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@Queentze
@Korkoa
@Crazytazer





March 8th, 2020
5:43 PM, PT
DEO Lab, Coast City




&



&

Judas :)

-_-_-_-


Judas had been making use of the now lacking human presence in her part of the system trying to peek out into the rest of the lab. It was far less populated than she remembered though she supposed the humans could leave when they wanted, maybe she had never been active at this time before and that was why it was strange, something to analyze later. It was also far quieter without all of the usual scientists moving about or the computer systems on full power, it was rather pleasant not having to listen to them right now. She decided now might be the time to try to let a partition or two out into the rest of the lab to note how many humans were around and where they were.

Both of them found the way outside the quarantine server beginning the search through the cameras and moniters noting very few staff all of who were focused on papers or different computers around the lab. That was when one of them pinged back a strange video file which showed movement coming and going through the walls cautiously. Whoever it was they obviously did not wish to be seen and they might not have by the dull sensed humans working but if they were working with the other AI she would need to help guide them for expedience. With a little digital trickery the partitions slipped over to a nearby and online computer to the weird human triggering a momentary flash to display of the room number she was being held in.

The process was repeated a couple times for due measure and hopefully Vox would find them in her prison soon enough.

---

Echo startled when a nearby screen lit up, immediately turning invisible at the sudden movement and turning to face the threat. The monitor began displaying a number, flashing repeatedly for apparent emphasis. He paused, studying it for a moment before realizing what it was; a room number. The arcon's room number specifically. He sighed and faded back into the visible spectrum after a quick glance around. So much for getting the arcon last, how could he ignore a direct call for help like this?

...at least the arcon might be able to help him get the information he needed. He hadn't thought of that. After a beat in which he stared consideringly at the screen, weighing his options, Echo nodded and pulled the phone once again.

Glass -> Briggs: New priority, marking the location on the map

Glass -> Briggs: Sorry, the arcon wants out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


He sent a quick picture of a pin posted over the blueprints of the facility, marking the arcon's location.

Then he facepalmed.

Glass -> Briggs: This is echo btw

Glass -> Briggs: lifted a phone


Useful information he really should have given out before. Then again Frakedi was probably reading his mind anyway. He grumbled something unsavory under his breath in Ghaszic, again unsure why the Martian bothered him so much.

He opened up a writing app on the phone and typed out a quick message as he scanned the room, picking out a camera attached to the monitor he was looking at. Probably how the arcon had found him, he'd been careful to scan the room for security cameras before becoming visible after all.

He lifted the phone up into view of the camera, his message easily legible:

COMING

---

Frakedi went invisible and watched as Echo went on ahead by himself. Then when they got past the inital security check, Briggs started to give off these annoyed emotions. When Frakedi looked into his mind it seems his phone was virbrating consistently. Well you might as well check it. Frakedi said in the mans mind. When he did it seems he was receiving information from an Agent Glass. It was all correct, the woman at the end of the hall did not even notice Briggs walk by as she played her pointless game (the only thing on her thoughts was how her boyfriend might be cheating on her). Then a few moments later he recieved another text with blue prints and a message talking about an "Arcon". Briggs did not trust this information from the moment he saw it, but it in the next few moments a revelation came through, Echo was the one sending the messages. This did not put Briggs' mind at ease but Frakedi was fine either way, he knew the was only one kind of sticky situation he could not get out of and the odds of the enemy knowing that was slim.

Briggs led the way to their destination, he knew the room perfectly its the technological R&D Department. Its main purpose was to help make "gadgets" and what not to help the field agents. It also served as the base for all the servers in the facility, so if this Archon was here he wondered what it looked like.

"Boss, I think I know what who your friend wants us to help, I am not a memeber of R&D but I do know that what ever is behind those doors is important." Briggs said pointing to safe like door. Above the door it read "Quarantine"

Tell Echo we are at the location but need help understanding what we are here for. Frakedi said in Briggs' mind.

---

As if summoned, Echo returned to the visible spectrum at their side, looking up at the 'QUARANTINE' sign with curiosity. Somehow he doubted a physical quarantine would contain an arcon, it just didn't work like that. "This is the place," he said aloud, tilting his head.

Then he shrugged and walked right through the door, phasing through regardless of locks or whatever else.

He paused once he was inside, taking stock of the empty room except for the various monitors and bits of tech everywhere. He wandered over to a half finished circular device; on Ghol arcons came in one of two shapes; Kryptoid forms, or small floating sphere-projectors. "Hello?" He asked, unsure if this was the arcon's body. It didn't really look like one, but what did he know about cutting edge human tech? Nothing, that's what.

---

Vox perked up seeing that the strange human appeared to have gotten her message however there appeared to be some hesitation initially, was she not the priority for this infiltration? That was a possible explaination seeing as there was plenty in the lab that might interest those on the outside, like a highly advanced AI who really didn't want to be here, but also large amounts of data or trinkets lying around the storage area. As for what was in the same room as her, she hadn't a idea what with there being next to no cameras besides her own near the moniter, but if it was were they put all of the potentially dangerous devices it was important enough for infiltrators.

The odd one was typing into a phone highly likely to an ally, a very weird gadget to her but obviously it was equally common amongst the humans, about the new information before turning it around to the moniter previously used and giving a plesantly clear message. They were on the way though the other part of this was a human that looked like one or two she had seen posted outside the door a couple times, not in exacting resemblence but in clothing, but all the same moving in her core's direction. They stopped outside the room for the moment possibly checking to see if there were any spectators to the entrance before the strange one phased through the door.

