Hidden 26 days ago Post by Estylwen
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Estylwen He Didn't Make Jinx, You Did

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[root@localhost ~]# upload caracol.txt (“DiveLink”>files)

— DiveLink Statistics —
1 packets transmitted; 1 received; 0% packet loss; time 0ms

rtt/min/avg/max/mdev = 540.528/540.528/540.528/ 0.000 ms

unpacking… (14%)
… (28%)
… (84%)

unpacking complete.

… link disconnected.

It was a cloudy summer day in Belize. The clouds above were thick and heavy, threatening to pour with rain at a moment's notice. Not that it would matter much - the constantly high humidity would make a paper curl and cause kindle to dampen. The wetness in the air clung to the skin, and sometimes made it hard to breathe. Subtropical weather, after all.

Expeditions of varying sponsors converged on a single site. Namely, Nick and Cosette with the Louvre, Star and Annalise of Voidlight, and Jaylyn with her companion Axen of Mechozs.io. The site in question? The Caracol Maya Ruins, about 3000 years old.

Whether by helicopter, jeep, or by traversing down the winding dirt road, all would arrive at these sprawling stone ruins. And, in congruent with the reports, something was immediately amiss with the largest ruin of them all: the Caana (Sky Palace).

The mountainous ruin with stairs leading into the sky was eerily transformed into CDE (Condensed Dark Energy), a now obsidian structure with rainbow pearlescent. It was somewhere here that the core of the CDE was active, and growing at an inching rate. It was here that their destiny lay.

However, as each group and member approached the obsidian Caana, something strange would happen.

A strange, purplish mist would overtake their sight, and the world would vanish for a moment. It would be replaced with a completely obsidian view under a tumultuous sky - yes, every researcher and adventurer was now huddled together in the center courtyard at the very top of the Caana, hundreds of steps into the air. There were obsidian walls made of CDE around the square of the courtyard, preventing escape. And, a booming voice.

“Our Naranjo captives have finally come! Let us have sport, then, before the human sacrifice is made! Have them duel!”

Just then, all manner of swords, axes and bludgeoning weapons made of CDE fell into the courtyard. Along with that, four holes in the north, east, west, and south areas of the courtyard opened up, revealing a black Abyss below. Each hole was rimmed in a color. North was rimmed in white, east in red, south in yellow, and west in black.

The holes slowly became bigger.

“Fight, my captives, fight!”

At it would stand, Nick, Cosette, Annalise, Nova, Jaylyn and Axen would either need to sacrifice one of themselves to stop them all from falling into the growing holes, or…

Solve the puzzle of Caana, and live.

All the while, there was quiet, gentle breathing, of a man in stasis, somewhere unseen, waiting to be found…

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Hidden 26 days ago Post by SporkoBug
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SporkoBug The Cosmic Engineer

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Jaylyn wasn't one for summer, but she was always happy for a hot shower of rain; which threatened them all by the look of the clouds above. She was glad for the subtropical weather, it allowed her to not bother with hiding her sweat- Everyone sweat in this type of weather. She shook her head as she moved to try and get her hair out of her face, the humidity making it stick to her skin.

Once she got to the proper entrance to the expedition site, she deployed Axen from her back; As he attached to a small clip to her backpack. Axen seemed to shake himself once he was able to hover around the free space on his own.
"Just make sure not to jump into anything dangerous looking." Axen buzzed softly in Jays' head, "We can't afford anymore injuries this year."
Jay rolled her eyes to her companions words, refusing to answer them. She had spotted the other vehicles of the other companies that were also sending people to the site. Hopefully none of them were after any sort of bones they could find, if there was bones to be found.

Jay looked towards the ruins, her eyes glimmering at the sight of the obsidian sheen; CDE always reminded her of Bismuth, but no one would let her really say it out loud. She waited for a moment, keeping an eye on the other agents before the mist covered her eyesight. "Axen!" She called out quickly, moving to reach out to her companion to hold onto his leg in order for him not to get lost, if anything was to happen.

Jay flinched as she felt someone bump into her, she wasn't sure who any of these people were, but she wasn't sure they should be touching each other in the slightest, she looked up as she heard the booming voice, Axen still in her arms. Jay surprisingly didn't seem to flinch as the weapons suddenly fell onto the ground around them, gently letting Axen go as he floated around her.
"This doesn't look good." Axen spoke to Jay, who rolled her eyes as she looked up to him.
"No shit." She said out loud, "Scan the area, see if you can spot anything?" She asked Axen, who seemed to acknowledge her command and slowly started to hover over the group and a small glimmer of light echoed from him as he moved a small scanning laser over everything around them all.

"I assume we're not going to attempt to beat each other to death." Jay spoke out loud again, furrowed her brow before she moved to lift up a weapon from the ground and looked it over, "Maybe they're colour-coded?" She thought out loud, turning the small CDE sword in her hands as she looked it over, before looking towards the Growing holes and looked to Axen.
He's unable to really carry anyone, he can barely carry me! Jay thought to herself, hesitating, If I get out of here alive, I'm asking if we can boost the strength of his carrying capabilities. She shook her head, moving to focus in real life.
"This is not really how I wanted us all to meet!" She spoke, towards the other agents, "Names' Jay!" She grinned slightly.

There was something happening, he could feel it. Growth in the Dark Energy around the entire area, movement, possibly more living things entering the area.
Were they beasts? HiveMind Agents? Possibly someone to help?

Food? A hushed voice in the back of the mans head spoke, causing a horrible itch to move through his body, even in stasis. While his body was essentially shut down to the effects of time, his mind stayed running; at least on the 'lowest settings' possible for a human. Well... Humanoid.
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Hidden 24 days ago Post by Days
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Days Watermelon Enthousiast

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Nova pushed her sunglasses up to her hair before curling her fingers around the wheel again. The sun had gone, and instead, clouds loomed above, trapping the humid air in Belize. Her jeep left behind a trail of dust as she drove down the winding road toward the place they were all supposed to meet up. It was both terrifying and exciting. Through Kai, Nova had learned that there would be familiars for her there; Nick and Cosette de Villiers. While she wasn't overly familiar with Nick aside from their experience together, she couldn't help but feel excited about seeing Cosette. Guess almost dying together, twice, creates a bond. Supposedly, the final person of their team hailed from Mechozs. That should be interesting.

The wind blew on her face, cooling off the warmth of her skin that had made it turn slightly red. She wasn't made for this type of climate, at all. Her hair was up in a ponytail, her attire fit for the expedition, not the weather. Her dresses were left at home while she wore green fitted cargo pants and a light yellow, airy t-shirt. Her backpack with supplies was wobbling on the backseat as she took a turn with the jeep. They should be close. Nova glanced at her navigation before looking over at Annelise, sitting beside her. It was clear they had gone shopping for their clothes, together.

The expert researcher couldn't quite get a grasp on Annelise's current emotions, but she knew her goal. Knew what she wanted to find her, and why. And Nova knew she wanted to help her achieve that while trying to keep her safe. Swallowing, Nova tried to push down the memories of a year ago. She couldn't let anything happen to her. After clearing her throat, she spoke up. "It's going to be okay. I'll be right there with you."

One gentle smile later, Nova put her eyes back on the road as she came to their destination. As she parked, the woman desperately tried to make herself believe it, too. At first, her husband wasn't too fond of the request for Nova to come on this expedition. The husband in him wanted to lock her up in the bedroom, yet the boss in him knew she was the most fit for the job. After all, she was both the lead researcher in CDE and had first-hand experience with its power. Still, he had to stay back. A company to run, and all.

The jeep doors slammed shut as Nova and Annelise exited, grabbing their belongings from the back as they approached those already there. With a smile, she greeted both Nick and Cosette once they were in conversational distance. "It's so great to see you again, Cosette! You look very well."

With her hands on her hips, she looked up at the stunning ruins in front of her. The Caracol Ruins. It was breathtaking, even in its current altered state. And while the more archaeology and history-inclined people among them would likely be fascinated by the ruin and its history, Nova's eyes were already focussed on the sheen making it clear that CDE was active here. The clear multichromatic colours cascaded the old ruins like they had been dipped in an oil slick. This was definitely not like it looked in the pictures. Her hands itched to take samples, to further research what was going on but knew patience would be a virtue. Instead, she turned to see the final member arriving, a woman unknown to Nova. She gave the woman a polite nod and was about to extend her hand when her vision gave way to purple mist.

