the band of pirates ramming and tearing their way into the hall greeted by hundreds of ear-splitting horrified screams at decibels agonizing to Merse's ears. The rumble could be felt as far as the quarters where Ryuko and Victoria were stationed. After the dust settled, the robotic crew stood tall in their best action movie poster poses, wielding a variety of unique firearms, traps, and gadgets. The pirates were ready to take on the role of liberators in this matriarchal dystopia and free the thousands of imprisoned men sentenced here from all across the cosmos. What would have been a hero’s welcome from thousands of prisoners rallying behind their cause failed to start only because of one very crucial miscalculation.

This wasn’t the prison.

Too late to turn back now. A band of pirates fired away, downing several Orichalca warriors while several others deflected the beams off their golden wristbands charging forward. It's like Captain Metallo and crew struck a wasp nest the way one Amazon after the next came out in droves. Many took to the skies, tossing tridents charged with radiant auras, many missing, creating small craters the second they struck the marble flooring. Others tossed weighted nets of ropes funneling lightning in attempts to capture members of the crew. One one young warrior named Aletheia stood back, connecting her fingers to create a triangle locked right on the captain. The amazon absorbed ambient energy in the area, as Aesteria was abundant with it, focusing the energy to a single point before unleashing a solar beam of vortexing yellow, orange and red light with the intent to knock the captain hundreds of feet back and even off the cliff. The battlecries filling the air signaled all out war, and witness to it all was Merse, casually stuffing his face, chowing down in the background. The information broker figured he’d stick around until the pirates forced the elite warriors to enter the arena. The crew of robots made for quite a convenient distraction.
Hidden 1 mo ago 16 days ago Post by Spider Pickle
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Spider Pickle [i]minecraft spider noises[/i]

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An orchestra of rattling pots and pans erupted from the kitchen as Victoria scavenged for the right size. Intending to make the perfect cat treats for when Mr. Whiskers came back, like any nine-year-old left unattended in a kitchen, she created an absolute mess whisking a battery concoction. Debatably edible, it was filled with random things with no rhyme or reason other than the child's personal preference on what tasted good. Wrapped up in child-like joy, the heiress, for a moment felt relieved of the stress of the situation as she tasked away, failing to notice the woman slip right into the kitchen behind her. Despite the friendly tone, Victoria shrieked. The second two eerily familiar hands touched her back, PTSD from the last time someone got behind her triggered a fight-or-flight response.

Tossed was the multicolored batter of who knows what over the girl's shoulder. The nine-year-old snatched herself out of Ryuko's grip, falling on her butt as she turned around. Unsure if she hit the stranger or not until she got a good look at her, Victoria was puzzled with the sight of some Blasian woman bowing, sincerely apologizing. Wide-eyed, the girl had a simple question. “Who are you?”

…The rumble could be felt as far as the quarters where Ryuko and Victoria were stationed. After the dust settled...


It was tough to describe the effects of combat drugs on her reaction speed—she knew the batter was going to fly at her before she knew it. She twisted and leaned backwards. Not a single drop would've landed on her, except on the finger she raised specifically to catch some of the batter.

Like a game of horseshoes, she ended up catching the whole bowl. Batter spiraled out in a sheet. Now her left arm was covered in it. A lot of her was covered in it.

Turning the bowl upright in her other hand, she looked down at the little girl. The violent response had only delayed her words and caused her to change her tone to be even softer and gentler.

"I'm Ryuko." She deepened the bow of her head to show she meant no harm. How to make her less afraid...

"I heard you talking to my friend Mr. Whiskers," she lied, and she was a damn good liar. She stuck her finger in her mouth. "Mm! Your batter tastes delicious!" It tasted okay. It was the expected quality for a child.

She set the bowl down on the floor, kneeling before her to make herself small to the girl; She leaned forward as well, placing her un-battered hand on her knee for support, though she didn't need it. "It's nice to meet you, Veronica. I'm sure we'll become great friends."

It wasn't long before a rumble reached the room. Ryuko sat up and turned as she rose. She grabbed Victoria's hand and led her out to the main room to look out the balcony. Smoke, and fighting. Energy weaponry.

They needed to leave.

Once again, Victoria's dignity was dispensable to Ryuko, though now not entirely, as she had a friendship to keep up. She scooped the girl up in her right arm, swatting her left at the curtains to wipe off the batter before swapping her over to it, then clutched her tight and ran to the balcony. She leapt, clawed the ledge—

She swung down to the lip of the balcony, then swung off it to the exterior wall. Her metal digits sparked as she scraped down the side of the building. The wind lifted her curls. Lifted them faster. Even faster. This wall is slipperier than I thought! The balcony below approached dangerously fast.

Probably a suicidal move in Victoria's eyes, she kicked away from the wall, flying past the rails—now it'd be the ground they would slam into.

Until Ryuko, arms together to tap the touchscreen, stuck her right arm out towards that balcony's underside. TWU-WEEEEEW. Cord spilled from her wrist and a grapnel thwacked the stone. They bungeed into the wall feet-first. Now Ryuko was squatting against the luxurious surface, cradling Victoria on top of her body. "You're safe, don't flail around," she ordered. She spared a glance to the balcony far below. "Two or three more to go... Let's do that again."

Perhaps the easiest of the combat drugs' effects to convey was that it made you a little crazy. Ryuko was gaining a bit of an adrenaline rush from this. The compound-laden rush was clouding her sense of self-preservation just a bit and tinting her emotional quotient gray and dry. She wouldn't just drop Victoria, of course—the "new best friend" act, on the other hand...
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