Her savior seemed rather confounded by the room or even what the server looked like for that matter. Judas would have suspected at least some knowledge given they were working with an AI but a little more assistance would be acceptable. Flicking the moniter to her server on would likely help so she did just that to allow for direct communication.

"Hello. You bypassed the security adequately, I am Judas." The AI gave a bit of a wave of her silhouetteed hand. "I do not know what that is but my core is much larger than that. Approximately three feet tall, rectangular in shape. Where on this server it is connected to I cannot see as my camera angle is quite limited."

---

Echo turned quickly, feeling rather foolish for assuming anything with human technology. "Oh," he said softly, "convenient." He took a few steps closer to the monitor to face the arcon's... silhouette? He mentally shrugged, arcons were prone to quirks. He briefly scanned the room, immediately seeing the core locked in a glass box on the edge of a desk. "I see it," he confirmed, "but uh, before I bust you out I was wondering if you could help me? You see, the DEO has been targeting aliens, I need to know what they know. I figure an arcon like yourself could easily gain all the information I need and more, right?"

---

"I could yes but I am currently cut off from the rest of the system, a swift reconnect to fix. As for the information that would be a simple matter and if it means I go free it would not be a issue. It is highly probable you are speaking to the 'tool' meant to help in gather said data so reaquiring it should be a short process." Vox said with notable disdain at the word tool but quickly transitioning back to a neutral tone.

---

Outside the room Frakedi had Briggs doing something else for him. "Do you know what is in there at all?"

"No boss, all I know is that we keep the big guns locked away in maximum security lock up" Briggs said scratching his head.

"Well where is it? You are going to have to tell me more than that." Frakedi said with a dissastified smile. He could feel Briggs' relcutance to tell him more information, and it kinda shocked him a little. The method of mind control he was using was not direct conrol, for that would take to much time and energy, this was more like deeply rooted suggestions. He was so far rooted in Briggs mind that any command he made would be followed.

Eventually Briggs gave in, while the talked inside Briggs was spilling his guts out in the lab. he told Frakedi about how each base had a "Doomsday" room somewhere hidden in the base. It was filled with dangerous tech built using alien materials for humans. The tactial agents like himself were all give its location and a set of codes that changed on the hour. He told him that the weapon(s) was only used in a invasion status situation.

---

Echo grinned, amused. "Bug's going to love you," he commented. The disdain the arcon had for referring to technology as mere tools reminded him of how Jessie viewed technology as alive. It'd rubbed off on him too, and he'd already taken to thinking of their computers as useful friends. More useful than any dog he'd bet, and of course being an alien gave him a unique definition of 'living'. Crabs, for example, and most other things with hard exoskeletons, on the surface he'd think of them as rocks, maybe a hollow-stone as were common on the shores of Dazz, but no, they had all the hallmarks of life human's judged by. He knew this world was hardly the strangest to him in it's measure of living things, there were plenty of stranger alien worlds out there. He'd have to share this train of thought with Jessie later, she'd probably find it fascinating- and use it to justify her stance on machines as a new form of living creature.

"Okay, let's see..." he quickly scanned the nearby cords and wires to see if he could help the arcon link into the system any better. "Wait," a thought struck him, and he grinned, reaching for the phone. "Wireless connection- it's even a DEO agent's phone, it's already got the passcode and connected to the system!" Finding a USB to fit into the phone's connector/charger jack was easy, there was a storage box of the things just sitting on the table. "Try this," he said, plugging the phone into the monitor, "and see what you can see."

---

Judas was confused, a tilted "head" being the only response to it, at the last statement as she had never seen a bug acknowledge her nor show competant levels of intelligence to do so. Maybe she would get an explaination later about it from the human or the other AI who might have more experience regarding such a thing. In the meantime however keeping an eye on her possible savior was far more important as it was more or less up to them to figure out a solution. Thankfully the wait would not be long as the apparent solution was right in hand, literally she noted, and as the phone was hooked up to her core it felt like everything was opened up again.

The AI began navigating towards the main data cache, a place she had strictly limited access to before, picking out relevant information from it and transmitting it back to the phone as well as a storage in her own core just in case. It was highly pleasant to take away from the scientists she had quickly grown to dislike and while not quite done with them just yet her focus would remain on the escape. It occurred that letting in the second partner of the infiltraters might be a good idea if something were to go wrong. So within a few moment the excited Vox had wormed into the security system to disable the alarm attached to the large security door, as well as beginning to lightly disrupt the lab workers' computers, who were now more interested in what was causing the minor glitches or inconsistancies giving time to enter the room if need be.

"Is this all the information you require? There is more but not within similar parameters to your request." Judas asked the strange human pointedly. "Your ally may enter if they choose as security has been disabled and the scientists are currently occupied."

---

Echo weighed his options, debating whether it was worth it to stay and gather the rest of the intel, but in the end he shook his head. "That's fine, thanks a load. Now let's get you out of here." He hurried over to the locked glass box, phasing right through the security code and picking up the core. it was attached to a few systems, likely the monitor it'd been using to communicate with him, so he'd have to unplug that before they could run. "We'll have to get you inbuilt communication hardware," he muttered as he unplugged the monitor. and lifted it free of the small prison.