At first, Nova thought her retina augmentation was having a misfunction, but a quick tab to the little device in her ear showed no errors. Immediately, her hand reached for Anne, who was luckily beside her. "Stay close." As her fingers curled around the girl's wrist, Nova's vision came back. It seemed they had been transported, a pearlescent CDE sheen all around them. She didn't hear the voice, but it showed up in her vision, making the woman squint before her eyes widened in disbelief. Naranjo? Orange Tree? She briefly glanced at Anne before letting her go, watching as the weapons suddenly dropped all around them and the unknown woman's little companion took flight above them. That thing seemed to be useful, indeed.

Her heart hammed. Nova wasn't exactly an experienced agent of any kind. Aside from last year's events, and her life with Kai, the wildest thing she ever did was going off the tall slide at the waterpark. She was a basement-dwelling scientist, damnit. Still, her marriage to Kai had influence, as she already heard Kai in her mind telling her what he always did. That she was so much more. She nodded more to herself than to anyone else as she glanced around, and took in the environment. Still, she might be capable, but one needs to know their strengths and weaknesses, and this was definitely looking more like the latter than the former. Besides, she didn't know a thing about the Mayans or their culture, aside from what she had read on her tablet on the plane to kill time.

Then, she turned to the woman who introduced herself as Jay. "Sta- Nova." Blasted be the codename. "And yes, I'd prefer if we wouldn't bludgeon each other. There must be some way to solve this. Right? Is your little friend picking something up?" The scientist pointed at the bird-like creature that circled above before looking at Nick. "I am counting on you to have a smart idea, Nick."

Nova spotted the holes that had opened up, and with a short motion of her finger, she used her retina augmentation to zoom in. "Yellow?" She looked at the other hole. "Red. White. Black. Hmm." Then, her gaze landed on an axe in front of her on the ground, oddly sharp and shimmering with the reflection of the CDE walls. "Sacrifice..." She said, more to herself than anyone else. Turning to Annelise, Nova swallowed hard. She has promised to keep her safe. To herself, to her husband, and to Annelise. If there was a sacrifice, it wouldn't be her. Yet.. "Sacrifice. Perhaps blood. Would blood be enough? You know, a non-deadly amount?"
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Hidden 22 days ago 22 days ago Post by WhiteAngel25
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WhiteAngel25 The Original Cupcake Queen

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Collab Nova, Annelise & Dragon @Days

Nova held onto her steaming mug with two hands, letting it warm her hands as she looked out of the floor-to-wall windows. It was still early, but Nova and her husband were early birds and hard workers, in any case. She stood in Kai's shirt, which was quite oversized on her, and pajama shorts. Her long hair was up in a messy bun, round glasses on her nose. Usually, Luna circled around her legs around this time, nudging her head against her shins and purring for attention. Since she wasn't, Nova figured the cat was likely off pestering Kai or cuddling with Annelise. It wasn't just Nova that Luna could demand attention from, now, and the cat eagerly made use of the bigger living space and eager hands for behind-the-ear scratches.

However, the lead researcher wasn't complaining about her living arrangements, either. It was almost immediately that Kai asked her to move in after everything last year had transpired. Where the adrenaline of the battle led to a passionate kiss and more, life could be over in the blink of an eye, they had decided. Not long after, Kai proposed. It was almost too good to believe, and she'd find herself sometimes having it dawn on her. How someone loved her, now. Cared about her, and her wellbeing. He was even swift in accommodating the penthouse to her deafness. For example, when the doorbell rang, lights flashed, and appliances got connected to her augmentation.

The woman's fingers wiggled, her wedding ring making a clinking sound against the porcelain mug. She couldn't get over this view any day soon. Sure, there was the smog, but from Kai's-no, their penthouse, Nova overlooked a large part of New York. The lights covering buildings, moving and glittering were stunning from this point of view. Her old apartment barely had a decent balcony. Safe to say that the conversation of who moves in and where was over in record time. There was so much space here, too. Nova got her own office and a massive walk-in closet.

It had been a little embarrassing to only fill it with one suitcase, as she didn't own that many clothes, or anything, in any case. At the very least, the move was easy. Their home had enough rooms, enough for Annelise to get her own bedroom. One that Nova immediately tidied up and readied without question when Kai asked her if Nova would be alright with her living with them for a bit.

Behind her, the oven beeped and an alert showed in her retina. It took Nova from being deep in her thoughts, staring at the outside world. Blinking, Nova turned and walked back into the kitchen, putting her mug of coffee on the island before checking the oven. The breakfast muffins were ready. "Kai? Anne? Breakfast is ready!"

Kai was finishing up getting ready for the day, tucking in the white long-sleeve button-up shirt into his black suit pants. He was securing the cuffs with gold cuff links and padded out of the master bedroom and then down the hall. He paused as the scent of fresh blueberry-chocolate chip-sugar crumble muffins filled the air. Kai smirked as it was a combination of all their favorites that turned out delicious. He knocked on the door he was standing in front of.

"Annalise, are you up yet? You need to get going as it will be time for you and Nova to head out soon," Kai said as the door opened and a petite young woman opened her bedroom door. Annalise's stature reminded the Voidlight President of Cosette de Villers when they first found her in the submarine. Easily mistaken for a child. Her collar-length, multi-hued hair was a bit aery as the fur ball known as Luna emerged first. Kai sighed and rolled his eyes as the cat demanded affection from him too. Anna was dressed appropriately for one going on an expedition. Good, supportive hiking boots, full-legged tan cargo pants, and a gray cotton t-shirt with a yellow sweatshirt tied around her waist.

"No, I don't need fur glitter on my work clothes, you get enough of it on the rest of the house," Kai replied to the cat's meow at him. Annalise smiled and rolled her eyes.

"Whatever, Kai, Nova keeps this place spotless. I've never seen one cat hair anywhere," Anna quipped as she grabbed her backpack of clothes and essentials out with her. She bent down and picked Luna up, snuggling with the cat. "She's just the cuddliest thing! How could you not like her?"

"I'm a dog person, Anne, that's how," Kai shook his head as they heard Nova calling for them in the kitchen.

Kai smirked as he saw Nova's attire while Annalise went to drop Luna off in the living room. He strode over, and gently cupped Nova's chin with his right hand while his left wrapped around her waist. "Good morning, Mrs. Stoick. Everything looks absolutely delicious, you included," he practically purred before giving Nova a brief, sweet kiss. He reluctantly let go of his beautiful wife and poured himself a cup of coffee.

Nova smiled as she pulled out the muffins from the oven and let the baking paper slide easily onto the waiting tray. She baked when she was nervous, with no complaints from her husband or Annelise. They had jokingly challenged her to create a fusion of their favorite muffins, yet Nova accepted the challenge.

According to the smell and sight of these beautiful muffins, it seemed she had succeeded. She took off her glasses as the heat from the oven and its steam fogged her vision. As she looked up, her duo-coloured eyes sparkled.

Her husband strolled into the kitchen, with that lopsided smirk of his that got her heart racing. He looked stunning, too, even though he wore an outfit like this most days. She knew that they hadn't been married for long, or even together for long, and everyone always said the feeling would fade over time. But Nova was more than comfortable in her bubble, and that fade was never going to happen according to her. It was the whole drive behind them getting married in the first place. To live life to the fullest. Grinning back, she stood on her toes to receive his kiss, closing her eyes to the short kiss. [color=peachpuff]"Why thank you, Mr. Stoick." Mrs Stoick. Was she going to get used to it? Perhaps she already was. The happiness of this moment almost, almost made her forget where she and Annelise would be off to shortly.

Nova was fully packed, the only thing left to do was breakfast with her husband and Annelise before he took them to Voidlight, to put them aboard a private plane. That and, she would have to get out of Kai's shirt to get dressed in her own clothes, waiting for her on the bed. He'd be a fool if he thought she wasn't going to steal this shirt and shove it in her bag in a moment.

"Nova! I fed Luna, just FYI!" the young woman shouted from the living room as she walked into the kitchen and placed her bag by Nova's. Her hazel eyes bright with excitement as she sat at the kitchen island. "Maybe there will be clues there do you think?" She asked as Kai glanced at Nova, smiles from the couple faded a bit.

"Annalise, we've talked about this. I don't want you to get your hopes up on this expedition," Kai warned as he noticed the rigidity in his wife's form. The last encounter with dark matter energy was frightening and took days and nights of recovering in the Voidlight hospital for the two to decide that life was too short and they were hitched within two weeks at town hall.

Anne's smile slowly faded as she twirled her thumbs. "I-I know, and I love living here with the two of you, but...but I-," she paused as tears began to well into her eyes. "...I just miss my mom and dad," she murmured as she quickly rubbed her eyes to prevent any tears from escaping.

With a lingering smile on her face, Nova poured a glass of freshly pressed orange juice for Annelise as she entered the kitchen with an announcement about feeding Luna. While the married couple tried everything to make Annelise feel at home, including overhauling the guest room into an actual personalized bedroom, it was Luna who took the crown in making the lost girl feel comfortable and safe. "Thank you, Anna."

As the girl sat at the kitchen island, Nova shoved forward the glass to her as she witnessed a look in the woman's eyes that could only be described as hope. And while hope was a good thing, it could end up being incredibly disappointing. The wife caught her husband's glance before looking back at Annelise, watching the girl crawl into herself once more. While Kai was right, it was still devastating for the girl, undoubtedly. Nova wasn't entirely looking forward to a new CDE expedition but knew Annelise held such hopes for it, once she learned about it, and that Nova was asked to go lent her expertise.

Seeing her eyes mist over, Nova's heart thumped. She couldn't stand to watch her cry and wished there were more things she could do, while in reality, she knew they were already going above and beyond. Her eyes raised to Kai for a moment, lips pressed together in a look that told him Nova felt sympathy. Gingerly, she rounded the island and stood by Anne's side, her hand comforting over her back, her voice soft. "I know, Anne, I know. It's okay. Don't think we take it personally at all. We love living with you, too, but of course, you miss your mom and dad. We'll try everything we can, okay?"

Kai smiled softly as Annalise accepted Nova's comfort and nodded in agreement with the kind woman. Anna reached for her glass of juice, taking sips of the orange liquid before nibbling at her muffin. Technically, Annalise was joining Nova under the guise of a field lab assistant. Anyone was better than Brenda was what she heard between the husband and wife.

"Well, the most important thing is to be safe and listen to Nova. She's had experience with these expeditions and has an idea of what to expect, and that is...?" Kai began to speak after setting down his cup of coffee on the kitchen island.

"The unexpected," Anna parroted back as if that hadn't been drilled into her head since she was a little kid. Her parents always told her that there was more than what meets the eye when it came to dark matter energy.

"Come on, now and finish up while Nova gets ready and I'll drive both of you to the airport," Kai encouraged before continuing to drink his coffee.

Annalise couldn't help chewing her bottom lip softly as Nova drove the Jeep to the expedition site. It had almost been a year since Anna last saw her father, even before that her mother had disappeared to make sure they could escape during the last few months of Hivemind as a functioning entity. She just hoped that her...abilities wouldn't activate. Being so close to raw dark energy, Anna's abilities were a bit more unpredictable.

Anna smiled softly as Nova offered comfort once again before they bound the corner and the site came into view. She helped Nova get the equipment and their bags out of the Jeep before approaching the group. Her hazel eyes widened slightly as she recognized people from photos as Nova greeted them. Annalise smiled bashfully and offered a slight still-basically-teenager wave before tucking in some stray hair that wouldn't stay in her ponytail.

"Hi, I'm Annalise, you can call me Anne or Anna though," she introduced herself with a tenderly soft tone after Nova.

Annalise glanced nervously at the ruins and gripped the bags tighter, feeling the familiar tingling sensations in her palms. She paled slightly hearing Nova mention the word 'sacrifice'. "Caana? Right? Isn't 'caana' in Spanish 'snail'? Snails are generally slow and white or tan," Anna offered some help, still squeezing her hands into fists even though the bags and equipment had magically disappeared. She cursed under her breath, realizing that she had 'transported' them elsewhere in her distraction of the moment.
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Hidden 21 days ago 21 days ago Post by Lexisheeps
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Lexisheeps he/they/baaa / ૮꒰˵• ˕ •˵꒱ა

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago

TL;DR p:
Home, Sweet Home

Collab written by:
@Lexisheeps x @Estylwen

Another long fucking day. But it wasn't just the overwhelming amounts of paperwork drowning them today. The two men were slowly turning away from being loving husbands, or at least marital partners- to roommates who couldn't fucking stand each other. An argument, then two, five. The dog. Cosy. HiveMind. Thierry was running on a 3 hour nap, several- several strong cups of black coffee, and a tangled emotional breakdown. Nick? A deeply rooted hatred for Von Galloes and multiple Monster Energy drinks. The two fathers were both a mess.

Voices became enraged, temper tantrums thrown. "I feel like I don't even know you anymore."

Then deafening silence. Fuming. Pouting. Reminiscing. Hushed tears behind previously slammed doors.

Awhile later, a soft three tap knuckle knock happened as Nick cooed through Cosette's bedroom door, "We're leaving early, Princess. Are you all packed yet?" He hesitated a bit as he listened for any shuffling. It was still early in the evening, but sleep was a necessity if things were to go smoothly, "I know dad complained that this isn't a vacation earlier, but you can still pack some comfort items. We'll be there a few days before the group is set to meet, so we'll still be able to go swimming."

It sucked that Ivaylo couldn't go, but Nick didn't completely feel comfortable leaving Thierry with his own devices. Not after Theo's kidnapping. Not after losing Aurélie permanently. Nor was Sabrina there to be the voice of reason, as she had been in the past. An argument had ensued between the two fathers, leaving furthered hurt feelings for Cosy. Thierry had actually wanted them to take Ivaylo, but Nick felt otherwise. Yes, the dog was well trained and could act like a bodyguard...

But after everything that had happened? Leaving Thierry alone with his own mental gymnastics? Not like this. This was no normal run. HiveMind's stench lingered in Lucy's paperwork. So the young adoptive father stood there at her bedroom door, holding back a physical sigh and replacing it with a mental one. And finally mumbled, "I'm sorry that Ivaylo can't go." Nick genuinely felt like a terrible father, for putting his foot down like this. For choosing...

There was silence on the other side of the door. A silence that stretched on, until a quiet, "You can come in, dad." was heard.

It had been some time since Cosy had simply dropped the 'step' in favour of just calling Nick her dad. In her eyes, there was no difference. He had taken responsibility of her, so it was his right. Besides, after everything they'd been through, it felt less awkward to say. Not at all awkward, in fact.

If Nick were to open the door, he would find his princess' room was the same as usual. CD cases stacked along the dresser (ancient things, hardly anyone ever saw them anymore), stereo system playing the Beatles softly, and little string lights strewn about the walls. The closet was cluttered, having been rifled through. The light on her night stand was on, illuminating a tear-stained face as Cosy sat on the floor, leaned against her bed, Ivaylo in her lap. On her bed was a nearly-finished luggage case. The item of offense this time, was a picture of the whole family from their trip in Egypt, sitting neatly on top of her packed clothes...

If it was possible for Nick's mood to drop even further, it did at the sight of Cosy's cheeks being wet.

Shit, the photo.

Belize, The Arrival

Collab written by:
@Lexisheeps x @Estylwen

The water sparkled in the sunlight. Would probably be chilled from the night before, yet still inviting. The sand beneath his feet was warm as they walked along dry land. It was nice to see Cosette smiling again, but as he laughed along with the silliness of their conversation, "Hey, I'll race you to the water!" Nick had a gut feeling that this trip was all a lie.

The last set of ruins he'd been to, while under contract for HiveMind- run by a madman who was out to kill him, the de Villiers, possibly the world. The CDE wolves and Cosette's blood-curdling screams. It didn't sit well with him, but he smiled and laughed with his adopted daughter. A moment not captured, but still just as innocent as the photograph from 8 years ago. And just as stained.

Jesus, she's Aaron's age.

She knew all too well, they both did. But both son and daughter chose temporary relief from the pain... and smiled, "Hey, I don't remember you being so fast!" An insincere laugh while pretending to be out of breath. Was it wrong to let Cosette win this time? She'd already lost so many other things. He kick splashed her with the clear water before swan diving into a deeper spot. Once Nick's head was back out of water, he pushed his wet locks back like everything was fine. Smiling wide with a slight giggle...

Ivaylo seemed to be having tons of fun swimming too, with his favorite squeak toy between his clenched jaw.

"You ready for tomorrow?" He questioned her, still smiling as he tossed the dog toy, but a hint of seriousness lingered in his tone. Just might have been asking himself as well.

And the answer was... no, no he wasn't.

Cosette smiled, lost in the moment as water splashed around her. He let her win, she knew, but it still made her smile. A smile when not many things could do that, nowadays.

She slipped to her knees in the shallows, water up to her neck as she watched Ivaylo enjoying himself. Watched her dad being happy for her, even if he may have had something in the back of his head. It wasn't a lie that she had her own baggage swirling in her head too.