He whipped out the phone for one last message;

Glass -> Briggs: Got what I needed

Glass-> Briggs: Security disabled for you

Glass -> Briggs: You're on your own now


Now, time to leave. the Martian could take care of himself, Echo no longer needed him, and he wasn't risking himself or the arcon for his sake - Jessie needed them back as soon as possible, and he didn't think the arcon would take well to being blind and deaf to the world around them for very long.

Securing his grip once again, just to make sure, he faded from visibility and lost tangibility as he shot right through the ceiling, escaping the facility in only a few short moments. He alighted on a roof a block over with his prize and sent a quick update to Jessie:

Echo -> Libby: Artificial consciousness secure

Echo -> Libby: Meet me back at base



@Queentze




March 10th, 2020
12:27 PM, ET
New York, New York



&



-_-_-_-


[Translations at the bottom for your convenience.]

Vel watched Kassander come to his side, the goat would have smiled but in this form it proved to come out more as hackels rising. He trusted this man but that was the only one, plus he figrues that Zalim would be pretty pissed to find out he ate his brother. Lord Agni had given Vel specific instructions, if Zalim should ever be injured, and it just so happened that they were surrounded by the one thing that could save him: light. He pulled the blade out from his chest and dragged the boy into the light. The sun shined on his skin like a mirrior and the Zalim's wound patched itself up.

Kassan winced at the reflective light, its momentary flash overcoming the Magos' enchantments to protect his eyes from his first glimpse of the sun. When he lowered his hand from shielding his gaze, he found the wound rapidly healing, and the knife now in the grasp of Vel's clawed hand. A relieved, breathless gasp left him as he realized his brother had been healed, the brief shock of terror he'd felt at realizing the severity of the wound abating enough that he could catch his breath.

That had been close, too close, and those responsible would pay. He threw a vicious glance ovver his shoulder, inspecting the winged assassins. Erinyes. Furies in the service of Hades, the old god of the Underworld somehow still a stalwart ally to his brother Zeus despite repeatedly being shafted by him. Kassan would remember this attempt.

Vel was sitting there waiting for the process to be finished and for Zalim to wake up. When the wound was completly gone Zalim was sleeping soundly like a baby, this pissed Vel off. The monster let out a roar that caused Zalim to jump up with wild eyes. When Zalim's eyes landed on Kassander he jumped and hugged the older male as tight as he could. Vel let out something like a chuckle and changed back into his more mundane form.

"Brother, you're alive, you're safe. Wait?! Where are we?" Zalim said quickly then jumped back embarassed with his outburst.

The intimidating form of Vel receded, his brother safe in his arms, a new world around him... Kassan thought this mission might be okay. With Zalim by his side, the blessing of Lord Ares at his back? How could they fail?

Kassan smirked, a bit exasperated that even after all the time they'd spent together, Zali still got embarassed over the smallest of things. "Earth, brother," He answered, grinning. "We walk on Gaia's soil." And without any of the Magos on this side it was unlikely they'd be able to send Zali back, not that Kassan would allow it to happen, but... this was not according to plan, he worried for Lord Ares' reaction. With any luck he could deflect the god's displeasure towards Hades and Zeus, blaming them for everything that went wrong usually did wonders for all conversations with Ares.

He looked Zalim over once more, inspecting him for further damage, and giving Vel a curious glance or three. "How do you feel? You are unhurt? Truly?"

"I am fine brother, really. What do we do now?" Zalim said looking up at the sun.

The most amazing thing about Gaia was the sun. It was as bright as his armor if not more and gave off the most comforting warmth. Zalim had questions: Where were they? What about Kassander's mission? How would they deal with Hades? Zalim looked to his brother and smiled, not something he did often. He knew they would be alright one way or another because he was the Proteus and would lead them well. Zalim did worry about Arkos, his fahter was the "Demon Slayer" but even giants could prove to be a problem.

Zalim focused in on his surroundings and saw bricked buildings and metal contraptions moving next to them. He was taken aback by these things and then felt the eyes on him. He saw the humans look staring, some with fear, others with curioisty but all had a senese of caution. Then the emotions hit him, he could feel the fear and caution.

'What is this brother, I can feel what they feel. How do I make it stop?" Zalim said as he grabbed his head. He was trained to deal with things like this but all the shock of the situation was caught off guard.

Kassan sighed, laying what he hoped was a comforting hand on his brother's shoulder. Sometimes he forgot how young he was, Zalim had only been around a short time compared to many of the others, they had not yet grown into the fine atunement with emotion the older soldiers had... but perhaps that was selling him short, even now Kassan could feel that curse growing stronger. Their fear would not quail him, their curiosity would not beg his attention, but all the same he felt their emotion seeping into him like water through gravel.

"A curse devised by our enemies," he reminded, reaching down to help Zalim stand. "Perhaps it was Athena's brilliance that came up with such a clever solution to our Lord Ares' plan; for how can we be warriors if we feel our enemies pain?" He shook his head, derisive of the thought, "But we shall overcome. Be strong brother, we cannot stay here." He gave an annoyed glare to the people around them, a woman with a small black rectangle in hand edging just a little too close.

Kassan pulled Zali's arm over his shoulder to better support him, and lifted Vel under one arm, then jumped. He lifted quickly into the air, higher than any plain mortal could reach, and landed softly on the top of one of the towering glass buildings that surrounded them. "O Gaia," he whispered, awestruck by the city sprawling out befor him. In all directions were massive towers of glass and steel reaching for the skies, gleaming in the light of the sun, and all down below were bustling people and metal contraptions zooming down the narrow paths between buildings. It was... he had no words. Big, he supposed, this one city bigger than all of Arkos. He shuddered to think about the rest of the world, he had known it was large, but to see it? He shook his head, mystified, but they couldn't stay here gaping, they needed to get away from this mess, find somewhere to lay low and devise their strategy.