At his question, she was quiet, before venturing into the deeper water, closer to her father, her lips pulling into a wincing smile. "I mean, it won't be like last time. HiveMind is gone. He is gone."

Her face drew dark, trying to believe her own words. "We have to check this out anyway... Leaving it is dangerous for society... and, like my dad, I have experience with CDE that can help."

She forced a smile. "It's the right thing to do, going to the site tomorrow... right?"

It's not fair that you're going, instead of Thierry. It's not fair that you just barely got your life back and are risking it to save others. It's just not fair... Is what Nick wanted to say, but he held his tongue.

"It's the right thing to do, if that's what you want to do." Nick mentally eye rolled at himself for what he'd just said. What the fuck? I'm not fit to be a father any more than Thierry is... but she is her own person.

None of this is right, you didn't choose to do this. You're being forced into it by a shitty situation, given to you by shitty adults.... Just like I was... okay so I wasn't forced, but fucking dammit, I saw no other better options at the time, than to pick up a gun or two. Jesus, I fucking hate mummies.

But enough thought on that shit. Nick smiled softly at Cosy, before heading back underwater. Time to deep dive for some clam shells...

It's Adventure Time

Collab written by:
@Lexisheeps x @Estylwen

That morning, there was an air of unrest.

It was the next morning, extra early. So much so that the sun hadn't risen yet. Was Cosy wide awake too? Nick didn't check. He felt he was physically prepared for the run, but sat there on the cot, wondering if Von Galloes was involved in all this. The memories of the trip to the Mediterranean, how he'd met Cosy... "Fuck." He muttered softly while pulling himself to his feet.

Cosy, always the light sleeper, opened her eyes when she heard her stepdad swearing under his breath.

Tried to be quiet while triple checking all the gear in his and Cosy's separate backpacks. Then it turned time to recheck his watch's gear. But pushing around the buttons for the holographic inventory was hard. Not that he didn't know how to use the Chinese-made technology, he did very much so indeed, "Fucking dammit, Theo." Nick inhaled sharply, "Where. The. Fuck. Are you?"

The two memories were a bit blurred, but ran simultaneously. Nick giving Theo the watch out of desperation, and Thierry giving Nick his personal watch as a birthday present. Instead of issuing a new one, "You should have given it to Theo, not me." He sighed softly at Thierry's lack of good paternal decisions, before turning his attention back to the watch.

He hadn't woken Cosy up had he?

She didn't move a inch. No, even at the memory of her elder brother, lost between his unveiling at the Louvre, and the Ethera, she remained still. Eyes closed, an unbidden tear leaking from a lid.

He turned his head and side eyed her a bit, but didn't linger with his gaze. It'd been a little over a year since giving Theo his watch. A little over a year since avoiding inventory watches all together. This trip required one, if Nick wanted to feel physically ready. Now was not the time for a breakdown.

Backpacks were bulky. Backpacks can get stuck in tight places. Backpacks really were a thing of the past for agents in this field of work. Was Cosy ready to use hers in the line of battle? Maybe one day the general public will have easier access to them... No, TWG were already a pain in the ass as it was. Now was not the time for a breakdown....

But the more he pushed at the buttons, the more Nick became angered with Von Galloes. If that was even possible. Still managed to keep his voice at an almost inaudible whisper, "Just let me find you, you sick son of a bitch."

Later that morning, the pair was ready to go. Or as ready as they could be.

It hurt. It felt like the weight of the world was crushing her chest, with her brother and sister missing and gone. This hurt clung to her like a disease as she mechanically got up for breakfast, and loaded herself into their vehicle to start the expedition...

The trail was long and rugged. Maybe the dune buggy was little bit bumpier than what Cosy was used to riding in. Nick didn't tilt his gaze as he questioned, "You alright, Princess? We'll be there soon."

Cosy held on tight to the dune buggy, a tense expression to her face. No, it wasn't because of the bumps. If Nick looked, he would have seen that thousand-yard stare that so often crept over her face these days, ever since recovering her memories, ever since she lost Auri.

The memories she could remember in vivid detail haunted her. Von Galloes' doctors treating her more like an object, not caring if they caused her pain as they went about their experiments. The days, weeks, of recovering from brain surgery. Continually forgetting during the process was a godsend - if she had remembered, she would have attempted suicide with whatever means possible.

Now? She was scared. Scared at the possibility that Von Galloes might be involved with this site. Scared she might have to see him again. Scared she might have to suffer the same like she did in her past again.

Von Galloes had broken her, and there was no walking it off, no way to escape it.

So she turned her head to Nick, and said as confidently as possible, "I'm alright, dad."

It was a lie, but perhaps it was something she wanted to believe. She had her dad-hero with her, after all. Perhaps, this time, she'd be okay.

A Journey Not Yet Finished

Written by:

The dune buggy hadn't come to a full stop before Ivaylo hurried himself out with a barked leap. Nick raised an eyebrow at the dog, "What?" And jokingly teased, "It's not like there's asphalt out here, jeez." Then turned to Cosy, who was probably just as ill, "You alright, Princess?"

Was the thousand yard stare her stomach speaking or... but he didn't question her as he spoke again.

"Ah, shit." His sigh was of slight annoyance, "I wasn't expecting the Hollow to be out here too." And then his tone changed to one of pure amusement with a half smirk, "Nor was I planning to damn near flip the buggy because of them. Oops." His boots hit the ground with a thump, "Damn. I was hoping we'd be here first." And another sigh to himself as he spoke, "So much for exploring the site without distraction."

The tone of voice was stern, "Ivaylo, down!" As Nick called out. The doggo had jumped onto Jay excitedly, but stopped on command, "Good boy." During the briefing, a photo had been shown of all the intended explorers. He recognized the young girl from that, but didn't hold his hand out as he approached her, "You must be Jay." He nodded then spoke as if meeting a coworker for the first time, "You're lucky. We're on a first name basis. I'm Nick."

He called out to the dog again, "Ivaylo," Nick's voice was stern, "Follow Princess." He turned his attention back to Jay as Ivaylo approved the command, "Sorry about him jumping on you like that. He's a good dog, just a little excitable sometimes."

Nick wasn't exactly the biggest fan of AI, so he didn't bother greeting Axen. As far as Nick was concerned, Axen was hackable and Von Galloes enjoyed dabbling with technology. But despite his dislike of the AI, he held his tongue of any negative remarks. Figured as long as he didn't have to deal with it, fine, whatever.

A certain pair of boots had started towards Nova and Annelise, his. Nick was intending to greet the two girls as he'd done Jay, but a thick mist took over any friendly conversation starters. Found himself mumbling, "Shit. I'm beginning to hate the color purple." When the weapons dropped, Nick raised an eyebrow, "Not gonna be any sacrifice." And kept his eyebrow raised at Nova's remark, "Yeah, sorry. I'm fresh out of ideas that don't involve bludgeoning Von Galloes."

But the seasoned archeologist did have a few ideas, probably bad ones... but you gotta start somewhere, right? Nick's tone was one of annoyance, "Disregarding the colors for a minute," He sighed, "I'm assuming all of you at least know the basic layout of Caana, or have a map."

Pointed towards the west hole, "That's where the biggest ritual room is." Found himself hesitating a moment and rubbed his sweaty brow, "Or should be there. They'd do their blood sacrifices there. But maybe they're..." With both hands raised, "Demon portals," Wiggled his fingers teasingly, "That will take you to Egypt or some shit."

He couldn't help but laugh with his usual confident smirk, "So for shits and giggles, I'm checking west out first." And proceeded to approach the growing hole with a sprint, before swan diving into it.

It's go time, bitches.

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Hidden 20 days ago Post by Estylwen
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Estylwen He Didn't Make Jinx, You Did

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Secret HiveMind Facility

A familiar head researcher sat at a computer desk filled with holographic data, smacking a lollipop in her mouth. A hum escaped her as she sang to herself, flipping through patients' data. Faces flickered across the holographic display: Theo, Stella, to name a few.

Lost in her own little world, it took the head researcher some time to notice the tip-tap of footsteps behind her. Turning, her lollipop was shoved into a cheek as she adjusted her goggles at her guest.

“Director Von Galloes, pleasure seeing you here today.” She purred in a honeyed voice.

Director Von Galloes stared at her dispassionately, adjusting the blue gloves over his hands, donning his own lab coat over a dress shirt. “How are they?”

“Vitals are perfect, sir. A little spike, a little adrenaline pumping, but nothing that will affect their health.”

Von Galloes nodded at that, before pulling off his labcoat and throwing it over an arm. As he turned away, he spoke to her, “I’m diving in. I trust you’ll handle things, yes?”

She nodded at his receding back, giving a salute. “Of course, sir.”

Caana, Courtyard

@SporkoBug, @Days, @WhiteAngel25, @Lexisheeps

"This is not really how I wanted us all to meet! Names' Jay!"

Cosette stared at the brown-haired girl and her strange companion, half hiding behind Nick. She was aware of others joining them on their expedition, but she certainly wasn’t expecting this. She cycled through all the times she had been burned by AI, namely the time The Beast kidnapped her, and immediately narrowed her eyes at Axen.

“I’m Cosette…” She said hesitantly, peeking out from behind Nick.

When Star introduced herself, Cosy could have choked on the humid air in surprise. “Nova? Since when? This is news to me…

"Yellow? Red. White. Black. Hmm. Sacrifice. Perhaps blood. Would blood be enough? You know, a non-deadly amount?"

Cosy looked at the growing holes with a grimace, scanning them against her database. After a few seconds, the results came up negative. Nothing matched this. It was entirely unique. Or displayed in such a way her AI couldn’t regonize it.

At the mention of blood, Cosy immediately thought of her MIA mother, and what she had to do in Egypt. She tried to keep the pain out of her voice, instead focusing on the task at hand. “Whatever these supernatural forces are, they’ve reacted positively to blood in the past…It just might work.”

"Hi, I'm Annalise, you can call me Anne or Anna though,"

Cosette stared at the curious girl, who appeared to only be slightly younger than her. Immediately, she felt a connection wth her, and stepped out from hiding behind Nick. “H-hi Anna.”

That’s when she noticed Annalise’s bags just… disappeared. Perhaps it was the CDE still wanting the teleport objects? Surely, no human could make such a feat happen…

That’s when Cosy’s dad spoke.

"That's where the biggest ritual room is.Or should be there. They'd do their blood sacrifices there. But maybe they're…Demon portals, That will take you to Egypt or some shit. So for shits and giggles, I'm checking west out first."

And watched with a slightly slack jaw as her dad just dove into one of the holes. With frantic scrambling, Cosy found a CDE sword, gripped it tightly in her hand, tightened the straps on her backpack slightly, before, with a terrified squeal, jumped into the hole after her father.

Gravity worked fast, pulling her down into darkness. Until, slowly, she began to feel weightless, and the darkness gave way to a CDE platform, tables once made out of stone in the center. There were CDE walls along all four sides of this new area. Little did Cosy know that she and her father now resided in section 35.

Wisps fluttered in the sky, until, all at once, a massive figure morphed in the sky, seeing almost too large, their face taking up the sky. Cosy looked up with wide eyes, caught in the shadow of the being’s headdress.

“So you choose to struggle. Very well. I admire your courage. But you won’t leave this room alive.” the figure spoke, its voice shaking the foundations of the Caana.

Cosy’s AI scanned the being, and began sending off alert after alert, warning of danger. She sucked in a breath, turning to Nick.

“Dad, I don’t know how to tell you this but… this thing is apparently Buluc Chabtan, the Mayan god of war, violence, and… uh, sacrifice.”

The figure only smugly smirked, before it waved a hand, and from the edges of the room, Mayan warriors, wisps falling off their blend of phantasmic and corporeal forms, charged at Nick and Cosy will all manner of clubs and spears…

Meanwhile, in the courtyard, the holes continued to expand, threatening to engulf the remaining archeologists and researchers…

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Hidden 17 days ago Post by SporkoBug
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SporkoBug The Cosmic Engineer

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Mechnoz.io Headquarters, Computer-Science Office

A scruffy, short brown haired male sat in his computer chair, tapping a pen against his bottom lip as his grey-blue eyes stared at his computer screen. Surely this code would be good enough by now? There wasn't any bugs that he could see just off the bat, and he was already running another code through an AI bug checker so if he tried to run it on this, likely it would crash the other; and the other code was a lot more important than this little piece of code he was making.

The door to the office swung open, causing the male to flinch before spinning in his chair towards the doorway.
"Do you mind?" He asked, wincing at the light from the outside inside the dimly lit room. "If you're here to talk, get in here and close the damn door already." He grumbled as the taller male, wearing a suit- Apposed to the scruffy males shirt and jeans- stepped into the room and closed the door.
"Dexter, it's good to see you working for once." The second male spoke, keeping his voice calm and collected. Dex rolled his eyes at the way the second male was speaking.
"Cut the act, Allen, Jay's out in the field." Dex said with a grumble as he moved to put the pen up into his ear to hold it in place as he spun his chair back to his desk. "Now what do you want? I'm actually working on code."

As if weight was taken off his shoulders, Allen dropped his shoulders and his smile and gave a heavy, gruff sigh. "I thought she wasn't supposed to be working in the field for now?" All calmness in his voice gone, "Can you tell me why I keep getting calls from her fucking doctors asking for psych appointments?"
Dex rolled his eyes as he listened to Allens complaints, he continued typing on his computer before he stopped. "The big boss got a good hit with the Lourve, they wanted someone from here and she took it." Dex said with a shrug, "I don't know, ask your dad why she went." He rolled his eyes, Fucking Nepo baby. He thought to himself before he looked at Allen from the corner of his glasses.

"She probably put you down as her emergency contact. And of course they can't currently contact her, I doubt she even has her phone with her." Dex continued with a small shrug, "Again, you're her boss, not me. I'm just a mate."
Allen gritted his teeth at Dexs' words, he slammed his hands down on Dexs' table, causing the techie to flinch and stare up at him, "Why did you let her take the fucking Prototype Dexter?" He hissed, Dex flinching back at the words before he breathed in and fixed his glasses on his nose.
"You know she doesn't leave without Axen, he's her best friend. Why? He didn't need any fixes." Dex steadied his breathing as he looked to the bigger male.
"Fucking-" Allen bit his tongue against speaking ill of Jaylyn, before he straightened himself up, moving to fix his tie which had come loose from his erratic movements, "I was going to be showing the Prototype to a possible investor. They have big money and could easily get this business off the ground. Much faster than father ever could."
"Did you talk with your dad about this though? Or are you overstepping the boundaries like you did with Jay?" Dex asked with a roll of his eyes, "Anyway, who's this 'possible investor'? We gotta be careful on this shit."

Allen stared daggers towards Dex as he spoke, "I'm not even going to answer that question. But as for the investor, don't you worry your little code filled head about it. They'll get us off the ground. Just... Make sure Jay gets back here soon, I need the Prototype." He said as he turned and opened the door, shining the light directly into Dexs' eyes before he walked out the door and started to text someone.
Look, change of plans. I'm sorry, the Prototype isn't here currently. One of our workers took it on a mission for the Lourve or some shit. My apologies Mr. Galloes.

Dex grumbled as he needed to let his eyes adjust again before he sighed, "Oi Vie." He grumbled under his breathe, "I really hope that Allen doesn't take over from his father anytime soon." He turned his head back to the screen, "Where the fuck are you Jayjay?"

Caana, Courtyard

"You're lucky we're on a first name Basis. I'm Nick."

Jay only grinned in response to the mans words, seemingly unphased by the dog that charged up to her, moving to rub his face gently before he went back towards his owners. "I've heard about you!" Jay said with a wide grin to Nick before she looked over to the others and gave a small smile, "It's a pleasure to meet you all." She continued.

"Is your little Friend picking something up?"

"That's an excellent question!" Jay said with a smile before she looked up towards Axen, "Anything interesting buddy?" She asked him with a wide grin.
"Endless holes apparently." Axen replied, sounding vaguely confused himself, "The energy here is strangely stable, I don't think we've seen something like this in the past."
Jay nodded to Axen as he continued to float around, she could tell that Nick and Cosette were not too fond of her companion, but a lot of people tended to be slightly weirded out by the idea of a robot-styled dinosaur around them; completely forgetting about the fact he would be seen in a similar light to an AI.