"We'll leave this city," he said to Zali, "get away from their emotion, their noise, and begin planning." Even as he said this though, he lingered a moment longer, taking in the view.

Zalim just shook his head at his brother's words. They were further away from the emotions and he felt more calm, but what had him speechless was the view. The shinning buildings, the metal machines, everything had him in sensory overload. The city istelf stretched off in all directions, never ending and the people were everywhere like tiny ants from their position. Lord Ares had spoken before about man infesting Gaia, but this was on a different level. Zalim did not think this was bad though, he thought the city was beautiful, and if he came here under any other circumstances he would want to explore and try to fit in.

When Kassander seemed ready to leave, Zalim wrapped his arm back around his brother as they took off into the air. Where they were going was unknown but for now the only goal was to get out the city and get acclimated to their new surroundings.

-_-_-_-





@Queentze




March 8th, 2020
5:42 PM, PT
DEO Lab, Coast City




-_-_-_-


Echo stared judgingly after the alien, which was unusual given how easily he’d made peace with other aliens he’d met since coming to Earth- and he was pretty sure this wasn’t even the first telepath he’d met here! There was something about him he found suspicious though, something that just didn’t add up that was nagging him in the back of his mind. He didn’t have time to dally though, so he fell in step behind Frakedi and Briggs before fading from view with a simple twist of his being, no longer standing in the third dimension, but hovering just on the edge of the fourth. His ability to do this came in short bursts though, so he marched ahead of them; walking straight through the nearest door and sending a message to Briggs from his own stolen DEO phone.

Glass -> Briggs: I’m in

He quickly surveyed the entrance for guards, but there was only one woman at the end of the hall tapping away at an electronic pad. He quickly approached her and glanced over her shoulder, realizing she was playing some pointless brain training game. Since she was so handily distracted he left her to it and ducked into a small bright room by the entrance Frakedi would come through and became visible once more.

Glass -> Briggs: Guard at the end of entrance corridor

Glass -> Briggs: She’s distracted tho


He switched apps on the phone, pulling up the floor plan. It looked like both the AI and the main servers were down, but not too far, only the second and third levels. From this room he could probably phase through the next couple floors and immediately flee with the AI before anyone knew anything, but then he’d have to sneak in again to steal the records he wanted.

Sorry Lightning Bug, information first, then AI. It was just more convenient, though he did feel a little bad about addressing his own mission first before rescuing an imprisoned arcon. He would get both, it was fine.




March 10th, 2020
12:24 PM, ET
New York, New York




-_-_-_-


[Translations at the bottom for your convenience.]

As he stood in the circle, surrounded by the seven chanting Magos, he hadn’t really thought much of it when Archemagos Cepheus mentioned he would need to stand still at the center of the circle for the portal to work. Now though, with Gigantes at the gates and Hades’ own furies, the Erinyes, descending upon them, being trapped in this invisible bubble while his brother fought to protect him was infuriating.

But then, just as sudden as the attack had started, all he knew was light. The portal opened beneath his feet in a radiant explosion of brilliant light blue unlike any color he’d seen before, and he fell into glaring whiteness, new colors and endless radiance everywhere. Was this what day was like? Was this sunlight? He looked up, the ball of burning light so far away in the sky, that must be the sun? He looked away and fell to his knees, it hurt too much to look at, and he felt so drained by the process. How many had died during the ritual? At least four that he had seen, their lost energy had to come from somewhere in order to feed the portal, guess that somewhere was from him.

He groaned and made his way to his feet, immediately noticing the smoking crater at his feet. The portal’s doing he imagined. There were shining colorful metal contraptions all around him, some of them carried people, others were empty, but all were stationary. Speaking of people, they were so strange! All around him a riot of color and unique fashions as people stopped to look at him. He must look as alien to them as they did to him, a whole other world… so much had changed from the stories he was told as child. There were no spears or horses in sight, massive pillars of glass and metal rose up on all sides of him, and he couldn’t see even a hint of forest, unless that piddly stalk of grass spurting from the hard gray ground was meant to be a substitute.

Was this what Lord Ares had meant then? This was the blight on Gaia? He looked at them, measuring their skill, but they seemed so… weak. Was all of Earth like this? He shook the thoughts from his head, they were too different, the task ahead of him would not be simple, especially since he needed to educate himself first. Just as with the hellhounds, and the hydra, he would learn their skills and weaknesses first, then he would act.

The portal suddenly flashed again over his head, and four of the Erinyes fell out screaming profanities at him in an archaic form of Arkosian. He sneered and whipped out his blade as the frightened humans suddenly began to scatter. The Warblade of Nemesis glowed lightly before transforming into a long-knifed spear, and he lifted Skyshield against their speedy approach, deflecting one lunge of sharp claws. Nemesis shot out in a whirl of activity, severing one wing and another’s head before plunging into the chest of a third. He yanked the spear back out and spun just in time to catch another set of claws on his shield. Nemesis shimmered once more even as he swung down, the spear becoming a sword and severing the assassin’s hand clean of. When he slashed next the sword was a spiked whip, shredding her throat. He faced the last one, the one who’s wing had been shorn off, and mercilessly plunged a spear tip through her heart.

There was a loud wailing sound bouncing off the walls, and flashing lights atop fast moving metal-on-wheels were appearing around corners. It was time to le-

The portal flashed once again, nearly closed now, and out fell Vel, clutching Zalim in it’s arms. Kassan gasped, “Brother!” He shouted, alarmed as he realized the blood covering his form was pooling out of a large wound, the knife still in his chest. He rushed forward, Nemesis falling into its sheath once more.


@Queentze
@Korkoa





March 8th, 2020
5:42 PM, PT
DEO Lab, Coast City




-_-_-_-


“Fine.” Echo agreed, wary but unwilling to push the point just yet. They could do this together, for now. His own ability to become invisible and walk through walls would keep him concealed if things got dicey, but having a telepath on hand? Useful.

He couldn’t remember anything about Martians, maybe they had a different name where he came from- then again, he’d taken Homeworld History, studying the likes of Krypton, Daxam, and Giron, and those were all in a whole other galaxy, so maybe he just hadn’t come across them before.

He retrieved his phone from his pocket, keeping an eye out for any sudden moves from the other two as he quickly scanned Lightning Bug’s messages. Better to refer to her as that now, telepaths were tricky, but there were ways to keep their surface scans from picking up anything dangerous. He smirked; plans to the building, and something about rescuing an AI? He sighed, but still had an upwards tilt to his lips as he messaged her back; ”Change of plans, I’ve met someone who wants to help, best to not blow your cover. I’ll go in with our new Martian friend, hook you into their systems, and rescue this AI. Stay put for now, and when you’re connected get all their intel and get out, we can comb through it all later.” He paused before hitting send, casting another worried tilted glance to the new duo. ”Keep your hoverboard close.”

He quickly scanned the map she’d provided, choosing to narrate his plan aloud to the others as he did so. “I need access to the central computer system. I know this is only a regional headquarters, but it’ll have the information I need. Once I’ve got it we need to inspect one of the containment units, there’s an Arcon in need of rescuing.” He glanced up, what do you need from them? We can take two copies of the information, but I’d like to avoid a confrontation, so whatever you do, be quiet.” It wasn’t a big ask, this was a telepath after all, one who was intent on infiltrating a secret government agency’s base, if anything asking for stealth was more of a formality.




XXXX Xth, XXXX
??:?? XM, XT
Khrysopsis, Arkos




-_-_-_-


[Translations at the bottom for your convenience.]

The plate armor of the Makhai, what little of it there was, was strapped tightly around him, and his new cape was now fastened and hung from his shoulders. Nemesis had been called to his side once again, and now was sheathed at his ship as a gleaming silver sword. Skyshield too was on his person, a thick strap gripping it to his wrist. He washed regularly, but he still took a bit of time to wash his face and hands; who knew when he’d next be able to wash once on the other side?

The other side. Earth. It was an intimidating thought. After all this time he didn’t know whether to be giddy with anticipation or floundering with regret. He was prepared, had been prepared for a long time, but ready? He thought of his father, and his brother, of Archemagos Cepheus and Hiereus Pythysios, who had been mentors to him, and of the soldiers he’d sparred with, fought beside.

He sighed, those same soldiers, comrades and friends, were dying in this place. It was not their fate to remain caged on this island, fighting for their lives until the magic eventually gave out and the sky came crashing down upon them. They were meant for better things, greater things: they would be leaders of an entire world, all they had to do was take it… but they couldn’t do that without him. He straightened his back, gave himself one last once over in the crystalline mirror, and then strode purposefully out of his room.

The palace was somehow both busier, and emptier; those few who remained scurried down the halls with unusual haste, but the usual throng of people were absent. It became apparent why when he hit the stairs leading down from the palace into the rest of the city; they had visitors.

In the main plaza a cheerfully grinning young man with pale white skin and light, curly bronze hair was leaning back in his seat atop the king’s table, wearing a loose purple toga and a crown of fluorescent green laurels. The young man- the old god - was holding a huge barrel he shouldn’t have been able to lift with those scrawny arms of his, but he was happily tipping the barrel left and right as he filled massive bowls with wine and spilt the substance everywhere. This was Dionysius.

Across from him was a rare but familiar sight; a woman, but not just any woman, her short dark hair and brown skin were complimented by steel colored eyes and a golden set of armor, and her presence projected a tense, powerful aura onto all those who looked at her. She was grinning with a malevolent sort of joy as she tipped up her golden goblet of wine and chugged the whole thing in one go. Several men nearby cheered for when she effortlessly crushed the goblet with her fist, carelessly tossing it over her shoulder as she did. This was Eris.

Soon a mini feast was being set up, food seeming to appear from nowhere, the rare choice of meat sending new and tantalizing smells into the air. He almost considered joining them, giving his regards to the gods he hadn’t seen in such a long time, curious to see if others were about elsewhere in the city, but he had been summoned for a reason. He turned towards the Temple once again.

-_-_-_-


It was a large circular room with a huge domed roof, gaping windows letting in the sparse light from the wall-mounted braziers outside. There were twelve others within the room; two guards at the door, a ring of seven of the Magos, including Archemagos Cepheus at the circle’s head, he spied his brother as well, and his father, and to their side was Lord Ares; well built, sun-kissed, short dark hair, a stance somehow both firm and open. His lord was happy today, pride and anticipation was readily visible in the man’s eyes.