Jay listened as everyone spoke about different things; Blood, Snails, Sacrifice, Demon Portals. She waited to see what the others were planning first, before she watched Nick jump directly into a portal, before Cosette followed him through with a startled scream.
"Oh that looks fun!" Jay spoke with a wide grin, "I'm taking North!" She said without waiting for any other response before she ran over to the north portal.
"JAY DONT YOU DARE!" Axen called in her head angrily, giving a small sigh as he watched her basically backflip into the North hole without a second thought, Axen could only give a grumble as he stayed hovering where he was before he flew over towards the North Portal and floated around it. "You're an idiot! You're insane! Can you hear me down there? Are you safe?"
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Hidden 15 days ago 15 days ago Post by Days
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Days Watermelon Enthousiast

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Hearing Annalise speak, Nova looked over her shoulder at the girl. She was a marvel at languages, something she and Kai quickly learned when they took the girl into their home. She had other talents, of course, and one would be a fool to think that the at first glance timid girl wouldn't be useful, or wasn't astute. With a smile, she encouraged her to speak her mind freely. Then, her eyes dipped to the bag she knew Annalise was holding and found it gone. Nova bit her lip, hoping no one else spotted that. Warmth flooded her chest when Cosy said hi to Annalise, yet Nova couldn't help but wonder if this was an appropriate place for the both of them. The scientist shook it off, as there were other priorities, and focussed back on the other two.

Pushing her lips together at Nick's answer, the corners of her mouth lowering while her eyebrows raised. It was a valid argument, and Nova showed so with her expression. The scientist-turned-agent would love the opportunity to bludgeon Von Galloes for what he did to her. To Stella. To the de Villiers kids. To Cosy. A shudder ran down her spine as the creaking of the submarine, which had been haunting her nightmares, played in the back of her mind. And she would be considered one of the lucky ones.

Nodding at the man, his gaze went back to Jay before rising toward the circling creature. It answered, and Nova allowed herself to zoom in on the creature and study it a moment before letting its words seep in. Stable energy? Blinking, Nova grinned. God, she loved science. "Neat. Nick, let me guess, you want to ju-"

As her duo-coloured gaze landed back on Nick, his back was already receding as he ran toward one of the growing holes to the west, for shits and giggles. Her jaw became slack as she watched him dive into it like an Olympian would. Her hands hoisted up her own backpack as Cosy ran after her stepfather and Jay ran toward another hole, leaving her companion screeching above. "Right, because we should totally split up." Behind her words, worry still lingered.

Frowning, Nova noticed the portals were ever-growing, and soon they wouldn't have a chance to choose, nor time to get the map out from her bag. Her eyes flickered between the hole Jay disappeared down to and the one that swallowed up Nick and Cosette. There was no telling if jumping down the same hole, which seemed more like a portal, would lead to the same destination should she choose to follow. "East for us, then." Nova held out her hand toward Annalise. "I don't want to split from you, Anne. Stay with me, okay? Grab a weapon, anything."

Leaning down, Nova grabbed a CDE axe which held a pleasant weight. After one more glance at the one she promised Kai to protect, Nova ran toward the large east hole and jumped in, praying to all the things she didn't believe in that she would be okay. As long as it wasn't underwater, she'd be fine, right?
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Hidden 12 days ago Post by WhiteAngel25
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WhiteAngel25 The Original Cupcake Queen

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Going East...

Anna's wide hazel eyes locked with her guardian's, nodding in understanding as she not only grabbed the axe, quickly strapping it to her backpack but also two small daggers. She followed Nova in.

Annalise splashed into the water but was able to stand perfectly fine. The water level hit halfway up her calf as she stood up and looked around. Her eyebrows furrowed as the water was dark as night but the area was at dusk. "Nova?!" Anna called out for her guardian. She began walking to the bank but then felt a familiar tingle in her hands. Anna took a deep breath to reign in the sensation.

'At least my hands haven't started sparkling yet,' she thought as she glanced around the area. Her eyes widened seeing a body bobbing further out into the water. Annalise quickly recognized the figure and ran as fast as she could. "Nova! Nova!" She shouted as she paused to grab some long reed leaves before finally getting to deeper water and swam out to her protector. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she propped Nova's face out of the water.

"N-Nova? Be okay, please be okay," Annalise begged as she placed her fingers on Nova's pulse. She sighed in relief as she felt a pulse, then quickly took the reed leaves, wrapping them under Nova's arms, and began to swim as fast as she could to the nearest bank. Anna managed to get about halfway but the current continued to push them out. She cursed softly in Egyptian under her breath as she spotted a figure of white on the bank. The figure had a mask over their face, long flowing hair rippled behind the mask as they tilted their head in observation.

'Everything will be okay. Trust her,' a warm voice echoed in Annalise's head and that was when she knew she had no choice now.

"Please don't be mad at me, Nova, but I'm going to have to do this," Anna murmured as she wrapped her left arm around Nova and pointed her right hand at the bank. She bit her lip and focused on the bank, taking a deep breath as her hand began to sparkle, then glow. Suddenly the researcher and her ward were enveloped in a warmth of lavender before they appeared on land. Anne snapped her head in the direction of the white figure but saw the figure had disappeared.

Annalise scrambled back to Nova and listened to her chest. Heart rate was slow but there. She tilted her guardian on her side and pounded Nova's back until the sound of coughing up water could be heard. "Oh! Thank heavens!" Anna sighed in relief as she heard Nova's breathing return to normal.

Secret HiveMind Facility

Unknown to the researcher, the twitch of a familiar fair hand occurred as did the crack of an icy blue eye. The figure glanced around briefly as they recognized the caramel-colored skin of the figure in the pod next to them. Consciousness didn't last long as the figure, who had been dormant for so long was exhausted from the mental support she just sent.
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Hidden 10 days ago 10 days ago Post by Lexisheeps
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Lexisheeps he/they/baaa / ૮꒰˵• ˕ •˵꒱ა

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West; Caana

Fight Collab written by:

@Lexisheeps x @Estylwen

One shot echoed with a bang. Turned quickly into many.

They were a prized, yet typical, possession for a pew-pew shooter man such as him. Standard dual Glocks. Nick's favorite. Nice and simple... or at least they were before the enhancements. The bullets were an Egyptian prototype of rechargeable CDE energy. Stolen, not given. How decent of The Louvre, to highjack weaponry from a former friend.

Every Mayan warrior that stabbed with their spear met the same fate when faced with a CDE bullet. Instant vaporization. Alas, more came to replace them from the edges of the room, and soon it was just a sea of war painted faces.

Not all attacked at the same time, though. Was there a pattern to enemy movements? There were so many of them, it was hard for Nick to tell. Some held back, as to not overwhelm the two little contenders. Some paced around, trying to get behind Nick and Cosy, to fully surround them.

On the third standard bang, several minutes into the fight, Nick pushed a button on the side of the gun. He was incredibly frustrated with the kick back the gun had given him. But he moved along the best he could.

Under normal circumstances, he would have had a clear advantage against his opponents' stout figures. His lack of brute physical force typically earned him some advantage in speed. But... what was normal these days? After the third time he'd been tossed clear around the room, he'd had just about enough. He stared up at the decrepit celling, just long enough to blink and briefly wonder.

Before rolling out of the way yet again, he'd pinched a nerve somewhere in his upper right shoulder. He winced with another few pulls of the trigger he hadn't dropped yet. The reparative brain surgery to remove Von's whimsey, was successful, if only on a technicality. If Nick was being completely honest with himself, this fight was leaving a sour metal taste in his mouth...

And he didn't care too much for it.

That bastard. Just wait until I find y- He thought to himself, before verbally swearing under his breath, "Dammit." He winced again. If he was being absolutely honest with himself, he was quite frankly having his ass handed to him. If he couldn't hold his own shit together, how the actual fuck could he keep Cosy safe?

Was it to late to set The Louvre on fire? "Shit." Nick mumbled to himself. He realized his anger was the lit match. A match that landed on his will to do ...whatever the fuck he was currently doing. To stay alive. To survive. The fire was blazing. The Louvre be damned.

And above, Buluc laughed menacingly, watching the tiny little ants in his cage fight for their lives. Watching Nick and Cosy try to best the spectral warriors.

Even with the stolen CDE bullets, things were not looking good. He looked over to Cosy, wondering how she was holding up, "Hey, there's too many of them. We should find away to barricade them in." In between grabbing at the previously dropped gun, "Or figure out what's spawning them and destroy it."

Cosy had an idea, "Dad! Try aiming your gun at the big guy's eyes!"

Fight Collab Ended,

But the gun he hadn't previously dropped, had been finally knocked out of his reach. A sense of panic overwhelmed him. He froze. The pinched nerve caused a single teardrop to roll down his cheek, just as he managed to avoid being stomped face first. It was hard to see what was going on with the angle Nick had stumbled. But off to his right, somewhere in his peripheral vision... glowing. Purple glowing. He sighed, "Now what?!"

A blast.

First one felt more like it was the Forth of July, back home in the States. Sprinkles of purple splashed down and seemed to target all of the foot soldiers. Just like missiles would. But whatever ammo had been used, was not normal gunpowder. It was purple in color, but was it really a CDE weapon?

The blast had emanated from a darkened figure with purple toned wings. The light from the wings seemed to suck all the surrounding light away, leaving nothing but a black silhouette of a human. Whoever it was, floated high up above.

A second blast.

But this time, just one beam flew from the weapon of choice. And it was aimed straight at Buluc. Nick had covered his ears abruptly from the first blast, but recovered upon the second. He mumbled to himself, "Please be a headshot."

Nick finally clambered to his feet, feeling a new sense of power. Or at least fresh enlightenment. Hell, the figure that had appeared couldn't have been any bigger than he was... but the weapon's kick back didn't seem to be bothering them much.

At last he'd made it over to Cosy, looking in the direction the purple swirl had vanished. Not too concerned about the figure itself, but rather the weapon used, "I want one of those." Then looked to Cosy, "Do you want one of those? Because I want one of those."

With both Glocks back in hand, Nick aimed high, grateful for the stranger's help he'd just received.

Artifact Room #2; Giza

20 Minutes Ago... Kind of.

An American accent questioned seriously, "You sure this is gonna work? It's been out of commission for awhile." As he examined the previously missing prototype CDE weapon, "Been lost in here for what, a decade now?"

A particularly dapper French accent answered, "Not getting cold feet are you?"

A sighed, "I'd like to not be vaporized myself, is all." Was the second man's answer, "But no, not really."

"Good." The Frenchman responded sternly, "Focus on keeping them alive, but don't interact with anybody beyond Buluc and his army. And make sure to keep this button locked, or I'll lose your signal."

"Right." The first man sighed, "I know, I know. I don't want to mess up the meridian line."
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Hidden 7 days ago Post by Estylwen
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Estylwen He Didn't Make Jinx, You Did

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Secret HiveMind Facility

My apologies Mr. Galloes.

Director Von Galloes looked at the data set on the holographic display beside a tube-like device. The room he was in was completely white, save for the water-proof tiled floor. The director, presently, was dressed only in his underwear, lab coat and suit neatly hung on a rank on the other side of the tube.

Von Galloes only gave a cruel smile as he pulled up an operator's console, and inputted a long string of code. After a few moments, Allen would have received a text on his phone.

No worries, Mr. Soveria. We can look at your other projects while we discuss how we can best help you.

Before he slid the console to dismiss it, and stepped into the tube. The glass slid shut behind him, and clear liquid began filling the chamber…

Caana, North Hole


"I'm taking North!”

North, associate with white. Resplendence. Beauty. These were the elements that awaited Jay in the trial of the north hole.

She would sink serenely through the darkness until her feet touched ground, and images came into focus. The darkness was soon replaced with glossy tile floors, futuristic architecture, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a utopia city. Gone were the days of needed a gas mask; not a single smog cloud was in sight. Every rooftop had its own garden, and the sun shone through a brilliant blue sky.

In the hallway where Jay stood, she could hear the hopeful chitter chatter of voices, enthused and excited. There was the buzzing of animatronic wings, and robotic voices mixing with human ones.

Until, eventually, two scientists rounded the corner, clipboard in hand and robotic pterodactyls humming over their shoulders. One scientist beamed, her sun-kissed skin shimmering as she reached out for a handshake.

“We're so happy you could join us, Director Harringway. We have lots of new ventures we want to show you.”

Her robot companion shirred, landing gently on the scientist's shoulder. “Your vision of Mechozs.io becoming the leading frontier in preserving ancient history for the masses to enjoy couldn't have been more on point. I have statistics I downloaded this morning that I can share with you, if you would like.”

As they walked down the hall, the robot pterodactyl continued to speak in its endearing voice. “As of this morning, 2 billion people worldwide have a Mechozs.io companion in their home. Of that, 299 million Americans own one of our robots. That's over 90% of the population.”

The scientists walked up to a pair of double doors, opening it to reveal a laboratory with robots in various stages of being built, remnants of fossils being covered in titanium, and hearts of CDE pumping life through revitalized ancients.

Further in the room was a human containment tube connected to vitals and a holodesk. The scientists gestured to Jay to enter it.

“We will begin our test. Please, step into the chamber, and we will connect your mind to one of the robots. You will be able to remotely control them as if they were your own.”

As Jay watched, it would almost appear as if the scientists’ teeth glinted, sharpening in the light. And, staring at the tube barely big enough to fit her, she couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. Something indeed was terribly, terribly wrong.

Caana, East Hole

@Days, @WhiteAngel25, @SporkoBug

"East for us, then."

"Oh! Thank heavens!”

East, the color of red, the symbolism of sacrifice. That's what awaited the two in this endless expanse of water, broken up only by the island they rested upon.

Under the fiery color of dusk, the water all around Nova and Annalise turned blood-red, and the smell of copper and iron was in the air. An air of foreboding. They could hear drums in the distance, of tribal ritual.

There would be sacrifice.

Behind the two a stone slab on a pedestal appeared behind them. It was chest-height, with Mayan carvings. Resting on the corner of the slab was a ceremonial knife carved from bone, with a multicolored tassel hanging from its hilt.

Horrifying to behold on the stone slab, tied down with thick rope, was a figure coming to. Due to the change, or flux in the CDE in the area, the effects of hibernation on their body had begun to wane.

Alas, it was none other than Torren, otherwise known as Maw, helplessly tied to the stone slab.

As Nova and Annalise stared on, the drums echoing in the distance would crescendo, waiting, begging, for blood.

Caana, West Hole


It looked like it was the end for Cosy. She defended against one spear, only to be attacked by another. She was quickly losing ground, and Ivaylo at her feet could only bite so many heels.

She was about to get a fateful of spear bone when, in an instant, the warriors in front her, and all around her just… disappeared. Vaporized. Incredulous, she looked around, then up, catching sight of a shadowy figure with the most beautiful wings…

“An angel?” She questioned, pulling herself to her feet.

She watched it fire off a shot straight at Buluc, and couldn't help the clear that left her mouth as it landed directly in his massive face.


Buluc cried out, throwing a hand over his face. Cosy studied him. It. Whatever this apparition was. He seemed injured, but not down for the count…

"I want one of those. Do you want one of those? Because I want one of those.”

Despite the tense situation, Cosy allowed herself a laugh. ”Yeah, yeah I do. What even was that? I've never seen anything like that.”

A pause, then she asked, Who was that?”

Buluc raged above them, and Cosy instinctively gripped the sword in her hand. Purple liquid dripped down from above as Buluc removed his hand from his face, revealing eyes squeezed shut. Had the angel blinded him?

”Gaaah, hurry up and die already!” Buluc bellowed, shaking the foundations of the cramped room they found themselves in.

A massive hand hovered over Nick, before it came crashing down, trying to blindly smother the man. The opposite hand did the same with Cosy, and she rolled to the side, sticking her blade into the wispy flesh.

Another howl of pain.

“He's easy to dodge, dad!” Cosy said, determination in her voice. “We gotta finish him!”

Another hand swept the entire room, hoping to blindly clothesline Nick and Cosy. A hit like that would smash them into the opposing wall, if they weren't careful.

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Hidden 6 days ago Post by SporkoBug
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SporkoBug The Cosmic Engineer

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Caana, North Hole

Jay wriggled slightly as she sunk, it was weird and she wasn't entirely sure if she was enjoying it...
Her feet touched the ground, and her vision returned; causing her to blink and moved to rub her eyes for a moment.

She felt herself stumble as she looked around, checking out the windows in slight confusion before she heard the voices. Human voices? Robotic Voices? She thought before she looked around. Where was Axen? Did he not follow her through the hole?
'Axen?' She mentally called out to her companion, only hearing static on the other side. 'Axen do you copy?' She tried again, still nothing but Static... This wasn't good, where was he? Was he safe?

Jay was about to take a step forward before she heard footsteps, causing her to pause before two scientists appeared, both with their own little mechanical Pterodactyls on them. Mechacompanions? She instinctively thought to herself before one of them stepped forward, a female, gorgeous sun-kissed skin, reached out for a handshake.
Jay was about to ask what was happening but the woman spoke, she called Jay 'Director'. Jay hesitated for a moment, she blinked before the robo-dactyl continued to speak.
Director? Jay thought to herself, still staying quiet before she opened her mouth at the mention of everyone having a companion. "That's... Fantastic!" She said with a small smile, "I'm assuming Dex got all the bugs out of the code too? We kept him hired, right? He didn't leave because it got too big... right?" She hesitated, something was weird, a feeling in her gut she couldn't really shake.