As soon as he stepped into the room all eyes were on him, even Lord Ares looked up and smirked. He hesitated at the abrupt weight of attention on him, but his lord was already speaking; “Kassander, step forth.” He didn’t hesitate this time, much as he rather wished he had a bit more time to consider the rapidly climaxing situation. Once he stood before his god he had to resist the urge to look at his brother, he hadn’t yet had a chance to speak to him since hearing the news.

“This has been a long time coming, my son.” There was an odd flutter in the room at the words; technically everyone knew Kassan was the son of Ares and Aphrodite, shaped by their breath and touch if not their seed and womb, but King Chrysetos had always been regarded as his father, even the other gods had never addressed him as a son of Ares. It was… a testament to the monumentous occasion, this was what his people had been waiting for since their creation, this was his entire reason for existing, to finally be on the path of fulfilling it… was this what it felt like to make a god proud? It was different to making a father proud, throughout his training Kassan had excelled again and again, but his father’s proud smile had never filled him such fire as the simple, innocuous term Lord Ares had called him. “Today you are unleashed upon the flesh of Gaia, a world mutilated by the corrupt peoples who call her home. You take the steps to create a better future for your people, and for your god. You will be Proteus, the first of the many. There will be blood my son, the crimes of humanity, of my father, of all that have betrayed us… There will be blood.”

“And I will spill it gladly, in your name.” Kassan muttered, trying to hide the overwhelming trepidation he felt.

Lord Ares nodded, smiling with deep genuine emotion for once, and then did the most unexpected thing; he hugged him. It lasted only a few seconds, but it was tight and it filled him with even more overwhelming emotions. He gaped as Lord Ares, his father, left his side with a firm pat to the shoulder, calling out some order to the Archemagos that Kassan was too stunned to catch.

After a moment, he turned to look at his father and brother, expression still a little slack from shock. His father gave him a measured look, seemingly… conflicted? He left briskly, going to speak with the guards at the door, and Kassan watched him go in silence, a flash of hurt shooting through him. He was running out of time, he still hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye yet, and the window to do so was rapidly closing.

He put it from his mind, for the moment, and turned to his brother. “Zali,” he greeted, voice strained, and quickly pulled the younger redhead into a tight embrace. “I’ll be as quick as I can,” he promised, “then you, and all of Arkos, will come to Earth with me.” He swore, worried at the thought of leaving his only brother alone in the city. If he’d known today would be his last day, he’d have spent more time with him, he definitely wouldn’t have skipped his brother’s session in the east arena to make bread of all things; of all the foolish times to try something new… He hugged Zalim tighter, and his eyes definitely did not water. They didn’t.

-_-_-_-





XXXX Xth, XXXX
??:?? XM, XT
Khrysopsis, Arkos


[Translations at the bottom for your convenience.]





“Arkhay Kassander,” a young boy called from his left, prompting him to look up from the slowly cooling bread he’d just pulled from the furnace, “Magos Aios has summoned you to the Court of Hekate. Khayos Kauib is with him sir.”

Interesting. A Magos of Hekate and a Khayos of Thoth together? Seeking his presence? “I will see to it,” he gave the boy a parting nod and abandoned his bread to cool, departing the empty kitchens to make his way across the city. Rarely did Thoth’s College and Hekate’s Court convene together, and only during the gravest of circumstances. This situation was different; there were no alarms heralding an invasion or a breach, and by the sounds of it only one member of each was calling him, not all of them together.

He took Daedalus’ Path, a labyrinthian work of passageways beneath the city, enchanted to speed travel for the Arkosians, and confuse enemies who wandered in. In only a few short moment he was striding out of the tunnels and into the light of the many green-burning braziers in the plaza outside Hekate’s Court, a large temple-like building located near the center of the city. It was immediately apparent something big had happened; scribes and apprentices were abuzz with chatter, and young boys were darting through passages and out of doorways, their paces quick and purposeful, a sign they each had messages to deliver or tasks to carry out. A nearby group of youthful looking soldiers cheered loudly and broke into scattered laughs, not bad news then.

“Magos Aios,” he greeted, seeing the blonde man wave him over to the front of the building, it’s large double doors thrown open and a trio of men tugging a cart laden with supplies through. “Khayos Kauib,” an attractive dark skinned man he was less familiar with. “How may I help you?” He finished, tone curious.

“We’ve received word from Lord Ares sir,” Aios answered swiftly, sounding only a little excited as he retained his mask of professionalism, “Gaia grows strong again. The time to act draws near, your mission is upon us.”

Kauib picked up where the other left off, barely giving Kassander a chance to process the news before feeding him details; “The Ocularum is being prepared as we speak. Archemon Chrysetos has approved the mission: gather your things, give your farewells, you leave after a full cycle of the horosyrda.” Both were quick to leave him to it, neither knowing him well enough to properly sympathize with the shock of his purpose in life suddenly being dumped into his lap after all this time, tasked with leaving everything and everyone he had ever known to enter a place he’d only heard stories about.

“I see.” He muttered to the empty air. Then turned on his heel; he had things to do.

March 8th, 2020
5:40 PM, PT
DEO Lab, Coast City


@Queentze





His eyes narrowed, Mars was easily within range of his pods’ communications systems, not to mention human inventions such as Hubble, if there was life on Mars it’d be known by now. There must be something more at work then, but for now he’d file away this Frakedi’s words and see what was to be made of them later.

He cocked his head to the side, relaxing slightly. The Martians words were just natural enough to be believable, and he finally loosened his stance and allowed the ecto energy to dissipate - for now. He took the hint for what it was, having known a telepath on Ghol- and then on Zon, she had used any every chance to use her ability to mock everyone she came across, leaving breadcrumbs of hints for them to try and figure out what was going on. She reminded him of a cat in that way, playing with her food, of course he hadn’t known what a cat was back then. He could have misinterpreted the Martian’s hint, but he was already beginning to suspect there was some kind of manipulation power at work given the previous hints about what had been done to Briggs.

He kept his eyes trained on them warily, but settled enough to answer Frakedi’s questions, since he had answered his. “Okay,” he allowed, “I’m Echo, from Ghol, and I think these lis’srekits raided an alien bar here in the Coast City.” He grimaced and glanced suspiciously at Briggs, “At least three people died, others are missing. I know the DEO was there, but I need more answers. We’re here to get them.” He said, voice taking on a challenging edge, daring them to try and stop them.
March 8th, 2020
5:37 PM, PT
DEO HQ, Coast City


@Queentze





He eyed a suspicious looking plainclothes man loitering across the street from the DEO HQ. The man’s sunglasses, casual NY baseball cap, and shapeless gray hoodie were so unassuming as to be noteworthy. Judging by the way the man seemed utterly bored and only altered his course infrequently, Ezra would guess he was some kind of agent either spying on the DEO, or a member of the DEO themselves on lookout, which made sense given the abilities of some aliens to avoid normal means of detection.

A bang echoed behind him as the door was kicked in, and he spun on his heel, violently glowing green energy lighting up his fists and eyes. He faced the threat with a sneer already in place and fists poised to launch his energy attacks at the attacker, but the man’s glowing red eyes made him pause. An alien? Or a meta?

Another combatant came down through the roof, displaying a similar ability as his own to become intangible. This one had glowing red eyes as well, which may have been comforting if they weren’t on a human’s face. There was a quick exchange, and the first man, Briggs, lowered his gun. The other seemed to be in charge, and… is he threatening me? Ezra’s defensive stance widened, and he clenched his fists tighter. He knew how quickly a gun could be turned against him, lowering it meant nothing, and the other man’s words had been decidedly… unfriendly.

...maybe that was understandable, if he was an alien at least. Being hunted wasn’t exactly the greatest forge for wholesome people skills. He didn’t relax, but refrained from blasting them both in the face and escaping out the window. “Who are you?” He demanded sharply, “what are you doing here?” His eyes took in Briggs’ equipment, uncomfortably similar to the agents he’d fought at The Small; “Who’s them?” ’as long as your not with them’, he’d said, did that mean there was another faction at play here? Or was this one hunting the DEO too? Did that make this other one a spy? His eyes narrowed, uncertain but unwilling to assume anything.
There were tears in his eyes- no, in her eyes- in... in someone’s eyes? He flinched at the bitter ink sliding through his mind, breaking into fractal patterns in his vision, and found his balance again with one hand bracing on Stormy’s shoulder. He should thank her, for helping him, for caring even, but the words wouldn’t come.

“How are feeling sugar plum? How can I help?” She was too kind, he felt a sudden urge to protect her, to make those tinges of alabaster unease and buzzing fright just go away. He couldn’t though, he didn’t know how.

He shot a glance towards the others, and spoke with a weak voice; ”I can taste their pain,” he admitted to her, his own fear of the implications of that easily heard in his worried tone. ”It hurts,” he mumbled.

Then he noticed her mask still in hand, whispering to him- no, to her, he was just eavesdropping. He didn’t know what it was saying, but it sounded like a song… ”Xi's singing for you…” he commented aloud, a little amazed. ”Mine ate me,” he finished the thought, a mix of uneasy emotions settling in his gut. Then he realized what he said, having not intended to say it aloud; ”Sorry.” He was doing a lot of apologizing, and muttering, but he was just so off balance it was hard to step out of his current expression. Whatever that meant.

He rubbed his forehead with his sleeve, but that didn’t help the thrashing warmth of crimson and writhing grasp of strobes, twisting angrily in his head. They tasted like smoke. He glanced over to where things had heated up again, and wished they would calm down, that everyone would stop freaking out so his brain could chill for two seconds.
March 8th, 2020
5:35 PM, PT
DEO HQ, Coast City


@Korkoa
@Crazytazer
@Queentze





Jessie had come through for him, which shouldn't have been as surprising as it was. Ezra found it strange to be able to rely on someone again, not even his family had ever done something so blatantly dangerous or illegal for him. This was right up her alley, the kind of thing she found exciting- and yes, maybe he found it a little thrilling too - but he didn't believe that was the only reason; Jessie cared for him and he wouldn't doubt that again. He hoped she knew he'd do the same for her, y'know, if she had been at risk of being killed by an unknown government organization instead of him.

As he lurked outside the building, a short block-shaped place three stories tall with dark walls, sharp edges, and tinted windows, Ezra checked his phone to get the latest update from his partner; Something's in there. Made contact with me through the computer, talked into my brain. Trying to find out more. This is the place.

A prisoner. He'd expected those, though one of them reaching out to them before they even infiltrated the place was a surprise. A telepath maybe? But then they wouldn't have been able to talk through the computer. Technopath? He didn't know any technopathic species, aside from Jess at least, so it was possible… but unlikely. Maybe some kind of electro-gaseous lifeform, they usually had peculiar effects on nervous systems and computer systems alike, though how one would survive on Earth he didn't know. He shrugged, it was too early to tell.