Surely Dex would still be here, he'd never leave her side if she took over this place, right? He was surely still alive right? Wait. Why would he be dead? Jay felt herself pause as they led her though the double doors towards the laboratory; her eyes looking up towards the bones being cased and given their own CDE hearts.
She hadn't followed the scientists in as far as they went, and looked towards the containment tube hesitantly.

The knot in her stomach coiled further, that tube wasn't a good size for her; and something just felt wrong. Did they really go forward with the neural network of controlling the companions, rather than give them their own consciousness.
"I..." She started, looking around. She had to contact Dex or Axen... 'Dex? Axen? Do you read me?' There was static again. "Have you done these tests on another? It'll be safe, right?" She asked, when did she become a test subject.

Where was Axen? Why did she feel so.. Alone without his snark in her ears. She could almost hear him calling out for her.
Wait, He was calling out to her!
'JAY CAN YOU HEAR ME' Axens' British voice cut through everything, 'I can't monitor- heart- safe?' His voice started to cut out again.
Jay stepped away from the scientists, moving to reach behind her to the axe she had grabbed before she jumped. "Where's Axen? Where's my friend?!" She called out, her grip tightening on the axe but she didn't pull it out just yet, she was waiting.

Canna, East Hole

The sound of drums slowly echoed through his ears, gravity had arrived back around him.
Was he out of his stasis area? He could feel himself breathe now, the air tasted like dust and his body ached. He tried to move his arms, they couldn't move and the feeling of rough fiber rope dug into his skin.
He winced, this wasn't good. What... What was happening? Where was he?

He let out a breathe through his mouth, before he suddenly coughed up some stasis fluid; as well as some blood. He slowly opened his eyes, the light stung his pupils so he closed them again, moving to try and move his body again, trying to pull it up, but the ropes were tightly digging into him, scraping slightly against his skin, not enough to break it yet but it was reddening the skin it rubbed into.

Hunger. Food. Maw spoke softly in Toren's head, Fresh air, feels weird. Smell blood.
Toren slowly opened his eyes again, trying to adjust his vision to everything around. I think that's... our blood. Toren thought to Maw, who only gave a tired, sad, hungry grumble like a starved puppy in the back of Torens mind. I'm sorry. He replied before he looked up, spotting the girls.

Caana, Portal Room

Axen buzzed around the white hole still, trying to call out to Jay. "JAY CAN YOU HEAR ME" He called out, he felt like he connected to her mind. 'I can't monitor your heart rate where you are, are you safe?' He tried to call out once more.

He buzzed angrily, more to himself, before he focused a bit more.
'Dex.' He called out, getting a startled grunt in response.
"Axen? What the fuck?" Dexs' voice spoke through Axens' head, "You don't have communication abilities like this in your code! Are you okay? Is Jay okay? What's going on?"
Axen ignored the mention of things 'not being in his code', "Jay might be in danger. She dropped into a portal in the Caana. I can't get a proper connection with her."

Dex swore to himself under his breathe, "Did you follow her?"
There was silence for a second.
"That was a stupid idea to offer, sorry." Dex replied after the silence, "We've never tested you guys going through a Portal, I'd rather not have you like... Explode, or something. Jay would skin me alive/"
"I'm gonna go in." Axen said, he sounded unsure before he spun around the portal in the air quickly before he folded his wings down and dived straight towards the portal, in hopes of getting to Jay safely.
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Hidden 2 days ago Post by Days
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Days Watermelon Enthousiast

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Caana, East Hole

She jumped. And then there was nothing.

Well, there was darkness around her, a terrifying blanket over her body, and blood rushing through her ears. Nova felt weightless. As if she was in one of those sensory deprivation chambers Kai had her try after everything transpired last year. She had damn hated it. She had screamed, thrashed and cried, and wouldn't calm down until Kai had her in his arms and told her she'd never have to try it again. Oftentimes, fear or phobias don't have a true cause, just a lingering feeling of unrest, and triggers to make it worse. For Nova, it was damn clear why the sheer thought of going into the beautiful tub in their house was still a bridge too far. In the dark corners of her mind, it was almost as if she could still hear the creaking of the sinking submarine.

There was a boulder on her chest and fire in her lungs. Don't be mad at me. Why? Then, she was no longer weightless. The pressure behind her eyes just made everything worse, but suddenly, she startled back into consciousness. A hand was patting between her shoulder blades, as roughly as they could manage as Nova threw up salty water before sucking in a prickly but oh-so-welcome breath. With wide eyes, she sucked in another to try and replenish what her body was so dearly missing. Oxygen.


Her head whipped around, but the scientist let out a breath of relief as she saw that it was Annalise who hovered over her, worried and inquiring. "Anna!" Scrambling, Noah got onto her knees and sat before Anna, on her knees as well. Her shaky, cold hand rested on the girl's cheeks and Nova checked her for injury. "Are you alright, Anna? Are you?" Franticly, she examined the girl more before their situation dawned. They were resting on dark, glimmering sand, unlike anything Nova had ever seen before. As if the land existed of glimmering, dark pieces of diamond. A few steps away, water washed ashore as it did on beaches, unassuming with the air of innocence, despite the water being darker than the sand itself.

Realisation slowly hit the woman as she looked back at the one she was supposed to protect, but who ended up protecting her instead. "You saved me, didn't you?"

Plopping back on her behind, Nova rested on her palms as she looked up at the sky which wasn't a sky. Her breathing returned to normal, and she closed her eyes for a brief moment, wondering how her vitals would've shown at Voidlight headquarters through her monitoring. Or if it showed at all. "Thank you, Anna. You're amazing. I fucking hate water." The woman said, closing her eyes and letting her body return from its fight or flight response. The terror was softly leaving, and while she knew it must've been terrifying for Annelise to haul an unconscious Nova to shore, Nova was secretly thankful she hadn't consciously experienced being in a body of water.

When she reopened her eyes, she spotted her backpack close to the waterline, the axe still attached. Getting up from the sand, Nova walked up to the bag and quickly snatched it, wanting as much space as possible between her and the water. Yet, as she palmed the top handle of the bag, something odd happened to the water arriving on the dark shore. It had a different tint to it, making the curious scientist lean down and press her hand to the sand. Once the water returned, it rushed over her porcelain-tinted hand.

The woman gasped in shock. The water was a terrifying shade of red, making her quickly pull back her hand. The rushing of blood in her ears morphed to a beat of drums, oppressive and loud, and surprisingly, something even Nova could hear through the percussion in the sand she stood on. When she turned around, she looked at Annalise with her eyes wide, curious. Were they insane for allowing the girl to come along? Nova supported her search, but the danger went from 0 to 100. Would she be able to protect her, or almost fail like she did with Cosy? Were Cosy and Nick fine, right now? And what of Jay?

Hoisting her bag over her shoulder, Nova was about to speak when something caught her eye. Behind Annalise, a big slab rose and Nova wasted no time rushing forward, positioning her body between Annalise and the strange object. "Be careful."

She looked on as she recognised a body, tied to the slab, making Nova's chest constrict. For the briefest of moments, she feared it was someone she'd recognised, used as a pawn in a twisted game. But the unfamiliarity of the person, no, man, on the slab didn't make the sight any less terrifying as the drums vibrated the sand at her feet, making the sound feelable to the woman.

Fixating her backpack fully on her back, Nova took a step forward, noticing an ornament knife shining in the orange of the light. She thought back to her previous deduction. Blood sacrifice. Her gaze went over the man tied on the slab, sympathy thrumming in her heart, but she remained wary. She didn't know this man, nor knew if he was safe to set free. Or if he was alive at all. With a shaky breath, she took him in. Dark hair, messy and somewhat matted. His skin was paled from his condition. Bushy brows furrowed in a pained expression. Tall, really tall. The rope had rubbed on the man's skin, already leaving painful marks. Slowly, Nova approached more as she studied the man, but her focus only made her start as the man suddenly moved, fighting against his bindings and coughing up odd-coloured fluids. "Holy shit."

Before she could think better of it, Nova snatched the sharp dagger and held it in her hand should she need it for protection. The action made Nova's eyes meet his. And while hers stood cautious and curious, his stood scared and pained. Steeling her nerves, Nova approached the table and put her hand on the man's forehead. Warm, clammy. What had happened to him? Beneath her feet, the drumming crescendo. "Hey, are you you okay?" She inquired, then flicked her eyes to Annalise. "Stay back Anna."

Ideally, she should help the man off this slab, but she couldn't take the risk just yet, not when she was in charge of Annalise's safety, and this man still looked like he could snap her like a twig despite his condition.
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