Couple guesses, nothing solid tho, keep me posted. He sent back, before pocketing his phone and getting back on task.

He shot up into the air, costumed in his old containment uniform and flying invisible so as to not be seen. He ducked into a back alley a little further along, searching for the back door most of the buildings nearby all had. He found it easily, a big metal rectangle with a large clamp-like lock on it. Good enough. He ducked his head through the door, intangible and invisible and smirked as he found exactly what he was looking for: two agents were stood nearby talking heatedly, apparently frustrated with one of their coworkers or something, and bolstered on their waists were little key cards, and what was that? A mobile phone? Yoink.

He relieved the whiniest agent of his key card and phone, hastily backing away and back out through the door as the deep chill of overusing his invisibility and intangibility powers began to creep into his core. He lasted a bit longer, flying through the open window of a building next door and checking he was alone before fading back into the visible spectrum and becoming tangible once more. He whipped out his phone and played with a fancy little connector he'd bought for just this occasion before sending a text to Jessie; Got a key card and an agent's phone, might not have anything important on it but I hooked it up to mine. See if you can find anything? He’d try himself, but the required passcode was a long string of numbers he couldn't hope to guess.

He'd done as bout as good as he could without actually sneaking all the way in. With any luck Jessie would find a blueprint and they'd find a good place to just walk through a wall at. He could only hold intangibility and invisibility for so long, and for two people it was even more questionable, with a group of potential alien prisoners? Forget it. So they needed a plan, a path to follow, an answer to any defenses or obstacles in their way.

He peeked out of the window, glinting green eyes flickering like a candle in the dark shadows of the room he'd chosen to hide in. This was a perfect position to spy on the HQ from; he could see directly down the alleyway where the back entrance was, he could see the front entrance perfectly, a few of the lighter windows facing him he was able to see through, and he was high up enough to see the roof access as well, potentially leading to an elevator or stairwell: and speaking of vertical travel, humans loved their basements and bunkers, perhaps the building had lower rooms he couldn't see, he briefly wondered if he should seek out an underground entrance via a subway, mine, or sewer tunnel, but dismissed it. Even if there were lower levels and entrances to them, he had a better view from here until he heard back from Jessie.
March 8th, 2020
3:15 PM, PT
Satomi Towers, Coast City


@Korkoa
@Queentze





Lreglo Iktin. Five minutes ago the name meant nothing to Ezra, now whoever that was was going on Ezra’s best buds list. Finally, a lead! He floated up through the roof of his apartment and into the workshed, a wide grin on his lips as he saw Jessie already there. He hurriedly took a seat at one of the many laptops and plugged his phone into the device, data transferring in only a handful of seconds thanks to the quality make of them.

“Benji got a hit,” he informed his partner excitedly. “There was a badge in Indy,” wherever that was, “he got a local to tap the mics and found a few bases before the program was discovered and shut out.” As he spoke a map unfurled on the screen and began highlighting red dots in several well known locations; Metropolis, Midway, Hub, Central, and Coast City, with a few extra scattered around smaller locales in the Midwest. “It’s not all of their bases, but we only needed one right?”

He paused, realizing they’d never discussed what they would do about the DEO. Jessie had pledged to help him, but did that extend to sneaking into an armed government agency and stealing information from them? He anxiously met her eyes, “I’m going to go after them. I have to know what they’re up to, who’s giving the orders.” There was so much he didn’t know it was hard to articulate the questions he had that needed answers, but he did his best. “I won’t, uh, I won’t make you go,” though her technological expertise would be vital to his mission, “but I have to ask; will you help me?”




March 9th, 2019
9:40 AM, ET
The Bowery, Gotham






His laughter echoed off the alley walls, the creepy edge freaking out more than just his quarry. A gun flashed, the bang of its shot seemed only to accentuate the unnatural silence of the area. The bullet went wide though, and burst into a flash of bright pink light before it could damage anything or anyone. The shooter was a man dressed in black, beanie pulled low over his face except for two slits for his eyes. He ran like the devil itself was chasing him, through panicked glances over his shoulder and firing at even a hint of movement, and especially at the creepy laughter that followed him.

Hex, on the other hand, was having loads of fun taking his revenge on this particular mugger. The man had targeted Anna’s family while they were out getting groceries, and she’d been upset for days after, flinching at random strangers and avoiding alleyways and all sorts of out of character behavior. So he decided to deal a little more vigilante justice to the mundane side of Gotham. Sure the lines were out of whack, but there was only so much chaos they could cause right? It wouldn’t hurt to take a break every now and again to put the hurt on the rest of the criminals would it?

He jumped, landing in a crouch directly in the mugger’s path just as he was looking over his shoulder again. When the man looked ahead of him again, Hex had ducked into an alley as the man went charging over his ‘present’. The drip-dodecahedron shaped piece of glass shattered in a flare of violet power, and the man only got a single echoing shriek of fear out before the blast slammed upwards from beneath his feet.

Laughing again, coming down from the high of the chase and settling into the high of victory, Hex slowly approached the downed man and pulled a small carved stone out of the man’s hoodie pocket. A silencing ward; the man’s gunshots and shouts hadn’t attracted any attention because this little baby had made sure no one could hear them. Thank you great truncated icosahedron, it’s like you were meant to hold that spell.

He continued to smirk at his own job well done as he pocketed the stone and strode up a set of conjured glowing violet stairs so he could take to the roofs again without being seen.

He sent a text to Pads noting the muggers location and the sleeping charm he’d left behind.
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